Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Power Foods’ Category

I am a sucker, especially in winter, for a good, hearty, homemade soup or stew. A stoup, as defined by Rachael Ray, combines the best of both worlds. It’s real comfort food. I adapted this from Simple Nourished Living‘s recipe for “Mom’s Simple Hearty Lentil Sausage Stew”. I used a cooking method my friend Mamadeb had mentioned in her blog, Steadily On. It is a Weight Watchers friendly recipe; most of the ingredients are power foods. Beef and Lentil Stoup works for the Simply Filling plan and is 5 Points Plus per 1-cup serving for those doing tracking.

Beef and Lentil Stoup
Adapted by Deb Wunder (otherdeb)

12 1-cup servings
5 5 Points Plus per serving

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: About two hours


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, choped rough
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeds and stem removed, chopped rough
  • 1 lb beef chunks (round, trimmed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 1-1/2 boxes broth
  • 2 10-oz cans Ro*Tel, undrained
  • 5 ribs celery, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper

1. Chop the ingredients that need chopping, cutting, or dicing
2. Put the olive oil into a Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally
3. Add the beef chunks and cook for about 8 minutes.
4. Stir in the lentils, broth, tomatoes, celery, carrot, parsnips, Ro*Tel, and spices.
5. Partially cover pot and bring to a boil.
6. Preheat oven to 300∘ F.
7. Cover pot, and put in the oven on a rack for approximately two hours, or until stoup is the thickness you desire. If it gets too thick, add a bit of water or broth.
8. Divide into one-cup portions and serve.

I bit the bullet and rejoined Weight Watchers this morning. Chose a three-month, online-only plan that gives me access to a coach at all times. I had a discussion with one of the coaches today – a lady named Janet, and we spoke about how I was feeling. I’m not sure how it will work out, but the pain of being out of shape and obese is, perhaps, finally stronger than the pain of doing the program again.

I finished an interesting book today: Fuschia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China. She covers how she ended up becoming a certified Sichuan chef and a food writer specializing in the cuisines of China. IF you are interested in a look at the foods of China – in a context of life in China – I recommend it.

Anyway, that’s it for now.


One of the things we did as prep for last Sunday’s housefilk was to buy three huge mixed fruit bowls at Costco. I figured that if my guests didn’t eat them, I could work my way through them during the week. I did give one away, and the horde decimated one, but I am happily chomping my way through the last one!

Mind, there is no way I could finish this at one sitting — each bowl is 4 lbs of cut up, mixed fruits. Even at my most greedy or most hungry, this would take several sessions to finish off.

However, this fits in with my new eating plan, in that fruit has wonderful diuretic properties. Given that my doctor has me on industrial strength diuretics for a month, this will be very useful. In fact, when this is gone, I will get some cut up fruit salad from either one of the Russian stores on Nostrand Avenue, or from Sheepshead Bay Produce, over on Avenue Z. I have kind of dropped fruit out a lot during the winter, but I do love my fresh fruit, and when most of the meals in the hospital were inedible, I had asked my ex to bring me some cut-up fresh fruit, and it turned out to e exactly what I wanted.

And, yes, I do track the fruit I’m eating.

I’ve also wanted cold beverages, in addition to the metric ton of tea I generally consume. What I’ve been doing about this is cutting fruit juice with diet ginger ale. I’ve also been cutting down on my coffee intake, restricting myself to two 20-oz. mugs in the morning, as opposed to drinking coffee all day long a I work.

We also bought two vegetable trays for the housefilk. I gave one away, but am working my way through the remains of the other one, plus the pound of portabella mushrooms we cut up to have with either onion dip or guacamole.

I have had some protein since I’ve been home from the hospital but, in keeping with my newer way of eating, it has been a lot less than it would have been before.  Had chicken on two days, eggs once, pork chops yesterday, and fish once.

The main change my doctor seem to want is for me to restrict the amount of salt I use, which I do anyway. I don’t use any at table, and I generally cook with about half the salt things require (except when baking). So I think I’m already under the limit he wants me to be under. I will discuss it with him tomorrow (I intend to bring my discharge instructions with me, because he has always been open to discussing why he asks me to do things). I also need to discuss weight monitoring with him, because the way they will monitor whether or not I’m starting to retain fluids again is by my weight. The problem with that is that, since the surgeon screwed me up, there is already a 5 lb. window that could be me retaining solids. So going by weight gain may not be the optimal way to watch this in my case, or we may just have to watch for gains over that 5 lb. window.

At any rate, I am feeling a whole lot better than I was a week ago. And I suspect that the scale might show a nice result on Friday.

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