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The key was in the green beans! - Tales from 100# Down

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

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I learned a new word when I came to Sparkpeople - FREGGIES. FRuits and vEGGIES. I wasn't exactly a FAN in those early days. My idea of a freggie was strawberry ice cream and mashed potatoes. I had a lot to learn.

Now before you close this thread thinking there is nothing here but talk about food you don't want to eat - PLEASE read on. You might be surprised and it MIGHT help you make some progress on this long journey to Health & Fitness.

First let's take a look at the newly revised food guide called "my plate".

Half that plate is fruits and vegetables. There is a BIG reason why. We all know that fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients but better still they are HIGH volume/LOW calorie. They fill up your tummy but not your food calorie budget! This enables you to eat less which helps you lose more!

So how does one move from being a couch potato that lives on junk to someone that has embraced freggies and ENJOYS them. It didn't happen overnight.

I first set down with a list of freggies and circled the ones I liked. That was a short list! White Potatoes, Corn, Bananas, Green Beans. Then I put a check by those that I was willing to try. Of those four the only low calorie one was the green beans. Now I'm a Southern gal (transplanted to the Mid-west through work) but I love a mess of green beans. Of course my family cooked them with bacon or a ham hock so I had to think how to make them healthy. That was my starting point.

I figured out that I could take the canned green beans, rinse them well and cook them in a crock pot with 2 beef bouillon cubes, lots of freshly ground black pepper, a little salt, and a 1/4 of an onion in big pieces for flavor (I discarded them when cooking was finished). I found that I could eat these and began cooking them regularly and eating them to "FILL" at lunch and dinner. I ate a LOT of green beans. It extended my meal and helped me be more satisfied.

I knew I had to grow from that and broccoli was next up. I will tell you I did not LIKE broccoli when I began. I would chase it with bites of more tasty food just trying to get it down. Somewhere in there someone told me to steam it over chicken broth and it started tasting better. Maybe I was just growing to like it. Soon I found I could make a little salad with some floret "crumbs". Those grew over time to where I could use bigger pieces and now I can eat broccoli steamed, raw, in soups, etc.

Carrots were another early friend. I found I could make a crockpot version that was tasty enough my DH gobbled them up and yet the calorie count was low! CINNAMON was the key there. Something was happening. I was learning that freggies were good.

The next breakthrough came with SOUP PUREES. I could eat a variety of vegetables if I roasted them in the oven first, cooked them in fat free chicken broth or vegetable broth with spices then pureed them to make them "creamy". I liked cauliflower, red, orange and yellow peppers, broccoli, and asparagus this way. ME the anti-freggie person.

Fruits were a slower start for me because of pulp and texture issues. I began with unsweetened orange juice and bananas but now enjoy apples (crisp, cold ones like Honey Crisp were my first breakthrough), pineapple, honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, cranberry juice, ruby red grapefruit and a few more.

Now I fill up with freggies and my calorie count is lower because of it. It makes me feel fuller. My plate looks colorful and appetizing and I'm trying all kinds of new recipes. I can't WAIT for the farmer's markets to open late spring.

emoticon So - what's in this for you? Try to grow your list of freggies you eat on a daily basis.

Here are some lists to help you: Which do you like? Which are you willing to try?


Bok choy
Brussels Sprouts
Collard greens
Green beans
Sweet Potatoes



Now is the time to start exploring. The growing season is upon us. The bounty is ahead. YOUR success is too!

P.S. I STILL keep green beans cooked up!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
KELCOT 3/27/2013 8:55PM

    I a not a fan of veggies AT ALL(I can handle some fruits)! Thanks for inspiring me to try and veg out! Ill be searching for some of those creamy soup recipes first!

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WATERDIAMONDS 3/27/2013 5:53AM

    Pracitcal suggestions. thank yo so much!

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SUSIEMT 3/22/2013 6:32PM

    Yeah Baby! Such good advice!!

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AMANDACOETZER 3/20/2013 5:18AM


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HEARTS116 3/18/2013 1:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CICELY360 3/18/2013 9:54AM

  good blog

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NORTHWOODSMOM8 3/18/2013 6:53AM

    GREAT, great ideas!!!! Thank you for the inspiration!

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LJCANNON 3/18/2013 1:03AM

    emoticon emoticon I have always LOVED Vegetables, but thought they were "Too Much Trouble" to prepare. I LOVE some of your Ideas, and I may have to stock up on Vegetable Broth and Buy a New Crockpot. I really do want to try the Pureed Soup!!

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TEKRU1 3/17/2013 8:49AM

    Love this series, Suzanne - such a great wealth of knowledge and experience you have learned on your journey. Thanks you for sharing!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 3/16/2013 10:38PM

    Way to go!!! Hey, You left watercress off the list !! Thst is harder to find - its a green leafy thing somewhere betweeen parsley and cilantro in leaf size but a pepper flavor - goes down yummy in puréed potato and leek recipes. I guess the British use it in sandwiches with cream cheese or something, never tried that yet. But it does add a lot of zip ro sandwiches I have tried with it.

And Green Beans are great (and I eat them with the green beans. I grew up in the South but we were always on the outside because we didn't do pork, ham, shellfish that sort of thing. But we did cook a lot of veggies with beef or chicken stock. Green beans are also good with some almonds sautéed in the pan with the beans.)

So you are really making great progress trying out different foods!

Yaaay You!!


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KAYYAK1 3/16/2013 10:34PM

  What a great idea for those who have a problem with trying new foods. I love most of them but just don't always feel like fixing them so have to work on that now.

