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.

Albert Camus was many things: novelist, resistance fighter, playwright, post-war philosopher, Nobel laureate, essayist. But one thing he was not was an existentialist. That word gets bandied about a lot these days, as talking heads ponder the ‘existential crisis’ presented by this or that world problem. The themes of existentialism include: dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness, and the mood of Europe after World War II was conducive to all those feelings. When Camus wrote about them, he knew what he was talking about. He was born in Drean, Algeria on November 7, 1913. His parents were of French heritage, his grandfather having moved to Africa when France promoted the settling of their territory with Europeans. Camus’ father died when Albert was an infant. His mother worked in low-paying jobs, and Albert was lucky to obtain a scholarship to attend University d’Algiers where he studied philosophy. At that point, he was anti-Fascist and anti-Soviet, despite having joined the Communist party earlier. Even though he had a lower-class upbringing, Camus knew that he had more privilege than the native Berbers and Arabs. This lead him to social justice causes and a job at a newspaper in Paris. During the war, he worked for the Resistance, married for a second time, and continued to write. Camus planned his writing in ‘cycles’: he would examine a theme [ex: Absurdity] as a novel [ex: l’Etranger], as an essay [ex: Le Mythe de Sisyphe], and as a play [ex: Caligula]. In the 1950s, Camus was part of Jean-Paul Sartre’s circle of Existentialists but Camus refused to espouse their philosophy. If not existentialism, what did he think of the human condition? Camus saw that humans constantly seek order and rationality in a random universe, and he labeled that ‘Absurd.’ So what can one do? The second part of his thinking was that humans are morally obliged to resist what oppresses us — and he called that ‘Revolt.’ In 1957 came the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1960 he died in a car wreck.

The breakfast is from Algeria, Camus’ birthplace where he never felt at home because he was French. The dinner is from France, where the adult Camus lived and never felt at home because he was Algerian. Since Camus promoted a “new Mediterranean Culture” for the multi-ethnic countries of North Africa, he would have liked our Mediterranean Vegetables.

Chelada Felfel: 197 calories 15 g fat 2.5 g fiber 9 g protein 8 g carbs 47.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  With its bright colors and its salad vibe, this meal can add cheer to a winter morning or coolness to a sultry summer day. The flavors and ingredients are from Algeria.  TIP: Prepare it the night before and store in ‘fridge for a super-quick breakfast.

¼ cup Bell pepper, yellow or orange ¼ c tomatoes, diced ¼ c cucumber, diced ¼ cup onion, thinly sliced 1½ tsp cilantro, chopped 1½ anchovy fillets, chopped 1½ cured black olives, pitted and chopped 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp red wine vinegar salt + pepper 1 hard-boiled egg, cut in half and sliced  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]

Prepare the vegetables, anchovies, and olives. Combine them in a bowl, then add oil, vinegar, and seasonings. Toss well to combine. Chop or slice the egg as you choose, scatter atop the salad, and dust with salt. With mint tea, a taste of Algeria. With cafe au lait, a taste of French Algeria.

Mediterranean Vegetables with Seafood:  278 calories 6 g fat 6 g fiber 28 g protein 25 g carbs 290 mg Calcium   PB GF This dinner qualifies as a hurry-up meal. If you have Mediteranean Vegetables in the freezer, you can serve this in the time it takes to cook the quinoa.

1 cup Mediterranean Vegetables, without chickpeas 3 oz seafood: shrimp, fish chunks, bivalves [without shells], whatever you have 1 oz mozzarella, shredded 1 oz mushrooms, coarsely-chopped 1/3 cup cooked quinoa 

Start cooking the quinoa. Put the frozen Med Vegetables in a sauce pan with a lid. Warm them gently until they are mostly thawed. Add the mushrooms and seafood. Continue to heat, covered, until everything is warm and cooked. Plate with the quinoa and top with cheese. 

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