Tag Archives: kale

THE HORROR Pt. 2

Guys, something has gone terribly wrong.

I just got to work, and went to take a sip of my smoothie…

Only to find that somehow, its consistency hearkens back to the day I felt like I was chugging seaweed.

Disgusting. Sigh.

WHAT DID I DO DIFFERENTLY?

The only change is I omitted the banana, since I think its been slowing my weight loss.

I feel betrayed by my own blender.

I am giving it the side-eye, in my mind.

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Recipe: Kale Chips

This one is for all the folks out there who have ever been monstrously mislead by some weirdo on YouTube about how to make my new favorite snack.

You’ll need:

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
1 can of cooking spray
1 unlined baking sheet
1 good size mixing bowl
AND whatever seasonings you want

Directions:
(Before you begin, pre-heat oven to 350)
1. Tear the kale from its stems and DRY IT THOROUGHLY (if it’s wet, those babies’ll burn)
2. Place in mixing bowl
3. Spray with baking spray
4. Season
5. Toss
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until satisfied
7. Put in SINGLE LAYER on baking pan (layer them and they’ll burn or be mush)
8. Use multiple pans if you need to — and remember, kale shrinks when baked
9. Bake for 10-13 minutes, depending on the size of the batch.
10. Gently brush off pan and into bowl when done baking.

VOILA. Delicious kale chips.

I think I want to start going by KALECHIPZ as my Part-Time-Vegetarian-Rap-Name.

Polar Vortex Wednesday

The title has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I couldn’t think of a title.

Moving on.

So, next Monday begins the second semester. I’ll be working all day M/F, teaching and going to my own classes and working a little more all day T/R, and Friday will be my working from home day. I’ll also be attending Crossfit 2 or 3 times a week.

Things are about to get a lot busier and all this healthy upkeep I’ve been doing will become more difficult.

Perhaps you’re on the edge of your seat, white knuckled, wondering, “Karen, WHAT IS THE PLAN?”

Don’t worry. I have one.

– Puts on sunglasses.  –

Plan of Attack: BREAKFAST

I have never much liked me any breffust. As a kid, eating in the morning gave me a tummy ache and as an adult, ain’t nobody got time for that — I could SLEEP an extra twenty minutes, or sit at my table and gum down some food. I know what I consistently pick. I do, however, circumvent the disaster of heading into the day on an empty stomach/unstoked metabolism. My plan? Protein smoothies. Are they the most delicious concoction ever? No. But let’s face it, babehz: eating and drinking delicious concoctions are how I got INTO this mess to begin with. The shakes are truly not bad.

My morning recipe:

1 cup of diet juice (Ocean Spray makes some that are 0PP for 1 cup)
1 scoop of protein powder (The brand they sell at SAM’s Club; it’s 3PP a scoop)
2 handfuls of kale stems (saved from all those kale chips!)
1 generous handful of baby spinach
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1 banana
0.5 cups of water

Then, I blend it in our little Oster travel-cup blender. Off I go, with a large bottle full of nutrients (greens!), potassium (banana!) protein (powder!), omega-3s (flax!) and hydration. It never fails to keep me full until lunch. I can drink it while I teach. I can drink it while I work. I can drink it while I’m in class myself. I can drink it while I drive. It suits my lifestyle. PP Value: 4

Plan of Attack: LUNCH

1 greek yogurt cup, brand doesn’t matter — just pick one with no fat (3PP)
1 Fuji Apple

And, if I’m on my game the night before —

1.5 cups of roasted cauliflower.

Because I’m taking in nutrient dense foods in the morning, I’m not starving to death by lunch. This is a good thing. I eat the stuff I’ve got packed and NOTHING else, NOTHING more. Not if someone brings in cookies. Not if there’s extra banana bread from so and so’s mom on the table. NOTHING. Stick to the plan, dammit. Lunch is the meal where I am often made or broken — a mid afternoon snack can ruin the entire day, WW-wise. So no snacking except on the cauliflower. PP Value: 3 

Plan of attack: DINNER

My dinner plans change, depending on the time of year. This winter, we are in a freakish soup mode. I know that it might bore most people — but it doesn’t bore Chelsea, and the ease of it enthralls me. What we’ve been doing all winter: I scour my WW cookbooks, Taste of Home soup cookbooks, etc. for high-protein, high-fiber, low-point soups. Early in the week, when I have time (sometimes on a Sunday) I make a very big batch of whatever one I’ve selected. We eat it for two or three nights out of the week. The fourth night is date night (or third or second, doesn’t matter when, just, the soup lasts three days and another day is date night), and depending on where we’re at and if the soup was made Sunday or Monday, I make another batch of a different soup midweek and repeat the process.

