Layers of the Onion

It’s week 3 in the Kitten household. That is – 3 weeks of following the Banting Real Meal Revolution way of eating.

I was at the point of why am I depriving myself discouraged thinking as after a quick initial weight loss of 6kgs I hit a plateau which lasted a week. Walking into our office break room and smelling Burger King or walking past the fresh warm muffins almost broke my will. Actually it’s not the sugar that’s triggering cravings it’s the salty, fried, breaded things. But I’ve endured. I’m cooking most nights. I’m avoiding the things from the red list (forbidden items due to sugar or carbs).

I was rewarded with another kilo loss this morning! So 7 down in total. That’s just over 15lbs in U.S. speak. This came at a time when I needed that encouragement. Thank you Universe.

We are still eating well but I stopped with adding double cream to everything. I’ve even had a few takeaways from local restaurants that cater for banting diets.

We had this gorgeous Noaksy Burger from Ragafellows. Instead of a bun it has a chickpea fritter and is topped with bacon jam and one of their thick meaty beef pattys. Instead of potatoes it had roast butternut topped with Parmesan. It’s R85 and oh so yummy.

 

This inspired me to try the Parmesan roast butternut. It is on the orange list so I had only a small portion.

  
We had baked pork chops and steamed broccoli with it. Simple, tasty food. I could only manage half of my plate of food and the rest went for lunch the next day.

Another evening when home very late we had a banting pizza from Cassarechio and as the cauliflower base is so filling I only managed a few slices. 

I even had my usual Friday Mexican lunch from Tortilla Modern Mexican.

 
Instead of chips or a tortilla I had chopped raw veg as a base. I avoided the rice and the other carb laden ingredients but got my spicy meaty fix. I can live without the chips! 

Yesterday I took Pixie to her chiropractor early in the morning and then after I dropped her home and collected Norm and we went for a late breakfast at The Riverway Cafe. I had the Eggs Benedict with bacon and banting bread.

  
I enjoyed it so much that I attempted my own hollandaise sauce this morning to go with the poached eggs Caitlin made.

Oops. 🙈

  
It was so thick and too lemony, but for a 1st attempt was edible. Just not very attractive. 

Yesterday Caitlin had her friend Bradley around for the day. We spent a lot of time in the pool. Lolakitty loves the pool for some reason known only to Lola. She follows the shade. She’s such a funny girl. Lola, not Caitlin, although she’s pretty wacky too. I guess it’s genetic.

  
We watched the bizarre horror film The Visit and I made Banting lasagna again, using zucchini instead of pasta. It’s different, but still good. 

The start of this week we had a lot of meat left from Lily’s party to eat. The weather was unbearably hot all week so we cooked out as often as we could. I would come home from work and change and go straight out for a swim, then cook dinner in my bathing suit and sarong.

More fires raged on all around the Cape, this time ripping through the winelands.

  
Photo credit Twitter. 

No sooner than that one was under control than another broke out on Table Mountain in the Newlands Forest. 

  

Theory is that the ANC are behind these fires, the end game being to wreak havoc in the DA ruled province. I wouldn’t put anything past our leader. There was a bit of drama around the pres this week when this banner popped up on a huge CBD billboard.

  
It was quickly ripped down by ANC supporters. But the message was sent round the world. 

The ongoing drought continues, with little visibility of government aid. Our own grass is dry and brown. I imagine the farms are the same.

  
Today it felt humid and we hoped for rain but no joy as yet.

This week I’ve had some issues with Facebook stalking. I suspect it’s a girl I knew in London. A deranged flat mate who found me again. I wish she would get a life and leave my friends alone. 

