Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I gotta be honest, mine was just okay. The food was good and all (I’m posting the recipe I made below), but the holiday in general wasn’t that fulfilling for me. I’m guessing it was a combination of living far away from family (and not being willing to be in the chaos of holiday travel) and not making enough plans to be around other people. The truth is, there is a lot of hype out there about having the “perfect family” and, while we all know that that doesn’t exist, sometimes it’s easy to feel left out. So, if you are one of those people who feels that way sometimes, I understand.
In fact, I just wanted to say that this past year has been one of emotional healing for me. While Dr. Fuhrman has taught me how to nourish my body with whole, plant-based foods, the emotional aspect of eating and just feeling like a healthy, balanced person in general has been a completely separate issue that has taken professional guidance and lots of reading of self-help books to address. From my years of covering up emotions with binge eating and overeating in general, I have had to teach myself from the ground up how to manage emotions. Some of the strategies that have helped me are: working with a professional therapist using cognitive therapy, journaling, meditating, learning to love yoga, listening to my instincts and basically developing my self-esteem. I have posted a few of my favorite books on my Resources page, in case you’re interested.
Fortunately, I’m back to my spunky self today. Also, I lost a pound last week, yay!
The first week on Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge wasn’t really that hard, I don’t remember feeling too hungry at any point. I made some changes to my already-healthy diet including adding a serving of veggies to both lunch and dinner and being more careful about not consuming too much dried fruit or nuts. I also did a really good job of not eating for emotional comfort. Instead, I focused on my goal and tried to deal with my emotions in healthy ways such as talking to my husband and friends, exercising to stabilize my mood and taking care of myself in general (getting enough sleep, relaxing, not studying too hard, feeling grateful for the good things in my life, etc.). Note: I did not eat perfectly last week. I am not perfect!
I did enjoy the beautiful weather in California this weekend and had views like this:
I love this weather!
The meal that I made for Thanksgiving was inspired by Giada’s Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls. Mine rolls were pretty different, they used lentils, onions and peppers wrapped in collard greens. I also didn’t need to use any oil whatsoever and, of course, no cheese.
To speed up the process of making this dish, I suggest cooking a cup of lentil ahead of time. It also helps to pre-blanch the collard greens for a minute in boiling water to make them pliable and, frankly, more edible.
I water-sauteed some onion and bell peppers:
Then added mushrooms along with some cumin, garlic powder and salt-free seasoning:
Added a bunch of chopped mint (this makes the dish in my opinion):
Lastly, the cooked lentils:
With the oven pre-heating at 350 degrees, I sprayed a glass pan with a little cooking oil and covered the bottom of the dish with some salt-free tomato sauce (about half the can):
I set up my assembly line:
Wrapped these babies up! (I had enough for two dishes full. I cooked the second one a few days later):
I topped the rolls with the rest of the tomato sauce. 30 minutes later, I served them alongside a salad for dinner:
The flavor was great and reminded me a bit of dolmas. I will be making these again for sure.
Baked Lentil Collard Wraps – Serves 6-8
6 large collard leaves, cut off stems and divided into quarters (or halves)
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 can no salt added tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 teaspoon each cumin and garlic powder
1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning
Cook one cup brown lentils. Blanch collard leaves in boiling water for one minute and rinse with cold water. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of water. Add onions and water sauté for several minutes. Add bell peppers and stir to combine. Lastly, add mushrooms, mint and spices. Cook for several minutes or until mushrooms have softened. Set mixture aside. Spray two oven-safe glass dishes with cooking spray and cover bottom with about half a can of tomato sauce. To make the rolls, add several tablespoons of lentil mixture to collard leaves and wrap as well as possible. Lay wraps side by side in glass dish (you will probably have enough to fill two dishes) and pour remainder of tomato sauce on top. Bake wraps for 30 minutes or until tomato sauce is bubbling. Serve any additional lentil mixture on top of wraps.
Do any of my thoughts on family, emotional eating or self-case resonate with you? I am always grateful to learn more about these subjects or any good resources. Feeling balanced and excited about life is well worth the energy it takes to get there.
I nearly forgot to post the picture of my Pumpkin Smoothie! I got the recipe from Dr. Fuhrman’s site but it just included: canned pumpkin, soy milk, frozen bananas, dates and pumpkin pie spice. It tasted like the filling of a pumpkin pie and was a hit!