Thursday, 28 January 2010
The January Diet...
...has been surprisingly straightforward. No potatoes or rice... no pasta, no cakes, no biscuits...sugar replaced with Splenda (which means no ice creams or sorbets) no shortcrust or puff pastry - but phyllo is fine. There had been some idea of giving up alcohol, as well...but the inclement weather put paid to that pretty quickly! Two days into a teetotal existence, we departed for a lightning trip to London half way through the month, where the arctic conditions meant we took one look at each other and resorted immediately to uncorking a bottle of hearty red.
IMHO, the success of sticking to a specific dietary regime depends on not having to endure a hair-shirt existence at the same time (unless that's your thing, of course - but then, if it is, you probably won't need to go on a diet anyway) and if the experience is a struggle, then it's unlikely that you'll stick to it. I have to confess that after a journey to Bologna yesterday through the snow-blanketed Appenines (not to mention several hours in the sub-zero temperatures of a salvage warehouse in the bleak countryside outside Imola) we took refuge in a glass of post-prandial grappa at the end of the day...which may have been dietarily unsound, but was very definitely what the doctor ordered!
The secret to the diet was forward planning. Before starting, and bearing in mind the dietary parameters (no flour, no rice, no bread, no sugar...really, no carbohydrates in general) I listed 30 appropriate starters, ditto main courses, vegetable dishes and desserts - since the major problem with dieting, I find, is thinking you have only restricted options, which means the whole thing becomes boringly repetitive, and so the temptation to stray is all the greater. With everything listed on one spreadsheet, it was easy to put together an entire month of 'approved' menus without having to repeat a single dish during the whole period.
And the result? Already, I've comfortably gone down one generous notch on my belt, without having felt pain at any point along the way!
Chicken Liver Terrine with Salad.
Pork Chops, braised with Lemon; Carrots, roast with Sage & Garlic.
Vanilla & Cointreau Soufflés.