A Month of Mondays- Pass the lettuce!

 

garfUnsurprisingly, living without a kitchen for just over a week whilst having one set of parental units staying and the other set on standby for a blow out birthday lunch has not resulted in me having a good loss to report.

If you aren’t cooking for yourself, accurately calculating weight watchers points is nigh on impossible. I would also hazard to say that when faced with nothing more than a kettle and a plug in blender in terms of cooking equipment it is pretty much impossible to stick to the plan anyway. I had two workmen and my mother to account for from a fridge and bread basket which I can promise you is not an easy fix with one vegetarian and two fussy sods prone to hangry fits. It was 8 days in total. There were takeaways and pub visits amounting to, I think, four hot meals provided by others. The rest was accounted for from ruthless attacks on the cheese, cold meat and quiche section of my local co op.

I put on this week.

200g.

Yip, my weigh in after a good ten days off target, eating cheese and drinking too much has resulted in a gain of roughly one fifth of a kilo. I don’t know how this isn’t 10 times this much, but I’m going to take it gladly and crack on. Oddly enough by the fourth or fifth day living on Camembert sandwiches and hummus pots both the Mr and myself reported feeling generally pretty crap. He was full of flu-like symptoms and I was visibly bloaty, pale and gross. More so than usual. Come Saturday morning, when the cooker was back in and the sink had a drain we trundled off to fill our German discount trolley of choice with a massive amount of vegetables. Peas and green cabbage never tasted so necessary. Other than the obvious win of my spanking new floor tiles and worktops, I am not proud of nor happy about any of this. I feel like I should go back to my scales and ask for some appropriate punishment because this is not right. Ok so it was stressful so there were some adrenaline calories burned and I moved a couple of things about and de-weeded my entire garden but that can’t account for this much straying. For every hour I ran I spent three on the sofa introducing the Mothership to House Of Cards. I sense a full week on the rails only to go up a couple of kilos next week, and I will have to take that one on the rapidly developing double-chins.

Mantra for this week is mass hydration and excessive greenery. I’m actually looking forwards to it. Now where did I leave that grapefruit……..

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A Month Of Mondays- Death By Hangover

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I have less than zero motivation to get this post written, which is why it is probably more important than the ones I actually want to do.

My week on the Weight Watchers wagon went really well, for as long as it was actually The Week and not The Week’s sexy older sister The Weekend, who always gets you into trouble one way or another. It usually goes to shit around Friday lunch time but I made it past dinner this time, enjoying a fat curry and even a mass cookie within my weekly limits, left with two days of standard eating and 1 extra weekly point to get through until Monday. It all could have been fine. But for the fact that I was desperately overdue a long haul sofa-bitching session with my bestie.

It all could have been fine, but for Gin.

Urch. Skip to an early Saturday morning start where someone developed the most intensely temple-throbbing dehydration head of the last five years and someone else couldn’t manage to brush their teeth without retching on the reminders of a Tanqueray too far. Skip to the kind of bone shaking, soul sucking hangover than necessitates crawling into a dark space with three packets of biscuits and listening to The Sound Of Silence on loop until you fade out of consciousness.

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seafood sticks, soft white rolls and too much mayo. Hangover Heaven.

It isn’t the empty calories in booze that should stop dieters from drinking- it is the day after. Because I could have made amends for as much gin and slimline as you can fit into a six hour session, but I can’t catch up with the constant carbohydrate stream that was required to allow me to function through the subsequent Saturday. It started with a frankly life saving bacon sarnie, which needn’t have broken the day but along with that was a large latte too, leaving me roughly 10 points at a hazardous guess to stay within limits. This was at 10am. By the time my lunch date came around, after resisting the urge to cry and/or vomit in the hairdressers more than once, my willpower was oddly high and I opted for a simple veggie pasta plate for lunch, no cheese. Yeah, and some icecream. So that was that. Buggered. After some more retail therapy I found myself limping through M&S on the long walk back to my car just as the next sugar low hit me and after some saintly browsing and a good self-talking-to as I passed the cookie aisle, I scored myself two supergreen salads, a skinny tzatsiki, some celery hearts and a box of cherry tomatoes.  Plus, my ultimate hangover want of those gross fabricated pink seafood stick things that have had no actual seafood anywhere near them, ever. I love those things, and they are pretty low in points. The additional submarine rolls and ready mixed prawn cocktail were not. Shit.

