Three Degrees of Separation

Remember that concept that everyone is only knowing six people away from be connected to anyone else in the world?

Six Degrees of Separation Chart


Well, my thought processes kind of did that for this post. Except it is three degrees of separation that led me to my ultimate topic. I’m just ahead of the game, right? 😉

Anyhoo…today I have been a hungry hungry hippo girl. Perhaps it is all this extra activity I have been getting. Every day this week has been pretty active. Sunday = our outdoor 3 mile hike. Monday = spin class and running around after M at the park. Today = Group Power class + ellipticaling in the morning and playing outside along with a long walk after M’s morning nap. All that movement got my tummy rumbling and I was a happy girl when it was time to go inside for lunch. After whipping up M’s lunch and doing a quick cleaning of the kitchen/sweeping the floors (OCD alert! = I can’t enjoy my food in messy surroundings), I got to making my own lunch.

It took no time to decide what to have since I have been on a turkey wrap kick lately. More specifically a turkey wrap kick with a French Onion Laughing Cow wedge to amp up my typical fixings (avocado, mustard, onion, spinach, pickles, tomato). So degree #1 = Lunch with Laughing Cow

French Onion Flavor = mmmmmm


This reminded me that yesterday I found out the amazing news that Laughing Cow will be coming out with three new flavors this summer – Mozzarella, Sundried Tomato & Basil; Queso Fresco & Chipotle; and, the one I am most excited about, Blue Cheese. Moldy cheese fan here! 😀 Where did I hear this news? From the email newsletter I get from The Hungry Girl. Degree #2 = Hungry Girl Newsletter

Lisa Lillien aka The Hungry Girl


And degree #3 for the final thoughts = Hungry Girl’s Ideaology. For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa Lillien and her cookbooksshe is an advocate of trying to make healthier recipes that will still appeal to the general population. Many of her recipes are remakes of restaurant favorites, comfort foods, indulgent desserts, etc. She tries to find ways to lighten these recipe favorites up, usually by making the fat content, sugar content, and calorie count as low as possible. And how does she accomplish this? Pretty often some form of processed item is included – whether it be sugar substitute, egg substitute, meatless soy products, 100 calorie packs, and many other things. The use of processed items in most of her recipes is the main “beef” many critics have with her.

Lisa Lillien rebuttals the criticism by her claims that those things should not be the mainstay of a healthy diet and that we should be sure to incorporate fruits and vegetables, lean meats (if suits you), dairy, nuts, avocados, etc as often as possible. Her main goal is to reach out to the general population to show them tips and tricks to lighten up and live a little healthier. She claims she would rather reach out and make healthier eating an accessible goal and desire of the general population,  instead of making it something unrealistic by claiming the only way to eat healthy is to only  eat  unprocessed items.

While I don’t own any of her books (although I have checked them out from the library a few times), and while I don’t often make recipes with the goal of getting the calories as low as possible by using a slew of packaged items, I do appreciate her and her ideology. I appreciate her tips and ideas for helping to lighten up recipes. I enjoy her product reviews since I first hear about many new lighter snacks and treats through her site. And I appreciate that she wants to make a realistic difference in the way people eat. Let’s face it. Ideally we would all eat 100% natural, “clean” (don’t get me started on that word!) foods. But for many, especially the general population and even many avid healthy eating fanatics, it is a part of life to need those additional options like that 100 cal bag of popcorn for a filling and easy afternoon snack or that sweetener to help curb a sweet tooth while trying to watch calories. Yes, the bulk of our diets should (and mine most definitely is) be made up of whole foods. But I believe too that all things in moderation is a good concept and if she can help people become a bit more moderate with their food intake (and enjoy it) then I’m cool with that. 🙂

What are your thoughts on her approach? Do you think it is doing more harm than good in our culture’s eating habits or is it helping? Do you have any of her cookbooks or have you tried and enjoyed any of her recipes?

