Artistic Dieting

Ripples on the Pond

I like precision. For years, little inconsistencies bothered me. I liked my cut lines on the lawn to be parallel. A picture that wasn’t quite perfectly horizontal demanded attention. A spot on the floor, flagged by the otherwise perfect surface sheen, was an irritant. There were jobs I did along the way where that kind of obsession about detail probably had some value. In real life, perhaps not so much. With dieting, probably not at all.

One little failure on a diet doesn’t mean it’s all shot. But I often behaved as if it did. Or was that just an excuse to start over again next Monday? Though I mellowed with age, I find myself still drawn to clean lines. Sometimes I pretend I’m an artist so I can take a totally contrarian approach. But the real me still comes out. Somewhere in the mess, there will be a pinprick of precision that is invisible to most. But to me, it’s the meaning of the whole thing. It proves there is order amongst the chaos. That there is beauty in the ripples that disturb the pond.

Very esoteric, eh! But what on earth does it have to do with diet?

I don’t possess the degree of control that would allow me to restrict my food intake, day in & day out, for the rest of my life. I have diligently tried to stick to so many dietary regimens, most of which resulted, ultimately, in failure. However, I learned something from all these failures. Dieting is really more like art. You need to carefully pick the tiny points of precision. The rules that really make a difference. And then let the rest dissolve into something that isn’t quite total chaos.

My perfect diet will allow me to eat french fries & ice cream. And no, I don’t want to control my portion size! While there will be rules, they will only be the foundation for the chaos. Small, almost invisible, anchors that will allow me to splash paint all over the rest of the canvas.

After two large dinner servings last evening, I had a home made cherry & chocolate chip ice cream. A quick calculation tells me the dessert was just south of 2,000 calories. But who’s counting!

I wonder what the scale would have thought this morning? 🙂

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! 🙂

How to do Easy Herb Gardening!

Herb Garden on a RailIf you’re on some kind of deprivation diet (& don’t they all deprive us of something we like!), there is no need to make matters worse by making what’s left to eat bland & boring. I love herbs & spices, they can convert the mundane into the magnificent. There is nothing to beat the intense flavours of fresh herbs, pulled from your own garden, right at the time of preparing a meal. However, & much though I love beautiful gardens, I have no desire to spend any time making one!

I’m told these have been around forever but I only discovered the Over the Rail planter box this year. There was a time when I might have wanted to plant seeds, dig soil from the garden to fill the planter, transplant seedlings & all that other stuff. Way too much work! This year, I bought a couple of these planters, a bag of already-fertilised soil, & a selection of herbs & peppers. I went with one each of oregano, rosemary & mint, four basil plants & three different hot peppers. I threw them all into two of these planters. Then I tossed the two planters onto the deck rail, outside my back door. It’s right off the kitchen. Perfect!

Hardly any work involved to get things going. I see them looking at me every day so I remember to water them. And when I’m cooking, I grab a scissors, step outside the door & snip. You don’t even have to bend to do it all. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but I haven’t seen a mosquito yet this year either &, in general, the presence of bugs around the deck is very low.  To boot, when I sit on the deck, I’ve got this amazing scent of herbs, mixed with the sunshine & gentle breezes. It’s just good for body & spirit.

I think I’ve already harvested the full value of my financial investment & they seem to grow even better every time I cut them back. I haven’t harvested any peppers yet & when I add in the spirit factor, I think the return will be huge by the time the growing season is done.

This is my kind of lazy gardening & I highly recommend giving it a go.

I’m off to make a sugar-free mohito with my own mint now!

OMG … I’m Prejudiced!

It’s not my fault. It’s all those foreign foods!

Japan has shabu-shabu & sushi. Mexico has burritos & tacos. Italians have all those delicious pasta dishes. And I thought antipasto was supposed to counter the effects of all that spaghetti but now I’m told it doesn’t. China has real food in China but here we have all you can eat Chinese buffets with heavily breaded particles of protein & French fries. German sausages are to die for, aren’t they? In Canada we have lobster & cod on the east coast. Salmon & oysters on the west coast, Alberta has beef. The French influence on Quebec might be obvious but they’ve got the best pizzas & subs too. Along with poutine! And please, don’t talk to me about India … how can a billion people in India be really skinny, & I can’t pass by an Indian restaurant in the car & not gain? It’s funny how even contemplating a diet, at any level of deprivation, can focus the mind so much on food. Actually, it’s not the least bit funny. It’s just cruel.

I grew up eating a little bread with my butter. And now I can’t even inhale the aroma of freshly baked bread. You could have spuds at every meal & real Irish bacon & cabbage, with heavily buttered floury potatoes. It’s a gourmand’s delight. We have great cultural diversity here, the cuisines of the world are on our doorstep, so I feel obliged to try everything. And, short of chicken feet, I love most things. Mind you, I could probably use more leafy greens in my diet. Though I do use cilantro & basil in sufficient quantity that they might qualify.


And now that I’ve mentioned that … I think it’ll be a Thai Basil Curry for dinner tonight. But is that with, or without, the rice!

TGIF & enjoy the weekend!