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KIPPER15 3/16/2013 7:35PM

    emoticon I like fruits and veggies

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GRAMPIAN 3/16/2013 11:05AM

  Interesting, Thanks.

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ILIKETOZUMBA 3/16/2013 8:22AM

    yummy!!! Fortunately for me, I've always liked a decent number of fruits and veggies so I started out with more options than many people when it comes to freggies I actually wanted to eat. In the last few years, my tastes have expanded HUGELY. There is pretty much no fruit or veggie that I dislike (except Brussels sprouts, but I'm convinced I just haven't found the right way to prepare them yet). And starting as someone who never cared for fruits that much beyond apples and bananas, I am ADDICTED these days. Can't stay out of the grapes and berries. :)

Glad you found things that worked for you while also continuing to expand your tastes - that's awesome. Congrats! :)

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BLUEJEAN99 3/16/2013 1:57AM


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JAMER123 3/16/2013 12:25AM

    I am limited in the fruits & veggies I can eat but they always appear on my plate for a meal!! I know they are important and enjoy those I do eat.
Thank you for a great blog!!

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ONLYTEMPORARY 3/15/2013 9:48PM


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PENOWOK 3/15/2013 9:08PM

    Good job!! And a few chuckles in there, to!

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SHOAPIE 3/15/2013 8:16PM


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CEEMAY 3/15/2013 6:47PM

    Great ideas! Thank you for sharing!


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CHRISBEM 3/15/2013 6:46PM

    The pureed soups are good. I have one where you roast like a pound of carrots and a couple cloves of garlic until they carmelize. in the meantime, dice up a white onion and saute in a little bit of olive oil. while those are cooking, boil a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger and a few sprigs of thyme in 6 cups of vegetable broth. then pour everything in a blender and puree. so creamy, but all veggies!

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LISA_FRAME 3/15/2013 6:38PM


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DILIGENTFAITH 3/15/2013 6:11PM

Very good blog and very motivating! I use garlic powder to season those veggies instead of salt. I like the french style canned green beans, which I rinse and add a small chopped white potatoe. I cook them in water no broth and they are great!

Comment edited on: 3/15/2013 6:22:38 PM

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CORNERKICK 3/15/2013 6:01PM

  I love my fruits & veggies!!

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ALIDOSHA 3/15/2013 5:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

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PCASEY7 3/15/2013 5:25PM

    Good blog! I had a head start in that I enjoyed most fruits and veggies.

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MOMMY445 3/15/2013 4:33PM

    i,too,have come to love fruits and vegetables since starting with spark! have a fabulous day!

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LIVELYGIRL2 3/15/2013 3:44PM

  Some smart advice.

I wonder if my spouse would eat them, maybe he won't put is nose up, like " Green Egg emoticon s and Ham.

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LAINYC 3/15/2013 3:38PM


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JIBBIE49 3/15/2013 3:36PM

    Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor.

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PATRICIAANN46 3/15/2013 2:14PM

  emoticon for a great blog with great advice.

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NEWTINK 3/15/2013 1:52PM

    very good blog .. Congrats on the changes you have made emoticon

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JOANNHUNT 3/15/2013 1:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUDYAASH 3/15/2013 12:24PM

    Actualy I like all of the above except chard, which I have never tried, and collard greens, which I have tried but they were cooked with ham hocks, onions and other things annd I am allergic to anything in the pepper family. I like my freggies cooked with a little salt and sometimes cinnamon or ginger and nothing else. My problem is I can't cook any more and everyone insists on putting sauces on their veggies and sugar on their fruit. I do, on good days, cook a pot of carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli and aspargus. all frozen, and eat them for snacks or to fill out my dinner. I love spinach but it cooks down to nothing so I can eat a whole pound in one sitting without blinking so I don't do that too much. Any way "UP WITH FREGGIES"! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SORLANDO21 3/15/2013 12:19PM


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NEPTUNE1939 3/15/2013 11:16AM


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DJSHIP46 3/15/2013 11:06AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing!

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TINY67 3/15/2013 10:48AM

    Some great suggestions, thanks.

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SEATTLE58ANEW 3/15/2013 10:34AM

    My favorite are green beans too, ever since I was a little kid! My parents would let us choose our birthday meal, and I would always choose canned green beans, for the veggie part! I love them still so much, that I can eat them right out of the can, but I like your idea of them being in the crockpot too! Mmmm! I do try to venture out too, with other veggies and I feel just like you, I'm surprised at how many I love now! emoticon We're doing it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 3/15/2013 10:31AM

  emoticon mm emoticon emoticon

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NILLAPEPSI 3/15/2013 10:25AM

    emoticon this blog. emoticon

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JOYCRN 3/15/2013 10:21AM

    This is a GREAT blog! I would love to be able to share it with some of my patients and think that I will find a way to pass along the message. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OFGREENGABLES 3/15/2013 10:06AM

    I'm so glad you like them now!

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REGILIEH 3/15/2013 10:03AM

    emoticon emoticon

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GRIZ1GIRL 3/15/2013 9:52AM

    Always fun finding new healthy foods you like--even ones your mother made you eat! :)

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WORKNPROGRESS49 3/15/2013 9:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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KARRENLYNN 3/15/2013 9:41AM

    Great article! I'm way better at fruits, but I'm doing better with veggies too. I eat almost any veggie in soup or hidden in other foods like chili or meatloaf etc. Smoothies and juicing is great too. I don't like raw green pepper but who knew juicing them is so sweet tasting, almost like sugar!

Have a great day!

Karen emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 3/15/2013 9:16AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SCRAPBECCA 3/15/2013 8:53AM

    Great list and good reminder for me to get more variety in my freggie choices! emoticon emoticon

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