Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Food Link Log from a Fasting Cook

(Blogjob tags: Asian recipesDan LewisJack LalanneJohn McDougallsalad recipes,smoothie recipessoup recipesvegan diet for healthvegan recipes.)

Here's what I've swallowed since the fourth of March, when I pledged to eat solid food upon receipt of solid funding: Caffeinated soda pop--12 to 16 ounces (out of 2-liter bottles) per day. Ice cream (yes, like a lot of middle-aged people, I digest ice cream more efficiently than plain milk--and also, by the time they're dragged up to the Cat Sanctuary, ice cream is starting to melt whereas plain milk may be starting to go bad). Vitamin and mineral supplements, using up an existing supply. One or two medicinal garlic cloves daily. One orange. Five strawberries and a handful of blueberries. Two packages of peanuts. Violet blossoms, dandelion greens, dock, wild garlic, and English plantain from the not-a-lawn. And water.
No, I don't recommend this "diet" to anyone. Yes, of course I'd rather be cooking and eating yummy food, as discussed at the links following. But here's the thing: I'm not wasting away. I've lost some weight, mostly on the hips and thighs (thanks to genes, PCOS, and walking), but the same dresses fit the same way they've always fitted. I'm walking more slowly and carefully, but just as far as usual. I'm not in pain. It is not torture for me to read all these food-related web pages. Most of us have absorbed a lot of misinformation about how much food we really need, how often, and when. In fact a healthy person can do a total fast (water only) for up to forty days.
First, some e-friends' yummy recipes...some of these suggest substitutions, and for some I automatically read substitutions due to years of practice. I see "500 pork ribs or pork chops" in that Pork Sinigang recipe and think "500 grams...of chicken."

On to the fun facts. "Lies"? Those of us who grew up with Betty Crocker Cookbooks know that it's never been a secret: Betty Crocker is a brand not a person. And if you want to bake something from a wheat-based pre-flavored mix, Betty Crocker cake, cookie, and similar mixes will work quite well if you don't add the eggs...or even the oil.'s a nice slot for the obligatory Amazon link. I've not used a B.C. baking mix since I learned that I'm gluten-intolerant. I used to love them, though, back in my undiagnosed-celiac youth. The "big red books" definitely feature B.C. flour products, but also contain recipes that don't involve flour (and/or work with naturally gluten-free "flour"). The one to which Mother and I referred, around the time I was learning to read and cook, showed "Betty" with what Dan Lewis shows as her 1946 hairdo...and included all her earlier images and the tidbit that there never was a real-world person called Betty Crocker.
Some of those 1500 recipes will not be useful to those using the McDougall Program, or some form of it. Others will. Today's message from Dr. McDougall announces a free online discussion of why people who are likely to benefit from a vegan diet don't try doing one. (The thing about "McDougalling" is that you're not making a commitment to eat only vegan meals forever. For a lot of people who've developed diseases that are caused or aggravated by an unbalanced diet, going vegan for a year or two is a fast, cheap, easy way to restore balance. For people who aren't ill, exploring vegan cuisine is just plain yummy. Yet some people have this fear that if they don't eat at least two forms of animal fat at every meal, they'll become anemic overnight...)
Now about the politics of food...I have to add some personal comments to this link. Just looking at the Betty Crocker cookbooks pulled up a lot of happy childhood memories, bonding with my poor, sick mother in the kitchen, baking all the yummy wheat-based breads and cookies that kept us (and my natural sister) ill for the first thirty years of my life. Whole grains worked for Jack Lalanne and seemed to relieve some of Mother's symptoms, so she believed that making fresh-ground whole wheat the mainstay of our diet would make my family healthy. By the time I was old enough to realize how wrong she was, I was old enough to feel sorry for her; she made herself sicker for longer than she did any of her children. But unless you've lived through thirty years of eating food that was supposed to be "good for you" and was actually poisonous to you, you can't understand how abhorrent the idea of dictating what everyone should eat really is.
(Btw, if you're seeing that UNHCR sidebar ad with the sick-and-hungry-looking child--that's the look our faces had at that age, too. Fat or skinny, celiac children are malnourished, so we have the same characteristic look starving children have. That ad could hardly be better placed.)
I admire Michelle Obama's efforts to preserve her own health. I imagine that she wants to help other people be healthy, as sincerely as my mother did. And although I'm glad she's less mistaken than my mother was--my mother who's spent her sixties and seventies looking better, feeling better, doing all the things she was disabled from doing in her thirties and forties!--she's still profoundly mistaken. What made Jack Lalanne the grandfather of all fitness gurus helped some other people, but it made me sick; what's keeping Dr. John McDougall so fit and fabulous helped some other people, but it's not for everyone either; what's allowed Mrs. Obama or me to be fit and fabulous at fifty wouldn't work for other people either. By sharing what's working for us we can probably improve our own understanding of how to maintain our own health. By telling other people what they should eat, or do, we're more likely to destroy our credibility and their health.
More links at the Blogspot...