Most Mondays I regret the indulgences of the weekend and vow to make changes to my eating habits. By Wednesday I will have stumbled so many times that I defer my decision until after the weekend … and so the wheel turns.
Now, though, I have decided that enough is enough! I am going to spend a week eating as much unprocessed food as possible. Just to get started I have decided that there are two levels of unprocessed food. For example boxed meusli from the supermarket is not allowed but pre-mixed meusli from the health food shop is acceptable. Ideally one would mix one’s own meusli but at the moment it is baby steps for me. A second example would be, say, preparing spaghetti sauce. Using a jar of sauce is not permitted, but preparing the sauce using tinned tomatoes is acceptable. Baby steps, OK?
I had some really scrummy homemade granary bread for breakfast, and again at lunchtime with a bowl of my own leek and potato soup. Dinner was roast chicken, potato cakes and vegetables. I had a tiny amount of Bisto gravy, made with vegetable water. As I’m not a big dessert eater I didn’t need to plan for that. Snacks during the day consisted of fruit and a visit to the pub in the evening saw me imbibing two bottles of Sol beer. Not bad for a start.
For breakfast I had one of my homemade scones from the freezer with a dollop of my own fig jam and a small smoothie. As I was planning to be out for a good while in the morning I armed myself with a pear and a couple of satsumas to ward off the hunger pangs. My late lunch consisted of homemade soup followed by a fried egg on homemade wholegrain spelt bread. I was craving something sweet so I had a dessert of natural yoghurt with a spoonful of homemade jam mixed through. For dinner I really fancied a starter of egg mayonnaise so I took the bull by the horns and, for the first time ever, I made my own mayo. For main course I had herb mash, spinach and pan fried sea bream. Delicious!
Started the day with meusli and coffee. Lunch consisted of leek and potato soup (again) and an open chicken mayo sandwich. Coffee and a sliver of wheat free cake. All good, thus far. I was supposed to go out for dinner tonight to a restaurant where none of the food is processed, but road conditions prevented this happening so I had to improvise. I made lentil soup using vegetable stock cube 😦 . Then I stuffed chicken breasts with a mixture of basil pesto (from a jar) and Philadelphia cream cheese, wrapped them in smoked bacon and cooked them in the oven. I made Mediterranean roast vegetables and served the meal with potato wedges. I wasn’t so good today, but baby steps is what it’s all about.
Snow heaven, or hell, depending on how you view these things. We awoke this morning to a blanket of snow. We also had tickets for The Ireland vs Argentina rugby match at Landsdowne Road. To cut a long story short we ended up having a a pub snack prior to the game. Vegetable soup and a hot roast beef sandwich . It wasn’t good, the soup was thin and the bread was dreadful. I removed the meat from the sandwich and just ate the beef. Luckily there were a few chips served on the side. After the game we met some friends for a drink and two hot whiskeys just about brought me back to life. Home then to spaghetti Bolognese, the sauce was home made but the pasta was dried wholewheat so I suppose it was processed.
The weather is till snowy and cold. This makes me want to eat lots. Breakfast was home-made scone and jam. Elevenses was an egg mayonaisse sandwich, made with my own granary bread, free range egg and more of that mayo I made the other day. Banana and chocolate chip muffins are cooling on the rack as I type … I may have to sample one of these shortly. I made a beef/noodle dish for dinner, using straight to wok noodles (processed) and dessert was apricot and pine nut cake which I baked myself. Hubby and son liked it, I didn’t care so much for it. But then I’m not big into desserts.
Being snowbound has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that I can prepare a lot of homemade food myself. The disadvantage is that I sit around eating it and not going to the gym. This morning I made a batch of scones, then some meringues from the egg whites left over from making the mayo and I also put a goulash on to cook slowly for a nice winter warmer. I had to resort to using a beef stock cube in the goulash, so clearly my changeover is still a work in progress.
Well all good things come to an end. I started well today with a bowl of porridge for breakfast. I even trudged through the snow to the village and bought some specialty flour. I made spelt bread and a malthouse loaf and both were truly scrumptious. But there it ended. I raided the freezer and for dinner we had scampi, potato wedges and frozen broccoli with Hollandaise sauce. Oh! How easily I have slipped back to lazy eating.
My experiment has taught me a few things. Firstly, with the minimum of planning I can have homemade bread most days. With some extra thought I can eliminate a substantial amount of convenience food from my shopping list. Excluding processed food from my diet is attainable but it requires making an effort, it demands a little forethought and planning. Sure, I fell by the wayside but, apart from the scampi and wedges blow out, for the most part it wasn’t a difficult road.
There will always be a space in my cupboard for such items as tinned tomatoes, stock cubes (because I know I won’t always have fresh/frozen stock) and I will always have a selection of frozen vegetables in the freezer. But I can lose the jars of sauces that have sneaked into my larder. I can ditch the frozen pizzas in favour of fresh ones. It’s all in the planning and, remember, it’s always baby steps.