A few years back, the wife and I decided to get healthy. We signed up for Weight Watchers, went to meetings every week, and learned how to enjoy food without a deep-fried or Doritos element at every sitting. I literally was schooled on how to eat healthy, how to read the labels on food packages, and how to stop eating when I’m full (rather than when I can move neither my mandible nor my torso any longer). Did I work out like a madman? Nope. I walked a few miles with the stroller every day. And I still drank wine regularly. Those first few meetings changed me as a person, and even though I fall off the wagon here and there, it worked for me when I lost 50 pounds initially, and it continues to work for me when I decide that my belt’s getting a bit tight.
I’ve learned through the years that you can be anything: an asshole, a liar, a bad Christian, a worse husband or wife, a cheater, an avaricious bastard, an unintelligent bully. But one thing you can’t be in this society is fat. When it comes down to it (and I was guilty of it in my youth too), people will throw a fat insult at anyone because they can and, for whatever reason, they feel vindicated or superior. It makes me sad, really, and I intervene on behalf of the person maligned 100% of the time, not because it will ever change the problem for good, but it can make a bit of a difference. If you’ve been on the receiving end of this, you know. But, “something too much of this”…
One of the most inspirational people I met at Weight Watchers was a gal named Cecily, who worked the front desk at the time. At our first meeting, our leader-dude introduced her and passed around her “before” picture. Our mouths dropped; she had lost over 200 pounds and, to this day, I can’t believe it. Another way to look at it is that she lost the equivalent of two of my freshman students. In that moment, she showed me that if you want to lose weight, you can, so just stick with it, learn when to say “no” and “enough,” and don’t be a pussy. She’s right.
One of the best recipes I got out of Weight Watchers is their zero-point soup (this is the old system; the Points Plus and 360° program can both fuck off). One of the ladies who signed us up even said, “It pays to join just for that soup recipe.” I agree, lady. I ate this soup everyday for a year. It packs in a few portions of vegetables (not eating enough veggies is one of my downfalls), it’s unbelievably filling, and it’s delicious. I usually eat it with a wheat tortilla or a bagel thin and add on a point. As a snack or a sandwich accompaniment, it will make you feel fresh, to be sure. Like everything, I’ve messed with the original recipe a bit. If you look online, there are copious others zero-point soups, too.
I tend to make three or four batches at once and either freeze them individually for lunches, or keep a big container in the fridge for the week ahead. It’s veggie, so it will last a good week before it gets a bit dodgy. Lastly, you can put about any veggie in this soup if you want. Remember, though, that peas are a starch (another aha! I learned), so they will raise the point value.
The Lose-Weight Soup
Makes 4 servings
2/3 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup diced onions
3 minced garlic cloves
3 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable broth (they say low sodium, but I used regular and it worked for me)
2 cups chopped green cabbage
3/4 cup green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup diced zucchini
Spray a large sauce pan or small pot with cooking spray (I admit, I use 2 tbsp. olive oil, but only I know that) and set it over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook this until they’re soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add in the cabbage, green beans, broth, tomato paste, basil, salt, oregano, red pepper, and black pepper. Raise the heat and get it boiling. Once a-boil, cover it, reduce the heat to low, and simmer it for 15 minutes, or until the green beans are done.
Uncover it and stir in the zucchini. Simmer this for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you’re good to go.
I made a huge batch of this soup as I wrote this post today and I’m almost finished with a bowl of it for a snack. It still kicks ass, best of all because it’s a guiltless meal. I added some habanero sauce, so I get a kick out of it too.
Let me know if it works for you and I can throw some variations your way.
Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.
©Jon Marino 2013