Monday, April 1, 2013

The North East Diet - Rules and Lettuce Wraps

Day 1

Now: 220lbs (15st 10lbs) 

For the next few weeks, this blog is taking on a new and very practical tone. 

No florid prose, no amusing anecdotes of life in our rather chaotic household. Frivolity is suspended; for this is serious stuff. We are losing between 8 and 13 pounds in the next 14 days. "Are": note the confident language. 

Jo is organising our menu, and when Jo gets in an organisational mood, she means business. 

Having scoured the internet for ideas, she's been to Waitrose and raided the shop for anything that could vaguely be both tasty and fat free. To my surprise, rather than the small plastic bag I came back with for start of the Dukan Diet - basically a ton of pre-cooked chicken, some oatmeal and 100 Activia non-fat yoghurts, Jo returned with a car-load of goodies. 

We have already established five rules for our North East diet (which is, I guess, a Geordie version of the South Beach diet, designed for colder shores):  

Rule 1: No bread or pasta 

Rule 2: As much protein as we feel we need, and as little fat as we can bear 

Rule 3: Enough good carbs to make us feel good, and no more. 

Rule 4: Strictly no alcohol for the first fortnight 

Rule 5: Our diet must be enjoyable and satisfying 

I rather suspect that rules 4 and 5 will quickly counteract each other, but I'm prepared to give this new, invented, diet a go. It's got to be better than Dukan. 

Jo says that the problem with Dukan was that I became not only moody and irritable (apart from the first 48 hours, when I was strangely and scarily euphoric as my body began to rebel against its appalling treatment), but I quickly turned green from the lack of a proper diet. She was worried I would drop down dead. 

So this time, she wants to balance our meals, but to still encourage fat burning. Whatever that means. 

We started with a late breakfast: 

Breakfast: Day One
The trick is to drizzle the boiled eggs with Cholulah. Anything can be made to taste good with this spicy Mexican pepper sauce, even plain eggs and sliced turkey. The broccoli, carrot and sugar snaps were steamed and crunchy. The whole, with an ample sprinkling of ground pepper was surprisingly filling. 

Then, at lunchtime, Jo brought out her secret weapon:

Secret Weapon:  lunch

Fat free authentic Greek flavoured yoghurt hasn't been available in UK stores until recently.  This fruyo brand is absolutely delicious.  Of course "fat free" doesn't mean "not fat making".  Quite the opposite.  Unlike Activia and the other zero-fat brands, this one contains sugar.  A good 20 grams-worth in each pot.  But I prefer this to the unpleasant chemical taste of aspartame, which is the sugar substitute most brands use.  And, despite the sugar, each pot only has 170 calories, even with a generous amount of peach inside.  We allowed the peach version, even though our diet is really not supposed to have fruit for the first week.  Together with six almonds, one pot completely filled me up, which is more than could ever be said for Activia.  So much so that I decided to spend the afternoon gardening.  

I know I said this would be factual, not anecdotal, but the fact that I did some serious physical work for the next three or four hours is a tribute to the slow energy release capabilities of fruyo yoghurt.  I didn't once come indoors, either for a cup of tea, or to steal one of Izzy's Easter eggs. And that's not like me at all.

So, as the sun set, I was still quite spritely when Jo called me in for supper, our first proper meal of the day. Except that as soon as I reached the kitchen, I had the most overwhelming urge to have a cold beer.  It was the only thing that would quench my thirst and restore my energy level.  Well, that was my excuse.  

Jo and I discussed it.  "If you really want a beer, you should have one," she finally said.  So we wrote an amendment to Rule 4.  It now reads:

Rule 4:  No alcohol for the first fortnight unless you're really worn out with physical exercise, and then only one cold beer. 

That just about justified it, but I still felt guilty.  All forgotten, though, when Jo produced her perfect first dinner:

Dinner:  lettuce wraps with spicy minced turkey and cashews

She fried some shallots, garlic, and loads of ginger in a small amount of groundnut/peanut oil, then added 1lb of minced turkey, a good squirt of thai fish sauce and thai chilli sauce, and some quality soy (I only keep organic Tamari soy sauce in the house).  She added a tablespoon of fresh chopped coriander, some sliced radish, and that was that.  All served in fresh iceberg lettuce, with a small plate of broccoli on the side.  She said I could eat as much as I wanted.  After all that gardening, I ate four.  Can't wait for the weigh-in tomorrow.

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