Getting off processed foods

Satiety, as Mark Scarborough and Bruce Weinstein talk about it and define it, is the condition of being completely full and/or gratified. When you eat real, flavorful foods that are not overly processed or salted your body recognizes fullness or "satiety" with smaller portions/less food. It's not just the physical sense of being full or satisfied but also visual and sensory satisfaction.

Food that tastes good, looks good and smells good fills you up, satiates you and doesn't leave you empty and hungering for more as many processed foods do.

We taste to get the cues to satiety. The research is pretty solid on that front. By getting those cues, we know when we're full--and we are satisfied with smaller portions that include bigger flavors.

Research has highlighted the links between tasteless fare and overeating--as well as boredom at the table and overeating.

The key to satiety, then, is to increase the flavors in a dish: to pack it full of tastes, to layer the flavors, so that we don't suffer boredom on the plate and so we find ourselves content with smaller portions.

In the end, the key here between flavor and satiety is speed, we have to slow down to experience the bigger flavors and therefore take our time to enjoy them.

That's the only way we can relearn the pleasures of real food and lose weight while we do so. Recipes in the book such as Mark and Bruce's Chocolate Pudding, not the pudding most of us think of that comes from a box) yet still simple and sinfully delicious, perfectly exemplify their refreshingly real and realistic philosophy about food.

Tip No. 1: The Road to Hell is Paved with Artificial flavors and Additives

Despite our best intentions we've misled our stomachs, feeding them a bunch of artificial flavors and additives that gave us a head rush without deeper contentment) Somewhere along the line we got into the mindset that real fats like butter and cream were bad and should be avoided or replaced with fake fats like margarine or vegetable oil.

We've trained our minds to accept these "fakes" but because these tasteless fats don't really satisfy us eating them actually encourage us to eat and want more.

Even a simple recipe like this one, Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Shallots and Cream, is mind blowing to people who think you can't possibly cook a healthful meal with real cream and real butter.

But we're here to tell you can and you should! This dish is a wonderful example of how using the right, real fats where appropriate will give your body and mind that satiated, satisfied feeling we are so desperately seeking.

Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Shallots and Cream
Makes 4 servings

Fat and salt are a natural combo-which is why they've been exploited so heavily by manufacturers. Still, we shouldn't run away just because some this glorious pairing has been misused in the past. By eating real food, we can have it all!


  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4-to 6-ounce thin white-flesh fish fillets like snapper, drum, or bass
  • 1 large shallot, cut into thin slices, these minced into little bits
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine or dry vermouth (see page 000)
  • 1 3/4 cups canned reduced-sodium diced tomatoes (one 15-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons stemmed thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  1. Use a fork to stir the flour and pepper on a dinner plate.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

  3. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels; set them in the flour mixture, dredging them to coat both sides but shaking off any excess flour. Slip them into the skillet.

  4. Cook until lightly browned about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes. The thin part of the fillet will pull into little flakes when gently scraped with a fork. Transfer to four serving plates or a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm if desired.

  5. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet, add the shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute.

  6. Pour in the wine or vermouth bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the pan's bottom. Keep boiling until the liquid has turned into a thick glaze, about 2 minutes.

  7. Add the canned tomatoes, parsley, and thyme. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, until the tomatoes have broken down into a sauce, about 2 minutes.

  8. Pour in the cream and bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and spoon over the fillets.

Tip No. 2: Upgrade Your Choices - there is REAL, delicious food in the world around you.

When you start "detoxing" from the excessive salt-fat-sugar shellac and follow the basic tasting guidelines we talk about in our book (finding flavor overtones, chewing well, relishing a range of textures, etc.) you open your palate to a whole new world of food, experience and choice.

These fake or overly processed cheeses are a perfect example of a food that doesn't satisfy and keeps you wanting more and more when all you really want is a flavorful meal.

Go for the real stuff such as a hunk of California cheese such the Monterey Jack in our California Chopped Salad or the Carmody in the Cheese Toast With Pears. Your body and mind will thank you!

Cheese Toast With Pears
Makes 4 servings (can be halved for twosomes)

This is one of our favorite lunches we¹ve even carried it with us for a quick meal on the road. Search out a crusty, chunky, whole-grain bread to give you the most chew and taste with every bite. Have some roasted or steamed broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower on the side and you¹ve got dinner!

  • Eight 1/2-inch slices whole-grain bread
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 ounces finely shredded Carmody, Sharp Cheddar or Edam
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Position the rack about 5 inches below the broiler and preheat it. Set the bread on a baking sheet and place the tray on the oven rack so that the toast slices are right under the heating element. Toast the bread on both sides until lightly browned and crunchy.

  2. Spread each slice of bread with 1/2 teaspoon mustard. Top each with the pear slices.

  3. Mix the two cheeses in a small bowl, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons over each piece of bread.

  4. Place the tray back on the oven rack as before and broil until the cheese melts, turns a little brown, and gets bubbly, about 4 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a wire rack and cool a few minutes before eating.

Tip No. 3: Make Informed Choices and Relish What You Eat

Our brains process information, not nutrition. Regardless of whether our stomachs are getting the satisfaction they expect, if the chemical information in our food says sweet or tasty or flavorful, we chow down because our brains read taste first and foremost, based on memories of pleasure.

When we're "faked" out, we then don't listen to what's going on down in our entire nervous system. When we see a cup of chocolate pudding, we see "chocolate." Even though this is nowhere near real, satisfying chocolate! We've trained ourselves to recognize the fake as the real.

With our recipes and guidelines, we can help retrain your brain and get you relishing what you eat again, without gaining weight. Something as simple as humble chocolate pudding is elevated to a "life-changing" experience when you realize what chocolate pudding can and should actually taste like.

The real chocolate and cocoa, the creamy smooth texture provided by wholesome, real California milk all add up to a tasting experience that will leave you satisfied and satiated.

Chocolate Pudding
Makes 4 servings

Nothing's more real or elemental. It has an intense chocolate flavor, not sweet so much as satisfying, and a silky, luxurious set. The full flavor ingredients like Real California milk, eggs and cocoa leave your tastebuds and tummy satisfied and satiated.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups low-fat real California milk
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ounce unsweetened or baking chocolate, hacked up into little bits
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Give your forearm a workout to get the eggs smooth and creamy, without any floating bits of translucent egg white.

  2. Put the milk, brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, chocolate, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture just begins to bubble. Cook, whisking while it bubbles lightly, for 30 seconds.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk half of this chocolate mixture into the eggs in a slow, steady stream until smooth.

  4. Whisk this combined mixture back into the remaining chocolate mixture in the saucepan, then set that pan over very low heat. If you're using an electric range, it may be helpful to use a second burner, just now turned to low.

  5. Whisk constantly over the heat for 2 minutes, reaching into the corners of the pan and letting the pudding come to only the barest bubble.

  6. If the pudding starts to bubble, reduce the heat even more or take the pan off the heat and keep whisking a few seconds to cool it down.

  7. Pour into four small ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

About Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough:

Bruce and Mark are creators of "The Ultimate Cookbook" series of cookbooks for HarperCollins which includes a 900-recipe compendium cookbook plus a 10-volume, single-subject companion series.

They are also authors of six other cookbooks, including "Cooking for Two" (Morrow, 2004), Contributing Editors to and columnists for Eating Well Magazine, Featured columnists on ("Every Day Gourmet"), featured columnists in Today's Health and Wellness ("Five After Five"), Guest columnists for The Washington Post, Regular contributors to Relish Magazine.

They also often contribute to the column "The New American Farmer" and are regular contributors to Cooking Light, often contributing to the column "Cooking Class" On-air "food column."

Bruce and Mark are featured once a week on the Dave Durian Show on WBAL-AM, Baltimore's biggest drive-time radio show, and are regular featured cooking talent on (among others) The Today Show, Weekend Today, The View, QVC, Fox and Friends, CBS This Morning ("Chef on a Shoestring"), CN8's "Your Morning," and Seasonings (PBS)

About "Real Food Has Curves:"

America's premier food team, Bruce and Mark introduce their most comprehensive and informative book yet: "Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat."

It's a step-by-step plan to get all the chemicals out of your diet, to find satisfaction more quickly at the table, and to return food to its pure, elemental pleasure without resorting to the rigors of a raw food diet or any quasi-scientific shenanigans.

Everyone's hot on the idea that better food is less processed. But what concrete but still simple (real) changes can you make to turn that wish into reality? Bruce and Mark have got the steps that will revolutionize your diet.

For more information, visit

>> Buy this book on Amazon: Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat

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