I Will Not Eat My Greens

In many movies and comedy sketches I have often heard the line “eat your greens.” I had to look up what greens were. My source labeled greens as collard greens. They are in the same source of greens as kale and broccoli. I found them disgusting. I suspect the vegans in the world think they are delicious, not me. A week ago I wrote about my virgin experience with kale. I love kale, especially when it is drizzled with salad dressing. The collard greens supplied in my Green Chef dinner package turned me off. Maybe they will grow on me if I eat enough of them, fat chance of that happening.

Collard
Kale
Close up of a bowl of Italian boiled spinach

Each time I cruise through the vegetable aisle at my local grocery store I am amazed at the quantity of green leafy lettuces and other strange looking eatables from around the world. On a good day I will pick something I have never tried before just for the sake of experimentation. I can tolerate the lettuces, but when it comes to the heavier leaved darker green things like collard I pass by. As a kid I hated spinach. That is because my mother had only one way to prepare it, by boiling. Boiled spinach leaves are the world’s worst resembling some very old and wet sea weed. On the other hand fresh spinach leaves are excellent in a salad. The best is baby spinach drizzled with poppyseed dressing and with sliced strawberries on top. The chef who invented that combination should be in the Chef Hall of Fame.

Baby spinach with strawberries and poppy seed dressing

I find that the Green Chef meal plan is making me a better cook, and making me develop a more refined pallete. I hate waste and will never throw anything away, I’d much rather make it the way they instruct me to and try it. So far I am batting 5/6, only the collard greens have been a loser. In major league baseball a batting average of 5/6, (0.8333) would command a hundred million dollar contract. I’ll stick to keeping score with my selections from Green Chef.

KETO-Green Chef vs Factor 75

This week I began a new adventure, actually two adventures. My pre-prepared KETO meal plan is expensive and I was looking for ways to cut the costs. Of course, I searched the internet and found a business called Green Chef. It is different than the Factor 75 that I have been using. Green Chef sends fresh ingredients and a how to cook recipe card with step by step instructions on what to do with each item. Factor 75 sends me pre-cooked ready to heat and eat meals. Both of them are expensive. So far, I like the Green Chef meals because it forces me to cook. I am learning a lot of new things. The meals are also very tasty and colorful. It takes me anywhere from 30-45 minutes to make the meals. Each Green Chef meal serves two, or in my case it is two meals, one is reheated the next day. The price per serving is lower than my Factor 75 meals. Todate, I have cooked three meals all very fresh and very tasteful, and there is plenty to eat. I have one more to go before I decide whether to reorder another round of meals.

Staying KETO is difficult these days. Maybe it is the change in weather and the shorter daylight, but I am craving comfort food, and too often I cheat like heck to fit a piece of cake into the diet. Cooking gives me a degree of comfort even though the food is not classified as comfort food. One thing I like more about the Factor 75 meals is that I can be eating within five minutes of initiating a meal. Unless I opt to go for a wrap. Wraps take a while to put together. Nothing is easier than poking a hole into a plastic wrapper and setting the micro-wave for two and a half minutes. The next step is to peel back the entire covering to stir the contents and to place it back into the MW for another minute or two. I can be eating in five minutes after taking the package out of my refrigerator. While with the Green Chef meal I am dicing, chopping spicing, sautéing, searing, and mixing. a couple of different entrees, one meat and a vegetable mix, with a sauce.

I suppose it all depends on how hungry I am, and how lazy I feel. If I had my way I’d be very happy with sub-sandwiches but they involve bread and we all know bread is not KETO.

In my very first sentence above I mentioned I had two adventures. The second involved building a fire ring in my back yard and setting it up for an evening fire. The kindling came from the trees in my yard, and the fuel came from my wood shop. I finally cut up the boards that were once a special table I built for my mother to keep her house plants on. It served her well for many years, and after she and dad died, and we were finally emptying the house I inherited the table. For many years it acted as a catchall surface for house plants, and the usual junk that accumulates around the house. Two years ago I cleared it and disassembled it for future wood projects. It lay on my shop floor during that time, and this week, I cut it up into smaller burnable pieces for evening fires.

Sitting in the cool night air warming myself by the dancing flames brought back a lot of old memories from my Scout Master days and also when we were on family camping trips. Each time we had a fire one of the family became the self designated pyro-maniac whose job it was to keep the flames roaring. When I first moved into this house I drew a plan of what I wanted in my garden: a pond, waterfall, stream, mini-forest, vegetable garden, flower garden, and fire-pit. I accomplished all except the fire-pit, it is time to close out the plan as complete.

Falling Off the Wagon

Well, yesterday I truly fell off the wagon and hit hard. The KETO wagon is what I refer to. After religiously following a strict KETO diet for weeks, (to be honest I was really only close) what did I do to take such a fall? I cheated and went for a cherry milkshake at an old fashioned soda parlor. God was it good! I haven’t had ice cream or anything sweet for months, but this week I went for it.

It all began mid-week when I cooked a batch of stroganoff. I didn’t even attempt to make it KETO, I used real flour to make the gravy, man was it delicious. Then, to top it off I skipped the lame zucchini wide-noodles and cooked real flour based wide noodles. I’m still reeling in the deliciousness. By yesterday, I craved a summer treat hence the shake.

I’ve been on KETO since last summer and have lost some weight, but for the past six months have not lost an ounce. After analyzing the situation I concluded that I am only thinking I am on KETO, and not really practicing faithfully. I swore that today I would begin anew and really count carbs and calories and stick to low carb fruits and veggies. Except there aren’t too many fruits I can choose from. It seems that all the stuff I love has serious sugar in it. Sugar and KETO are incompatible. Sugar converts into serious carbs.

At least I learned how to make buns that I substitute for bread and they allow me to make a sandwich which I will thrive on. Making the buns using shredded mazzorella, cream cheese, eggs, and almond flour is simple enough and keeps me semi-happy. I was, and still am, a sandwich eater, but the bread part is substituted by lettuce leaves. I now call the sandwich a wrap. I watched a half dozen youtube videos on how to make lettuce wraps and am getting better at making something that holds together fairly well.

KETO is a lifestyle. I don’t like to refer to it as a diet, even though KETO is a way of eating. Actually, it is a lifestyle change on what you use for fuel. Instead of burning carbs I burn fat. A different body chemistry is involved. One benefit I derive from this chemistry is less dependance on insulin to convert carbs into body fuel. Being on KETO as a type 2 diabetic is a good thing, I think.

Since last June, I have shed twenty-five pounds, but I haven’t lost anything in the last six months. What that tells me is that I was more serious when I began and then started playing the system after getting accustomed to the foods. I also drink too much. Alcohol is allowed in strict moderation, but if you’ve been reading my posts you understand that when it comes to imbibing my favorite adult beverages moderation is redefined.

Anyway, beginning today I return to counting carbs, and eating only KETO approved foods, with no cheating. I will measure my ketone level to insure that I am on the right track. I will also remind myself of what is KETO and what is not KETO. Those who know me already know that I will vocally point out a food is “not KETO” then swallow it anyway.

Wish me luck, I’m going for the ring and have set my goal to weigh what I weighed in 1978. Most of us gain a pound a year after adulthood, so that means I am sixty-one pounds over weight. Subtract the twenty-five I’ve lost and I only have thirty six more pounds to go. Oh shit, that means I will weigh what I weighed when I married my first wife when I was a scrawny boney, pimple-faced kid.

March, 1960, University Of Illinois Shequan Parade

Like I said, wish me luck.

Okra

Strange thing okra. I learned of it some years ago and have developed a taste for it. Okra is not found on grocery shelves very often where I live. It is listed as a fruit, but used as a vegetable. Many people dislike it because of the seeds. They are described as being slimy. I kind of like that taste.

My first introduction to okra was at a Country Kitchen restaurant where it is served as a side dish. They slice the fruit into disks, battered and fried. My first taste was that of nothing special, yet I kept ordering them as a side for my usual entree.

This summer, I have been finding okra in the vegetable section of my local grocery chain. I buy a package of the green pepper-shaped fruit and eat them raw. By the and, they work well as a KETO snack. A cup full of this fruit provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 33
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV

Okra is grown in sub-tropical climates such as Africa and South America, although I have grown it in my salad garden just to learn what it looks like on the green. I planted six seed clusters and got six robust thigh-high green plants resembling those of green pepper. I got lucky while exploring in the garden one day by looking under the leaves and found some rather attractive large pale yellow flowers resembling hibiscus blooming there unseen. That is when I began to watch more closely because I didn’t know when to pick the fruit or how they would present. Sure enough the long skinny green fruit developed from the flower. The next step was to learn when to pick them. I started picking when they were very young, maybe two inches long. Because I like them so much I tasted what I picked right off the plant. They were tender and delicious. In a couple of days they were between three and four inches long, and still tender. I picked more and learned it was time to harvest; except they never made it to the table. I ate them all as I picked. They were luscious. I let the plants rest for a week and picked again. This time I learned that if they are too aged they turn into fibrous pieces of rope. Ugh! The older longer fruit develop an outer layer of very stringy, tough, hard to chew fiber. I likened it to hemp rope. The time to pick okra is when it is young, tender and delicious. Maybe old okra can be saved by cooking it in a stew or gumbo, but I would prefer not to use it at all.

There are many ways to use okra. One is in fresh green salads, or french fried, or in a gumbo with other vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Some people grill okra until it is charred, others broil it, then there are those who roast it. I am at a point where I will try it any way it comes.

Farmer’s Market Covid Version

How does a person continue to write for a blog when his mind and heart are not in it any longer? After seventy some days without missing a single day of writing I became blocked. The past two days I spent as off days and enjoyed myself by walking and talking. I attended our newly opened Covid friendly farmer’s market and was pleased. The Village Father’s put some thought into it and I think they have succeeded in remaking it to close to where it was. The Frankfort Farmer’s Market had become the social event of the week. We had farmers from within a 110 mile radius selling fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers fresh baked bread, tacos, and what not. In addition there were booths selling slushies, lemonade, and other hand made drinks. My favorite was a Nun who drove in from Chicago with newly baked French pastries and breads. She and her fellow nuns are from France in Chicago on a mission living in a a converted old warehouse and doing charitable work among the indigents of the city. Another favorite is a lady who bakes pies. My favorite is her apple, cherry, or blueberry pies. She sends her husband to the market with a minivan loaded with pies. His instructions are not to return until the pies are all sold. He never takes any home and he leaves early.

Since the bouncer at the gate controlled the flow of people coming into the market area it was never crowded and lines at the booths were all very short. The line outside the market however, was very long. That is because the people were all spacing themselves six feet apart. The line never stopped. There were always people leaving to allow new people in.

On a normal Sunday, the market wraps around a building we call the Grainery. The booths are stacked next to each other closely to allow the most vendors into the least amount of space. In the Covid scheme the market was split into two areas, i.e. two parking lots across the street from each other. The second section was controlled the same way as the first, the bouncer lets you in and keeps the flow moving.

All in all, the market was the highlight of my day. I walked three and a half miles, and wound up carrying my slushie home before I could drink any of it.

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