Baked Lentil Collard Wraps

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I gotta be honest, mine was just okay. The food was good and all (I’m posting the recipe I made below), but the holiday in general wasn’t that fulfilling for me. I’m guessing it was a combination of living far away from family (and not being willing to be in the chaos of holiday travel) and not making enough plans to be around other people. The truth is, there is a lot of hype out there about having the “perfect family” and, while we all know that that doesn’t exist, sometimes it’s easy to feel left out. So, if you are one of those people who feels that way sometimes, I understand.

In fact, I just wanted to say that this past year has been one of emotional healing for me. While Dr. Fuhrman has taught me how to nourish my body with whole, plant-based foods, the emotional aspect of eating and just feeling like a healthy, balanced person in general has been a completely separate issue that has taken professional guidance and lots of reading of self-help books to address. From my years of covering up emotions with binge eating and overeating in general, I have had to teach myself from the ground up how to manage emotions. Some of the strategies that have helped me are: working with a professional therapist using cognitive therapy, journaling, meditating, learning to love yoga, listening to my instincts and basically developing my self-esteem. I have posted a few of my favorite books on my Resources page, in case you’re interested.

Fortunately, I’m back to my spunky self today. Also, I lost a pound last week, yay!

The first week on Dr. Fuhrman’s Holiday Challenge wasn’t really that hard, I don’t remember feeling too hungry at any point. I made some changes to my already-healthy diet including adding a serving of veggies to both lunch and dinner and being more careful about not consuming too much dried fruit or nuts. I also did a really good job of not eating for emotional comfort. Instead, I focused on my goal and tried to deal with my emotions in healthy ways such as talking to my husband and friends, exercising to stabilize my mood and taking care of myself in general (getting enough sleep, relaxing, not studying too hard, feeling grateful for the good things in my life, etc.). Note: I did not eat perfectly last week. I am not perfect!

I did enjoy the beautiful weather in California this weekend and had views like this:

I love this weather!

The meal that I made for Thanksgiving was inspired by Giada’s Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls. Mine rolls were pretty different, they used lentils, onions and peppers wrapped in collard greens. I also didn’t need to use any oil whatsoever and, of course, no cheese.

To speed up the process of making this dish, I suggest cooking a cup of lentil ahead of time. It also helps to pre-blanch the collard greens for a minute in boiling water to make them pliable and, frankly, more edible.

I water-sauteed some onion and bell peppers:

Then added mushrooms along with some cumin, garlic powder and salt-free seasoning:

Added a bunch of chopped mint (this makes the dish in my opinion):

Lastly, the cooked lentils:

With the oven pre-heating at 350 degrees, I sprayed a glass pan with a little cooking oil and covered the bottom of the dish with some salt-free tomato sauce (about half the can):

I set up my assembly line:

Wrapped these babies up! (I had enough for two dishes full. I cooked the second one a few days later):

I topped the rolls with the rest of the tomato sauce. 30 minutes later, I served them alongside a salad for dinner:

Close up:

The flavor was great and reminded me a bit of dolmas. I will be making these again for sure.

Do any of my thoughts on family, emotional eating or self-case resonate with you? I am always grateful to learn more about these subjects or any good resources. Feeling balanced and excited about life is well worth the energy it takes to get there.

I nearly forgot to post the picture of my Pumpkin Smoothie! I got the recipe from Dr. Fuhrman’s site but it just included: canned pumpkin, soy milk, frozen bananas, dates and pumpkin pie spice. It tasted like the filling of a pumpkin pie and was a hit!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Perfection is an illusion. No one’s perfect! I’m glad to hear the challenge is going well for you.
    I’m going through similar food challenges to you (deal with emotions not binge eating) and I have to say in addition to the things you listed the thing that has helped me the most is realising that I have the right to feel any emotion I feel. Acknowledging it is always my hardest & first step.
    The recipe looks yum!- I tried the other one with iceberg lettuce and it works if you use the green bits of the outer leaves and not the crispier white bits.
    All the best xxx

    • says

      Hi Claire, you are so right that it helps to know that it’s okay to have emotions and it’s okay to talk about them. I guess that’s why I like being so honest in my posts about my feelings because I want other people to know that the aren’t alone. Also, I’m glad you’re lettuce wraps worked out. :)

  2. Rebecca says

    I understand the pressure of trying to be perfect for Thanksgiving. Your recipe looks delicious and would not leave you feeling stuffed like you would from a “picture perfect” traditional Thanksgiving meal. I like when you said this has been a year of emotional healing. What a wonderful journey you are on – thank you for sharing.

  3. says

    What a great post Carrie, thank you so much for sharing.

    I’m don’t know what your history is w/your family, but I can definitely relate when it comes to “family time”. Yes, the holidays are for spending time w/loved ones; aside from our husbands and children, but also parents, siblings, etc. Sometimes that’s just not possible due to whatever the circumstances may be, and for those reasons, our hearts ache. Holidays can be both joyous times, and sometimes not so much.

    I was just talking to a friend about how I feel about the holidays, and I think we feel similar. We both have very similar views about it.

    As I get older, I find our more about myself, and it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve even begun to come in to my own. Emotional healing can be a beautiful thing, but as w/all wounds, it takes time, right?

