Rule of Benedict

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.

Benedict of Nursia was born in 480 CE. Shocked by the worldly life in Rome, he became a hermit. After becoming a monk, he decided that monastic life had to be reformed. [The monks at his first monastery tried to poison him.] He thought that in 400 years, the Church had slipped a bit in its practices. More than a bit. After founding 12 religious houses, he wrote The Rule of Benedict in 516 CE. That sounds like laying down the law in an unpleasant and self-centered way, but it described a monastic life that could accommodate many different approaches. Thus it became the most prevalent way to live a monastic life all over Europe in the Medieval Era. The Rule described a monk’s day as dedicating 8 hours to prayer [during each of the canonical hours], 8 hours to work, and 8 hours to sleep. “Prayer and Work” were the order of the day. The work was hard: cutting trees, clearing fields, kitchen work, care of the sick, planting and harvesting. Benedict wanted the men to work hard so that they would be too tired to have unreligious or impure thoughts. Meals were part of supporting each man’s ascetic goals. There were two meals each day: late morning and evening. During Lent and on other fast days, there might be only one meal. At each meal, two different foods were served so that if you didn’t like one, you could eat the other. Each man was provided with 1 kilo/2.5 pounds of bread each day and 1/4 liter of wine. There was never any meat served from four-legged animals. Benedict thought that mammals’ meat caused ‘indigestion’ — a code word for carnal thoughts. Benedict believed that humans should suffer in life as Christ suffered, so life in the monastery was austere. Yet men flocked to the monasteries and women became Benedictine nuns. As centuries went by, the monasteries became rich, the work was not so hard, the food was more plentiful, and life was less austere. Therefore new rules arose: the Cistercians at Cluny, France reformed the Rule of Benedict in 910 CE, to get back to the core principles. In 1517, shocked by the worldly life in Rome, Martin Luther proposed reforms to the Church, and ended up tearing it apart in the Protestant Reformation. In 2019, there were 20,000 men and women living under the Rule of Benedict in 400 monasteries around the world, praying and working.

Not sure anyone today wants to eat like a 6th century monk, I have chosen elements from Benedict’s Rule: fish, vegetables, and only a tiny bit of meat — not enough to inflame the body and cause ‘indigestion.’

Maltese ScrOmelette: 152 calories 8 g fat 1.6 g fiber 12.5 g protein 7.6 g carbs 91 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  With the fish, the vegetables, and the fruit, these flavors have “Malta” written all over them.

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  ¼ oz cooked tuna 2 Tbsp frozen spinach 2 Tbsp Mediterranean Vegetables, chopped  ½ clementine  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]

Thaw and chop the spinach, and drain it through a sieve. Break the tuna into small bits. Combine all vegetables with the tuna. Heat the ingredients briefly in an oil-misted non-stick pan, then pour in the whisked eggs. Cook to your preference. Serve with the fruit and optional beverages of choice. Sunny flavors!

Goat Cheese with Figs: 287 calories 20.6 g fat 2 g fiber 18.5 g protein 25 g carbs 57.5 mg Calcium  PB Joanne Harris, in her French Market cookbook, offers this as a salad. But we saw it as a light dinner and we were very pleased with it. Easy to prepare – as long as you can find fresh figs. One might try plumping dried Turkish figs in warm water in lieu of fresh figs.

3 fresh figs, each ~½ ounce ½ oz Bayonne or Serrano ham 1 oz chevre cheese, a creamy type 4 mint leaves salt & pepper ½ plain croissant

Trim the stems from the figs. Sit the fig on its base and cut down into the fig, from top to almost-the-bottom. Make another cut at right angles to the first, so that the fig now is a bud with four petals. Slice the ham into ¼” slices and chop the mint leaves. Cream together the cheese, ham, and mint, along with some flavorful salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 3 equal portions. Open the petals of the figs and spoon the cheese mixture into the center. Warm the croissant and plate it with the figs.

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

1 extra large egg = 2.5 oz + scallion2 chocolate crepes + icing sugar
any color bell pepper2%-fat cottage cheese
white or sweet potato + chivesnon-fat vanilla yogurt + strawberries
plain, low-fat yogurt +Cheddar cheese30-calorie uncured bacon
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

chili non carne buckwheat galettes
tostada [fried tortilla]fresh tomato
Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheeseLeek&Bacon Filling
guacamole Mexican Vegetable Pickle basil or thyme
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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