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So, I’ve been a vegan for a week and it doesn’t feel like a decision I had to make or a lifestyle I now have to follow, but rather just what and how I am supposed to be. But that may be because I am in the honeymoon phase and all these replacement/additional/delicious meal options are exciting, shiny and new.

In a week/month/year I may be gagging for bacon, desperate for a chop or dreaming about biltong. (This is what happened when I did the vegetarian thing for a year previously.)

If that happens, I will deal with it then. It certainly doesn’t mean that my feeling of rightness now is any less valuable or real.

 

But why? I am asked. In the name off all red and meaty (and delicious) WHY?

 

Well, there is a MEAL of reasons.

 

Me

I don’t want to consume all of the antibiotics and other bits and pieces injected and fed into animals bred for slaughter.

I think there is a correlation between many cancers and eating animals.

My body does not like vast amounts of meat and other flesh – my stomach rebels, I feel sluggish and tired, I am always hungry.

When I tried banting, which is animal eating in the extreme, I got eczema and gastritis. I know I don’t need to eat that much meat and animal products, but the fact that this was my body’s response made me question wanting to put any of it in my body at all.

 

Earth

The carbon footprint of animal products for eating is just ridiculously massive.

Grass fed, organic-style animals have a bigger footprint that feedlot ones. So, so much for that being the response to me not wanting antibiotics etc.

The Earth cannot sustain us – there are too many of us consuming too much. Eating plantbased meals simply and easily reduces my carbon footprint.

 

Animal Lives

This is the actual, real, final reason I just couldn’t eat flesh and other animal products any more. (Because let’s not pretend animals bred for products other than meat are treated any better than those slaughters to eat.)

 

It’s a story so settle down – no gruesome crying piglet images, I promise (except the one I just put in your head).

 

In April 2016 I made a series of decisions which resulted in my beautiful dog Pippa being hit and killed by a car. I didn’t do it on purpose but as the human in the relationship, it was my fault. I let her do something which directly and specifically resulting in her being hit by the car. So yes, it was my fault.

And her death agonises me still. I dream about her, I miss her, I feel so guilty that I made decisions which resulted in her death.

 

And yet I was happy to get up and chose to eat bacon for breakfast and not even think about the animal I was killing with that decisions. I’d buy wors and chops and steak for a braai and never even consider the farmyard I was sending to their death. Eggs, milk, cream and cheese – yum yum and screw the animals kept in captivity, treated like crap, separated from their mothers when still needing her milk, slaughtered at birth if male, and finally, possibly mercifully, killed

 

Why do we think some animals are worth loving and protecting while others are commodities to be treated appallingly and then destroyed?

 

We don’t need animal products to be healthy; in fact, we may well be healthier without them.

 

So, yeah, that’s why I am just not going to consume anything an animal suffered to produce.

Cos those random cows, lambs, sheep, chicken and even fish deserve life as much as Pippa did.

 

Also – I watched Food Choices on Netflix which actually consolidated all of these thoughts.

Watch it – it’s not even gruesome, just eye-opening

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by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What an amazing collection of stories from a truly incredible author. Adichie shows the reader, through these 12 stories, so many of the stories of Nigeria and Nigerians. From women living in America, separate from their Big Man husbands to students hiding in empty shop front to escape from a riot these stories tell a multitude of vibrant, real and often heart-breaking realties.

Africa is so present in all the stories, possibly especially those of Africans in America. Adichie tells it as it is, no sugar-coating or misty-eyed out of focus view. She addresses the fear and loneliness of immigrants as well as the pride and strength they have. She looks at the connections between loved ones and those lost, and makes the protagonist, and therefore also the reader, examine preconceptions and opinions.

These stories will grab you and suck you in; make you want to know more and wish that each were part of a full novel about the characters. Each story is complete, but they did leave me yearning to know more of the people. I wanted their past and future – I wanted to demand to know more, dammit!

Adichie is all she is cracked up to be – I feel so lucky to be an aware, developing feminist reader at the time she is producing.

