Sunday, January 08, 2017

the days of steak and roses

I have not written much about my revised food intake and walking schedule lately.

There is is a good reason. I do not have much to tell you. And what I have to tell is not very encouraging.

For a few months, I had been walking several miles a day. That was the easy part of my get-with-it regime. One big circumstance ate into my walking schedule -- blisters. Blisters and the ensuing infection.

Other than days off to let my feet recover, I was thoroughly enjoying getting out every morning. I cannot say I enjoyed my environment. When I am walking, I could be walking through the Forest of Lórinand or a toxic chemical dump in New Jersey. It wouldn't matter. I am too fixated on keeping cadence.

My new food intake had been working rather well. Lots of vegetables. Very few fruits. Bits of chicken chopped up in stir fry. Lots of salads and soups. And as few carbohydrates as I could manage.

That worked well when I was here alone. I tossed out, or gave away, anything that would not help me stay on the straight and narrow. When I went out to restaurants, I often took a Greek salad or a chicken stir fry with me. (Eating at restaurants was one of my health undoings. I restricted my outings to places where I could socialize without creating a scene with my take-in routine. That was the grand total of two restaurants.)

As a result of my new food intake and my walking, jiggly thighs were replaced with muscle, my heart rate was reduced by almost one-third, my stress measurement went down, my waist size dropped three inches, I lost almost 12% of my body weight, and I felt great.

The arrival of my mother, brother, and sister-in-law threw a spanner into my Cuisinart. On the way from the airport, we stopped for groceries. It may be more accurate to say we stopped for carbohydrates, candy, and fruit.

Even with those new items in the house, I managed to stay away from them. My undoing was cooking for my guests.

I am a good cook. A very good cook. And when I cook, I like to show off my ingenuity and originality.

For the first few meals, my family ate what I had been eating. Even then, as you can tell from the photograph at the top of this essay, I started cheating. I love pasta. Having guests was a great excuse to slip some under one of my experimental stir fry dishes.

Then, my guests began craving large hunks of meat. The solution was easy. I have a great grill system in the courtyard where I could prepare full meals -- if I chose to. But, because I am not fond of big meat, I had never used the grill in the two years I had lived here.

While Darrel manned the grill, I whipped up some accompanying dishes. In this case, mint peas with shallots, and an interesting experiment with gemelli in a lemon, tomato, pine nut, and garlic sauce. It was a smash hit.

And that is how the month has passed. Not every meal is that large. Our evening meal is often nothing more than a salad or a light graze through the refrigerators. But there is much that I would not be eating if I were here on my own.

I know. I know. That is the same excuse that alcoholics use. It was my choice to eat what I cooked.

The alcoholic analogy may not be that far off. Last night, I bought a baguette from The French Bakery -- and ate the whole thing in bed along with a very healthy portion of duck 
pâté. Here is the alcoholic clue: I am not fond of bread. I may as well have been eating it out of a plain paper bag on Skid Row.

Now, that I am regularly walking in the morning again (my last round of infection was fought back with another round of antibiotics), it is time to take control of my food intake.

And my family need not suffer. For stir fry, I can eat the topping without the pasta or the rice. When we have steak night, I can cut up a little in my vegetables. And some things, I will simply not touch.

This new-found multi-cuisinity may not survive the week. Three more guests are arriving on Wednesday. And, at least one is a strict vegetarian.

I may just eat whatever I prepare for her. 

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