‘Caffee’ recipe – coffee alternative, kick ‘n’ all

If you’ve just come for the recipe then scroll down, and you’ll find it at the end of the post.

For everyone else – of all the things I’ve had to give up, due to the injury to my jaw joint and nerves, the thing I still struggle with having given up most is coffee.

I’ve always adored coffee – and I take it black, no sugar and very strong.  I love everything about black coffee – the silky black-brown liquid, so deep it could be leading directly to hell;  the smell – ah the smell!  How even to describe the smell of coffee? Perhaps it’s the smell of mysterious sensuousness in Eden. And the taste – woodsmoke laced with dark chocolate and the sultriness of an oncoming storm.

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And that’s before we’ve even begun to consider the caffeine kick, the legal stimulant that it turns out is actually good for you.

I still find it difficult to walk by the coffee section in supermarkets.  Tea branding either opts for cheery and jumping-up-and-down-for-your-attention, with talking monkeys or hearty, flat-capped cartoon Northeners;  or trying to impress by being imperial (do they still call Ceylon tea “Ceylon” tea or have they figured that one out yet?) – and neither do much for me. But coffee branding … coffee knows it can afford to play it cool and so the branding is seductive, sophisticated, enigmatic.  The golds, the bitter chocolates, the jewel colours of the packaging …

 

… all the places the coffee beans come from, speaking of lush, exotic heat – Colombia, Java, Ethiopia (which no longer exists, but strangely Ethiopian coffee still does) …

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… and the intriguing flavours they’re laced with, inviting you to taste, just a sip, come on, just one sip – maple walnut, black cherry, French vanilla or …

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Damn, but I miss coffee.

So I had to do something.  I had to try to find some acceptable alternative, something that would give me at least some of the pleasure of coffee.  And then I formulated Caffee, which really hits the coffee spot.


 

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The chicory root is a powerful prebiotic and gives the beautiful colour of black coffee, and some of the taste – but immediately after the pleasant taste there’s an insipid wateriness to it;  and that is what the peanut butter powder is for:  somehow it shores up the chicory root and gives body.  And then the maca powder is to give the kick I so miss from caffeine.

In a mug, add 2 heaped tsps Whole Earth ‘Organic No Caf Coffee Alternative (made with barley & chicory)’, 1 heaped tsp peanut butter powder and 1/2 tsp maca powder.  Pour over boiling water, stir – then do the sensible thing, because caffee mouth burn is no nicer than coffee mouth burn, and wait a few moments until it’s reached drinking temperature.

Then relax, drink and prepare to be really active in about 15 minutes.

On the dangers of lemon water

I lifted this directly from the BBC News website this morning –

The researchers found people who had drinks such as water with a slice of lemon or hot fruit-flavoured teas twice a day between meals were more than 11 times more likely to have moderate or severe tooth erosion.

So we try to be good people, follow the expert advice and do that lemon water trick first thing in the morning to flush out our livers – I do anyway – and we drink our fruit-flavoured teas rather than anything caffeinated or sugary because they’re so very bad for us, and now we discover our good habits are uwittingly rotting our teeth.  No fair.  And while on the face of it, tooth erosion may seem unpleasant but not serious, your dental health can impact negatively and seriously on the health of the rest of your body.

I have to laugh, that something so apparently innocuous as lemon water is now not innocuous at all.

Reminds me of one of my very first posts –

You have to be your own pet scientist

We do indeed.

Day 2 Defatting, More Fuel to the Calorie Debate & Sundry Scans

So I’ve done 2 days of the diet I devised for myself – Defatting: The Principles (and why your body will always win in the end) – and this morning I weighed myself.

I’ve lost 7lbs.

Now I know there’s a fair amount of water weight etc in there, but all the same.  I did a calorie-careful vegetable-based day (lost 3lbs), and followed it with a calorie-uncounted high protein-high fat day (lost 4lbs).