A note: when I first started reading this book I didn’t realise it was a series of stories. So I read the first few stories as though they were chapters in a book, storylines that would join up eventually. As soon as I did work out that this was not the case it was worth going back and rereading the first few stories as complete pieces. And I realised how differently short stories require the reader read.

1 million stars out of 10

Last night’s dinner was a winner winner chicken dinner – both literally and idiomatically.

So today’s post is a recipe

Roast chicken portions in coconut curry sauce

dav

This may be the easiest meals you will ever make that has the maximum impact. Feel free to pretend it was way harder than it is

The first prize recipe is obvs the best option, but the options in brackets are actually fine too – just do what you can.

So, you need:

Chicken portions. I use thighs and legs but breasts would work too. Wings may not work so well but they wouldn’t be bad. And you want skin on portions.

A can of coconut milk

1 tsp curry paste. I used green thai curry paste but you could use anything.

1 stalk lemon grass, cleaned and bashed flat  (if you don’t have, don’t panic)

1 or 2 limes – use the juice and the zest  (again, if you don’t have limes you could use lemons. Fresh is the best option but I don’t think the bottled stuff would run the meal.)

1 tsp fish sauce (this gives the meal a deep, satisfying seasoning without blasting your blood pressure through the roof with salt. But salt is okay too)

1 or 2 potatoes – grated (I added this to make the sauce thicker. You could leave it out if you are anti potato, just know the sauce will remain the consistency of the coconut milk)

salt and pepper to your liking.

 

You do:

 

In a bowl, mix the coconut milk, all the other bits and pieces (not the chicken) and the grated potato. Put this mixture in an oven proof bowl or casserole. Put the chicken pieces in, skin side up with the skin showing above the sauce. I like to spray the skin with some olive oil and sprinkle it with salt to up the crispiness but that’s not entirely necessary

Put it all in the oven at 180 for about an hour, until the chicken is cooked

 

And there you have it – roasted chicken portions in a coconut curry sauce

 

I served it with cauli/broc rice with beans.

 

You can make it even more of a one dish meal by putting veg in, around the chicken,

about half way through the cooking. Cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, beans and even baby marrows would quite happily cook partly submerged in the sauce at the same temperature.

And if you are really determined to do a one pot dish, once the chicken is cooked, take the chicken (and veg if you added them) out of the sauce, and stir cous cous into it. Leave for a few minutes and your starch and sauce will be one lovely, gloopy taste sensation. If you plan to do this, omit the potato as the cous cous will do the thickening for you

 

There you have it – an easy, adaptable recipe which is very tasty and truly quick to make

weekends and water

when trying not to eat all the food in the world, and be vaguely healthy in what i consume, i find the weekends so very hard.

the lack of structure, the spontaneity, the not being by myself and in control of my environment all contribute to making sticking to any kind of regime really difficult.

and i realised this weekend that part of the problem is that i just don’t drink enough water on weekends. during the week i have a pot of (once was) hot water with ginger and lemon on my desk at all times – and i drink it throughout the day, probably consuming at least 1,5 litres a day like this. i don’t even think about it, its just there so i drink it

on the weekends i am not at my desk and i still don’t think about it – only now i am not drinking it either

so i am underwatered which makes me think i am hungry, which means i want to eat all the food in the world

and i feel shitty on monday because, after two days of being underwatered i am probably dehydrated – i know i am fucken thirsty!

i will have to make a plan for next weekend – i can’t keep doing this

 

 

Day 4 and I woke up headache free – but tired, just really really tired. It took most of the morning to stop feeling like I had just woken up and it was 4am. But I had no headache – so that was good.

Also, I don’t know what is going on in my digestive tract. It is like cement and super glue had a baby – and it is not pretty. I know, from last time I tried this, that it’s the milk in the morning coffee that makes my tummy say heelllloooooo, not the coffee. So I guess it is trying to work out what to do now it doesn’t have the dairy irritant. Pretty gross and less than comfortable, but it has to do what it has to do.

