Day 14

Still not craving meat on a grand scale.

I’ve noticed every now and then a weird thought will come to me like:

Shit, did I eat meat earlier?

I can’t explain it, but it really feels like I’ve eaten meat, and it’ll take me a few minutes to think back on previous meals to make sure they were meatless. It’s such a strange feeling!

Anyway, woke up this morning with a few things to do:

  1. Buy a fan
  2. do some housework
  3. get some lentils

It wasn’t long before I forgot about the housework, and quickly came up with some excuse about the weather, heat, blah, blah, blah. So, after I completed the other two tasks on my list I started to think about lentils, and how I never really use them –  apart from in soups.  This sketch from the Young Ones kept coming back to me:

After watching that I decided to make a lentil loaf or pie, whatever you want to call it really. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • red lentils (225g)                                                                                                                                                           20140724_214454
  • water (450ml)
  • 1 large onion
  • butter (25g)
  • cheese, grated (100g)
  • mixed herbs (1tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs (25g)
  • fresh chilli (chopped)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Method

Cook the lentils in the water until soft, approx 15 mins.

Then, fry for a few minutes and melt the butter. After that, combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Add the mixture to a loaf tin or cake tin and bake on gas mark 5 for 30 mins.

 

Admittedly, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as I’d hoped –  but it tastes bloody lovely.

 

 

 

Day 13

Today I did something I hardly ever do. Wait for it…                                                                                                          20140722_152925

I ate a  frozen fishcake on my lunch break.

Mainly because it was the only thing in the house, and consequently I suffered with indigestion for the rest of the day.  I completely forgot about indigestion. I was suffering with it on a regular basis before I started this pescatarian challenge, and this is the first time I’ve had a bout since.

I don’t think it’s the meat that caused the indigestion, but since I stopped eating it, I’ve felt a lot healthier in general. This pescatarian challenge has forced me to stop and think about what I eat (except for the fishcake incident), and it’s this – plus the fact that I’ve changed my habit of slamming food down faster than a hungry pig – that’s saved me reaching for the Gaviscon on a regular basis.

Talking way to much about indigestion today!

I’ll put it down to working in 33 degrees of heat all day, with only a crappy little fan for company.

Are you asleep yet? I am!

 

 

 

 

Day 12

Nothing much has happened to write about in the last three days . So I didn’t.

Made a Quorn Chilli to take to work, had a aubergine kung chuchee from Koh Thai Tapas – which was amazing – and apart from that I’ve stuck to fish and rice.

Rock on!

What I really love about this challenge is that I’m trying a wide range of food. When I was eating meat I’d always, no matter what cuisine  – Indian, Chinese, Thai, Greek, Turkish – choose a chicken dish. So, I’d never have tasted the aubergine dish if I wasn’t doing this pescatarian challenge. I think it’s because I know chicken dishes are pretty substantial and leave me feeling full, and would have worried that the ‘new’ dish wouldn’t be enough.

What a rubbish outlook. This is one way I’ve reset the way I think about food. If I do go back to eating meat, I’ll never resort back to that ‘auto-feed’ mode – that’s for sure.

When I started this pescatarian challenge, I was aware that so many vegetarian/pescatarian dishes use cheese as the main ingredient. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of eating too much cheese, so – much – so that I’ve hardly had any.

So, today I’ve decided to make a dish that my mum makes to perfection. A quick phone call for the recipe, and here it is;  just like mama used to make!

Cheese & Onion Quiche                                                                                                                                                                                                         20140721_205522

– 2 medium onions

– 6 oz cheese

– 3 eggs

– 200 ml milk

– 2 tsps mustard

– 1 slice of bread (grate to breadcrumbs)

– salt & pepper (to taste)

 

Roll out the pastry and line the flan dish. Cook for 5 mins in the oven.

First chop the onion, cheese and put into food processor. Then add the milk, eggs, mustard and salt/pepper (mix until smooth)

Add to the flan dish, and bake in the oven at 180 degrees or gas mark 4 until mixture is golden brown (about 40 – 45 mins)

Easy!

Yes, it’s a lot of cheese, so don’t make it often. And definitely don’t eat it all in one goddam sitting (beware you will want to), in fact it’s so tasty, even Kristina gave it her seal of approval, and trust me that’s rare!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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