Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A change - to the diet and the posts

Once again, thank you for the comments and your helpful suggestions.  I spent an hour or two yesterday evening working out a new menu plan, one that is more in keeping with the way we normally eat, but with less red meat, more chicken and fish, less fat, and definitely less carbs.  

As a diabetic, I test my blood glucose levels regularly (a once a year check up with the diabetes nurse is not enough to keep an eye on how I'm doing!), I know from experience that carbs raise my BG level.  Over the past few days since we've been doing the rations-style eating, my level has risen quite alarmingly (yesterday for example it was 14.2 two hours post-lunch, when it should be less than 8.5), I've also been getting all the symptoms I usually have when my BG is too high - feeling thirsty, feeling generally unwell, red sore patches on my tongue, itchy skin.  The rations-style eating plan, whilst being a good one in terms of frugality and being quite healthy, just doesn't suit me with my diabetes.

I'm also going to stop going on about eating!  It feels like I've been a little very obsessed with food plans just lately, and it's all I seem to have written about for the past week or two.  Now that we've decided on a different eating plan, I'll just quietly get on with it and just post about it when (hopefully) we've lost some weight and are feeling/seeing the benefits.  

Husband got the appointment letter for his pre-op assessment today (prior to having the angiogram), it's in about 3 weeks time.  Good to see things are moving along.  

We're making plans for the front garden this year, up till last year we had a few shrubs in beds around the lawn (which is split in two by the path), and lots of annual flowers.  However, we didn't do anything at all to the garden last year, because of Betty - the first few months of having her, she would chew or dig up the flowers and shrubs.  I didn't need to prune anything - she did it for me!  We have a lovely deep pink rose in the middle of the lawn, it hardly got going last year as every time a new bud burst into flower, naughty Betty would bite it off.  She's also dug holes and scraped up the grass in one half of the lawn, well, strictly speaking it's not half as it's a lot smaller than the other side.  So we're considering getting rid of that part of the lawn altogether and laying gravel instead and having a few pots on it.  We're also not going to bother with annuals anymore, we'll fill the beds with flowering shrubs instead and hope that Betty leaves them alone.  As she's growing older (she's 16 months old now), she's not quite as destructive or naughty as she used to be.  I'm also going to have 2 large pots with cane wigwams in, one with runner beans, the other sweet peas.

We really like our front garden, it's south facing and a real sun trap, it's also very peaceful as there is very little traffic (other than tractors!) in the little lane in front of us.  I really missed seeing all the flowers and colour last year, so am looking forward to having some nice flowering plants this year.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Adjusting the meals

Welcome to another new follower, Debby (at least I can see who it is this time!).  Thanks once again for the comments on the last post - Tania asked if I weighed our cereal.  Yes I do now Tania - the first time I weighed it out I was astounded that our normal portions were about 3x as much as we should have been having.  I use smaller bowls now.

We've reduced our portion sizes for all meals, but still feel as though we're eating too much, as we don't feel hungry at all....which I would have thought we would having cut down on amounts.  I've come to the conclusion that we're eating too much carbohydrate - as in root veggies, brown rice, pulses - all good healthy stuff, admittedly, but too starchy and filling.  Previously, we ate a lot more meat, fish, cheese and eggs, so our diet was protein-heavy rather than carby, whereas now it seems to be the other way round.  I know we have to cut down on fat, red meat and portion sizes, but I'm going to have to rethink how we do our diet - after all, it's not so much sticking rigidly to wartime rationing but more about weight loss and having a healthy heart.

It would be better I think if we could have more summer Mediterranean style veggies, but I'm a bit reluctant to do that at the mo - they're not in season here so don't taste as good when they've been transported thousands of miles, and they're more expensive, of course.  We'll have to have more green veggies and tinned tomatoes and mushrooms, I'll have a look at what frozen veggies there are the next time I go shopping.  I think we'll increase our egg ration to 12 a week, rather than the 8 we're having this week.  I'm also going to increase the cheese - as I've said before, we're huge cheese lovers and have tended to eat a lot of it in the past, so we're finding our 12oz ration very restrictive.  I might increase it to 1lb next week, but have half of it as low fat Cheddar, 4oz as cottage cheese and 4oz Parmesan.  It might also be better to eat more chicken or fish rather than red meats, we could increase the amount slightly then.

So, more protein, more green veg/tinned tomatoes/mushrooms/cauli, less root veggies and less pulses/brown rice & pasta.

