Saturday, May 10, 2008

All Aboard the Veggie Express

Today was my first trip of the season to my local Farmer's Market. It made me smile. If you have read my blog for long, you may know that one of the keys to my success has been eating more fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact, I would say that one of the most important reasons why THIS time is THE time I stuck to losing weight is because of the Farmer's Market. I had lived here for over a decade but had only ventured to the Market a handful of times. I never cared about it much. When your usual shopping list looks like this...

Potato Chips
Hot Dogs
Frozen Pizzas
Hershey Bars
Reece's Cups
Little Debbies just don't have much interest in a FARMER'S Market, cause last time I checked, cupcakes and Pepsi don't grow on trees. But once you cut those foods out, you really have to pay attention to the produce section. And the Market is like one huge, fresh produce section.

I seriously doubt I would have lost 50 pounds if I had not started going to the Market every week back in August. I urge you to find your local Market or produce stand and go on a regular basis. And if there are none near you, do what I did over the winter when mine was closed: find the freshest grocery store produce section in your town, and go there once a week JUST to buy produce. Buy lots of it. And eat it.

I have never been a person who enjoyed vegetables. And I only liked fruit if it was dunked in chocolate or baked into a cake or pie. But I find that the more things I try, the more my tastes have changed. Now, strawberries alone taste sweet to me. They used to taste sour, when my mouth was accustomed to huge doses of processed sugar. You have to keep trying. Try different fruits and veggies, and try them cooked different ways until you find the ones you really enjoy. They are SO GOOD for you, and generally low in fat and calories.

Many times my lunch or dinner is based on a vegetable. This may be a foreign concept to you if your idea of a veggie is a side of canned peas with your Meat-And-Potatoes dinner. How about making the vegetable the star of the show? Since they are so filling and low-cal, you can even afford to add tasty seasonings like a bit of butter, bacon, or cheese IF your veggie is your main dish.

For example, here are some of my favorite lunches, or light dinners:

A huge bowl of beet greens cooked with 40-calorie bacon, onions, and seasonings
A bowl of baby Lima beans with onions and ham bits
A large sweet Vidalia onion baked with a little butter and a beef bouillon cube
Boiled fresh beets with a tsp of butter and vinegar
A big plate of sauteed asparagus and leeks in butter
Steamed butternut squash cubes with smokey cheddar melted on top
Half a baked acorn squash with a sprinkle of brown sugar and tsp of butter
Sauteed mushrooms, onions and zucchini topped with a squirt of pizza sauce and some melted 2% mozzerella cheese on top
A big plate of spaghetti squash topped with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese and garlic
Steamed asparagus topped with a chopped boiled egg mixed with light mayo and mustard

You get the idea. When I eat those things, I have the most success. I am not really fond of salads, either, except for this one: a huge bowl of baby spinach and sliced fresh mushrooms, topped with grilled chicken cubes, a slice of crumbed bacon, and a dressing of cider vinegar/water/sugar. Sometimes I add in a boiled egg. Tonight my dinner will be a huge plate of spaghetti squash with homemade spaghetti sauce and lean turkey Italian sauce, and some steamed chard.

When I was coming home with huge bags of junk food, I always had this urge to eat ALL of it IMMEDIATELY. Now I can use that same urge to my benefit. When I come home with a lot of different fruits and veggies I want to eat them... and I do! Today at the Market I got some fresh baby bok choy. I am going to cook it with cashews and sesame oil tomorrow for lunch. It's gonna be good!

So, I guess my #1 tip of the day is... base your meals around vegetables and fruits. You will feel better and be more satisfied than you would by eating processed junk or heavy meats. Here's to your health!


Kathy said...

I think a lot of people get as far as a salad or a stir-fry and then get lost trying to figure out what else to do with their vegetables. I liked your list! There are so many possibilities out there!

Leanna said...

You are such an inspiration. And I'm very jealous that your farmer's market is open already! I'm up here in the northeast so we have another month or so, but then I will be there!

Those recipes sound delicious! I love beets (and even put them in the name of my blog), but would never have thought to eat a baked onion, I will have to try that.

RunningNan said...

Great post. Its so true too. I cut out anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Its just not good for you and is in everything. I feel a lot better eating the way I eat now

Dinah Soar said...

Your veggie combinations sound delicious...I love veggies too.
I often douse my salads with balsamic vingegar, then sprinkle with a packet of Splenda and salt and pepper or Mrs. Dash, similar to your vinegar/water/sugar. Another no cal dressing I like, thought you may too, is to combine a dab of wasabi paste with some seasoned rice wine vinegar (which has sugar, and salt added to it). The wasabi is hot and the combination of hot/sour/sweet/salty is so good.

Heather said...

I couldnt agree more! my shopping list used to look much like yours. you woudlnt have found a fruit or vegetable on it. now they comprise more than half of my list.

Sunny said...

Yum - a few of those dishes I've tried,but a few of them are things I never thought of that sounds delicious! Thanks for the ideas. I agree with you - eating a variety of yummy things helps keep you on track - not just salad greens day in and day out. Thanks for the meal ideas!

Ceres said...

It must feel so great to go to the Farmers' Market again and have the flashbacks of how different you looked 50 pounds and 9 months ago :-) You've come such a long way! I'm looking forward to the farmers' market opening again in my area too!

Resilient Hawk said...

I am impressed Lyn. Keep pressing on.

Resilient Hawk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacy said...

I need you to show me how to cook. LOL I never have even tried some of the vegatables you are talking about. We have a Farmer's Market in our city, but never went. You inspired me, I will find out when they are open. You made me want to go home and cook some vegatables.

Honi said...

Okay here is my list of HONI has gotta try this.: 1.Steamed butternut squash cubes with smokey cheddar melted on top
2.Half a baked acorn squash with a sprinkle of brown sugar and tsp of butter

3.Sauteed mushrooms, onions and zucchini topped with a squirt of pizza sauce and some melted 2% mozzerella cheese on top

For some reason I never could get into this one:
A big plate of spaghetti squash topped with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese and garlic
Regardless as usual you rock the strasphere with your success and ideas... Here is to eating healthy and hanging out at the Farmers Market.. ( ours still is not yet in season.. have 2 more weeks before the big guys get there.. the smaller folks are there now so the pickings are mighty slim..
Thanks for those veggie ideas~~

Anonymous said...

I remember old days of shopping without a list - picking up a lot of staples, without knowing whether I needed more or already had 4 cans of an item in the cupboard AND bringing home a lot of perishable items that should be eaten in a couple of days. Wasteful wasteful. Now it is incredible how much produce comes home and how difficult it is to cram it all in the refrigerator. And yet by the end of the week, the drawers are looking empty!

I must confess, though, I do enjoy looking in other people's carts and at the checkout when purchases are strung out for everyone to see. It really is interesting to see a cart full of frozen meals and packaged food, or all ground beef and american cheese, or a healthy looking collection of vegetables, fruits and meats.


Stephanie said...

Lyn - I read your last 3 posts and started to cry on the one just previous to this one because I am waiting to hear if I have to have a surgery, too - after a colposcopy and a biopsy. Eeew - if things don't turn out so good, I have to have the dreaded cone biopsy (the chunk of cervix). Is that what you had? Well, anyway - thanks for sharing. See, your sharing of that DID help someone who is going through the same thing.

I will check back to your site - thanks for your powerful posts and your brutal honesty. Losing weight is really difficult but you're doing a great job - and you have already beat incredible odds! Keep it up!