The Weight on Me

22 Jan

An opinion piece by Frank Bruni, former restaurant critic for the New York Times, has inspired me to come clean about what I have been up to for the past week.

Bruni’s essay comes on the heels of news that queen of all that is Southern and deep-fried Paula Deen was diagnosed with Type II diabetes three years ago, and has only just outed herself. While food snobs across US took to the internet in outrage, Bruni points out that most people whose livelihood is based around food extoll the deliciousness of it without talking about the potential consequences. For example, a restaurant critic will rave over the pork belly served at a certain restaurant, but the reader does not see that the critic took only a bite or two of rich meat, or ate just one meal that day, or ran on a treadmill for an hour. We see all the enjoyment, but not the hard work which balances the scale.

My problem is that while I love cooking, reading about gastronomy, and eating food, the thought of eating healthy and exercising doesn’t have quite the same appeal. I’ve had bouts of good behavior in the past, but sooner or later I backslide. Combine this with a less-than-ideal genetic makeup, and the scale has gradually ticked higher and higher.

But when I stepped on the scale last week, it was just too high. The number isn’t relevant, but suffice to say I was shocked and not at all pleased with myself. Something needed to change, and change now.

So I’m now exercising in the gym for 30 minutes every day, eating smaller portions, and trying to make better choices every time I eat. More fruits and vegetables, fewer cakes and fried things. Thankfully, T has joined me in my mission, so we can support each other when the urge to misbehave gets too strong. Our goal is to each lose 15 kilos by this time in 2013.

I’m not deluding myself that this will be easy. Doing the right thing rarely is.

The new regime means some small changes for the blog; you’ll be seeing fewer dessert recipes and more salads and soups like the one below. But even though my repertoire will be much more on the healthy side, I promise that everything will still be delicious!

Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Yogurt (adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

Serves 2 as a main course, 3 as a starter


500g beetroot
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, flattened with the side of a knife
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 wine glass water
500ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper


1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
100ml low-fat Greek yogurt (Total is very good)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the leaves off the top of the beetroot, but leave them whole. Scrub them well, then put them in a roasting tin with the garlic, thyme, bay, oil, water, and a little salt and pepper. Cover snugly with tinfoil and roast them for an hour.

Meanwhile, mix the horseradish and yogurt in a bowl, and put aside in the fridge.

When the beetroot are done, leave them until they are cool enough to touch, then cut off their tops and bottoms and peel away the skin. The best method is to push against the skin with your thumb. Also, pop the two garlic cloves out of their skins.

Put the garlic and beetroot in a medium saucepan with the vegetable stock. Blitz with an immersion blender until smooth. Warm on the hob until just starting to simmer. Check for salt and pepper, then serve up with a big spoonful of the yogurt on top.


One Response to “The Weight on Me”

  1. Lynne Hodgman January 22, 2012 at 6:39 PM #

    Woo-hoo! Good for you! You can eat what you like — just less of the too-yummy-because-of-the-fat-and-carbs things. That is how I did it. And slow is the way to go. I did 50 lbs. (20 kilos?) in 2 years. And have kept it off. I eat french fries, fried calamari, sweets…just not as much. I doubled the fruits and veggies. I find I cannot tolerate large portions of rich or sweet any more although I still love how they taste. It does also become a pattern when you do it slowly. Oh. I did it without exercise, though I have now added in 2 miles of walking per day.
    Also, I refuse to compromise on ingredients. I will use LOWfat mayo (nonfat is just a non-starter) and yogurt, but I still use heavy cream on occasion and full-fat coconut milk. Less often and smaller portions. My other helpful notion is “never eat when you are not hungry” (very difficult if good food is on offer) and “never let yourself get too hungry” (because then you eat too much!)
    Beets are wonderful, if messy to prepare…and so satisfying, like yams, because of their starchy sweetness!

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