No Fillers Needed { or wanted }

I'm a country girl by birth and a city girl by present life...but I can sum up country cooking in just a short line...potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, fried, fried, fried.

Most country folk are eeking out a living, living off the land, living on a tight budget.  We were no exception.  {It was an amazing upbringing and I am so grateful for it, so please don't misconstrue this as negative.} However, when money is tight, you look for ways to stretch the food budget, and if you are married to a country boy, what better way than potatoes and fried chicken, squirrel, deer or beef?   [You know, everything tastes wonderful fried.] When I was living at home with the folks, we had potatoes at pretty much every meal.  I love potatoes so no problem and I can peel a potato so fast, I could probably set some kind of speed record. 

When I started my own family I brought potatoes into the regular food rotation as well.  My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy so repeat potatoes.....and fried food.  I did stop frying back in the late 80's when I realized that it was very unhealthy.  I started doing more baking and boiling and finding new ways to prepare the same ol' foods.

But, ever since I started trying to lose weight I have been growing more aware of good carbs versus bad carbs and this is where I am on my journey today.  Learning.  One huge realization that I have learned recently, I use a lot of filler in my diet and most of the filler is not healthy!   One example, potatoes, great for the budget but for the waistline, not so much, pasta, great side dish of carbs - but not if its processed grain, cottage cheese, sure you can buy the low fat version that tastes like caca but why not just eat your raspberries, blue berries and blackberries with out the extra filler?  For me it goes back to waste and money and those little tricks I was raised on.  The fresh fruit is expensive so put it with a side that will fill you while you enjoy the taste of the fruit.  Meats are expensive so make sure serve a small portion of meat with a big ol' filler.  As of now, I am rejecting this old thinking, and embracing new deliberate choices.  Choosing foods for their nutritional value and finding the balance that brings the best health options.

Enter, whole grains.  I am finding that a much better carb solution is whole grain.  Quinoa is my new miracle food.  OMG as the kids would say, quinoa tastes great and I can incorporate it into so many meals. I love it for breakfast with a little almond milk, it is my new cream of wheat!  It makes a mean taboli too!  Then there is the dreaded - brown rice.  Yes, it takes longer to cook but so what, cook a big pot ahead of time (30 minutes) and use it for several days.  I just found a new list of whole grains I want to try; red quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet, black and purple rice, kamut, and wheat berries.  So many natural grains - so little time...who knew?

Re-Enter, Vegetables.  Vegetables are my newest best friend.  I am sooooo changing my attitude toward them and I apologize deeply for being so prejudice against them and their role in my life.  This is hard to explain but they have always seemed like an obligation rather that a favorite food.  I like vegetables, don't get me wrong, but I have had this little rebellion, maybe from the whole mother child vegetable war, hmmm, I don't know.  Today I am embracing vegetables with renewed interest and vigor.  I am cooking them up fresh, not canned or frozen (although frozen is better than none) and they are the star of every meal.  They have pushed the protein and carbs out of their way and taken their rightful place in my diet.  As a result, I am feeling better and I am more satisfied.  Not hungry and gaining more energy daily.  I believe that they have lifted my mood while keeping me grounded.  Vegetables once seemed like a necessary filler, but now I am looking at them as my bff {best friend forever} and forever and ever and ever....

And don't forget, Herbs.  Not Herb the grocer but herbs as in fresh cilantro, parsley and basil.  Buying them and using them finding ways to season with them.  Fresh herbs add glamour and taste and excitement for me.  I feel like I am really cooking and having fun.   I have loved herbs for a long time and even grow them in my flower bed, but I am getting more serious about using them and enjoying them rather than the occasional sporadic pinch.

For me the bottom line is to eat foods as close to nature as possible.  This is not an original thought, there is a whole health movement working around this thought.  Try to avoid anything that is processed.  Not easy but possible.  Whole grains only and potatoes, corn and other high starch vegetables are the exception to the rule and not the rule itself. 

Last, but not least, Exercise!  Move, move, move....  I am learning, I am growing but I'm also losing, about 10 pounds so far and that is just the beginning.   I am very excited about my new knowledge, and it is true, knowledge is power and I can feel the power and I welcome the power! 

No more fillers.  Enjoy your raspberries without the cottage cheese.  It may feel decadent - but it's not, it's just plain ol' good sense.


  1. I grew up in northern michigan...deer, potatoes..mashed, boiled, baked, fried, stuffed, in soup, stew, pasties...lol. potato...the wonder food.
    and eggs. I eat meat, fruit and veggies and maybe one slice of bread or a granola bar a day. big difference. and don't you miss venison sausage? I do.

  2. Absolutely! I could cook up a big ol' country meal and power it down too! But I know this takes control and sacrifice - I guess moderation is the key!


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