Claude Monet

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.

Oscar-Claude Monet, a shop-keeper’s son, was born in Paris on November 14, 1840. He would go on to change the world of painting. When Claude was a child, the family moved to coastal Normandy. Art courses in school lead to painting with a local instructor and at age 18 he produced his first landscape painting. The detailed, tight brushstrokes give no clue of what his style would be in later years. Monet went to Paris to join the studio of Swiss artist Charles Gleyre who’s other students were Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille — future luminaries all. Gleyre had them painting outside, [en plein aire] and experimenting with how light really looked. Previously, light was shown as reflections on a surface [ex: an apple, or water] or as the maker of shadows. The young artists painted light as small daubs of color which merged together if viewed from a distance. They painted quickly, in rapid brush strokes to capture the moment they were seeing before the light changed. But the way to become a recognized artist was to enter a work in the Salon — and they had strict standards. The new style did not please them, but a traditional painting like Woman in a Green Dress [his wife Camille as the model], done in a studio, was a huge success in 1866, and put Monet in the public eye. The following year, his Women in the Garden — a delightful, airy scene which was painted out of doors — was rejected. In 1874, Monet went all in and exhibited Impression: Sunrise at a counter-culture version of the Salon. Critics scorned the novel approach, saying it was rough and unfinished — and it was when compared to what they were used to. But as a celebration of light in sky and water, of smoke and morning fog, we can see what Monet was trying to show us about his impressions of the river at sunrise. Monet and his fellow artists were dubbed “Impressionists” and the name stuck. Life had ups and downs for Monet: a stint in the army ended by a bout of typhus; financial hardships which left him contemplating suicide; the birth of his two sons; the death of Camille from TB. During the late 1870s, Monet and his sons lived with a wealthy magnate and his family. When the husband went bankrupt and left the country, his wife Alice and her six children continued to live with the Monets. In 1882, he and Alice were married and moved to Giverny, Normandy. A house and land were rented, then purchased. Monet designed and planted a garden and dug a lily pond — and the rest is artistic magic. For the rest of his life. Claude Monet made his home come alive to the world with his many paintings of his property and the surrounding countryside. Forty years after his death in 1926, his heirs gave the property to the Academy of Fine Arts. After much restoration, the house and gardens were opened to the public in 1980. Dear Husband and I visited one April and were bowled over by the riot of colors and textures which the plantings provided. It is like being inside one of his paintings. There, one is seized by the desire to paint an impression of what one sees, since a photo does not seem to do it justice. The gardens were his passion and his inspiration. Today, they delight millions of viewers, whether in person or on museum walls. Merci, Monsieur Monet.

Deep in the countryside of Giverny, mushrooms and ham were a natural combination, so we will enjoy them with eggs at breakfast. Our dinner evokes the colors of blossoms in Monet’s Garden, which is a wonderland of pastel visions.

Ham & Mushroom Bake: 136 calories 7 g fat 4 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 61 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  GF   A hearty, flavor-packed breakfast begins with ham and mushrooms. Although these are flavors of autumn, they can be enjoyed any time, especially on a Fast Day. 

One 2-oz egg 1/3 oz mushrooms, chopped ½ oz roast ham or 3% fat deli ham, chopped 1 Tbsp Gruyere cheese, grated ½ tsp ground sage ¼ tsp savory ½ cup raspberries  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

Set toaster oven at 350 degrees F. Spritz some cooking spray into a ramekin. Grate the cheese. Chop the ham and mushrooms, and put them into the ramekin. Whisk together the cheese, egg, and seasonings, and pour that in too. Bake 12-15 minutes, depending on how well set you like your eggs. It will puff up and start to brown a bit. Heat your beverage, shake the smoothie, and portion the fruit. Off to a good start.

Pomelo/Grapefruit-Shrimp Salad:  255 calories 6 g fat 4 g fiber 22 g protein 28 g carbs 93.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  The pomelos were ripe in our son and daughter-in-law’s garden, so I used some to make this meal. The recipe is from Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. If you can’t find pomelos, use grapefruit instead. 

1 Tbsp fish sauce 1½ Tbsp lime juice 1½ tsp brown sugar 1 cup pomelo segments 1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut ¼ oz dry roasted peanuts 2 tsp chopped shallot ½ cup fresh mint ¼ tsp Thai chili sauce 1 large leaf romaine lettuce chopped scallion  3 oz shrimp, cleaned — I used tiny cold water shrimp. If you use larger shrimp, cut them into smaller pieces.

Mix fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar in an oven-proof bowl. Add the shrimp and let marinate. Toast coconut in a dry skillet until just beginning to brown. Peel and segment the pomelo/grapefruit and remove pulp from the membranes. Put shrimp and marinade into the microwave and heat until cooked. Gently combine shrimp, marinade, pomelo, coconut, peanuts, shallot, mint, and chili sauce in a wide bowl. Put the lettuce leaf on the plate and fill it with the salad. In the photo, you see some colorful chips. Those are veggie chips by Terra. They add a nice crunch and a few more calories to the meal. Omit if you wish, but do not substitute potato chips!