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Gourmand on a Diet... with pictures

Thursday, May 02, 2013

I love to cook. And I am a great cook. When my kids were at home, I used to let them open up a picture atlas and pick out a country. Then we'd have fun creating a whole weekend's worth of meals, politics and stories around that country. (When they were little, anyway. When they were older they no longer wanted to devise political posters and hold mock elections and pretend they were rulers of that country.) One weekend we might do Greece, another Mongolia, then Armenia, then Saigon, then Vietnam, then Argentina, then the Philllipines....

I used to eat quite a large amount of gourmet food - man quantities of it - and not be fat, and I still want to do that. I have grudgingly accepted that I don't live the same life I did in those days. (I was much more active all day long, between a more active job and a bigger farm.) I had given up eating so adventurously most days of the week, but still the pounds crept up, anyway, just because I was so much more sedentary, until this year, at age 47 I started doing something about it.

Now it's spring and I've really amped up not only my exercise at the gym, but I've also been working really, really hard on my Oregon farmette. I have done at least half an hour of cardio every day for two weeks and have done serious heavy labor at home for over six hours in the past week.

I want to eat like I used to eat. I miss my coconut curries and my gumbo and sabayons. I miss them. I ache for them. Somehow I've been fairly reasonable. Before I started exercising a lot, I kept my calories between 1200-1500. Once I started exercising, I increased my calories to between 1400-1700. I hit 1800 twice, when I was "bad".

I am sure I routinely exceeded 2500 in my former life, and even though I have not come close to that, I guess I don't have enough muscle mass yet to eat like I used to because I gained 1.2 lbs last week. (I also had an unnecessary peanut butter binge.)

We shall see what my scale tells me next week.

Just to make me feel better, here are some pictures of food I've made that are NOT high calorie (excuse the cheap little camera - not high quality photos):

Rare beef with dipping sauce, green onions and tomatoes - my version of Negimaki

Natto with brown rice, egg and seaweed

Caramelized Banana Meringue Pie (only the crust was high in calories)

Red Wine and Sumac Hummus

Lime Zucchini Fresh Salsa

Rosemary and Black Olive Roasted Red Pepper Breads

Black Bean Garlic Beef

In case anyone wonders whether it is worth gardening: ALL of the veggies in the photos are from my garden, which is now very small - about what could be grown in a backyard. The eggs are from 6 hens. I do have a small orchard here, too, but no products of tree fruits are in these pictures. YOU can also produce 50% of the foods shown in these recipes - in any moderate climate, in any small yard.
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