Dieting with the Wandering Glutton

Perhaps claiming a moniker that includes the word glutton may not have been the best idea. Over the past five years I have been doing the things that the doctor didn’t really want me to do, i.e., eating too much and exercising too little. Since it is Lent and I have some time to reflect on what I am doing, I decided to try the South Beach Diet with my wife. We both figured that having the other to rely on would help to stay motivated.

All I can say about Phase One of the South Beach Diet is, “WOW!!!” The results were fantastic (~9 lbs. in nine days), but by Day Eight I was so irritable and short-fused, I knew I had to figure out an alternative. In addition to my terrible mood, I had no energy to do anything.

Previously, I have successfully changed my eating habits by preparing meals from the Eat What You Love & Lose cookbook. The chefs in the test kitchen of Family Circle magazine wrote this cookbook and followed the eating plan to prove that it worked. It essentially is a calorie counting diet, but it teaches how to focus on portion size and not have to focus on the calories themselves.

Tonight, I made Baked Turkey Sausage and Peppers with Fennel. This is a take on the traditional sausage with peppers and onions. The fennel adds more bulk to the sauce, as well as a very mild anise flavor.

The recipe calls for heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting pan in a 425 degree oven. While the oil heats, core, seed and slice 4 bell peppers (your choice of colors), halve 2 large onions and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices, trim and thinly slice 1 fennel bulb, and finely chop 5 cloves of garlic. Add these vegetables to the oil, along with 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and bake for 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are baking, saute 6 turkey sausages (pierce the skins to release the juices) in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages until they are browned on all sides (~10 minutes). Also, core, seed and finely chop 1 large ripe tomato.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375. Stir the tomato into the vegetable mixture and place the sausages on top. Return the roasting pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve the vegetables over pasta (I chose rigatoni). A serving of uncooked pasta is 1/2 a cup. With the vegetables and sausage over the top, it makes a nice plate. To finish the dish, I grate a small amount of pecorino-romano cheese. One serving of this very filling dish, pasta included, has 342 calories.


  1. Counting calories scares me a bit, I’m afraid what some of our favorite meals might reveal. That, however, looks quite good for less than 350 cal.

    • Jess, what I like the most about the Eat What You Love and Lose plan is that you don’t have to do the counting, if you just watch your portion sizes. They even have a suggested menu for the first two weeks and include snacks.

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