This might sound really boring. I don’t really care if you think it’s boring — and why? LIFE LESSON TIME: It works for me. I come home and have papers to grade, my OWN papers to WRITE, work to think about, a fiancee to talk to, cats to raise (I imagine our house to be like Georgia Rule and Taggy is my Linsday Lohan problem child. I must keep him away from boats.), you name it. There isn’t time to spend cooking a big dinner each night. So by making that food and getting most of the week’s cooking done, I come home every night to an easy-to-heat-up dinner that’s nutritious, delicious and filling. I have no excuses for why we should get takeout. I have no reasons why we should swing by a restaurant. I have a good meal ready for me at home and I can count every last PP in that mutha effa. (No, yes, I really did just type that. No matter how many times you re-read it, the MF-ahhh part won’t go away.)

This won’t work for everyone, but it works for me. And if you’re the type who has no time to cook or who always finds reasons to get takeout, I recommend trying it. Learn to make some recipes that are so delicious, you don’t even mind eating them for three days.

Lately, along with dinner, I’ve been making a batch of kale chips every evening. Chelsea is just rabid for them, and so am I, and they’re 0PP or, if I use “hippie dust” (another friend called it “nooch,” and I’ve not decided which term I’ll stick with yet), they are 1 or 2 PP depending on the batch and the amount of the HD/N I use. And that’s for the whole damn batch. So really, 1 PP tops per person.

The soups I make range from 5 PP for a big bowl to 11 PP for the ones I keep in my arsenal. The kale chips are often 0. And so for dinner… PP Value: 5-13.

Plan of Attack: DESSERT

Guys, I am my mother’s daughter. I would ALWAYS rather eat my points than drink them, and I CANNOT stay away from a tasty dessert. My brain always wants the reward of a nice thing to eat once the unwinding part of the day commences. So how do I get a treat of some kind in, while not ruining my diet? I learned the hard way that extra fruit isn’t always the best option — when I over-eat fruit (and keep in mind, I have at LEAST a banana and an apple during the day; occasionally an orange works its way in there too — so that’s three pieces right there) I don’t lost weight. I have struggled with this for AGES, and then, when Kim came to visit me, the answer appeared: FREEZE THE TASTIER FLAVORS OF GREEK YOGURT. It’s so genius. I can’t even. Why did it take me so long? And so, I freeze the Cafe, Key Lime, Lemon, Orange Creamcicle and Coconut flavors of the Oikos Greek. They’ve got a little fat in them, but that’s ok, since they’re still a PP value of 4.

On days when I’m exhausted and tired, I admit that I desperately crave a treat — so the semester’s busy workload puts me in a place where danger abounds: we live a few blocks from the Vestal Bakery and Lickety Split Ice Cream. I need to know I have something at home that I’ll enjoy so that when I drive past those places, I ain’t even mad.

Depending on the day, if I have not screwed up at all, I have extra points. On WW, you’re supposed to eat the entirety of your points. And so, on those blessed days, I have one or two of the 2PP brownie bites made by WW. I don’t usually eat anything processed or prepackaged but these little guys taste like little angels made of decadent fudge and now, to my NEVER ENDING WONDER DELIGHT EXCITEMENT AND ALL THE ADJECTIVES, my hometowwwwwn, SAM’S CLUB sells them in a box of 20! The price kicks the pants off the price anywhere else.

So dessert — PP Value: 4-8. 

If I can stick with this plan…

Then I should keep losing weight. Maybe not 4.7 lbs a week (no, seriously, what WAS that?), but something. And if I can keep up the plan of making sure we don’t eat out more than we need to (AKA, we get one date night a week) and monitoring myself on weekends, I can still work in some extra weekend treats (I still have 49 flex points AND whatever activity points I accrue, so I don’t stress as much about weekends — usually, bad choices look like very obviously bad choices regardless of the day of the week, and so I just try not to MAKE those bad choices) and have some less healthy stuff I really enjoy while still sticking with my goals.

