Category Archives: Food

Then I stood at the fridge and ate 160g of Tofu from the box…

I decided to be a Vegan for lent, despite a complete lack of belief in God in general and Christianity in particular. Yes, I borrowed the bits I needed and left the whole ‘Jesus’ thing but who doesn’t? Find me one person who turns down the presents and turkey and cake at Christmas?

If we can borrow Christmas Dinner from the Christians I figure I might as well borrow a bit that’s intended to make us stop and think about something that we normally take for granted.

Besides, Steve bet me £10 that I couldn’t do it.

Even though I spend a good part of every day missing cheese, and the easiness of just going to KFC on the way to work or Burger King at two in the morning, it’s not as dramatic a change as I thought it would be. I assumed I’d struggle to find things to eat, and get to explore all kinds of things I’d never normally get to try.

I thought I’d have something more worth blogging about…

As it turns out, I’m eating pretty much the same stuff as I normally would, just more often and with fewer variations. It’s costing me less overall as I don’t have to spend money on meat and fish. And takeaway.

The biggest drama was right at the start, as I didn’t realise that Quorn has egg in it, but then I also didn’t realise how good green lentils in a can are (really, make it like bolognese and try for yourself!).

I don’t miss meat at all, and I love houmous enough that I barely miss cheese in my sandwiches. It gets annoying when I want to make a recipe: lasagne, pizza, pie from the Pieminister book I bought Steve for his Birthday.

The positives:

Vegan Fajitas are as good as non-vegan, and I put more effort into my Guacamole than I would have done. I invented something so good to spread on toast that it’s better than cheese. (Half a cup of semi-dried tomatoes, a tablespoon of Jalapenos, and a tablespoon of olives blended into a paste. Try it Try it Try it) I remembered Pesto exists, and discovered Hazelnut milk…I invented a rather wonderful sweet and sour vegetable recipe that I would never have tried before. So many times I’ve used meat or cheese rather than having to think about what else would make a heap of vegetables into a delicious meal (jalapenos, sweet chilli sauce and garlic work just as well).

The absolute worst part is how little I can eat from restaurants. Bizzarely, I find that pizza-type places are better than classier real food options. If I want to go to Pizza Hut, I can just get them to leave the cheese off, and pick delicious toppings like Jalapeno and Pineapple. This worked particularly well today even though Steve had a blue cheese and mushroom Pizza just LOOKING at me.

If I want to go to Pieminister however, I can get them to leave the cheese and dressing off my salad, which I can eat plain from a plate with no pie. Still, I completely believe that I could happily be Vegetarian if I didn’t ever want to go out for dinner.
What I notice most is how much I’d eat before, simply because it was there: Plates of cakes in work, McDonalds (which I’ve never particularly been fond of) just because Steve wants it. Pizza just because it’s more fun to sit on my bum than go to the kitchen. I haven’t deliberately given in yet, but one time I accidentally gulped down a handful of Milkyway Chocolate Stars because someone offered them to me and I was too busy fighting with someone about a bingo welcome bonus (they expire after 30 DAYS, PEOPLE!) to think about it. I understand for the first time the appeal of ‘diets’, however ridiculous (no carbs! only orange foods! only things with the words ‘Jenny Craig’ written on them! etc etc) because if you’re sticking to a black and white list of Yes and No foods then you know the rules, even if they don’t make sense, and though you have reasons and excuses for eating something not on the list, the simple fact that it’s not on the list stops you. So much of being a Vegan doesn’t make the absolute most sense, health-wise (such as the time I ate chips wrapped in bread when what I actually wanted was a flame-grilled chicken and mushroom kebab with salad) or moral-wise (it can do, if you try hard enough, but even being a vegan is far from perfect) but overall I feel like it’s an improvement on both parts.

Then there’s days like today, when I get in from work, stand in front of the fridge while Steve makes himself a bagel and I eat an entire packet of marinated Tofu just because it’s there.

