A Diet of News

A Cure for News!?!

Finally figured out what’s going wrong with my diet over the past several months. I’m watching too much news!

Watching the news on the CBC, or any Canadian channel for that matter, I need chips. It seems like when I watch CNN, I eat cookies. Switch to Fox & it’s donuts. The BBC has me craving scones. With jam & clotted cream, of course! I’m miserably failing to focus on my French lessons now too, but I sometimes watch the French news on TV5. With closed captions on, naturellement! Then I wonder why I’m digging out my crêpe maker from the back of the cupboard? 🤪

Recently, once I recognized my problem, I thought I’d try watching Bloomberg instead. That was going great ’til I found myself regretting that I hadn’t bought shares in the hot stock of a car rental company seeking bankruptcy protection. As I questioned my sanity, one eye on the ticker, I caught myself making silver dollar pancakes for breakfast! 😁

I ate out yesterday, for the first time in 3 months. I was so excited that I made all the wrong choices. The food was blah, the service only okay, but the whole experience was so great! With half the tables removed, & all the staff wearing facemasks, it was just a little weird though. But getting out was a joy. It was great to talk to real people, not on a screen. I stuffed my face but … unbelievably … the scale didn’t punish me this morning. I might have to do more of this. Is dieting all just a mind game!?!

This is probably not going to be a good month but I feel I need to support local businesses as they gradually try to get back to normal! 😜

PS … Working on my reopening shopping list for next weekend. Imagine … a visit to a mall! Woohoo! 😂

Makin’ Bacon!

Bacon in a Big Pot

This is silly but it might be my best cooking discovery during lockdown. I just found a new way to cook bacon. A way that is so good, so controlled. And there is absolutely no mess afterwards! No kidding. This is so simple I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. And if you already knew, don’t go sending me a message to make me feel any more stupid than I already do!

The secret? Use a big pot!

Offhand, I can’t think what the name of this type of pot is? Is it a stockpot? Anyway it’s the bloody big one that you’d pull out to cook a massive chili when you’ve got the whole family coming over.

Don’t get the bacon that is layered so the pack is flat. Get the big one, with thick-sliced bacon, not splayed out, so that it’s like a brick of meat in the vacuum pack. Heat up the pot up to a medium heat & toss the brick in, fat side down. You’ll want to give a little crispness to the outer edge of fat on each slice. Don’t overdo it or you’ll make the pot bottom sticky. After that, there will already be some rendered fat coating the bottom of the pot. Turn down the heat. Now you can start peeling off the slices & distributing them around the bottom of the pot. You don’t have to be careful here, any old way will do, doesn’t matter that they’re on top of each other. Come back periodically & give the whole mess a little stir to swap out the slices on the bottom. The slower pace of cooking will allow the fat to render clean & you’ll wind up almost deep frying the bacon at slow speed. Only one or two bits tried to stick to the pot & a quick scrape of the spatula took care of it. Remove the bacon slices when they get to where you like them. I prefer bacon a little rubbery myself, but many prefer it crispy. Your choice.

The lower temperature required for the slower pace of cooking gives you a lot of nice clear fat. Drain this off into a glass container & stick it in the fridge. That’s for cooking home fried potatoes later! Okay get the pasture raised bacon if you want to be really healthy.

This last step is really important to ensure the easiest, non-drain-clogging clean-up. Sautée some onion & garlic in the residual fat at the bottom of the pot. Then deglase with a little stock. From here you can make whatever you like (I made a potato bacon curry, with cilantro for a green vegetable! 😜) but now, all the fat is gone somewhere useful, & the pot is far, far easier to clean.

The big kicker is this … no fat splatter on the stove top & backsplash! None, not one spot. Thanks to the high sides on that big pot.

You’re welcome! 😜😁

Weight Loss Without a Gallbladder?

Dum Aloo or Dum Paul!?!

Despite being fat, unfit, a smoker, & generally an excellent candidate for all the diseases of western civilization, I’ve done pretty well. Short of an unusual incident, or an occasional accident, I have managed to avoid hospitals for most of my life. It was a little cruel that I found myself curled up, on the ground, in the parking lot in one of Canada’s favourite coffee shops, during the first day of me enjoying a couple of vacation days with the family. Fortunately, these coffee shops are well located in the heart of things, so there was a walk-in medical clinic on one side. And an EMS station on the other.

With some assistance, I made it to the walk-in clinic & immediately assumed the fetal position again. On the floor again. That disrupted things a little but one look & the doctor put out the call for the ambulance. The EMS team arrived in minutes & I was on my way to hospital shortly after. Under less painful circumstances, I might have enjoyed the Code 1 ride, lights flashing & sirens a wailing. Not so much this time. Thanks & kudos to those folk who do the ambulance thing for us, by the way. They were great.

Despite how much I know about what my pancreas does for me, from a dietary perspective, I don’t always treat it well. And while I’d certainly heard of this condition: pancreatitis, along the way, I never paused to learn much about it. After all, it didn’t apply to me, did it? It did now. And it hurt. A lot!

Long story short, after 8 days in hospital, I went home, leaving my gallbladder behind in some garbage can. I’m not sure I made the right call in going ahead with the surgery. And though there were people there with far more serious conditions than mine, I still felt sorry for myself. I’m sad that I lost my gallbladder. I miss it!

