here’s a quick lead in:
The book ‘I Quit Sugar’ by Sara Wilson arrived [a late Christmas present] I read it and found myself nodding my head in agreement and really excited about the fact that this could be the road I’ve been searching for.
Now I’m a ‘mature’ woman [chuckle] hell, I’m 63 heading fast towards 64. I will add, however immodest it may be, that on a good day I look at the very least 10 years younger and feel timeless. But for the past ten years I’ve been struggling with weight gain despite a relatively healthy diet – my only weakness is for salty foods, I can devour a large packet of crisps in a day when given the opportunity ……………
I’m mostly vegetarian, can’t eat large quantities and don’t have the income or the wish to make fast foods part of my life style. Yet my body is inflamed, often sore and stiff and various attempts at dieting yield at best a loss of up to five kilos before zooming back up to, or beyond, where I started. My daughter, a very clever trainee alternative nutritionist, has always thought the problem was inflammation and gave me Sara’s book as a possible way forward.
And what an excellent gift it has turned out to be.
I have been catapulted back to the 70’s when I was a novice ‘greenie’ and almost everything my children ate was grown and/or made by my fair hands. I belonged to one of the first co-ops in the country, ‘Culpeper’s Herbal’ was my bible and Monday was baking day.
Late Summer was the time when everything in sight was preserved or prepared for the freezer [I remember the immense feeling of satisfaction as I surveyed the gleaming rows of jars brim full with peaches, apricots, pears and anything else that had arrived into my kitchen]. I can see it all so clearly and I feel the sense of accomplishment, of pride and pleasure and satisfaction that young mother had …………… [the fact that those jars of preserves were laden with sugar shall be glossed over at this point – and I dread to think how much sugar all the hundreds of jars of jams and pickles and chutneys that came out of my kitchen contained.]
My kids didn’t eat sweets until they went to school and the real world intruded into my back to nature idyll. The years passed, and life happened and I gave up baking on Mondays and preserving at the end of every summer. I went back to work, got divorced, my kids grew up, more life happened and I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago and flung myself happily back into the world of creating my own food from scratch.
It wasn’t completely straight forward though – first I had to sort the kitchen.
I moved into my little flat about two years ago, and so disinterested had I become in kitchen related activities that wherever items had gone on arrival, there they had stayed. For instance, for two years now I have rummaged about in three different cupboards when making my breakfast! So, obviously the first job was to sort all that out and find the whereabouts of the ignored appliances that would now be necessary to aid me in making pumpkin puree, nut butters, humus and other tasty treats. I also decided to remove any and all foodstuffs that could no longer be part of my personal food chain. That was interesting! I read labels – some for the first time – and out went a load of ‘healthy’ options. This process reawakened the impulse to be in charge of what goes into my food – also interesting this time I wasn’t doing it for the welfare of my children I was doing it for my own good. Yay me!
Clearing out meant cleaning too – so everything was scrubbed from top to bottom. Obviously once everything was rearranged and clean some new interior decor was also called for – I remade and re-purposed furiously – every activity lead me on to a new good idea and so it grew and grew. My open plan kitchen decor spilled over into the living area – which spilled over into my craft room……. which is now uninhabitable as it holds the remnants of curtain making, old or re-purposed cushion covers, rejected items from the old decor and a plethora of odds and sods that somehow turned up in kitchen cupboards that should never have been there.
I indulged my anal-retentive streak and labelled everything with my previously under used ‘Dymo’ label maker. I spent a happy evening sorting all the herb and spice jars – emptying out the stuff that was a gizillion years old and refilling with new and wonderfully aromatic spices required to make the delicious and moreish ‘spicy activated nut’ snacks and other goodies.
The frenzy of decorating was interrupted only by the kitchen activities of creating the pantry basics necessary for my new life style. The previously mentioned pumpkin puree and spicy activated nuts were joined by salt and vinegar almonds, chicken stock – one chicken
made a huge amount of stock, some of which made a very tasty and healing soup [chicken soup for the soul springs to mind] which got me through the two days of mild detox that hit mid week…..
I can’t even remember all the things I made, I know I have begun experimenting with versions of my oldie but goodie recipe of ‘cheese and oat cakes‘ which has accompanied me through the last forty years – as I’ve given up bread for now I need something to replace that particular comfort food. I already was growing my own fresh alfalfa sprouts and upped that out-put. I have a jar of spring onions in water [an idea found on pinterest] that gives an endless supply of fresh herb and I added in potted mint, parsley and rosemary to my windowsill.
Orlando has not been forgotten in all this make-over frenzy. His favourite perch is the windowsill at the back of the cooker where he could peer over the cafe curtain and keep an eye on the comings and goings of the neighbourhood. The cafe curtain has been removed and a space made so he can now sit on the window sill and not on the cooker [which has been an often fraught and frantic activity, of which more later if you are interested].
I realise I don’t care if I lose weight or not from this new lifestyle. I am full of energy and renewed interest in my kitchen…………….. and I just realised the operative verb is ‘life-style’ not ‘diet’ ……. my contentment grows and spreads 🙂