Eating For Victory

Now then, food!  What do I eat, someone asked.

I learned a lot from macrobiotics, but basically it was too complicated for me, and had too many of the tiresome characteristics of a fully-fledged religion, enough to bring on terminal hardening of the oughteries.  So I stashed its basic principles in a spare set of brain cells along with a note-to-self about miso soup, scallions and seaweed – all of which I, unaccountably, find delicious; and then kind of morphed off from macrobiotics and left it in the Admirable But Hard pile.

However Tom Monte’s book Unexpected Recoveries has a most brilliant section on eating for health.  If you ever see that book going at a reasonable price on the internet, oh buy it buy it buy it!  It is just the best.  His advice on food is full of macrobiotic wisdom, but like a bird regurgitating worms for its chicks because they’re too young to handle them in full-on wriggly format, so Tom Monte has processed the diet info we need to know and dished it up in a form the Normal Human Bean can understand.  He gives you the low-down on everything you need to know about eating to stay well – and the bottom line of that is, fruit, veg, whole-grains and beans.

Next I came across The China Study, which sings the same tune.  Colin Campbell recommends (in The China Study) what he describes as a ‘plant-based diet’, which for some reason I find easier to conceptualise than ‘vegan’ – possibly because ‘vegan’ has all kind of guilt-trip associations for me for reasons I’ll go into some other time or we’ll be here all night.  Asked wistfully by some enquirer if eating fish is OK, Colin Campbell says w-e-l-l…. not r-e-a-l-l-y… because fish is more like meat than it is like plants, and eating plants is what keeps you well.  However Tom Monte says a bit of fish is OK if you don’t go mad with it (standard macrobiotic advice).  I find this immensely helpful for eating out, because rare indeed is the restaurant that will dish up vegan wholefood, but fish and seasonal vegetables, or fish salad, or fish on wholegrain bread, are relatively easy to come by.  

I used to drink fruit juices quite a bit until I saw Robert Lustig’s YouTube video about fructose, that spells out unforgettably exactly why and how the body metabolises fructose like fat – so soda and fruit juice are contributing massively to the obesity epidemic of present times.  I haven’t had a glass of fruit juice or soda since I saw it.

So what do I eat?

I start the day with a cup of nettle tea if my long-suffering Badger is home to make it for me.  If he isn’t (and sometimes even if he is) I get up and do my WiiFit exercises, then have a glass of water and 4 Spirulina tablets (steer clear of the gag-worthy ghastly powder form of it) and do whatever needs doing before my body has chilled out again from the exercise and I feel like breakfast.  The Spirulina is g-r-r-reat!  Without it I get low and fretful and start wanting to eat meat and fish.  With it I hum along cheerfully with lots of energy and no cravings.   It has protein – as in, loadsa protein.  It laughs in derision at T-bone steak.

Breakfast – home-made muesli with a chopped banana and unsweetened soya milk.  I make my own muesli rather than getting a branded mix, because they mostly have wheat in.  I don’t want too much wheat because it swells up body tissues.  On the plus side, it does make you feel full.  But also oat grain is soothing in its personality, good for the nerves and calming all-round.  So I make muesli from 2 bags of what I call ‘horse oats’ (the chunky, uncompromising ones not the fluffy ones), one bag of best mixed nuts, one bag of mixed fruit and nuts, a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds – and, if I think to get any, some cacao nibs and some ground almonds.  It’s DELICIOUS!!!  

Lunch, I have a salad sandwich.  That’s medium sliced wholemeal bread, with the thinnest imaginable scraping of vegan marg, then some (but not loads of) houmous on top of that (on both slices of bread), then bits of tomato, radish, pepper, cucumber and lettuce.  Clamp it all together and nom nom nom…

Mid-afternoon my teeth get bored, but there is good news!  Nairns oatbiscuits are made of whole-grain oats and are small and not too sweet, and have only about 45 calories.  So I can have two, then, right?  With a cup of nettle or dandelion tea.  If I’ve eaten all the oat biscuits I raid the bag of dried fruit and nut from the stash ready for making muesli – but only a handful, mind!  Or I might have an orange or some cherries.

Then supper is something cooked.  Maybe a bean curry with brown rice, or steamed veggies with soya sausages in onion gravy, or wholewheat pasta with vegetables in a rich tomato sauce.  Something like that.  I never cook from recipe books because I can’t be bothered and probably don’t have the ingredients.


Marigold Bouillon mix is fab and tasty and good for you.  It’s our basic flavouring dooberry.

Fresh herbs are culinary salvation and grace.  We grow LOADS.  Tasty tasty yum yum.

The reason many people hate vegetables is because they buy the wrong ones.  They get the cheapest sort available in the supermarket.  Organic, home-grown, or farmers’ market veggies are a whole different ball game – they are of the most swoon-worthy delicion.  Yum yum with bells on.

A pressure cooker is good, especially for cooking the pulses in double-quick time.  The modern ones no longer come with inbuilt terror.

Sometimes a special luxury sinful treat is called for.  Here’s one.  Get the blender out (as is smoothie-maker type of thing).  Hoof into it a good big lump of vegan ice-cream (we have Swedish Glace because it’s delicious and the others are disgusterous), a slug of maple syrup, and a heaped teaspoonful of instant coffee granules dissolved in as little boiling water as it takes to do it.  Glug on some of your unsweetened soy milk.  Then whizz it all up together for about a minute.  Et voil√†!  The world’s best coffee milk-shake.  But do not be seduced into drinking this every day!  Remember what Robert Lustig says about sugar, and tremble.

Drink a lot.  Sometimes when your body is whingeing at you, it means thirsty not hungry.  Eat a lot of soup and juicy stuff.

I don’t understand the body chemistry rational for this (the liver releasing glycogen?  The nervous system releasing endorphins?  I just don’t know), but I have found that a ten-minute run does the same as a snack; stops me feeling hungry, makes me feel energised and cheerful.  Why?  Dunno.  But it does.

OK I spec you’re bored now, so I’ll stop.

PS - I do know I mentioned The China Study, Unexpected Recoveries & Robert Lustig's video before - but they are pearls of great price to me and to you - worth reiterating!  xxx