I told myself some of it was for The Mr. I told myself that there was lots of hydration in all that celery. I told myself I would be asleep before I had the chance to eat that much of it.

Shit.

It’s hard to maintain the will to stick to veg and live off your own bodyfat when your body is a toxic waste ground of gin and artificial sweeteners and you are home alone for the evening with no witnesses other than Dr Foster on catch up, and frankly she’s not one to take a moral highground as far as I’m concerned.

In a roundabout way, this is what leads me to pimp out Weight Watchers. Because today, despite eating (at a rough guess) about double what I should have eaten for the week (mostly over the last two days of the week), I have stayed exactly the same weight. No loss, no less of me or my arse but hey, no more either. In net terms, it’s like I never had any of it! So it’s fine. Sort of.

I will do better. I have to, because I am now at the age where a hangover lasts an hour for every year you have been alive and cannot be fixed with a can of redbull and liberal application of hobnobs.

BMI Today: 30.5, still half a point past the official obesity point.

How do I feel today? Like an old lady who should know better but would/will do it again.

Did I stay on points last week? Until Friday, yes. I racked up quite a few fit points too with a reasonable physio run, three shopping miles walked on Saturday and a long slow Sunday walk. Yes, I know that doesn’t make it OK.

How bad was the weekend? See entire above post. I had fish and chips for Sunday lunch too as I was still recovering and too weak to order the sad salad. I have saved this information until now in the hope that the judgier people stopped reading at the summary.

Insights: I did actually select a lot of veg and dips from a direct craving, and they did make me feel much better and I wonder if when your day to day habits are better, you actually crave healthier crap when you’re ill, even if it is self inflicted. The mere concept of my old hangover favourite of a spicy pizza and endless toblerone would have actually killed me before I made it home. In fact it is making me feel a bit queasy now.

Best Thing I Ate All Week:  A supergreen salad and frekeh tahini grain salad thing from Marks & Spencer, in the late afternoon throws of my suffering. Bloody nice, and not too evil on the grand scale of diet things. Positively angelic vs the rest of the day.

See you next week, when I will be building a new kitchen. What could go wrong?!?!?!

 

The Skinny Thing: A Month Of Mondays.

 

garf

I’ve done OK since we last checked in on my weight loss thing. By OK, I mean I haven’t put any weight on. In fact I don’t think my weight has moved more than about half a kilo either way since June. This is surprising, as I have had some seriously bingey DGAF periods in this time and my exercise patterns have been all over to the place due to training for a long run then quite abruptly stopping all movement for fear of re-upsetting my idiot calf muscles (who hate me). I have been horrible at using my Weight Watchers app consistently for no good reason other than that I can’t be arsed, but I have fallen into some good habits from when I was using it all the time and it’s these habits that I think have steered me away from piling on the pounds again over a long summer of too many G&Ts. Still, on looking at my lack of progress of late I found myself considering dumping Weight Watchers and trying a Slimming World regime again. In fact, I was going to start this very day, which is a Monday.

Like my childhood hero Garfield, I hate Mondays, and like most cycling dieters I can happily kid myself into believing that I can reset my self discipline against all the odds on the most soul testing day of the week. Apparently Monday is the most common day that people start a diet. No surprise there really. It’s a new day, the start of the week, and a convenient excuse to cram in 48 hours of beer and pizza over the weekend before embarking on your New Lifestyle. I have voted Monday for a few reasons. First off, see the above weekend-of-beer-and-pizza explanation. Second off, the only Slimming World meeting I could conceivably attend is on a Monday night. Third off, my Weight Watchers week is set to reset for points and a weigh in on a Monday, so it seemed the right day to switch.