But how is the lack of a gallbladder going to impact my way of eating? My diet? My weight loss efforts?

There are varying reports on the impact that this very common (too common?) procedure can have on our lives. Most reports seem pretty benign. From a cursory look, it seems like the recommendations for what to eat after the surgery are as confused as the “best diet” recommendations for our general health & well-being. My biggest fears were that I would no longer be able to tolerate hot & spicy foods. And worse, I might not be able to tolerate fatty meals.

Never one to shirk a challenge, I begged for my first home-cooked meal to be hot & spicy … a seasoned-to-kill Dum Aloo! It crossed my mind that it was a little unusual for me to avoid meat, but that’s what I wanted.

And the result?

I survived! Since then, I’ve tried a few high fat meals. Including bacon & eggs, with cheesy home fries … mmmmm! I’m very conscious of not having that big shot of bile available to attack the fat but otherwise, I seemed to tolerate it reasonably well. There are some weird little aches & pains hanging around my midriff but I’m not sure if that’s just the physical healing after surgery. Or if I’m inducing them with my crazy food choices. I also decided to do a big bread day. There was no logical reason why, but I was hoping that I was miraculously cured of my typically poor reaction to eating bread. I wasn’t. And that was a really bad idea!

So now, I’d like things to carry on healing. I hope they didn’t leave a tea spoon inside me. And, maybe in a couple or so days, I’ll get back to the grind of weight loss … without a gallbladder! Fingers crossed, all will be well.

If you are living life without a gallbladder, let me know how it’s going for you.

A Lifetime Achievement Award

A Lifetime Achievement Award

Greek Salad Fast Breaker

Was so looking forward to eating that I forgot to take the pic before diving in! Oops!

I gave myself a lifetime achievement award yesterday … and the reward was one of my childhood favourites: egg ‘n’ chips for dinner, three fried eggs and the entire basket of French fries. All for me! This was followed by an utterly decadent blueberry ice-cream, with chocolate. Then I ate the rest of the chocolate bar!

Why this self-bestowed award?

Because I did my longest fast ever. At 89 hours, I was mere hours short of having not eating anything … zero, nada, nothing … for 4 full days. I had absolutely nothing but water, carbonated water and coffee the entire time. This all came about from doing the one day fast I spoke of in the last post. I’m not sure what came over me but, having done the one day, I just felt compelled to go for the second. Somehow, that managed to turn into this four-day thing.

So how did it feel?

Day 1 was, as you might expect, a day of thinking about not eating. Which meant I was only thinking about eating! The first half of Day 2 was about the same. But by the afternoon of the second day, there were no hunger pangs. No desire to eat. Not even when smelling and seeing the curry fried rice, the pulled pork sandwiches, and who know what else I had to watch everyone else eat during that time. Once my body started supplying its energy needs from my very ample storage depots, the feeling was … one of almost ecstasy, freedom, liberation, I don’t know. But it was something that left me feeling unshackled. And I was bright, alert and doing everything I had to do. And no, I wasn’t irritable and grumpy. Though you might need to get some external corroboration on that last one!

Due to the attendant water and electrolyte losses, I was adding pink Himalayan salt to my coffee on the 2nd and subsequent days. This will sound crazy but you should try your favourite coffee with a little salt and some heavy cream, it’s really good! Or maybe not if you’re already eating the high-salt diet that comes along with eating processed foods. Though perfect for the first two days, I was sneaking in a little cream by the 3rd day. By mid-morning on the 4th day, I was feeling a little light-headed. I did a couple of salted coffees but it wasn’t working. I decided to break the fast and have lunch. I had intended to have bacon and eggs at a local diner, though I hadn’t quite decided on whether or not to have the home fried potato too. But as we took our seats, a ginormous Greek salad was delivered to an adjacent table and I switched to that. The bacon was still on my mind though, so I added a side order of bacon to be crumbled atop it! The dinner and dessert we spoke of earlier followed later.

So what was the outcome?

From a weight standpoint, you’ll have to wait and see … I only log numbers at the end of each month! But I feel I have opened a new door with this longer fast. One not only with weight-loss potential, but with other potential health benefits too. Perhaps for the body and the mind.

What to Eat in a Diner!

What to Eat in a Diner!Healthy Diner Food

The other day I was passing through a small town that I know has one of the best diners & I couldn’t resist stopping by for lunch. Sure they serve salads. But they probably use really unhealthy ingredients in the dressing. It’ll mostly be that cheap Omega 6 laden inflammatory oil, won’t it? And maybe it’s loaded with croutons. Who knows what kind of scary stuff could be in it! They do an awesome burger here too but it’s such a work of art that it just doesn’t look right without the bun. And I was on a low-carb day so no burger buns allowed. The all-day breakfast seemed like the only option.

Eggs are natures vitamin pill. And they come with protein to boot. Bacon, probably not pasture raised, but still a pretty good choice for a low carb day. And plenty of fat so no fear of overdoing the lean protein & triggering a big insulin release. I skipped the toast but stuck with the home fries. They’re precooked & cooled before they toss ’em on the grill so all that bad starch is the wonderful probiotic resistant type, right? The slice of tomato is pretty harmless so I decided to go with that. 🙂

And that’s how you do the diet at the diner!