Claudius Ptolemaeus

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: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

When I taught my students about the development of our modern theories of the solar system, Ptolemy, aka: Claudius Ptolemaeus, emerged as the ‘bad guy.’ But to their geography teacher, he was a hero! Who was this man and what did he do to deserve this mixed reaction? He was born around 90 CE. A Roman citizen of Greek parents, he spent most of his adult life in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt. Ptolemy was an astronomer, mathematician, and geographer. As a researcher, he relied on secondary sources rather than doing his own observations. No points earned there. Even Aristotle, who predated Ptolemy by two centuries, did primary research. As a geographer, he asked ship captains about conditions in port cities and what they encountered on their voyages. Then he created a mariner’s chart of the Mediterranean Sea, showing wind and air currents. Very useful. He even marked the map with grid lines to aid location — precursors of latitude and longitude lines. In the Library of Alexandria, Ptolemy read the works of the ancient astronomers: Aristotle, Aristarchus, Hipparchus, and others. What he did not understand, he rejected. What he liked, he kept. Then he put it together in his master work: Syntaxis, 13 scrolls about the structure of the solar system and about the stars. Following Aristotle, on whom he lavished praise, Ptolemy put the Earth in the center of the universe, orbited by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This is called the Ptolemaic System. He thought that the planets did not orbit the Earth is smooth circles, but rather did little loop-de-loops which he called ‘epicycles.’ It is true that to the careful observer planets seem to move like that, but it is because we view the planets from an Earth that is NOT in the center of the solar system. Ptolemy had ignored the work of Aristarchus who had correctly put the Sun in the center in 210 BCE. Syntaxis was well-regarded during the Roman era and copies were distributed widely. Then 850 years later, the Arab astronomers discovered it. They thought it was so wonderful that they named it Almagest [meaning ‘the greatest’]. The Arabs introduced it to Spain, and from there it was read in Europe. Since the Ptolemaic System jived nicely with prevailing Catholic theology, his ideas were eagerly embraced. This is why Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo had such a difficult time getting people to believe their correct views of the Solar System. His lingering legacy of wrong ideas is what made him the ‘bad guy’ in the story of modern science. When wrong ideas persist, especially for 1500 years, it is a sad time for the truth.

For Ptolemy’s Roman citizenship, a breakfast grain very popular in that era. For his Greek parentage, a delightful salad who’s ingredients would have been recognizable in the second century CE.

Roman Porridge: 146 calories 1 g fat 4 g fiber 4 g protein 29.4 g carbs 14 mg Calcium NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB  Farro is an ancient grain which was enjoyed by citizens of the Roman Empire for breakfast as a porridge. Here I have included a pear, which the Romans loved. TIP: Since Farro takes a while to cook, prepare the grain the night before. This meal is hearty, chewy, just sweet enough, and delicious.

½ c cooked farro** [do ahead] 1 oz pear, unpeeled, chopped 1 tsp honey   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories] Optional: blackish coffee  [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories

**Night before: Measure out 1 cup of farro and put it in a sieve/collandar. Rinse thoroughly under running water. Boil 1 quart of water with 1 tsp salt in a saucepan. Add the rinsed farro, return to the boil, turn down heat to medium-high and cook uncovered about 30 minutes. Farro should be soft but the water may not be all absorbed. Drain the cooked farro and save out the amount you need for today’s recipe. TIP: Serve remaining farro mixed with herbs/spices as a side dish on a Slow Day. It is delicious. Next morning: Warm the cooked farro. Stir in the honey until incorporated, then add the pear: stir it in or strew the fruit on top. This will keep a Roman on his/her feet for hours.

Greek Chicken Salad:  295 calories 13 g fat 5 g fiber 23.5 g protein 26.5 g carb 240 mg Calcium  PB GF  This recipe was long ago clipped from a magazine and stored in the recipe file. When I saw it anew, I recognized that if most of the olive oil were removed, it would make a smashing Fast meal. We like this one a lot.

1½ oz chicken, roasted and shredded 1½ c. shredded romaine or 3 oz salad greens ¼ c garbanzo or small white beans 2½ oz tomato chunks or 1 c cucumbers, cubed 3 black olives, pitted & sliced 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled 1½ tsp lemon juice ½ tsp olive oil ½ tsp each of mint, oregano, parsley

Prep the meat, greens, tomatoes, and olives as described. Measure the lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs into a salad bowl. Whisk together. Add the greens and toss to combine. Add the chicken, beans, tomato/cukes and toss gently. Top with the olives and feta.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday …………………………… single portion for Thursday:

pear2 two-oz eggs  + blueberries
pecansskimmed milk + sugar
2 %-fat cottage cheese white whole wheat flour
blueberries33-calorie chicken breakfast sausage
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday:………………………….. single portion for Thursday:

raw shrimp + green cabbagebluefish
udon or soba noodlesreduced-fat mayonnaise
soy sauce + olive oil Dijon mustard
green onion + onion + carrotgreen beans
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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