I am not going to switch to Slimming World this Monday, however.

There are multiple reasons for this turnaround, and not just that I enjoy living as a total hypocrite. First- Slimming Word is (comparatively) very expensive compared to my WW app. Second- I hate Mondays and am never going to attend a weigh and shame session on a Monday night because I will be PJed up and on my sofa well before 1900hrs. Lastly, and most relevantly- I don’t bloody need to.

I. Don’t. Bloody. Need. To.

I know what to do. I know how to do it. Switching over to limitless pasta and potatoes with a different set of books to calculate the same equation is only going to offer a temporary relief by changing up the rules and tricking myself into thinking I don’t miss eating cake all the time. So I am sticking with the double-dubyas but I am also going to give myself a new Monday accountability tool, which is basically you people*. Because I know I can’t stand to join a class and be conventionally social about this and no one but me knows what goes into my app, so I will fit my chosen virtual lifestyle and have a check-in session here, on a Monday. Maybe it will force me to reflect more and own up to my downfalls. Maybe I will learn something or say something funny about buttercream icing or the size of my arse. Maybe I will start to hate Tuesdays instead.

*Yes, i did just call you a tool.

BMI Today: 30.5 which puts me a half a point into the obese category. Shit.

How do I feel today? Generally amused by and mildly ashamed of myself.

Did I stay on points last week? hahahaha, no. Not even a bit.

How bad was the weekend? In practical terms I achieved a lot over the weekend, including a ton of lugging crap in and out of the garden and two very long walks with the Mr. My cruddy calf is getting better. As usual I over carbed but didn’t have any crazy desserts or sweet stuffs. I did put away 2/3 of a bottle of white wine and a couple of full tilt G&Ts since finishing work on Friday.

Insights: Er……..not really. Other than that I really like gin.

Best Thing I Ate All Week: Roast beef and yorkshires for Sunday roast. I don’t want to know how that should have pointed.

So I guess I’ll see you next week.

 

 

 

The Skinny Thing: Pizza Tortillas

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‘healthy’ pizzas under construction, but should they be called pizzas?

Some time ago I was the subject of some unduly harsh criticism of my general ranking as a Significant Other  after Instagramming evidence that I was about to serve the Mr a weight watchers esque fake pizza for dinner. A weight watchers esque fake pizza with mange tout on it.

I will defend myself as follows:

  1. The Mr is free to cook his own dinner, any time he bloody likes.
  2. I really like mange tout, and if millions of freaks across the world are allowed to put the salted bony evil that is anchovies on their pizzas without rebuke, then I’m putting mange tout on mine.

There is one thing, however, that I cannot let myself off the hook for and that is calling these creations ‘pizzas’. I often moan about the negative effect on the perception of unusual food creations by trying to palm them off as just like something better/fattier/gluten free or whatever when they are nothing like that at all. But let us not get bound up again in my vegan fish and chips rant and instead admit the mistake and say: It Was Not A Pizza.

So I am not going to call it a pizza. What is was, was a wholemeal tortilla, spread with salsa and topped with some fresh vegetable items then finished off with black olives and half fat cheese. You chuck the whole thing in the oven and end up 20 minutes later with a satisfying dinner edging up your five a day target for well under 400 calories or about 10 smartpoints (or 6 if you use weight watchers branded tortillas). I promise you this is a lot less than you would score for a proper pizza for one or a fully loaded cheesy burrito type thing.  And not a ground up cauliflower in sight.

