Friday, 28 December 2007

Aftermath

It is always these days between Christmas and New Year that I find difficult; a period of no-man's-land time, hours that seem to demand to be filled with the same partying excess as those in the days preceding them. Not that there was an awful lot of excess this year, but still I'm not entirely sure where to put myself right now. It's probably not on the sofa with a bottle of red.

I had a wonderful few days with friends and family. Christmas Eve canapes and fizz was immense fun, and enough people accepted last minute invitations to make it a lot more of a party than I had intended it to be - nothing wrong with that! Christmas morning was spent pottering in the kitchen and cooking at a lesiurely speed while P slumbered late and my mother went to church; we opened presents and had yet more fizz with the neighbours before I served lunch late, and after that we managed a bit of a walk before dusk fell and we huddled up en famille to watch tacky movies and read books and listen to music. Boxing Day saw P and my brother at the races, and my mother and I on an abortive sales excursion to Bath, and then in Bradford on Avon eating a delicious lunch with too much wonderful fresh warm home-made bread which I suspect was responsible for yesterday's wince-making figures on the scales (better today, and hopefully even better tomorrow).

Yesterday I tried to adjust to being on my own again, and am doing the same today. This morning I even made it back to the gym. Yay, go me. I am determined to keep that up this year, to get back into the habit of going. It's not so bad early in the morning. Since then I have pottered around town, drunk coffee, done some desultory clearing up of dried plant stalks and leaves in the garden and now I am waiting for some more neighbours to return from their holiday trip so I can steal their dog and force myself out for another long walk in my new woolie hat.

The past few days have reminded me, not that I ever need much reminding, how much I love cooking for company. I never cook much for myself; my food doesn't need much, if any, effort to prepare. I can quite happily eat broccoli florets straight from the bunch, straight out of the fridge (not that I often do - I do at least get the knife out). But I really enjoyed the cooking I did this year. There was the Christmas eve canape selection, which was pretty much how I anticipated it being in my last blog post. For Christmas lunch, P wanted ham, so I soaked a green gammon for a couple of hours the day before, and then poached it with star anise, celery, carrots, and onion studded with cloves. On Christmas morning I mixed honey, balsamic vinegar and whole-grain mustard into a sticky, sloppy glaze, poured it over the meat and roasted it in the oven. After an hour, to my relief, it stopped looking like, well, like what it was (boiled dead thing) and started looking picture perfect. Veggies were fennel braised in white wine and veggie stock; steamed chantenay carrots; steamed January King cabbage and broccoli, with chopped chestnuts. Roasted potatoes, as I had planned, for everyone else. I made cabbage parcels stuffed with a little mashed parsnip, and mushrooms and chestnuts cooked in white wine with garlic and onions for myself. We ate leftovers on Boxing Day, and yesterday I ate cold leftover veggies for tea, like a glutton straight out of the serving dish.

Today I have eaten pineapple and pomegranate seeds, several stalks of celery with low-fat cream cheese, a salad of rocket and chicory with beetroot and a balsamic/mustard dressing, a few almonds, a brazil nut, some grapes and a dried fig. Yes, I am grazing. :-) But if one is going to graze, grazing through a fridge of green veggies is not a bad way to go about it. If I don't cook for neighbours tonight, my supper will be salad made with lots of chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, clementine, chicory, with a few pieces of pecan and chestnut, and some cottage cheese on the side. Baby steps towards CRON 2008.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse


Actually it's 6.30am on Christmas Eve, and I am wide awake and have been since 5, but the house with P and my mother asleep upstairs is pretty quiet. I've been pottering around, trying to sort out the chaos which is the fridge. There is a space issue - it's so crammed full of veggies and salad and other good-but-not-so-good things that... there is no room for fizz! The horror! :-)

Tonight I am serving champagne and canapes to neighbours and friends. My mother asked when her main meal would be... I said, you are having:

- oven baked sausages in some kind of sticky glaze
- mini baked potatoes with creme fraiche
- mini beef wellingtons
- grilled asparagus (totally unseasonal but what else is a CR girl to eat?)
- smoked salmon on blinis with (ff) cream cheese and dill
- oatcake canapes with goat's cheese and beetroot
- chicory filled with (ff) cream cheese and walnuts

... and you want a main meal?! Um, no - that's your lot. :-)

I suspect I am over-catering. I was expecting my brother, who is 6 foot 5 inches of strapping 34 year old with hollow legs, to be here, but he's not arriving until tomorrow. This evening's leftovers are not going to help my fridge-space problem.

So... Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all have lots of fun and delicious healthy food and all the energy and bright-bushy-tailedness that comes from the consumption thereof to see you through the season. Speaking of which, it's time for my festive breakfast of pineapple, blueberries and pomegranate seeds. Yum. Have a good one!

S.xxx

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Season of Good Will

I'm coming to the end of a week in London and I am shattered. And coming down with a cold, which is more than slightly irritating. I really don't know how I dealt with living here full-time just a few years ago; I feel peeled raw by the noise and the crowds right now. Still, less than 24 hours and I can look forward to... oooh, almost ten nights with no bright lights!

Since it is the season of good will to all men, I suppose I should make a real effort at extending that towards myself and cut myself some slack. Inevitably, what with not going to the gym, and eating out, and not weighing and measuring my food, I've gained weight. I don't need scales to tell me; I can see it. It doesn't please me that I will end this year as I end most years, feeling decidedly below par and undisciplined. P is being a sweetheart and saying he likes me more curvy (and taking every cheeky opportunity to pinch my butt)... but I don't.

However, this is the body I live in. And it serves me well. It might have hands that are more yellow than I would like right now (though I think less so, yay!), and it might be more padded than I would wish, and it is certainly less toned than it should be. But it serves me well. It does not break easily; it rarely gets sick beyond a sniffle or scratchy throat. I should appreciate it more. I'm tired of being so down on myself.

So I'd like this to be one of my NY resolutions. It can co-exist with the usual ones (more regular gym, loose 8lbs, drink less, blah de blah de blah), but developing a more positive attitude towards myself really is something I need to do once and for all. Robin writes about developing better habits... and this is all this is. Being down on myself has become a bad habit that needs to be broken, more than any other bad habit I have. The rest will surely shatter along the way.

In other news, I have made a complete pig's ear of Xmas shopping this year, and now am trawling the internet madly for gifts that don't smack of last minute desperation. *sigh*

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

My Delicious Lunchtime Salad

1 small little gem lettuce, leaves torn
1 head of chicory (endive), leaves removed and torn
1 large handful of mixed herb salad (mine had rocket and coriander and lollo rosso)
1 tomato, chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), chopped
1 tsp wholegrain french mustard
splash of balsamic vinegar
generous sprinkling of dried thyme
freshly ground pepper
cannellini beans
1 tsp hemp seeds (or pumpkin, or sunflower, or whatever) - optional

Excuse lack of measurements (however, using about 100-150g beans (without hemp seeds) the calorie count is going to be between 150-200 cals the lot, max, I think). Put everything into a large tupperware and shake it up, a lot. Leave for 30 mins or so to marinate. Eat. Yum. It's good without the beans too. It's the chicory that makes it.

Follow with two cups of strong coffee and then wonder why you are no longer able to sleep at night. *sigh*

Monday, 10 December 2007

Letting It All Slide. And Some Festive Plans.

Oh dear. I don't think I can kid myself any more that my recent habit of foregoing my morning gym visits for extra duvet time is not having an effect. Damn thee, gravity! On these dark, cold and wet mornings it is all too easy to be lazy, to find an excuse (today I am waiting in for a delivery. I am still waiting, and have yet to set foot outside the front door. It is now growing dark again). And it is New Year in 3 weeks. Surely gravity can hold on for a New Year's Resolution to be in the gym at least 4 days out of 7, and a return to serious CRON? C'mon, play fair! :-)

I am hosting Christmas here this year, and am trying to work out foods that will suit us all... and won't do me too much damage!

On Christmas Eve I have promised champagne and canapes to the masses (P, mother, brother, two sets of neighbours)... I've decided that in actual fact this will mean a ton of smoked salmon, some baby potatoes roasted and served with sour cream and caviar (read non-fat yoghurt and lumpfish roe, actually!), chicory leaves with cream cheese and walnuts (thank heaven for extra light Philadelphia), and maybe some non-seasonal but totally delicious grilled asparagus spears. On arugala.

Christmas Day... P has put in a request for a full-on traditional glazed ham. I have no idea how to do this but I'm sure I'll work it out! I'm going to serve a salad as a first course - rocket, chicory, and sliced oranges (regular and blood-orange), scattered with pomegranate seeds and walnuts or pecans. I am loving the bitterness of chicory leaves at the moment and eating it whenever I can... To go with the main course... I think braised fennel, cavalo nero, glazed carrots. Roasted potatoes for everyone else, maybe with apples and quinces. I'll serve a traditional Christmas pudding but I won't be eating any myself. I want a platter of delicious cheeses, and dried fruits and nuts to pick at; maybe some fresh figs...perhaps some dark, intense chocolate.

There is no getting away from food this month so the best thing to do, I think, is to only eat what I want, to eat the best that I can afford, and be mindful that, however yummy cheese is, and however much dark mornings call for toast and bitter Seville marmelade, the calories still count at Christmas! As usual, I'm not eating badly, never do. But I really shouldn't have had toast this morning. Nor that piece of sheep's milk cheese... Oh well. Salad leaves and broccoli for dinner.

So, what are everyone else's healthy plans for the festive season?

