Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Monday, 2 January 2012

5 things I learned from slow-carbing

Well, slow-carbers . . . Happy new year to us all. May life's simple pleasures be ours in abundance in 2012.

There's something about 1 Jan that makes stirs restless passions in those of us disposed to self-improvement. Really, it's totally random that one date in the year should mean Trying Again and Trying Harder to Be Better, but it does provide a convenient moment to happily write a few more lists of goals, tasks and aspirations. And to be fired up with optimism and purpose.

5 things I have learned

Setting new aspirations entails reflecting on old ones. Looking back at my highly idiosyncratic attempt at slow-carbing over 10 months, I can draw a few conclusions. This is what I learned.

1 Following a dietary prescription of any kind requires planning and preparation. In turn, this means commitment and persistence.

Lovely words. Who doesn't want to be committed and persistent in pursuing a worthy end.  But - the time involved in making my lentil dishes, tidying up the kitchen and then writing a blog post have consumed my Sunday afternoons. Giving up time for something is hard to do week after week.

2 Similarly, following a dietary prescription can be inconvenient.

I don't want to eat a separate meal from my husband and daughter every evening. On the nights when my husband cooks (5 out of 7), it's much easier (and more gracious) to eat whatever delicious meal he makes - which means pasta at least once a week and sandwiches for lunch at the weekend.

3 Carbs are everywhere!! Foods a slow-carber might be trying assiduously to avoid are just normal fare to practically everyone else. The blogoshpere is alive with the sound of the Paleos bellowing - but try telling that to your favourite cafe or the friends who invite you to dinner.

4 Slow-carbing is difficult for vegetarians. In fact, those of us who don't eat meat are wise to include occasional wholegrains with our legumes in order to consume a full complement of essential amino acids and maintain nitrogen balance.

5 We have to eat according to our values. Mia Freeman wrote recently about food and identity and how the moral complexities of what to eat are ever-more convoluted - our plates and shopping trolleys serve as a kind of political CV, as she puts it.

I'm someone whose beliefs are wholly 'enmeshed with the pantry' (she writes well, doesn't she?). And my beliefs about the treatment of animals in the end are what inform my food choices. I want to lose a little weight, but not enough to start eating red meat.

More things I learned

So, I didn't lose any weight, but I did learn to cook lentils. My cooking has really improved, as my daughter has kindly pointed out to me.

I discovered that making one big dal on Sunday to have as breakfast or lunch during the week is a sensible way to lower my overall carb intake. I used to eat lots of sandwiches and sushi, but not any more.

I look forward to experimenting with more recipes. Top of the list for this month:

  • black beans (couple of new recipes to try)
  • arapas (Mexican corn pancakes, one of Jude's recipes, looks a bit tricky for me, but I'm currently fired up with optimism, remember)
  • legume salads for lunch (feel like I've been saying this for a while now!)

Watch out for more recipes.

Lentils for dinner

To finish, here is a salad my husband made for dinner last night. We had it with a few pieces of chicken breast (organic and free-range, hasten to add). Lovely way to eat lentils as they added texture and flavour to the salad vegetables without taking over. The feta was a beautiful creamy accent.

My pics should improve when I get my iPhone!
Ingredients: steamed green beans, cucumber (peeled and seeded), tomato (ditto), olives (baked with oil and garlic first), caviar lentils and feta (non-animal rennet) and a dressing of olive oil, flaxseed oil, balsamic concentrate and lemon juice, served on a big bed of lettuce. Persian feta would give a sharper tang, but it was a thoroughly divine combination as it was.

Happy new year, everyone.  What did you learn last year? What are you going to do differently this year?


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