Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time for a Kale Change

I just got done planning our meals for the week--something I do each weekend with (I'd like to think) careful consideration. I have certain rules, like always make sure there's fish, never more red meat than twice a month, etc. But this week, I've given it even more thought than usual. Reason being I'm pregnant (surprise!). I have of course been pregnant before, but this time around, the morning sickness has been worse, which means I am constantly eating in an effort to drive it away. The unfortunate reality of this, however, is that I am constantly eating GARBAGE. In the last two days, I have eaten hot dogs, pizza, cake, bowlfuls of chocolate chips, frozen yogurt, Eggs Benedict heaping with Hollandaise sauce, and maybe one total serving of vegetables. For shame! And as we all know, when you eat garbage, you feel like garbage. So stuffing myself with these less than healthful foods has proven only to make me feel worse physically AND emotionally. Garbage + gluttony = guilt.

So thank God for another clean slate of the week ahead.

Last night after the regret that followed the cake that followed the pizza that followed the frozen yogurt, I sat down and made a list of vegetables. All the vegetables I could think of. Wow, that sounds kind of sad…have I really gotten to the point of listing vegetables? Anyway, I've realized over the years that if a food is not something I grew up eating, I rarely (if ever) make it. My husband's family eats eggplant, but I, like a stubborn child, have something in my head that says eggplant is revolting. Truth is, I don't remember ever trying it. But oh man, nary an eggplant has crossed the threshold of MY house! Well, it's time I grew up, isn't it? So I listed all the vegetables I could think of and marked the ones I've never brought home from the grocery store. And this week, in a colossal effort for change, I'm going to brave it and start with….kale! Sounds friendly enough, like one of those new baby names. I also decided to go whole hog (or whole asparagus or something) and plan super healthy vegetarian meals for this one week. We already eat vegetarian about half the time, so it's not too huge an adjustment. Monday, I give you Roasted Vegetables on Goat Cheese Toast. Tuesday, I present Black Bean Tacos (already a favorite). Wednesday, bring it on with Kale, Cannellini Bean, & Potato Soup. And on it goes.

I may not have the willpower to keep quite this healthy indefinitely, but I truly want to make lasting positive changes for my family. The way I cook is already significantly healthier overall than what I grew up eating (or even what I started my marriage eating) and for my children's sake, I want to continue in that direction. Everything I have learned about health (mostly from searching the web in a frenzy of hypochondria) tells me that the biggest component of health is prevention. And I want so badly to ensure that I and the ones I love don't fall prey to something that could have been prevented by eating better, exercising more, getting more sleep, etc. When nearly 70% of our nation is overweight or obese, with diabetes and cancer diagnoses on the rise, we've got to sit up and take notice. Meat and potatoes may have been fine for our farming ancestors, but they were also working outdoors ten hours a day.

So it's time to make some changes, even beyond those I've already made in the six years since I've been cooking as a wife and a mother. How about you? What positive food changes have you made for your family? How is what you eat now different from what you grew up eating? And what work is left to do to make it even better?


  1. Congratulations!!! My friends like to put kale in their smoothies. My favorite is in soup, although I prefer to add kielbasa to mine. :) Have you ever considered signing up for a farm share or CSA? That's an awesome way to force yourself to eat vegetables, and you get a nice variety.

  2. My parents always have kale in their garden every year. If you steam it long enough (I think it takes longer to cook than other greens) and add a little vinegar (Kyle likes balsamic, I like pickle relish), it's quite tasty. My mom has even branched out in the past year or two to regularly make "kale chips". You'd have to ask her for the recipe, but I would describe them as crunchy with lots of vitamins. Congrats on the baby!

  3. So, I am so far behind in reading blogs, and surprise! I miss something as important as this! Congratulations! I'm so excited for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Morning sickness is no fun!

  4. Have you tried ginger lollipops? They're for pregnant ladies with morning sickness and all and all