Giveaway to check out: from Lauren at Eat Drink and Be Hopeful

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17 Responses to Three Degrees of Separation

  1. katiivey says:

    I get the hungry girl e-mails too…I don’t make many of the recipes either but I like the idea of them and her concept. Take everyday, sometimes “junk foods” that people like to eat and make them healthier! I don’t like her use of splenda but you can always make substitutions to fit what you like. I think it’s a good thing and I agree, I like knowing about new products that are coming out :>

  2. I feel the same…what is so funny is that I have 164 unread hungrygirl emails in my email account right now…not really interested in them anymore! I do have the book (1st one), but just feel that sometimes the entire meal is full of processed or fake junk.

  3. I’ve only tried one of her recipes using the tofu noodles and laughing cow cheese. I guess that if people refuse to try to eat clean, then at least they have this as an alternative. For me, I try to eat whole foods, not pre-packaged. However, I think that’s not necessarily the norm so at least give people healthier options perhaps?

  4. Mellissa says:

    I have never made anything but am not against her at all. I applaud her effort in trying to have people take small steps in improving what they eat. But… I would rather eat more real food.

  5. homecookedem says:

    I love Hungry Girl!! I think she’s so much fun!! My teacher friends and I have an HG club and we’ve had parties and we each bring an HG dish to share. I’ve met her twice and even had my picture made with her! 😉 She’s such a nice and REAL person. I think that’s why I like her… she’s just a real girl trying to make eating healthy more fun! 😉 Btw, I’m so excited to find those new laughing cow cheeses!!

  6. Danielle says:

    Here’s my problem with hungry girl: Her ideaology and her actions don’t match. She clearly isn’t targeting the general population. The cutesy newsletters, the language, the pictures…everything is targeting young girls. By telling a young girl that she should be eating as low-fat and low-cal as possible, she is trying to rationalize an eating disorder. Claims of “this whole meal is only 295 calories” says nothing about the nutrition of that meal or how many calories someone should be getting. Of course…I remember reading one of her newsletters saying she eats approx. 1200 calories a day herself….which is obviously too low.

    Man I could write a whole page about this lol 🙂

  7. I guess my take on Hungry Girl is that her recipes are generally healthy, and her recipes are easily made by all people.

    But her style of eating is not as healthy as one that cuts out processed foods.

  8. LindsayRuns says:

    I’ve never heard of her, I’ll have to poke around her site to make my own opinion, but I appreciate the introduction! I always like your more inciteful posts, thanks for writing them! (I know that’s spelled wrong, my mind’s blank and I’m on my spell check less phone) 😉

  9. Maybe I’m totally out of the loop but I’ve never heard of The Hungry Girl before. I’ll have to google it!

  10. Love this post!! I’ve been a follower of Hungry Girl for long before I even started following blogs. I agree that she uses more artificial ingredients than I would like, but I do appreciate her ideology. Our society is so misguided when it comes to healthy eating. If she can influence people to take at least once step in the right direction, than I’m all for it!

  11. i try to be very mellow and laid back about judging others’ choices for them…for me, high raw all vegan, whole foods, plant based, low grains. It works for me. For other who eat burger king, anything they do is gonna be better so i say baby steps people, try something healthier and bettter and if it’s a 100cal snack pack, go for it.

  12. So funny that we wrote about the same sort of topic on the same day! We must be channeling each other’s thoughts or something. 😉

    I agree with what you wrote – while the goal should be to eat whole foods as often as possible, a 100-calorie pack every now and then can be useful.

  13. I love Hungry Girl! She has introduced me to some of my favorite things! Vitatops, Sugar Free Syrups, and canned pumpkin! I ❤ Lisa.

  14. I’m so excited for the new flavors!

  15. Lindsey says:

    I agree with Danielle’s points!

    Although I DO have the cookbook, I am not one who is trying to eat 1200 calories a day. Heck, I eat that by lunchtime:) I do like to get ideas though and so I DO appreciate that aspect of it!

  16. Krystal says:

    i am so making a turkey wrap with laughing cow today. yum yum yum

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