Saturday, 17 April 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Holland and Barrett are a chain of stores selling wholefoods and supplements and they also publish Healthy magazine.On the front cover of this month's magazine is a mention of an article inside by celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio telling us that 'Carbs don't make you fat!' OK well that is a point of view but I don't think this advice is really coming from the right quarter as even Carluccio's greatest admirers would hardly describe him as svelte. Does anyone else see anything odd in this?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Who's Your Thin Friend?

I attended a convention last weekend and met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while, but I knew he had been slimming with a combination of healthier diet and exercise. It was good to see him looking trim and rather distinguished, and he said he felt better than he had done in years. Many people at that convention were considerably overweight, in fact there were several who would be counted as grossly obese, yet the rumour went around that my friend was ill, because he had lost weight, and nowadays in our increasingly obese society it is assumed that people only lose weight when they are ill. He had to make an announcement - 'yes it is me, no I am not ill'. Interestingly, people sometimes say to me 'oh I bet you can eat what you like and not put on weight' because of course if I was slim by some crazy chance that would absolve them of responsibility for their own weight. When I reply 'No, if I ate everything I wanted I would be enormous' they are rather shocked.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Times they are a-changing - slowly

My local paper recently published a pudding recipe for Easter. The ingredients included 12 hot cross buns, 1 pint each of milk and double cream, 260g sugar, and 4 eggs. It was supposed to serve four people! This monstrosity, coming in at 1100 calories a portion and insane amounts of saturated fat was recommended to be served with clotted cream. I could write to them to mention this but I doubt it would do anything other than brand me a spoilsport and misery who begrudges people a once a year indulgence. I did however sometime ago write to a cookery magazine which regularly publishes healthy eating guidelines to point out that most of their recommended menus supply more calories and fat at one sitting than they suggest should be eaten in a whole day. Now I claim no credit for this at all, but the message seems to be getting across, so I am guessing that other people have written in as well. There was an editorial recently saying that there is more demand for healthy recipes, and they have started including these. One feature of the magazine is a menu recommendation which is a combination of recipes from that issue and this month there was one for a healthy supper. Not CRON, not by a long chalk, but it is progress, and we should be pleased at that.

One thing we do lack in the great mass of cookery magazines is one on healthy cooking and eating. There is a supposedly health-oriented magazine but it contains few recipes and seems mainly to be concerned with illnesses and therapies, chiefly expensive supplements. There are slimming magazines but their recipes are aimed at overweight people who can lose weight on a regime that would actually put weight on little me. I am sure there is a niche for those of us who are already slim and healthy and want to stay that way. Maybe I should drop someone a line?

Monday, 15 March 2010

I can procrastinate any time I like

Life as we all know can be very busy and stressful. Even if we eat well we can create other problems which will impact our health. Procrastination is a false friend. Why put off what needs to be done, as it will have to be done sooner or later and better now than in a mad rush at the last minute? I am so very far from perfect on this, but I have developed a strategy which requires some discipline (and we all know about that, don't we?) but works for those situations when I need to get ready to go out. In a situation when I need to go out in say, an hour, I might feel that it will take me half an hour to get all the things ready that I need, and so I get on with those little jobs that I can do before I go. This is a trap. Either the jobs will overrrun and I will be late or, when the half hour slot comes around I find it all takes longer than I thought. Result - rushing about like a mad thing and getting stressed. Not good. This is where the discipline bit comes in. I make myself get eveything ready for going out first, so that all I need to do when the time comes, is put on my coat pick up my bag and go. Then, and only then do I start those enticing little jobs. When you analyse it, how many things actually have to be done at the last minute? Very few. I do the same thing when planning a meal. Everything that can be done in advance is done in advance. So the only things that I do at the last minute are the ones that can only be done at the last minute. As I said - I am far from perfect, but at least I know what I should be aiming for.

Monday, 18 January 2010


Pumpkin is such a neglected vegetable in the UK. Time was you would never see it until October, and that was only for carving lanterns. I wouldn’t be surprised if in some parts of the UK that was still true, but fortunately I can get it all year round. And what a fantastic versatile veg it is! It’s wonderful in savoury spicy dishes like curry and tagine, and its texture makes soups velvety. Of course there is Bob’s wonderful pumpkin pie recipe but did you know that the combination of pureed pumpkin, spices, evaporated milk and the sweetener of your choice can be churned to make a fabulous ice cream?
I have also made a pumpkin hummus, substituting mashed pumpkin for half the chickpeas. Chickpea and pumpkin mash also appeared as a topping on my CRottage pie.
I think in the US it is available canned but I have never seen it canned here. I cut it in quarters and when I want some I microwave it till tender and then scoop out the flesh – that’s much easier than trying to peel it.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Bubba and me

Sorry for the long gap in postings - I haven't dropped off the radar - or off the wagon! Just very very busy and I like to do these postings justice by giving them a lot of thought and attention. Recently we (that is husband and self) acquired Bubba-kegs. We saw a friend with one and thought it was a good product. Basically it is a very large insulated mug. I like to have a mug of tea beside me as I work and with my Bubba-keg (I have the 1.5 litre size and G has gone for 2 litres) I need only do this once and then can sit in my upstairs office glugging as I work. The other advantage of not making frequent trips down to the kitchen is that I don't get importuned by our two cats who think that my presence there is to feed them. They have their own ideas about Ad Libitum feeding! To fill the keg I make up a large pot of green tea, and when it has infused I put half a sliced organic unwaxed lemon into the keg, then decant the tea into it and close the lid. There is a small sipping spout which can be kept covered when not being used. The contents stay hot for about 3 hours. Cold drinks will apparently stay cool for 12. Another good drink in this cool weather is hot vegetable broth, but I intend to ring the changes a lot. I could also make up a big vegetable casserole for lunch but I would have to unscrew the lid to eat it - not a big problem. I am sure there are many products of this kind, but this is the one I have tried, and it suits me very well!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

It's not just about food

While a healthy diet is a vital ingredient in feeling youthful there are other things of importance. I have just spent ten days up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival working as a volunteer for a company that manages a venue. I worked in the kitchen, the cafe, box office, and did cleaning and leafleting. Most of the other volunteers were young enough to be my grandchildren. I spent a lot of my time on my feet, did miles of walking and running up and down stairs. I also ate like a horse - and arrived home weighing slightly less than when I went! So not CRd for that time. (Back on the straight and narrow as sson as I got back) But the huge buzz I got from the vibrancy of the place and the massive engery and enthusiasm was like an injection of youth!

On another subject - I have a small garden, and while I suppose I could fill it with vegetables I choose not to. I do grow fresh herbs, but I can get organic veg from the local farmers' market. In my garden there are flower beds, a rockery, hanging baskets and containers. It is a garden to give peace and visual pleasure. I enjoy being there and just pottering around tending to it. I am sure the feeling of contentment I get from the garden and also the gentle exercise contribute to my longevity as well as my diet.