Day 8

Today I walked out of co-op and it wasn’t till I got down the road a bit that I noticed I still had an empty basket swinging from my donerleft hand.

Big deal.

I’ve been a pescatarian for over a week now.  Didn’t want to make too much of it yesterday, as I could of  woken  in the night sucking on a chicken bone or something. And then I would have failed.

I’m really surprised that I haven’t had any cravings for chicken, as it was the meat I ate most.  The only meat I keep getting a craving for is processed red meat.  Not a nice expensive bit of steak but bacon, and – of all things – a dirty doner kebab. I don’t know why I’m craving this spinning piece of elephant leg, I only ever eat it when I’m drunk.

I wonder if the craving for red meat will get more and more intense, until I find myself chewing on a leather belt; or if it will just slip away silently in the night.

Who knows. Who cares.

The next three days are going to be difficult as I’m working three 10 hour shifts in a row, so to avoid a ‘convenience food binge’ I’m going to have to make a big batch of something tonight. I’ll post any recipes tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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Day Seven

Nuts.Seeds.Raisins.Bananas.Yogurt.Water.

No, I’m not just a bumbling mess, this is what I snacked on during my 11 hour shift at work today. It’s a good achievement,  as all I could think about was gorging  myself on expensive crisps and cheap chocolate.

I have to say, snacking on ‘healthy stuff’  throughout the day has given me much more energy. I’d usually get in after an 11 hour shift at around 10pm and just crash out; but I’m writing this at 11:34 and don’t feel a little bit tired.

Maybe it’s the change of diet that’s giving me more energy. Maybe not.

Anyway, for my main meals today I ate porridge in the morning, egg tomato and onion salad for lunch, and a quick Italian pasta dish when I got home from work.

I love this pasta dish as it’s quick, simple and really tasty. It’s taken from Antonio Carluccio’s book called Simple Cooking, and is said to be one of the most popular recipes for native Italians;

Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chili (serves 2)                                                                                                        Antonio Carluccio's Spaghetti with Garlic Oil and Chilli

  • 100g of spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil

All you have to do is cook the spaghetti in boiling water, and when it’s nearly done, fry the garlic and chilli in the olive oil for a few seconds. Drain the pasta, and mix it in the pan with the garlic and chilli sauce. Add a little bit of the pasta water to help coat the spaghetti in the sauce.

If it is a bit too bland for your taste you can add anything you like to this dish. I usually add onion, fresh basil or mint and sometimes crumble a fish fillet into the pasta, it just depends how much time you have.

I saw loads of people eating this when I went to Rome and remember mumbling to myself,  ‘what the hell-kinda muck is that!’ but now I’,m eating my words, and love the simplicity of the dish.

Day Six

Had my blood pressure and cholesterol check done today. Could have been better, could have been worse. Just like most things really;

  • Total Cholesterol (TC) – 4.75 mmol/l                                                                                                                                                                        blood
  •  Good Cholesterol (HDL) – 0.97 mmol/l
  • Total Cholesterol: Good Cholesterol (HDL) Ratio – 4.9
  • Blood pressure – 135/94 mmHg

According to the blood pressure UK website your cholesterol levels should be;

  • Total Cholesterol (TC) – Less than 5
  • Good Cholesterol (HDL) – More than 1
  • Total Cholesterol (HDL) – less than 4

The main thing I need to work on is bringing the blood pressure down, and also increase the levels of HDL Cholesterol. This can be easily achieved through diet and exercise (I hope). I’m going to get it re – checked after this 30 day pescatarian challenge.

It’s simple really, just cut out the ‘processed’ and ‘ready made rubbish.’ It’s just so easy to go buy a ready made sandwich or burger (made from God-knows-what) on a lunch break, or order a takeaway when you get home from work. The thing is, homemade lunches or versions of takeaways are much tastier, it all comes down to’ being bothered’ to plan ahead. And lets face it, when it’s your health at stake, it should be a no-brainer, right?

After reading about how to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, I’ve outlined 4 key changes that should be made to your life.

  1. Exercise regularly                                                                                                                                                                                                              unsaturated_fats
  2. Avoid saturated fat (meat pies, sausages, fatty meat, hard cheese, cakes & biscuits)
  3. replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in foods (oily fish, nuts, seed, vegetable oils)
  4. Increase good sources of fibre (oats, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, fruit and vegetables)

I’m certainly going to execute  them!

 

For further information, click the links below.

 

 

 

 

Day Five

I came from an afternoon at work to the smell of roast chicken, and quickly remembered I had to make a Nut Roast, or I’d be having vegetables and potatoes while Kristina hacked away at a beautifully marinated piece of meat.

Anyway, I had time. I’ve had nut roast on many occasions and it’s really tasty, the thing is I can’t help but think of it as a souped-up version of stuffing.  After a few minutes of ‘googling’ I found one that was quick, easy and used baked beans in the recipe.

