Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Old habits die hard, it seems...

After a weekend spent dashing back and forth to the loo (a flare-up of the 'ole IBS), I just couldn't help myself sweetie~pies: I stepped on the dreaded scales.  And got off them again pretty sharpish, feeling more than a tad depressed; I am about 1.5 pounds heavier than the last time I weighed myself *sigh*  I rather suspect that means I had put on even more prior to the weekend's copious visits to the loo.


It's obvious that my diet ~ in the true sense of the word, as opposed to a slimming campaign ~ is pretty dire. And it's something that I have been thinking about, in general terms, rather a lot over recent months. When I was young, I ate a much better diet than I have done for many years now. Things really started to change when I left home and married my first husband. He only really ate carrots, very little fruit, no meat other than chicken breast, and potatoes. He did eat a lot of peanut butter though and also drank a lot of milk ~ and somehow he had managed to reach the dizzying heights of 6'4" with a 46" chest! I think I just became very lazy in the nearly two years we were together and pretty much ate the same as he did. 


When I was growing up we ate meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables and fruit. We had "proper" dinners, usually with a pudding, each day, and a traditional roast on Sundays. Cereals and toast for breakfast, perhaps a boiled egg with toast soldiers, and a traditional English fried breakfast on Saturday or Sunday. And for tea ~ or at lunchtime if we were having our main meal in the evening ~ it would be something like a cheese, ham, tuna or egg sandwich, or perhaps baked beans, tinned sardines or scrambled eggs on toast, and a piece of homemade cake.


My thoughts have been turning more and more to the meals of my childhood, and also to the meals I ate when staying with my Grandma during the 1960s/early70s (I was born in 1961).  There is no doubt that food was different then, as were meals in general.  I don't remember eating ready meals of any description until I was well into my teens; my Mum mostly cooked from scratch and Grandma always did, other than the occasional fish-and-chip supper.  Grandma didn't have a fridge when I was a child and I remember how cool her pantry always was; she kept bottles of milk in a bucket of cold water and walked up the road into the village most days to buy fresh food.  Meat came from the butcher, wet fish from the fish and chip shop, bread from the village baker, vegetables and fruit from the greengrocer. 


There was a little "supermarket" of sorts in the village and that was where Grandma bought tinned goods (I remember having tinned peach slices with evaporated milk and a slice of bread and butter for tea!), packet goods such as flour and sugar, and household sundries.


The other thing I remember is really more what I don't remember: being served large portions.  And yet I also don't recall ever leaving the table still feeling hungry.  We didn't eat until we were stuffed; we simply ate enough to satisfy our hunger.  At Grandma's house it was usually four meals: breakfast, the main meal at midday, tea and a light supper before bed.  There wasn't a lot of eating between meals either and if we did want something, we would probably be given an apple or banana.  I'm not saying that we never ate any sweets, chocolate, shop-bought biscuits or had an ice-cream, but those things really were regarded as treats.  Virtually everything else we ate was homemade, from scratch ~ and that included cakes and puddings. 

What went wrong then?  I should imagine that most folk of my generation grew up eating in a similar way, and of course our parents and grandparents would almost certainly have eaten those kinds of meals too.  It was real food, my loves, not low fat/low carbohydrate/full of man made additives.  And that, I suspect, is the answer.  What so many of us eat nowadays is just so far removed from good, basic, wholesome food that it can't possibly sustain and nourish our bodies ~ nor our minds either for that matter.  I have overloaded my body with "non-food" food for year-upon-year-upon-year ~ and I have become ever fatter and so terribly unhealthy in the process.  I am also now beginning to wonder if my emotional eating patterns have something to do with lack of proper nourishment, too.  Whilst these thoughts and ideas have been churning around in my mind, I have noticed in my travels around the internet that other folk are thinking along similar lines and doing a search such as "eating like our grandparents" pulls up lots of links.  It's comforting to know that I am most definitely not the only one coming to these conclusions!

Really, my loves, the only logical next step is to start cooking from scratch using good old-fashioned basic ingredients.  After all, I've got enough cookery books to open my own little library, some of which belonged to my Grandma ~ including her battered old notebook with her own handwritten recipes :-)  I also think it's time to start menu-planning; unlike Grandma I can't just keep popping into town every other day for fresh ingredients!  And after all, I do have the convenience of a freezer which makes it so much easier to buy meat and fish on a weekly ~ or longer ~ basis.  So I rather think my first step should be to have a good 'ole sort out in both my larder and freezer, to see what I've already got and what I need to get supplies of.  Oh, and by the way, I am not suggesting for one minute that once I start scratch-cooking my excess weight will just magically melt away ~ actually, for the first time in many years that is no longer my primary objective.  I simply want to feed my body, mind and yes, my soul too, good wholesome nourishing food :-)

I'd really like to share this new journey with you, sweetie~pies, so look out for menu-planning and Grandma's recipes in the coming weeks!

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