    It really sounds like you’ve surrounded yourself w/positive, loving, nurturing surroundings, people, and food. Your story over the past year is wonderful, and I hope w/all that you continue to do – you find your peace.

    I too am still working on it; new to meditation, continuing yoga, eating whole, and so on. I find that being outdoors helps quite a bit, and it seems that you have the most beautiful place to be, right outside your front door. :) That must be therapy in itself!

    xo

    • says

      Thanks Ginny for the really nice comment. I totally agree with you that wounds take time to heal, but it’s worth it to feel better and move forward. You’re making wonderful strides too and doing it with compassion and grace. Keep up the good work!

  4. says

    I think the holidays are so tough because it’s supposed to be “special” or, as you say “perfect.” Life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes is messy and gloriously imperfect! And sometimes we need to make decisions that our best for us — not worrying about making others happy but ourselves happy. My husband and I decided to stay in NY, versus going south or to the Midwest to see family. It’s too expensive to travel these days and one day of food (with likely dead carcass on the table) with family isn’t worth it. I’d rather be with them with no holiday pressure and days not centered around food! Just my opinion :) Hugs to you.

    Oh, girl, never, ever thought to bake a collard wrap! Can’t wait to try that!

  5. J says

    This recipe looks delicious, it is definitely on my to-make list!

    Good for you for listening to what your emotional needs are rather than just being with family “because that is what you are supposed to do.” Sometimes you just need mental health days, even if they happen to fall on a holiday.

  6. Jill in Chicago says

    I know I should be commenting on how amazingly delicious those wraps look, but I am actually curious as to where you got the tennis shoes you are wearing in that photo (ha!) I’ve been searching for a pair that I can wear stylishly with jeans AND yoga clothes, and those looks great :)

    • says

      Hi Jill! My shoes are from a local chain of sporting good stores. I got 2 pairs of them in different color combinations and I love them! They weren’t even that expensive, maybe $40 each. I’d suggest looking in a sporting goods store in your area in the “casual” section. :)

  7. says

    I can definitely relate to your thoughts about holidays/family and also about self-care…my thanksgiving was family oriented (joe’s family, not mine) so it was fun, but it wasn’t like spending it with my family!
    I am good at neglecting my self-care for long spans of time–especially when I need it most! Gotta work on that :)

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Lisa! I agree, it’s easy to neglect self-care and even get out of the habit. I’ve tried to create routines in my life that incorporate self-care, but it’s usually the first thing to go when I get too busy. Note to self: don’t be so busy! :)

  8. says

    re: tofu pudding
    It’s 1 x 450g packet that you find in the fridge section of the grocer. Thanks for asking I’ve edited the post to make it clearer! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

  9. says

    Hey Carrie!

    I really want to ask this question but I am not sure how to do it without sounding offensive, so please know first that I am trying not to be offensive! I don’t want to be hurtful, but I am very curious: reading through some of your older posts, especially ones about disordered eating and every one since November’s “this is not a diet blog” post, I am wondering about your ideal weight. It is just very surprising to read that you feel you have “pounds to lose” or that you can get excited over the loss of one pound, when you already look so thin, strong, healthy and vibrant. Perhaps since you are a nutrition student you have special insight, but what are you using as a guide for what you “should” weigh? Personally I have a hard time with such charts – ESPECIALLY the BMI one, which is the biggest load of bull ever – because I don’t think you can chart people so neatly. What are you putting your faith in, and why?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtfulness!!

    adrienne

    • says

      Hi Adrienne! I take absolutely no offense by your question. In fact, I welcome it! I agree with you that I look and feel healthy and vibrant. Before I became a follower of Dr. Fuhrman’s plan (Eat to Live), I would have considered where I am to be a very healthy weight. Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations for weight are stricter than what might be considered “normal” for Americans based on his clinical experience and the science showing that lower body mass individuals experience less disease. So, while I am very close to his recommendations, but still not quite there. In fact, I still experience medical issues that could be related to still being 5-10% above what he considers my “ideal weight.” Of course, his recommendations are broad and not individualized, it is up to each person to find what works for him or her. I have had such a wonderful health transformation following the Eat to Live program that I believe Dr. Fuhrman is right that I am still not quite there in terms of my weight.

      In regards to eating disorders, that is a bit trickier. My personal experience was with binge eating which was a way of comforting myself with food. My weight wasn’t really the focus of that problem, it was emotional vulnerability. While I grew out of that problem that I experienced during adolescence, the instinct to use food for comfort stays with me and it’s something I try to be aware of. I haven’t experienced any emotional distress since trying to lose weight for health reasons. In fact, I’ve had the opposite experience where I have felt stronger, more in tune with my body’s needs and overall more balanced.

      I hope this answers your questions and perhaps makes my perspective clearer. I will try to do a better job in the future explaining my rationale for watching my weight because I would hate for the message to be misinterpreted.

  10. Cecelia says

    This Baked Lentil Collard Wrap, looks and sounds great! Definitely want to try this recipe, but what is the ‘no salt seasoning’? Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Hi Cecelia, if you go to the spice section of a market, you can usually find some sort of salt-free general seasoning that is a mix of dried herbs, pepper, and random stuff. I like the brand from Costco/Kirkland. :)

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