Keeping Busy When Fasting?

Keeping Busy When Fasting?

One Pot Cooking - Beef Roast

One Pot Cooking – Forgot to take a pic of the ham, oops! This is a beef roast that received similar treatment. Clean-up is a breeze! The fat is in there because of the Omega 3 content in grass-fed beef. And it’s so tasty!

I thought I’d try a fast day at the weekend. My fast days are typically shortened when I give in to temptation and eat dinner in the evening. That’s not all bad but, every now and again, I would like to do a full wake cycle fast. Aside from weight loss, there are supposed to be all sorts of health benefits associated with fasting and I wanted some of that. I started out the day committed, very committed. But then don’t I always! 🙂

I knew I needed to keep busy and watching soccer on TV is not keeping busy. Knowing you can’t eat is exactly what triggers thinking about food. Almost non-stop. It’s the old story about what happens when someone tells you to not think about the elephant! I wondered if I could turn that around and use it to get a positive result.

And so, I decided to spend my free time cooking!

I had a nice ham in the fridge. Pasture raised pork, what could be better? I’m not a fan of clean up so most of my cooking happens in a single pot or pan. One Pot Cooking has been a thing for me since my school years. I browned a chopped onion and half a dozen cloves of garlic in olive oil first. Tossed in the ham and covered it with two liters of organic chicken broth (what can I say, again it was all I had to hand, that’s bulk buying for you), a little rosemary, salt and pepper. Now I had some food to focus on!

This thing bubbled along its merry way for about 4 hours before I lifted it out and put it on a plate to settle. It was falling off the bone tender and it smelled so delicious. While everyone else enjoyed their meal, I was eyeing up the pot of liquid. A few more chopped onions, three diced potatoes, and a bag of frozen peas later, the pot was bubbling again. A tablespoon of curry powder and another of coriander, along with a couple of habanero peppers from the garden, and my nose told me I was done. When it had done its thing, a few minutes bouncing the hand blender off the bottom of the pot gave me this luxuriously thick, heavy soup. I added back some of the shredded ham to finish it off.

What do you think I did next?

I apportioned the whole pot to a set of containers and stuck ’em all in the freezer. Along with the rest of the ham.

But I made it through one complete fast day without anything other than coffee and water. The answer to the opening question is that to avoid eating on a fast day … I cook!

Attaboy Paul!!!


Let Them Eat Plastic!

Steel Water Bottle

Let Them Eat Plastic!

I watched a CBC Marketplace show the other day. It might have been a rerun of an older one, but it was all about plastic water bottles. We’ve all heard the horrible stories about plastic in the ocean impacting fish, whales, and so on but this one was about their potential impact on us. The show folk ran around buying brand name water from four cities across Canada and they brought them all to McGill University, in Montreal. Here, they ran tests on them to see if there were tiny plastic particles in the water we like to drink.

There were! It turned out these particles, though to a lesser extent, were in some glass bottled waters too.

For the most part, I choose to drink tap water. It runs through the filter on my fridge. Though I often hit the reset button on the change light when it comes up, rather than change the filter right away. As it turns out, some of these commercial water bottles are filled with tap water too. Sure, it’s filtered while being bottle but, sometimes, we’re just paying a silly price for tap water. And the environmentally unfriendly plastic bottle comes along for the ride. Who knew!

It seems that there’s so much of this stuff going around these days, & not just from water bottles, that it shows up in our oceans, lakes and rivers. And they can detect them in the fish we eat. So are we now eating and drinking micro-plastic particles?

Now nobody really knew if these plastic particles were doing us any harm. But that’s sometimes the case with such things, often for years, and then all hell breaks lose. While they figure all that out, we might be better off not drinking water coming in plastic bottles. It’s not that I have 100% faith in the water quality coming from our municipalities either. But if the bottled water is coming from the same source, but with added plastic particles, I think I’ll stick with the regular tap water for the most part.

I guess I’m a bit of a closet tree-hugger. I’m far too macho to be going around openly trying to save the planet. I want to pillage it and get rich! But while I do that, I’m going to dig out my stainless steel water bottle to remain hydrated! 🙂

Now I’m worried about the poor folk at the water bottling plant being out of work. Modern living is way too complex sometimes.

Note from yesterday’s post … the debreceni sausage wasn’t to my taste. I’ve had really good debreceni before, it’s just this one that I didn’t like. The recipe, however, was good so I’ll try it again with another sausage. Regardless, and in retribution, I behaved really badly afterwards. I ate lots of sea salt & caramel chocolate bark with my cherry ice cream. Twice! Oops!!!

