For February I tried a no-sugar, no-wheat diet (which I impulsively extended into an almost-zero-grains diet, and minimized oils except for olive, coconut, and butter), mostly out of curiosity. As part of it, I took a photo of almost everything I ate or drank (except coffee and water). Click the image for a larger copy.
I wasn’t perfect: I’d decided ahead of time that the weekend of the Tour de Biere bike ride I’d have a few beers, but that weekend turned into a mini-break (two tacos w/ corn tortillas, a few beers, two cookies during rides, and some pita bread). To make excuses, I’d found myself feeling weak and very low-energy during a 50-mile bike ride, and eating my non-grain snacks (beef jerky, eggs, peanut butter, bananas) didn’t help. But once I ate some grains (pita bread, tabouleh), I felt great– my energy returned and I was no longer bonking. But I have no excuse for cheating with the cookie…
Other cheats included: a small piece of chocolate early on (not realizing what I was doing), small amounts of rice twice, barbecue that I suspect had a bit of sugar in the sauce, and a few cocktails (unclear if I was skipping those or not– no gluten, but grain-based). I also ended two days early when I had friends over for a beer of the month club, since it was the only night in a many-week window that everyone could make that.
But I almost exclusively ate green vegetables, fish, meat, yogurt, nuts, and fruit.
It was an interesting experience– I had a powerfully intense sugar and then bread craving from about days 9-12, which then subsided. And by the end of the month dessert seemed less attractive to me. I felt healthy during the month though not dramatically more than the previous month, and I lost about 5 pounds (though I’d lost and kept off 30 lbs over the past few years, while still eating grains, potatoes, and some sugar– I think just by eating smaller portions, better resisting snacking urges, and biking a fair amount). So it wasn’t a dramatic change for me, and feeling weak when biking without starch was an unpleasant side effect. I’m sure paleo experts could tell me I was doing it wrong and there was a grain alternative I should have been eating for sustained exercise, though.
I did get a sugar headache from the first ice cream I had March 1st, though… but I look forward to eating delicious pasta at flour+water soon.
Okay, enough of this rambling. Back to the usual food and cooking blog…
If I were in town for New Year’s, I would probably do this again:
For an improvised meal:
I boiled a mix of potatoes, celery root, and parsnips (light on the potatoes).
I added some good local ground lamb and continued to cook.
Then I drained fat out of the lamb and vegetables, topped them with mashed root vegetables and butter in the same cast iron skillet, grated a soft mild sheep’s milk cheese over the top, and baked until the cheese was melted.
Delicious! The lamb was good, and the parsnip and celeriac flavor was a hearty counterpart (goodbye, bland potatoes!)
Mid-market in the Pause Wine Bar space, currently weekends 9am-2pm:
I just had my first Montreal bagel (someone I know paid to have cases of them shipped overnight, from Montréal):
I did appreciate the slightly smoky taste from the wood burning oven, and the variation in surface browning, but they were also a bit sweeter and lighter (less chewy) than I like, so I still prefer the New York style. I may have to try making an unholy hybrid at some point– a New York style bagel cooked over a wood fire… not quite what the gas-grill-BBQ bagels were.
That being said, freshness (within a few hours of when they came out of the oven) has correlated well with bagels-I-love in the past, even in New York, so I’d really need to try a Montreal bagel at the source.