Sin of omission: why I am ashamed of myself…

945am – Breakfast:

I was ready to have a couple of half-boiled eggs and toast too. But the above filled me up, good and proper!

I was ready to have a couple of half-boiled eggs and toast too. But the above filled me up, good and proper!

5 Quorn veggie cocktail sausages – large portion

2 Shana Punjabi samosas (frozen) – medium portion

2 homemade choc-chip shortbread biscuits – medium portion

Cup of coffee with honey and double cream

Satiety Level: Full

*****

Lunch: skipped

*****

6.45pm – Dinner:

Less is more: I never used to know what it felt like to not eat second helpings. It feels great!

Less is more: I never used to know what it felt like to not eat second helpings. It feels great!

Vegetarian Singapore-style Vermicelli noodles – medium portion

Aubergine in Garlic Sauce – medium portion

Egg Fried rice – small to medium portion

Tofu in Yellow Bean Sauce – medium portion

Vegetable Tempura – medium portion

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

*****

Food intake was a mixture of an austere breakfast and a Chinese takeaway dinner. The takeaway was, quite possibly, the finest it has ever been from there! And I’m pleased that I kept things in moderation and stopped eating before I was totally full too.

But I wanted to reflect on a very sad experience in the pharmacy today. I could see an old, wobbly, distressed-looking man with a walking stick struggling to open the pharmacy’s front door and stay balanced at the same time. I went over to try and help him open the door, but the door opened outwards (ie towards him) and he was standing too close to it. If I had been over-zealous in my attempts, he would have toppled over! As it was, in the course of his struggle his walking stick did clatter to the ground.

Eventually, with a good deal of effort, I managed to hold the (heavy) door open long enough for him to shuffle through. It was immediately apparent to me that the poor old chap was more than a little confused and really rather distressed. He asked me if I worked there. I pointed him towards the pharmacist (who happened to be an Asian guy too.) I then watched an uncomfortable exchange between the two. The pharmacy staff had provided the old man with a chair to sit in. He seemed to be asking whether the doctor had been over to tell them about his situation (a highly unlikely scenario these days!) He seemed to be saying that he had an awful pain in his knee and was at his wits end about it. All he wanted was for someone to deal with it for him. He said he had been to several doctors and nurses that morning (again, highly unlikely) who hadn’t been able to help him.

Obviously, the pharmacist was trying to establish what was going on and offered to call any friends or family for the man. But the man bemoaned the fact that he lived on his own and was being pushed from pillar to post in his quest for some relief. He was getting clearly agitated with the pharmacist and clearly agitated with his own, physical condition.

I felt huge sympathy for the man at the same time as being wary of his temper. I wanted to help him somehow, but felt that, what with his fragility and the slowness of his movement and his confused state, I could well end up on a bit of a wild goose chase escorting him around the shops/surgeries/pharmacies in the vicinity! And I had a lot to do and family commitments to fulfil.

Even so, I am a little ashamed of myself for not getting involved because I knew that doing so would cause a little inconvenience for myself.

A few years ago, I gave a lift to a very old man with a hugely curved spine who was struggling to walk down a pavement and was holding onto a hedge for support. He was on his way to his surgery for an appointment with the doctor, but he would almost certainly have missed the appointment if I hadn’t intervened. At that time, I was in no big rush. The man was very grateful and the surgery was just a couple of hundred yards away. I helped him out of my car and walked him to the surgery’s reception and left him in the unsmiling hands of the receptionist there who was eyeing me with suspicion.

A couple of years after that, I was driving late at night near home when I saw a figure walking in a kind of erratic way across the road dressed in what looked like a nightie and an open dressing gown. It was a foggy, freezing night and it felt to me as if something must be wrong. So I doubled back, pulled up at the side of the road, wound down my window and asked the old lady if she was ok. She said she was on her way to see her friend, but couldn’t quite remember where the friend lived. It was obvious to me that she was confused and more than a bit vulnerable – to the elements and traffic if nothing else!

So I offered to give her a lift back home. She seemed to know where home was and said she could give me directions as I drove. I thought to myself that I would see if she really did know the whereabouts of her own home before calling the police. Anyway, as we drove, she began telling me her life story in a slightly halting and confused manner. She mentioned, in passing, that she had a niece who visited her regularly.

