HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MUGGED BY QUINOA? (Pronounced Keen-Wa): Management and I have been dieting for years.We have tried all sorts of diets and some of you may remember the series of articles I wrote about 25 years ago entitled “Eat as much as you like and grow slim”. Essentially this was a low fat diet and many of us lost a lot of weight at the time. Since then, there has been Slimming World which was not immensely successful for us as we always seemed to be away on the evenings of the meetings. We then tried the 5:2 where you starve for two days and eat normally for 5 days each week.
Basically, all these diets had a short term benefit but we have never managed to get our brains around the fact that “A diet is for ever, not just a week!”
About a year ago, I was summoned for blood tests at our new surgery (we are now consumers instead of providers – thank Goodness the new surgery is great) because they had tumbled the fact that I was 73 years old and had nearly perished the year before from Sepsis and multiple episodes of hip surgery with an associated “septic storm” during surgery. Needless to say, the blood tests were a bit “iffy”, especially renal and liver function. The nurses were unable to prevent themselves telling me to lose weight, give up red meat (bad for the kidneys), sugar and so on. I also got the usual exercise advice – apparently, breaking up and shifting tons of left-behind builders’ concrete and spending hours breaking up solid clay to create the garden does not count!
I came home and discovered Buckwheat, Sesame seeds and Quinoa, all brilliant ingredients for a diet where you stick to 800 calories a day for ever. I ordered the products and, when they arrived, I filed them carefully in the kitchen cupboard and studiously ignored them for months. My next visit to the Orthopaedic clinic at the West Suffolk Hospital is due in October and they like to have up to date blood results so, in June, I arranged my blood test for the middle of August, the day before we were due to go to a family wedding in Dorset followed by a few days in Cornwall. For two months, I had no sugar, almost no red meat and took exercise, three activities which I normally avoid. I rocked up at the surgery the day before our holiday and the nurse took my blood. Secure in the knowledge that my blood tests would be “great”, we went and had a wonderful holiday, with unstinting menus. Upon my return, I discovered that the locum nurse had requested incorrect blood tests and I had to have a new blood tests. So much for trying to rig the results! Happily, they were all a great deal better than a year ago.
Back to the mugging! We never waste food and the buckwheat, quinoa, sesame seeds and buckwheat pasta had been glaring at me from the cupboard recently so I decided to bite the bullet and make something. I found a recipe for Quinoa, asparagus and broccoli salad and set about cooking the quinoa. For those of you who do not belong to the metropolitan elite or shop at Waitrose, quinoa is a seed and is an honourable member of the grain family. Being a complete protein, it is packed with packed with vitamins and is God’s gift to dieters, Vegans and the like. All you have to do is put it in a pan of water , boil for 12 minutes and strain under running cold water.
Within 2 minutes, it had exploded all over my shiny gas hob and then, instead of simmering gently on a low heat, it kept glooping and spitting out of the top of the pan, all over the hob. Putting a lid on the pan just made it boil over again. The whole process, including the clean up, took about an hour and I was left with a horrible porridge which tasted of absolutely nothing. Apparently, I had bought quinoa flakes, designed for soaking overnight to make a delicious breakfast feast instead of the usual red or ivory version which is more like beads. I tried the salad on our daughter and our Vegan granddaughter. It ended up in the bin and the quinoa is back in the cupboard. I cooked some of the buckwheat pasta which looked like excrement and tasted of cardboard. It joined the salad in the bin! Now, when they glare at me from the cupboard, I just glare back and cook some meat.
Here is an American joke I lifted from Baba Mail: On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. “One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,” said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence. Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me ….” He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend, he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. “Come here quickly,” said the boy, “you won’t believe what I heard! The Devil and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!” The man said, “Beat it, kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.” When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.” The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth. Let’s see if we can see the Lord…?” Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord. At last, they heard, “One for you, one for me. That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.”
The old man beat the boy to the gate.
Another American joke which relates to SOME of our politicians who have made such a mess of dealing with Brexit. Obviously, I have the greatest respect for those politicians who are behaving well and are as fed up as their constituents: Five surgeons were discussing who the best patients were to operate on. The first surgeon said, “I like to see accountants on my operating table because when you open them up, everything inside them is numbered.” The second responded, “You should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour-coded.”The third surgeon said, “I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.” The fourth surgeon chimed in, “You know, I like construction workers…they always understand when you have a few parts leftover in the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would.” But the fifth surgeon shut them all up with this observation, “You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There are no guts, no heart, no spine and the head and butt are interchangeable.”
Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet