Gifts for Dieters

Gifts for Dieters

Instant Pot Chicken Curry

First Pass with the Instant Pot

Many years ago, I took part in a diet contest. In fact I organised it. A group of folk got together to lose some weight, and we asked our family and friends to sponsor our losses with their hard-earned cash. The proceeds went towards a local hospital that was trying to finance a piece of new equipment. The first place prize, for the person who lost the most weight, was … wait for it … a food processor!

As a habitual, long-term dieter, that’s my kind of prize. Something to do with food. Things haven’t changed much, I’m still dieting. And I wanted an Instant Pot for Christmas this year.

Santa Claus delivered … Woohoo!

I carefully read the manuals, triple checked some recipes, and I read the manuals one more time before embarking on my first Instant Pot meal. NOT! What I actually did was wing it. After spending about two minutes flipping through the user manual and the recipe book.

There was a family pack of chicken breasts in the fridge that needed to be used so chicken curry immediately came to mind. It was a hodge-podge of whatever was available after that. Potatoes, onions, and a bag of frozen peas, along with a couple of large cans of diced tomatoes for the sauce. And a cup or two of heavy cream, of course. I did a pot of rice for the normal sized people that surround me. But then I had some of that too!

I had hardly started to cook when the “Burn” message came up on the screen. I pushed a bunch of buttons, turning the thing on and off several times in the process. I pried the hissing lid off once or twice, and stirred things around to see what I could see. Eventually some kind of cooking operation went ahead. I really will have to go back and read some more of that manual, won’t I! Despite my best efforts to defeat the thing, when I finally opened the Pot, the chicken was falling-apart tender. From a culinary perspective, the end result was at least good, if not great. But considering it was my first attempt, I’m cautiously optimistic about bending this thing to my culinary will with a little more practice. The great things I see so far are the ease of use, and how quick and easy it is for clean-up. It also makes it very easy to choose real, whole-food ingredients. And that alone is a good thing.

I’m looking forward to exploring this little cooker more. It makes a surprisingly large amount of food. And it’s right in the wheelhouse of my lazy philosophy of one-pot or one-pan cooking. Only without the splatter! I’ll update my progress with this thing along the way, I’m really hoping it makes it onto my top three small appliances list.

But what is it about dieting that has me looking at food-related things for gifts? Ah well, it’s better than looking at recipe books all the time, isn’t it!

Actually, now that I think on that, I have spent just about zero time looking at cookery books, or online recipes, during the course of this diet.

I had to read that last line again myself. There may well be something very important about that!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!Merry Christmas 2018

Not everyone celebrates Christmas but that shouldn’t stop us sharing the spirit of joy, giving, and celebration together. Of course, it can be a time of great challenge for those of us trying to lose weight! My diet has been terrible this month and I’ve written a letter to Santa Claus, asking for some magic diet dust to help me out as the year winds down. I haven’t checked under the tree yet but, fingers crossed, he has delivered.

I have very few excuses left for my lack of adherence over the course of this month. We have working appliances now so I can cook real food again. Yet I still find myself gravitating towards all the bad stuff. Cookies and dessert seem so much easier to grab as I pass through the kitchen. It’s time I gave myself a Christmas gift and went back to eating more whole, real food again.

I have learned one thing during the month though. And this isn’t the first time I’ve learned this particular lesson.

The longer you continue to eat poorly … the more difficult it is to stop.

Of course, I knew this already. It’s not like like this is a new “light bulb” moment or anything. I just didn’t want to say it out loud. Why I’m saying it out loud on Christmas morning is beyond my comprehension. Why couldn’t I have waited ’til after the Christmas dinner? And dessert!

The other big lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of months is one on the value of writing a daily entry in my journal. It doesn’t have to be a daily essay. Even a short entry, done each day, is a mental reset that can help steer a better dietary course. I have been very erratic in my journalling over the past six or eight weeks, to my detriment.

I think I’ll enjoy my Christmas dinner today. And I will have dessert. I may even behave badly on the following day. But I think I’ll make an extra effort to journal about it too. If you haven’t tried journalling before, give it a shot. I’m not talking about a detailed food journal, or anything like that. Just a little résumé of each day’s trials and tribulations can often provide a stabilizing influence that is quite remarkable. And it’s a great place to vent a little too!

Whatever the light that lights your way, I hope it shines brighter on this Christmas Day for you.

Merry Christmas!

Madama Butterfly & Weight-loss

Madama Butterfly & Weight-loss

I have no idea why, but I’m suddenly overcome with the desire to see an opera. It’s not like I’m an opera buff, not even close. I’m more an occasional top twenty opera fan guy. Nor do I really know anything about opera, I’ve only ever been to one performance in my life, Madama Butterfly. My eyes are filling up just remembering it! I didn’t even understand the words but it was so moving that I couldn’t help it. Naturally, at the time, I totally denied suffering such an emotional response … but I did.

I’m constantly amazed by the emotions that come with listening to opera. Un Bel Di Vedremo makes me tear up. Carmina Burana makes the hair on the back of my neck rise, every time. Nessun Dorma does both. I love Vesti La Giubba & Habanera, & so many more. This stuff has the power to move. It doesn’t matter if the music & words are of today, or yesterday. It doesn’t matter the language. It’s just wonderful to be moved.

Now that I’ve mentioned Habanera, it reminds me of the hot habañeros that are growing on my back deck. And that this is a diet & weight loss blog!

Yesterday was a one of those over-the-top all-you-can-eat days. I’m not sure I meant it to be at the start of the day but I know that I’d switched gears by lunchtime. Today should probably be a fast day. Or at least a partial fast day? Oh, I just can’t make up my mind, I’m off to blubber in the corner for a bit, while I decide!

Maybe I’ll listen to some opera today. It has the power to generate a different body chemistry. And it might be one that can overcome other temptations!

Bucket of Spuds!

Bucket of Spuds!Bucket of Potatoes

I had intended to leave potatoes alone for a while but I’ve been shamed into doing one more post for now. I was chatting with someone who follows these posts during the week, & I was accused of not being real! I kept talking about my “bucket” but I’d never shown it. So here it is. I hope I’m now absolved!

I do like to eat a lot. And while they are probably not the best food for my glucose response, nor for my insulin response, potatoes are a great way to get stuffed! The pic shows a predominantly potato “dish” that is flavoured by one medium red onion, one medium yellow onion, some sliced jalapeño, & about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic. All fried in olive oil. I later added a big dollop of my favourite jalapeño lime aoili. Which is store bought & probably not the best thing I could do. I’ll have to check up on some recipes for doing my own.

Every now & again, I want to feel like I gorged. And I want that feeling to last ’til bedtime. Though there’s always room for dessert, of course. You know you’ve done it right when you come awake in the middle of the night & you still feel stuffed! I could have used cabbage, cauliflower & a host of other veggies, all with a lower glycemic load, & lower on the insulin index, but sometimes … only a bucket of spuds will do it. And doing that, without doing too much damage to the weight loss goal, sometimes makes potatoes a pretty good choice. Though you can get a decent result mixing other veggies with the potatoes too.

Generally, I mostly like my food to look good. Presentation is important. You need to satisfy the eye as much as the stomach. So a little sprig of herbs to finish off the look, even when I’m eating alone, is worth the effort. Spuds seem to just look right all on their own though. And in a bucket!

I should have put something in the pic for perspective but the bucket measures 6¾” across by 3¾” tall.

Now, whenever I refer to the “bucket”. This is it!

The First Month’s Results

The First Month’s Results
Down 11lbs

This has been the shoddiest first month of dieting I’ve ever done. Usually, I would have a shiny new spreadsheet ready in advance of starting a new diet. Okay, I admit it, I did make a new spreadsheet but I only entered one weight, after 8 days, up until today. I’m typically obsessed with logging weight every day. My usual dietary strategy is to obsess over everything, especially food. Studying recipes & watching cooking shows makes for a hard journey so, instead, I try to force myself to focus on weights, dates, charts, graphs & making myself look skinnier with software programs!

Working on plans, schedules & lists before, & during, a diet is the usual for me. You know the old saying: plan the work & work the plan. But not this time. It was all very loose. In general, I ate more whole foods. More pastured & grass-fed meat. More vegetables & fruit than might be the norm. I made some half-hearted efforts at fasting for a few days here & there. Most of these turned into partial day fasts when I decided to eat dinner. Always with seconds. And often with dessert. All in all, this whole month was just not my usual aggressive, committed, enthusiastic start to a new diet. It was, as I said at the outset, shoddy.

The good thing about the past month is that I didn’t feel like I was on a diet for the most part. I probably should have paid a little more attention to the few rules I gave myself at the start but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’ll try to do a little better this month. It may help that I have used up one or two “bad” dessert choices. Hopefully, I won’t go out & & buy more!

In anticipation of the big “end-of-month weigh-in” this morning, I obsessed about “being good” last night. That’s the kiss of death, isn’t it! Not only did I have two very large dinner servings, but I found myself having a dessert that I never intended to have. I popped 8 of those dried fruit balls in a bowl. And covered them in heavy (35%) cream. While I wasn’t logging weight regularly, I was on the scale every day, so I had a general idea of where I was at. Ah well, it’s supposed to be a flexible program.

Today, I was pleasantly surprised …

At the end of the first month, I am … Down 11 lbs.

I’ll take it!