The most common foods are ones that most people would describe that they get a "craving" for, and have a ton of calories that can be consumed easily. For example, I get cravings for celery, but that is not a trigger food for me because it is so low in calories (and mechanically filling). However, I also get cravings for peanut butter (salty store-bought kinds), which does pack a higher caloric- and fat-punch than celery, and tends to make me only want to consume more once I've started. Other common trigger foods could be chocolate, cookies, ice cream, candies, etc.
The reason I wanted to discuss this today is because I had an overeating episode yesterday, and afterwards, while having a stomach ache from too much food, I was kicking myself and wondering "why, oh why did I let myself do that!?" I thought about what exactly had made me start:
I was sitting on the couch with my fiance (it's so fun to say that now!) and watching old seasons of Arrested Development. For Christmas from my parents, all of us had received a big bag of whole, un-cracked assorted nuts in our stockings. The nuts were sitting on my table so Kevin and I started digging in. His favorite are the walnuts, while I was enjoying having the almonds, peanuts, and pecans. After eating that for a while I got a small craving for more peanut stuff. This craving was small and could have easily been ignored, but this time I unfortunately gave in. I found my stash of these peanut butter filled pretzels that got left at my apartment after our Halloween party last fall. These are essentially the perfect trigger with lots of calories and salt, and my specific trigger peanut butter. I don't know what came over me, but I just could not stop until I looked down, saw how much was gone, and made Kevin hide them from me again.
It's moments like these that I know we all kick ourselves for, but how do we stop them? Well, that would depend on your trigger food. Some solutions are as simple as: don't stock that item in your house, but I use peanut butter in a lot of my cooking, so I can't do that. My solution: only allow myself to eat peanut butter that I home make from un-roasted and unsalted peanuts, also I will only use it when cooking vegetable based recipes rather than eating the peanut butter by itself. The fact that the salt isn't in the peanut butter I will be using and it won't be my main flavor, this trigger food will have less of an effect, and hopefully never lead me to another trigger food binge again.
Now on to the recipe! This recipe inspiration comes from my future father in law, Bob, who took jars of my peanut sauce that I had gifted for Christmas, and made a wonderful dish full of more veggies than I could have imagined would fit into one dish! This recipe makes a lot! It has lasted me most of the week, and has gotten make greens intake to increase dramatically.
Everything Green and Peanut Sauce
1 c natural peanut butter
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice vinegar
1/2 c water
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t minced ginger
1/4 t wasabi powder (1/2 t wasabi paste)
1 t red pepper flakes
1 c extra water
1 T coconut oil
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1-2 green bell pepper, diced
1 leek bottom thinly sliced
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
1/2 small green cabbage, chopped
7 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
1/4 c jarred jalapenos, roughly minced
1 head of escarole, chopped
1 large bunch of beet greens, thicker stems removed and chopped
2 large handfuls of spinach
Peanut Sauce: In a large skillet, combine all ingredients except the extra water and heat over medium heat, whiskey constantly. Bring to a slight simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Greens: In a large saucepan or dutch oven, over medium heat, heat the coconut oil to a liquid (coconut oils come in the form of a solid and a great oil for hot cooking), then add the cayenne pepper and stir until well mixed. Then add the onion, bell pepper, and bottom of the leek to the pot, and stir occasionally while the onions cook.
When the onions begin to get tender (about 5 minutes) add the mushrooms and cabbage. Toss as you stir and add a 1/2 c of water to keep the pan moist and as not to burn the bottom.
After 5 more minutes, add the garlic, jalapenos, and tops of the leek.
Allow for the cabbage and other ingredients to cook down a bit.
Add the large amount of chopped escarole and an additional 1/2 c of water. Cover the pot with a lid and allow for the escarole to steam itself on the top of the pot. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Check it occasionally as not to steam off all of the water and burn the bottom.
After the escarole has steamed, stir the pot and add the beet greens. Allow to cook while continually stirring and turning the ingredients.
Next, reheat the peanut sauce, add one cup of water, and stir until it is reheated. Add the thinned sauce to the pot and stir. To serve, make quinoa, cous cous, or brown rice, and pour a heaping amount of the greens and sauce mix on top. Enjoy!
Amy's Notes: This recipe is very versatile to whatever greens you like to use. Next time I would have liked to use kale (but I could not find it anywhere!). Also, I happened to have beet greens because I had bought beets, but a lettuce similar to beet greens could be collard greens. Keep in mind, whatever greens you might want to use, the cooking times of each as to not turn them into mush. For example, kale and collard greens would take longer to cook, whereas spinach needs little to no cooking time.
Do you know what your trigger food is? What are your strategies to avoid bingeing on these foods?