Saint Swithen’s Day

Saint Swithen was an English Abbot in the Middle Ages. He loved being outside in all weathers.  I can imagine him working in the garden in the sun or foraging for wild mushrooms after a summer rain. For his feast day, July 15, we will celebrate with some meals from nature’s bounty. We will also remember the ditty: ‘If on St. Swithen’s it should rain, for 40 days it will remain.  If on St. Swithen’s it be fair, for 40 days shall rain no mair.” Have fun observing the weather.

Egg-Mushroom Toast 290 calories              This is yummy. The eggs are creamy and the mushrooms lend a mysterious layer of flavor. I like this better than poached eggs.mushroom-egg toast w: apples & gr smoo

1 piece 35-cal bread OR 1/2 piece 70-cal bread                                                                                    one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                    1 oz mushrooms, chopped                                                                                                                              1 Tbsp chives, chopped                                                                                                                                      1 ½ oz of apple                                                                                                                                           blackish coffee, blackish tea, or lemon in hot water                                                                           5-6 oz green smoothie or natural apple cider

Toast the bread. Spritz the non-stick saute pan with oil or spray and gently cook the mushrooms. Put the chives, salt, and pepper in with the egg and beat it up. Scramble lightly with the mushrooms, keeping the eggs moist. Turn out over the toast and plate the fruit. Sip your beverages and have a good day.

Mediterranean Vegetables w/ couscous       289 calories       8.7 g. fat         15.2 g. protein    44 g. carbs   PB            HINT: This makes enough vegetables for two [2] meals or save the rest for a following dinner or for a Ratatouille Breakfast.Mediterranian Meal

2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed OR 1 and 1/2 cup bell peppers, cubed                                                 2 cups tomato, cubed                                                                                                                                            2 cups zucchini, cubed                                                                                                                                        2 cloves garlic                                                                                                                                                        1 and 1/2 tsp oregano                                                                                                                                                   ½ cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained                                                                                                      per serving: 1 oz mozzerella, shredded          ½ cup brown rice couscous, cooked

Prepare all the veg., and put them in a saucepan. Simmer, covered, until cooked through. Add oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and the chickpeas. Prepare the brown rice couscous and place it on one side of the plate. Spoon 2 cups of the vegetables next to the couscous. Top with cheese and tuck into it!

Where Are We Now?

If you hae followed this blog for a few months, you might think that I have been jumping around a bit with my ideas. It is true that since January I have told you about the Fast Diet, a gluten-free diet, and a plant-based diet. Grasping at straws, you ask. Not really.

The goal is to live a health-promoting life-style which is sustainable. What do we mean by that? We want to be slim. We want to have low cholesterol. We want to hike, swim, and garden. We want to live a long time. We want to be as mentally and physically healthy as we can be into old age. We want to eat a variety of delicious, interesting food.  We want to have a life-style that we can keep up day after day for years.

Where are we now? Having tried all these things, here is the choice: The Fast Diet.

We have been following the Fast Lifestyle for more than 2 years now. We like it and find it to be easy to use. We like the food and the variety of foods which we can eat. The gluten-free and plant-based diet [and even the FodMap diet] were all recommended by a physician at various times. We continue to drink the Green Smoothies from the plant-based diet, and will work some of its tenents into our over-all eating.

For the most part the other diets were so limited that it made them hard to follow more than the 4-6 weeks that were recommended to us. But if you had to employ one of these diets to master your eating/digestive issues, let me assure you that each of them can be used in conjunction with the Fast Diet!!

It is true that you couldn’t use all of the recipes which I have posted on each of these diets. But many of my recipes are Gluten Free GF or Plant-Based PB or even FodMap FM. If you must use one of these diets, please don’t give up on the Fast Lifestyle. For weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower risk of diabetes and certain cancers, the Fast Lifestyle can’t be beat! I will code recipes using the above initials to help you to find the recipes that will work best for you.

There’s nothing like being healthy! Join us on Mondays and Thursdays for some good eating.

Thank you for following Fastingme.

Simple for Summer

Now that Summer is here, let’s make the meals easy.  Get out and go for a walk. Work in the garden. Getting some exercise will help to burn off more calories and it will distract you from thoughts of food.

Poached Egg on Toast            303 K                                                                                                         I never used to like poached eggs, but on a Fast Day, they taste good.