I'm planning to take the week of Christmas off work, and the first week in the New Year. Unfortunately I won't be able to go away, but I can take the time for peace and reflection... and moving my lardy butt back into the gym, and eating a lot of salad. :-) In 2008 I am going to work on combining fitness training with CRON in a far more rigorous fashion than I have lately. I want my muscles back, and gravity defeated. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Shutting Up The Head-Pigeons

Blood tests all came back more or less fine (again). Liver function fine. My cholesterol is slightly elevated, which is bizarre (but then I hadn't been fasting so...); my blood sugar is slightly lower than it should be, and my white blood cell count is low (but then that always shows as low, and I'm always told it's nothing to worry about). All those things I can attribute to being run-down and stressed, and lack of oatmeal for breakfast. :-)

The results are being sent to me so I will probably post them here, for my own record if nothing else. Not that I will understand them, of course.

So anyway. Yellow but not dying. Time to plan a proper, relaxing holiday I think! Somewhere in the sun. With light.

Last night P and I spent a couple of hours at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We attempted to ice skate; we went on the big wheel and soared above the London lights, with the wind howling around our pod; P was a big kid and inner-tubed on the fake mountain; and I bounced around in the bungee-dome. Quite feebly I had to have most bounces orchestrated for me by the attendant because I'm too light to make a decent bounce for myself, but it was just soooo much fun. Afterwards, fired up with adrenalin and giggling like loons, we wandered off into Mayfair in search of dinner and ended up in the basement of Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly, and then home for a relatively early night.

This weekend I have more festive shopping planned, and dinner with friends in Bath in one of my favourite restaurants. Have a good one, everybody.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Wassup Doc?

- Do you eat a lot of carrots?

- No.

- Oh. Because eating a lot of carrots can...

- I don't eat a lot of carrots

- ... make you orange...

- No carrots.

- None?

- Not a one, no.

Got my full blood screen though. Might even have results by tomorrow afternoon.

Today, though, my thoughts and prayers are focussed on my friend's new-born daughter XJ, who has contracted Strep B Meningitis at 4 days old. Very worried indeed.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Still here

I've been feeling quite crappy recently, with rampaging hypochondria I thought best remained unleashed upon the blogosphere. In an attempt to shut it up I'm going to have some more blood tests done on Thursday (with luck, for lo! I am still yellow-handed and it is freaking me out) when I visit a GP in London. I'm hoping that since it won't be my regular doctor they won't have any preconceptions about my state of sanity (or lack of it!). I just want the reassurance of a second set of tests to say nothing is physically wrong with me. Then I can just assume I am mad and work on sorting that out. :-)

Still eating well, as ever, although probably not enough. Which could, of course, explain my recent lethargy that has me heading for the duvet whenever I get the chance. Yesterday I did record everything I ate over the day and when I came to put it into CoM it came to just over 800 calories, albeit with 90/85% RDA's, which really is low and I wasn't trying to keep it low. Today I am making more of an effort to bump things up - I have had oatmeal, and I have chestnuts, and goat's cheese. Yum.

I want to start feeling a lot better soon. I've got some Xmas decorations up, and made a garland for my front door yesterday evening. But I don't feel very festive yet. A friend showed me an Advent Calendar she had treated herself to the other day and it reminded me of how, as a child, every day in December was filled with wonder and excitement and anticipation, and that pulling aside that cardboard door to see the picture hidden beneath was the highlight of the day. My brother and I always bickered about who would get the privilege of opening that final door on the 24th, which was always bigger and more elaborate than the others. I would love to feel that excitement again, that simple joy. It's this time of year more than any other when I wish I had children, because that's how we live again, isn't it?

Right, enough with the morbidity! Some Christmas Carols are in order, I think!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Bell, It Tolls For Me

11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.58, 7, 8.58. And everything in between.

I hate insomnia.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Technical Woe

I don't know what it is about me, or my house, and digital scales - but the third set I've had this year has died. It doesn't want batteries, or hitting, or dropping on the floor in temper. It has ceased to be. It is ex.

So no weighing and measuring for me! P would be pleased; he thinks it's disordered behaviour.

I don't need the scales to know I've eaten well though.

Breakfast: Total 0%, pumpkin seeds, grapenuts, gojis.

Lunch : Big salad with arugala, spinach, romaine, pea shoots, green pepper, tomato, scallions, mushrooms, cottage cheese and salsa. Almonds, a brazil nut, and a pear.

Snacks: celery and salsa, oatcake with Philadelphia Extra Light, more almonds

Dinner: Super-easy one pot water-veggie soup with brussels, leeks, onion, garlic, broccoli, green beans, carrot, tomato, mushrooms and mixed herbs. Eggwhites.

I decided to cut fruit out from my breakfast and see if this made any difference in my hunger levels during the morning. It did, I think. I wasn't really hungry until just before noon when quite often it can be around 10am. Hunger or plummetting blood sugar or whatever has become a real issue recently, part of my angsty-angst I think. So I'm working on that.

I guess now is the time I wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Meeces in Pieces

There is an article cited on one of the CR lists today which includes the mice being minced after they have been variously wined and dined. Ew. Poor, poor meeces.

I looked at my diary this afternoon and worked out that I have twelve days between now and Christmas when I can be entirely sure of how many calories I'll be consuming and the nutritional value thereof. Twelve days when I won't have P staying with me, or won't be in London, or won't be otherwise socially obligated.

Hmm. DTBIC-tastic.

Where did this year go?

Monday, 19 November 2007

Wet

I'm ready to go home now for a week of quiet country living and detox and proper CRON. It's gotten so cold and wet I'd like this to be in front of a roaring fire. But I don't have one. So it will have to be central heating and blankets and the flicker of candle-light. And not from one being burnt at both ends.

I am day-dreaming about this as I sit at my desk with soaking wet hair and clothes after being caught in a deluge this morning, without umbrella or hat. My mascara has run, and I'm out of lippy and I have dark shadows after a late night gig last night, so I am a bit of a wreck and not looking at all professional. Home-working is so much better for sartorial disaster days like today.

I met Linda for coffee on Saturday, kindly made by her partner G. They are very interesting people and we had a good chat about all kinds of stuff, not all CR, punctuated by fussing over her cats. Thank you Linda, I enjoyed myself very much.

Friday, 16 November 2007

GM Omega-3?

Urgh.

Oooh, good mood!

The sun is shining and it was a glittering silver morning when I left P's house. My plans to get off the tube early and kick through the leaves in the park was scuppered by a stalled train somewhere down the tube lines, so I had to sacrifice my walk to a detour, but I am still in a bouncy happy mood. I had LLBY with my breakfast yoghurt today, for the first time in ages - a B boost? I wonder. ;-)

I also had raspberries and fresh figs and pomegranate seeds. I've made a salad for lunch which I am *really* looking forward to eating - mixed leaves, the rest of the pomegranate seeds, pumpkins seeds, satsuma, dried apricot and two walnut halves. It occurred to me after I made it that it is almost the precise dish I will be eating at dinner this evening with friends, but never mind. It looks so fun and colourful and autumnal. I've got some more yoghurt for protein to go with.

We did eat at The Gate last night pre gig - we shared the mezze plate of all the appetizers, and I had the woodland salad with wild mushrooms and hazelenuts and slivers of parmesan, truffle oil on the side (unconsumed). Really, really lovely. It just goes to prove to all those restaurants who keep trying to serve the vegetarian the huge plate of pasta, or risotto, or gnocchi, or bl**dy goat's cheese salad, that it really isn't difficult to be a bit more creative. Nothing on that plate could have taken much time or effort to put together. Just thought. More thought please!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons...

P and I have been having a run of rather niggling bad luck. Nothing dreadful, just one irritating thing after another. There's been The Yellow, obviously. But P has been sick too, with an ear infection and then an eye infection and an on-going cold and cough that has him hacking away and frightening the cats. Someone drove into the back of my car and caused quite a lot of damage. I don't seem to have been able to get to the gym for ages and then yesterday morning, when I really planned to, I reached across my kitchen table for a lemon to squeeze into hot water for my purifying breakfast wake-up drink - and threw my back out.

Ow.

Still, life goes on at the same hectic pace. My diary is pretty much packed from here until Christmas! I'm back in London for work and weekend, and if all things go to plan, it is all go go go. Lemonade a-plenty.

Last night I ate with a friend at St John Bread and Wine. Doesn't take much to work out what I ate - actually, what we both ate, since she decided to be vegetarian for the evening as well. Admittedly I could have chosen a better venue had I known. :-) We shared a plate of delicious little gem salad leaves with fresh herbs, and some cheese afterwards with sinful raisin bread. Drank a Pinot Noir from Central Otago before dinner, and a Minervois with.

Tonight P and I are going to see Air play at the Hammersmith Apollo. We might be eating at The Gate beforehand. Spot what I'll eat if we do... spoilt for choice! Tomorrow there will be more food when we have dinner with friends at Clarke's. Saturday I shall attempt to fast... in preparation for Sunday which is the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter, followed by a gig by Arcade Fire.

And on Monday I shall fall over. :-)

In the midst of all this I am still paying attention to my diet and nutrition and, yes, to my calories. I'm aware I'm probably not getting full nutrition - low on the B's, probably low on E, definitely low on iron - and the calories are certainly higher than I like them to be, but I still need to find some time to work out a quotidien diet that will get me there without having to stuff myself too full of veggies to do so. I really, really dislike that feeling, and there has to be another way. I just need to work out what it is.

Anyway.

Today at work I need to set up a new and shiny PC to replace my old and very unshiny one. I am procrastinating. It's far too nice a day outside, bright brilliant blue, and I'd far rather be walking in Kensington Palace Gardens, scrunching through the fallen leaves and watching the ducks and geese squabbling on the lake. I love Autumn.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Go Read

Mizzi has written a fabulous blog entry that has moved me intensely with its grace and sense of calm and acceptance. Thank you, Mizzi. The last paragraph was something that, for some reason, I really needed to read this morning.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Long Road



(I took this picture while out walking on Salisbury Plain the other week. It was very peaceful and also very sombre. Out of shot, to my distant left, the army were firing tank cannons and exploding mortars, the reverberations muttering across the still air).

