Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't Go

As convinced as I am by the analysis of the Forks over Knives chaps,  their eating plan is practically impossible to stick to, it shouldn’t be, but it is. When you watch the film and you see people who were at deaths door 20 years ago and are now spry old codgers, and you consider your own lardy, unfit self, you should be shamed into sticking to it, but it’s not possible. I blame myself and my own lack of self control, but there is a major problem with the book. It leads you up the garden path and gives you false hope: it describes every recipe as delicious, or fantastic or amazing, and none of the recipes fit those descriptions. The best of them are no more than very nice, most of them are edible, but just OK and a few of them I’ll never know about because they are just plain weird. I think of it as medicine, rather than food.

The upshot is that you are inevitably disappointed. You are promised deliciousness and end up with school dinners. It could be that my culinary skills aren’t up to it, but I doubt it. Then there are the issues of time, cost and availability. These are not dishes that you can just knock up after a day at work, unless you have taken a vow of asceticism. They generate lots of chopping, you use lots of pans, and if you live in a small town in South East Wales, you have to plan well ahead, because none of the ingredients will be available at your local One Stop. I end up buying tons of stuff on the weekend, half of which won’t get used, as I can’t be arsed cooking it through the week.

The book makes no claims that you will lose weight, it is a regime purely designed to maintain or improve heart health, However, it does say that a happy side effect is that weight loss is inevitable. Well, excuse the fucking fuck out of me, but I have gained weight, and it has pissed me off. I admit, I haven’t given up using oil, and I haven’t totally given up cheese, but bloody hell, given everything else I’m doing, a couple of pounds off would be nice. Maybe I’ll have to try something other than porridge and rice.

It’s not all bad though. When I say “the book” I mean 3 different books, all of which are pretty interchangeable with each other and use Forks over Knives as a starting point, but I have loads of vegetarian books, more than normal books, in fact, and still pick up ideas off the telly and the newspapers. As I type this during my lunch break, I have just finished a black bean, sweet potato and shitake soup, favoured with cumin cinnamon, chilli and fuck know what else. I’ve read that sweet potato and shitake’s are especially good for you, and this soup really is delicious…………………it tastes a bit like Heinz oxtail, strangely. I’ve also had another variation on a quinoa burger, this time mixed up with beetroot and feta (whoops, dairy alert) and flavoured up with cumin, lime juice and fresh coriander, which is, I apologise for saying, delicious: even my eldest wolfed two of ‘em down, having been assured that there was absolutely no beetroot in it.  That was accompanied by a pile of wheatberries mixed up with caramelised onion and kale, which was OK.

I’d consider that dinner to be quite healthy, full of fresh veg and herbs, all cooked and prepared by my own hands, but I deviated from The Plan. First I used oil. I used it to soften and sweat the veg for the soup and also for the burger, as well as the onion for the wheatberry doodah, and then there was the feta, not to mention frying the bastard burgers once they were prepared. Hmm, fried cheese……………….that could be where I’m going wrong. And that’s why I am finding this thing impossible to stick to. Just a little bit of oil. Just a little bit of cheese. Just a little bit of that, unfortunately, not much of the other. All the authors say you have to give up the oil and dairy cold turkey, just a little bit causes you to maintain your addiction, and I can see their point, but it’s a step too far for me.

I’ve tried cooking without oil, and it’s not all that hard, but you have to be bloody alert. Stick a bit of oil in a pan, throw in a couple of onions, put it on a low heat, come back in 40 minutes and you have beautifully caramelised, onions. Try and do it without oil and if you don’t give it your undivided attention, within 5 minutes you have  burnt onions and a wrecked pan. Fuck that for a game of tin soldiers. Roll on tea time. Fuck knows what I’ll have……cheese on toast, probably.
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