Black & White

B & WIn today’s political climate it seems like nothing is black & white. I find myself constantly having to dig for background information to try to get a picture of something resembling reality. And even then, I am unsure that I have a clear picture. Perhaps there is no perfect picture for many complex situations. With the sheer volume of information, & misinformation, that is available nowadays, maybe we have to tolerate a level of mental chaos in trying to form an opinion.

This is surprisingly similar to the world of nutrition! There is long standing debate between those who believe a plant based diet is best for us, and those who believe we are genetically programmed omnivores. There are diets that support a dizzying variety of macro-nutrient ratio bias. Low carb, keteogenic & paleo programs push us in one set of directions. Elsewhere, there are proponents of a wide variety of high fat & low fat regimens. You should eat this much & that much protein. There is probably some general consensus that a diet, regardless of macro-nutrient rations, which promotes a more natural, whole food, wild, pasture-raised and grass-fed bias is better for us. Phew! Somewhat chaotic still, but an almost tacit agreement in at least one area.

That doesn’t mean I want to give up my French fries though!

Another emerging trend that only mimics ancient practice is that of fasting. Fasting is a part of all the major religions. We were supposed to fast on Friday as kids. Then we got to eat fish on Fridays. Then that became fish ‘n’ chips. And since cookies & candy were’t meat, they were okay too! These days, fasting is being investigated more thoroughly. Both as a weigh-loss strategy, & a way of improving our overall health. And those that are delving deepest into this area of research are producing some results that might suggest that occasional fasting could have value in all our lives. I was doing intermittent fasting way before it became a thing. Much to the horror of friends & family at the time. In the past, a low carb diet with an occasional day of “starvation” worked pretty well. It helped me shed a lot of weight. And I kept it off for a significant number of years following that. Still haven’t figured out what finally went wrong again but that’s a story for another day. Meantime …

Now that I’m older … I wonder if it’ll work again?

Down 5.2 lbs.

Grass Fed Humans


I love a little calf, in all its cuteness, but I’m an omnivore. Worse, I’m a lazy omnivore so I’m not out tending a herd, nor do I hunt for my dinner. When I’m paying attention, I try to circle the outer aisles of the supermarket. When I’m in free-fall, you’ll find me filling the cart with all the wrong things at the end of the aisles. And then, sometimes, I’m drawn in to harvest those processed products that are shelved in the middle aisles. And so appealingly between waist & eye height. If I could eat such brightly packaged products with impunity, I might find it easier to eat less meat. Sadly, I can’t. They hurt me.

Whenever I’m building up to starting a diet, I start out focusing on all the things that have to go. That’s likely not the best psychological approach but it’s what I do. When I catch myself doing that, I try to refocus on things that I should, instead, be adding to my diet. Focusing on adding real, good food is a positive experience. It’s better to displace those food-like products, rather than think I’m depriving myself by eliminating them. One of the first, & possibly one of the best, things I can focus on adding is grass fed beef & pasture raised meats.

Yesterday, I took off to visit my local farmer who does this kind of thing. It’s a lovely country drive, through rolling hills. A varied view of lakes, rivers, forests & fields makes it a very pleasant journey. Chatting with the farmer is always pleasant too. His house & the surrounding buildings are so clean that it’s easy to feel good about buying food here. The cows are in the fields, munching on fresh green grass. Tails swishing at flies. Or lying about in groups, taking the shade of the trees from the summer sun. This was how I remember cows being as a child. And this is in pointed contrast to the factory farm operations, where the animals stand shoulder to shoulder, knee deep in muck & dung. Here, they eat inappropriate foods that make them fat quickly. And would likely make them sick, were they to live long enough to experience that.

I’m not claiming higher ground here. I thoughtlessly eat the cheaper, though likely less healthy, meat from those intensely farmed animals too. While I am challenged by the notion of being a grass fed human, I just know that the beef from a grass fed cow is better. For me. And for the cows. Yes, it is more expensive. And yes, I can lose weight eating the factory farmed meat. But there is something ritualistic about having to go out of the way to get the real thing. I also tend to eat a lot more veggies (what are those!?!) when I move towards eating well. And that tends to reduce my overall meat intake. Sometimes significantly. That can have a very positive impact on the cost per meal too. This all sounds so good, & feels so good, that I wonder why I don’t do it all the time.

Today … my freezer is now filled with grass fed beef & pastured pork. But I haven’t started the real diet yet. And one of the downsides of this preparatory phase is the clear out! I’m wired to not waste so the notion of tossing out all the bad stuff in my fridge & cupboards just doesn’t sit well. I’m more inclined to focus on the Monday start. And then I devour all the bad stuff over the weekend!

Though I haven’t yet decided if it should be Monday next week, or Monday the week after. I know, I know! But what can you do?

PS … Remind me to share yesterday’s Indian Coddle recipe somewhere along the way! 🙂