The heat probably contributed to my already abnormally high levels of road rage. The road out of our village is 2 lanes going up Suikerbossie Hill and merges to one at the top for the remainder of the trip to Cape Town. This silly little bint parked off in the passing lane at a ridiculously slow speed. There were cars in the other lane, some scooting past her but I couldn’t get round her. I flew into a red rage as only a hot, sweaty, menopausal woman can. If I could have gotten hold of her I would have snapped her like a twig. I got so angry that my back went into a strange spasm which felt a bit like the feeling when you get an IV for example, a flushing flowing type of feeling and then poof, the agonizing back pain I had for weeks just disappeared. That seemed bizarre so that evening I did some research and I found that the feeling was most likely adrenaline pumping from my adrenal glands. I then read about Tension Myositis Syndrome and it all made sense. I have a lot of history which justifies anger and I have a lot of repressed anger from many years of pretending things are fine. I’ve blogged before about going for monthly Body Reactivating sessions. My last session David worked on my thoracic area a lot and likened the body and the psyche to be like an onion, layers are peeled away to reveal deeper things which surface. my mind and body seems finally ready to let go some of my history. And I’m ready to let it go.
  

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Reining it in

Self constraint has never been one of my skills. Hence my current weight. I’ve always been a ‘You Only Live Once’ self-indulgent only child. This is compounded from growing up in the free spirited ’70s. You may only live once but you might not live that long of course if you don’t look after yourself.

I am trying so hard to adhere to the Banting eating plan. I’ve lost 6kgs but I’m plateauing here as I have weighed the same for a few days now. We have been eating really well.

I even made a Banting cottage pie. Instead of the potato I steamed a huge bag of cauliflower and popped it in the food processor to purée, dropping in 2 egg yolks and 3 giant knobs of butter. 

To cook the meat I used my trusty La Crueset pot and cooked the beef mince with 4 rashers of chopped up back bacon in butter until browned. I removed the beef to fry an onion, an entire yellow pepper, 4 sticks of celery and lots of garlic in the pan. Once browned I removed it to liquidize it for fussy Lily. I added this mixture and the meat to the pan and added diced tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms and stock. You are supposed to make your own stock for proper Banting but that’s too much. I checked the labels on Woolies Organic as well as the Knorr stock pots and both contain added sugar! Whyyyy???? I had tons of both in the cupboard before Banting which really shouldn’t be used.

The lowly stock cube appeared to be the least deadly so I added a cup of stock. All this magic simmered away until thickened. Then I added the meat mixture to the base of my pan, topped it with my caulimash and a layer of grated cheese.

It was soooo good. I also promised in my last blog to give you a report on my Banting lasagna.

  It might not look that pretty but it was lush. I substituted zucchini for the pasta. It was really yummy. And again, no carbs.

 We had chicken which I baked. I fried mushrooms in garlic butter, then when both were cooked I threw in cream and some cheese and then covered the chicken and stirred it round to absorb the contents of that lovely browned pan. We just had a pile of broccoli drizzled in lemon. 

Another night we had thick fillet steaks rubbed in garlic and fried in coconut oil. I fried some mushrooms in garlic butter and at the end added a bit of cream and some grated cheddar to thicken. I made a huge salad with walnuts and goats cheese, avo, cucumber and rosa tomatoes.

  
Friday night was Lily’s 25th birthday party braai at our house. 

  

Norm and I were relaxing after work in our room when we heard a huge crash and smashing of glass. We ran downstairs to find Lily’s friend Peggy sitting in the bar area surrounded by broken bottles and a lounge that smelt like a pub. She managed to break several six packs. Kids. 

They seemed to have a good night and the boys did a great job cooking the meat, the food was delicious.

  
I made potato salad for the guests but didn’t even lick a spoon. I didn’t have a drink. I didn’t eat a crisp or cracker. When the oopsies (bacon wrapped round a skewer) were cooked I wolfed a few of those then when the meat was done I had green salad and chicken kebabs and a chicken chipotle sausage. The sausages do have carbs and the oopsies have sugary marinade but I can only be so virtuous.  Normally I would be double hand scarfing the chips and dips and sucking down the cocktails.

I made myself scarce when the desserts came out, instead I had a slice of cheese.

  
  
The wind was howling. Trees were whipping back and forth. It was hard staying upright. Cape Town has insane winds.

Saturday I had such a shock. Ross was a friend from the UK whom I met when we were both working on a project just south of London. As we were all away from home there were a lot of social evenings and I remember many drunken evenings out with Ross. I haven’t seen him in about 10 years, since before I left the UK. 

