Is This Healthy? Or Am I Kidding Myself?


The thing about summer is that all of the veggies are amazing.

Right?

It’s July now. So I can drive up the street to the local farmstand where I can buy fresh, buttery lettuce, fresh peas, tomatoes still warm from the sun, cucumbers that are as crisp as breadsticks.

I can run up to the weekly farmer’s market and get garlic scapes, fresh spring onions, tender, fresh kale.

I can go home and microwave some beets, then cool them and mix them into all those fresh, tender greens with a bit of goat cheese.

Holy delicious.

I am the healthiest eater in the world from June through October.

But does all that delicious green goodness buy me extra time on this earth if I refuse to touch salad in the winter?

I mean, I try. Every single year, I try to eat salad in the winter. I buy grocery store lettuce (bitter!) and grocery store cukes (flabby!) and grocery store tomatoes (tasteless!).  And they sit in the fridge until they begin to liquify, at which point I give up until the following summer.

So am I still healthy if I sort of stock up for six months? Can I still call myself a healthy eater if I only eat roasted carrots, beets, potatoes through the fall? Is it still a good veggie side dish if it’s roasted butternut squash with butter and real maple syrup?

My theory is that New Englanders learned to eat a whole pile of greens all summer (I DO!). And then they learned to preserve summer veggies like corn and tomatoes and beans (I DO THAT, TOO!) so in the winter they could eat pig fat while telling themselves “Well, at least we have veggies put up in the old root cellar.” (YUP, THAT’S ME.)

The early New England settlers managed to survive without eating hothouse tomatoes. They didn’t die of scurvy just because they refused to eat hothouse kale.

And I won’t either.

Right?

By shucking the corn and taking the peas out of their pods all spring and summer, I am earning my way into ‘healthy eater’s heaven’, aren’t I?

I love summer food. The peaches, the cherry tomatoes, the ripe berries all over the yard. I love it. I could forage all summer on the garden delights that surround me, as long as I could get a free pass to eat pork and butter my bread all winter long.

What do you think?

Am I delusional, or can I really save up my health points before the cold New England nights set in once again?

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10 thoughts on “Is This Healthy? Or Am I Kidding Myself?

  1. LOL! I don’t think you save up any points, but if you are eating, at least, the canned or frozen beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, etc, during the winter months, that’s all good.
    Meanwhile, I picked a bunch of broccoli this morning and made cream of broccoli (with cheese) soup. Also, a salad with our lettuce and cherry tomatoes (the big tomatoes aren’t ripe yet). So, we are happy campers.

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      • We usually have enough broccoli that I freeze a bunch. And it looks like we’ve got more than enough again this year.
        Also, I like to make the broccoli soup base (without the milk/cream or cheese) and freeze it for quick meals in the winter. Take the container out of the freezer, defrost and reheat (or put it on very low in the pot so it can defrost there), add the milk or cream, and if we want cheese, add cheese. An easy dinner in the winter, and it reminds us of summer and the garden.

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      • I have never tried to grow broccoli (I am a terrible gardener). But I love the idea of freezing the base for winter.Do you have a recipe you’d share?

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      • I don’t have an “exact” recipe, but what I do is wash and chop up a bunch of broccoli, and about 1/3 that amount of onion, and a couple cloves of garlic.
        Barely cover the mixture with chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version) and simmer until tender. Let it cool, then purée it in a blender.
        That’s it. Freeze it in some freezer containers.
        When ready to serve, reheat gently, put in some milk, half and half, or cream (depending on how many calories you want to use up!) and a couple handfuls of grated cheddar cheese. Taste and add salt if needed, also I add white pepper and some grated fresh nutmeg.

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  2. I think your healthy eating points are stockpiled during the spring to autumn months, and then by the time you pencil in the “holiday free of guilt” meals, those few leftover winter meals are probably not even going to use up the healthy points. And, my belief is that if you eat your own homegrown canned or frozen foods, you actually get bonus points, so you may even be able to splurge on something decadent now and then!!!!! That’s my view, and my sticking to it!!!

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    • Oooh, I think I love you! I want you as my nutritionist! I agree. My Dad used to say, “All things in moderation.” and “Food is good.” He thought it was hilarious that Americans are so afraid of so many foods, since he grew up poor and in the depression. He used to eat pig’s head cheese and beef brain. He laughed at all this “low fat” stuff.

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  3. I’m having the same issue right now. It’s winter where I am. The rest of the year I eat fresh, healthy food and I even manage to avoid unhealthy temptations. But then winter comes and all I want it food packed with sugar, fat and gluten. Cold foods are just not appealing and juicing/smoothies becomes intolerable–these are by their nature cold and I don’t deal well with the cold. I feel unhealthy, so I know I’m not getting the nutrients I should be, but…ugh…I just can’t enjoy a green juice when it makes me shiver from the inside out.

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    • So my theory is “listen to your body!” When mine says, “SOUP!” I do it. When it says, BREAD, I do that, too. I think there has always been a pattern to eating that we have lost with our grocery store mentalities. Eat what you crave, unless it’s all chocolate covered potato chips (YUMMMM) at which point you need to make it a once in a while.
      Right?

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