Limbourg Brothers: July

How this Fast Diet Lifestyleworks: 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.

The Limbourg Brothers — Pol, Herman, and Jannequin — did not set out to revolutionize art in the 1400s, but they did. Born in the Rhine Valley of the Netherlands to a wood sculptor and his wife, the sister of a painter, they apprenticed with their uncle, then with a goldsmith in Paris. Their uncle came into the employ of the Duke of Bourgogne, Duc de Berry, and so did the three brothers. By 1408, Pol was so esteemed by the duke, that Duke Jean kidnapped a bride for him from her family in Bourges. Besides designing jewelry and the interior decoration of the duke’s many chateaux, Pol and his brothers created illustrations for devotional books. The most famous was Les Tres Riches Heures, begun in 1410. As a ‘book of hours‘, it contained prayers for each of the eight ‘canonical hours’ of the day. Those pages and others were decorated with exquisite miniature paintings. Furthermore, there are full-page paintings of the months of the year. What sets the book apart are the details of nature keenly observed by the artists. The July illustration is a good example, so take a good look at it. It is time to harvest the wheat crop, and the peasants are hard at work. The ripe heads of grain are a different tint of yellow from the already-cut stalks which are drying on the ground. The distant mountains, although stylized, show rock stratification from which water seeps to feed a stream. In a time when a sky would be shown as a golden backdrop, these artists show a real sky with realistic clouds and a change in hue near the horizon. The Limbourgs were the first artists in Northern Europe to show nature as it really was, and to place human activity as a part of it. During July, go outside often and, like the Limbourgs, become a keen observer of details in nature.

Two meals for July: an omelette of seasonal mushrooms and a cold plate for dinner on a hot day.

Oyster Mushroom ScrOmelette: 138 calories 7.6 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 9.5 g carbs 50 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  We are fond of oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, so naturallly we are fond of this breakfast. You can forage for them or buy them at the market.

1½ two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.   1 oz oyster mushrooms 1 oz red bell pepper 1 clove garlic 1½ oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Chop the mushrooms, pepper, and garlic. Warm a non-stick saute pan, and spritz it with non-stick spray. Put the vegetables in the pan to cook and to warm while you whisk the eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the eggs and either scramble them or cook as an omelette. Plate with the pear for a dandy meal.

Chicken Salad Platter: 227 calories 3.4 g fat 5 g fiber 22 g protein 23 g carbs 107 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using gf crackers Chicken salad is an old favorite – for a sandwich or stuffed in tomatoes or on a salad plate. Without mayonnaise, it is much healthier and just as good.

½ cup chicken salad, chez moi** ½ cup Swedish Cucumber salad  5 sugar snap peas, or more 2 cherry tomatoes, or more 3 Finn Crisp crackers

Plate everything in a pleasing arrangement.

**Chicken Salad, chez moi  makes 1 cup ½ cup= 121 calories 3 g fat 0 g fiber 10 g protein 1.4 g carbs 88 mg Calcium   5 oz cooked chicken breast 4 Tbsp part-skim ricotta 2 tsp yellow Sriracha 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped salt & pepper to taste   optional: 2 Tbsp minced onion 2 Tbsp mined celery Chop, shred or grind the chicken. Combine with the other ingredients. Taste for seasoning, adding more Sriracha if too dry.

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

1 two-oz egg + chicken breast meat white of 1 two-oz egg + sugar 
low-fat cottage cheesebaking apple + applesauce
red tomato salsa + strawberriesalmond slivers
salsa verde or green chilis30-calorie chicken sausage or 20 cals Canadian bacon
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

bay scallops + parsley3-oz thick-sliced ham
sun-dried tomatoeslima beans + corn kernels
olive oil + garlicsweet potato + brown sugar
red-lentil pastacanned pineapple
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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