Soon enough, we arrived at where she lived. I walked her up to her apartment and asked her if she wanted me to call her niece for her. I can’t now remember if she refused or didn’t know her niece’s number. But she was very adamant that I come into her home and have a chat and look at some pictures of her niece’s kids. That would have been a little odd and inappropriate (not to mention that, in her confused state, there was no guarantee that she would continue to act rationally or even remember that she had invited me – a total stranger – into her home in the first place!) So I politely declined. At which point she was visibly upset with me! She gave me pouty ‘little girl’ looks and started sulking! I knew immediately that I had made the right decision to not enter her home.

I also knew I had better call the police just to report the whole incident. As it happened, she was known to the police. Apparently, this sort of thing had happened several times in the past. Yes, there was a niece whom they would contact. And they’d also send a couple of officers round to make sure she was fine.

So that time, there was a satisfactory – if not exactly happy – ending to the story! In fact, the following day I received a call from the police to thank me on behalf of the lady’s niece who was touched that somebody cared enough to help a clearly confused and vulnerable old lady.

Truth be told, each time I am driving around and I see an old man or lady struggling to walk or carrying big bags of shopping because they have nobody in their lives to help them to do it, I feel awful. I feel like stopping and ferrying them to their destinations. But I know that if I started to do that every time I felt a pang of sympathy for a lonely old person, I wouldn’t have time to do much more in my life!

But I like to think that I’d still help out in the most extreme cases of vulnerability like this. (No matter what the age of the person.)

Which is why I am ashamed of doing nothing to help that poor old man in the pharmacy today. I’ve never seen him before, but it is feasible that I will see him again in that locality. I hope that, next time, I will have the decency to do something to help rather than being overly preoccupied with my own life and (inconsequential) needs.

Hunger. Gym. No remorse, no regrets!

740am Breakfast:

The onion rings are inexcusable! Except that I really rather fancied them, enjoyed them and ate in moderation. So, actually, they ARE excusable!

The onion rings are inexcusable! Except that I really rather fancied them, enjoyed them and ate in moderation. So, actually, they ARE excusable!

Onion rings – small to medium portion

Cheese salad sandwich x1.5 – small to medium portion

Cup of coffee with honey and double cream!

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied.

*****

2pm – Post-gym Lunch:

Bigger than normal, but then, my hunger was bigger than normal after a heavy gym workout.

Bigger than normal, but then, my hunger was bigger than normal after a heavy gym workout.

Half-eaten cheese salad sandwich leftover from breakfast – small portion

Four Quorn veggie cocktail sausages – medium portion

Leftover veggie noodles with braised tofu – medium portion

Onion rings – medium portion

Bowl of macadamia nuts, pecans and raisins – medium portion

Satiety Level: Full

*****

740pm – Dinner:

Tremendous bursts of flavour!

Tremendous bursts of flavour!

Homemade aubergine and courgette pasta – medium portion

(Shop-bought) Gnocchi in (homemade) sage, blue cheese and cream sauce – medium portion

Satiety Level: Full

*****

I’m late posting this post anyway, so I don’t have too much time to waffle… except to say Je ne regrette rien!

Noodles to the left of me, noodles to the right!

720am – Breakfast:

How to improve noodles Part I: melted cheese !

How to improve noodles Part I: melted cheese !

 

Veggie noodles with melted cheese – large portion

One homemade choc-chip cookie and two homemade choc-chip pieces of shortbread – medium portion

One cup of coffee with double cream and honey

 

Satiety Level: Full

 

 

*****

Lunch: skipped (watched nearest’n’dearest eat lunch at Starbucks!)

 

*****

430pm – Dinner:

How to improve noodles Part II: Stir-fried braised tofu... and cheese!

How to improve noodles Part II: Stir-fried braised tofu… and cheese!

An indulgence, yes. But eaten mindfully.

An indulgence, yes. But eaten mindfully.

