Monday – No Potato Day

White potatoes are among the foods that everyone could do with in strict moderation.

Why?

Mostly because they serve to limit the imagination.  Instead of eating more vegetables or experimenting with wild rices and grains, people consume white potatoes.

Baked potatoes, new potatoes, mashed potatoes, crushed potatoes, roasted potatoes, French fries, crisps, chips – every time a white potato is eaten, a chance has been missed to have a much better vegetable or grain, and a chance is missed to inject variety and color also.

This humble potato should be humble – it is a starchy crutch food that in particular when paired with meat or chicken, creates a very heavy meal.

In this day and age there is so much variety and so many other choices, that we have come to rely on potatoes in an unhealthy way – they are a crutch food.  Why not try something different!

If you eat meat, there is nothing more gorgeous in summertime than pairing your meat with a cold salad or watercress with a fantastic mustard vinaigrette.

Free yourself with:
Sweet potatoes (no sugars or syrups added please)
Wild rice
Red Camargue rice
Oat groats
Spelt
Pearl Barley

Kale
Collard Greens
Mustard Greens
Watercress
Bok Choy
Tomato and onion salad
Fennel salad

When you stop eating potatoes, you discover there is so much more out there!  And… curiously you will find that they don’t taste as good as before.

If you can comfortably find potato substitutes, why not extend your ‘no potato day’ to last a whole week long?

Here is a shopping list that includes, amongst other things, a list of great foods you can fill your kitchen with, instead of potatoes.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Your Weight Loss Kitchen

A Better Kitchen

I think kitchens are best when they are simple.  Also when they are free and clear of all processed foods and junk. 

I have provided you with a shopping list.  In addition to shopping you will need to clear out all the bad food from your pantry, cupboards, closets, refrigerator and freezer

When you get rid of all the bad food, look also at the other “noise” in your kitchen, from appliances, to rubbish foodstuffs.  It should be enough for us to enjoy just a few simple things.  

My personal bug-bears are needless and largely unused appliances, which will eventually be buried in a landfill, or picked apart by some poor Third World child for the metal or other content. 

Among them are microwaves, and coffee makers that use a pod to make a cup of coffee

How is it at all environmentally responsible to use anything other than a simple cafetiere to make quality coffee?  More waste, more metal, more packaging, more junk!! 

Microwaves are also something that you should not need.  What are you cooking in there?  Chances are it is processed or pre-prepared food.  Lose it. 

The only thing you need in your kitchen are:

  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Tea kettle
  • Toaster
  • MagiMix / RoboCoup Food Processor (optional nice to have)
  • Quality wood cutting board(s)
  • 2 or 3 good knives
  • Vegetable peeler / scrubber
  • Knife sharpener
  • Pressure cooker (optional nice to have)
  • Cafetiere or your existing filter coffee maker
  • Stainless steel pots and pans
  • Iron skillet(s)
  • Wooden spoons
  • Ceramic baking dishes
  • Ceramic serving dishes
  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Chop sticks (optional nice to have)

Blenders rarely get used, but if you are using them to make quality vegetable juices or veg/fruit combos for refreshes, super – keep it.  At least the blender can do more than one thing!

Please do not cook with aluminum, and also avoid ‘non-natural’ cooking implements like plastic or Teflon.    

If you know that you will still need to cook for or eat with family who are not trying to lose weight, you will need to have a will of steel.  

I suggest separating your foodstuffs for the moment, and know that eventually your new way will be understood, or even adopted amongst children, spouses or partners. 

I do not condone separate eating or separate kitchens.  In fact, I believe that it is best that families eat together whenever possible, and at least once on the weekend for a family meal, preferably on Sunday. 

Even if you can’t for the moment, your objective must be to eventually live in a home that is completely free of bad food and bad ingredients, and brimming over with healthy grains, pulses and legumes, fruits, vegetables and organic lean meats and fish! 

Once you have this knowledge, and in particular when people see your results, you will find it easier to persuade others. 

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Pro-Meat AND Anti-Meat? How does that work?

I have been accused of being a hypocrite.  Imagine that.  Primarily these accusations are around my support of nose-to-tail eating, and eating game meats vs. my anti-meat stance while a person is trying to lose weight. 

(Also my pro-macrobiotic, pro-offal position is quite an anomaly.  Its different because it proposes to be less dogmatic, and more pragmatic about food and the world we live in.) 

Back on to the topic of meat.  Well firstly, one must understand that life is different for those who are suffering because they are really overweight or have a preventable disease, and those who are at a normal weight. 