Yesterday was a big fat fest, and although I actually really can cook, what I felt like was an utterly self-indulgent day and after trying to adhere to the almost-vegetarian Alkaline Diet, that could only mean lots of bacon and eggs.  I can’t be bothered working out my calorie count from yesterday, but this is what I ate:

– 3 eggs fried in 1 tbsp butter + 4 rashers grilled bacon

– 1 salmon fillet + 2 boiled eggs made into egg mayonnaise with 2 tbsps mayonnaise

– 250g chestnut mushrooms fried in 2 tbsps fat + 5 grilled rashers bacon

I only know that it’s way more calories than should result in a weight loss.

Hmmmm.  This is something I’ve seen before – that the calories in/calories out equation isn’t the whole picture.

Of course, whatever, the weight loss will slow very soon but I’ll keep you updated.

Today is a starch-based day, although I freely admit it may go a little awry as I’m going in for an MRI Craniofacial Scan today and they may want to inject dye into me so *ugh*  I’m a little nervous going in and know I will come out with a shocking headache, so I’ll do the best I can in terms of diet but make no concrete promises.

However the scan should shed light on what’s going on with my TMJ/TGN so that’s a good thing. Strangely, yesterday I finally got called for the ultrasound on my shoulder which will happen on Thursday 15th February.  As is so often the way in life, it’s all happening at once.

 

Declaration of Hostilities

So last night descended into another binge (sorry, Julie Ramage but I didn’t see your very helpful advice until after the event, so didn’t document it).  It was pretty nasty.

Nonetheless, I got on the scales this morning and discovered I am now 3lbs heavier than when I began trying to lose weight.

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The weird thing is, I wasn’t angry with myself.  I felt sorry for myself, like a friend stood next to myself wanting to give comfort.

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I think that’s really positive.

It was though a real lightbulb moment. It made me really take seriously how much trouble I’m in.

I think I have two problems – sugar addiction and binge eating disorder.  I think they’ve happened through a complex blend of physical and psychological factors – physically, I think my gut is over-run with sugar-loving microbes (see my post Guts, Ice Cream & Love) and the only possible response to that is

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I’m gonna torch the little b*stards.  We’re talking a scorched earth policy here.  I refuse to feed them their candy anymore and if they start complaining, the bear gets busy until every last little one is a charred cinder.  One day, when all this is long behind me and it’s safe, I’ll let 85% dark chocolate and fruit back into my life.  But that’s it.  No more sugar, ever.

As to the psychological, writing my post yesterday Poisons & Plan B really brought home to me, in a real face-palm moment, that the seeds of my binge eating were sown in my childhood.  Sometimes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and categorically refusing to let a child have the edible jewels that other children routinely enjoy makes them glitter all the more brilliantly.

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As Middle Aged Warrior pointed out to me, society really skews our relationship with food, endowing it with qualities of celebration, love and approval.  From childhood, we are rewarded with food.

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As to the binge eating, I replied to a comment by Julie Ramage yesterday and it really made me think – she asked how I felt when I was bingeing.  I replied that, amongst other things, it was great to be feeding unfettered whatever it was inside me that was so hungry.

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And that’s a question I really need to answer.  What is it inside me that is so hungry?

I think also that once again, I was taken in by the flirtatious winking of a celebrity diet.  Every modern woman is surrounded and serenaded by the host of celebrity diets that prop up this billion dollar industry, and which flaunt their charms to us to seduce us;  like sirens luring us close with their soft song, secretly smiling when we break ourselves on their rocks, because that means their billion dollar industry still stands safe, because we’ll need it to fix us even more badly now.