 

Veggie noodles with braised tofu and cheddar – large portion

Honey roasted mixed nutsl and homemade choc-chip cookie – medium portion

 

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

 

*****

I’m annoyed I didn’t get any writing done today, but I did get a few chores done and had time to discuss and reflect over things with nearest and dearest. No cooking done at all today (apart from a stir-fry addition of braised-tofu-from-a-tin) as we had copious amounts of leftovers.

My food intake was reasonable for another sedentary day. (Tomorrow, I’m determined to hit the gym – biceps and triceps, I think.) I’m feeling a tiny bit hungry now. But I don’t do midnight snacks any more, so I shall look forward to a decent breakfast in a few hours’ time.

Sleep beckons…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating when healing?

715am – Breakfast:

Much-needed breakfast

Much-needed breakfast

Cheese and salad sandwiches – 5 squares – large portion

Cup of coffee with honey and double cream

Satiety Level: Full

*****

Lunch: skipped

*****

6pm – Dinner:

I ate about half of what I would have scoffed in the recent past!

I ate about half of what I would have scoffed in the recent past!

 

Thai Roti – one – medium portion

Vegetarian Pad Thai – medium portion

Tofu and Spinach – medium portion

Pumpkin Curry – medium portion

 

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

 

*****

 

Breakfast-time quandary! I awoke feeling hungry. But I had a long day of healing ahead of me. And, usually, food+healing doesn’t work. But I knew I wasn’t going to last until evening, so I decided to eat some sandwiches anyway, hoping that there would be enough of a gap between eating and healing. Thankfully, my breakfast didn’t interfere with the healing energies. Which is a relief. But there’s still a bit of a conflict in me between starving myself on healing days and eating – at least – breakfast. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to eat a pack of Maltesers or other chocolate-based confection on healing days. But I’m really not prepared to revert to that way of eating!

Sometimes my fruit’n’nut’n’yog combo will work. But today, I was so hungry in the morning that I was really rather desperate for something more filling. I guess the key is to eat breakfast early enough on healing days – around 530am would be ideal, I reckon.

The advantage to having had breakfast was that by the time I ate dinner in the evening, I wasn’t ravenous as I usually am at that point. So I had no desire nor need to stuff my face (as I have mostly done in the past.) Which means that I was able to bring home a substantial doggy bag from the Thai restaurant I like to eat at after seeing this, particular patient.

Tomorrow is high time I hit the gym. And Mother has sent over plenty of noodles and some soup too. So I won’t be spending too much time (if any at all) cooking. So I want to write (my fictions) like a maniac tomorrow!

 

 

 

930am – Breakfast:

Fried eggs x2 – medium portion

Plain bagel with butter and cream cheese – medium portion

Bowl of pear, persimmon, banana, zero fat Greek Yoghurt, honey, cashews, cinnamon – large portion

 

Satiety Level: Full

*****

Lunch: skipped

*****

730pm – Dinner:

This one shows the cookies, but not the soup!

This one shows the cookies, but not the soup!

This one shows the soup, but not the cookies!

This one shows the soup, but not the cookies!

Homemade broccoli, curly kale, celery, spring onion and leek soup – medium serving

Pauwa (fried rice flakes with potato and onion and turmeric) – small portion

Mozarella, baby cucumber, lettuce and tomato salad with herbs and balsamic vinegar – small portion

2 small homemade puff pastry samosas – medium portion

2 homemade cookies with icing and jam – medium portion

 

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

*****

Apologies for the lack of a breakfast photo. Somehow, it’s gotten corrupted and refuses to show up on here!

Not a lot to say today. Had a hearty breakfast. Was largely inactive all day. Had a small-to-medium dinner 10 hours after breakfast. There was far more enjoyment in every single mouthful of home-cooked/prepared food today than there had been last night in the entire meal out. Even though the restaurant in question was very good!

I am keen to get an early(ish) night. That’s your lot! Cheerio!

 

Modest Overindulgence!

Breakfast – skipped

*****

1230pm – Lunch:

First time I've eaten any form of 'pudding' in a week.

First time I’ve eaten any form of ‘pudding’ in a week.