From what I managed to piece together from Facebook Ross had been having intense headaches and went to the hospital for a scan, but the tests were inconclusive. Then a few days later he seemed to have a second scan and was diagnosed with cancer. Next thing I see is his family posting he is only accepting family and now a few days on and Ross has passed away. He was such a genuine person, he was loyal and kind. He had a ribald sense of humour. I can’t believe how quickly he went, but I’m also glad that he didn’t suffer for months. 

RIP Ross, so many great men passing already in 2016.

The wind continued to howl. I made Lily a big birthday fry up, eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes. She wanted things for her and Josh’s flat in George so I got her pots, pans and  good set of knives as presents. That night she and Josh went out. 

Norm and I were invited to a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. It was unbearably hot, I had to put my makeup on in front of my fan.

  
It was held at Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek. We booked Home Heroes and drove over the stunning Chapman’s Peak drive. They quoted us R250 each way.

  
We arrived at the venue as planned for 6.30ish in time to watch the sun go down.

    
It was so much fun to see my friends, these were my playgroup friends 25 years ago when I emigrated.to SA. All of our children are similar ages.

  
  
The food was all finger foods, brought round throughout the evening by a rotating round of young servers with big platters. There was a delicious pate with sprigs of coriander, beef carpaccio with Parmesan, fat prawns with a dipping sauce for canapés and then once we all moved inside they served roast lamb and roast beef with sides in little bowls. It was all really delicious and I had to leave Banting at the entrance and eat what I was given. The Sauvignon Blanc is divine there. We danced and danced and had so much fun. 

We booked a taxi home with Home Heroes for 11.30 and were not pleased when he arrived at 11 as we were on the dance floor. Nevertheless we dutifully got in the car. It wasn’t a branded Home Heroes car but Norm said they confirmed the details. We get home and he tries to charge us R600 for one way!! We paid R208 for the taxi there and gave him 80 bucks for the toll road both ways plus a tip. It was before midnight when some companies increase their rates but this dude was trying to pull a fast one, most likely thinking we are tourists as we are both foreign. I was very annoyed and started kicking off but Norm was calm and just said no, paid him 300 and walked off. 

We came home and wobbled off to bed, today was again so hot and the wind has finally stopped howling. I spent all day bobbing about on a lilo in the pool. For dinner we cooked on the braai and ate outside as its so hot. Today was about 38 C or almost 100F. And remember no air conditioner in most private homes.

It’s been a very busy weekend and I feel very blessed to have the people in my life who spent it with me. 

Resolutions and Transformations

I’ve been back at work for a week now and in a routine of sorts. One resolution  for this year was to try and get more sleep, so I moved my alarm to 7 rather than 6 now that the roadworks have been completed. I had gotten so relaxed over the holiday break and didn’t want to return to the stressful state prior to the holidays, but a lot of that was sheer exhaustion.

I’ve had ongoing stress from trying to get my credit card delivered from FNB. This certainly didn’t help with achieving my holiday serenity and it continued once I was back at work. Their delivery company has been phoning 2-3 times a day, sometimes hanging up after 1 ring, sometimes connecting only for me to request the card be returned to the bank. My wishes were ignored and the calls continued on and on. Such incompetence on behalf of both parties. I still have no credit card. Mine expired on the 1st.

No January spending for me. 

In my last blog I mentioned I had started a Banting eating plan, a high fat, low carb (HFLC) way of eating. This means very limited carbs, no sugar, no preservatives, no MSG, and no fast food or processed foods. I really resisted this, most of South Africa seems to be obsessed with it, but I was so disgusted when only 1 of my dresses looked presentable on me on NYE and with my family history of heart disease I knew I needed to sort myself out. My Dad died at 49 of a stroke, having suffered his first heart attack in his 30s. He never met my children. I want to be around for my grandchildren.

  
I’ve been trying to stick to it since the 1st of Jan and I must be doing well as I have lost about 5.5kgs already. That is just over 12 pounds to my American readers. And I’ve not been hungry once. If anything I’m eating so much better. I’ve never been fond of veggies except for the ones I now know are full of either carbs or sugar (carrots, peas, corn for example). Basically everything I normally eat is not allowed, or allowed in moderation. Except cheese and bacon, I’m eating tons of that! 