You will find the recipe easily enough on the Weight Watchers site but I despise their own brand bready items so I use standard wraps and have found it easier to bake these in the oven vs grilling, so whilst I pay total homage to Weight Watchers for the inspiration, here’s how I do it.

pizza 1

the finished tortilla pizza open wrap cheesey type thing

Per person:
2 tbspns jarred salsa
1 wholemeal tortilla wrap
Veg such as mushrooms, red onions, peppers, courgette ribbons and MANGE TOUT!!!!!
30g half fat cheddar cheese, grated
5 pitted black olives, halved
Dried mixed herbs

Construct this on a non-stick baking tray. Spread the wrap with salsa which MUST be a fairly thick, jarred sort rather than the fresh dippy type as this has far too high water content and will result in a sloppy mess of a fake pizza dinner. I particularly enjoy the co-op’s own brand fiery salsa for this. If you don’t have jarred salsa use tomato puree instead (but less).
Very thinly slice your veg and scatter it merrily ‘cross your tomatoey tortilla. Don’t layer it too much else you risk the previously mentioned sloppy mess. Top off now with the grated cheese then olives and a sprinkling of herbs. If you want to go hot try chilli flakes or jalepenos too.

Chuck it into a hot oven at 170 for 12 minutes, then whack the heat up to 200 for a further 3-4 minutes or until the tortilla edges begin to crisp up and the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.

Slice and serve with whatever you want, but remember that the low points on this won’t counter out an entire tub of lux coleslaw and garlic bread. It really wont.

Are You Going to Eat…..Quark?

clean

Now that is a clean plate…..

Did everyone see that rather brilliant long read By Bee Wilson in the Guardian this week about the rise and (arguable) demise of the clean eating phenomenon? It is a very well written and astute commentary around current attitudes to lifestyle, the evils of social media and the assumed right to violently defend a factually wrong ‘opinion’ at any cost. If you haven’t read it it is linked above and at end of this post. I think you will find it well worth the time to stick the kettle on and find a comfy spot to digest (ha food joke) this self confessed long read.

One thing that stood out for me in this article was the concept of certain foods being perceived as better than others; the horrors of #eatclean peddlers trying to sell you almond milk because it is “a superior alternative to cow’s milk”. I am a big almond milk user, because of all the reasons that it is DIFFERENT to cow’s milk. And those differences make me choose it, willingly, because I don’t want cows milk. When we start calling ingredients ‘better than’ or  ‘just like’ you need to put in an awful lot of very specific comparison points to avoid becoming a mass bullshit artist. I wont go into clean eating, I’ve dipped a toe in that ethos before and to be honest I find it a little boring and obvious, but this kind of ‘better than’ marketing of food types really, really pisses me off. There is an infuriating idiocy of ‘vegan fish and chips’ being bandied around recently and it is unfathomable to me. There is no such thing as vegan fish, unless it is swimming in the sea, so if it is on your plate and about to be eaten with chips, it is either vegan or fish, not both, so just tell the bloody truth. Call it a vegan fry or tempeh and chips otherwise will turn up to eat it and not really like it because it isn’t fish and that’s what they were expecting. You can’t compare them meaningfully, so why bother?

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My quark of choice.

What in the merry heavens does this have to do with a northern European curd cheese product, you may ask? Well, I really like quark, it is a useful and potentially slimming friendly ingredient and I meet so many people who think it is absolutely disgusting, mainly because they have been sold the ‘just like’ lie and been subsequently turned off when their baked-quark-with-splenda-and-lemon-zest came out absolutely nothing like a luxe-brand Sicilian lemon cheesecake.
Like so many things in this world, it is absolutely fine if you don’t like quark, but I probably wouldn’t like marmite if it was sold to me as hairspray and if you just freeze quark with some strawberries in the vague hope that it will be idential to your fave icecream with less calories then you are going to be disappointed. However if you use it in the way a slightly sour, soft curd cheese product thing is meant for, you might like it.

So what it is this Quark? In the least palatable terms it is the curds skimmed from heated sour milk. Yummo!!! Not to be confused with those slippery lumps of cottage cheese, quark can range in consistency from a fluffy soft cheese like Philadelphia to a french-set yoghurt. It is sharp and savoury with a clean and creamy finish. It has a great protein profile (full nutrition info here) and when bought in its most common form in the UK as skimmed milk quark, it is virtually fat free. This means it is a great option for those of us following weight watchers or slimming world or trying to reduce our fat intake for whatever reason. This does not mean it tastes just like or is ‘better than’ all other dairy products. It is not ‘just like’ all other creamcheese.