Poached Egg on Toast one slice of 70-cal bread     [Nature’s Own is perfect.]                                                                       one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                     1 1/2oz of apple or 2 oz melon                                                                                                             blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water                                                                        green smoothie or fruit smoothie or unpasturized cider

If using an egg poacher, lightly spray the egg cup and heat the water to a simmer. Toast the bread. Poach the egg for 3-4 minutes, according to your taste. Slide the egg onto the toast, season to taste, and enjoy with your hot beverage of choice and the smoothie.

Antipasto with Tuna:      282   calories                           GF   PB                                                  This one is a keeper. Simple, off the shelf, pretty on the plate, good too eat.    The photo shows enough for 2 people. Invite a guest who is Fasting, too.                                                       Amtipasto w: herbs2 oz roasted red pepper, without oil [I roast my own, slice and freeze them]                           2 oz mozzerella, cut into ‘sticks’ [I buy blocks of mozzerells for slicing]                                     one 5-0z can tuna, packed in water, drained and broken into large chunks                                  5 oz tomato slices                                                                                                                                                3 oz whole green beans, steamed, drained                                                                                           1 ½ oz marinated mushrooms                                                                                                                1/3 c. garbanzo beans, drained if canned  [Goya brand is very good]                                          4 black olives, pitted and sliced                                                                                                                       3 slices pepperoni, chopped  or sliced                                                                                                         1 tsp flavored oil, salt, chopped fresh herbs

Prepare the ingredients and keep separate. On a platter, arrange the ingredients in rows as shown in the photo. Suit your own artistic nature as to what goes where. Drizzle or brush with the flavored oil and be liberal with the herbs. Summer simplicity at its best.

Let’s Try This Again…

Some meals are so good that you just have to enjoy them again.

Buttermilk Baked Eggs:   283 cal      6.2 g fat         11.7 g protein               18.8 g. carb           PB

buttermilk baked eggs:mixed berriesThis 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   [Nature’s Own is still my go-to]                                                  one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                        2 Tbsp buttermilk                                                                                                                                            1 oz [¼ c.] mixed berries                                                                                                                               nearly black coffee, tea, lemon juice & hot water,                                                                           green smoothie or fruit smoothie or natural apple cider

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 Dutch Breakfast later on. 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 in. 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 refridgerate over night. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put the fruit in a small dish, brew your beverage, pour your fruit smoothie and you have a terrific breakfast!

Red Beans & Rice   280 calories       1.2 g. fat       13 g. protein       57.5 g. carb       GF, PB

red beans & rice w: peasThis is the old classic recipe for the ‘perfect protein’. Yeah, you’re right, the carbs are way out of control, but for a once-in-a-while this is really good. HINT: This is enough for 4 servings! Either have a gathering or cut the recipe or freeze for later.

2 cups brown rice, cooked [one cup rice cooked in 2 cups water]                                               ½ cup celery, chopped                                                                                                                                    ½ cup sweet yellow pepper, diced                                                                                                                 1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                                  2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                                                                   ¾ cup tomato sauce                                                                                                                            oregano & black pepper                                                                                                                                    2 cups red beans, drained and rinsed [Goya brand is very good]                                                          ½ cup green peas

Cook the rice. Saute the celery, pepper, and onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 5 minutes more. Add the tomato sauce and seasonings. Stir in the red beans and heat through. When the rice is done, add 2 cups to the mixture. Serve with the cooked green peas.  Easy to prepare, easy to eat.

AMAZING but True!

News Flash: I am at a point now that if I lose any more pounds, I will be dangerously under-weight!  Never thought I’d say that. Husband is also at unheard of low weight.  I owe this to the FAST Lifestyle and to the Green Smoothies every day.  We eat well and we eat enough to satisfy.

The Plant-Based Diet is ongoing, which my Husband follows daily. I eat right along with him, but will eat ham or turkey sandwiches daily for lunch to get an extra 200 calories into my diet.  Husband also eats lunch, which is plant-based.  Otherwise the menu consists of the following:

Sunday breakfast: cornmeal pancakes with maple syrup and meatless sausage; yeast bread made with white whole-wheat flour/unbleached flour; along with Green Smoothie and cafe au lait.      dinner: a low-meat meal such as Pizza with chicken garnish; beef kabobs with brown rice pilaf;  Eggplant casserole; a Greek recipe for squash and green vegetable pie.

Monday breakfast: Fast meals as advertised            dinner: Fast meals as posted

Tuesday breakfast: whole-grain muffins or toast with meatless bacon; along with Green Smoothie and cafe au lait.      dinner: Veggie Burgers on Sandwich-Thins; bruschetta on Naan bread; chili non carne; stuffed zucchini; chicken couscous; rumbledeethumps; all with lots of vegetables on the side. Complementary wines are served.