On Tuesday I had lots and lots of blood drawn and today I called the surgery for the results and was told by the receptionist that everything came back normal - carotene, B12, cortisol, full blood count, protein... normal. Was tested for lots of stuff I don't understand, but apparently it was comprehensive. So not sure where to go from here - still yellow. Just stop worrying about it and resign myself to it? Guess that is my only option for a couple of months because I know I will get short shrift from the doctors if I waste their valuable time again. Maybe in January I will seek a second set of tests, privately. For my own reassurance. Hate this.

It must be almost a year now since I first heard about CR, and determined that I would start the experiment in January. I must admit that, weird colour changes and some weight loss beside, I can't say I feel very much different for it right now. I may, of course, not be working hard enough at it at the moment. I can only DTBIC.

Where would we be without R's a-CRON-yms?

I do enjoy reading the blogs I link to. Whatever happens, it's been worth experimenting to have made the virtual acquaintance of you all. Thank you, as ever, for your comments. I might even get around to posting something a bit more interesting and worth your while reading, one of these days. It might even be about CR.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A Red and Gold Day

It's a beautiful Autumn day in London today. Mild, blue skies, soft and gentle breeze. Delicious.

Tonight we are going to the theatre for the first time in what seems like an age. To see Patrick Stewart in MacBeth. To say I am really looking forward to it is an under-statement. Afterwards, I am hoping to huddle in Soho, sipping strong scalding coffee in the dark, wrapped up in sweater and scarf and possibly woolie hat, and talking over the performance with P and 2 close friends. We might get a late dinner but I doubt it.

I'm starting to feel a lot more relaxed and less stressed about my CRON practice, such as it is. I'll be happy just to get a state of balance back around the whole issue, and I'm getting there. It feels a bit like coming out of a dark tunnel, or out of a storm into the quiet. I had a few weeks there where I was really losing it, letting the stress get the better of me. I'm now accepting that it's not possible for me to monitor my nutrition all the time, or indeed most of the time. I can only do the best that I can do. I've never been any less than honest about that in this blog. I do have lots of knowledge at my disposal to make ad-lib eating somewhat less ad-lib than someone who doesn't have the same.

I think the yellow in my hands is fading but it's difficult to tell. It was certainly difficult to persuade the doctor this week that they hadn't always been this way, but eventually I managed to get an appointment for another blood test, where they will check my carotene and B12 levels, and also do a hormonal screen. It might seem like a lot of fuss about nothing to them, and maybe to others as well, but it seems to me quite reasonable to get things checked when things appear to be odd. Thanks again to everyone who has commented reassuringly and shared their own yellow tales.

P wants me to conduct my own experiments - cut out foods high in beta-carotene for a few weeks, for example. Or eat cheese for the B12. He just wants to share pizza, I reckon. ;-) I think I'll just wait for the results of the testing and take it from there.

For London people - Wholefoods are now stocking free-range liquid eggwhites in the chiller next to the dairy. And this new restaurant in Notting Hill looks fabulous. This is the kind of food I want my calories to be in - simple, plain, seasonal, minimal in ingredients. No fuss, no frills. Just good simple cookery. And yes, with good wine.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Late to the Party - 8 Things

With apologies to Nenette for not responding to the tagging sooner, 8 things I love about my body (and yes, it was difficult to think of 8, but if it's not obvious that I am super-hyper-critical of myself by now...):

1) I love my green eyes.

2) I have a very good, clear, practically flawless complexion which means I rarely have to wear any cosmetics, and rarely do.

3) I am starting to love the way my body tells me what it needs and wants in terms of nutrition, which is apparently different to what I think it needs. It would, however, be nice if it didn't do it in such startling technicolour fashion.

4) I love my cheekbones. I love all the rest of my bones, actually. The ones that I can see that I should be able to see. They are strong and have never broken.

5) I love my long hair and the way it is continuing to grow long and healthy and thick, at about 1 inch a month.

6) I love the way that my muscles respond to working out and become defined quite quickly

7) I love my body's powers of recovery

8) I love that my body is, despite my many fears, probably extremely healthy.

Touch wood. :-)

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Update From Springfield

I am becoming more and more certain that the hand weirdness is more likely due to my high intake of veggies loaded with beta-carotene over the past 10 months than to a precursor of my imminent demise. I'll be seeing the doctor again tomorrow to get full blood checks to put my mind at rest (and also to work out how to get rid of this!), but today P was sick with an ear infection and wanted to go to a walk-in NHS centre for antibiotics; while he was there, I decided to take the opportunity to panic a little at a nurse, and she agreed with me that while the colour is really quite startling, I'd be a lot sicker than I am if it was anything Really Nasty. So I hope so.

Mara's comment about the same happening to her with pumpkin while her fat intake was quite low is very interesting. I've been lazy about fat recently; I eat my almonds daily, but I've been neglecting my olive oil and my flax. Most of my dairy is fat free. So maybe that's a reason why the tint has appeared over the last few weeks, or become more noticeable at any rate. I also realised today that my lack of appetite for Big Salads might also be connected - my body has just had enough leafy greens for the time being! :-)

Out of interest I just did a report out of CoM for the last year's average on Vitamin A (I don't eat meat therefore I am assuming most Vit A recorded in CoM has to be beta-carotene). I'm averaging over 1000%, and I don't have a CoM report for each day of the year, so the average is likely to be higher.

P has said that if I have made myself yellow by eating broccoli, he will never let me live it down. But then if one is going to become yellow through excess, I suppose leafy greens are the best thing to have as the culprit.

This week will tell, I hope.

And then, it's back to reassessing my diet. It's not a failed experiment yet.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Cabbage Soup, Water and Weirdness

Hi All. :-)

Thank you for comments left and well wishes and for checking up on me.

I'm mildly detoxed, although I was helped on my way by a stinking cold which laid me low in bed and kept me away for people for pretty much an entire week. Meh. Seven days without the wine (yay); I managed to stay away from wheat but only by virtue of eating spelt bread (comfort toast); I totally failed to stay away from dairy but at least most of it was fat-free.

(I fell off the wagon in spectacular but planned fashion last night with wine and cheese with one of my bestest friends in Vivat Bacchus. Very small portions of cheese though, positively dinky.)

I'm feeling a bit better about things in general, although I am still having annoying obsessive thoughts about food and nutrition and getting my RDA's. I think most of this has been brought on by not being at home all that much, and a week of actually being at home has helped. I deliberately tried to keep away from CoM but curiosity kept getting the better of me. I find it easy to restrict my calories, no problem. But, as we know, restricting calories without monitoring nutrition is at best foolhardy and at worst extremely dangerous - and I am aware of that. Hence the sort of panic when I know I am not eating as well as I could be. It's a panic that I consider to be both justified and irrational, and I am veering between the two. Does that make any sense?

I won't go on about it for fear of adding to the whole CRON = ED thing. Which I am extremely tired of, actually! :-)

Anyway, this last week I mainly ate cabbage soup. Or more exactly, soup full of veggie goodness and deliciousness with lots of dino kale and beans and smoked tofu. Mmm. The ingredients of the batches varied, but the soup is basically an onion, carrot and celery base, with mushrooms, chopped fresh tomato, thyme, rosemary, oregano and garlic, all simmered in lots of water, with dino kale and other green leafies added in towards the end of the cooking time, when the water has taken on all the flavours of the veggies. Then I stirred in acorn squash which I had baked and mashed, to thicken it, and added beans (turtle beans on time, aduki the next) and cubes of smoked tofu in varying proportions when I ate it. Very comforting and just what I needed with this horrible cold. Soup like a hug.

The weirdness in the title of this post? Well, hmm. The other week at work I was talking to someone at my desk, and he suddenly gave me an appalled look and said "What the f*ck have you done to your hands? They are all yellow!". And indeed they were. And are. And it is quite frankly very freaky. The palms of my hands, and especially at the base of them, towards my wrists, are clearly and undoubtably... yellow.

After several days of staring at my palms in various lights, and comparing them to P's and my mother's, and getting a bit anxious, I decided I really ought to take myself off to the doctors and get it checked out. I was, of course, thinking Oh my GOD, the wine has caught up with me, I am jaundiced and my liver is failing, oh bugger, oh hell, etc, despite the fact that my eyes were clear and I had none of the other symptoms indicated by scary google searches.

I hate going to my doctors because they think I am mad. I can quite understand R's concern about being labelled by her doctor, because I am well and truly labelled. But never the less, I went, and said - ok, I might be having a hypochondriac moment here (ha, ha, silly me), but look... my hands. Yellow.

Ooooh, yes - said the doctor. You are a bit, we'll take some blood. Liver function, that sort of thing.

Cue a couple of days of anxious waiting...

Thankfully, the tests came back normal. Liver function fine, no bilrubin (sp?) in the blood. I'm not jaundiced.

But what it is, I don't know. I'm now in the position where I need to go back to the doctor and say, ok, so it's not jaundice, so can we please find out what the hell it is because it is really, really embarrassing and actually a bit ugly. I have wondered if it's the excess beta-carotene thing, that I eat so much spinach and kale and butternut squash that it's coming out in my skin. MR might suit orange. I do not suit yellow. It is not my colour.

P googled around and suggested it might be a B12 deficiency. Which is always possible since I know I am low on B12 in my diet anyway (and strangely have been craving whole eggs and skim milk recently, despite them tasting disgustingly of chicken and cow) and I don't take my supplements because the ones I have are 10,000 times the RDA and I think that in itself is a bit scary. But I need to do something. Any suggestions, anyone?

