How many of you out there have been on a diet at some time of your life? I reckon heaps of you. How many of those diets actually worked? Not many I reckon.
There are more diets out there than foods that are bad for you. But hang on… what about real taste that is sacrificed?
I confess that I’m an addict. I belong to Spring Rolls Anonymous. I am also a founding member of GAPS. The Great Aussie Pie Society. And I’m a SWAG, that’s a group of us who are addicted to Sausages With Added Gravy, preferably onion gravy.
There’s a group of us Grumpy Old Grandads who meet at the best Chinese restaurant in Christendom, the China Tea House in Erindale. Here we partake in cuttlefish dumplings, deep-fried chilli beef, scallops in black bean sauce, and bugs – Peking style. All washed down with a naughty Riesling or a cheeky sauvignon blanc.
So what about that diet I hear you say?
Well, if I want to live to be a hundred and twenty, avoid another heart attack, keep my skin like a pre-teenager, have a body like the 30 year old Terminator and not look like an obese Keith Richards, I need some mitigating activity.
Here comes the hard work.
So, my everyday menu, cooked by my own fair hand, has to include all those things which are good for you, avoid all those things which are bad for you and has to include items which stimulate not only the taste buds but also the eye. Always up for a challenge.
The essences of this mitigation, read “go-easy diet” are fairly simple. We have all but eliminated butter/margarine from cooking or sandwiches. This was the start of taking out the fat content of foods. Next to go were fatty meats. Lean pork loin is in, lamb forequarter chops are out. Skinless chicken is in and sausages are out (Arrrrgggghh!)
Grilling methods are used; frying in a minimum of spray oil is in but deep frying is out. BBQ is in because it fiercely burns off the fat in the foods. Seafood is good and pies and pizzas are not.
When I (note the use of the singular pronoun) do the shopping, I always check the label on jars and cans, frozen and fresh-but-packed goods to see the fat per 100 gm content. If a choice of brands for the same product is possible I go for the one with the least fat. Incidentally, the cheaper the brand, like the Woolies and Coles own brands are usually high in fat to increase the taste. Just so you know.
You’re getting the point now? Oh, and then there is the Malcolm Turnbull method. The MTM. The Prime Hamster went on a diet a year or so ago and was asked the secret. His response was “to put the fork down”. So we reduce the size of the portions.
I have a mate who does the 2 in 5 diet. This means starving for 2 days out of 5. Sure it works but hey, we’re here for a good time as well as a long time! This for me, is merely self-harm!
So does our approach work? I think so. When I was a lad, I had a lean and hungry look, I was svelte and healthy looking (well to me I was). Then Old Man Time turned up at the dinner table and introduced me to eating out, wines with dinner, the science of whisky, and the abundance of recipes to try out. The result? I blew out!
I was a happy little vegemite, with the body of a pregnant light pole and a degree of discomfort from time to time.
So the diet was introduced, but with caveats. The main caveat was that break out times were not only allowed but encouraged. This meant that the weight control regime had both carrot and stick, pain and pleasure. I was able to help rescue the hospitality industry from bankruptcy.
I lost 10 kg in 6 weeks and have maintained a weight range consistent with my height and age. This has been the best thing I’ve done for ages.
The downside is though, that I have had to buy more clothes cos the ones I can fit back into which had languished in the cupboard for years are out of fashion and I can’t wait until they are back in fashion.
So, here is a simple recipe which we have at our place fairly regularly. Pork with Soy Sauce, Honey and Chilli (substitute ginger if chilli is too hot). Serves 2.
Three pork loin medallions
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons chilli paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup of dry white wine
bok choy (choy sum or Chinese broccoli if preferred)
1 cup steamed or boiled rice
Place the pork, honey, soy sauce and chilli paste (or ginger paste if preferred) in a plastic bag, shake to coat the pork and put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
In a frying pan, spray lightly the cooking surface on a medium heat. Place the pork into the pan (the pork should just sizzle a bit when placed in the pan) and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side. This caramelizes the honey and gives a nice browned look to the pork. take the pork off the heat. Add the wine to the pay and reduce.
Meanwhile, steam the chopped bok choy to just wilted and no more (a trick here is to cut off the white stems, dice and place in the steamer for 3-5 minutes before the leaves).
Serve on a bed of steamed or boiled rice. Drizzle sauce over the pork. Fat content – sod all…
So what’s your best diet story?