We have been completely misled by the medical community. For example we are taught that seed or vegetable oils are good but butter is bad. Fat on the outside is no fun, but putting it inside you seems to fuel our body in some way I can’t explain. Prof Tim Noakes has revolutionized the way so many people eat.

It’s certainly revolutionized mine. Even my hair has changed back to the silky texture of many years ago. 

The food we have been eating is tasty and nutritious.  Veggies are steamed, or cooked in butter or coconut oil. I would post more pics except I got a new phone and my old one was so full the pics didn’t back up to iCloud. Meh. 

We sometimes make mistakes in our choices as we don’t have the book when shopping. 

  

While fatty meat is encouraged, sausages are not as they contain fillers, preservatives and other unhealthy things. Only naturally cured salami or chorizo is allowed. But I don’t dwell over a single bad choice, I rationalise it by the knowledge that the other items on the plate are encouraged. Now you may think that’s mash and gravy, but it is mashed cauliflower! If you hate cauliflower you may struggle with this way of eating. But to me it loses the cauliflower taste when mashed. Add butter and a dollop of cream and it’s yummy! The sauce was simply mushrooms fried in butter, then I dumped in a container of double cream and a little cheese to thicken it. We steamed our green beans and had them al dente.  

We have certainly not been forced to cook every night as I initially feared, we had a Noaksy burger from our fave burger spot, Ragafellows. It’s one of their normal fat deliciously moist burgers on top of a crispy chickpea fritter instead of the traditional bun, bacon jam, roast butternut & parmesan. 

We even had a takeaway carb free pizza from Casarecchio. It’s made on a cauliflower base. It isn’t quite as crispy as his normal pizzas but I really enjoyed it.

 I thought this little clip quite appropriate I hope you enjoy it too.

It’s been incredibly hot and we have had a lot of crazy wind so naturally we have had even more fires. January is often our hottest month. Once it cools a bit I will get on my bike, but it’s too hot to function much less sweat.

I will try to not be obsessed with my diet and weight loss. But I had to share my enthusiasm at least a little.

Caitlin has been in George with her Dad and returns tonight. Lily has a friend coming round after work. 

I’ve made a Banting ‘lasagna’ using zucchini in place of noodles. The sauce is divine and I hope the zucchini works as a pseudo-noodle. 

I’ll update you and let you know! 

Endings and Beginnings

The new year has started rather beautifully. I’ve been so luxuriously lazy all week. Norm and I stay in bed until the heat or the dogs drive us out of our nest. Norm feeds them, lets Navajo out to roam and then makes us a coffee and brings it to me in bed. I sometimes move straight to a costume and sarong rather than bothering to dress. I spend the majority of the day either in the pool or in the shade of my lovely brolly. I’ve even read 2 books!

  
My most taxing mental challenge was where to put my Xmas Owl.

  
He made an appearance in the tall grasses overlooking the pool.

  
As well as a few other obscure spots. 

But finally we decided that as South Africa is suffering a drought that he might want to share space with my other birds at the wee watering hole.

  

Unfortunately for many their new year has not been so idyllic. A guy I went to high school with died suddenly this week. He was a lovely boy back then, with me leaving my hometown so many years ago I’ve lost touch with most, but judging by the pics on his page he was a well loved family man. So tragic.

I was very excited to welcome in the New Year at Spiro’s again this year particularly as we were attending our friend Mel’s surprise birthday party. 

They decorated the tables nicely and left sparkly bowler hats and tiaras for the guests.

  
 I like the simple rustic Greek style of Spiro’s. I never feel like I am out of place. It’s a welcoming vibe. We didn’t take any pics as it was hot and I was tipsy. We had lots of fun though, we danced and had a nice evening just tootling round chatting to people and skipping outside for a bit of cool air. Norm looked sexy in his kilt, it was so hot he just paired it with a t-shirt.

The starter was a vast selection of Spiro’s usual platters and I made the rooky mistake of overfilling on these and not leaving room for the divine lamb, chips and salad which came for mains. But I was starving by the time the starters arrived. It was a shame I was full as Norm said the lamb was divine.

  
We had spent the day slobbing about by the pool and we were tired so we literally made it to midnight and dashed after we had a kiss and hurled our plate (in the Greek throw a plate way, not as in hurled up our food). As midnight started getting near people seemed to pack in from all over, ending up crowded and festive. But lawdy it was hot.

