Historically, my #1 most common New Year's resolution is (drum roll) : lose weight.
As I mentioned in my book, Indoor Salad – How to Grow Vegetables Indoors, dieting was the Grand Excuse I used to buy the Aerogarden that launched my indoor vegetable gardening obsession. If I ate all the lettuce this high-tech toy produced, just think of all the weight I'd lose!
Well, that year I didn't lose much weight. But I did make headway battling the bulge in 2013 – I lost 15 pounds and kept it off. My secret? There is no secret. I exercise 6 days a week, and log everything I eat, complete with calorie counts. Persist over the months, and I lose weight.
Two exceptions to counting every calorie:
Two meals a week are "off-books". I consider this essential to diet longevity.
Vegetables don't count.
The calories in vegetables are negligible, unless I make a tomato sauce or something. But the bulk and flavor of vegetables are satisfying, provided there's some protein and fat to go with them. If I eat enough vegetables with supper, I'm satisfied and full, and just don't crave as much junk food.
I caught an episode of Big History on H2 the other day, on the role of salt in history. They suggested that all cravings – from gummy bears to addictions – might stem from the human dietary need for salt. Probably other nutrients as well. The argument goes that we have distinct senses of thirst and hunger, but for our other dietary shortfalls there's just this amorphous inexact craving feeling. We're missing... something.
That something is a whole lot more likely to be found in a multivitamin and a few servings of vegetables, than in a tub of ice cream. Whatever that something is. It's not easy to find out what something is. An expensive nutritionist and a blood panel? Consult a spiritual medium? Conduct painstaking experiments for months? No, thanks. But if you add vegetables to every meal, it tastes good and provides... something... even if you never find out what that something was.
I wasn't wrong about growing lettuce being a good idea for my dieting, back when I got into this. It's fast and easy to grow, and easy to use. You don't have to plan a meal around lettuce – just add it to a sandwich, or pop it into your mouth for a snack. Bored with lettuce? Grow a different green. I like pak choi, cabbage, mustards, chard, spinach, and radishes. Others like arugula and kale. And once you know how, they're easy to grow indoors.
Sadly, eating vegetables won't make me lose weight all by itself. But it sure helps.
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Ooh, stop press! Just after I posted this blog, a friend turned me on to this YouTube video. Indoor growing fan Ray is giving away free seeds - check it out. This year's collection is Tokyo green onion, Little Gem lettuce, Cubanelle sweet pepper, tendersweet carrot, and beefsteak tomato. And yes, he'll mail overseas.