Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Summer of My Blueberry Cobbler

by Melanie J. Dorsey

Upon retrospect, 2004 was quite a delicious summer. My parents had returned from a visit to the “blueberry capital of the South”—Alma, Georgia, and I was the grateful recipient of two flats of blueberries. These tiny treasures were destined for a blueberry cobbler. Rather, cobblers. I waxed nostalgic with visions of the cobblers my mamaw used to make—the syrupy sweetness of the berries, the tender flakiness of her crust. With peach cobblers and apple crisps already under my belt, that is apron strings, I searched through the modern woman’s cookbook for a recipe that resembled Mamaw’s berry cobbler. Actually, I googled “blueberry cobbler.”
The delicious summer of 2004 also proved to be quite fattening! I gained at least eight pounds from baking all those blueberry cobblers. Okay, I gained eight pounds from eating all those blueberry cobblers and the two scoops of premium French vanilla ice cream that crowned each serving. Everyone knows that a hot cobbler melts one scoop of ice cream, which necessitates the second scoop. Everyone knows that—right?
Fast forward three and a half years to our family’s annual ski trip in December 2007. I wore the same pair of ski pants from previous years but this time I was not wearing them. They were wearing me, and the view from behind was not a pretty sight. Fortunately, my ski jacket helped conceal my hinder parts. Believe me, if pants could talk, mine would have muttered some downright rude comments. I was definitely 15 pounds overweight. “Definitely,” to quote Rain Man. Apparently, the “blueberry cobbler eight” had gotten lonely and needed seven more friends!
Riding on the lifts and schussing down the slopes, I vowed to lose weight before I had to waddle in those pants again. Once home I considered the diets I had tried before but with little success because I could not stick with the Spartan-like eating plan. I prayed asking God for guidance. Upon sharing my thoughts with my husband, he suggested I individualize my own plan and added he was confident I could succeed. Smart man!
My plan needed wiggle room for what I was not willing to concede in exchange for what was relatively painless to give up. One tablespoon of real cream in my morning cup of coffee I deemed a keeper—a satisfying trade-off for eliminating fat elsewhere. I am a tortilla chips and salsa kind of chica so I kept my favorite, fresh salsa from the deli, and traded regular chips for a daily, single portion of baked chips.
Most mornings I am out of the house by 7:15, so a fast yet figure friendly breakfast is a must. I opted for a nutritious fruit smoothie for those early up and at ‘em mornings. My favorite smoothie, at barely 200 calories, has four ingredients: blueberries, ground flax seed, plain low-fat yogurt, and soymilk. I conceded the cobbler but kept the berries.
Blueberries, long touted as a super food, are high in antioxidants. High in potassium and vitamin C, blueberries are also anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the current buzzword in the fight against all chronic diseases, so blueberries host a bevy of benefits. Another ingredient in my morning smoothie—ground flax seed, is chock full of Omega 3s, credited with lowering the risk of heart disease as well as combating arthritis and memory loss. Whole flax seed can be stored in the pantry. Once ground however, the flax seed may be stored safely in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. I use a small coffee grinder to yield a week’s worth of ground flax seed in my blueberry smoothie.
The best yogurt, a good source of calcium and protein, is one that contains only live active cultures and milk. Generally, the shorter the list of ingredients in a food, the better it is for you. Other benefits of yogurt are its friendly bacteria (good for the colon and intestines), its immune-boosting properties, and its easy digestibility.
Although there is some controversy surrounding the use of soy products, after researching the differing opinions, I enjoy soy in moderation. According to Dr. William Sears, well-known pediatrician and author, soy reduces cholesterol, contains intestine-friendly carbs and drum roll, please, is an anti-aging food.
In addition to trading blueberry cobblers for blueberry smoothies, I also limited the high glycemic carbohydrates, choosing old-fashioned oatmeal and whole grains over less nutritious alternatives. In choosing carbs, portion control and making better choices is key. Besides, the last time I drastically cut carbs, I became testy and a tad anti-social. When that happens, friends and family turn in to pizza-pushers, wanting the “old lovable you” back.
Surprisingly I found keeping a food journal to be very helpful. Mine is nothing fancy, just a notebook from the kids’ school supply stash. Subduing my tendency toward perfectionism, calling for a stylish journal and a crash course in calligraphy, this go around I actually made entries well past day three!
Ultimately, my path to better health and weight loss was about better nutritional choices. As my clothes felt looser, success bred success and I stayed the course. Finally, I was able to shop my own closet, retrieving still fashionable favorites that had not seen daylight prior to the summer of my blueberry cobblers.
Recently I taught a Bible study encouraging individuals to be good stewards of their God-given gifts. Being a good steward includes looking well to the areas of health and nutrition for optimum living. I am delighted to say that God answered my prayer to find the path of successful stewardship in the area of health and weight loss. He
led me to my passion for research and my husband’s good advice. As a result, I lost the weight and kept the blueberries. I plan to keep the husband, too!

Melanie Dorsey lives in Clearwater, FL, with her husband and three children. A gifted Bible teacher, Melanie is passionate about studying and teaching God’s Word exegetically. She holds a B.A. in Communications and Modern Foreign Languages and is a certified teacher. Melanie is a contributing writer to Daily Devotions for Writers and is a graduate of She Speaks 2008. You can read more about Melanie at her blog: