Environmentally Friendly Eating

Will I Get to Taste Something? Anything?

Growing up in Ireland, I often found myself wandering the hills above my home in summertime. I never knew what a “water bottle” was, nor did I feel the need to bring a snack. It was all there for me. Provided by Mother Nature. Free.

Mountain springs delivered brain-freezing, crystal-clear water. Dainty wild peas, button mushrooms, hazelnuts, cherries & blackberries. Sorrel, both leaves & flowers, sloes & tiny wild strawberries. And those fraocháin! The wild European bilberry that is like a blueberry, only smaller & more tart. Feasting on those guaranteed you would go home with purple hands, face & teeth. My mouth waters!

Such gustatory memories prompted me to plant trees & shrubs last spring. In the hope of reproducing the joys of eating the fruits, fresh from where they grew. Just like when I was growing up. I planted cherry, pear & plum trees. Along with blueberry shrubs & some herbs. Naturally, the little fruit trees produced nothing that first season. And I only got to eat one blueberry (delicious!) from all the work it took. My basil, sadly, was attacked by some tiny bug that caused all the leaves to wilt & die! It was such a disastrous planting season that I was greatly relieved to see the first green shoots on all the trees & shrubs this spring. My trees had at least survived the winter. Then the blossoms came, a display of nature’s bounty promised. I was getting very optimistic now.

Until this weekend!

All the new growth on my cherry tree is being destroyed by aphids. There are black dots on the many little plums that sprouted on my plum tree. Plum sawfly, I’m told, is the problem. So my plums are shot for this year. While the fruit stems on my pear tree, with the tiniest little pears on them, have all shrivelled up & died too. Nothing left but the blueberries to hope for now.

How is this possible? Everything seemed to provide copious amounts of fruit when I was a kid. And that was in the wild to boot. Now, it seems like I can’t grow anything but weeds in a suburban garden?

So much for eating organic, environmentally friendly food from my own garden. Next year, I’m going to spray & spread every unpronouncable chemical from the garden centre on them. I’d like to see those fruits develop to the point where the crows & racoons will enjoy them. Then I can bitch about the critters next year!

Okay, I really don’t want to do that chemical thing. If you know, please let me know what I should be doing instead.

Still haven’t made it back onto the dietary wagon yet, so I’m happy to have something to moan about!?! 🤪😁

Results … Month #20

Results … Month #20

I’m not setting any diet speed records here but down is down. And for a chocoholic, doing that in the shortest month of the year, one that includes Valentine’s day, is not too shabby. Though I’m glad it was a leap year!

I am still bemused by my lack of desire for a more carnivorous diet at the moment & I ate a lot of starch-heavy, vaguely-vegetarian meals during February. I did not avoid fat, not even animal fat, but I found myself adding far less meat than I consider “normal”. A beef stew, for example, was more a veggie stew, with a little beef added for flavour. To be honest, that would probably equate to a normal serving of meat for a skinny person, but still. I also used a lot of rice & potato to thicken my culinary concoctions. Sometimes, I used rice and potatoes in the same dish.

For dieters who like to measure & monitor such things, my blood sugar was showing green all the way. Though I wasn’t checking very frequently. My levels were higher than when I’m eating low carb or keto, & I do prefer those lower numbers, but still pretty good. And it might have been better if there hadn’t been so much chocolate floating around during the month. I also ate a lot of fruit, even bananas, & most often in my homemade ice-cream. I ate out & brought take-out home, without any thought of pandering to a particular dietary strategy. To be honest, if I were at my goal weight, I wouldn’t mind living this way.

I had intended to stick in a few fast days too. I really don’t feel like I’ve done it right if I don’t fast for one full waking cycle & that didn’t happen in February. The best I managed was an occasional one meal a day fast. The one meal starting with dinner & ending when I went to bed!

It all sounds like a series of dismal failures, doesn’t it? On the other hand, I’m down. And I’m pretty happy with that. I think I should feel like I ought to be grabbing this thing by the scruff of the neck & getting on with it. But then I imagine that I’m being overtaken by some eastern mystic force that is allowing me to move Mount Fuji, one pebble at a time!

It can all be a little confusing, this dieting thing, can’t it? 🤪😜

I am wandering aimlessly into March, without a firm plan in mind. Seems like there are a few choices of dietary regimens that allow for weight loss. The mix & match strategy doesn’t work quite so well when I change from one day to the next. Or from one meal to the next! But there are choices. It’s usually not too difficult to stick with one of those choices for a couple or three days. Maybe mix & match will be my method for the month of March. Mmmm!?!

There is a new Indian restaurant that I’m planning to test drive today. With abandon! Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can come up with a strategy for the next month.

Or at least for the next few days!😁

Namaste 🙏

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Snow Window Open

Note to self … Close car window during winter!

Who doesn’t love comfort food?

We need it even more when winter drags on & on. I was looking at green grass for most of winter but now, suddenly, I’ve got snow mountains on the sidewalk. And we have a polar vortex that’s chillin’ things down for a day or two. What on earth is a polar vortex!?! Never mind, I don’t really want to know. Just bring on spring. Please!

I’ve segued from one cold or flu to another for the past month or six weeks. Now I have a sore throat that just won’t go away. Combine all that with some winter blues & I’m pretty close to forgetting all about diets & weight loss. Almost!

I don’t think I’ve ever been sick enough to not want to eat. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the old saw about feeding a cold & starving a fever, but I was never motivated to starve myself in either circumstance. Quite the opposite.

Feeling as I do, it would have been easy to give up on the diet. I didn’t (well, not completely anyway), but I still needed comfort. Lots of comfort. Instead, I made a huge pot of silly-hot beef curry, adding all those ingredients that I thought might carry some natural curative properties. Chilli powder, turmeric-laden curry powder, tons of hot peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro. And, towards the end of cooking, three big thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger. Adding a topping of melting Jarlsberg cheese to my big bowl of “medicine” gave great texture, along with a Vitamin K2 boost.

Cure a fever!?! This stuff is hot enough to give you a fever! Wonder if my strep throat bugs are the curry-resistant variety!!!

I also went into free-fall on fresh & frozen fruit, bananas, raspberries & blueberries. All accompanied by chocolate & cream. Sadly, it wasn’t always the dark chocolate.

Has it cured me? … Not at all.

Do I feel better? … You bet! Especially while I’m stuffing my face!

I’ll worry about what the scale feels next week! 🙂

 

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.

Why Do I Eat Cheesecake?

Why Do I Eat Cheesecake?Cheesecakes

Because my daughter makes the best cheesecake. And I mean the best cheesecake. She reduces the sugar content in her recipe, just to appease me. But then she adds white chocolate chips (those little blobs of synthetic whiteness are probably about 90% sugar!) & the base is made from those very famous cookies. You know the ones, the two dark biscuits with that creamy white center. Some folk like to dunk them in milk. I don’t want to say the name in case I trigger a snack-attack for anyone!

Anyhoo, these single-serve (hah!) cheesecakes are to die for. And when my daughter makes ’em … I eat ’em!

Knowing I wouldn’t be able to resist, I decided, well before the olfactory symphony came wafting from the kitchen, to limit myself to just two. I had been eating really well prior to this latest round of baking. I was at a point where I was losing weight gradually. I was not feeling hungry. I was enjoying a designer binge here & there. The very occasional intermittent fast, mostly just skipping breakfast & lunch, was easy. Everything was puttering along beautifully. And then came the cheesecakes. I didn’t have just two, I had three. What can I say, you can barely pack three into a bowl but they look so nice fighting for space there. Naturally, I poured about half a cup of heavy cream over them. Maybe a little more than that. But it’s only to blunt the insulin response, you know!

That was three days ago. And it’s only today that I’m getting back to feeling as safe & as well as I know I can feel on my new diet. During that time, I had to cram a bunch of safe starch (potatoes!) into my face. Along with cream-covered fruit & nut desserts. Anything to avoid the potential of eating something worse. Needless to say, the scale doesn’t hide the truth from me.

On the bright side, though, I am developing some really good strategies for avoiding falling off the dietary cliff. You know, like the times when you have just one cookie. Followed by the rest of the pack. And then you’re suddenly calling for pizza delivery. And yes, please, I’ll take the two bonus one-liter bottles of pop for a dollar! We need strategies for handling such urges & mine seem to be working well at the moment.

In real life, there will always be those times when we will consciously, deliberately, eat something not quite right for us. And if that’s the case, we need to know how to survive those occasions.

So why did I really eat the cheesecake?

While I really love my daughter’s cheesecake … I love my daughter even more!