So, well, that's where I am at the moment. Semi-CRON'd, demi-stressed, probably completely mad... and yellow. Ah, the joy of Sara. :-)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Reset

Yet another angsty, attention-seeking blog entry deleted minutes after publication! :-) Was it cathartic? No, not really. But never mind.

So I am all over the place geographically and mentally. Will be for another few days yet. But next week I do have the opportunity to hit the reset button. And I'm going to make every effort to.

Means moving away from CR per se, and from tracking in CoM. I've been fretting too much about not making my RDA's, and eating far too many vegetables for my own physical comfort in order to make those RDA's. Too many Big Salads have resulted in a lack of perspective where now I feel unable to judge my own appetite and satiety mechanisms. Has that happened to anyone else? Or am I just susceptible to it because of my own past emotional problems concerning food? Right now I fear I am on a slippery slope to a binge mentality. I don't want to be there.

Anyway. Detox for me. No dairy, no wheat, no coffee... most importantly no alcohol. No, not even a single social glass. Not for seven days. Fruit and wholegrains and vegetables in moderate proportions. I need to trust myself again.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Keep Away From Our Kale!

The secret is out. :-)

I'm being quiet because I'm sick of food right now - thinking about it, preparing it, eating it. And I'm doing far too much of all three. Sigh. No fun.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Never the twain shall meet

I wrote a long post about hunger and satiety and regulation of appetite based on my experiences this past week, but frankly it's far too bloody angsty so can just stay unpublished for now. Suffice it to say, I think it's incredibly unfair that I can be quite so painfully hungry in London on a daily basis and still gain weight in 6 days. It just goes to show quite how much attention needs to be paid to micro and macro-nutrients when your natural inclination is towards a low calorie diet, and how easy it is to mess it up.

(I messed it up. Big time. Several times.)

In other small world news, it would appear that Linda and myself visited the same very small farmer's market in North London on Sunday. Did we see each other there? Who can tell? :-)

Friday, 28 September 2007

More Cravings

Today in Wholefoods, a server was handing out samples of fresh baked baguette with cheshire cheese and chilli jam. Sara-fave-tastic.

I resisted the temptation.

Because I was craving chocolate. Dark chocolate, chocolate blacker than a moonless midnight and with a cocoa kick like an irascible mule.

Thanks to Green and Black's considerate packaging of tiny pieces of their organic 70% in individual wrappers (each piece approx 22 calories), this craving has now been satisfied.

Now I need to work out what to do with the other 11 pieces... I'm not usually a chocolate girl.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

When Nothing Else Will Do

Yesterday I had a fridge full of veggies and a serious craving for a green thai curry. No idea whatsoever where that came from, or why, but given that I am off to London for almost a week this afternoon (meh), and really didn't want to cart said veggies up with me, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to actually cook for once. So I invited 2 good friends over for dinner, whacked some Viognier in the fridge, and thought about how to create a veggie green thai curry that would be good for me, good for CR and good to eat.

Obviously not complicated. I knew I had no intention of using coconut milk; I'd have just fretted about the saturated fat, even in a lite brand, and I don't even really like coconut anyway. But obviously the paste needed to be lightened somewhat... So in the end I "fried" spring onion, sliced red pepper, garlic and mushrooms in water, added this Green Thai curry paste, more water, thickened the mixture with cornflour, and marinated tofu in it for an hour or so (I'd cut the tofu into squares and grilled it beforehand). Then I steamed broccoli, green beans, the kernals from one ear of fresh corn, zucchini and summer squash, stirred all that into the sauce with some more curry paste and water (I probably used about 75g of paste all in), and when it was all heated through I added 150g of fat free Greek Yoghurt. I made a dish of spinach, chard and savoy cabbage, steamed and then stir-fried in 1tsp olive oil with chilli, garlic and spring onion, on the side. Lots of coriander and lime zest for garnish. Chicken and rice for my friends.

Yummy. Craving satisfied, 3 of us well-fed, and still leftovers for my lunch today. Uncrunched in CoM, unfortunately, but it's veggies and protein and nothing else. It could have been nothing less than nutritious, and just so what I wanted. Nothing else would have done. Very strange!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Monday

Ah, the British Autumn. As I type this, it is bright and breezy and blue outside, but with rain lashing down, silvered by the sun that is darting defiantly in and out of the gathering clouds. It rained torrentially yesterday afternoon, cutting short my blackberry picking expedition, and this morning the fallen leaves from the horse chestnuts, and the keys from the sycamores, and the acorns from the oaks were smeared along the streets like so much glittering roadkill.

My weekend was so so. Too fast as usual. But not a whole lot going on of interest to anyone really. :-) Yesterday, which I spent alone, was actually a fairly good CR day, give or take the couple of pieces of spelt bread and 2 glasses of poor Rioja. I ate mostly cooked food for a change, and mostly as I cooked it, over the course of the afternoon. Butternut squash, zucchini baked with lemon, rosemary and thyme, carrots baked with rosemary, savoy cabbage, broccoli, leeks. A huge field mushroom. Tomato. Cottage cheese with LLBY and flax oil. Fat free Greek yoghurt with plums and berries. As I say, not all at once. I'm trying to wean myself off the big salads where possible, even if it means munching away all day on veggies; the thoughts of all that volume at the moment just makes me want cheese and crackers.

I also indulged in watching several episodes of an eighties TV series that I used to adore - Robin of Sherwood. It probably never made it to the US. I had a huge teenage crush on the lead actor, Jason Connery. (And another one on Ray Winstone - I always did have contrary tastes). Yesterday I was somewhat amazed to find that the crush on JC, which seemed to last forever at the time (and did, in its own way, inspire me to take up drama and writing and so I think of as slightly pivotal in my life), could only have lasted six weeks or so - because I only have a memory of watching six episodes - Saturday night, on ITV, at 5.30pm. The rest of them were new to me. And since I have a very good memory, I don't think I have just forgotten them. I still have a shamefully soft spot for RW, in all his grubby east-end glory.

Why does life spin by so fast now? I remember those six weeks stretching out like six months. *sigh*

But back to today. This morning's gym session was torturous. Not due to the exercise - I achieved my modest goal of running to the tune of burning off 300 calories which is the amount I took in at breakfast - a pleasing symmetry, if a fallacy. And I did my weights. But oh... the music. In excruciating succession we were treated to Cliff Richard's Mistletoe and Wine, Unchained Melody, Rick Astley's Never Going To Let You Down, Bryan Adam's Everything I Do, I Do It For You, and Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. I wanted to beat myself over the head with both my 3kg weights at the end of that. Added to that horror was the chattering of the ladies who I am sure are very nice and lovely, but treat the gym as an early morning social venue - they are very vocal, very loud, and they do not save their breath for the cross-trainer. If Arturo shares his bus to yoga with three chirping birds, this morning the gym was occupied by myself, and an entire quarrel. Or maybe even a murder. Depending on how uncharitable a comparison I am in the mood to draw between the genus of feathered friends and the chatter that was going on around me today.

Right. Work, coffee, on with the day. I hope everyone else had good weekends.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Veg-out

I defeated myself yesterday at lunchtime with my own Big Salad and had to nap for a couple of hours to recover and digest, like a boa constrictor with a particularly large mouse. Ow. I defy anyone on CR to eat the piles of veggies that I have to in order to get my RDA's and be hungry. It is simply not possible.

I don't learn either, because I've just done it again in the office (with leaves and spinach and leftover baked veggies that needed eating) and now face an afternoon of sitting at my desk feeling fuller than full.

I need to make meal plans that pack the nutritional punch I need into a much smaller volume, I think. I love Christina's new Daily Bento blog - such prettiness and fun - but I'm pretty sure that I'd have trouble meeting my nutritional requirements if I attempted to do the veggie equivalent. I need to eat so many green leafies.

Again, not entirely sure where I've been with calories this week. My best laid plans have often gone awry with being invited to eat at friends' houses in the evenings, but I'm trying not to fret too much about it. The world will not end if I don't have a complete CoM report at the end of each day, after all. I know I am at least 90% there every day. And I don't eat junk; never have.

Lifewise, Paz's comment on my last post was spot-on. I am totally dissatisfied with my job - envious of Robin and Deborah at the moment... :-) The worst of it is that I don't know how to get out. I really do not want to move to another programming job, and in fact my skills have atrophied so badly this year that it wouldn't be possible anyway. But my CV is totally IT orientated. I have no other experience to offer an employer in another industry; if I can't set up my own deli or wine bar, I'd like to try something a lot more creative, or even project management, but I can't see that anyone would even give me a chance to start without relevant experience, without contacts. Added to that the need to maintain the flexibility that lets me spend time with P in London, and the need not to be a financial drain on our partnership, and the whole mix becomes incredibly complicated. It's all so huge and it daunts me. I am mired in the how, how, how, and I just can't see the way to move beyond that. It's really frustrating; seemingly impossible alchemy to transform this to something golden.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Abergavenny Food Festival


P and I spent yesterday at "The Glastonbury of Food Festivals" - Abergavenny, in South Wales - with a couple of friends. I took this picture in April, from the castle walls, when my mother and I spent a girlie night in a hotel there for a treat, and ever since I've wanted to take P there, not specifically for food and drink but to show him the beauty of the hills and landscape. I love high country. I love moors and bracken and wind-swept moutainsides. I miss Colorado so much, I feel it like an ache in my soul, and this area of Wales feels to me like a balm, and I should go there more often.