To demonstrate exactly what I’m doing, here’s a sample menu from a good day:

Two Kiwi Fruit and a soya yoghurt for breakfast
Houmous Olives and Tomatoes on toast for lunch (in which I notice I don’t like white bread AT ALL)
Falafels, guacamole and peas with butternut squash for dinner
Banana from the free work fruit bowl
An entire bar of dark chocolate
Multivitamins + iron because I remembered.

And from a bad day:

75 grams of dark chocolate, 2 Soya Creme Caramels for lunch
Half a litre of chocolate Soya milk
Toast, with marmalade
Some olives eaten from a jar
Half a bottle of Margarita mix from a lovely trustworthy man called “Cactus Jack” who sells his product for £4 a litre in Lidl
Chips, wrapped in Naan bread, spread with Chilli Sauce

I’m still less than a third of the way into it, so I’ll keep y’all updated.

Eventually I’ll get round to writing down some of my thoughts about the moral side of eating, and being a vegan.


Blogging along to Fat Families

Today I’m going through Fat Familes LIVE as it’s on TV and awarding points for every thing I approve of, and taking one away for everything I disapprove of.

I missed the first ten minutes because I was busy cooking cheese-stuffed meatballs, but they all start the same: Look at this family, they look so Normal. Then they start to expand and we realise that it was simply computer-generated Normal. That presenter makes some comment involving the phase ‘massive fatties’. -1 point.  Then he goes ‘Look how our computers made them look Normal when really they are Fat.’ So the first impression, if nothing else, reminds people that airbrushing and computer manipulation affects what we see of Fatties. This is a good point but is accidental so no points gained.

OOOh, it’s Second Helpings, where they go back and see how they’ve done over the last several years. (six months, apparently.)

I left for a bit because my meatballs smelled like burning, but it’s that episode where they were feeding their children nothing but junk food. (as opposed to ‘That one where they drank a lot of wine’ ‘That one where they’re gay and live above a Subway’ and ‘That one where they’re all men who like curry’.

Giving children a shitty start in life because you’re too lazy to feed them anything but McDonalds is up there with Religion-based home-schooling for six year olds on my ‘but what chance do they possibly have…’ rant and DONT GET ME STARTED with american school dinners.*

* I know there are plenty of children out there who refuse to eat anything but potatoes etc but at least their parents TRY.

I instantly take a dislike to the main fatty because I hear him saying ‘You can have more chips once you’ve eaten a bit more bread’ to his five year old but he grows on me because I feel bad for him later when he see’s all the rubbish he’s been making the children eat and he goes ‘makes me ashamed to be a parent’. They seem to be tackling the fact that these poor children have never eaten anything but junk food so +1 point.

Lady fatty says she feels unattractive and seems to base a lot of it on looking ‘better’ rather than being healthier, so -1 point because she clearly has poor self-esteem that’s being picked on here.

At this point we start to get to know them and it turns out man fatty is absolutely lovely and looks like he’s really going to try hard with all this. He tells his wife that she’s still beautiful to him. +1 for positive body image of fatties. Presenter does not like this one bit. Presenter has his doubts that they’re going to bother, for no good reason than to say something on tv about how lazy all fat people are so -1 point. He said it in a particularly sneering voice so -1 point.

Of course they know they’re fat, they’ve SIGNED UP FOR A TV SHOW TO CHANGE THIS. So what is the point of having close up cameras pointing out all the bits they don’t like. Presenter guy tells them to look at all the fat bits that are normally  hidden under clothes. Hang on. Isn’t that true of EVERYONE? Does ANYONE feel comfortable mincing about without clothes? NO. Not one single person that I know would feel attractive being shown in close up from the angles he’s got his camera pointed. Lets give everyone watching the idea that we all have to look ‘perfect’ from every angle. You know, like models and AIRBRUSHING AGAIN. -1 point for the concept and -1 point for the presenters attitude throughout it.

Sure they must have known what to expect when they signed up for the programme but they signed up because they genuinely want help and just put up with these bits (crying all the time by the way) because apparently they’ve concluded that it’s worth it.

