Paleo, Days 2 & 3

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Onward and upward! So far so good. I'm having a much easier time making the switch to Paleo than I would have expected. In particular I'm eating more quantity and a bigger variety of vegetables than is usual for me.

I've pretty much always hated vegetables. I was the stereotypical kid who would devour the rest of the meal, and then sit there staring at the mound of lima beans, or peas, or Brussels sprouts long after they've gone cold, and everyone else has left the table. (my parents were of the 'you can't leave the table until you've eaten everything on your plate' sort). I eventually learned to cope with asparagus, broccoli, and peas, but that was about it, and even those I didn't like much.

Maybe I should have gotten the hint from cream of asparagus soup, which I liked quite well. Or possibly from one night when my mother made peas with mint-butter sauce, and I not only ate them, but had seconds. But it turns out that I don't hate vegetables - I hate my mother's cooking. Or rather lack thereof. Mom has no particular aesthetic sense of taste or smell. Things can taste good or bad, but not wonderful. They don't evoke any particular feelings in her. She doesn't understand perfume at all - can't understand why anyone would waste the money. Her approach to food is distinctly utilitarian - if it doesn't taste bad (spoiled, burned), then it's good food. Dinners she makes are pretty much always plain broiled meat and boiled vegetables, or something very close. Her version of curry is chunks of meat in white sauce, to which 1 T. of McCormick's curry powder has been added. With plain boiled vegetables on the side. So vegetables to me were always these cold, mushy, disgusting things, and I didn't understand why anyone liked them. As an adult I learned to incorporate vegetables (in rather small amounts) into meat dishes, but never really did learn to like them.

I think I may have eaten more vegetables in the last three days than I usually eat in a fortnight. I made some homemade asparagus soup that blew my socks off! I've had cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, and spinach, and I'm making designs on eggplant and green beans. Where have they been all my life?

So - food for the last two days. Day 2 was mostly leftovers from Day 1. I had scrambled eggs with spinach for breakfast, leftover unstuffed cabbage rolls for lunch, and a smoothie for dinner (dinner T & Th is either immediately prior or immediately post karate, and in neither case do I want something heavy).

Today I missed breakfast, except for a handful of cashews for medication buffering. Lunch was the heaviest meal of the day again. This time it was pork cutlets with Italian sausage seasoning, sauteed mushrooms and cauliflower "rice" - cauliflower chopped fine, and sauteed in the pan I'd just finished the mushrooms in with a couple tablespoons of coconut milk. The coconut milk seemed to counter the cabbagey smell/taste that I find off-putting with the cauliflower, and it did a lovely job of counteracting the saltiness of the pork - I ate every last bite, which my mother would have been shocked blue at.

Dinner was the aforementioned asparagus soup. Onions, garlic, chicken stock, asparagus, and seasoning. Easy-peasy, took about 15 minutes start to finish, and good enough that my younger son, who is also not a vegetable lover sampled it and said he'd be all right with having it again (a big concession for him with anything green).

Interestingly enough I ended the day short about 50 calories of my goal minimum, but quite full. I definitely don't feel deprived. I'm even able to watch the kids devour oatmeal butterscotch cookies that their Dad made just before he left without being particularly tempted to go have one. I'm feeling pretty good - no sign of 'carb flu' which several Paleo sites have warned about. Opinions differ as to whether it's caused by your body trying to switch metabolism from sugar burning to fat burning, or by die-off of some of the intestinal flora that like the higher carb/sugar environment, but whichever, so far, so good.

Japanese of the day: Arimasu, imasu, desu - to be, exist.

One of the bits of Japanese that takes more getting used to is that they have three verbs that do the work we assign to one. Where we have "to be" they have "arimasu", "imasu" and "desu", each with it's own specific uses.

Arimasu vs. imasu is the easiest division. Arimasu is used for inanimate objects, and imasu for living things. So 'Shizuku-san wa Nihon ni imasu.' (Shizuku is in Japan.), but 'Watashi no karuma wa uchi ni arimasu.' (My car is at home.) Pretty straightforward, except for a few boundary words (ghosts take 'imasu').

Where to use either of those vs. 'desu' gets much trickier, and I definitely don't have it down yet. Arimasu and imasu seem to be used in statements of existence, and desu in statements about stuff . So "Shinbun ga arimasu ka?" (Are there newspapers? Do you have newspapers?) but "Shinbun desu." (That's a newspaper.) My best rule of thumb so far is that if the verb can be replaced with "to exist" I should use imasu or arimasu, otherwise, stick with desu. I'm sure I'll screw it up about a bajillion more times before I'm done, but at least at first pass, it seems to get the job done.
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  • 23KAIYA
    I will try your soup this weekend, sounds great! Thanks for the vocabulary lessons too, I really want to take up Japanese.
    1734 days ago
    Thank you! I'm rather proud of myself for managing so many improvised recipes this week. I'm usually timid about improvisation (I side effect I think of doing a lot of baking), but this has been fun, and so far everything has turned out pretty tasty. The worst glitch was that the cutlets turned out really salty, which turned into a hunt for something to mitigate that, which turned into the nifty side of cauliflower - win!

    I'm trying to be strict Paleo for the next month, and then ease back a little and see which foods really make a difference. I'm really hoping dairy makes the cut - I'm missing milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir already!
    1735 days ago
  • LIS193
    Your meals sounds wonderful! I am not eating strictly paleo but have eliminated wheat and some dairy, still like my (goat) cheese :)
    1736 days ago
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