I am not a professional chef. What I am though, is an awesome home cook with good intuition. I am also a mother and partner who cares very much that we eat healthy, organic foods whenever possible. The trifecta is that I am also doing intermittent fasting to benefit my health. So when I am ready to eat again, LOOK OUT!
For most of my life, whether from lack or sheer abundance of bad food, been obsessed with the next meal. My childhood was in that fast food sweet spot when McDonald’s was starting to see major competition that stuck around. Wendy’s, Burger King, Mr. Quick, etc. It was the Hey Day of Hostess pre-wrapped snack foods and Pringles. This was available. And yet part of my childhood was spent buying myself Spaghettio’s and hot dogs from a convenient store. I was a malnourished kid and a fat kid at the same time. And this was before food had even half of the chemical additives of today’s generation.
Eating IS emotional. Dieting is even worse – the sense of deprivation, being hungry for intangible acceptance as well as food, enduring the shameful sling and arrows of the schoolyard taunts. But I will tell you right now that nothing has even registered close to the harm I did to myself. I starting hating my body when I was 10 and spent the next 30+ years cutting, bingeing, vomiting, starving, sneaking, lying and avoiding social situations simply because I was not thin. I have done every diet out there. And failed.
BUT I have raised my son to eat healthy. He eats vegetables and organics and protein and potatoes and actually reads serving sizes. He is heading into adulthood knowing how to cook a few meals without a microwave. (We have not owned a microwave since 2010.) He nearly always helps in the kitchen and isn’t afraid to try new things.
But last week, I got a little information that made me feel empowered and in control and normal. I turned 49 ad was googling some anti-aging nutrition. Intermittent fasting popped up. Basically, stop eating so damn much all the time. So now, I am eating healthy foods between 2pm and 8pm. And I feel pretty amazing. And for the first time in my life, I can treat food with a mindfulness without letting it dictate my feelings.
This soup came about because we had lentils – which I hate. They are chalky little discs of disappointment. So I found a way to make them delicious. And meet some veggie and protein requirements. Not really making this concotion sound sexy at all, but honestly it was one of the best things I ever made. Ever.
ITALIAN LENTIL SOUP
1 cup cooked lentils
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 yellow onion diced
3 carrots shredded
28 ounces vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar of your absolute favorite marinara sauce
Sea salt, basil, thyme, oregano, fennel, herbe de provence (generous sprinkle of each)
Bay leaf (When I add a bay leaf, I always say a small blessing that the food will make us feel nourished and loved. I started this years ago – literally putting gratitude and intention into the food.)
In a Dutch oven, cook the sausage, shredded carrot and onion until the sausage is no longer pink and the carrots are soft.
Add half a cup of the veggie broth and simmer until the onions are translucent.
Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 30 mintues, stirring occasionally.
Top it with parmesan and serve it with bread, if you like.