I Think I’d Rather Be Hungry

12 Jun

I had a rare half-hour of nothing yesterday afternoon, and flopped on the couch to channel-surf on networks other than the Cartoon one. I flipped past The Cooking Channel right as the top of the hour hit, and decided to check out the show–Hungry Girl.

You all know Hungry Girl. Her website has become something of a cult for Weight Watchers followers (I love Weight Watchers, for the record), and her email newsletters, cookbook, and this new TV show have developed quite a large audience following.

The first recipe she demonstrated was this omelet in a cup: you scramble eggs in a coffee mug and nuke them with other ingredients. Fine–I’ve done that before right here. Only, the first thing Hungry Girl does is extol the virtues of egg substitute, which, she says, are “pretty much just egg whites.”

So…why not just use egg whites?

Leaving that where it fell, have you ever read a container of egg substitute? More than 20 ingredients, some of which I can’t pronounce, including a sweetener that’s used mostly in mass-produced candy, and a ton of sodium, at least compared to a real egg.

Science has pretty much proven that contrary to what we learned in the 1980s, eating eggs does not raise your cholesterol. So that argument is out, assuming you’re not downing a half-dozen eggs every day. She’s saving maybe 40 calories an egg, I’ll give her that. But she’s also ingesting all sorts of manufactured things that eggs don’t contain.

This was the first time I caught Hungry Girl, and I have to say, I think I’d rather eat less of food made with real ingredients than follow her odd eating habits. That show is a testament to processed foods–foods that are full of chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and oh my God, the salt. It was nothing but fat-free this and plastic-wrapped that and artificial ingredient substitutes, which, I’m sure, help you stay rail-thin, but at what price?

I’ll stick with eggs, thank you very much. Real cheese. Vegetables that came out of the ground and not out of a factory somewhere. I’ll hang on to my extra bits of skin and pudge if that’s what it means, but I am not into downing vials of lab chemicals with every meal.

I won’t be watching Hungry Girl again. And tomorrow, I’ll share a real recipe, made with real ingredients, that you can enjoy without worrying about what the heck just went into your family’s mouths.

Thumbs down, Hungry Girl. Thumbs down, Cooking Channel. Very disappointing.


6 Responses to “I Think I’d Rather Be Hungry”

  1. Ken Montville June 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I’ve kinda heard of Hungry Girl but never caught her act, read her books or perused her website. Having said that, I can see why she’s suggesting a lot of processed foods and the like. They’re easy. They’re pre-packaged.

    Sure. Egg whites would be the way to go if you: a) had the skill to crack the egg and siphon off just the white part, and b) had the time and inclination.

    You may be surprised to know that the reason America, writ large, is, well, large is because we’re all too lazy or time crunched to futz around with preparing and cooking, etc. I’m guilty of this. Prepare and cook for an hour only to wolf it down in 15 minutes and then take another half hour to “clean up”.

    Those pre-packaged egg substitutes and individual plastic wrapped, plastic “cheese” slices look very appealing to someone who can barely crack an egg – real or imagined.

    Just sayin’.

    • Kim June 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      I totally see that, and thanks for the comment. I have nothing against convenience foods, but there are some that aren’t just cartons of chemicals. You can buy just egg whites, that are only egg whites. You can buy chopped veggies that are just chopped veggies. You can use quality cheeses and spices to add just as much flavor and are just as easy, while using less. You know? (You can also just scramble two eggs in a mug and give up the Oreos later to make up the 80 calories, but that’s another argument…)

      She gave her top 8 breakfast foods on the show, and rolled oats was the only one on the list that wasn’t engineered to be low-calorie and taste good, with chemicals and stuff.

      I think it’s sad that this is what people are offered for fast, figure-friendly food on a major network. There really are healthy, fast, pot-and-pan-less options out there.

      Thanks for reading!! Always appreciate your input!

      • Ken Montville June 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

        Actually, I was going to say something about the calories since calories are really what weight is all about (give up the Oreos? Yeah. Right.).

        I actually just came back from the HG website and now I realize why I’ve heard of her. Her claim to fame is using all the pre-packaged, easily obtainable, eye-level junk that’s in the grocery store and, truth be told, people buy. High sugar, high salt, high chemical stuff that tastes good. I think she’s trying to beat the food industry at their own game.

        Nevertheless, you point is well taken.

        My beef with HG and the whole multi-gazillion dollar food weight loss industry is that they leave men at the curb. HG trivializes the whole weight thing with her kitschy website and approach. Yet, she wouldn’t be so popular if her approach didn’t resonate with a whole lotta people.

  2. debbie koenig June 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Ugh, Hungry Girl makes me want to puke AND strangle someone. The bigger she gets, the more disheartened I become. I’m a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers, having lost 100 lbs on program, but I did it by learning about nutrition and eating real food. Everything she endorses goes against that–and it seems to me, goes against the “new” WW, which encourages fruits & vegetables over processed crap with the same calorie count. Honestly, I don’t understand how they reconcile her endorsements with the basics of the program.

  3. Amy S June 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I have to admit that initially I enjoyed some of the Hungry Girl recipes. I think the fact that a lot of them were meant to be single serve and didn’t leave me leftovers to tempt me into eating more was one reason. But I started to get really concerned about all of the substitutes being used in the recipes. I was eating a lot of sugar substitutes and having horrible stomach pains that went away when I stopped using things like Splenda. And it’s amazing how few Hungry Girl recipes I can make now that I choose not to use those kinds of ingredients. I’ve watched a few shows and can’t image what I was thinking.

  4. D September 14, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    This woman’s approach is an abomination. And I’m sorry, Ken, but “high-sugar, high-salt, high-chemical stuff that tastes good”?! Have you ever tasted any of that crap? It tastes disgusting, and no one will ever convince me that it’s healthful. I think “Hungry Girl’s” eating is nothing short of disordered. A person can’t use the word “guilt” in relation to eating as often as she does and be mentally healthy. Period.

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