I think it is established that I generally like cheese in all it’s forms but the big selling point on quark for me is adding some creamy depth to a dish without ramming up the calories. Many Germanic baking recipes make use of quark and your traditional Polish cheesecake is based on quark, but is quite distinctively different to what we call cheesecake in the UK or USA. It’s sharp tang means that quark makes a truly excellent frosting for carrot cake when whipped up with icing sugar, but enough about cake because I think quark is best enjoyed in its savoury form.  Like similar ingredients such as generic soft cheese, sour cream and fromage frais, quark goes very well as a base for dips and sauces and works best combined with sharp and pungent flavours- try mixing it with chopped spring onions and lots of black pepper and tipping it over a jacket potato or combine with plenty of fresh green herbs and stirring into hot pasta. Add cucumber, chilli and a good squeeze of lime and serve it as a dip with nachos or crudites if you love a 1974 house party like I do. One of my favourite quick dinners is stir fried onions, mushrooms and chard with a bucket load of garlic and red chilii finished with a dollop of quark stirred through it.

Quark is actually a ‘free’ food on Slimming World or the No-Count method from Weight Watchers. When compared to whole milk sour cream, a 2 tablespoon serving of quark will save you 40 calories and about 5 grams of fat and give you roughly four times as much protein (about 4g). It has next to no net carbs and is thus not likely to cause hunger making blood sugar spikes, and if I have it on my toast in the morning instead of peanut butter I save 4 smart points per serving. That’s per slice of toast so on a standard breakfast I’ve saved 8 smart points for something important later on, like a glass of wine. Unlike so many other things low in fat, sugar and smart points quark is really nice on toast! But it’s not like peanut butter, obviously, and its not like full fat philly or laughing cow or whatever either. It’s a different thing, a good different thing. Don’t hate it because it isn’t something else that you aren’t eating, that’s just daft.

So yes, I am going to eat quark, I like it and it isn’t likely to make me any fatter, but I’m not going to pretend it is something it is not, because if I want a cheesecake then dammit I’m just going to have a real one and not destroy myself over one ‘dirty’ full fat dessert made and enjoyed exactly as it was supposed to be.

Give it a go.

 

That Guardian article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/aug/11/why-we-fell-for-clean-eating

The Skinny Thing: Oven Fried Chicken

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Not-really-fried chicken, a great treat night dinner without the calorie concerns.

It’s been a bit of a week on the diet front, where various employment obligations and personal weaknesses have meant living off of a staple feed of severely low effort food that was either cooked by someone else or merely assembled then covered with cheese in my kitchen. I’ve been busy and knackered and in no mood to cook. The trouble is that endless late nights and refined carbohydrates do nothing to improve one’s energy levels or motivation to rustle up a salad.

Having punctuated various takeaways and pizza based entities with too many pints of real ale and a tub of brownie bites since Monday, this blogger kicked off the weekend with something of a delayed and cumulative food hangover. It is a weird thing to crave cucumber and peaches on a Saturday morning, and a disheartening thing to be bloated to the point of your fail safe summer shorts almost refusing to do up.

It is still the weekend, however, and a Saturday dinner was required and here was a perfect opportunity to fall back on what is basically fake Southern Fried Chicken as a treat for tea that wasn’t going to require any further damage control on the waistline. By removing that whole pesky deep frying issue and swapping out the buttermilk soak one can seriously bring the fat content down without losing too much satisfaction. It also lends itself very nicely to being dished up with a big pile of veg to replenish one’s mass lack of fibre after a week of gastro pubs and Just Eat clicks. It doesn’t taste even remotely Diety either so will work well if you have guests who aren’t on the same low calorie wagon as you. In fact, this is a good recipe for those who don’t have a deep fat fryer, or hate cleaning it.

