Julian, the Anchorite

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.

Would you enjoy being walled into a tiny room, walled off from the world, after having to pay for the privilege? Can’t say that would appeal to most people, but in the Middle Ages in Europe, this would have been a lifestyle choice. Such was the fate of an ‘anchorite.’ The original anchorites, from the Greek word anachorein meaning ‘to go apart,’ lived in the deserts of the Holy Land and Egypt. Paul of Thebes walked into the desert around 250 CE and never returned. He lived in total isolation in a cave for 70 years, until he was visited by Saint Anthony the day before he died. The idea of renouncing the world to seek a closer relationship with God became a goal for several. By the Middle Ages, women were choosing to be anchorites — to flee an unhappy marriage, to flee the complexities of their lives, to gain control over their own fates. They would apply to a church or convent, pass an entry interview, and prove that they had sufficient funds for a life of being fed by others. Then they were immured. A room, 12 feet x 12 feet, would be built onto the wall of the church. This would be the anchorite’s home for the rest of her life. There was a tiny window that looked outside to the world, a small window for watching the daily Mass and for receiving communion, and a larger window in a third wall that was a pass-through for food. And there she would be walled-up — following a funeral service to mark that she was indeed ‘dead to the world.’ One of the most famous anchorites was ‘Julian of Norwich,’ 1342-c.1417. She had visions which she wrote down in her Revelations of Divine Love — the first book in English attributed to a woman. People, especially women, came to visit her and ask her advice. By withdrawing from the world to a cell at the Church of Saint Julian in Norwich, Julian became famous, sought-after, and saintly — even though no one knew her real name! Although she was never elevated to sainthood, she is considered the patron saint of cats. Julian’s optimism and understanding of God’s ‘motherhood’ might be the inspiration for her comforting words to all of God’s children: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Anchorites often ate very little, as a way to mortify the flesh. When they did eat, they were served the same fare as the monks or nuns of the parent community: porridge or other vegetarian meals. Our foods today consist of a simple but delicious breakfast and a classic vegan dinner.

Fruited Porridge: 183 calories 1.4 g fat 9 g fiber 7 g protein 38 g carbs 36 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.   PB Here is a delicious way to get your superfoods in one meal. Berries and whole-grain cereal are unbeateble together and easy to prepare as well.

¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal + ¾ cup water ¼ cup diced strawberries ¼ cup blueberries ¼ cup raspberries   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

If the fruit is frozen, as mine was: place in a sieve over a small bowl the night before to thaw. Save the juice to add to a smoothie. Cook the cereal in the water for 8 minutes, stiring twice. Take off heat and add the fruit. Stir gently and serve with a little milk, if you wish.

Red Beans & Rice: 295 calories 1 g fat 9 g fiber 11 g protein 60 g carb 142 mg Calcium  PB GF  This is the old classic recipe for the ‘perfect protein’. Once we were afraid that we wouldn’t like it – it sounds so bland – but we do like it. Yeah, you’re right, the carbs are way out of control, but these complex carbs are really good for you. HINT: This is enough for 4 servings. Either have a gathering or cut the recipe or freeze for later.

1¾ cups brown rice, cooked ½ cup celery, chopped ½ cup sweet yellow or other color pepper, diced 1 cup onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced ¾ cup crushed tomato oregano black pepper 1¾ cups red beans, drained and rinsed ½ cup green beans or peas

Start cooking the rice 60 minutes ahead of time. 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. Measure out the cooked rice and add to the mixture.  HINT: if there is extra rice, it freezes well. Serve with the cooked green vegetable. 


The 4th of May

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.

The 4th of May this year is the confluence of two favorites of mine: the celebration of Floralia and Star Wars Day.  From late April to early May, is the festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of Springtime and Flowers. The English celebrate it with baskets of flowers and maypoles.  The French celebrate it by decorating their towns with floral displays, handing each other lily of the valley, and wearing green. In Brussels, Belgium there is a month-long flower show at the castle, while in Munich, Germany there is a flower-themed art show. My mother loved to celebrate holidays with special foods. Whether the holiday was religious, patriotic, or ethnic, she would find a recipe to go with it. The tradition continues with me. Plant or gather flowers in early May and be glad. Put flowers in your food and share the loveliness.

Saying, “May the 4th be with you” on May 4th, originally had to do with Margaret Thatcher, oddly enough. Ever since watching Star Wars helped Dear Husband and me to get through writing our Masters Theses, we have been great fans. While the films go all over the Galaxy, visiting many diverse cultures and fighting the forces of evil, there are very few depictions of eating, except for Aunt Beru and her blue milk-shakes, and Luke Skywalker milking an alien creature for its green milk. The closest I want to get to that is a blueberry smoothie and the Green Milk that I enjoy at lunch.

Blueberry Smoothie: 118 calories 0 g fat 3 g fiber 5.5 g protein 30 g carbs 99 mg Calcium  PB GF  From the people at Wild Blueberries of North America comes this excellent smoothie. Take the calories into account when you meal-plan.  HINT: Recipe makes enough for 2 servings instead of juice OR drink the entire batch for breakfast.  The food values above are for one serving. 

3 oz banana ½ cup plain, fat-free yogurt  ½ cup blueberries ½ cup orange juice OR crushed rhubarb

Put banana, yogurt, and berries into the blender and process until smooth. Add the juice and blend on low. Wonderful berry flavor!

