Thursday, 30 August 2007

Luigi Cornaro - CR icon

I have only just discovered the discourses of Luigi Cornaro, ‘How to Live 100 Years, or Discourses on the Sober Life’, written some 450 years ago and yet so fresh and beautiful. The man was way ahead of his time! He describes the kind of life I would like to lead, healthy and simple and full of gentle pleasures. There are quite a few websites with this on – here is one –

This evocation of peace and happiness and contentment is like a balm on our frazzled modern consciousness. I have read it through several times and aim to read it again often. The thing that gets me is that he was writing at a time when nutrition as a science didn’t exist. There was a concept of what food was good for invalids, i.e. very simple digestible food, but that was about it. He had no idea that vitamins existed, and no nutritional software! His diet was pretty reasonable – meat, fish, vegetables, soup, egg (only the yolk) milk, panado - which I think is a bread and milk pudding, and wheatmeal as opposed to refined bread. He doesn’t mention fruit but he did drink what to us would seem like a lot of wine – I don’t know how strong it was back then! The then current way of thinking was that if food was good for the palate it was good for the stomach. He tested this idea on himself and realised that it was wrong. The reason being of course that even then, for a man of means, there were all sorts of refined foods very far from what was available in nature, which deluded the palate with flavour unconnected to good nutrition. Having changed his diet to a modest and simple regime he said that after many years he relished his simple food more than he would have done refined delicacies. So he effectively reversed the prevalent idea – feed the body and the palate will follow. So if you eat food which is good for the body eventually you will come to prefer that food to the unhealthy stuff. So – eventually - no cravings – it’s just a matter of sticking with it.

The man is an inspiration!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Wot, no pasta?

I do like a nice Bolognese sauce – I use Quorn mince as a base, with beef broth to add flavour, garlic, tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs. Even my almost obligate carnivore other half likes it! But what about the pasta? I have been using wholewheat in small amounts but it doesn’t give the nutritional ‘bang for the buck’ as they say. I have been experimenting with substitutes – one is finely shredded lettuce, which does give nice long thin threads for the sauce to cling to and a crunchy freshness. The other idea is courgettes - (zucchini in the USA). I cut them very thin lengthways and steam in the microwave till tender. A nice alternative to penne is mushrooms sliced quite chunkily. Shirataki noodles are quite good and almost calorie free but are best in wet dishes like soups. I was wondering if anyone had any better ideas?

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Back from the BBQ

Thanks for the welcome messages!

I think I did OK at the BBQ. The trick is to bring a dish I know I can eat, (lime and chilli chicken) fill up on sugar-free drinks while I am waiting for the food to be put out and get cooked, then dig into the salad and chicken. There were sausages and burgers, there too, all very fatty and indigestible. Not at all tempting to me. But there were some great vegetable skewers, and corn on the cob, and strawberries and a good red wine. Perfect. More calories than I am used to, but I balanced it with a lighter than usual lunch before I set out and a smaller than usual breakfast this morning.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

My first blog posting

This will at present be an occasional blog – only as time permits. Life is too busy for me right now but I look forward to next year when I retire and will hopefully have a little more time.

I am 59 and have been practising CRON since last November. It is a fascinating process of learning and refining which still has a long way to go - an exciting journey which I am really enjoying. I may well be the shortest Cronie at 4ft 11” and weighed about 110lb when I began. My weight shaded down gradually losing about half a pound a week and now varies between 91 and 92. I haven’t felt this good in ages, and love the way my clothes fit.

There have over the last few months been a number of ‘challenges’ to meet - restaurant meals, weekend trips etc but these have been much less of a problem than I had imagined. I can usually find something I want to eat. Last Saturday I was at a wedding held in a Weatherspoon’s pub. The buffet consisted of large platters of chips, fried chicken, fried onion rings, fried onion bhaijis, and similar stuff with seafood salads smothered in mayonnaise and a cheeseboard. There was some white pasta with tomato sauce and shaved parmesan. Hmmm. I did find a plate with some melon slices and grabbed one, then got the grape garnish off the cheeseboard, and managed to excavate some salad that had missed out on the mayo smothering. I found a dry cracker, looked at it, decided I couldn’t be bothered with it and left it. I had a few bits of pasta in the sauce. I drank a glass of champagne and an orange juice. It was enough until I got home and had a nice salad dinner.

Was I tempted by the chips and other fried stuff? Not one bit. My stomach is used to fresh healthy food with good clean flavours. Had a large bowl of blueberries been placed on the table no-one else would have got a look-in!

Good to read about how little ladies like me have an advantage in CRON as we eat less. I aim at about 1200 calories a day. Rarely more, sometimes less. I weigh most stuff apart from salads and the really watery veg. But once I have weighed an item I don’t need to do it again. I know how many almonds make a 50 calorie snack. I know the calories in the normal size portion of chicken and salmon. My tuna tin says on the outside how many calories within. It’s not that hard.

I love good wine and good chocolate. I manage to consume both in moderation.

Today I am going to a friend’s barbecue. I am taking a dish with me – chicken breast portions sliced lengthwise into thirds, marinated in one teaspoon of mild chilli powder, the juice of a lime and a handful of chopped fresh coriander. If I was at home I would bake this in the oven on a non-stick baking sheet. And bring on the crunchy salad!

Testing testing

This is my first posting - let's see how it looks!