St. Hugues de Cluny

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.

In the 4th century CE, a small community of monks came together in southern Burgundy, [now in France]. Their little wooden church served them well and the monastery grew. In the early 900s, land was given to the monks and they established the Abbey of Cluny, under the Rule of St Benedict. But bigger was better, and another church was begun within the same century. Enter Hugues de Semur, born into a noble family from northern Burgundy in 1024, he was often called “Hugues the Holy.” [Somehow Hugues and I are related: he is not an ancestor, but I am descended from the same family.] At age 14 he became a monk, by age 25 he was Abbot of Cluny. Under his leadership, Cluny became the spiritual center of the Christian Church in Western Europe. Hugues was a skilled diplomat, known for his wisdom and persuasiveness. As a church leader, he was admired and emulated: 2000 monasteries were founded all over Europe all following the Cluniac style. At last, he became a builder. The third church at Cluny was begun under Hugues, and when it was finished in 1130, it was the largest church in Europe. It was built in the Romanesque style and to stand in the ruins today is to be astonished that a church that size could have been built then. Hugues was the advisor of popes and emperors, but he walked the talk of being a monk who did the daily work of the Order. His church was unfinished when he died in 1109. Eventually Cluny fell into disrepair: spiritually and physically. The Cistercians became the dominant group and Cluny Abbey was disbanded. Hugues was such a rare and special leader that he was made a saint only 11 years after his death and his reputation, if not his physical church, have lived on.

Monks of that time were not fed much — that was to suppress their libidos. They ate plainly. For the Feast of St Hugues on April 29, a meal that would have been a feast for his monks: gizzards and eggs for breakfast. For dinner at an abbey, soup was often on the menu, served with rye bread crackers.

Gizzard ScrOmelette:  139 calories 10.4 g fat 1.4 g fiber 12 g protein 5 g carbs [4 g Complex] 51 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages. GF Yes, really: gizzards. High in protein, low in fat. You could try this with the gizzard that is in the giblet package at Thanksgiving time or ask at the meat counter.

Three 2-oz eggs of which you will use 1 ½ eggs per person 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.  ½ oz gizzards, cleaned and simmered in seasoned stock for 1½ hours [HINT: cook up a bunch of gizzards at the same time for future use]  1 clove garlic, minced sage + salt + pepper 1 oz applesauce  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 olive oil or non-stick spray. Slice the gizzards and cook them with the garlic and sage until warm. Whisk the eggs with salt & pepper to taste and scramble in the pan with the gizzards. Plate the applesauce and pour the beverages. Real farm food.

Watercress Soup: 157 calories 5.4 g fat 3 g fiber 8.4 g protein 22 g carbs [19 g Complex] 63.5 mg Calcium  PB GF Jacques Pepin’s Good Life Cooking  is the source of this recipe and the stream that flows to the beach is the source of our watercress. So low in calories, you might want to add some Finn Crisp crackers for filling fiber or the Caprese Salad for more protein or a hard-boiled egg. HINT: This recipe makes 5 cups of soup which serves 4-5 people.  

Served with chevre cheese and Caprese salad

2 tsp canola oil 4 oz [weight, not volume] watercress leaves and tender stems 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped 2 cups onion, coarsely diced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 2½ cups good stock – vegetable/chicken/beef ¾ tsp salt 10 oz [weight, not volume] potatoes, peeled, cut in 2” chunks 2 oz [weight, not volume] sweet potato, peeled and cut in chunks  Optional: 1 Tbsp chevre cheese – 40 calories 3 g fat 0 g fiber 2.5 g protein 0.5 g carbs 10 mg Calcium   OptionalCaprese Salad – 46 calories 2 g fat 0.6 g fiber 4 g protein 2.6 g carbs 115.6 mg Calcium  PB GF  ½ oz mozzerella cheese, thinly sliced 2 oz tomato, thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt fresh basil leaves There should be equal numbers of cheese slices as tomato. Arrange the cheese, tomato, and basil as overlapping tiles on the plate.   Optional: hard-boiled egg  70 calories  5 g fat 0 g fiber 6 g protein 0.4 g carbs 28 mg Calcium  PB GF   Cut the egg lengthwise in quarters and nestle into the plated soup.  Optional: 2 Finn Crisp crackers – 40 calories 0 g fat 3 g fiber 1 g protein 10 g carbs [10 g Complex] 0 mg Calcium PB GF

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the cress, celery, onion, and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Put the stock, salt and potatoes into the pan and bring to a boil. [NB: my stock was very dark, which changed the color of the soup to a darker shade of green] Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly then puree in blender/food processor or with immersion wand. If not thoroughly pureed, run through a sieve. Heat the soup before serving. In the bowl, put the chevre in the center, let it soften a bit, then swirl it into the soup. Serve the salad on the side. 

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

2 Libum, recipe provided*  Bob’s Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal + blueberries
egg + honey + deglet noor dateStrawberries + raspberries
pine nuts + pear + chicken breastoptional milk
*white whole wheat flour, ricotta cheese
bay leavesoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

baby greens/mesclun + clementine +asparagusbrown rice + canned red beans
small shrimp + mango + hard-boiled eggbell pepper, yellow or orange + celery
mayonnaise/plain yogurt + Srirachaonion + garlic
garlic powder + lemon juiceoregano + green beans or peas
Sparkling waterSparkling water