Green Milk: 145 calories 0.6 g fat 3 g fiber 10 g protein 25 g carbs 340 mg Calcium  PB GF I drink this for lunch daily for its high Calcium; to ‘keep the trains running;’ and because it tastes really yummy. HINT: When I get greens, I make up kits [spinach + dates] in 1-cup jars or zipper bags and freeze them.

8 oz skimmed/low-fat milk ½ oz deglet noor dates, cut into pieces 1 oz spinach, fresh or frozen

Put everything in the blender/VitaMix/container suitable for using with an imersion blender. Whirl on low speed at first, to break up the ingredients, then at the speed that will pulverize everything to a lovely shade of green. Makes 1.5 cups.

Pork Salad: 144 calories 4 g fat 2.4 g fiber 17 g protein 7 g carbs 43 mg Calcium   PB GF When there is leftover meat from a roast, the easiest meal is to turn it into a salad with lots of yummy components. NB: I sprinkled each serving with ¼ oz flax-seed corn chips which added 40 calories, only 2½ g fat and 4 g carbs. For Floralia, strew the salad with fresh, edible flowers instead.

2 cups salad greens, cut as chiffonade if leaves are large 2½ -3 oz pork tenderloin, cooked, sliced 2½ -3 oz tomatoes 1 oz red bell pepper, cut in ½” dice 1 oz whole cranberries, not dried 2 oz zucchini sticks 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar + ½ tsp olive oil + 1 tsp blue cheese herb mustard

Prepare all the vegetables as described. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a wide bowl and toss with the greens. Plate the greens and decorate the salad with the other components. That was fast!

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

Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal Canadian bacon or back bacon
blueberriesunsweetened applesauce
Optional milkoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Brown rice + red beans, cannedcooked turkey breast meat + slicing tomato
bell pepper + crushed tomatoeswhipped cream cheese + fresh spinach
celery + onion + oreganohard-boiled egg + 1.5 oz sourdough rye bread
Garlic + Green beans or peasSwedish Cucumber Salad 
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Anton Dvořák

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. Welcome to Fairy Qu33n who is now Following.

The first time that I heard a part of The New World Symphony, I was entranced. We sang a choral version of the music in high school Glee Club and I wanted to know more of this composer. He wasn’t one of the Three Bs of European composing — and how did he get to Iowa as part of his career??? This was Anton Dvořák of Bohemia, now in Czechia, then in the Austrian Empire. His innkeeper father’s love of zither music opened the world of native tunes for young Anton. The boy’s early schooling was hindered by a limited knowledge of the dominant German language, but he persevered. An elementary teacher taught Anton the violin at age 6, and at age 13, he was studying organ, music theory, and piano. He joined a restaurant orchestra and then played for the opera. While he enjoyed hearing new music from the pit, he was captivated when Richard Wagner arrived to conduct one of his operas. But since $7.50 a month was not a living wage, he gave piano lessons and met his future wife. On the side, Dvořák was composing music: string quartets, an opera, and many other works that we will never hear since he burned much of his early output. From 1871, he devoted all his time to composing. His work was being performed, but the family struggled financially. In 1874, Dvořák won the Austrian State Prize, which provided a stipend to help fund the work of young musicians. Winning again in 1876 and 1877, he earned the admiration of Johannes Brahms who offered to help his work receive wider recognition. A commission to compose work similar to his Moravian Duets resulted in the Slovanic Dances in 1888. From then on, he was on his way, conducting his own compositions in England, Germany, Austria, and Russia, and returning to Prague to teach at the Prague Conservatory. When offered an astounding salary to teach and compose at the National Conservatory of Music in New York City in 1892, he leapt at it. Dvořák, his wife, and their 6 children moved to the US. Unusually, the Conservatory made a point of admitting Black students and women. This put Dvořák into contact with the Black tradition and style of music. He was convinced that America needed it own music — one based on Native rhythms and Black spirituals. The result was the 9th Symphony, From the New World. A member of his household, his secretary whom they had brought from Bohemia, was an American-born Czech from Iowa. He convinced Dvořák to visit the Mid-West so the whole family went to Iowa for the summer. Dvořák was enchanted with this Bohemian town and was so relaxed there that he wrote two pieces of music in his new American style. At summer’s end, he returned to New York and then to Europe where he died on May 1, 1904. As a professor, he had a lasting influence on American music, since his students taught some famous musicians: Duke Ellington, Charles Ives, Aaron Copeland, and George Gershwin.

Our breakfast has flavors loved by the Czech people. The dinner from Chicago evokes Dvořák’s time and interest in the upper Mid-West of the USA.

Czech Breakfast: 165 calories 4.5 g fat 3 g fiber 10 g protein 20 g carbs 61.6 mg Calcium  NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffee. I’m told that the majority of citizens of the Czech Republic eat this for breakfast daily. Join them.

1 oz sourdough rye bread 1 oz sliced ham, 3% fat ½ oz Hermelin cheese, or substitute Camembert 2 yellow plums Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait  [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Whether you pile everything on the bread and eat it that way, or sample each item separatly, this is a hearty way to start the day. For those of you who start your day with lunch, this is for you.