Wednesday breakfast: Whole grain cereal with banana or canned peaches — I have mine with cow’s milk, Husband has his with almond milk; along with Green Smoothie and cafe au lait.   dinner:  whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce and meatless sausage;  tortellini and mixed vegetable sauce; quiona elbows and non-dairy cheese [‘Mac & Cheese’] with tomato sauce;   whole-wheat spaghetti with meatless sausage & tomato sauce; spaghetti squash/whole-grain spaghetti with sauce; all served with green beans or other cooked vegetables. Complementary wines are served.

Thursday breakfast:  Fast diet as posted.                         dinner: Fast diet as posted

Friday breakfast:  whole-grain muffins or toast with meatless sausage; along with Green Smoothie and cafe au lait.    dinner: crab cakes; fish cakes; Indian vegetables with fish with Naan bread; 3 oz baked fish; all served with cooked vegetables and potatoes or brown rice pilaf. Complementary wines are served.

Saturday breakfast: Whole grain cereal with banana or canned peaches — I have mine with cow’s milk, husband has his with almond milk; along with Green Smoothie and cafe au lait.   dinner: pizza on home-made crust which is 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 unbleached flour.  toppings vary but the ‘cheese’ is non-milk for Husband, regular mozzarella for me. Complementary wines are served. NB: for some reason I always weigh less on Sunday than I did on Saturday.

Got questions?  Let me know.  I will continue to post menus and will label them as G-F [gluten free] or P-B [plant-based] when applicable.  Onward to healthy eating! Join me.

What is so rare as a day in June?

This June has been beautiful so far: warm, sunny, not humid, light zephyrs playing in the trees.  Bliss.  We are still on the Plant-Based Fast Lifestyle.  This means lots of whole grains, lots of vegetables, plant-based protein, and very little animal-based protein.  But twice a week we eat eggs. Twice a week we eat  fish and sometimes chicken is permitted.  I always enjoy a recipe challenge!

Shirred EggShirred Egg            284 calories           8.4 g. fat                 12.25 g. protein       25.7 g. carb                  I learned to prepare this dish when working on my Girl Scout ‘Cooking’ badge. I still eat it because it tastes so good. Peter says, “this is my favorite FAST breakfast!”

One 2-oz egg,                                                                                                                                                     1 Tbsp half&half or almond milk                                                                                                                                         1/2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese  or cheese alternative                                                                            half a slice of 70-calorie whole grain  bread, toasted                                                                                2 oz apple slices                                                                                                                                     blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon in hot water

Heat the toaster oven to 325. Spritz a 1-cup ramekin with cooking oil or spray. Break the egg into the cup, and pour the half&half on top. Sprinkle with cheese, add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then let sit 2-3 mins. Plate with the toast, apples. Serve with your choice of black-ish coffee or tea, or lemon in hot water.

venison chili w: melonChili non Carne:    The recipe is my mother’s, except that she used beef. And she served it on a heap of mashed potatoes, but we won’t do that on a Fast Day.

15 oz canned red beans                                                                                                                                16 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or whole                                                                                       ½ cup chopped onion                                                                                                                                  ½ green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                               2-3 tsp chili pepper, or more if you like it hot                                                                                         ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin                                                                                                                                  1 Tbsp cheddar cheese, grated, as a garnish

Saute the onion and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the stew is thickened. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. One serving = 1 cup chili topped with grated cheddar.  I always think that cold, sweet melon is an excellent foil to hot, spicy chili.

This is enough for 2 one-cup servings. Save the remaining chili for a lunch or watch for the next posting to see how we use it for breakfast!

Let’s talk about, um, er, elimination…

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. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Some people find that a change of diet causes a change in their digestive health. Whether you end up too loose or too tight in your bowels, the cause is how your intestines are reacting to the addition of new food [vegetables, fiber] as well as the subtraction of other food [fatty foods, processed foods].  It turns out that the standard American diet degenerates the health of the good bacteria which live in the gut and help to digest our food.  The solution?  Re-populate those good little guys!