Quorn Chicken Burger sandwich with lettuce and tomato – medium portion

Three baby cucumbers with herbs and lemon juice

Two homemade, iced chocolate chip cookies

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

*****

8-10pm – Dinner:

Unnecessary virgin punch

Unnecessary virgin punch

Unnecessary Poppadom

Unnecessary Poppadom

These starters could/should have been the whole meal!

These starters could/should have been the whole meal!

Relatively modest main course

Relatively modest main course

Birthday cupcake wasn't really optional

Birthday cupcake wasn’t really optional

Ras Malai was totally optional!

Ras Malai was totally optional!

(Virgin) Irish Coffee was utterly unnecessary

(Virgin) Irish Coffee was utterly unnecessary

Virgin punch – small glass

Half a poppadum with chutneys – small portion

1.5 slabs of Paneer Tikka – medium portion

Crispy Mushroom – medium portion

Papdi Chaat – very small portion

Spinach/nut kebab – small portion

One piece of Tandoori Roti – small portion

Baingan Bhartha – small portion

Bhindi Bhaji – very small portion

Kofta Curry – small portion

Saffron Rice – small portion

Raita – small portion

1 Cupcake

Ras Malai – small portion

Virgin Irish Coffee

Satiety Level: Full

*****

Well, I’m gonna have to slightly write off today as an anomaly. It is the first time in a week that I have ‘overeaten’. But even my overeating was relative. It’s not as if I’m rolling around clutching my stomach, ruing the vast quantities ingested today, self-flagellating as penance for my corporeal sins! I just had a tad more than I really needed to. I ate slightly unconsciously today. And, in future, I’ll try to resist going for the optional extras!

Lunch was largely within bounds (even though it could be said that the two homemade cookies weren’t absolutely essential!) Dinner, alas, was well beyond bounds! My explanation (not excuse, not defence!) is that we were attending the 60th Birthday bash of a very close, very long-standing family friend. It was in quite a refined Indian restaurant in Birmingham and segregating myself away from family and all the friends was simply not possible. So I had the distraction of social eating. I was unable to properly savour every single mouthful in the way that I have done all this week with almost all the food I have eaten. So I, automatically, enjoyed what was pretty posh nosh a lot less than, for instance, I profoundly enjoyed my buttered toast the other day!

But that is not to excuse myself for my indiscretions! I didn’t have to have the virgin punch. I don’t drink alcohol any more (I haven’t done for several years.) But it still felt impolite to refuse an alcoholic beverage at this celebratory do. And I thought that refusing any beverage apart from water would be excessively impolite. (Especially as we were toasting the birthday girl and others.) So I caved in, even though I only really wanted water. But the serving was really quite insignificant, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I also don’t feel too bad about the poppadum I had. Again, not necessary by any stretch of the imagination. And this time, there was absolutely no social pressure to have it. But I indulged anyway, telling myself that since we were out celebrating, there was no need to be overly austere. And, to be fair to myself, I only had a very small amount. Usually, I would have demolished 2-3 poppadoms. Instead, I ate only 1/2 of one!

Starters were, again, modestly portioned. I suppose, if I’m being particularly hard on myself, I could have managed without the extra half slab of Paneer Tikka. But, otherwise, I actually ate well within reason and at least half of what I would normally have put away.

And if the meal had ended there, I would have congratulated myself on a pretty restrained performance!

But, of course, there was a main course to come! Strictly speaking, by this time I was Pleasantly Satisfied and not needing to eat another morsel. I knew this was the case. And, yet, I ate a main course anyway. I really didn’t have a choice in that. I would have offended our hosts if I hadn’t eaten anything. And, again, to be fair to myself, I served myself only small or very small portions of everything. And in the past, I would have hoovered up twice to thrice as much as I did. So, yes, I overate. But not by very much.

It was necessary for me to have some sort of dessert – so I’ll acknowledge that I had no choice but to eat the birthday cupcake. But the Ras Malai and Virgin Irish Coffee that I had were definitely overindulgences with no valid excuses at my disposal!

But, at the end of the day, while there is no doubt that I ate unconsciously and ate more than I needed to and more nutritionally worthless food than I needed to, there is also no doubt that the end result of it all was that I was merely Full. Not stuffed. So still within reason. And this was an exceptional circumstance, after all. Having said which, we have a 30th birthday bash to go to next weekend and I intend to be even more restrained – and a lot more mindful of my body’s signals – than I managed to be (under intense social scrutiny!) tonight!

