Fit with Fave - Common Sense Changes for Better Eating - Girl of Cardigan

Who in tarnation is Fave, and why should we fit with him?  Click here.

I hope you all enjoyed your week of respite from Fit with Fave challenges – truth be told, the Memorial Day festivities got the better of me and I opted for snoozing over blogging, so you all got a barbecue instead of a dare.  I hope you lived it up, cause now we’re back on the wagon.


Let’s review, shall we?  We have a supportive team.  We have smaller plates, we’re drinking at least one glass of water each day, we’re striving to eat dinner at the table, and we’re filling half our plates with vegetables or salad (which is also vegetables… I digress).  We are also eating breakfast like rockstars.  Saving the world one bowl of oats at a time and all that.

Before we get to today’s challenge, I wanted to clarify something about the small plates challenge.  I got some feedback last week that clued me in to the fact that some of you may be interpreting the small plate thing as a calorie restriction movement, which is sortofbutreallynotreally the intention.  So, for the sake of same pagedness – we are eating off of small plates to realign our perspective of what a serving size looks like, and to shrink our less than healthy main dishes down and replace those missing bites with healthy veggies and greens.  If you are still hungry after eating your small plate dinner, get some more.  Ideally, those seconds are of the good stuff, but do what you will.  Just let me go on record as saying: You may eat all the broccoli, carrots, peas, lettuce, radishes, fruit, etc. etc. etc. that your little heart desires.  Fave puts away a shocking number of calories every day.  Just make them good ones when you can, and keep the less planty stuff to a more moderate, small-plated normal.  Have your cake.  Just have it with a big old salad.  Fave says “Or just make a salad cake…” Which is why I’m in charge of writing these blogs.

Moving on to today’s challenge.  You know that big old salad you’ve been eating?  It’s time to improve that sucker.  Today is the first installment of our Pimp Your Salad series, in which we will be swapping out the stuff that’s in your salad today for stuff that is straight up better.  And the first way we’re going to do that is by getting green.  Leafy green, that is.

Iceberg lettuce is by far the most popular salad base in this country, but it’s also one of the most nutritionally lame greens on the market.  Don’t get me wrong: iceberg isn’t bad for you, it just, well, isn’t especially good for you either.  And if you’re going to spend time and energy making and eating salad, you want the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Enter your super power leafy greens.  You’ll recognize them by their darkness in color and slightly stronger taste, but there’s a nice wide variety to choose from, and most if not all of them kick iceberg in the buns.  Why?  Science!

Studies have shown that diets high in nitrates (the good, planty, easily converted into good stuffs by your system kind) play a significant role in the reduction of hypertension (high blood pressure) and other heart related ickiness.  And guess what buddies have lots of yummy nitrates?  Yeppers.  Consumption of dark leafies has been linked to slowing the growth of cancer cells, prolonging cognitive awareness and, well, life, and improving vision – the list goes on and on and on.  If you’re interested, there are some great videos and a lot more well-researched sciency info to be found at  And yes, that doc is vegan.  And no, you don’t have to be.  Free country and all.

Here are your power players:

The ever-popular, low maintenance SPINACH

The rather en vogue KALE

Sweet southern COLLARDS

Mild and marvelous SWISS CHARD

Good ole ROMAINE

Those other parts of plants, BEET and TURNIP GREENS

Spicy sweethearts ARUGULA or MUSTARD GREENS

So, friends, here’s your challenge: try these greens.  Swap out your iceberg lettuce for a variety of the greens listed above.  Try them, try them, you will see (I’m running on two hours of sleep, so Dr. Seuss quotes are happening)!  All of these greens can be found in the produce section of your grocery store, and spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, and collards are often even available in pre-washed and chopped bags for you folks who need something quick and easy.  So, friends, try AT LEAST TWO different kinds of greens this week.  Kiss your iceberg buh-bye.


Go-Ahead Challenge: A fun foodie challenge – go to the store and find some amaranth (Whole Foods, New Seasons, other health food stores, in the bulk section). Pop it like frickin popcorn, in a pot, no oil.  You can watch this video to learn how (it’s stupid easy).  Revel in the adorable adorable tiny tiny poppycorns magic.  Will doing this improve your health?  Probably no*.  Unless you count a morale boost as health improvement.  In which case, adorable adorable tiny tiny great big hella yes.  

*Fave says “Actually, amaranth has a lot of protein and is a gluten free pseudo grain, like quinoa, that most people have not even heard of.  So really it will likely improve your health – variety and all.  You can eat it (popped) like a cold cereal or throw it in salads.”  Or you can just pop it and squeeeeeeeeeee.  Smarty pants.

  • Liesl June 3, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Let it be known I grabbed the bag of lettuce from my fridge this afternoon and in addition to the hunk of iceberg in there I also saw spinach. I took a bowl of both those out to the garden and proceeded to pick arugula, kale and Swiss chard and throw those in there too. Topped the greens with delicious Champagne Pear Vinaigrette from TJ’s. Um, Winning?!!

    • karyn June 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Rockstar status extended for another week. You win all the things!!!

  • Laura Thurston June 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

    We have been eating fresh lettuces from the garden for several weeks. YUM!

    • karyn June 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I also award you Rockstar status. Commence celebration. 🙂