Hull House Soup: 183 calories 4 g fat 5.5 g fiber 7.5 g protein 23 g carbs 34.6 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF pasta  An Italian woman in Chicago once served Jane Addams a meal of pasta with a simple ragu sauce, which opened Addams’ eyes to how food connected immigrants with their home country. This simple soup packs a lot of flavor.

2 cups spaghetti sauce, purchased**
2 cups chicken stock
2 [1 Tbsp] cloves garlic sliced, chopped 
3 oz [2/3 cup] green pepper in ½” dice 
1 cup chick peas
1 cup chopped cabbage
chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 pinches red pepper flakes
Put in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

**I used Classico brand “Florentine Spinach and Parmesan” sauce
½ cup water 1 oz [¼ cup] short pasta like ditalini salt and pepper to tasteAdd these to the soup in the pot and cook 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and add water if too thick.

Slow Days: DIY Lavash

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the Fast Diet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

One day, I got to thinking about making Lavash, an ancient flatbread from Armenia and the surrounding region. Actually, I was thinking about making pita bread, but I’d done that once and was not pleased with the result, so why not do something new, like Lavash? The modern version of this flexible breadstuff is marketed as a ‘wrap.’ Son #1 said that he had made it, which encouraged me to try. Some recipes these days are yeasted, but I wanted to get to the original style. Vera Abitbol @ 196flavors.com is the source of this recipe. Lavash is one of the many ‘flatbreads’ of Asia, the main requirement being that it could be prepared quickly [no yeast to proof and rise] and could be cooked on flat rocks by the campfire. Thus it became a bread for bands of hunters, nomadic herders, and soldiers.

The story is told of an Armenian king who was kept alive by lavash and a clever ploy. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to conquer neighboring Armenia. In one battle, the Armenian King Aram was captured by his enemy. Game over? Not yet: the Assyrian king wanted to toy with his captive before a final blow. King Aram was to be starved for 10 days before meeting in an archery contest. If Nebuchadnezzar won, Aram would be murdered and his nation forfeit. If Aram won, he would go free and his kingdom would be saved. Aram asked that his near-by army would bring him his most beautiful shield to prepare him for the competition. Sure, said Nebuchadnezzar, why not? When the message was received by the Armenians, they were perplexed — why take a shield to an archery test? Then they guessed that there was a hidden meaning to the request: send. me. bread. So they baked a batch of Lavash, smoothed the thin, flexible strips of bread to the underside of the shield, and delivered it to their king. For the next nine days, the Armenian king ‘peevishly’ demanded a new shield, and thus he was supplied with sustenance instead of starving. On the day of the contest, King Aram won at archery and Armenia was saved. By Lavash bread!

LAVASH Vera Abitbol @ 196flavors.com Makes 16 lavash sheetsGriddle or wide skillet or baking sheets
2 c white whole wheat flour  1 c white flourAdd flour to bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Make a well in center of flours.
½ tsp salt 1 c. warm water (95 F/36˚C)Put salt in well. Knead at medium speed, adding water gradually. Dough will be soft, homogeneous, and come off walls of bowl.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place 30 mins.  
Dough is resting in a small bowl before rolling.
Roll dough thinly on a lightly floured surface. Fold sides in to make 4 layers.  Let rest 30 mins in a warm place.
Cut dough in two pieces. Roll and fold each piece 4x to make dough elastic.
Preheat oven 30 mins to 430F/220˚C OR heat griddle

As the above directions say, you are now to roll and fold each piece of the dough four times. The goal is to make the dough thinner and more pliable with every turn. While this is supposed to be done with a rolling pin, it struck me as being similar to the process of rolling pasta dough — the successive rolling works the dough into thin, even strips. so I got out the pasta machine, cut the dough into pieces the correct width and ran them through. I started at the thickest setting, then went by steps to the thinnest setting. The dough became smooth, silky, elastic, and cohesive.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out to 1/16”/1.5mm thick. OR pass through pasta machine to setting 6 or 7. 
Put dough one at a time on very hot pan and cook ~1 min per side

And there you have Lavash. Roll it up with meat or cheese, spread it with hummus — you will find many ways to enjoy it.

Barbary Pirates

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.

When I learned in 11th Grade US History that president Thomas Jefferson had suppressed the Barbary Pirates, the image of a Founding Father fighting pirates seemed ludicrous. But it was true, though he did not personally take part. In the early 1800s, the Barbary Coast of Africa was a dangerous shipping lane. The Barbary Coast included the waters off Morocco, Algeria, Tripoli, and Tunis. The pirates were a loose confederation of Berbers and Arabs who had been harrying the coast and kidnapping people for ransom or enslavement for centuries. Thousands of Europeans had been captured, causing an order of monks, the Mercedarians, to form for the purpose of buying back Christians. By the late 1700s, ships of British, French, Spanish, and American flags were trading frequently in the Mediterranean. The pirates would take hostages, ships, and trade goods OR charge large sums of money for safe passage. European governments figured that by paying off the pirates, any damages would happen to ships of rival nations — and that would be just fine. The US Congress budgeted $84,000 in 1785 for paying off the pirates, and in 1798, the payment of $160,000 plus supplies and presents was negotiated. Finally, the US had had enough. From 1801 to 1815, several squadrons of naval vessels with Marines aboard skirmished with the Pirates along the Barbary Coast. First they fought with Tripoli and negotiated an end to their piracy in 1804. After the War of 1812, James Madison was president and he continued the work begun by Adams and Jefferson, this time in Algeria. With US warships in his harbor, the Algerian leader gave up, returned all his prisoners, and paid $10,000 in fines. That ended the war with the Barbary Pirates. The Marines added a line about fighting on ‘the shores of Tripoli’ to their battle song and the nascent USA had a new policy: “that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute.”

Our breakfast remembers the Berbers who gave the Barbary Coast its name. The dinner has flavors of Morocco, one of the first countries to make peace with the US Government over piracy, after a one-time payment of $20,000.

Berber Spanish Omelette: 141 calories 7.6 g fat 1 g fiber 10.4 g protein 8 g carbs 56.7 mg Calcium   NB: Food values shown are for the egg dish and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF The Berbers brought rice and eggplant to Spain. The ‘Spanish Omelette’ was developed later, but we can enjoy them together now.

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 cup Mediterranean Vegetables with chickpeas  2 Tbsp cooked brown rice [save some if you cooked it for a previous meal] 1 oz watermelon   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]

Spritz a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Put in the rice and cook it until it is warm. Add the vegetables and cook until warm. Whisk the eggs and pour them into the pan without disturbing the vegetables and rice, so they are evenly distributed. Cook the eggs until they are set, and cooked on one side. Turn the egg round over without breaking it and cook the other side. To serve, cut in wedges and plate with the melon.

Moroccan Lamb:  284 calories 6.5 g fat 8 g fiber 28 g protein 28.6 g carb 81 mg Calcium  PB GF  Mint, cumin, and coriander will make your meal taste like a trip to spice shuk. Simple meals are sometimes the best.

3 oz roast lamb ½ cup peas 2-3 pinches dried mint or cilantro 1/3 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed  Moroccan seasoning or ground cumin mint tea

Gently warm the meat by steaming or heating in a microwave, and dust with Moroccan seasoning. Cook the peas, drain, and stir in a pinch of dried mint/dried cilantro. Heat the beans with the seasoning or cumin to taste. Best served with mint tea.

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

sourdough rye breadbanana + plain, fat-free yogurt 
3%-fat hamblueberries + orange juice or crushed rhubarb
Camembert or Hermelin cheese fat-free milk + deglet noor dates
yellow plums or another colorfrozen or fresh spinach
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Jarred spaghetti sauce + chicken stocksalad greens + tomatoes + red bell pepper
garlic + bell peppercooked pork roast + fresh cranberries
chickpeas + cabbage + rosemaryzucchini + good mustard
red pepper flakes + stubby pastabalsamic vinegar + olive oil + edible flowers
Sparkling waterSparkling water


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. Welcome to Jolly Princess who is now Following.

Troy!! The quasi-mythical, quasi-historical subject of Homer‘s famous Iliad and the Odyssey. The blind poet wrote his poems about the conclusion of the Trojan war and its aftermath around 750 BCE. Even then, the story was considered to be a poetic invention. Down through the centuries, people read, memorized, and debated the story told in the Iliad. Where was Troy? Had it ever existed? Had there been an epic battle there, made memorable by the deaths of heroes? The idea of a Trojan Horse has passed into common parlance, used as a metaphor for any unwanted evil sneaking into our lives. How many other everyday expressions are 10 centuries old?? In brief: Helen [the face that launched a thousand ships], the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, ran off with Paris, son of King Priam of Troy/Ilium. Her husband and his brother Agamemnon organized an enormous army of Greeks which was transported to North-Western Turkey by an enormous fleet. For 10 years they besieged the city, achieving nothing but the deaths of many on both sides. At last the idea was floated to build a huge wooden horse, large enough to hide a few men inside. The horse and contents would be left near the city gate while the entire Greek army made a big show of giving up, abandoning the siege, and sailing away. After some debate [Beware of Greeks bearing gifts], the Trojans rejoiced, brought the horse inside, and partied all night to celebrate. The warriors crept out, opened all the city gates, and the Greeks swarmed in. Everyone in Troy [except for Aeneas and his family] was killed or enslaved, and the city was burned. And that was the end of it, until the site of Troy was located by Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. Since then, the search for the real Troy and clues to the actual story remain active. The date for the Fall of Troy is given as 24 April, 1183 BCE. And that epic event inspired art and literature during the following 14 centuries. Amazing!

Our breakfast involves the flavors of the classic Greek meal moussaka: lamb, feta, eggplant. The dinner is another Greek-inspired meal of seafood.

Moussaka Bake: 136 calories 8.5 g fat 1 g fiber 9.5 g protein 6 g carbs 55 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  The lamb, the eggplant, the feta – what’s not to like about this delicious combination?

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp moussaka sauce HINT: Prepare days before and refrigerate until needed.  1/8 oz feta cheese, diced or crumbled 2 tsp parsley, chopped 2 oz melon   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 [for 2 people, my husband prefers to use a 4×6” oval casserole] with oil or non-stick spray and set the toaster oven at 350 degrees. Stir the cheese, parsley, and sauce together then whisk in the egg. Pour into prepared baking dishes and bake for 12-15 minutes. Prepare the hot beverage and the smoothie. Plate the bake with the melon and savor the moment.

