Friday, January 27, 2012

Kale = Blech! or Maybe Not?

You can't turn around these days without reading about how fabulous greens are, especially kale and spinach. I like spinach and make my salads at home almost exclusively with spinach, but kale is another matter. I just don't much like it. I don't care for any cooked greens. The texture is unappealing to me, and though I choke them down, I really wouldn't eat them if they weren't so healthy. I've bought kale a few times and thrown it away two weeks later after it has turned to slime. I made the ubiquitous (in the healthy blogging world, anyway) kale chips, but eh. They weren't very good, IMO.

So, I brought home yet another bunch of organic kale a couple of weeks ago, determined to make a salad recipe I'd found in a cookbook. When the time came, I just didn't want to go to the trouble, and let the kale wilt for a week before I decided that I needed to cook it, at the very least. Maybe if I mixed it in with a bunch of other vegtables, I wouldn't notice it? I started a pot going, and threw in the kale, several ounces of spinach that were also getting old in the fridge, and a box of mushrooms that I'd bought with some vague intention of sauteeing. I rooted in the cupboard and found a jar of garlic salsa and poured that in. Hmmm. It was starting to look like stew. I added a jar of roasted red peppers packed in water that I'd had for months, and found most of a packet of sun dried tomatoes in the fridge that needed using up, and tossed those in as well. It looked quite unappetizing and I was wondering if I'd be able to make myself eat it when I had a brainstorm.

I've been kind of addicted to eating vegetables with spaghetti sauce lately. I really like spaghetti squash with it, but have taken to eating it on broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms...whatever. What if I used my hand blender to blend the concoction into a "sauce" to use over my veggies. It would be so much healthier than jarred spaghetti squash, and heartier too! Here is the end result:
My photography may be less than stellar, but the sauce was absolutely fantastic! It made about six cups, and have been enjoying it on veggies all week. Toss a half cup of beans in and lunch kept me full for hours with no need for an afternoon snack. I put the ingredients into the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, and it came out to 2 points for a cup. Low points and satisfying -- bonus! I may be eating a lot more kale now.

Weight Watchers was a definite disappointment this week. I really like my leader's manner and personality, but her content leaves something to be desired, especially for an aspiring vegan. This week's "theme" was maximizing your points. I assumed that she'd be discussing how to bulk up your meals by adding in vegetables -- extra veggies in casseroles, pureed veggies in sauces or smoothies...that kind of thing. But, no. She spent the entire time talking about milk, and how you should make sure to get in your milk servings because of all of the good protein, vitamins, and minerals milk has. Milk is so satisfying, etc. She spent quite a chunk of time going over all of the different smoothies you could make with the Weight Watchers brand smoothie mix. I haven't looked at the smoothie mix label, but if it has half of the artificial ingredients that are in the bars...well, no thanks. If I'm going to eat artificial crap, I'd rather eat a Pop Tart.

My weigh-in this week was less than stellar. I was up 2.4 lbs (1.2 on my home scale), but I wasn't really surprised. I went on a scrapbooking retreat last weekend and ate WW-unfriendly food all weekend. I went thinking that there'd be something reasonably healthy at each meal, but it didn't work out that way. Breakfast was home fries and a white flour bagel and peanut butter if I wanted to stay away from eggs and meat. Lunch on Saturday was pizza and caesar salad already pre-mixed, along with cookies. I didn't eat the cookies, but had to eat pizza and caesar or starve. Dinner on Friday was only meat for main dishes, so I had a big salad and had some cottage cheese and hard-boiled egg for some protein. Would it have killed them to have garbanzo beans on the salad bar? Dinner on Saturday was salmon, rice, vegetables, and potatoes. Everything was drenched in butter. I also had a piece of cheesecake -- just kind of giving up.

Sunday was a disaster for me. I got up at 4:45am, but brunch wasn't til 10am. I started out eating a banana and apple, but by the time we had brunch, I'd eaten a granola bar, pretzels, cookies, and who can remember what else? I got home, and the snacking continued, unabated. I ate some sugary cereal, Pop Tarts, chocolate....well, you don't really need to know the details. I did log everything in my WW online food diary. I'm trying to do that even when I overeat, so that I can clearly see the connection between what and how much I eat and losing/gaining weight or staying the same. I've never before been this faithful about keeping track of every bite and it's kind of interesting. I've found that it's very easy to think "Oh, I didn't overeat much", only to see that, well, yes I did!

After my Sunday eating fest, I got right back on task on Monday, and ended up eating only 23 points that day, and 26 the next (26 is the absolute minimum I'm supposed to eat). I tried to eat intuitively, and just wasn't very hungry. I'm hoping my weight gain will disappear at my weigh in next Wednesday.

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