On the plus side, I did managed to be out twice in one day and not mess up. In the morning I was in a mall and had to wait for something so I went for a coffee. I have gone from rubbish coffee with sweetened creamer to straight up, proper quality, black coffee. And I didn’t even ‘accidentally’ eat the little biscuit, pretending I may be on the Titanic and it’s the last cup of coffee I might ever have. Those women who didn’t have dessert that last night haunt me, little petit fours floating around their watery faces.

And,

and this is big,

I went to our local pub last night and saw my mates. And drank water the whole night! Yep, I felt like one of those purse-lipped prim women of old, sipping on my water surrounded by heathen drinkers! It was fine actually, but wow, semi-drunk people get really boring, really fast. We talk such repetitive shit when drinking, don’t we?

The moral high ground is quite comfy, thank you very much 🙂

We had dinner there. The chef is a friend so he does what I need for my food. Chicken, calamari and veg – and no washing up. My best end to a meal that!

I am still astounded at the effect no sugar is having. I don’t have a headache, nothing sore enough to be worthy of a title, but I am muggy of head and thought. I was not/am not even a great obvious sugar eater. I don’t add it to anything and don’t eat loads of sugary stuff. But clearly I do. All that hidden sugar I didn’t even know was there. frightening.

And tired. Did I mention I was tired?

 

My meals:

dav

breakfast was a mushroom, tomato and pork shank frittata that wasn’t so keen to come out the pan

dav

lunch was a kale, tatsio and spinach salad topped with leftover prawns

Let’s hope the tired decreases and the brain clears soon

dav

headache had me on my knees

Aaaaah, the headache. The day three headache. The ‘where the fuck is my sugar’ headache. The headache that makes you realise that sugar clearly does something to your brain, and makes you not care at all, that’s how much you want some. The headache that makes you understand why druggies sell kidneys for a hit. The headache that makes you question this whole stupid bloody thing.

For me, the fact that the lack of sugar gives me such a headache is why I need to do this. I need not to be a slave to the sugar, a slave who thought she was a free person making her own decisions. Obviously not if just two and a bit days of no sugar can make me want to kill my partner for simply being there, in his chair, in our living room. How very dare he!!!!!

By 4pm I decided that I no longer had to power through the headache (not sure why I thought I wasn’t allowed pain killers) and I finally took a headache tablet. Sweet relief. In hindsight, I am glad I didn’t mask the pain until it became a question of social sanity, because I need to know and remember what sugar does to me. I don’t want to have to kick it again so the best thing would be to not start eating it again.

But I say that at the start of Day 4 – let’s check that attitude until Day 28 shall we? Easy to be brave when strong.

My meals:

dav

Left over livers and onion, mash potato cake, poached eggs and tomatoes

dav

Salad with lamb ribbies

dav

prawns with veg cabbage (instead of rice)

Not the easiest day but 10% done

On I go

I have never been a fan of fasts or cleanses or diets which completely cut any one thing out. Moderation seemed to me to be the answer to most of life’s questions. Then a friend of mine, equally not into silly eating things or juicing or colon cleansing (urgh!) said she had done whole30 and felt bloody brilliant on it. So I thought what the hell, let’s give this a bash.

I did it for 30 days but I realise now I did cheat – a lot. I knew then I was cheating but didn’t quite own how much. I drank wine – because life. I also drank sugar-free soft drink because I hadn’t read the book and didn’t think they counted as sugar. They do. And I ate bacon which I now know has dextrose used when curing it.

Blah blah blah – the fact was that even cheating I felt awesome after the month

I then went back to eating and drinking Every. Thing – and felt just totally crap.

So yesterday I started whole30 again. And this time I am doing it properly properly.  And part of that, always for me, is writing about it. So here goes:

Day 1 – it was easy. It seems pretty easy not to eat grain, legumes, sugar and dairy when you had a cheese sandwich  with hummus and a cup of milky, sweet coffee the night before as a sort of good bye to all that. i know this is the false sense of security and easy that this program starts with but that’s okay – I am enjoying the ease know the rest is coming.

