The Canaries

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier. Welcome to Breaking habits support who is now Following.

The Canary Islands lie off the NW shoulder of Africa, 71 miles out to sea. They were first settled in pre-history by unknown people, perhaps fisherman blown off course. The Romans, venturing beyond the Pillars of Hercules, arrived in the 1st century CE and found ruins built by previous settlers. They also found lots of ‘dogs of great size.’ Pliny said that the islands were thus named “Island of Dogs,” or “Canariae Insulae.” Berbers from Morocco called on the islands in 999 CE, but departed. When the Spaniards came in the 1400s, they found a native population living a stone-age life. Eventually the eight islands became the last port of call for Spanish ships headed across the Atlantic or down the coast of Africa. Columbus stopped there on September 6 before sailing West to ‘the Indies.’ Spanish sailors took as pets the little yellow birds that lived on the islands, calling them “canaries.” Back in Europe, the Canary Birds were bred for color and singing ability, and they became the status pet of the rich and famous. In the 1800s, the birds were a fad pet for the masses. Around 1913, John Scott Haldane proposed that small mammals or birds could detect deadly Carbon Monoxide gasses in the air of coal mines. The small animals would sicken or die when the air quality was degraded by undetectable toxic gasses, hence the ‘canary in the coal mine’ as an early-warning system. Today the islands are an autonomous region of Spain. Although the indigenous Guanche language is extinct, Silbo Gomero, a whistled communication method of the Island La Gomera, is being taught in some schools.

The Romans would have recognized the ingredients of our breakfast, and the dinner reflects the tastes of Morocco.

Roman Breakfast: 149 calories 3 g fat 3 g fiber 9 g protein 28 g carbs [21 g Complex Carbs] 35 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB  Though my Roman Breakfast is not the morning meal, this is a very good plate of breakfast food. It is based on ingredients available to Romans in the 1st century BCE. The meal is satisfying and flavorful. Try it.

1 Pan Muffin** OR 0.75 oz whole wheat bread 1 oz pear 1 oz cooked chicken 1 oz radish 1 oz cucumber [optional: ½ medjool date = ¼ oz]   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Dice all the fruits and vegetables. Add a good finishing salt and gently stir to combine.  HINT: I did this the night before and refrigerated the mixture. Prepare the pan muffin or take from freezer with time to thaw/heat. In the time it takes to brew the coffee, you can plate the muffin and the fruit-veg mixture. Romans did not drink smoothies or coffee, but we will. Hope you’ll enjoy your throw-back breakfast.

**PAN MUFFIN each: 71 calories 2.5 g fat 1 g fiber 2 g protein 11 g carbs 8.5 mg Calcium 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain hot cereal mix  1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk [combine cereal + milk and let sit while preparing other ingredients. 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup unbleached flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda Cream the butter and sugar; mix in the egg. Add the dry ingredients and the cereal/milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Use 2 Tbsp batter for each griddlecake/pan muffin.  [use 4 Tbsp batter to bake in a muffin tin for Slow Days]

Moroccan Tuna: 278 calories 1.4 g fat 7 g fiber 34 g protein 20.4 g carbs  129 mg Calcium  PB GF  Moroccan spice blend can really add zest to a simple meal. 

4 oz tuna steak [frozen tuna steaks at the supermarket are good]  Moroccan spice blend  or ground cumin or mint 1/3 cup white beans, rinsed and drained   1 slice preserved lemon OR 1 slice fresh lemon per person: 1/3 cup peas with mint OR ½ cup broccoli florets sprinkled with cumin OR 1/3 cup green beans sprinkled with cilantro AND  ½ of a clementine

Rub tuna generously on both sides with Moroccan spices. Chop the lemon and stir into the beans. Bake the tuna on a cast iron skillet for 4-5 minutes per side in a 400F oven. When the vegetable is cooked, drain and stir in the seasoning. Section the clementine and plate it all as pleases your eye.

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