“How?” you may ask?  The solution we found lies in those green smoothies which we ingested during the Plant-Based Diet, about which I wrote earlier.  For breakfast we share a Fruited Green Smoothie like this:                                                                             2 cups of greens – spinach or Swiss chard or kale or a combination       1/2 of an apple or pear, seeds and stem removed                                                                  1/2 banana                                                                                                                                   1/3 to 1/2 cup berries – straw- or rasp- or blue or a combination                                      1 and 1/2 cups orange juice

This is blended on high in the Vita-Mix and tastes better than it looks! The recipe makes enough for three 8-oz servings. Put the extra in a jar in the ‘fridge for tomorrow.  We drink this every day, Fast day or Slow day and find it to be very useful for good digestive health.

Celebration!

oysters w: beet-walnut saladToday is our 41st wedding anniversary, so a celebration is appropriate.  How do you Fast and celebrate at the same time? Creatively!  Oysters are a good choice: we love them, they are high in protein, they are low in fat and carbs.  So here is an anniversary dinner:   6 plump oysters per person and the Bleu Cheese and Beet Salad from March 18.  If you felt so inclined, you could sneak in a small glass of sparkling wine or Champagne.

Plant-based diet, anyone?

When the doctor suggested 1 week on a “plant-based diet” for my husband, I thought, “Oh, no! There goes the Fast Lifestyle out the window!” But as I researched it, I discovered that the principles of a Plant-Based Diet dovetailed nicely with a Fast Diet. So we could maintain our 5:2 Diet on Mondays and Thursdays and even use standard Fast recipes on Slow Days, too!

Perhaps the biggest change was  using green smoothies instead of our usual fruit smoothie. But it turns out that the calories don’t change. Looks weird, but the flavor isn’t as bad as it looks. More about those later.

So what to eat on a Plant-Based Fasting Lifestyle?                                                      For breakfast:      Oatmeal Pudding, March   29             Breakfast Casserole, April 12          Buttermilk Baked Egg, May 24                       Flamenco Eggs, Jan 19

For dinner:          Baked Bean Soup, Apr 22          Meze Meal, May 13              Vegetable Pizza, May 27                   Fish Tacos, March 8

National Holiday

Memorial Day is always on a Monday! [didn’t used to be, grumble, grumble…] So you can put off your Fast Day until Tuesday, or get in the spirit with these quick meals.

Buttermilk Baked Eggs:         283 cal    6.2 g fat     11.7 g protein        18.8 g. carbs                    In a rush this morning to get to the parade or go open the cottage? This is one Fast breakfast.  This recipe is from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. All I added were the sides. Great book full of good recipes.buttermilk baked eggs:mixed berries 1 slice 70-cal whole-grain bread  [Nature’s Own]                                                                              one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                    2 Tbsp buttermilk                                                                                                                                         1 oz [¼ c.] mixed berries                                                                                                                         blackish coffee or blackish tea or lemon juice & hot water                                                              5-6 oz of fruit smoothie or natural apple cider                                                                                              Cut out a hole from the middle of the bread, but this time  use a 2” star-shaped cookie cutter. HINT: put the ‘hole’ in a sandwich bag in the freezer. Save for Dutch Breakfast later on. 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 in. 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 put the fruit in a small dish, brew your beverage, pour your fruit smoothie and you have a terrific breakfast!

Hot Dogs & Beans 290 cal GF

Usually, we eat hot dogs on Memorial Day, so we won’t stop now.   Baked beans are high in protein, low in fat, so they fit right in with a Fast Diet.

1 dog per person {Hebrew National has a reduced fat hot dog at 100 cal each. And they taste good, too. }                                                       1/3 c baked beans [I use canned, low-fat beans if I can find them] HINT: You do not use all the beans in the can, so freeze the remainder for another meal. If you want them for this meal again, freeze in batches of 1/3 c, rather than the remains of the entire can together.                           mustard and/or pickle relish                    zucchini, sliced diagonally                          one 2-oz egg, hard-boiled                        11/2 tsp low-fat mayonnaise                           1 tsp prepared yellow mustard             celery sticks & carrot sticks

Cook the dogs in a little frying pan with a bit of water. [Of course you could grill the dogs.] Remove the dogs, add a tad more water and cook the zucchini in the same pan. [You could grill the zucchini, too.] That way they have a little sausage taste to them. Heat the baked beans [nuke ’em], cut up the celery & carrots. Peel the egg and cut it in half. Remove the yolk and mash it with the mayonnaise and mustard. Stuff the egg halves. NOTE: someone else will have to eat that other egg or save it as part of your lunch tomorrow. Fasting on a holiday just got easier. Have non-Fasters over for the picnic? Ask them to bring the side dishes [potato salad, green salad, but not chips & dip] and let your guests eat the side dishes.