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Soup season

Many of you may remember me as that “Moms on the Mountains” person who dominated the newsprint last fall. Not only did I write about the event, but I hiked it – and packing excess weight put me at the rear of the pack. Thank goodness for the community Meltdown!

I’ve been sucked in and am proud to say, I’m finding it less necessary to “suck it in,” if you know what I mean. My personal Meltdown goal is to shed those excess pounds by next October’s hike and be a leader of the pack.

To accomplish this goal, I’ve made Dr. Phil my new best friend. I believe in his weight-loss philosophy to find a food plan (notice I didn’t say “diet”) that you can follow for life. He proposes that no food is really restricted.



Recently my daughter, Kayla, stopped at SPD for a snack after school. When I picked her up, she tossed a Fast Break candy bar my way! This is my absolutely favorite food in the entire world! I said, “Meltdown, remember?” She said, “Everything in moderation.” (She’s been watching Dr. Phil too.) I thereby proceeded to cut the candy into 10 equal pieces to enjoy over the next 10 days!

Certain foods are not inherently good or bad, but there are foods that should be eaten in smaller amounts and less frequently.




Another Dr. Phil tip that’s really working for me is the power of soup. Behavioral scientists have studied soup as a weight-control tool for decades. Having a bowl of soup before a meal reduces hunger and controls caloric intake.

Soup takes a long time to eat, prolonging mealtime and allowing the body’s hunger signals to kick in. Soup is filling, therefore you’re less likely to want much else.

Soup is also a great way to get those extra vegetables in each day. And isn’t this the best time of year for soup?

Here’s my quick, easy, and delicious “recipe” for Meltdown Soup. Be flexible and have fun with it!

Meltdowner Soup

Choice of one of the following, one half cup (chopped): onion, green onion, leeks.

Any combination of the following, 3 cups (chopped): carrots, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, asparagus, mushrooms, cabbage, brussels sprouts, snow peas, bok choy.

Choice of one of the following, one 32-ounce container: chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth.

Choice of one of the following, one cup: summer squash, canned and drained black, pinto, navy or kidney beans, cooked rice, cooked pasta, chopped potatoes, corn, peas.

Choice of one of the following, one cup (cubed): chicken, beef, shrimp, pork.

Choice of any two of the following, one half teaspoon each: thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano.

Optional: two cloves garlic, one 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes, one-half cup white wine or sherry.

In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until tender.

Add chopped vegetables, broth, starch, and chopped tomatoes (optional.) Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add protein, spices, and wine (optional.) Simmer for 10 minutes.

Here’s another quick, complete meal that’s great for breakfast.

Meltdowner’s Smoothie

1/4 cup flax seed (optional)

1/4 cup nuts (any kind, preferably raw)

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 small apple, quartered

1 small orange, sectioned

1 cup apple juice

1 cup nonfat milk

1 ripe banana

1 scoop protein powder

Place flax seed and nuts in blender and blend at high speed until milled. Add frozen fruit, fresh fruit, and juice. Blend on high speed until smooth, about two minutes. Add milk, banana, and protein power. Blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Makes 4 8-ounce servings.

Meltdowner Tip #1

If you truly want to manage your weight, you must program your environment in every possible way to avoid difficult foods, binge foods, and reminders to eat. In doing so, you can meaningfully influence and control your eating behavior.

Failure-proofing your environment doesn’t involve any big inner struggle. All it involves is removing fattening impulse foods from your line of sight. You can’t eat what’s not there.

Removing access to, and availability of, fattening food will succeed like nothing you’ve ever tried before. It’s one of the easiest ways to lose excess pounds.

Meltdowner Tip #2

One can lose weight by adhering to the rule “all things in moderation.” Many of us consume much more than our bodies need at each meal.

It’s important to watch your portion sizes but tedious to measure and weigh you food. Get a helping hand from your own hand.

A portion of protein should be about the size of the palm of your hand (three per day.) A serving of dairy is about the size of your fist (two per day.) A portion of bread or starch (three per day), fruit (two per day) or vegetable (four per day) would fit into your cupped hand.

One fat serving is about the size of your thumb (one per day.) Following these guidelines simplifies adequate portion-sizing at home and when dining out. After all, you’re never without your hand.

Kathy Palmer lives in Nevada City, is a Meltdowner and publicity chair for Moms in the Mountains.


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