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I had given alot of thought to my dietary life, behaviours and experiences, and put together a plan that covered as wide a range of foods as possible – because I knew I had a propensity to binge, which had lain dormant for a decade but which I sensed was reawakening.  I reckoned that if I fed myself a very wide range of foods the sense of deprivation wouldn’t be sufficient to properly awaken the Bingemonster, and he might decide to just roll over and go back to sleep.   However, I found myself distracted by the shiny promise of surefire weight loss (see my post Elle Macpherson made me do it, Miss) rather than trusting in my own wisdom about my own body.  I sleepwalked into the worst thing for a binger – a diet that discourages a whole family of foods (pretty much all animal products).  Exactly what I had been intending to avoid.  So I’m abandoning my Alkaline Experiment, and going back to the diet I’d worked out for myself:  Defatting: The Principles (and why your body will always win in the end).

How prescient of me that bracketed subtitle was.

I’m going to arm myself with as many psychological weapons as I can while I’m unravelling the strands of my sugar addiction & disordered eating.  The first new addition to my arsenal will be watching the TED talk Julie Ramage very helpfully recommended to me, Judson Brewer’s  A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit  because that might just be the Kalashnikov I’ve needed.

Lock ‘n’ load, Ladies, lock ‘n’ load.

 

 

Elle Macpherson made me do it, Miss

So here’s a thing. A few weeks ago I read Elle talking about how TAD changed her life. It stuck in my head because Elle is 53 and so am I, so if it works on her menopausal body maybe it will on mine.

I know people rubbish the science … and yet still it has anecdotal support.

So I’m thinking maybe I should suspend my rotational diet and try the Alkaline Diet for a month. Then I can let you all know what it’s like and how effective it is.

Whadya all think???

Defatting: The Principles (and why your body will always win in the end)

So, Defatting: this is the diet I’ve worked out for myself – and yes, I am calling it a diet.  I find the current fad for insisting ‘it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change!’ somewhat disingenous.  The lifestyle change they’re talking about is changing your nutrition and exercise to lose weight.  Isn’t that just a diet?  Spades and spades, please honey.

Over the years, I have tried pretty much every diet, sorry ‘lifestyle change’, going and for family reasons I’ve done a great deal of research into nutrition, human biology and exercise;  so I’ve sat and thought, and explored and distilled everything I have read and learned and experienced into one nutritional programme – this diet is intended to induce fat loss and exchange a healthy amount of it for muscle.  The look and feel I’m aiming for with my body is long,  lean and lithe.  I want to love my body again.

I’m not going to try to justify here any choice I make with science, because science is doing its best but doesn’t yet know everything;  and for every ‘expert’ using science to prove it’s day another will be using it to prove that it’s night.  I am far from anti-science (my eldest is in fact a Scientist and through his eyes I’ve come to see the world in new and dazzling ways):  but I am anti-people-twisting-science-to-their-own-ends.  I make no claims to be a medical or nutritional expert, just an informed layperson wanting to take back my own errant body.

So.  The Principles of Defatting.  It goes like this –

On Day 1, I eat a starch-based diet – we’re talking buckwheat, pulses, fruit and both starchy and non-starchy vegetables, with some protein.  This is the day I’ll fit in a low-glycemic sugar hit.  I’ll be generous but not stupid with the amount of food I take in, while being a little careful of the Easy Extras it’s too simple to blow a diet with, such as Butter On Everything.  If you need to give it a calorie count, let’s call it 1500 calories.

On Day 2, I eat a high protein, high fat, low carb diet.  I’ll have a bit of fun with fat.  I’ll be melting some butter on those vegetables.  If I was a vegetarian, it’d be a day for tofu rather than pulses.  Carbs will be limited to non-starchy vegetables.  If you need to think calories, let’s think 2000.

On Day 3, I eat as little as it takes to fuel me for the day without my being hungry.  This will mean limited protein, limited fat and alot of vegetables, with a protein-enhanced fruit smoothie.  If you have to give this a calorie count, 1200 should do it.

I’ll be repeating this cycle twice a week – and on the spare day inbetween the two cycles I’ll pick whichever day I most feel like doing.

