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. Welcome to Anita Vij who is now Following.

February 7 is the birthdate of Charles Dickens, the chronicler of life in Victorian England. From 1812 to 1870, he lived a life that ended up enlivening the pages of his 15 novels and 5 novellas. David Copperfield — the tale of a poor boy forced to work in a factory, who liberates and raises himself to obtain an education, dabble in the law, marry, and become a self-made man — is Dickens most autobiographical novel. But all his books contain elements of his life. His father was a Navy pay clerk who was poor with his own finances. Dickens helped to pay off the family debt [that factory job], and never forgave his mother for thinking that he should have continued to work there. When Dickens was working for a magazine, the boss took him home to dinner, and Charles met Catherine Hogarth, his future wife. Ten children later, along with many financial ups and downs, the couple separated. Always hoping that ‘something will turn up,’ Dickens wrote popular books which were serialized in magazines, and he went on speaking tours. He was terrified of poverty. Now you might think that he was just a famous author, but writing was his weapon as a Social Reformer. Through his stories and their often very pitiable characters, Dickens exposed social ills: a legal system mired in minutia [Bleak House]; for-profit orphanages [Oliver Twist]; the injustice of the debtors’ prison [Little Dorrit]; horrible boarding ‘schools’ [Nicholas Nickleby]; child labor [David Copperfield]. Even his most beloved book, A Christmas Carol, written quickly and for profit, is a screed against social inequality and wage disparity. The author was not making this stuff up — life for the multitudinous poor was abysmal [think ‘Dickensian‘] during the Victorian Era and he wanted with all his heart to make things better for them. To some small extent, it worked. Which book is your favorite?

I can imagine the economical and practical Aunt Betsey Trotwood eating watercress, no doubt harvested from streams flowing along the coast of Kent where she lived. Oysters are what David Copperfield saw Mr and Mrs Micawber eating as they left town on the top of the Post Coach — further evidence of their extravagant spending.

Watercress Bake: 139 calories 6 g fat 1 g fiber 9 g protein 6 g carbs 90 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF Watercress is so versatile and so healthy. When you see it in the market, turn it into Watercress Sauce and freeze in small amounts [from ice cube size to ½ cup] for use all year ’round.

1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp [1 cube] Watercress Sauce, drained 1 Tbsp ricotta cheese 1/8 oz mushrooms 1 oz fresh peach + ¼ oz fresh blackberries  Optional: 5-6 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 

The night before: thaw the watercress sauce in a sieve over a small bowl overnight. Chop the mushrooms and cook in a little water for 15 seconds in the microwave. Next morning: Combine the ‘cress, mushrooms, and ricotta. Spritz an oven-proof ramekin or other dish with non-stick spray. Whisk the eggs and add the cress mixture. Whisk again and pour into the prepared dish. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes. Prepare the beverages and the fruit. What a simple, sumptuous meal.

Oyster Feast w/ Bubbly: 290 calories 10 g fat 2 g fiber 13 g protein 15 g carbs 83 mg Calcium  PB  Got something BIG to celebrate? How about a plate of raw and baked oysters with a salad AND a glass of bubbly? This serves TWO, since a celebration deserves company.

18 medium Eastern oysters, raw   9 tsp chevre cheese 4 saltine crackers as medium-fine crumbs 3 cups lettuce 2 Tbsp raw herbs, [such as thyme, rosemary, chives], chopped  per person: 5 oz Sparkling Wine [such as Champagne or Cremant] 

Turn on the broiler. Shuck the oysters, discarding the upper shell, but keep the oyster in the bottom shell. Carefully put 9 of the 18 oysters on an oven-proof pan. Sprinkle each of those oysters with a pinch of the cracker crumbs. Then put 1 tsp of the chevre on each oyster. Top with the rest of the crumbs. Slide under the broiler until the cheese begins to soften and brown just a bit — 1-3 minutes. In a wide bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss lettuce with the dressing and add a pinch of salt. Plate the baked oysters, the raw oysters and the salad, pour your bubbly. Cheers!