This is the one I thought.

The Good Food website is something I’m quickly beginning  to rely on in a ‘food emergency’ (yes, it’s a thing)

 

(Click here for full  recipe)

It was really easy to make and tasted lovely. It left me feeling full, and I’m sure I ate less than I would if I had chicken or something. The life of a pescatarian just keeps getting better.

Nut Roast Ingredients (takes about 1 hour)

  • 2 slices of bread
  • few handfuls of mixed nuts
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 can of baked beans
  • 2 tbsp of any herbs

Day Four

tofu-mainI had my first experience of tofu today, well I can’t just get by on Quorn products can I?

I really want to like tofu because the health benefits are great; with 70 calories and 3.5g of fat per 100g.  It’s also  a great source of protein, and is said to help lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).

Check out this Good Food article for more information. 

With all those health benefits, I thought it must be expensive, but it wasn’t. I got a 396g pack from Salisbury’s for £2. Somethings not right, I thought to myself. 

 

Tofu can be cooked in many different ways, so – after searching through the kitchen cupboards for ingredients – I decided to make tofu & vegetable patties, as they only need a few basic ingredients; as follows:

1 carrot, spring onions, 1 garlic clove, 3cm piece of ginger, 2 eggs, oil and chilli sauce. (click here for full recipe)

tofu

I was ready for a taste explosion, but it wasn’t long (one bite in fact) before I was disappointed. They were pretty bland, and rubbery; which could be down to the way I cooked them, seasoning ect.

With the chilli sauce smothered on top they were bearable,  but I wouldn’t cook them again.

Maybe it’s the tofu. Like I said earlier, there’s many different ways to cook it to get different textures. It’s also available smoked or marinated, so I’ll try those another time.

I shall not be defeated by tofu. I will make it part of my pescatarian diet.

 

 

Day Three

 

Today I ran 3.7 miles in 32 mins, don’t know if that’s good, but I ate a big bar of fruit and nut chocolate in the evening and I know for sure that is bad. Hell, thanks to the run it’s spare calories right?

Wrong!

Probably, should stop eating chocolate. I always crave something sweet after meals though, so I’ve decided to replace my after dinner treat with yogurt, nuts, fruit and seeds.

Add chocolate to room 101!

nut

I read a really interesting article today (click here) about vegetarian sausages and burgers, which are often the  healthier option when it comes down to fat content or calories. But if you’re trying to avoid high salt content in your foods, many of the vegetarian products contain as much or more than the meat versions.

After reading that I had Quorn Sausages with a rice salad. Yes, of course I checked the salt content, and I even put them head to head with some Asda pork & apple sausages:

The pork sausages (100g)                                                                                                                                 Quorn sausages (100g)

Calories = 253                                                                                                                                                        Calories = 111

Fat = 16.7g                                                                                                                                                               Fat = 3.8g

Salt = 1.3g                                                                                                                                                                 Salt = 1g

As you can see, a massive difference in the calories and fat. It’s good news for me because I prefer Quorn sausages to pork ones anyway. Also, out of the vegetarian products I’ve looked at Quorn is almost always the best option. These are being promoted to my quick fix pescatarian locker.

So, since I started this blog I’ve had frozen Quorn burgers, frozen Quorn sausages and a falafel wrap from the takeaway – which could also have been frozen. I wouldn’t have had this much frozen stuff if I was eating meat, so from tomorrow I’m going to get creative and cook something I’ve never made before.

 

Day Two

My weight at the beginning of this challenge is 14 stone 12 pounds, the next time I’ll check will be on day 30. My blood pressure and cholesterol will be done soon. I know the results wont be great, so I’m hoping that a month eating as a pescatarian will improve this.

Anyway, boring part out of the way.

Obviously I’m not craving meat after two days, but the first thing I saw when I opened the fridge this morning was a spicy spanish chorizo. Usually I’d just whack some of it in my omelette. But today I settled for peppers, onions and just watched while my wife honked down the beautiful chunks of sausage.

EASY!

I’d never thought of it before, but I’m going to have to get used to the people in my life eating meat around me. Unless I build a meat-free-shed and consume all my meals in it, like a prisoner in solitary confinement.

patatabravas_81525_16x9

In fact it happened again at tea time, a friend came round for dinner before our 5 -a – side football match, to chow down on patatas bravas (click for recipe), chicken and salad.

Well, he had chicken and I had Quorn Burgers which I really like anyway. The general consensus around the table was that they tasted like cardboard!

‘Chicken’ I said ‘everybody knows that new foods always taste like chicken’

Football was a disaster. We lost 7 -0, and as the keeper I have to take some blame. Hope its not the meat trying to get back at me!