I’ve worked out these principles because I know elimiination diets are tough and in the end I’ll crack, and will fling myself right off that diet wagon, with catastrophic results – so I’m planning to take in as wide a range of foods as possible, so I’m not missing or craving anything.  I also feel instinctively that’s the best way to keep myself healthy, and now that I’m moving into this stage of my life I think that’s more vital than ever.  If my body is to escape the commonplace vagaries of ageing, it needs all the help it can get!

I am not imposing any Carb Curfews because in my experience it makes no difference whatsoever when I eat what.

I think completely eliminating all forms of sugar is highly desirable and totally unrealistic – see my blog post To sweeten or not to sweeten – so I’m introducing sweetness with 85% dark chocolate (I’m a massive fan of the Co-op’s own), low glycemic fruits like berries and sweet dark cherries (both of which I buy frozen),  the very occasional use of Clark’s Carob Fruit Syrup and Whole Earth’s Sweet Granules With Stevia.  Powdered Carob may also make a very occasional appearance.  Again, see the above post for more information as to why I decided on these particular things.

The Sweet Rule though is this – no sweetness at all on a high fat/high protein day.  This is because, as you probably know by now, sugar stimulates the production of insulin.  Insulin is necessary for fat storage.  Without the presence of insulin, fat cannot be stored.  So on days when you’re stimulating insulin, you don’t want to offer it unlimited calories to drag out of your bloodstream to the nearest fat cell for storage.  I have no scientific study to state that it’s a good idea to keep high levels of insulin away from high levels of calorie, but it makes sense to me and can’t do any harm.

I think those high protein/high fat days are, though, especially important to we menopausal women, because we will now be losing muscle at an increased rate and we do not want to exacerbate that.

I am also very wary of a low calorie diet as a menopausal woman for the same reason – that your calorie-deprived body will feast on your muscle as well as your fat;  and because my hormones are already all out of whack;  and I don’t want to distress my body –  and I believe depriving my body of the energy it needs to function too brutally, too often or for too long will do that.  Remember, we no longer have oestrogen to control our cortisol – see my post on Menopause and how it relates to weight – so we want to keep our bodies calm and happy.

The calorie argument is, I think, pretty much discredited anyway and on its last legs – see my post Calories (Oh bloody hell) for my reasons for saying this – so while I think 2 or 3 lowcal days a week might generate some weight loss, I don’t want it to be my main weight loss strategy.  I know from research and personal experience that a body deprived of sufficient calories for too long will rebel and prevent further weight loss.

I included starch days because they’re great fun – sweetish, stodgyish and comfortably filling.  They’re also great for gut health and the role of the gut in fat gain and loss is increasingly being revealed as pivotal.  If you haven’t read Giuila Enders’s ‘Gut’ yet, I would recommend you do and quick – it’s fascinating and charming at the same time, a rare thing in a science book.

As to exercise –  I personally have never found that exercise enhances my weight loss.  In fact, I’ve found if I overdo it the exact opposite happens – my body refuses to release weight.  There are good reasons for this, which I’ve discussed in How and when to exercise.  So  I will be exercising – as in still walking daily but for no more than an hour;  and doing rhythmic stretching sequences followed by muscle toning with light weights – but this will be for my mental and physical health, not as a calorie-burning strategy.  However, I do want to rebuild and maintain muscle to protect my skeleto-muscular frame, because we are coming into an era in our lives when it can so easily be damaged, leading to chronic conditions and their attendant pain.  When she was only a little older than I am now, my mother had to have both her knees replaced.  Ouch!

As muscle also burns more calories than fat, it may also be that rebuilding muscle speeds my metabolism back up, burning more calories and generally keeping my body humming happily.

So those are all the reasons I put together Defatting in the form I have.  We are omnivores, meant to take in as wide a variety of foods as possible.   My body talks to me when I don’t feed it properly, in the form of cravings and if I don’t listen and comply healthily, it will eventually force me into extreme action and I will binge again.

Frankly, you will never beat your body.  Your body will win every time.  If you’ve ever been strictly Low Carbing and found yourself, suddenly, with a Mars Bar in your hand, you’ll know exactly what I mean.