Chai for chi

Delicious, sweet and savory.

Delicious, sweet and savory.

The diet and worms: today’s weigh in confirmed I’m 10st 5 lbs and the régime is tumbling along in the right direction. I’ve regressed to adding coffee, breakfast tea with milk, drinking chocolate, powdered stock drinks and even Lemsips to the virtuous menu of allowed beverages on the 5:2 diet. However, the chai for chi plan seems to be working as I’m getting more achieved every day since before I started the weight loss lark.

Last week the aim was to find more flavors in the Lily’s Teashop and the Pure Green smoothies ranges to titillate the tastebuds and keep the reduction of my appetite tilted towards replacing the bad habits with marginally better ones. On Monday I walked to a neighboring town to build up brownie points for an hour before finding the Coffee Scene cafe in Malahide that’s listed on Pure Green’s stockists list. I’d been cruelly disappointed the day before by my own eejitry so I rewarded myself with a beet version and used it as a gazpacho for brunch to go with scrambled eggs on toast.

Cold and sweet was the perfect relief for three-quarters of an hour fast walking, and while my vegan lunch companion shrugged at the readymade, preserved version of the vitamins and minerals contained in the c.130 calorie ‘soup’, I relished it. Neither my psyche nor my wallet is quite ready for a three-day or five-day detox as recommended by the makers and delivered to your door, but I want to keep it in mind when out and about on low-calorie days.

Home blends: Not as convenient but great for veg you've to use quickly.

Home blends: Not as convenient but great for veg you’ve to use quickly.

The particular eejitry I mentioned is that I got a recipe on Facebook from a friend for a homemade version. Delivered just as I love it: the picture lists everything you need to know. I knew I had those ingredients in the fridge but forgot they’d been there since the New Year’s Resolution plans and were only good for the compost.

Thinking of which, we’ve three separate spaces for compost in the garden and I must get a wormery going properly to break them down into usable fertilizer.

Although now is the time to plan the summer’s planting and calendar of tasks, and we’ve an exciting new glasshouse to fit into the schedule, our clay soil and hard-landscaping means that beets, carrots and onions probably won’t be included in the vegetable patch again this year. But the glasshouse and new ‘planting out’ bed means we’ll have more than tomatoes, chilies and herbs.







Art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake

The title of this post was one of 10cc’s hit records when I was about 10 years old and  in my last year in primary school. Along with most 11-year-olds at that time we were about to do our first ‘proof of the pudding’ in educational streaming, which was the entrance exam to secondary school.

I’m hopefully about to do another ‘proof of the pudding’ exam between now and September of this year so I’ve been getting ready in the same chaotic, half-assed but wholly in earnest way I’ve approached most important dates in my life. I’m studying, practicing and refining the knowledge that applies to the examination, and at 52 and not-quite-the-athlete, am spending time trying to get myself physically in shape for the new demands on my energy levels.

Which means I’m on a diet to reduce weight firstly and give me better self-disciplinary eating and drinking habits that will be subliminal by the time I get to the part where more walking, running to meet deadlines, and completing the actual projects pertinent to the tutors’ instructions come in. The hard part is where I also cut out the whining, eye-rolling, snarling and day-dreaming.

10-year-old lavender, 30-year-old laurel, there's a curly willow in there too.

10-year-old lavender, 30-year-old laurel, there’s a curly willow in there too.

Chaotic and half-assed means that I’ve arbitrarily chosen the 5:2 diet rather than joining a slimming club, running club, health club, turning vegan or being whole-heartedly committed to this ‘my body is a temple’ thing. I’ve only 14 lbs to lose and then maintain that weight with the exercises that automatically start again when the weather turns the garden back into a runaway train.

The goal is two pounds a week, and the ‘proof of the pudding’ happens every Wednesday with the weigh in. It’s a happy process in itself as I weigh myself everyday to keep the focus front and centre and decide what and how much I can eat on the basis of the scales. The first week I was 10st 11lbs and later that day was 10st 9lbs when I took off the winter jumpers. So last week I was 10st 7lbs, and this week am 10st 7lbs. Like Hannibal/George Peppard I love it when a plan comes together.

Poss where the new glass will go.

Poss where the new glass will go.

The food and drink element in February rarely involves anything that describes itself as a salad. But so far the diet has been successful because I’m indulging in foods that tick all the mental, slinky, feel-good factors: the ‘normal’ days have treats and the ‘penitent’ days have treats.

The treats on ‘2’ days are the teas from Lily’s Teashop, the Liquid Lunch from Pure Green and I’ve to get their other flavors to keep them intriguing: the ones I love so far are as per the picture on Facebook already. They’re locally produced and delicious, so they’re virtuously nationalistic :-), and are large enough producers to have worked out their logistics – lazy/busy customers don’t have to travel far to get them.

The last time I felt this self-congratulatory about being slim, I gave up alcohol too and found that the virgin versions of beer and cocktails helped me feel as if I was partying without the ‘fate and the supply chain will decide’ drink-till-you-drop attitude that was welded to my self-image. A new self-image that’s 10 years older and wiser is re-affirming itself, so check back soon for the next episode.