Greek-style Hake: 263 calories 11 g fat 8 g fiber 25.5 g protein 24 g carbs 173 mg Calcium   PB GF  The cookbook Ikaria by Diane Kochilas is related to the National Geographic study of locations world-wide where there is the greatest longevity. Could that be related to nutrition? Hmmm…makes you think about what you eat, doesn’t it?

4 oz hake ½ tsp olive oil 1/3 cup onions, halved then sliced ½ clove garlic, sliced pinch sugar 1½ cup canned whole tomatoes 1 Tbsp [½ oz] dry red wine 1½ Tbsp good Feta cheese, crumbled 2½ oz asparagus OR one Side Salad

Saute the onion slices and garlic in the oil, adding some water if the pan becomes too dry. Remove garlic and discard. Add tomatoes, sugar, and wine. Cook the vegetables down to reduce the liquid. Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, cover loosely, turn down the heat and cook until the fish flakes [about 10 minutes]. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus or Side Salad. Top the fish with the crumbled Feta before serving.

Bram Stoker

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.

Little Abraham Stoker was a sickly child, born into the middle of the Great Potato Famine. His mother kept him entertained for his first seven years by telling him tales of Irish lore: interweaving the supernatural with the real in fanciful stories with a Gothic slant. Somehow he out-grew his infirmities in time to attend Trinity College. There, the handsome, sociable man excelled at oratory and debate while being a champion at many sports. While living the life of the Big Man on Campus, young Bram was employed as a civil servant, his father’s career path. After graduation, Stoker was often promoted within the Civil Service and ended up as head of his department, then head of the district. And on the side, he wrote theater reviews, just for fun. A review of Sir Henry Irving‘s Hamlet, lead to a friendship and a job offer. In 1878, Stoker married actress Florence Anne Lemon Balcombe and they moved to London where Stoker became the manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theater. In that job, he met many luminaries of the theater, the literary world [Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Lord Tennyson], and politics [Theodore Roosevelt, Lord Churchill, Gladstone]. Meanwhile, Stoker wrote and published short stories, just for fun. In 1890, he began to write a book about a ‘Count Wampyr’ from Austria. A chance reference in the Whitby Library changed the lead character to Count Dracula from Transylvania. For seven years he worked on perfecting his novel about the ‘un-dead,’ which was published in 1897. Reviews were good and the rest is history: movies, plays, breakfast cereal [probably as deadly as a vampire bite], parodies, and Hallowe’en costumes show the extent to which Count Dracula has permeated culture world-wide. On April 20, 1912, Stoker died. Not from a silver bullet nor from a stake through his heart, but from locomotor ataxia.

Our breakfast is made from fine Irish ingredients — did Stoker yearn for these flavors when he lived in London? The dinner is very much of the country, and typical of the diet of a tenant farmer’s family.

Breakfast in Ireland:  282 calories 11 g fat 1.5 g fiber 19 g protein 26 g carbs 207.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values include the tea with milk. PB  From the soda bread to the cheese to the back bacon – this is a meal from all over Ireland.   HINT: Prepare the soda bread in advance for less breakfast hassle.

The meat is Canadian Bacon, the bread is a slice from the large loaf, and the cheese is Irish Cheddar.

1 oz Irish back bacon or ‘Canadian bacon’ @ 33 calories 1 oz Irish Soda Bread** 1 egg, fried or hard-boiled 1½ oz apple ½ oz Cashel Blue or Irish Cheddar   Optional: hot Irish Breakfast Tea, served with 3-4 Tbsp milk [pour the milk into the teacup, then add the hot tea]

**Makes 12 individual Soda Breads or 1 large loafPreheat oven to 400F. Buttered cookie sheet.
1 cup white flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt 1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter
Cut the ingredients together, using two knives or a pastry blender.
Purists would do it with their fingers.
Non-purists might do this in a food processor.
½ – 1 cup raisins or currants
1 Tbsp caraway seed
Stir these into the dry mixture.
¾ cup buttermilk or soured milk – all of milk may not be needed, or it might need moreAdd milk bit by bit, stiring with a fork, until the dough is moistened and forms a ball.
For individual biscuitsRoll or pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a 2” or 3” round cutter. Use a knife to mark an ‘X’ on the top of each.
For one large loafGather the dough into a single ball, and flatten slightly. Use a knife to incise an ‘X’ on the top.
Bake at 400F 10-15 mins or 20 mins for large loaf

Cook the bacon until done to your liking. Cook the egg to your preference. Slice the Soda Bread and plate everything. Pour the tea and sip your way up to the Top o’ the Morning.

Forager’s Soup: 271 calories 17 g fat 6 g fiber 13 g protein 29 g carbs 250 mg Calcium   PB GF  Here is an Irish soup made with summer greens. Did you say ‘weeds’? A weed is a plant in the wrong place. The cook-pot is the right place, where ‘wild greens’ are put to splendid use. The recipe is one of Darina Allen’s from Reclaiming Ireland’s Culinary Heritage, One Roast Lamb Or Sponge Cake At A TimeHINT: The recipe makes 3 cups, enough for 3 servings.

