The Cat

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.

Felines have been around for a long time. The ancestors of modern cats appeared in the Oligocene epoch and spread to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Those cats developed into two groups: saber-toothed cats and conical-toothed cats. The saber-toothed cats died out along with their megafauna prey, while the other cats evolved into the wide array of animals we see today. Modern cats are members of Order Felidae and fall into two groups: Pantherinae [Big Cats which roar] and Felinae [Cheetahs and small cats which purr]. All are predators which fill an important niche in the food web by culling weaker members of the prey species and keeping their populations in check. Between 4000 and 7000 years ago, the Egyptians domesticated cats. Then they worshiped them in the form of the god Bast/Bastet, a female deity who can nurture and avenge. Around the world, as agrarian cultures increased, cats were revered for their ability to curb the rodent population. The pre-Incas had Ai-Apaec, with cat-like fangs. Chinese farmers made offerings to Li Shou to protect their crops from rodents. Ovinnik had to be placated on farms in old Poland, lest he burn down your barn. Pogumkp is a First Nations cat figure who protects the family. Hecate in Greece became a cat to escape danger. Because she was associated with spell-casting and magic, cats fell under suspicion. In the Middle Ages, cats were both useful and feared in a supposed link to witches. Kipling’s The Cat That Walks By Himself is a clever origin story of the cat’s personality. Poe’s The Black Cat is a sinister tale of madness and revenge. Dear Husband and I have been lucky in our Feline Companions. For 49 years our lives have been enriched by the affection, antics, and — dare I say it? — devotion of our dear cats. We have had dogs, but cats are our favourites. They have all been named after Tolkien characters: Gandalf, Merry & Pippin, Gimli, Tom Bombadil & Frodo, and Samwise. Intelligent, wise, affectionate, they are delightful examples of Felis catus.

Our cat likes egg mixed with milk, so our breakfast will combine those flavors in a way that is pleasing to the cat’s People. And do cats love tuna? Oh yes! Dinner contains tuna, providing an opportunity for the resident cat to lick the can. If you wish to have a cat in your life, find a friend who’s cat has kittens or go to the local cat/animal rescue group. Please do not get a ‘designer cat’ or one from a breeder. Please do not encourage the international trade in exotic cats or their by-products. Please get your animals spayed or neutered — they are better companions that way. August 8 is International Cat Day.

Buttermilk Baked Eggs: 163 calories 9 g fat 7 g fiber 9.5 g protein 14 g. carb [6.5 g Complex] 82 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the plated items, not for the optional beverages.  This recipe is from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, all I added were the sides. Great book full of good recipes. 

1 slice 70-cal whole-grain bread one 2-oz egg 2 Tbsp buttermilk herbs to taste 2 oz mixed berries, fresh or thawed OR 4 oz strawberries   OR 2 oz pear Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Cut out a hole from the middle of the bread using a 2” cookie cutter or juice glass. HINT: put the ‘hole’ in a sandwich bag in the freezer. Save for recipes that call for fresh bread crumbs. Toast the bread lightly.  HINT: this step could be done the night before. Or cut and toast the bread weeks in advance and freeze. Lightly spray an oven-proof pan with cooking spray and put the toasted bread in it. Break the egg over the bread so that the yolk lands in the hole. Carefully spoon the buttermilk over the egg and bread. Season to taste. HINT: you could prep this far and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the fruit and the optional beverages. You have a terrific breakfast!

Feta-Tuna-Bean Salad: 306 calories 14.6 g fat 5 g fiber 19 g protein 24 g carbs [23 g Complex] 230 mg Calcium  PB GF This salad has a lot going for it. Perfect for a hot summer evening.

1 oz canned tuna, drained ¼ cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed 1 oz feta cheese, crumbled 2 oz tomatoes, cubed 1½ oz red bell pepper, cut as large dice  2 pitted ripe olives, sliced  ½ hardboiled egg, chopped 1½ cups baby greens 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp lemon juice + lots of herbes de Provence + pinch garlic powder

Prepare the vegetables as described above. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, herbs and garlic in a 2-cup bowl. Add the greens and toss gently but thoroughly. Place the greens in the serving bowl and nestle the tuna in the center. Arrange all the other ingredients on top in a manner that pleases you.

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