So bring it on, semester. This is the last several months of school I have to endure before my WEDDING. (WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING AAAAH WEDDING) And if I can stay on track now and into the summer, I will be a much healthier, more confident bride. And even more than I want that for me, I want it for Chelsea: she’s told me so many times that she would do anything to help me like myself more, that it makes her sad that I carry around such resentment over (what I perceive to be) extra weight. She thinks I’m perfect. I want to feel perfect.

If I can get through this semester without the disaster of last semester striking again (I GAINED BACK SO MANY OF TEHH POUNDSSS), then I’ll be in a really good place. Even if I only lose 0.7 lbs a week, by the time September 26 rolls around that’s 22.4 lbs. If I lose 1 lb a week, it’ll be 32. If I lose 1.5, it’ll be 48, which just doesn’t even sound real.

And if I lose 4.7 every week, well, call Pope Francis ’cause there done be a miracle up in here.

Oh, Brave New World!

Well, last night Chelsea and I made kale chips using nutritional yeast.

The result: nacho-style flavor and our absolute enchantment.

Chelsea saved the flecks of the stuff as though it were precious diamonds, gingerly lifting each chip.

And you guys really should’ve seen me make them, by the way: when I realized at the end that I had CHEETOH HANDS from tossing the kale, I almost gnawed my hand off.

I read in an article that the yeast is often referred to as “hippie dust,” a euphemism I thought was reserved for marijuana. But one learns something new every day.

The phrase is fitting, I think, because this cheesy confection is nothing short of magical. So many possibilities!

It was like that moment where I realized there were SO MANY SEASONS OF WEST WING that I could watch, and that the show would rarely feel dated because My Boy Martin Sheen is timeless. THAT is the type of joy I feel.

And so the world expands.

What else has been magical: the increasing number of Facebook comments, private messages, phone calls, and texts I have received from some of you guys, my dear readers.

And so:

1. First, I think it’s wonderful that so very many of you stop by here each day to read about my latest adventure! This blog has been getting anywhere between 40-80 unique hits a day. WOW!

2. I love that so many of you have told me that you’re finding laughter and perhaps even joy in my stories and in your own adventures related to health.

3. Several people have expressed enjoying that I’ve mentioned the cats. NOW YOU HAVE DONE IT, FOOLS: cat posting will become annoyingly frequent. Muahaha.

4. The biggest blessing about getting so much positive feedback is exactly what I’s hoped for: that by putting myself out there, some of you would come to learn that you are not alone, that there are folks in our own lives with whom we can discuss health, wellness and learning to love ourselves and our lives. The support and warmth and excitement I’ve felt from interacting with you all has been so marvelous — it makes me feel like the world is getting bigger and brighter. For me, and hopefully for you too.

So thanks for making my horizon expand while my waistline shrinks. Your love, friendship and support mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Namaste.

(Oh, except you vegetarian and vegan TURDS who KNEW all ABOUT nutritional yeast and never flipping told me. You are un-thanked. You let me down for 24 solid years. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME OF ITS EXISTENCE? No Namaste for you!)

WHITNEY I HEAR YOU

For those of you who read the weekly weigh-in below, you know how today is going. For those of you just joining us, I HAVE SOME NEWS.

I lost 4.7 lbs in one week.

WHAT THE WHAT?

I know, I know. I couldn’t believe it either. What witchery is this? It brings to mind the theme song from The Prince of Egypt, as sung by Whitney (please see title of this post): “There can be miracles / when you believe,” etc. etc.

So now the questions begin — questions I want to answer for your benefit as much as my own.

Why is it strange that I lost so much in one week? I’m sincerely wondering. Not too much has changed — though what HAS changed, I’ll explore in more detail below. Usually while on WW, a person will lose somewhere between 1-2 lbs a week. I’m usually a 0.7-1 type of weekly loser. So this weigh-in shocked me, in the best of all ways.

I want to state now, for the record: Chelsea as my witness, I am eating well. I eat three meals a day, all nutritionally balanced. I am eating enough. No starvation diet here. This weight was lost safely and joyfully and without strive or hunger pangs. 