2 tsp butter ½ c onion ½ potato = 4 oz
salt + pepper
Melt butter in pot over medium-high. When it foams, add vegetables, and stir to coat. Season. Turn down to very low, put parchment paper atop vegetables, to trap steam. Put on lid and cook gently 10 mins, until vegetables are soft but not brown.
1 c chicken stock ½ c + 1/3 c whole milkHeat stock and dairy in a saucepan to simmering. Remove parchment and add hot liquid. Simmer 5-10 mins to cook vegetables fully.
4 oz by weight = 2 c. wild greens: dandelion; garlic mustard; sorrel; chives
¼ c ricotta
Add greens + simmer uncovered 2-3 mins until greens are just cooked through (do not cover pot or overcook, or else bright green color will be lost.)  Add ricotta. Purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
1 oz chorizo/ bacon per personSlice chorizo and cook on low in a skillet until fat is rendered and meat is crisp, 5-10 mins. Drain on paper towels. 
Edible flowers 2 Finn Crisp per servingAt serving time, warm soup over medium-low heat, uncovered. Scatter chorizo/bacon bits on each bowl, and garnish with flowers.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs 
feta cheesewatermelon
melonbrown rice
moussaka sauce: ground lamb, eggplant, marinara sauce, onionMediterranean Vegetables with chickpeas
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

Hake, 4 ounces + onion3 oz roast lamb + mint or cilantro
garlic + sugar + red winecanned white beans
whole tomatoes, canned‘English’ peas [not dried peas]
Moroccan seasoning
Sparkling water Mint tea or Sparkling water

Diet of Worms

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.

A diet of worms?? — doesn’t that sound delicious!! Surely if there were such an eating plan, it would guarantee rapid weight loss — no one would want to eat at all! But in this case, a ‘diet’ is not a WOE/way-of-eating, but a political gathering called for the purpose of deliberating a matter of interest. In January 1521, Emperor Charles V assembled the leaders of the German States, both nobles and clergymen, to a meeting at the city of Worms. Worms was a ‘free city’ meaning that it ruled itself, free from the dictates of a prince or the church, so it was beholden to nobody. One of the matters to discuss came up in mid-April. The Church was offended by the proposals of the Augustinian monk Martin Luther for reforms of the Church. Luther had posted his 95 proposals in October, 1517 and they had caused much debate. He was especially against the selling of indulgences to raise money for the Pope. In 1520, Pope Leo X issued a condemnation of 41 of the 95 theses, and so the stage was set. On April 16, Luther appeared before the Diet and acknowledged that the 95 theses were his own ideas. The Pope’s representative asked Luther to repudiate his ideas. Luther asked for a day to think about his answer. On April 17, when asked again, Luther said that if anyone could show him that his writings were in opposition to what was in the Bible, then he would recant. Otherwise, he declared, “Here I stand. [“Hier stehe ich”] I can do no other. [“Ich kann nicht anders”] Amen.” Such a commotion ensued, that the meeting was suspended. When a vote was taken about Luther’s fate as a heretic, the group could reach no conclusion. Upon leaving Worms, Luther was “kidnapped” by men sent by his benefactor Elector Frederick III the Wise of Saxony, and spirited away to Wartburg Castle. Meanwhile, a subsequent Diet passed the Edict of Worms, seeking Luther’s arrest. It was never enforced. His courageous stand at the Diet of Worms rallied supporters to his cause and the German version of the Protestant Reformation movement grew into the Lutheran Church.

Our breakfast is from the Franconia region of Germany, and Franconia shows the divisions that the Reformation caused: parts of the region are staunchly Roman Catholic, and the other parts are resolutely Protestant. Our German dinner would be popular anywhere, no matter what your religious views are.

Franconian Breakfast: 163 calories 4.4 g fat 4 g. fiber 13 g protein 22.5 g carbs 117 mg Calcium  NB: These values are for the Fruit Hearts alone and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Here some favorite flavors of the German State of Franconia come together for breakfast. My stars!! This is delicious!

1 slice 70-calorie whole-grain bread 1 oz smoked trout 2 Tbsp small-curd cottage cheese 1 Tbsp snipped chives 2 oz plum   Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories] Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Lightly toast the bread. Stir together the cottage cheese and chives, and spread on the toast. Plate along with the trout and plum. Some might prefer to place the trout on the bread and eat it thus, which is a great way to do it. 

Herring Salad:  278 calories 6 g fat 7 g fiber 16 g protein 24 g carbs 103 mg Calcium  PB GF Luchöw’s Restaurant will live in memory as long as a certain generation yet breathes. And there was a lot to remember about it: the decor, the old-world service, the menu. Not a hokey tourist trap – it was a genuine German restaurant in Manhattan. This is one of their fine Old World recipes.  NB: if you take a MOIA anti-depressent, be aware that herring has high amounts of tyramine. 

1½ oz herring marinated in wine, drained ¼ cup beets, cooked, cooled and diced 1½ oz apple, peeled and diced ¼ cup white beans, drained and rinsed ½ hard-boiled egg, sliced 2 Tbsp onion, minced ½ oz dill pickle, chopped pinch sugar 2 tsp vinegar, or more 1 cup lettuce, shredded

Put the vinegar and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently until everything is well-incorporated. Taste to see if it needs more sugar or more vinegar. A herring-lover’s delight.

Religions: Sikhism

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.

Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world, yet many people are unaware of it. After 9/11 in the United States, Sikhs were attacked around the country. Why? Because Sikhs wear turbans, and those who were more scared than thoughtful thought that turbans = Arabs = al Quaida. NOT true. Who are the Sikhs? They are a religious movement from the Punjab region, now partly in Pakistan and partly in India. Five hundred years ago, the Guru Nanak taught that there was one god, that people were equal to each other, and that our bodies are just a temporary vessel for our souls. Nine successive Gurus succeeded Nanak, all emphasizing the core tenets of the faith: honest work and truthfulness; giving to those in need and sharing what you have; and living with humility. Over the centuries, the Sikhs came to wear turbans, both to distinguish them on the battle field and to bind up their long, unshorn locks. At that time only nobility wore turbans, so the Sikhs were asserting that everyone is equal. They also adopted unifying names: the last name of Singh for the men, and the last name Kaur for the women. The new religion was attacked by the invading Moghuls and also by the local Hindus, their Gurus being arrested or executed. On April 13, 1699, at the Harvest Festival, the 10th Guru,  Gobind Singh, decided that the Sikhs needed to be able to defend themselves. He established the Khalsa Panth, a fighting force of men and women. This group successfully fought to defend themselves and they regained territory over the following decades. In 1801, they established Punjab as an independent state with Lahore as capital. After being defeated by the British, the warrior Sikhs became an important element of the British army. The nation of India, freed from colonialism in 1947, divided Punjab with Pakistan, and the Sikhs opted to ally with the Indians. Today Sikhs can be found all over the world, with the greatest numbers in Canada, England, the US, and Australia, following the 5Ks and hoping not to be misunderstood in a fearful world.

Some Sikhs refrain from eating meat as part of their faith, so our breakfast is meatless. Our dinner is from Northern India, utilizing a popular street food as the main component. For those Sikhs who do eat meat, this one is for you. To all of you, happy Vaisakhi, happy New Year. As I learned more about the Sikhs while writing this blog, I couldn’t help comparing them to the Mandalorians of Star Wars popularity: they do not take off their turbans/helmets in public; men and women are trained as warriors; and they follow a creed/The Way which directs their actions. I sincerely hope that this is taken in the complementary way that I intend it.

Mango-Citrus Parfait: 254 calories 6 g fat 2.6 g fiber 23 g protein 23 g carbs 265 mg Calcium   NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB GF  Fast Food Restaurants decided years ago to offer ‘healthy options’ in the form of yogurt parfaits. Full-fat yogurt, fruit, and lots of high-fat granola. Poor choice. Here is a more acceptable breakfast option, full of protein yet low in fat and enough calories to keep you going for hours.  NB: This could be a healthy Slow Day lunch option. HINT: This recipe serves two [2].

½ cup low-fat [1%] cottage cheese ½ cup plain yogurt 1 oz mango cubes ½ clementine [skin it and use half the segments] 2 Tbsp granola Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Stir the cottage cheese and yogurt to combine thoroughly. Divide the fruit into two portions. Spoon half of the dairy mixture into a wide-mouthed wine glass and top with half the fruit. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of granola. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order, topping with granola. Prepare a beverage and enjoy that dairy-fruit goodness.

Momos with Chicken: 222 calories 1.5 g fat 2 g fiber 15.4 g protein 30 g carbs 58 mg Calcium   PB  Steamed momos are one of the most popular street foods of Northern India, due to the influence of neighboring Nepal and the fact that they are delicious. Try them and you will agree. Looks long and complex, but it is do-able.

Filling: makes 2 cups; you will need 1 Tbsp for each piece. Freezes well.

8 oz chicken breast, cubed 1 tsp tumeric 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste 2 tsp ginger, minced 3 Tbsp carrot, grated or chopped 3 Tbsp cabbage [Bok Choy or Napa] chopped 1 Tbsp scallion, sliced 1 cup onion, chopped pinch sugar [or omit] salt + pepper 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp chili sauce 1 tsp catsup

Prepare a mise en place. Put the chicken, tumeric, and garlic paste in a small pan with 1-2 Tbsp water. Put on a lid and cook until chicken is just a little pink. Remove from heat and strain the liquid from the chicken. Return the chicken liquid to the pan and add the ginger and the garlic. Cook on high for 30 seconds, turn heat down, add the carrot, cabbage, scallion, and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft and onion is translucent. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper, and return the chicken to the pan. Stir and cook. Transfer to a food processor and reduce to a mince. Set aside to cool. Enough for 30 momos.

Forming the momos: for 1 serving, you will need six 3.5” wonton wrappers. for the entire batch, you will need 30 wrappers

Put some water into a custard cup. Lay the wonton wrappers on a large, clean surface. With your finger, moisten all the edges of each wrapper with water. Put a tablespoon-full of filling in the center of the wrapper. I brought up each corner to the center and pinched the four edges together to look like a crab rangoon. Or make triangles, as you would for wonton soup. Put each finished momo aside, covered with a damp cloth until ready to steam.

Steaming the momos: Prepare your steamer in the wok by adding enough water that the level comes up the side of the steamer but is not above the level of the bottom rack. Put parchment paper or foil on each rack but allow the steam to flow freely. You could use cupcake papers. When the water in the wok is hot and steaming, add the momos. Cover and steam 10-15 minutes. Remove from steamer and plate.

