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.

October 24, 1260, saw the dedication of Chartres Cathedral in the Department of Eure-et-Loire, France. The church was begun in 1220, and following the example of St Denis, North of Paris, Notre-Dame de Chartres became what is called the epitome of Gothic architecture. So, what does that mean? The Goths-Visagoths-Ostragoths were a Germanic tribe that was there to pick up the pieces [after creating the pieces] at the fall of the Roman Empire. They were considered to be barbarians. In the 1100s, a new style of architecture arose in France. Instead of the solid Romanesque churches, with their small windows in thick walls which created ‘the mystery of the dark’ for worshippers, the new style had larger windows in thinner walls. The walls were held up by exterior supports, called flying-buttresses, permitting huge windows of stained glass. This bright colorful interior created ‘the mystery of the light’ for worshippers, the colored light signifying the transformative power of faith. This style caught on and was soon seen everywhere in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. In the 1500s, Georgio Vasari, the Florentine art critic, called the style ‘Gothic,’ thus dismissing it as barbarian. Chartres is everything a Gothic church should be: soaring to the heavens [118 feet high inside], with pointed arches supporting the ceiling, the richly decorated nave is flooded with blue light from the marvelous stained-glass windows. Of course, ‘Gothic’ also refers to a style of post-Romantic literature, dealing with mysterious characters [think Frankenstein, Dracula] and in the present day, Goth is a music genre and a counter-culture style. If you want modern Goth, read Interview with a Vampire. If you want to be in awe, visit the Cathedral of Chartres. Watch this enlightening and amusing TED lesson which traces the word ‘Goth’ through all its iterations.

The workers on the Cathedral of Chartres would have loved to have eaten a simple ham+egg breakfast, but they probably got gruel instead. The stonemasons, hod-carriers, glass-blowers, and un-skilled laborers were not mistreated, but feeding an army of workers did not lead to fine cooking. The dinner of fish and grains is a more typical meal of the medieval time.

Ham Bake: 135 calories 6 g fat 1.6 g fiber 10 g protein 5 g carbs [3.6 g Complex] 61.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB GF  This is the yummy baked version of a ham omelette.

1 two-oz egg ½ oz 3 % fat ham from the deli, minced 1.5 tsp reduced fat ricotta 2 tsp chives/scallion, chopped ½ tsp Dijon mustard large pinch of crumbled sage 1 oz peach OR 2 oz unsweetened applesauce  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

Spritz a ramekin with non-stick spray and set the toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Vigorously whisk the egg, ham, cheese, and seasonings and pour into ramekin. Bake 12-15 minutes until puffed, not until golden. Portion the fruit, pour the beverages and this will surely be a good day.

Haddock w/ Farro & Chickpeas:  252 calories 3.6 g fat 7 g fiber 19 g protein 38.4 g carbs 37.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  The whole grains and chickpeas help to make a small amount of fish taste like a lot more. Then you add a vegetable of your choice. Good stuff.

¾ cup chickpea ragout ½ c cooked farro 2 oz raw or cooked haddock PLUS: 2 oz broccoli OR 2½ oz carrots OR 2½ oz green beans OR 2 oz beets each adds about 20 calories and an average of 2 g fiber to the meal

Cook the farro in one pan and the vegetable in another. Combine the cooked farro with the chickpea ragout and season to taste.  If the fish is raw, place on top of farro-ragout in a pan, cover and cook until vegetables are warm and fish is cooked.  If fish is cooked, add to cooked vegetables and heat gently. Plate alongside vegetables.

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