I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!

I Love Yogurt … Who Knew!instant pot yogurt

I made my first batch of yogurt in my new Instant Pot® & it was so ridiculously good, I just can’t believe it! Check out the pic of that spoon standing upright in it. It is firm, with a really smooth texture, and it tastes so creamy that it’s hard to believe that it doesn’t contain any added flavouring. It is just the Natrel® 10%, with a couple of tablespoons of plain Balkan yougurt, a 6% fat version, as a starter. It may be the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted. I have taste-tested it with some skinny people, and even they like it!

This was done with what is known in Instant Pot® circles as the “No Boil” or “Cold Start” method of yogurt making. For this method apparently, the primary ingredient, the milk or cream, must be of the ultra-filtered or UHT pasteurised variety. Without boiling, the potential for bad bugs to flourish is higher in regular milks. The No Boil process, on the other hand, is the simplest thing I’ve ever done. Toss the milk in the pot. Add the couple of tablespoons of starter yogurt and blend this with the milk. Put the lid on & press the Yogurt button. The pot does its thing for 8 hours. You then remove the pot liner & stick it in the fridge to set. For this little effort, I just can’t believe the result.

Not everything has turned out so wonderfully well, on the first attempt, in my new pot. But this one is a winner. And, along with this yogurt being so good, it ticks many of the boxes I want ticked from a dietary standpoint too. It is deliciously higher in fat than most store bought versions. The 10% cream does have a few additives but I’ve regularly consumed far more processed products than this. Though I’m not lactose intolerant, it being lactose free should cut down a bit on the carb content. And it’s a very neat way to get some protein when you’re more in the mood for dessert than dinner. I’ll be adding some fruit & a little shaved dark chocolate to a big bowl of this for something positively decadent.

For taste, this outcome is a gourmand’s delight. Now I must see if I can replicate the amazing result, but with less expensive ingredients! Along the way, I will have to test drive the boil & cool method with regular milk (full fat, of course!) too.

Watch this space, I’m sure I’ll have some entertaining disasters to add to the list of Instant Pot® success stories along the way! 🙂

Natrel® is a registered trademark of Agropur, Instant Pot® is a trademark of Instant Brands Inc.

The Lazy Dieter

The Lazy Dieter

taco fries

Save Me From Myself!

You know how some skinny people stereotype us fat folk? We’re fat because we’re lazy, right? Now if I’m honest, I’d have to admit that I would rather lie than sit, and sit than stand. When it comes to getting anywhere, I’d probably drive around the block, rather than walk across the back yard. So are they right?

When I was younger, trimmer, and far fitter, I played sports. A lot. I liked soccer, handball, basketball, cycling, running and just about anything that got me out of the house. I didn’t suddenly wake up one day and decide to be lazy. Lazy came after I got fat!

Now there are some advantages to being lazy. A lazy person can get very creative when it comes to reducing workload. There’s an old industrial engineering saying about when you want to figure out the most efficient way to do anything, just give the job to the laziest person in the room! When it comes to dieting, there may be some advantages to laziness too.

While I love food, and I love the taste of food that I prepare at home, I not a big fan of the chores that surround cooking. I particularly despise cleanup. And it’s not easy to find willing volunteers to do the things I don’t like to do! There are two strategies that I use to help reduce the workload that surrounds the creation of my culinary masterpieces. The first thing I do is try to prepare the entire meal in a single pot or pan. The second thing is that I try to use the biggest pot I can find. I like having leftovers that save me cooking some future meals. Eating your own awesome fare, while not having to cook at all, is the best!

For the dieter, this carries another plus. Preparing a large batch of say, a curry or a chili, with good ingredients, allows us to have on hand, for immediate consumption, a healthy option that can win out over hitting the drive through. I guess the real reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself of this advantage! I’m feeling a little challenged at the moment and I need to curb my penchant for dashing out to the local eateries. I haven’t ordered pizza for delivery yet, so I guess I haven’t totally lost it! 🙂

While you can’t beat a big old fashioned frying pan, I also have a number of small appliances that pander to this one-pot cooking strategy. I’m enjoying playing around with my new Instant Pot at the moment. We’ll maybe take a look at the pros and cons of some of these gadgets down the road.

Meantime, if you’ve already broken your new year dietary resolutions, give the one-pot or one-pan strategy a try.

Just try to limit your ingredients to whole and real foods. I’m desperately trying to follow this advice myself at the moment!

Dieting on the Road

Dieting on the Road

Tandoori Platter

It’s not as challenging to eat “well” on the road as we dieters like to imagine. I’m not talking about going the chicken salad route (hold the chicken skin, the croutons, the dressing and the dried fruit & nut pieces) … you can do that if you want but that’s not how I diet!

Yes, you have to have some dialogue with the server. And yes, they’ll probably think you’re a bit of a pain. But better that than blow the diet. Again!

On the road last week, I was led towards an Indian restaurant this particular evening. And that was just fine by me. I pretty much love all food but if you forced me to pick just one national cuisine, I might have to go with Indian. As it happened, I was on a low-carb regimen that particular day. Oh boy!