Side dish: I spiral cut 3 oz zucchini and put it in to steam for 5 minutes. It was overcooked. Profit from my mistakes. Then I tossed it with one tsp plain yogurt and ½ tsp curry powder. Next time I’d just cube raw zucchini or cucumber to mix with the yogurt. Serve along with chutney mixed with catsup.

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

70-calorie whole-grain bread 1 two-oz egg + back bacon or Canadian bacon, 33-calories 
2%-fat cottage cheeseapple + Cashel or other Blue cheese + raisins
chives + plumIrish Soda Bread: white whole wheat flour + flour
smoked troutsugar + caraway seed + butter  + baking soda
Optional smoothiesour milk/buttermilk + baking powder
optional hot beverageoptional Irish Breakfast Tea + milk

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

herring marinated in wine + onionbutter + onion + potato
beets: canned or freshly-cookedchicken stock + whole milk
apple + vinegar + lettuce + dill pickle wild greens:  dandelion; garlic mustard; sorrel; chives
canned white beans + hard-boiled eggricotta, part skim + chorizo  +  Finn crisp 
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Religions: Salvation Army

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.

William Booth was born on 10 April, 1829 in Nottinghamshire, England. His life would have many twists and turns, and along the way he would revolutionize outreach to the poor. When he was a child, Booth’s parents were wealthy, then their finances collapsed. William was apprenticed at age 12 to a pawnbroker. His family were not religious but when he was 15 years old, Booth attended a church service and was moved to dedicate his life to God. A friend encouraged him to become a Methodist, and the two became lay preachers to the poorest people of Nottingham. Economics drove William to London and employment with a pawnbroker. This positioned him in the poorer part of the city where he saw first-hand the desperation of abject poverty. At that time, people were actively working to ‘reform’ the Anglican Church, from changing the internal organization to moving from comfortable tradition to a moral imperative of social outreach. Booth was eager to preach to the poor and to bring them to a happier state, both spiritually and physically. In the streets and bar-rooms, he preached salvation. By 1852, Booth had married Catherine Mumford and joined a reformed branch of the Methodists. Chafing at the restrictions he felt within that group, he and his wife formed their own organization: The Christian Revival Society. Charity workers were looked down upon by high society and often rejected by their very target audience. But Booth soldiered on, believing that he was part of an army fighting sin. In that vein, he changed the name of the group to the Salvation Army. He dressed his workers in quasi-military uniforms and hit the streets with musical instruments and hymn singing. And it worked — the Salvation Army grew in popularity and their outreach multiplied. Booth traveled to 58 countries to evangelize. The Army is a church, “an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church with its own distinctive governance and practices.” The goal is to meet the physical needs of people with “soap and soup” with the hope of leading them to salvation. General Booth was so known and respected that in 1902, he was invited to the coronation of King Edward VII. When Booth died in 1912, Queen Mary attended his funeral and Vachel Lindsay composed General Booth Enters Into Heaven. The Salvation Army appears in plays such as Major Barbara by G. B. Shaw and Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser [renamed ‘Save-a-Soul Mission’] and on street corners in cities at Christmas-time, ringing bells and collecting money to support their world-wide net of social outreach.

When the goals and aims of the Salvation Army were exported to other countries, the first location on the Continent was France. One nation that really embraced the organization was the United States. Our meals today represent those two countries.

Cajun Bake: 128 calories 5 g fat 2.5 g fiber 8.6 g protein 13 g carbs 78 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Green peppers, onions, and celery are three key ingredients in Cajun cooking, so naturally they find their way into this breakfast. A ‘Cajun’ is someone from Louisiana who is descended from the French ‘Acadians’ of Canada. They were deported from Canada by the English in the 1700s.

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp green pepper [¾ oz], chopped 2 Tbsp celery, chopped 2 Tbsp onion, chopped 2 pinches Cajun Seasoning   dash of Tabasco   1 Tbsp reduced-fat cottage cheese, drained 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

Drain the cottage cheese overnight to remove excess liquid. Chop the pepper, celery, and onion and cook them in a little water until they are softened. This can be done in the microwave or on the cooktop. Drain the vegetables and put them in an oven-proof dish that has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Whisk the egg with the cottage cheese and Cajun Seasoning, and pour into the ramekin. Bake at 350 degrees F. 12-15 minutes. Prepare beverages of your choice and plate the melon. Pass the Tabasco if you like extra heat.

Moules Gratinees:  268 calories 14 g fat 3 g fiber 19 g protein 35 g carbs 168.5 mg Calcium   PB GF – if using GF crackers  This is a spin-off of a dish we enjoyed in Brittany: they used local scallops but mussels work wonderfully. There are those who opine that you never combine cheese with seafood but they are WRONG. HINT: This recipe serves two [2].

10 0z [25] mussels ½ cup Bechamel Sauce with cheese  1 oz grated Cheddar cheese 1 Tbsp white parts of scallion + 1 Tbsp green parts of scallion   per serving: 2 oz broccoli + 2 Triscuit crackers or GF crackers of your choice

Cook the mussels in a little bit of water until the shells open. Remove from shells. In a sauce pan, put the Bechamel, the cheese, scallions. Cook gently until warmed through and the cheese is melted. Add the mussels and pour into oven-proof dishes such as ramekins or porcelain ‘shells’ or genuine shells, such as surf clam or scallop. Bake until bubbly and starting to brown. Plate with the broccoli and crackers for a really good meal.