The cheesy lentil & mushroom bake was ok, but it needed more flavour.  I halved the recipe and used less oil and a lot less cheese than the writer did - it definitely needed the full amount of cheese though.  Oh, and I used Cheddar as I didn't have any Pecorino or Parmesan, it would be better with a much stronger cheese.  To improve the half that's left, I'll make a spicy herby tomato sauce to go with it.  And if (when) I make it again, I'll leave out the lentils and just use brown rice, but add more herbs or spices and use stronger cheese.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Days 3 and 4

Welcome to a couple of new followers - not sure of your names but the numbers have gone up, so you're there somewhere!  I wish Blogger had a function to actually show 'New members since last post', or something like that, it does seem a bit rude to welcome people without knowing who they are!  And thank you for comments, I'm always so pleased to get them.

Well, the weekend on rations went smoothly, in fact we're eating so well I think we may still be having too much on our plates, neither of us has felt hungry at all, even though we have reduced portion sizes.  At the end of the week I'll see what rations we have left and possibly think about cutting them down even more.  After all, we do want to lose weight.

Today's meals:-

Breakfast - overnight oats
Lunch - Chicken & sweetcorn soup (a tin of chicken to which I'll add some leftover sweetcorn) with a cheese scone
Dinner - Cheesy lentil, mushroom and cheese bake (recipe from here https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cheesy-lentil-mushroom-amp-rice-bake-234133).  The recipe is for 8-10 servings, I'll make half, we'll eat a measured portion and freeze the rest.

Tomorrow:-

B - Branflakes with a few raisins and sprinkle of chopped nuts
L - Cheese & leek pudding, it's a sort of wartime soufflé, we'll have it with salad
D - Liver, onion & mushrooms with mashed swede and broccoli

I've been looking at all the Marguerite Patten recipes, some of them I have difficulty in visualising what they'd look or taste like, as there are hardly any pictures in the books.  But Marlene of Simple Living made one of MP's dishes yesterday, Farmhouse Scramble, which I didn't really like the sound of when I read the recipe in the book.  However, Marlene put on photos of hers and it looks lovely (she said it tasted very good too), so that's another meal to add to my list.  So helpful to get pics and recommendations from others.

I've just made a batch of apricot and cinnamon cookies, as we're going to our lovely neighbour friends for coffee this afternoon.  Husband and I will have 1 or 2 each (I've purposely made them quite small) and the rest I'll leave with them to avoid temptation!



Saturday, 17 February 2018

Starting today

Thank you for all the comments on our menu plans.  A few of you have mentioned the variety of meals - I want it to be a varied diet, to keep us interested.  If the meals become monotonous (I just had to check the spelling of that word, it didn't look right!), then we'll get bored and be more likely to have a doorstep cheese sandwich, or buy cakes or a takeaway when we're out.

Speaking of cakes, we had an afternoon out yesterday in a small town 30 mins drive away, which we know has a lot of charity shops (didn't see anything we wanted to buy, but it was nice looking round).  We went in a cafĂ© for a coffee, and decided to have a cake each as a sort of 'last hoorah' before the rationing started.  If I'm going to have some naughty food thing occasionally which I know will likely make me feel unwell (because of my diabetes and gallstones), then I want it to be something I'll really enjoy - to make the subsequent suffering worthwhile!  Husband chose a banana and walnut cake slice, I went for coffee and walnut, with thick coffee buttercream icing.  Well, both of them were such a disappointment that neither of us finished them - they were both dry, overcooked and tasteless - in fact, we tried a bit of each other's and if we had our eyes shut we wouldn't have been able to decide which was which.  They had no discernible banana or coffee taste, I reckon they were probably the same cakes, with a layer of buttercream on mine to make it look different!  What a disappointment.  And the coffee wasn't particularly nice either.  Ah well.

So today's meals are:-

Breakfast - overnight oats with fruit & yogurt
Lunch - Pilchards on toast with sliced tomato
Dinner - Roasted vegetables topped with a sprinkle of cheese, with a small piece of bread pudding to follow.

Tomorrow:-

Breakfast - a bacon sandwich using 2 rashers grilled bacon and grilled sliced mushrooms
Lunch - veg soup with a cheese scone
Dinner - lamb stew with lots of veg

I'm making a big bread pudding today (instead of Julie's wartime carrot cake, which I will get round to making soon!), simply because we have quite a lot of odds and ends of stale bread in the freezer which needs using up.  I'll cut it up into pieces roughly half the size that we'd normally have, save a few pieces for the coming week and freeze the rest.