Weight Watchers can see a chicken breast done in this method coming in at a maximum 4  smartpoints, vs 7 or 8 for a traditionally done Southern Fried portion. It is relatively speedy and fuss free to cook and lends itself very well to slimming friendly sides, by which I mostly mean vegetables. Dear God, I need the vegetables!!!!

Boomboom Fake Fried Chicken

frying

brief frying time in a small amount of oil makes this much lower fat that traditional recipes

4 chicken breasts
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons hot sauce
75 ml unsweetened almond milk
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
Garlic powder, celery salt, ground coriander, paprika, chilli powder, black pepper, salt
Oil/cooking spray for frying

Start by beating the egg with the almond milk, hot sauce and a pinch of salt then pour this over the chicken breasts and leave to marinate for 2-4 hours, covered in the fridge.

When ready to cook, put the oven on at 190 degrees C and line a sturdy baking tray with some greaseproof paper. Mix the flour and spices well and put into a large, flat dish. You will want to play with the spice mix to your own taste but I find a flat mix of 1/2 a tsp of all the listed spices works well enough to please most diners without being too hot. I must admit that if it just me and the Mr I go considerably heavier on the chilli powder and also the hot sauce in the marinade too.
Remove the chicken from the egg mix and roll well in the flour and spices to cover the entire surface. You only need to do this once, even if you are used to layering up when making this recipe traditionally.
Heat a shallow saucepan with a small amount of oil (your choice, I like rapeseed) and fry the chicken for about 90 seconds on each side. The pan needs to be hot enough to sizzle as soon as the meat goes in and you cook it just long enough to seal the meat and see the flour coating to start to colour. Transfer the meat then to the baking tray and cook in the oven, it should take roughly 25 minutes.

It’s that simple, just serve! For a southern style feast I like to dish it up with more hot sauce, corn on the cob and a good number of pickles.

Variations- play with heat levels by adding more chilli and paprika to the spice mix or add some oats or linseeds to the dry mix for some texture. You could use legs/thighs etc however if you are points or calorie counting then you need to account for this due to higher fat content. The coating also works really well on cauliflower for the veggies amoung us-just cut up the florets and dip in the egg mix (don’t marinate) then roll in flour and bake at 180 for about 20 minutes.

The Skinny Thing: Calling All Fat Vegans.

vegan-police

Does anyone know a fat vegan?

You’re sniggering now and waiting for the punchline but really, I want to know. Do you know an un-skinny (long term) vegan?

I thought I did once,  but she was forced to correct me with a wry smile when I found her demolishing a burger at a food festival that she absolutely was not a vegan but perhaps I had in the past misheard the term lesbian.  With the benefit of hindsight that made the initial conversation during which I had wrongly concluded that she was an animal-free entity seem a lot less weird. It was also mildly disappointing, as she had always been my go to example of how in the real world veganism was not an immediate road to healthy-thin-bikini-happy-ism.

We talk a lot about going plant based these days. For our health. For the environment. For the shame and misery of factory farming. For #meatfreemonday instagram posts. Everyone seems to be at it and I am not an exception to this, although my increasing conversion has been accidental and on a strictly part time basis. I will make my hipocrisy disclaimer here and now and happily admit that I will eat and enjoy a plate of live oysters and feel no shame but in recent months the Mr and I have made a conscious effort to bring down our overall animal produce consumption. I’m trying to lose weight, and we’ve been on a financial diet for the last few months too.  Meat isn’t cheap. Bona fide free range meat is out and out expensive when compared to say chickpeas or a pack of spaghetti. I am also a bit squeamish when it comes to rights of small and helpless creatures and many mass farming methods leave me with the kind of guilt that will tarnish the delicate bouquet of a fine fois gras. Dairy bothers my guts in large amounts, we don’t have a local fishmonger and fruit and veg is generally low in weight watcher points so yes, I am well behind increasing my intake of food that never had a face.

See that bit? Weight watchers points. Because that’s the big seller here, for me. A vegan lifestyle is endlessly touted as being ‘healthy’ and when we say ‘healthy’ don’t we actually mostly mean ‘skinny’? We certainly don’t mean ‘eight to twelve kilos overweight’, which once again leads me to the question: is there such a thing as a fat vegan?