Health test bit- great. Showing some genuine health based reasons for losing weight after listening to lady fatty talk about feeling unattractive. +1 point. They’d get another point if at any point they showed someone who had some sort of problem that would stop them exercising. It’s all very well saying ‘excercise and you’ll get thin’ – what if you cant? More on this later as it turns out.

Then we go outside and kick over a block of lard that represents the amount of fat she has on her. -1 point for the analogy of physical violence towards fatties. -1 point for not bothering to point out that she actually needs 20-30% of her body weight to be fat because it does all kinds of silly things like protect your kidneys and keep you warm.

Next section she’s in the kitchen cooking for her children and it’s about time too. + 1 point.

She’s cooking them fish pie though so -1 point. Sure it’s fairly healthy compared to McDonalds and Pizza but can you imagine being five years old and switching from sweet tomatoey bready foods straight to Fish Pie? Children are notorious fish-haters. This family does NOT  like Fish Pie. If the first thing they experience after they hear about eating ‘healthy food’ is something they HATE then their little brains will associate healthy with hated for a good long time.

I’m sure the massive team working on the programme could think of something more child-friendly. Make them a spaghetti bolognese for example: Lean meat! carrots! tomatoes! onion! peppers! Success.

Have you noticed yet that I keep calling them ‘male fatty’ and ‘female fatty’? It’s rather offensive isn’t it? I bet you’ve been thinking ‘Hang on- didn’t you learn their names? Have some respect.’ So why is the presenter allowed to talk about them like that on TV?

-1 point for sniffing the week-old curry he’s making her keep in a cupboard because compare that for a moment with the smell of even day-old fish pie in the bin.

This family is growing on me because they genuinely do seem to be making an effort. Presenter guy takes them for a bike ride and they seem to be having a fantastic time with it. +1 point for useful real-world exercise that people actually want to do.

-1 point for ‘sneaking’ a treadmill into their house. Patronising. They WANT to lose weight, remember.-1 point for sticking it in a corner where there’s a nice view of a wall.

Then he hangs up a dress the lady fatty can’t fit into any more as inspiration for losing weight. She gets all excited and really seems determined to fit in it. Presenter actually says ‘I hope you don’t EAT the dress’. -1 point. Another -1 point for the phrase ‘massive fatty habits’ though I don’t now remember the exact context. There is never an APPROPRIATE context for that.

It occurs to me that half the things he says are on a voice over or behind their back. If you cant say it to the persons face then WHY do you dare sneer about them behind their back. Go on, say that to her face and watch her punch you. -1 point for having no spine.

They exercise, he starts running. He’s really getting into it and doing above and beyond what they were expected to. + 1 point because something must have actually inspired them and it showed him wanting to be good at running rather than the old stereotype of ‘look how lazy they are’ like on most weeks.

But then disaster hits. He’s got an ACTUAL INJURY AND HAS BEEN TOLD NOT TO RUN by a HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. Poor guy really wanted to run but he cant. +1 for showing this side of things. However all that presenter guy can say is ‘IM REALLY WORRIED ABOUT HIS FINAL WEIGH IN. More than you’re worried about his future ankle problems? More than you worry that he might damage it further by trying to run because he doens’t want to hear your bullying sneer? -2 points.

-1 point for those bits where stereotypical fat people have boxes of chocolate snatched off them when we move to another segment of the show. There’s at least one per section, 4 sections so another -3.

At the dress-them-up stage she looks like a normal person. Sure she’s lost some weight but also she’s not forced to wear a bra and pants, or baggy exercise clothes. Of course she looks good. Many fatties look good every day. Direct quote by presenter about male fatty ‘HES GOT A CHIN AND ONLY ONE AT THAT!’. -1 point.

The next bit involved ‘Fat Traps’ and I’d missed a lot of it because I was busy making soup but I like the concept so +1 point. Sure you can eat healthy at home but get stuck in an All You Can Eat Buffet and well, the problems in the name. Fair point. However – 1 point for not following it up with ‘hey, here’s how you eat out healthily’. They came to you for help, remember?