What did I do differently this week? This is the real question. Here’s what I can think of:

– As of this past week, we have been putting greens (both spinach and kale) in our breakfast smoothies.
– We have eaten kale chips in a variety of flavors every night for the past week and a half.
– I have been eating cauliflower in the afternoons instead of pretzels.
– We made it to CrossFit last week at least one time for me, twice for Chelsea.
– I have taken in much less sodium

Other than that, it’s all been status quo! Unless that “Bean with Sausage” (seriously the lamest soup name ever for a soup that’s so divine) has secret weightless properties, but I doubt it.

So I started looking, this morning, for articles online that might shed some light on what benefits kale may have had, since eating pretty much BULK KALE this past week is my biggest change. Here’s what I found — some of which I already knew, and some of which explained a bit for me.

A. Obviously, Kale has a ton of nutrients and is low calories. I mean, it’s a green. This is obvious. However, I learned a new thing about Kale (or at least, about eating it) today: When losing weight, the old adage involves the relationship between Calories In/Calories Out. But what most of us don’t realize: a healthy diet for weight loss — and in general — should adhere to a Nutrients In/Toxins Out format instead. So what does this mean? From what I gleaned (and I was on my phone reading these, so have lost the links), it seems like Kale’s detox properties and nutrient-dense little leafy self are benefitting in more ways than one. Previously, I had believed Kale to almost be like a vitamin. I have discovered that it is that, and more. Turns out, those nutrients and detox properties not only purge the bad stuff from my body, but make me crave bad stuff less.

Why?

Because calories aren’t nutrients all the time. You can gorge yourself on shit food, and still feel like you’re starving. You can also eat romaine lettuce all day and starve. You can also eat nothing all day and, yes, obviously, starve. But when you eat enough NUTRIENTS, your body stops craving pretty much anything else. It’s true that I’ve felt very un-hungry this past week and perhaps that’s why — my increased Kale consumption and daily vitamin have me in a place where, because my need for nutrients is met, my body isn’t always left begging for more. I had never thought of calories vs. nutrients like that before, but for me, the revelation is a HUGE milestone in how I’ll be thinking about my eats.

B. As for detox — I don’t know much about how it works, and I’m not too concerned. I just know Kale gets the crummy stuff out of my bloodstream and body, and that by not allowing my body to absorb/get used to anything that shouldn’t be there, my body can focus on healthy habits instead.  It does this by creating enzymes in my liver that purge the toxins from mah eats.

C. Kale contains a ton of vitamin C, which boosts metabolism and aids in digestion. As someone with a super slow metabolism, I’m thinking this might be a huge part of what’s helped me this week.

I feel like, as most of you reading are educated folks who exist in the world, if you want to find out more about Kale, you’ll Google it on your own, so I’ll spare you the long(er) list of its accolades. Meanwhile, in the next post, I’ll put some links to some Kale recipes that you might enjoy!

Regarding Cauliflower – I have grown to be deeply in love with broccoli’s strange albino veggie-fellow. I follow the recipe I’ve posted before, where I just season them with 0PP seasonings and toss ’em in the oven. I’ve been eating some each day, and find it delicious, filling and savory — and hot! As in, actually warm. I love warm foods — they somehow make me feel more satisfied, and so baking the cauliflower is a great way to both be healthy in my snacking and get that savory urge sated.

Regarding Sodium – It’s not like a have a specifically high-sodium diet, but I do love pickles and admit to them being a vice of mine. They’re 0PP, but they’re high in sodium… and I love them. Oh, how I love them! This week, I didn’t have any. What’s more — the soup we ate for dinner this past week (we eat the same soup several days in a row ’cause ain’t nobody got time to cook every night at this house) had very little bouillon in its broth. I’m wondering if these things, also, are a huge part of why it’s working out for me so far.

All in all, I couldn’t be more pleased with my progress since last week.

And so, as we go forth into the day pondering the great mystery of JUST HOW 4.7 LBS DISAPPEARED LIKE THAT, we shall sing the song of Kale and Cauliflower. And we’ll eat fewer pickles.

And we will (almost) not even miss those pickles, because NUTRIENTS.

Sigh.

Pickles.

*Tears*