So the occasion of the Abergavenny Food Festival was not to be missed. It only takes an hour or so to get there from here, up through Bath, a blessedly brief trip along the hideous M4, and across the Severn Bridge with its fantastic views over the Avon estuary. It was the clearest day imaginable, a perfect blue, cloudless. And then Wales, with its forests and valleys, deep and green and mysterious. Abergavenny is a sweet town, and yesterday it became one large farmers' market, with stalls selling local produce, to be taken away or eaten on the spot, all over the place. We wandered from stand to stand - a half of cider for P here, a half of perry for him there, a nibble of goat's cheese for me here, a spoonful of something delicious for him there. Yes, I ate vicariously through P and he ate well - a plateful of steaming paella, cooked in the largest pan I have ever seen in my life (fully a metre across); fresh sardines with salad. I ate a mixed salad with garbanzos and beans and as many green veggies as I could get piled in (admittedly not many) and as we were eating (cross-legged on the pavement), we were asked by an official festival photographer if he could take our pictures - I guess we really looked as though we were enjoying ourselves!

We bought lots of deliciousness between the pair of us and our friends, and ate much of it en famille when we got home. Probably not a(nother) CR day.

Today I was restless. Restless, restless, restless with the kind of ache in my legs that is usually only relieved by running. Rye bread and tayberry jam for breakfast probably didn't help. :-) After a pub lunch, we walked by the Caen Locks for an hour or so. Stunning engineering; P tried to explain the mechanics of it to me but my head just whirled with it - driving a boat up water? Just goes to prove, what seems impossible can often be achieved.

I just hope this proves possible with my CR. I am still trying to work out where my self-discipline has gone and why. I really don't want to be constantly at odds with myself. It's really starting to annoy me, this lack of balance, this nagging irritation, this (for want of a better word) hunger which seems not to be hunger at all, but an all too familiar physical expression of some kind of dissatisfaction... I don't know, maybe I am looking in the wrong place, and CR is neither the reason for nor the answer to how I am feeling right now.

But! It's been a good weekend. And tomorrow is the start of another new week. And I still have three more days at home to CRON. And a fridge full of leaves and veggies. And dino kale! The Abergavenny spoils have been sent back to London in P's rucksack.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

To Everything A Season


I am back home, and it is definitely, suddenly Autumn. The air smells of smoke and leaves and damp and musk and cool. The plants in the garden are straggling, sprawling, beginning their slow return to the soil that they sprung from, so full of life and vigour back in the too-hot-too-early day of April, a gentle decline, a beautiful aging. The landscape lies quiet and peaceful, shaded in hues of brown and rust; the fields ploughed back to earth, the hedgerows glowing with secret pockets of soft jewelled colour - deep red apples, golden blushed pears, dark berries, purple plums dusted with bloom and oozing the last of their sticky, honeyed juice. The start of a long, slow exhale.

When I went to the market this morning to stock up on veggies, my tastes had suddenly changed. I didn't want strawberries, or melon, or any of the fruits of summer; I bought beautiful Victoria plums instead, and I will gather blackberries later to eat them with. I bought dark savoy cabbage, black and shiny aubergine, squash. I will bake them with chilli and garlic and tomatoes from the farm shop. I am craving autumnal, smoky flavours; food to relax with, food that brings peace and comfort and serenity, like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket by candlelight.

I had forgotten how much I love this poem until the first lines of it sprang into my head as I drove to the gym this morning; there were just the tiniest vestiges of mist on the fields, and the sky was the softest dove grey. It was the first poem I ever had to memorise in school. This year, the seasons have been topsy-turvy, upside down, chaotic. But this morning nature seems to have reasserted the proper order of things; it is peaceful, quiet and right.

So. To Autumn, by Keats.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


(Photograph by Corbis - yes, I just grabbed it from the Net; if anyone has a problem I'll take it right down. I can get my own later with said berries anyway).

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Bad Mood, Bad Post

The Frome Show was interesting in a Country Show kind of way - ie, for about an hour. But there are only so many displays of fruit and vegetables and flowers I can take; only so many burger bars I can walk past. The running ducks being herded by sheepdogs was fun, I guess (the foot and mouth restrictions haven't been lifted yet, so sheep herding was out of the question) but I felt really sorry for the poor show poultry, rocking in their cages, bashing their beaks along the bars.

I wasn't in a great mood before we went; felt really cold and shivery and it wasn't until the sun came out that I stopped feeling shivery and like death. Meh. And no, it wasn't a hangover; I had to drive from the station last night (and why Wiltshire fog waits until 10pm to manifest itself for the entirety of the drive along country roads and then disappears magically once I enter my village to leave a sky brilliant with stars and milky-way I do not know).

I am so very tired, with no good reason at all.

I've also changed my profile to confess to the vida con vino. I still think I am probably CR'd, and my food is totally ON. But I cannot be CRON like this, and I don't want anyone thinking I am under any illusions that the two can be mutually compatible as the situation stands now.

I still want to keep blogging. I've suffered from terrible writer's block for the last decade, indeed that is what brought my PhD to a crashing halt. This is such a tiny start, but it is writing; it is words starting to flow again, starting to take shape and form and feeling in my head and I really would feel a little bereft if I gave it up. Not least to say missing the feeling of virtual semi-community. Having people say "great post", or saying they enjoy my writing style, is so rewarding for me; I love to give the same back on other blogs. I care about this, about CRON, I really do. I am just not able, not ready or not willing to take the final step right now. Maybe that's being too hard on myself, maybe it's not, but... well, that's where I am.

So sorry guys, not a great post from me this time. Maybe next week, when maybe I will be feeling as though I am doing better.

Right now I have BBQ veggies to prepare. On the menu tonight: mushrooms baked in the oven with 1tsp olive oil, one dash red wine, garlic and rosemary; tomato salad; zucchini, peppers, sweet potato - either oven-baked or grilled, it depends how much meat is on the BBQ and how tainted the grill is with that; green bean salad from a friend (dressed to the nines). I pray no one brings halloumi. I will probably have to eat some olive bread and maybe a small piece of goat's cheese tart. Strawberries. Melon.

God I am so grumpy. I am going to sit in the last of the sun with the papers.

For the hell of it, here is where I am right now with food today. We were so late at the Show that I had to eat a couple of pieces of said olive bread to keep me from falling over, or becoming even more grumpy. I've guessed the amounts on that, and the nearest CoM equivalent. Aside from that I've had yoghurt with blackberries and greengages (recorded as plums), almonds and seeds and gojis, and a lunch salad of lettuce, tomato, steamed broccoli and zucchini with LLBY, and a pear with 20g sheep's cheese (recorded as goat's cheese and it is SO UNFAIR that 20g of that comes up as 90 calories - how is that even possible? Grumpity-grump).

===========================================
Nutrition Summary for 08 September 2007
===========================================

General (65%)
===========================================
Energy | 799.6 kcal 67%
Protein | 38.5 g 43%
Carbs | 126.9 g 106%
Fiber | 28.9 g 96%
Fat | 20.8 g 52%
Water | 941.1 g 35%

Vitamins (83%)
===========================================
Vitamin A | 24242.1 IU 1039%
Folate | 440.9 µg 110%
B1 (Thiamine) | 1.2 mg 109%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 1.6 mg 146%
B3 (Niacin) | 11.4 mg 81%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 2.4 mg 48%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 1.2 mg 95%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 0.4 µg 15%
Vitamin C | 193.3 mg 258%
Vitamin D | 406.9 IU 203%
Vitamin E | 7.9 mg 53%
Vitamin K | 616.1 µg 685%

Minerals (77%)
===========================================
Calcium | 809.8 mg 81%
Copper | 1.5 mg 168%
Iron | 12.8 mg 71%
Magnesium | 272.6 mg 85%
Manganese | 3.0 mg 165%
Phosphorus | 695.5 mg 99%
Potassium | 2590.6 mg 55%
Selenium | 37.5 µg 68%
Sodium | 689.2 mg 46%
Zinc | 4.8 mg 60%

Lipids (66%)
===========================================
Saturated | 6.6 g 66%
Omega-3 | 1.7 g 150%
Omega-6 | 3.9 g 90%
Cholesterol | 21.0 mg 7%

Friday, 7 September 2007

Eating, Drinking, Making Merry...


So.. unfortunately this week has not seen the return to CRON discipline and the straight and narrow path of purity I was hoping for. Botheration. It's not the food, the food is fine - I had two really good days of using CoM at the beginning of this week, weighing and measuring, almost perfect nutrition, around about 1000 calories - lots of yummy rainbow chard (I am really, really craving dark green leafies and may have to go and worship at the Great Wall of Greens in Wholefoods later on today), and zucchini and green beans and broccoli. It is the demon drink. I just don't seem to be able to pass a day without a glass of something white and cold passing my lips. Such a lush I am, despite my best intentions.

Last Sunday I went blackberrying with a friend. It was a really disappointing haul in the end; tiny berries with hardly any taste. Last year there were so many heady perfumed berries that I was constantly bottling blackberry preserves and chutneys (that are still gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere, I think). This time I barely came away with enough for my breakfasts. But there is something just so wonderful about going out and foraging and coming back with free food. I really need to do it more often. We also picked lots of hazelnuts. I've never had a raw hazel straight from the tree before - definitely extremely yummy, and probably packed full of good stuff. I'll have to look out for more - we squirrelled that tree bare. In the evening I cooked for three of us - my usual sort of cooking, a green veggie gratin, a bean salad... and out came the fizz, and my willpower shot out of the window so fast I could almost see the smoke.

Monday and Tuesday were horrible, horrible days with work. I almost blogged about them a couple of times, about the wailing and the crying and the screams of frustration... God, I hate my job. And I really, really hate the way that I cannot see any way out of it - short of simply resigning and trusting fate to do the business. Needless to say, P is not keen on that idea. Hey ho. I guess something will happen in the end, but it's getting pretty intolerable. Both these days ended with the opening of a bottle.