Gemma's Person asked how long we're intending to keep up this rationing plan...well, certainly for the coming week as a trial, but I see no reason why we won't do it indefinitely if it goes alright and has the desired effect of helping us lose weight by portion control, and cutting our fat intake to reduce cholesterol.  Incidentally, neither of us has high cholesterol, but it's a bit higher than it should be.

I'm now going to weigh out all our ration allowances for the week - any extra foods (we have quite a lot of cheese, for example) will be taken out of the house and put in the utility room (thank goodness we have a spare fridge and freezer in there!), so they're not staring us in the face and tempting us.


Thursday, 15 February 2018

The rations menus

Thank you for all the comments, good wishes and suggestions, I've taken note of all of them.

I've made lists of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners we'll be having.  Some of the meal ideas have been taken from Carolyn's blog The 1940s experiment, some from my Marguerite Patten wartime recipe books.  We'll be starting proper on Saturday, we could start now as I don't need to buy anything first, but there are a few not entirely diet-friendly things in the freezer I want to use up first - I'm not throwing food away and I need the space in the freezer!  So it's pizza and chips tonight, and I found a large plastic box full of chocolate chip muffins I'd made, froze and forgot about, also a box of homemade sausage rolls.  We'll  have a couple of the sausage rolls with salad tomorrow, the rest of them and most of the choc chip muffins will be given away.  I have quite a few packs of dried pulses - chickpeas, haricot beans, butterbeans and split green peas - so, for convenience, I'm going to cook them all today (having soaked them last night) and freeze in portions....hence needing to use up a few things in the freezer to make room, as it's pretty full up.

So here are the meal lists I worked out yesterday, I'll add more over the coming days.

Breakfasts

1.  Overnight oats with dried or fresh fruit & yogurt
2.  Porridge with fruit
3.  Bran flakes with fruit, nuts or seeds
4.  1 slice toast with 1 egg and tinned tomatoes
5.  Bacon sandwich with 2 grilled rashers and grilled sliced mushrooms

Lunches

1.  Homemade veg soup and 1 slice bread
2.  Pilchards on toast
3.  Tuna & cheese mayo on 1 slice toast with salad
4.  Tuna or salmon rice salad or pasta salad
5.  Veggie rice or pasta salad with a sprinkle of grated cheese
6.  Cheese Dreams (fried cheese sarnies) with salad
7.  Homemade pea & ham soup with croutons
8.  Homemade leek & potato soup with a cheese scone

Dinners

1.  Veg and oatmeal goulash
2.  Bacon, butterbean and veg bake
3.  Cottage pie with root veg mash topping
4.  Bubble & squeak with a fried egg
5.  Chicken & veg curry and brown rice
6.  Lentil & leek cottage pie
7.  Homity pie
8.  Veg and beef chilli and rice
9.  Smoked salmon, leek & mushrooms with spaghetti
10. Liver, onion and mushrooms with mashed swede
11. Cheese, onion and root veg mash pie
12. Sliced roast pork/beef/gammon with veg & gravy

We have quite a lot of sliced roast meats left over from previous Sunday roasts in the freezer.  Most of the dinners above will be served with veg - we have loads of fresh and frozen veg (both bought and home grown and frozen).  We hardly ever have puddings, other than perhaps yogurt with fruit, but sometimes I'll make a rice pud.  As mentioned in a previous post, I'll also make a cake once a week using a wartime recipe.  We're going to use smaller plates and our portion sizes will be reduced.  I'll try to remember to take photos!





Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Our WWII rations(ish) healthy diet

Firstly, thank you very much for the comments regarding OH's angina/stent.  When words like angina, stent(s), 59% chance of coronary heart disease and possible bypass are bandied around, and you have no previous personal experience of all this, things can get a bit scary initially.  So I'm relieved to hear that stents are a common thing and your partners are all living full and healthy lives.

Anyway, we've decided we're going to do our version of the wartime rations, making adjustments so it suits our circumstances and preferences.  Our main reason for doing this is to cut down on portion sizes, eat less meat and fat but more veggies, pulses and wholegrains, in order to lose weight - and hopefully stop clogging up our arteries.  I'm sure it will save us money too, but that's a bonus rather than the main reason.

