Editors’ note: With better eating in mind for the new year, five Washington Post staffers each embark on a month-long effort to change their daily habits. Watch for weekly updates at washingtonpost.com/food.
As mysteries go, this wasn’t a tough nut to crack. When I began assessing my eating habits, it became clear that my vegetable intake had dwindled. Here’s what I found in my crisper drawer: walnuts, raw almonds, blanched almonds, toasted hazelnut meal, pine nuts and a jar of kimchi. And when I say dwindled, I’m referring to levels ingested by my sons in their early teens.
In truth, I tolerate a number of vegetables that aren’t especially nutrient-dense, crave none of them that are and flee from the smell of any brassicas exposed to heat. Bok choy and zucchini, no problem. Mashed cauliflower and roasted Brussels sprouts, I could gag if it weren’t for polite company. The situation could handicap a recipe editor, I realize, but before you fire off a finger wag on social media, know that I have established successful workarounds.
When Soupergirl’s Sara Polon told me about her plans for a Souper “Cleanse” delivery system of her company’s plant-based, kosher soups five days a week, it sounded like the reset I needed. Lest I miss the crunch factor, I have been promised supplemental snacks like avocado on whole-grain toast, and I’m already composing noisy menus for the non-soup “off” days.
That the soups are packaged in single servings will charge both positive and negative neurons in my culinary battery. Upside: I like to cook, and whatever monitor I had that signals “full” has become nonfunctional once I finally sit down with a hot bowl, or two, of something at home often too late in the evening. So, portion control will be imposed. Downside: I cook at work, and now lay in fewer fresh ingredients in my singleton household. So this will encourage me to stock up on, and savor, healthful fresh foods allowed on the plan.
You might be wondering how I’ll manage, jobwise. A spit bucket has been suggested. The Dinner in Minutes column might feature more than its share of healthful recipes, starting with this week’s: a meatless soup, no less!
The timing of this month-long exercise could not be better for me, coming off a fall season of enthusiastic cookie testing (read: sampling) and underachievement in the physical activity department. It’s a killer combination for weight gain — the result, but certainly not the goal.
Do I expect to lose lbs. in January? Absolutely. Do I have what it takes for them to stay lost in February and beyond? I suspect this public confession will help.
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