Today, in between work, a visit from the water heater fixer guy, a short trip to the post office, a stop-by by my sister to drop off some yummy sugar-free hazelnut flavor for my boyfriend (not that Coffee can possibly be any yummier than he naturally is, but he always dresses up for me), and trying to edit a really great espionage novel, I got a hankerin' for something I haven't eaten in a long, long time, a very cheap, easy meal my daddy always referred to as "hobo soup." From a scale-surfer like myself, it may not seem like something I should eat, and it might not even sound very good, but I have to tell you that it's delicious and doesn't even cost that many calories (or pennies, for that matter - thus the "hobo" part). Here's the recipe, which can be easily modified in a bazillion ways (as long as you're mindful of the weighs those ways will result in):
DADDY'S HOBO SOUP
- Two slices of bologna, diced (or one if you want less calories)
- One medium-ish potato, peeled and diced
- One small carrot, peeled and sliced thin
- About a tablespoon of sliced celery
- About a teaspoon of minced, dried onions
- Seasonings by the dash, to your preference: salt, pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning
- Enough water to cover it all.
Instructions: Throw it all in a pain and boil it till the veggies are as soft as you want them. I boiled mine about 8 minutes.
Wait! (Or weight, as it were.) Am I telling you to eat taters and bologna? Yep! Why? How dare I mention these carby, fatty, salty things on Spark? First, it's good, and second, you CAN have both of them, as long as you're careful. I use one tater, about three baby carrots, about a half-stalk of celery, and Oscar Mayer light bologna, and the total calories on this tasty, filling soup comes up to something like 250 or less. I enjoyed mine with a Carbmaster yogurt and a zero-calorie fruit punch drink, and viola! A fond memory-sparking, 310-ish calorie lunch. I'm not sure if that cute little curly-headed boy is still around, but I would have to agree with his crooning, "I love to eat it every day, and if you ask me why, I'll say...'cause Oscar Mayer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a." (Not only that, but it was that commercial in the 70s that helped me realize that words are often not spelled the way we say them, so maybe I can credit him for my career as an editor. When is the last time you said "Wed-nes-day" instead of "Whens-day" anyway? The fact that people talk differently than they type IS my job security, and auto-corWRECKed and voice WRECK-ognition only ensure me more gigs. I think those commercials inspired my parents, too, because they named my first dog, a dachshund, Oscar, in honor of the weenies.)
Anyway, the reason I am giving you this astoundingly complicated recipe is because someone asked me today, "What foods have you had to give up?" My answer to them was not the one they were expecting: "None, really." I still enjoy many of the things I've always loved; I just have to make sure I don't eat too much of them or that I replace them with lower-cal versions. It's true, folks! Other than replacing my oil and butter with things like Pam and Parkay butter spray, and other than replacing sugar with Splenda (sucralose) or, even better, stevia (a more natural alternative which makes my herbalist fam happy), I really haven't "given up" anything but those pounds I used to carry around. I still have soda sometimes, as long as it's diet. I still have more than one daily interlude with Coffee, as long as he isn't too creamy and sugary. (I've always preferred bad boys to sweet ones anyway.) I still eat fast food every once in a while, as long as it's a kids' meal or smaller side items that stay within my calorie counts (yes, you CAN eat 300-400 calories at Taco Bell if you're careful.) I still eat the canned, frozen, boxed, bagged, and processed foods I've always depended on, but I split the can or box with my kiddo, sometimes over a course of more than one meal, instead of hogging it all for myself in one sitting (boy, can I do some damage to a can of pork 'n' beans if I'm not careful...and vice versa!). I still ate Peeps at Easter, chocolate/marshmallow oatmeal this morning, fried eggs every day, garlic toast several times a week, pretzels and popcorn and other salty delights, and even the occasional ice cream cone (go for soft serve, as it's lower calorie than the serious stuff). I realize this may not be the most orthodox way to lose weight, and some people prefer to cut things out entirely, but we must not turn our healthier lifestyles into our enemies, or they will not last as permanent lifestyles. If someone told me at the outset, "Autie, if you would like to stop looking like the abominable snow-woman, you can never, ever, ever have another cookie or slice of muenster or Reese's Cup or French fry again," I never would have been able to go on this journey. There are foods that are triggers, of course, things that make it difficult to "eat just one," but I have to live my life knowing that my diet is not going to rob me of everything I love, including hobo soup.
This morning, when I was shaving my legs and then twisting myself into some strange, unnatural contortion to attempt to do some underarm maintenance with this stupid frozen shoulder of mine, I realized that I only had to use one razor, compared to the two or three I used to plow through, since landscaping my much larger legs was something akin to mowing a football field with a pair of nail clippers. There are other advantages as well, such as the ability to actually see my calves and the tops of my feet, even while standing up, so I can keep from looking like Bilbo Baggins when I wear sandals. I go through less cans of shaving cream now in my bathroom because I go through less cans of Reddi Whip in my kitchen, and that is well worth anything I've had to tweak or lighten or "give up."
The next time someone asks me what my big, bad, mean bully of a diet has forced me to give up, what it has stolen from me and demanded that I sacrifice to the scale gods forever, I'm going to answer: "Acreage," because it did enable me to give up a lot of unnecessary biological terrain, more than half the volume I was carrying around, the equivalent of cutting 52.89 yards off a football field, to be exact. Personally, I think those who start making a list of forever forbidden foods are setting themselves up for scales fails, and I think they're fulla baloney. While I didn't truly have to give anything up entirely to lose my 174 lbs., I've learned that moderation (one Peep instead of the whole package), tweaking (trading sugar for Splenda), and compromising (using light b-o-l-o-g-n-a in my hobo soup) are well worth their weight in razors! The only real Ban I intend to put on myself is that kind that goes under my arms!