I was hoping I could get out of coming to London this week, because there was a tube strike which would have made travelling awkward in the extreme. It was cut short though, and so I had no excuse not to pack my bags and head for town. I met P in an absolute dive of a bar where he was having farewell drinks with a colleague who was off for pastures new - oh, yuck yuck yuck. At the bar (sticky, stinky), a man next to me ordered tequila and Baileys on the rocks. The horror. As soon as I could drag P away, I did. Unfortunately he wanted to stay in town and eat out, so we ate in Chez Gerard in Covent Garden - our usuals there - oysters and steak tartare for him, steamed asparagus (dressing on the side) and mixed salad with chevre for me. The salad came not so much dressed as swathed in vinagrette, because I'd forgotten to ask for it naked. Damn. We drank pink fizz. Oh, calories calories calories...

Calories too last night, but these were planned for and I tried to budget during the day. Last week we made reservations to eat at 22 Great Queen Street, a bar-brasserie that has been open several months but is almost impossible to get into on the off-chance, and I have heard fabulous things about it. Simple British food, well-sourced, organic - all the things that hit all the right buttons for me. And it was just as good as I hoped it would be. Short menu, no fussing around with pretentious pointless descriptions - what you read, is what you get. I ate new season's borlotti beans (perfectly braised with garlic and herbs) and beautiful Romanesque cauliflower (pictured raw above - on my plate, steamed, and served with goat's curd) and (unfortunately buttered but delicious) savoy cabbage greens and (yes, I was hungry) runner beans cooked with tomatoes and more garlic. P had Cawl (a lamb soup) and Arbroath Smokies, and we shared a piece of blue ewe's milk cheese for dessert. Oh yum yum yum. It was all just very very good. Apart from the no doubt generous use of oil and butter, it was exactly the sort of food I cook for myself when I can be bothered to do more than just steam my veggies and whack some lemon on them. The place was packed. It gives me hope when I see that the sort of food I can cook and cook quite well obviously appeals - well, I can dream about having my own place like that one day... I'm very envious of the people who have set it up - yes, I'm sure it's horrifically hard work, but it would have to be so rewarding...

So, um yes, it's been a bit of a foodie week. But it's all good food. No junk, no gak. Just higher on the calories than I would like. My weight is yoyo-ing all over the place - down/up, up/down, it makes me dizzy. I just don't seem to have a chance to get into a proper routine for any more than two days in a row. And of course, the wine isn't helping. Must get a handle on that. If I'm drinking, I am not CRON-ing, no matter how much I kid myself.

Tonight I am on a late train home; tomorrow will see me in a field, in a tent, surrounded by aged dairy products; Sunday I am back in London again for an afternoon tea that a friend has arranged to celebrate his birthday. Routine?! Ha ha ha if only.

Oh yes - and welcome back, Joanna! So, what is a pluot? :-) And I meant to say thank you everybody for your comments on my last post.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Still on the primrose path

This is the longest I have been continuously off-piste all year, without CoM, and knowing I'm not getting my 100%s, and having no idea of my calorie intake. Does this bother me? Well, yes, in that it's constantly nagging at the back of my mind that I am not being as disciplined as I might be and therefore there will be a price to be paid (or rather, being paid - I can see/feel already I am somewhat more padded than I was six weeks ago!); in another way, no, in that off piste for me means enjoying good food, mostly in the company of people I love, although sometimes alone, and that I have every intention of getting back onto the straight and narrow after this weekend - not much point in even attempting to do so with a friend's dinner party tonight, and dinner with the neighbours tomorrow.

It has, however, and in conjunction with April's post about lapsing and making excuses to oneself for that, whether I have the discipline to CRON long-term for longevity. Do I believe, I guess is the question. Do I believe that CRON will extend my lifespan? Do I believe that even if it does, that I will have access to advances in medical care that will extend it even further? Do I believe that CRON will take me to 120 (for want of a better lifespan to use) and keep me in the kind of physical condition that makes life worth living? And I don't know.

My concept of mortality is, to put it frankly, f*cked. Ever since I watched my father die, and indeed tacitly encouraged the doctors to prevent him suffering more than he needed to, I've felt every single day that I will be taken as quickly and without warning or chance for farewells and in complete and utter helplessness in the end as he was. In the beginning I tried to get counselling for this; now I accept it as part of my life and I live with it, although I hate feeling like it. So really, I should be grasping at the chance CRON offers (because I have no reason to doubt that the chance is there, even if I don't and never will understand the science behind it). I should be taking every single care in the world of my health and my body. I should be constantly vigilant, as Robin has it. And yes, this is why initially CRON appealed - that and, of course, consuming loads of veggies and monitoring calorie intake fits perfectly with a pattern of eating I've had for - well, over fifteen years now, perhaps longer.

But I am not constantly vigilant. I am not careful. I doubt. Alongside the fear of dying is the fear of not living. And that fear brings with it the f*ck it mentality that I was talking about in my previous post. This is what I need to get a handle on. I do not believe that, to use the analogy someone posited on April's blog, that my life will be whittled away french fry by french fry or, more appropriately for me (since I don't eat fries), sip of red wine by sip of red wine. In moderation, I believe everything is fine. But recently I've not been moderate in my sipping, and that is starting to worry me greatly. I need to find the will to tackle this. It should be so easy (so just stop) but it's not. There is always one more excuse.

I'm not sure where this post is going... :-) I guess we all have to live our lives in a way that suits us. Often this is going to include bad habits and all we can do is try and minimise the damage. There are too many variables, too much uncertainty, to place all ones eggs into a basket. I am 100% behind the principles of eating according to a CRON diet - I can't imagine not eating my piles of veggies every day, and I won't compromise on that and take the easier, more convenient options - not unless I am backed into a corner with hunger pangs akin to snarling wolves (ironic, isn't it, that even then I have to have P almost threatening divorce before I will eat some bread but when I am not hungry, a slice of toasted rye bread is almost irresistable?). But am I ever going to be a hard-core paragon of CR virtue? Am I ever going to do everything possible to maintain my health? No. I should, of course I should, because it is so foolish not to when the price to be paid is inevitable and it's only a question of when, not if, but I am too human. I cannot take the steep and thorny path. I just... don't want to, not all the time. And so be it, if this is weak.

Mary wrote in her blog that she wishes April a long, healthy, human life. And so do I, with all my heart. I wish it for all of us. And I wish for all of us to enjoy it for as long as we can enjoy it in ways that are particular and peculiar to each of us, without fear, or anxiety, or guilt.

And now I am really not sure what I've been blathering on about, but I'm going to hit publish post anyway. And then I am off to dally with a group of friends for dinner via a long walk along the Thames to break in my new and vertiginous shoes. There will be pain. :-)

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Veggies for tea, salad for lunch

I had a terribly un-CRON pub lunch yesterday; I was on my own, I could have gone home and made a big salad or steamed some chard, but... no. I was in a bit of a f*ck it mood; I wanted something yummy and prepared by someone else for me. Gluttony left over from the bank holiday weekend, I guess. It's so easy to slip back into habits that aren't as good as they could be.

So I ate my little pot of chilli hummus, my 4 or so olives, my 3 tiny quail's eggs, my half apple, and my cheese and my (white! French!) bread in the sunshine and I enjoyed every bite, more or less. But I did keep thinking, I really shouldn't be doing this...

Last night I cooked for friends; we got the BBQ out again, and we grilled sweetcorn, and halloumi, and huge field mushrooms. I made a tomato salad with cinnamon basil, and a runner bean and leek salad with non-fat yoghurt and mint dressing, and picked lots of leaves from the allotment. Someone bought over a veggie pizza but it was easy enough to get away with just eating a small slice and it was thin-crusted, and I didn't eat any of the bread that the others were eating with their burgers - no burger either, obviously. One piece of halloumi, one mushroom, a whole ear of corn, and a lot of the salad for me. So a healthy veggie meal, if not CRON. And one with a very small footprint in terms of food miles, from metres (end of the garden) to one mile (the local farm shop) - oh, via Cyprus for the halloumi, I guess. Shame having the BBQ sort of cancelled out the eco-purity, but...

This morning I drove up to London and stopped off to fill P's fridge with veggies. I've had salad for lunch with cottage cheese, and lots of leaves, and tomatoes, and beetroot and lots of veggie goodness. I was still really craving bread to go with it though. :-(

Now I have to spend this afternoon writing the tasting list for tonight's wine tasting and drag 12 bottles of rose wine in a suitcase from East London to West. I'm not really looking forward to that bit. :-( At the tasting I will attempt to eat as little of the cheese I have instructed P to buy from Neal's Yard as I can, and hold out for steamed chard and broccoli when we get home. Unfortunately a bit of the f*ck it mentality is still lingering... if I can't CRON seriously, it does feel like deprivation (we all know how many piles of veggies it takes) and I think this has been my problem recently - not enough time to sit down and do it properly, so I have a bite of something here, a bite of something there, and before I know it I want a plate of cheese and bread for dinner and not my steamed greens and brewer's yeast.

EDIT. Oh bloody hell and buggeration. There is artisan cheese in P's fridge and I just absent-mindedly ate a (small) piece with the rest of the lunchtime salad greens. Dammit!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Carby Carby

P is with me for the long weekend so there is bread in the house and guess what I just ate for breakfast? Yup, lovely healthy CR strawberries... and 2 slices of decidedly non-CR seedy bread with manuka honey. I'm hopeless! :-)

It was a stunning day here yesterday. A summer day at last! Clear blue skies, hot sun... Mmmm. P and I took a picnic up to White Sheet Hill (spinach salad, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, celery... er, goat's cheese and bread and some Corsican rose wine) and sat in the sunshine reading the papers and watching a farmer harvest hay in the fields below us. Then we did a mini-tour of some local vineyards before returning to sit in my garden for more paper reading, and a late supper of local roasted veggies and leaves picked from the allotment patch when it got too dark to read.