Plenty of high calorie, naughty-list food is vegan. Nuts. Bread. Avocados. Fanta. Chips. Oreos. That shit will make you fat if you let it. Won’t it? We talk good fats and bad fats in weight loss, most allegedly ‘bad’ ones are animal based, but does dropping the butter from your Sunday morning avocado-toast really mean the difference between your sexy jeans or another summer sweating away in a kaftan? Going vegan also rules out plenty of high protein, satiating and slimmer-friendly foods like turkey, egg whites, whey and white fish, further putting obstacles in the conventional weight loss menu regimes. Dairy bloats you out but so can baked beans so we won’t go there for now.
So why does it work? Is it simple maths? As I (and endlessly more credible individuals before me) have previously said, losing fat is just maths. Eat less calories and you will get thinner and I think we’ve just seen that being vegan isn’t immediately conducive to eating fewer calories. I have accidentally managed a vegan day today as it happens but still gone 4 points over my daily weight watchers allowance. Perhaps there is a baseline metabolic boost from all that self-righteous preaching about the number of souls destroyed in assembling a prawn cocktail that makes your hard-line vegan that little bit more toned than those of us that are queuing up for some iceberg lettuce and seafood sauce.
There are hundreds of theories and examples and complex sums to explain and discredit all of these claims without a definitive answer so let’s get straight to the anecdotal evidence:

Does anyone know a fat vegan? 

I know a 90%-of-the-time-vegan who has been known to sneak in a cheese sarnie once in a blue moon and has admitted herself that we should all hate her a bit because she is that friend who eats pretty much from sun up to sleepytime and does not put weight on. Yeah she likes mung beans and alfalfa sprouts but she also likes sweets and chips and wine much more, she doesn’t work out and yet you would struggle to pinch a decent amount of flab anywhere on her frame. The cow! Just good genes? She might argue with my statement that she has never been a chubber but she’s certainly in better shape now than she was in our teens, with the added body-fat handicaps of being over 30 and an ex-smoker, so it stands as a reasonable assumption that her vegan activity certainly hasn’t hurt her waistline.

In more immediate evidence, I’ve recently dropped my usual yoghurt and cereal breakfast for peanut butter on toast and subsequently removed my need for a mid morning calorie influx. My go-to lunchbox in the week is a chickpea salad because I don’t want to use the health hazard fridge at my new workplace to keep anything meaty cold, and since switching from a tuna/ham/cheese salad I am also surviving the dread zone of the 3pm sugar slump with just an apple or some kind of generic reduced fat crisps substitute. These two changes have made my weight watchers efforts a bit less of an, er, effort to say the least. I’m no saint, I still eat out about once a week and don’t give a shit about the points on the menu and I rarely bother to count my booze-consumption (for shame) but in the last three weeks I’ve scored a weigh in loss and shuffled down into my Next jeans and I am honestly starting to wonder if it is due to the reduction of animal related grub.

So am I going vegan and investing in spandex?

Don’t be so silly of course not. Why?  Because the capitalist bastard farming industry has brainwashed me into believing that it’s OK to eat a chicken even though I wouldn’t eat a dog or a guinea pig because they are cute? *
No.
Because I accept that milk is for babies and grown up women with big bums do not need cheesey snacks to survive a Tom Hardy film?
Absolutely not.
Because going vegan is hard, even if it is cheap and environmentally friendly. I can’t eat a home grown freshly chopped quinoa salad for all meals BUT I can try to choose plants most of the time when they are available and this seems to be paying off. Because the trick is balance, the trick is treats and piety in moderation and I will take a school day salad with a Sunday chicken and parmesan binge over a daily glass of milk and a chicken breast every time, thanks very much, and it is going to take a fat vegan to persuade me otherwise.

Does anyone know of one?

*this is actual bollocks I would totally eat a guinea pig.