We headed home and got straight into the pool. We had a swim while listening to some live music from across the bay. It was rather dreadful which was amusing in itself so we swam round in the dark giggling. 

The dogs were so excited, Panda got an attack of the Zoomies and ran at full speed around the bedroom, round and round the bed. It was hilarious, 

We saw that there were some stunning fireworks at the V&A Waterfront.

  
Luckily you can’t hear them from our house and even if you could, our pets have never been bothered by fireworks.

New Years Day is the day when millions go to the beach.

  
The idea of navigating all that traffic and crowds is not appealing. I am so grateful for my pool. 

We are going to try a bit of Banting and reduce our carbs. So we decided to braai on NY day. We just made a big salad and I fried mushrooms in garlic and butter and we grilled steaks and chicken sausage. It was all good and I had plenty to eat, I didn’t miss the usual hassleback potatoes toooooo much. *crosses fingers*.

Norm had bought a whole fillet so I cut the rest into chunks for the next evening. 

Saturday Caitlin had her friends round to swim and I had plans to go with Retha to lunch with our friend Louis in Scarborough at The Hub Cafe. We drove via the stunning Chapmans Peak drive. 

   
 
The sea was exquisite and the weather perfect, if a bit hot. We arrived and settled in. There were a few comfy looking couches on the balcony. The chairs inside were metal and I found them incredibly uncomfortable. But I got a big butt so maybe it is user error. 

I suggest if you go that you book an outside comfy couch. I eyed them covetously the entire time.

Anyway….. The place was packed. Both Retha and I ordered fish and chips with mushy peas. 

  

Yes, I know, don’t look at me like that!

  
Yes, a mere 12 hours of Banting and I’m on the chips. I’m hopeless, I have zero willpower. But I do love mushy peas. I didn’t however love these, they had an odd consistency and I found several whole stems of some nature which makes me think they did use fresh peas but possibly didn’t even bother washing them if they left on the stems! 

The fish had quite a few bones in. Maybe the Universe decided to say ‘ok you can misbehave on your food but you bloody well won’t enjoy it.’ And I didn’t particularly. The fish was cooked nicely, the chips were yummy and the bit of salad tasty, but the continuous need to extract bones out from a mouthful of food put me off terribly.

Bleh. 

Retha didn’t have a single bone and enjoyed hers. Figures I get the boney bit. I get it Universe! No bloody chips!!

Louis had the burger which looked great. 

  
He seemed to enjoy it. 

We had a slow leisurely lunch and caught up with each other. Retha and I had a slow drive back, we even stopped for silly pics. 

  
It was so windy so I decided to  do a Titanic.

  
It made sense at the time.

I came home and was straight in for a swim. Caitlin and her friends had gone to The Riverway Cafe for lunch and joined me in the pool for the last hour or so. They all went out later and I cooked the rest of the fillet steak with some broccoli and carrots and made a basic salad but threw in some goats cheese and walnuts to accompany it. That’s one of my fave taste combos, creamy goats cheese and nuts. Mmmm.

  
It was yummy and all of it was devoured by Norm, Lily and I as Lily drove back from George as she had to be back at work today. 

We have been dining outside every evening in the covered patio at back. It’s too hot to be inside for long, I spend every second possible outside.the dogs love it as they enjoy mooching around outside.

   
 
Navajo loves lying on top of my feet, we spend a lot of time in this position, me gazing at Table Mountain, Navajo just happy to be guarding me. He’s such a lovely boy.

  
My Dogs are such a big part of my heart. I was so sad when Lily told me last night that Josh’s bulldog Edgar died suddenly. He was 11.5 years old. He was such a funny schnuffly thing. RIP Edgar. Here is a pic of him from a few years ago when we stayed at Josh’s.

  

Today I pinched Caitlin’s lilo and bobbed about most of the day.

  
I’ve been carb and sugar free all day. I’m trying. Next I guess I am going to sweat. I hate exercise as much as I love potatoes.

Caitlin flew to George for a few days break. I go back to work tomorrow. I love what I do, I just hate working. 🙈

I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity in 2016,

It’s back to reality for me.