P is here until tomorrow, and then a friend and her son arrive for a visit, and then I have a wine-tasting and a couple of dinner parties in London. I'm taking the last of this year's leave from work (fortunately my leave year runs September-September) and I really would have loved to have gotten away somewhere completely different, but I will have to make do with being a tourist in town, or maybe driving myself somewhere for a day trip or two. Ooh, I just thought - if the weather remains fair, I could take myself to Brighton for the day. It's been ages since I've seen the sea... Ah, a plan. :-)

So it's likely to be a DTBIC week with CR at the very least. I've decided that discipline will return in full in September. New month, new start. I want to get my weight back down to 110-111lbs (currently a couple of lbs above that), and be very strict about knocking the bread and the non-low-fat dairy on the head. A nibble here and a mouthful there mounts up, and results in the lack of willpower that in turn results in a breakfast like this mornings. I'm also going to get back to the gym because this still hasn't happened, and while the light is still good in the evenings I am going to try to get at least one if not two long walks in a day when I am at home. All good intentions. Now let's see if I can get them to fruition, and not too too much damage in the meantime.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Smoked Tofu and A Cup Of Coffee

Mmmmm, I think I am becoming addicted to smoked tofu. This has to be wrong somehow, but my is it delicious. I had approx 100g of it with my lunchtime salad today, and yum yum yum. My salad was also full of delicious vegetables courtesy of P and an evening spent in Wholefoods last night - I had yellow rainbow chard, and vine tomatoes, and mushrooms, and artichokes, and some olives, a scattering of pumpkin seeds and all dressed with lemon and black pepper. And then I ate a completely unnecessary fat-free vanilla yoghurt and two Victoria plums for dessert. Yes, it's a London day and I can't weigh or measure - hey ho.

Yesterday I was a complete and shameful carb fiend. When I left home I was on 830 calories courtesy of a craving for toasted pitta bread with honey, twice. And then I ate a slice of walnut and blue cheese bread for dinner. I just cannot have bread near me. I just eat it if it's there; it drains my willpower. :-) In my defence, I was very hungry; I had spent the evening watching P eat a platter of fruits de mer in the Wholefoods Food Hall, refusing to eat myself because for all the foodie deliciousness up there, there was actually nothing suitable for veggie CRON. In the end, alongside the piece of bread, my dinner when we got back home was a plate of steamed kale and chard, two heirloom tomatoes of the grown-in-gold-dust-by-rare-and-special-pixies variety (judging on price), and some slivers of cheese.

There was no excuse apart from gluttony for having a slice this morning as well though.

I've just bought a fabulous dress in H&M, the one on the right of this picture. It's so grey and miserable today in town that I felt in urgent need of retail therapy. Isn't it bright and cheerful? :-) I've also just had a very strong cup of coffee, so this post is brought to you courtesy of procrastination and caffeine.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

On motivation, or lack thereof, and not about CRON

I commented on April's "5am Club" post yesterday to the effect that if I don't get up and go to the gym first thing in the morning, I never make it there. I missed it yesterday, and missed it again today despite being awake and breakfasted by 7am; I went back and hid in bed instead. Meh.

I've had real problems with motivating myself to get to the gym all this year. I should go each morning that I am at home - I can't afford to belong to a London gym as well - so I should be going at least 3 mornings a week if not 5. First it was balancing CRON and energy levels; I kept falling off the treadmill back in January as my body adjusted to fewer calories per day. But that quickly passed. Then I made the mistake of running in new trainers on the treadmill and being heavy-footed-stompy-me, I hurt my feet... and so gave it a miss for a few days. Then I think I got sick. And then, oh yes - the gym was closed for a few weeks with rain leaking through the roof (this still happens but now we all work out around buckets and dripping water and saturated towels). And then... well, it was more likely something else. Suffice it to say that my attendance this year has been abysmal and since the wedding, it's got even worse!

I really believe that getting to the gym is very important. CRON is all very well for keeping the weight down, but it does absolutely nothing for a girl's abs. I noticed this particularly last night when lying in bed; the muscle tone on my stomach is all but gone and (excuse me here), I could feel my digestive system working with the palm of my hand - urgh, and urgh. I've never felt that before (I assume) because there has been a layer of abdominal muscle there - I mean, I've never had rock-hard abs, but they were noticable. Now the mirror tells me they are not. Oh My God I am 35 and starting to sag. :-)

So, is this motivation enough to get me back to the gym tomorrow? Unfortunately I suspect not... the little demon voice in my head says to me, one day won't make any more difference and then you're back to London, so best start at the weekend... or maybe even the weekend after because then you've got a week off and can do a full five days and that will be so much better, so why bother with it now... If only my little demon voice would work to my good and say, Get up woman and shift your backside for 60 minutes; you know it will make you feel so much better in the end, and wouldn't it be nice to fit into the jeans you bought a couple of months ago but haven't yet worn because they are a very optimistic size with a nice flat belly?.

I find so many excuses to wallow, I really do. It's the same with the job. I spent a large part of yesterday in floods of tears of frustration (the indulgence of working at home) because I was attempting to do something I knew was incredibly simple (I mean, literally as simple as coding an xml declaration at the top of an SQLXML generated nodelist - and this is simple), and only managed it after several hours and then immediately hit yet another brick wall which I will have to break down today. That's the reason I wanted to go straight back to hide in bed this morning rather than facing the day bright and breezy with a run and some weights. But I can do something about this. I can find another job, something far more suited to me and my skills... But I have no idea what that might be.

Or I can work on swinging my mindset around and appreciating what I have now. I am so lucky. Why do I constantly carp and pine and want this nebulous more when really I have everything? Do I really want an easy nine-to-five job in an office? No. God, no. But I do need to get out of my current position - or change it.

I simply must get motivated to do things. It's scary.

One idea I have, that won't get me out of the job I'm in, but might open some doors, is to use all the vintage crockery I got from the wedding and set up a small company catering for tea parties - the whole works, cucumber sandwiches, fairy cakes, scones with jam and cream, slices of Victoria sponge (ok, so not CRON but I'm never going to be an ambassador for that), tea, champagne. Or at least hiring the stuff out. That is a small, achievable step and I Need To Do It. Maybe in conjunction with a friend who does reflexology. Girlie Pamper Parties, with tea and cake and fizz and foot massage. A niche, I wonder...

Er, yes. So this is really a post for me to read when I need a kick up the arse, or several kicks. No one is going to change my life for me. I need to motivate myself.

And I can start by getting to the gym tomorrow morning. :-)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Two Posts in One Day, no less

Finally, finally, I have hit upon a perfect lunch combination for my London days that I probably won't get tired of eating, and is just perfect for CRON.

With WholeFoods just down the street from the office I have felt sort of obliged to buy my lunch there, even though it's fearfully expensive and I always come out with my salad box overloaded with treaty veggies (roasted asparagus, grilled artichokes, roasted peppers) and not enough leafy greens and then have to go to M&S to top up with spinach. More often than not I'd have grabbed something else I didn't need as well, such as this little bag of deliciousness, and I'd wander round in a daze hypnotised by the breads and cheeses and other gourmet delights, with a security guard in my wake, suspicious that I was a shoplifter. Sometimes Wholefoods is just too yummy for my peace of mind, and sanity. :-)

So... my new and perfect lunch which is not stocked by Wholefoods, more fool them, but by the small organic deli at the other end of the High, is a marinated tofu and raw energy salad - for 150 cals, I get 11g of protein, 6g of carb, and 9g of fat (which might be a bit high but I am pretty fat free elsewhere in my life) from Nigari Tofu, Chinese Leaf, Broccoli, Spinach, Green Peppers, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Radishes, Mung Sprouts, Pumpkin Seeds, Olive Oil, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Tamari, Garlic, Ginger, Mustard, Sage. It's not the first time I've eaten this, but I thought it was far more high calorie than it apparently is! I bought a 100g bag of spinach and tipped the lot on top of that and shook it up a bit (so that's 175 cal). And a 150g pot of plain, fat-free yoghurt, which wasn't necessary and has left me slightly stuffed but at least I shouldn't be hungry and wobbling at P later. I hope not, anyway.

The rest of my food on what is becoming a very long day indeed has been 71 cals of fat-free rhubarb flavoured yoghurt, 10g grapenuts, 5g pumpkin seeds, 5g gojis, 10g almonds at 2am; half a galia melon when I got to P's, and those steamed green beans and zucchini earlier.

A long day, but a good CRON day - and it really does lift my mood.

Shame about the work.

Seven Days Later

Well, I am fretting less. And there have been a couple of good CRON days recently - assisted by having to eat my way through the glut of green beans and zucchini from my veggie patch, my neighbour's veggie patch, my friend's garden and my mother's allotment. (In fact I am munching on cold steamed beans and zucchini with lemon juice and mint right now - given that I was up at 2.15 this morning to drive to London in time for a 9am start in the office this isn't so bizarre because my body thinks it's lunchtime.) I've also been eating piles of fresh spinach and some really delicious and tender rainbow chard, and despite one moment of gluttony when I ate a whole 200g pack of smoked tofu in one sitting, my weight is back down to 112lbs again, and I feel less bloated from bready carbs and teenage angst.

I always find the weeks between my birthday and the 13th of August tough to deal with - the 13th is the day my dad died suddenly five years ago, and my 30th birthday was the day he told me he suspected he was ill. Those days took on a nightmare quality then, and continue to do so now. I always feel as though I am waiting for something until the day is past. This might have been another reason why I felt so blah and angry with myself last week.

