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Food wot I have eaten

August 19, 2010

About a week ago, still miserably sick, I read a friend’s post about going on the Paleo Diet. I think the paleo diet gimmick is daft, but it makes a good starting point with food that is definitely healthy and almost certainly makes your body happy.

Thanks to Lent, I know for sure that giving up milk and dairy makes no difference to how I feel physically – except for the sad spectacle of me gazing wistfully at glasses of milk and weeping in the cheese aisle.

“Was the milk nice?” asked her grandfather.

“I never drank any so good before,” answered Heidi.

“Then you must have some more,” and the old man filled her bowl again to the brim and set it before the child, who was now hungrily beginning her bread having first spread it with the cheese, which after being toasted was soft as butter; the two together tasted deliciously, and the child looked the picture of content as she sat eating, and at intervals taking further draughts of milk.

So in the last week, I have eaten only vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, olive oil and delicious dairy. No rice, no grains, and no beans. No sugar at all. Coffee with lots of milk alone is – it’s getting better. On Saturday, I’m going to have some rye bread to see if that works. The plan is to slowly reintroduce grains and such once a week and see what makes me feel wobbly.

Because I haven’t felt sick yet. End of the day, I’m worn out and I fall asleep very fast, but I’m getting 8-10 hours of being awake and non-exhausted first. It might be the food. It might be random chance. I’m willing to see for a couple of months because being awake? Amazing. Man, I hope it is something stupid like an allergy or malnutrition.

One major difference: food takes longer to eat. Seriously, chomping down a plate covered in veggies and meat takes longer than a bowl of noodles. I don’t mind the prep time, because I can just grab a banana or some nuts if I can’t be bothered to spend 5-15 minutes cooking up something. But eating just takes up more time and I have to actually think about what I’m going to eat, not just grab whatever’s nearby.

Food wot I have eaten

So I like boiled eggs a lot. And sausages. My kids like ’em with their stir fries and rice, so I have made both, and instead of what they get, I grab some veggies instead. I don’t follow a recipe. If it’s yummy raw, I will chop it up and make a salad with a plain dressing. If it needs cooking, I’ll grab Joy of Cooking or Cooks Illustrated and figure out a method. So far, I have grilled eggplant (good, but too salty), sauteed carrots with honey and sesame seeds (mmm), sort of fried tomatoes in sausage grease (YUM), and made a bunch of quick salads.

A cup of milk heated up in the microwave, then two teaspoons of plain cocoa powder and a big messy teaspoon of honey stirred in. I added a dash of cinnamon for the scent. Not milo, but still comforting on a rainy day.

Tuna, Onion and Artichoke Heart salad
Pretty much that. I diced three onions, drizzled balsamic vinegar over them and a pinch of salt and then stirred in a can of whole tuna in olive oil, with most of the oil. I left that to sit and then added a can of artichoke hearts. They were squishy out of the can so I cut ’em up with scissors instead of a knife. That makes a big bowl, enough for 2-3 people. I’m eating my part in a bowl lined with lettuce leaves. I rip up a leaf and roll up some salad inside and num-num. I think it would be SO GOOD with feta cheese, except we’re out of it.

Fruit and yogurt
Cut fruits up – bananas are chopped, apples peeled and chunked, whatever. Put into a little bowl. Microwave for a minute or two so they’re soft. Stir in a huge tablespoon of greek yogurt and a tiny teaspoon of honey. Devour. So so good, and the yogurt is like melted ice-cream only nicer.

Greek yogurt at home
I’m making a second batch now. We’re in the tropics, so keeping it warm is not an issue so much. Basically, I made two litres of powdered milk, and was very generous with the milk powder to hot water ratio, so it’s thick milk. Then I stuck it in a biiiig pot – I have a slow cooker, so I could keep it warm if it cooled too much, but anything that you can warm up in a microwave for like 10 seconds or in an oven or stove if it gets too cold should do. A thermos would be good, but tiny. When the milk is bathwater warm, stir in about two flat tablespoons per litre of plain yogurt, either from a prior batch or the supermarket. Then cover it, plop it someplace warm and ignore it for about 6-8 hours. The milk will curdle into yogurt with that nice sharp yogurt smell. I drained mine with a clean old t-shirt cut up (I didn’t have cheesecloth around) and I stirred the whey into something I was cooking. You can give it to animals or drink it yourself, it’s just a very thin milky drink. 2 litres of milk should give me about 1l or slightly less of thick yogurt, enough for a couple of days in this house.

Baked potatoes
I clean em, fork em, stick em in the microwave for 7 minutes, then finish them off in the toaster oven for another 10-15 minutes. Then I pull ’em in half and slather butter or cheese or whatever with them. Especially delicious is to hollow them out and mash up the potato insides with veggies and cheese, then pack them back in to their crisp shells. Idiot-proof deliciousness.

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