I've gone over (again and again!) the list of rations per person, per week or month, and the points system for other foods.  Some things we're not going to ration - tea and coffee e.g., as there seems little point from a health point of view.  I have 2 coffees and 1 tea a day (I drink water the rest of the time), husband has about double that, mostly tea though.  We only have a splash of milk and no sugar, so I don't really see any benefits in restricting them, as we both really enjoy them and I don't want us to feel deprived.  Eggs too, 1 each per week is a step too far as we normally get through a lot of eggs (I generally buy 15 a week), fried or scrambled for breakfasts a couple of times a week, a quiche or frittata for lunch about once a week, and cakes of course (oh, and Betty has scrambled egg once or twice weekly!).  However, we've chosen to restrict eggs to 8 a week for the 2 of us, that should enable us to have one cake, a quiche or omelette and possibly 1 fried egg each during the week.  And cakes can be eggless, of course.

On the subject of cake, I'm still going to make one each week, but using a wartime recipe....I'm going to start with Julie of KC's Court's Wartime Carrot Cake.  The sugar ration of 8oz p.w. each is way too much - the only sugar I use is in cakes, nothing else (well, other than a spoonful in rhubarb when we have it growing), so we'll restrict that to 4oz p.w. for the 2 of us.

2oz of cheese is another thing we're not going to implement, although we are going to substantially reduce our intake - we currently buy loads of cheese, all types, as we both love it.  We've decided on 6oz p.w. each, which is probably less than half of what we'd normally eat.  As for butter and marg....we always have butter, I rarely use marg, so we'll have 6oz each of reduced fat butter, rather than the full fat we have now.  Same for milk, 3pts a week each (we may not even get through that much) but it'll be semi skimmed instead of our normal full fat.  

As for meat, we'll have the set ration of 4oz bacon or ham each.  For all other meat, we've decided on 1 pound of meat, be it mince, pork, lamb or beef, for the 2 of us for the week.  Or we may decide to have a fresh chicken and have that as our only meat allowance for the week (I think Dc of Frugal in Norfolk may have done that?  Apologies if it was someone else, I've done so much reading the last few days I can't remember the source of everything!).

So here's the list of foods we'll be having on rations each week:-

For the 2 of us

8oz bacon or ham
1 lb meat (or a fresh chicken)
12 oz butter
4 oz lard
12 oz cheese
6 pts milk
4 oz sugar
8 eggs
1 lb pulses
1 lb brown rice (will be used for rice pudding as well as savoury)
6 oz dried fruit (for cakes and with yogurt for breakfasts)
8 oz wholemeal pasta
2 tins fish - salmon or tuna or pilchards
1 tin baked beans

As for bread, we make our own (and eat too much of it), currently 3 or 4 times a week....from now on we'll do 2 loaves a week.  Like Sue of A Challenging Year, initially it'll be a mix of wholemeal and white, reducing the white so eventually it'll be all wholemeal.

OH will have 1 piece of fresh fruit a day (he loves fruit), I rarely eat fresh fruit other than berries a couple of times a week with yogurt for breakfast.  On the subject of yogurt, I haven't seen any mention of it during wartime, but we'll be having a 500g pot of Greek yogurt each week, albeit the low fat version rather than our current full fat from now on.

We'll be having unlimited fresh or frozen veg, although not too many potatoes, also unlimited salad and tinned tomatoes.  I'll be using oats and wholemeal flour as required.

I think that's it.  I'll be working out meals today.





Monday, 12 February 2018

Yes we will be doing it!

Well, at the cardio clinic today we were told that husband almost certainly has angina....he has to go back for further tests, including an angiogram, for a definite diagnosis.  He most likely will need a stent fitted, the senior specialist cardiac nurse we saw even mentioned the possibility of a coronary bypass, but quickly said that's dependent on the consultant reviewing everything so far, the results of the angiogram and whether the stent works.

In the meantime, he's been given a spray to use under his tongue when he gets pain, told to take aspirin every day, recommended to start on statins, and told to lose some weight. 

So what better incentive for us to start on the WWII rationing?  Eating less meat, more veg, pulses and wholegrains and, most importantly, smaller portions can only be a good thing.

I'll do some prep over the next few days, with a view to starting at the weekend.

Thanks for all the helpful comments, we're actually quite enthusiastic about doing this.