*****

The disappointment of eating out vs the pure, loving succour of homemade food!

Breakfast: Skipped

*****

3pm – Lunch:

This looks like the King Kong of burgers. It's just camera trickery. It was actually closer to the dimensions of Fay Wray!

This looks like the King Kong of burgers. It’s just camera trickery. It was actually closer to the dimensions of Fay Wray!

 

I ate 3x this portion of chips. Guilt-free. I was hungry enough for 6x this portion!

I ate 3x this portion of chips. Guilt-free. I was hungry enough for 6x this portion!

 

1 chip shop Veggie Burger with salad – medium portion

Chip shop chips – medium portion

 

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

 

*****

830pm – Dinner:

I probably ate less than everybody else in that buffet restaurant! (Including the kids!)

I probably ate less than everybody else in that buffet restaurant! (Including the kids!)

 

Veggie noodles – very small portion

Green beans in garlic – very small portion

Malaysian Vegetable Curry – very small portion

Mattar Paneer – small portion

Paneer Tikka – small portion

Bombay Aloo – very small portion

Mixed Veg Curry – very small portion

Plain naan – small portion

 

Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied

*****

Woke up late. Had some running round to do. So didn’t get to eat lunch until quite late. And a full 17 hours since my last meal! And, yes, I was definitely pretty hungry by then (hungrier than I have been in a week.) And, yes, I felt the best solution overall was to venture into a chippy on the way home. (Not my local.) But, in spite of all that, I did manage to restrain myself very well. My ordering was modest and my demolition of the order was incomplete. I could, easily, have polished off all the chips (I only had a cone, which is the smallest portion available anyway.) But I stopped well before I was full. In spite of the deceptive photo, my burger was smaller than the veggie burger I usually have from my local chippy. And, even though I appreciated this meal enormously because I was so hungry, I have to say that it disappointed in terms of sheer flavour and satisfaction. That I only seem to be able to get from home-cooked, wholesome food.

In the evening, we had some out-of-town friends visiting and we all went out to a Pan-Asian buffet restaurant. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be at all hungry and might have to appear impolite by not eating anything. As it happened, our guests had also had food from a chip shop for lunch and were having similar reservations about the evening meal. But we did all manage to eat anyway come 830pm!  (Although, if we didn’t have this social engagement, I probably wouldn’t eaten until about midnight!)

Having said that, in spite of my family and guests going up for multiple rounds of food at the buffet, I only took small or very small portions of a few items (as listed above) and never got up again during the evening. That is a record for me! I have been known to go up for 4-5 rounds at this (and other) buffet restaurants before! But I ate as consciously as I possibly could in this environment with constant conversation and laughter and noise. And I chewed my food industriously. And I stopped well before I was full. One friend – who is a self-confessed sweet and dessert junkie – went up for two large rounds of puddings alone! I’m not judging him (who is very slim indeed) any of them. After all, I was, by far, the fattest person at our table and most in need of restraint. But, even so, I am enthused that I pigged out the least! (Actually, I didn’t pig out at all.) I’m willing to bet that I ate less than practically all the other diners in the buffet.

And while the food was decent (the paneer and naan were particularly good) I can’t say I was blown away by the experience. In fact, I’d say that I am beginning to lose my taste for restaurant and takeaway food. I felt almost as disappointed in my evening meal as I had been with my chip shop lunch. Not that there was anything especially wrong with either of them. But they lacked the flavour, the freshness, the vitality and – yes, I think I can say this without being overly poncey! – the love (my own, or that of my family members) that goes into homemade food.

And, I believe, there is the rub. The specifically targeted love of a home-cooked meal (made with loving intention and, therefore, acting as a conduit for that love) simply cannot be beaten; no matter how fancy-shmancy the restaurant or how skilled the Michelin-starred chef is! (Erm… not that this was anything more than an above-average establishment!) I get the feeling that this insight is likely to be very important for me in my fight against flab. If I keep this is mind whenever I am tempted to eat out when I don’t really have to, I think my health goals will be easier to achieve.