Friday, 23 November 2007


When I was 14 I decided that I really ought to learn something about cooking as this would be a useful skill, so I started reading recipes. That was the start of a lifetime’s interest in food and its preparation. I am one of the unusual CRers who loves food and cooking. I have been subscribing to a cookery magazine for many years, and have recently been going though the back issues to see what CR-friendly recipes I can glean. I am currently putting them onto a database in order to be able to dispose of the magazines which I don’t have room for. There isn’t really a CR-friendly magazine as such. I have looked at slimmers’ magazines and they are obviously designed for people who are overweight and want to be slimmer not skinny me who wants to stay that way, so the recipes are still way too calorific. But the mag I usually take does have quite a few healthy style recipes and many which can be tweaked usually by reducing the amount of oil used (for tablespoons read teaspoons) and substituting a few ingredients. Some recipes intended to be side dishes can suddenly find themselves promoted to main course status. There are a lot of recipes that are way beyond the pale, however. The classic signs to look out for are names that include certain key words such as ‘creamy’, ‘cheesy’, ‘sticky’ ‘luxury’, ‘decadent’ and ‘indulgent’. And any recipe whose title includes the word ‘heaven’ is probably going to get you there a lot faster. We are urged to treat ourselves to things that are naughty but nice. This does call to mind the time I saw a friend who I knew was trying to lose weight, consuming a large sugary snack. She commented guiltily that she knew she shouldn’t be eating it but reckoned she deserved a treat. But that was a treat only for the tastebuds, a few minutes of pleasure followed by hours of regret. A treat should be something that is going to benefit our bodies, not do them damage. My friend didn’t deserve that snack because she is a good person who should be with us as long as possible.

The useful thing about the magazine is that for each recipe it supplies a calorie count per portion plus analysis of protein, fat, saturated fat, carbs, sugar, fibre and salt. And what a horror story this sometimes tells. There have been 500 calorie starters, dessert recipes with over 800 calories a portion, vegetable dishes dressed with cream and butter, and one main course which was over 1100 calories! The magazine would probably say in its defence that it always possible to make adjustments elsewhere in the meal, but this argument doesn’t apply to features which recommend a three course menu. Taking a magazine at random I went through all of these set menus and counted the calories. Not including drinks with the meal, I found that they were advising people to consume 2000 to 3000 calories at one sitting. So I wrote to them pointing out that while I appreciated that this wasn’t a slimmers’ magazine, they were suggesting that readers eat at one meal as many or more calories than were recommended for the average person to consume in a whole day. In other words these were weight-gain menus. They didn’t reply, but I noticed they did do lip-service to this point in a later issue by stating that a course could be omitted if it was felt to be too much!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

The Two of Us

Great excitement today – Sarah visited for a cup of coffee – this is the first time I have met another CRer – so I told the other half he was officially outnumbered which he took with his usual good grace. As ever I think we wanted to talk about everything on our first meeting but couldn’t squeeze it all in – good to know we were in agreement about so many things and we also found other interests in common, a love of cats and the theatre. Probably loads more we haven’t found yet. It would be great if more London-based CRers could meet up. Sarah had a great suggestion – the ideal place is the Wholefood Store in Kensington where you can just choose your own food and take it to the dining area to eat and chat. Must try and set that up sometime!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Not my actual birthday but my CRON birthday. I don’t know the exact date I started CRON but I do recall it was mid November 2006, so I have nominated November 15th. So here I am, one year on and I am thinking about what has changed. Well I am lighter than I have been all my adult life, about 90lb. I put on fashionable clothes, look in the mirror and feel horribly pleased with myself. My mood is lighter, too – the CR euphoria effect, even though I don’t fast. Those people who think CRers are miserable are so very wrong! And I haven’t had a cold all year, at least nothing with the usual sniffly congested miserable symptoms, even though my other half has had three, and I used to get every cold he had, only worse. Food tastes so much better, I love to savour its fresh flavours. And I have plenty of energy to buzz about and do all the stuff I need to do. I have not had to give up any food that I enjoy eating. I have been able to make low-calorie nutritious versions of things I like. Some unhealthy foods I find I no longer want to eat in any case. I can still, with a little ingenuity in choices, eat out regularly. I have had a hiatus hernia for some years, and used to take medication to fight acid reflux. Not any more. And I don’t have to prop myself up on lots of pillows to sleep. Through the CR Society I have made the acquaintance of a great number of intelligent and interesting people, read their comments daily, and look forward to meeting them some day. I have learnt a huge amount about nutrition. Nothing is worse, lots of things are far far better. My only regret is that I didn’t discover CRON earlier.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Just Desserts

I have never had much of a sweet tooth, and a year on CRON makes me even less inclined to eat sweet stuff. But I do like a nice not-too-sweet pudding, especially ice-cream, and I don’t see why with a little kitchen ingenuity it can’t be part of my diet. Some CR-friendly desserts are designed to be as low calorie as possible, but why not shift the emphasis and make the dessert the star of the show? Fresh fruit, natural yogurt, skim milk, egg whites, low fat soft cheeses, good quality cocoa, nuts and seeds, all can be employed to produce dishes full of vitamins, protein and calcium. Start the meal with a big salad or steamed vegetables, then tuck into a fruit and yogurt ice-cream sundae sprinkled with chopped almonds. To the casual onlooker you seem to be scoffing something wildly calorific – only you know it’s health food – and they will wonder how you maintain your trim figure!