Hello, folks! I like to write, and I like to cook and play with my camera, so here’s a blog for all of this. The intent here to write about anything that relates to food that interests me. There will be some recipes and some poking around the rest of the Web and riffing off of that, and there will be thoughts about food and diet and agriculture in general, too. Even as I started this blog, some of the nuances of how I usually choose to eat were changing. And I’m discovering more as time goes on, as I read and eat, and discover what works best for me, a “scientific” sample size of One. (These things have enabled me to lose weight and get healthier in other regards, too. Weight is, and should always remain, a side issue.) My food plan is semi-Paleo – I do eat legumes (soaked and rinsed), and while I do avoid grains, I have added a few back in, as I found that some have improved my gut health.
As for the title: some day I want to raise goats and chickens, and at least during harvest months, nearly all of my own fruits and veggies. (With the exception of essentials such as lime, avocado and artichoke, not remotely hardy in New England. However, I’ve picked up some small citrus trees in the interim, which I hope to convince to produce for me…)
Right now, we’ll say I’ve had issues with weight — 55-60 pounds over what the charts claim I should weigh. I disagree with the anal-retentiveness of the number, (I stand slightly over six feet, so some leeway is fine.) More importantly, at that time I also had some issues with my heart — nothing definitive when checked medically, but I remain pretty certain. It was time to fine-tune what I generally eat.
I first tested out the induction phase of the “South Beach Diet”, which was good in that I did lose some weight. It came back because I hadn’t thought about any real plans for the future, and I still kept eating the cafeteria food at work. Yes, at home I cooked — and had been cooking — using fresh ingredients — but I probably brought my own lunch food to work maybe once a week. Yep, they had all those “heart healthy” food choices on the cafeteria line — laced with added sugars and starches and flavor extenders, and of course those fats that were indeed there were of the marginal variety — ever wonder why the word “margarine” seems to derive from the word “marginal”?
However. I finally got serious, and lost 35 pounds quickly, by removing most starches and those “added” sugars from over 95% of my diet, starting three years ago. Another 5 got shed more slowly. Potential heart events decreased to zero — we still haven’t a firm diagnosis, alas, but right now there are no symptoms to diagnose over. I bring my own lunch to work — I KNOW what is in it. I stopped eating potato chips – my true weakness. Very few added sugars. There is some more weight I might shed, and there is some fluctuation, but I no longer feel I have to keep aspirin for my heart to hand immediately.
Thing is, it’s not really the weight, although I think we all fall into that trap. And it’s not really your cholesterol level. Research seems to point to triglycerides, and to LDL/HDL ratios, the lower of each the better. Both indicators lowered dramatically when I began cooking more tasty foods for myself, and I can always find something healthy I like (nearly) as much as Lay’s Ruffled Potato Chips.
The key is, don’t deprive yourself. I did count calories, fat, protein and carbs for a brief period, but that was just to establish a baseline. (The scientist in me.) But depending on calories, fat, protein or carb grams, or “points” is just not a direction my mindset likes to travel.
In most cases, if you focus on real foods… quality seafood, quality low-glycemic carbs, quality fats, just about any veggie, and fruit that still has pulp, less processed (and if possible, pastured) meats – with whatever healthier legumes, grains and pseudograins work for you, possibly in limited quantities — your blood workup is likely to improve. Mine did, but again I am an N of 1. One thing that has been noted in research: people who try to limit their overall food ingestion — eventually fail at it. Starvation is not a viable food plan.
As per eating “low gluten” — I do not have Celiacs, but I have read William Davies’ book, Wheat Belly. I work with someone who keeps testing non-Celiac, but who cannot digest wheat gluten, in any form. Based on both of these data sources, I figure the increased amount of gluten in today’s wheat is a signal to limit ingestion of it. For me, what this means is that at home, I am essentially gluten-free. While gluten per-se probably had no influence on my weight-y issues (it is a protein after all, not a carb), the rapid increase of this substance in the standard American diet is a cause to reflect on how much of it we may be eating, and what we might be consuming which perhaps we should not be. And of course I prefer to eat foods that someone’s great-grandparent, (not necessarily my own) would have heard of, somewhere on this planet.
For me, the ideal food plate when I eat at home, or bring meals to work, potlucks, etc., consists of mostly vegetables, a good amount of whole eggs, healthy seafoods: Healthy fats, good proteins, healthy carbs from real foods (minimal starches from grains and very little sugar from processed additives), limiting my dairy — although quality yogurt, and some cheese is fine; and a reasonable amount of fruit works well for me.
The thing is: I feel better. I react healthier.
Updating April 29, 2018:
I am much closer to some of my goals. I am now living in my farmstead homestead, and will be acquiring day old baby chicks next Thursday, with a second batch to arrive sometime the following week.
My kale crop was awesome last fall – it was really about the only thing I had a chance to plant here (other than a superb crop of inedible cannas plants), as construction around the exterior was still ongoing.
I plan to build two raised beds this spring.
Anyhow, this blog, ongoing goals for 2018:
Adding in a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes, mainly influenced from dining tastes from around the world. They’ll be interspersed with offal (variety meat) recipes – I pretty much appreciate whole-animal eating. There will be one or two gluten-flour containing recipes, something I haven’t posted since the earliest days of blogging. But they are things from the eastern Asian world I really really want to try to make at home, and after I make them I may be able to try to come up with gluten-free variants.
Sous vide: I now have a sous vide machine, and I want to post more recipes for it. I’m looking at salmon in the immediate future. I probably won’t do many vegetables, because the level of heat one has to use on plastic bags (even if not containing BPA) for them concerns me. (Maybe those jelly-sized Ball canning jars??)
I bought a whole lamb. There will be more lamb recipes…
The Dining Out posts: if it is a local place, I’ll eat there a few times. If it is a vacation trip, it will be a one time impression. If service is bad, I’ll chalk it up to people being out and won’t report on it. (Well, were I doing a blog back in the early 80’s and we went to a diner late at night where we were only one of two tables in the joint, and the waitress kept blowing us off to kvetch with the cook… that’s different.) I’ll note that, with a few exceptions, I have real little interest in writing up a place where the food was sub par… typically too bored to bother. (I did do so with one Rhode Island restaurant, simply because that restaurant was right across from the ferry dock, and encouraging people to take a few more steps to good food was a decent idea. I’m still debating whether I want to post one breakfast/lunch venue who served RANCID fried potatoes… the previous time was cold-cheese Reubens, which I can forgive, but severely rancid oil??? It might be responsible to remind people.)
At any rate, please drop by this blog, and comment to your heart’s content!