 

My food was great and my tummy does already feel less sore. When I was eating all the food in the world, my IBS-like symptoms came back to say hello. I realised then that they had been gone for a month and their return reminded me that I thought a sore stomach was standard issue for life for an adult. Apparently not.

 

And the eating disorder self-esteem gobbling monster in me had nothing to bitch about as I got into bed to go to sleep. My last thought of the day was not what crap I had eaten and how I was weak cos of it. It was normal stuff like ‘oh my god, did I turn the oven off’, ‘I hope the dogs don’t fall in the pool and drown over night’, ‘remember that stupid thing you said in 1986’… you know, normal shit.

Anxiety issues much?? Naaaah J

This lack of self-beration may be the most important thing to me – I am tired of fighting that voice so maybe one way to beat her is to cut her fuel off. But we’ll see.

So yes, there we are, three meals down and up and ready for day 2. Feeling strong, feeling good, looking forward to the next 29 days.

 

One cannot blog about what one eats without begin that person who shares photos of it

so here you are

dav

breakfast – that’s fried aubergien pretending to be toast and preserved lemon rind on the top

dav

lunch – coconut flour crumbed chicken breasts on salad

dav

dinner – always hard to photograph. venison potjie with veg

 

And for what this eating thing is all about, go check out www.whole30.com

gender bullshit

At Woolies today I saw some Father’s Day merchandise for sale at the till. I didn’t look at what it was and whether it is a Woolies product or not but it disturbed me somewhat.

The wrapping  has two options. They refer to the father as: A son’s first hero or a daughter’s first love

Hmmmm – that sticks a little in my crop

Are girls only soft, gentle things that need love and boys are future toughies who need a hero to aspire to? Do girls not deserve heroes as much as boys deserve love? Are dads not heroes to their daughters too?

And how heteronormative is it??? Girls love dad first and then other men because of course all girls are straight. And I assume boys’ first love is mom followed by other females. Let us not even mention the horrible incestuous undertones underpinning the hetero assumptions there.

And then, since when are dads always the hero of the family? Do fatherless kids have no heroes and therefore no chance of becoming whatever these fictitious boys have lined up for their future?

Could we not have just had Dad – my hero, or Dad – I love you instead of putting gender bullshit on the merchandise?

Ten kilometres! I walked 10 kilometres. and I wasn’t even trying to get deep into the woods to bury a body, i was walking for fun! 10 kilometres is a very long way
Charles and I did the ECR (local radio station) charity Big Walk on Sunday and we chose the 10km walk.
It was actually quite fun but it was hot and did I mention how far 10km is?
It took us 1 hour 46 minutes and my ankles hurt the same at the start as at the end – so that must be a good, right
There were over 30 000 people walking in the four options so a pile of money raised for charity
Photos are of us fresh before the walk and then at the finish. I went from pale skinned human to swollen strawberry face; Charles, on the other hand, looks exactly the same.
Let’s all collectively give him the side-eye for a second
Pfffft

It was fun and I am so glad I could do it, even on my no carb no sugar eating thing.
Monday will be a no walk day as I wait for my toenails to regrow

pre big walk

Fresh faced

post big walk

Fresh strawberry

 

I had an organic Karoo lamb shoulder to cook the other day and decided to make slow roast lamb – only the best way to cook lamb!

First I made a mint pesto by blitzing together mint, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.

I browned the lamb and then smeared it with the mint pesto. In the pan, around the lamb, I put onions and fresh tomatoes. I added a small amount of water, just in case anything wanted to stick, and covered it all in foil.

In the oven at 170C for about 3 1/2 hours and the lamb was moist but falling off the bone.

I took the meat from the pan to rest and blitzed the remains of the tomato and onion and lamb juices to make an amazingly delicious gravy

Yum yum

and #whole30 compliant

lamb