My mother and brother and I try to meet on the day to celebrate Dad's life and we usually do this with food, by eating out somewhere special and remembering him. Dad loved food; he was just learning to love good food, as opposed to commercial gak - he loved fish in particular. Unfortuately I am veggie and my mother loathes the stuff, so we never get to do the full on seafood fest I know Dad would have loved. I'll never forget him and P ordering a seafood platter in a pub one lunchtime to share, and being utterly defeated by it, yet ploughing on regardless - each one considering it somehow unmanly to give in before the other. :-)

But we always try to go somewhere he would have liked to go, and this time it was Michael Caines at The Royal Clarence in Exeter. (Actually this time I'm not sure he would have liked it; the service was simultaneously overly fussy and offhand, which would have wound him up, and the food, while delicious, was over-priced for what it was). But still, the thought was there, and spending time with my mother and brother was precious. Which is, after all, what it's all about.

So, another new start now. Less beating myself up this time. There are too many zucchini and beans to get through for that! And life to get on with. Yes, Miss M is completely right in her comment on my previous post.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Dying in the valley of the immortals

An interesting and quite sad article.

Still not doing quite so good as I was pre-wedding, I am afraid to report. Not eating badly, as usual, but just have an overwhelming sense of lack of balance and feelings of anxiety around all kinds of foodie issues and am beating myself up about it. I just wrote a huge long post on it all and then deleted it because really, musings on my disordered thinking have nothing to do with CRON at all... quite the reverse actually, as we all know. So I'm here, I'm reading blogs, I've linked back to some of the blogs I'd lost track of (hello Christina, Nenette!) but until I have a damn good CRON week and stop fretting, I think I'll be pretty quiet here.

With luck, that won't be too long...

Friday, 3 August 2007

Gastro-p0rn

I still don't feel as though I have my CRON-groove back. Not that I am eating badly in any way at all, still lots and lots of veggies and green leafies and fruit and nuts and seeds and low-fat dairy, the usual Sara foods, but something feels a little off. I don't know what it is. Perhaps that I haven't really had a full week of measured CRON for a while now. Hmm.

After a rare flurry of activity at work the last couple of days (Fix this production problem Sara! On a system you've never seen before! Without the software you need to do it! Now!), it's all gone quiet in the office again so I've been spending some time browsing around blogs... mostly foodie blogs. It's fascinating how many interconnecting virtual communities there are - from CRON to raw to vegan to just pure gastronomic musings. And oh, the photos! Beautifully plated and presented meals; glossy veggies; such enthusiasm and passion for good food... Perhaps that's something I need to work on again, making my meals look attractive to me, rather than eating my spinach out of the bag or hastily shaken up in a tupperware. :-)

It's an incredibly gorgeous day today in London, so P and I are going to have a picnic before we get our train back home later on this evening. I'll be going to WholeFoods after work and bankrupting myself. I've already done a couple of reconnaisance trips while getting my morning pear-apple-cucumber-kiwi-spinach smoothie and my lunchtime salad... So I think I will be buying large tomatoes on the vine, flat peaches, buffalo mozzarella, good bread, salad leaves, grilled peppers, maybe some grilled artichokes, olives... The foodie p0rn on the various blogs I've been browsing has seeped into my head; I want a simple mediterranean-type feast in the evening sunshine... and leaves, leaves, leaves...

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

I've had what feel like a few none-too-good CRON days in a row. I've lost my focus a little since the wedding - I think because I am still living amid the chaos of the aftermath, trying to get the house back into some sort of order, finding places for all the wonderful gifts... and staring the leftover wine in the face all the time. Whatever the reason is, I am finding it difficult to settle down; people have talked about the zen of CRON and I've always been thinking what's that? I've never had that! What am I missing? and of course now I know what I'm missing - you don't know what you've had till it's gone! :-)

Yesterday I made a good effort on getting things tidy, and took a lot of stuff to the dump, and have more packed up to take to charity shops just to get it out of my way. I have a couple of wine cubes due to be delivered today, which will mean I can get the final boxes of wine out from under my feet and into something resembling storage, which should be an immense help. And the last of the bread I bought last week has gone - I need to say farewell to that for a while too; I can never stick with just one slice, it's always two - and if the calories for rye bread in CoM are to be believed, that's a lot of calorie buck for very little bang - and I don't think the extra carbs are doing much for my stability of mind either.

So hopefully things should be better for today. It's just a little trickier getting my discipline back when the focus is no longer on the immediate or short-term (ie, losing weight while maintaining optimum nutrition to get into my dress), but on the long term (increased longevity, decreased risk of disease). I've never been great at thinking long-term; it's a shift in mind-set I really do have to achieve or I will continue to drift along, dissatisfied with my eating habits and with my job, indefinitely. This must not happen.

On the literal bright side, there is sun today! It's fantastic.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Rain It Raineth Every Bloody Day

... except this last Tuesday, when the sun shone and the air was balmy and warm and I gave myself heatstroke by sitting in my courtyard reading "Sideways" and drinking several bottles of San Pellegrino. By 5pm I was stumbling around, slurring incoherently like Miles and Jack, and ne'er a drop of alcohol had touched my lips. This is a regular occurrence whenever P and I go abroad, because I adore the heat and the sun and forget totally, every time, that the heat and the sun do not adore me. But this is the first time it's happened on my home ground, while large parts of the UK lie under swathes of flood waters, suffering from cuts in power and rationing of drinking water.

Today it's back to the wind and the rain, and the rain and the wind, and the cold cold cold. Even the ducks are looking less than amused now, and I (frankly) am fed up with it along with the rest of the country, no doubt.

Am easing myself back into CRON with my usual foods - lots and lots and lots of veggies, low fat dairy, and the occassional few eggwhites or tofu. I've been drinking miso soup (26 cals the bowl) and adding spring onion and cubed Mori-Nu as a snack. Mmmm... sodium, but mmmmm. I've also been upping my calories over the last few days with toasted organic light rye bread. The sunstroke seemed to demand it, and breaking the bread habit is always hard for me to do... there's no real need for me to cut it out entirely, after all, as long as its unprocessed and wholegrain and organic. Still around 1200 cals a day (when I'm not eating out) and back to 110.4lbs on the scales this morning.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Picture Post


The Venue


Mother and Daughter



Bride and Groom simultaneously forget their lines



First Kiss



Garden party



Feed me!



Wedding dessert - CRON style, complete with kale garnish I notice! I didn't get to eat any though! :-)

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Back to life, back to reality

Back home and alone again... no, the marriage hasn't failed! P and I will continue to maintain our separate houses in city and country for a few years yet. It works well for us, and I'm very pleased (of course) that it does. Our ceremony has changed a balance in our relationship - as I knew it would. There is something about openly committing to someone that opens new doors and closes others, and forces readjustment and reassessment. After eight years together, P seems to have discovered a new seam of romantic impulses buried within his usual cynicism - and that is fantastic, and I am enjoying being openly loved. :-)

I turned 35 yesterday and when I woke up in the morning, there on my bedside table next to me was the new Harry Potter. He had gone out while I was sleeping and taken a cab to the nearest supermarket (sensibly not walking at midnight after having been mugged several yeards from his front door a few years back) and grabbed one of the last copies. Yay P. :-) Of course, this meant that he had at least 3 hours reprieve in which to sleep before I bounced at him demanding birthday treats during the day (our waking and sleeping hours do not coincide!) - and then that I spent most of the day stumbling around in a post-Potter haze. Fortunately I had little more planned for my day than a rare and precious visit to Borough Market, some lunchtime deliciousness, and cooking of huge plates of vegetables in the evening. I have so missed my veggies this week. I have, I suppose I have to admit, not been as CR'd as I would have liked to have been - and there has been bread and cheese and copious amounts of leftover wedding booze. We, er, seriously overcatered in that capacity and I still have crates of the stuff at my place and so does P. It's quality stuff though, so I am not too distressed. :-)

One slight hiccup over this week has been that P has become convinced that my CR pratice equates to an eating disorder. Oh dear. Yes, I have pointed him at the CR Society and shown him CoM which, as a software developer I expected him to respect and see as what it is - a nutritional tracking tool, not one for encouraging and maintaining obsession. But because I weigh my food when I can, and require a lot of veggies and leaves, and refrain from bread and pasta when I can and make an effort to monitor my nutrition, he sees this as obsessional behaviour. Oh dear. He promises to reserve his full judgement until reading and researching fully though.

I appreciate where he is coming from, I appreciate he sees my ribs and my hipbones and worries (somehow he didn't notice until this week!), I appreciate I have a past where I have not eaten as well or as much as I should have done - and I am suffering the physical consequences of that every month, apparently - and sometimes I wonder myself if I have slipped back into a mindset that is overly orthorexic and tending towards anorectic thinking... but then I think, no I have NOT. I eat huge amounts of healthy food, I want to eat huge amounts of healthy food, and when I eat too much of food that is healthy but not so in quantity (the bread, the cheese), I feel it horribly and so I restrain from it when I can. Is that wrong? No. Well, I think not. But poor P sees this as increasingly awkward eating behaviour for our lifestyle - and he is right, because we eat out loads and as a CRON-ing veggie it's not easy to find suitable meals in a restaurant that are veggie based and not carb-laden. I admit I won't eat a risotto, gnocchi, pasta, goat's cheese tart, if there is an option of double or triple salad, or the opportunity to order several side dishes. And of course pizza is out, and take-away... and ad-lib eating, grabbing a sandwich on the run, snacking on easily available snacks, that sort of thing. And when I get overly hungry, I get incredibly irritable almost beyond rational thought - and that is a problem and pisses me off as much as it does him.

So I am awkward. But I am not anorexic. And somehow I need to convince him of this, and soon. It must not become a conflict.

So. My first new challenge in this new life. There will be lots more. :-)

I might post some more wedding pics if anyone is interested? (*hears mutters of enough already*!)