And now we’re six months later. They did a race, and finished a long way behind everyone else so +1 for realism. They’ve got fitter but didn’t have to become super-athletes in order to be happy and healthy. I’m rather happy for them because they genuinely do look happier than they did at the start and this programme; over all it seems to have actually helped them.

Presenter guy doesn’t seem happy though. He gets invited to their wedding-vow renewal service (would  you? After watching the show you were on and hearing the things he’d said in voiceover about YOU?) He can’t just celebrate with them, he has to use the phrase ‘waving goodbye to Mr and Mrs Massive Fatty’. -1 point.

STOP SAYING THAT. He’s said it at least twice now just in case the audience didn’t notice that they used to be fat. -1 point.

As Steve points out, they’re not exactly Mr and Mrs Slim though are they? They’re just normal people now. Well done. +1 point for not having them lurch from one extreme to the other.

Back on the scales. She’s still technically obese if she’s the same height as me at  14 stone 9lbs. But she’s just run a fairly long race so she’s rather healthy. Hang on? Did this programme just prove that you can be Overweight AND Healthy? Surely not?! They don’t bother mentioning that because they’re too busy talking about how much Weight she lost. -1 point.

Our charming friend the presenter ends the programme with the suggestion that if they ‘got off their wobbly bums’ then so could we. You’d better hope not dear because if we were all out there jogging right now there’d be no-one left at home to watch your TV show.  -1 point for ‘their wobbly bums’ and -1 point for mine.

So far I think this episode scored -15 overall. I’d say that was medium, and by far one of the least offensive Fat Families I’ve seen.

A ‘things I did with my day’ Blog

So yesterday Steve and I went to Manchester on the train under the pretense of shopping in the sales. What we really wanted of course was Bubble Tea and many many plates of Yo!Sushi.

There is a building in Manchester that looks exactly like the sort of thing the Borg would build if they happened to come visit. I tried to find  a picture of it on Google but apparently I’m the only one who’s noticed. You can see it from the train on the way in if you’re interested in not getting assimilated any time soon.

First stop- Porkwiches. Pulled pork to be exact and they are amazing. However we’d only  just finished eating Porkwiches when we realised that there had in fact been a Taco Bell right behind us the whole time. After long moments of heartache we decided we could not justify it (a sign that we are indeed turning into boring grown-ups)  and scuttled off for bubble tea.

For anyone who doesn’t know, this is bubble tea:

Basically flavoured soya milk with tapioca pearls and I’m not even trying to make it sound nice because there are NO WORDS to describe how good this stuff is. I recommend the Green Tea flavour, and the Mango flavour, and the Watermelon, Honeydew melon, Taro root, Red bean, and Blueberry flavours. Not that the other ones are not good, just that I didn’t get round to sampling all of them yet.

There was a nice moment when I was waiting for Steve and some guy wandered past me, stole a mop from a cleaning trolley thing and wandered off with it. I started paying attention then and realised he’d spilled some orange tango on the floor. A few minutes later he came back and put the mop back on the cleaning cart, sort of shrugged at his wife and continued on with his day. It made me hate the general public a little less.

Then we wandered about and bought some stuff. Steve bought me a cardigan because he’s lovely and we made all kinds of dull household plans- for example we’ll paint our Feature Wall purple one day.  I could go on about our purchases but I won’t, because it’s hard enough to make THIS interesting and now I wish I’d blogged about something else. Every time I go to buy grown-up clothes I end up with another novelty T-shirt.

So yeah, basically all we did with the rest of our day was eat Sushi. And a plate of a sort of seaweed salad type thing that was actually quite nice. And someone HAS to tell me how to make batter like the stuff they were wrapping brocolli in. And Taco Bell. We gave in and went back and shared a taco. It was everything you’d expect from a Taco Bell and brilliant in its own way.

Now I’m craving Quesadillas.