I love rice, naan, samosa & pakora but those were not going to be allowed today. Yes, there were salad options. And yes, there were vegetarian dishes aplenty. But I was drawn to the Tandoori Platter. Right away, the word platter promises a gut-busting feast of goodies. And it was. Beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp and who knows what else. There were some token veggies in there too, just to assuage any little fear I might entertain of it being an unhealthy choice. One of the key reasons for this choice was that it didn’t come with a sauce, Tandoori dishes are dry spiced. And I refused to ask about their spice recipe … just in case there were any bad ingredients in there that would have forced me to order that chicken salad! I do love those sauces, by the way, but there’s always some bad stuff hiding in them. And today was to be as sugar & starch-free as any reasonable road warrior could make it.

The bottom line was that it was delicious. I was stuffed. And I was sufficiently fortified to resisted all the starchy temptations offered by my dining companions!

But did it work?

I don’t know!

I’ll have to wait for the official end-of-month weigh-in on October 1st to see how it all plays out. Though I might have been grateful that I didn’t have my scale with me during my travels!

 

Let’s Get Fat!

Let’s Get Fat!
Doughnuts

Today, if you ask me if I have a sweet tooth, I will say no. In fact, I have always totally denied any leaning towards sweet things.

“Give me a rib steak over dessert any day!”, I would assert.

My history might suggest otherwise!

Doughnuts (or donuts!) are really cheap in my part of the country. If you buy them in a quantity of 6 or more, they are then considered food and are, therefore, tax free. The rough logic is that anything considered a snack is taxable, while anything considered food is not. A couple of doughnuts are a snack. A dozen are considered food for the family. We typically buy them by the dozen. Now it does make sense that a family pack of doughnuts would be tax free. But it’s not a family pack in our house, or at least not for me … they are nothing but a snack. All 12 of them!

As part of my “Let’s Get Fat” program over the years, the occasional box of doughnuts might find its way into our house. Everyone else would have one. I’d put three on a plate and grab a large glass of cold milk. The cold milk is essential if there are any chocolate doughnuts in play. It didn’t matter if I’d had a big breakfast, and lunch, and dinner that day … I always had room for three doughnuts after dinner. And then three more! After which I’d pray everyone would go to bed so I could have whatever might be left in the box. Without them watching me walk to the cupboard and fridge again. Well, in my defense … at least I felt guilty about it!

I consider myself pretty strong-willed. Capable of mustering the discipline and will-power necessary to accomplish most things I set out to do. And most folk who know me would probably agree with that. But not when it comes to doughnuts. Nor cookies. Nor apple pie. Along with a whole host of other products that have an addictive recipe of sugar, refined starch and fat. That modern blend is the perfect storm for getting fat. And I’m just one more outcome that proves the proposition.

It would be pretty delusional of me to imagine that I might ever lose weight by pandering to my addictions, wouldn’t it!?!

It might be even more delusional to think that I could maintain any weight loss achievement by going back there again.

Good thing I really enjoy my rib steak! 🙂

 

Chow Creep

Chow Creep

Peppers

I’d rather be eating CHOCOLATE!

Low-carb dieters are very familiar with the term Carb Creep. You start out with a target daily intake of 20g of carbs a day but mysteriously, if you check towards the end of the week, you’ll be up to 50g. Or worse! Unless you’re one of those people who carefully weights, measures, & logs every morsel, all the time, carb creep is almost inevitable. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter what macro-nutrient, or category of food, that is being limited, I’ve discovered they will all creep. Hence my adapting the name “Chow Creep” for what ails me.

I’m not following one specific dietary regimen. I’ve discovered that I can undermine just about any single-strategy dietary program with this creep phenomenon. If I’m going vaguely vegetarian for a few days, I’ll start out with a tablespoon of bacon bits (this is just for the flavour, you understand!) on Monday. But by Friday, there’s half a pig in the pot. Low-fat eating is not part of my approach but I do recall the gradual increases in the fat content of my meals when I tried such programs. It doesn’t matter what the banned macro-nutrient du jour is, I’ll find it creeping within days. I think this is true for most of us on most single-strategy dietary programs.

And that’s the beauty of the hybrid approach. I flip from one dietary philosophy to another. And I do that pretty frequently. It sounds a little heretical to go from keto to potatoes in such short order, but I’m not a purist. I don’t have allegiance to any one diet. Most dietary programs work, at least for a while. And then they creep. Okay, it’s me! I let things creep, it’s not the diet’s fault.

However, the notion of flipping from one, to another entirely different strategy, provides a mental reset with each new start. A new start usually brings tighter, albeit temporary, control. And, knowing that I’m going to flip again soon, it matters less when things start to creep. Indeed, there is less likelihood of creep, knowing that I’ll be getting a much-welcomed change tomorrow or the next day.

Now that’s the kind of dietary flexibility I can live with. And hopefully lose weight with.

Though there is that challenge with Chocolate Creep that I have yet to fully master! 😁🍫😁