When you are overweight, and trying to lose, your eating strategy obviously has to be different.  You need to cut out virtually ALL saturated fat from your diet.  This includes red meat and of course, poultry, and full-fat diary. 

Eating fish for the duration of your diet will make things a lot easier. 

For some people this is really hard, so if you really have to have a steak, make it clean, lean, organic, small in portion and have it for LUNCH, once a month while you are dieting. 

I would also recommend trying lean organic game meats, lamb or offal instead of the usual steak.  PLEASE skip the potatoes when you eat meat, instead have a green salad, or a tomato and onion salad, for example.

If you are not concerned with your weight or are at your goal weight and in great health – please eat red meat.  Not every day –  once or twice a week only. Ensure its clean, lean and organic also.  Also please vary your intake of red meat.  Try different cuts, try lamb, try game meats, and offal. 

Remember the proteins in red meat are unique, but the more red meat you eat, the more burden you put on your system overall. 

I am not a big poultry person anymore, I can feel how heavy it is straight away after eating it.  (I would rather eat ox heart than chicken.)  So if you think chicken is a lighter, leaner meat, in most cases it is not.  Hence I recommend eating poultry only once a week.

I highly recommend Anissa Helou’s The Fifth Quarter, or Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson.  These books have great recipes for eating nose-to-tail, and tell us how to avoid waste and honor the animal.

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Categories: Uncategorized

Quick – Print Now! The Shopping List to Save Your Life!

Here is your shopping list.  Please buy the highest quality, in season, organic foods wherever possible.

Carrots
Peppers
Celery
Onion
Vine tomatoes
Broccoli
Beetroot
Turnips
Cucumbers
Rocket
Watercress
Greens – 3 types – Kale / Collard Greens / Chard / Bok Choy
Pumpkin / squash / gourds
Green beans
Sweet potato
Courgette / Zucchini
Coriander
Parsley
Garlic
Fresh chili peppers
3-4 Lemons
2-3 Limes
Corn if in season
Edamame
Low sodium V8

Indigenous in-season fruits – apples, peaches, pears, plums, etc.
Blueberries
Strawberries
Raisins / Sultanas
Grapes
Melons – honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon

Prunes
Dried Apricots

Unsweetened coconut juice

Crab sticks / kamabako “surimi”
Dolphin friendly tuna in spring water
2-3 varieties white fish
Shrimp
Octopus  / squid / scungilli
Mackerel (smoked or fresh)
Sardines (fresh or canned)
One whole fish if desired

One whole organic chicken

Wholemeal or Gluten-Free Bread
Brown rice
Pearl barley
Red Camargue rice
Wild rice
Barley
Spelt
Oat groats
Mung bean or rice vermicelli (Asian glass noodles)

Unsweetened soy milk, rice milk, oat milk

Skim / fat free dairy milk
Eggs
Non-fat PLAIN yogurt

Bran flakes
Spelt flakes or
Gluten-free flakes

Porridge oats / uncooked oatmeal with NO additives

4-seed mix (sunflower / pumpkin / flax / hemp / linseed, etc.)

Extra virgin olive oil
Organic honey
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Tamari soy sauce
Brown rice vinegar
Roasted / toasted sesame seeds
Balsamic vinegar

Chicken stock cube – organic, low sodium
Dijon or other French style mustard

Tea bags – Green, Jasmine Green, Rooibos (Red Bush), Peppermint
Coffee (not instant)

Barley miso
Brown rice miso
Tofu (Nigari)

Dried or canned chick peas, kidney beans, lentils, cannellini beans, flageolet, borlotti
Canned plum tomatoes

Vegetarians! Are you eating Vegetables?

If you are a vegetarian and overweight or at all unhealthy, constipated, or have a preventable disease, I suspect you are eating many of the foods I recommend trying to quit or radically reduce, and probably lots of “good fats” too. 

You may not be eating animal foods, but you’re probably not eating an incredible amount of fresh fruit and vegetables either.  Am I right? 

Also beware, many vegetarian processed foods are pretty dubious – some vegetarian sausages and veggie-burgers are filled with really bad ingredients. 

Please please please, do not eat processed, pre-packaged vegetarian foods unless you have complete and total confidence in your ability to read labels. 

Try to go for foods with ONE ingredient – themselves, and do your own cooking.

Many vegetarian restaurants and dishes are good, many are bad.  Like everyone else, vegetarians need to understand how these foods are prepared and if there are any bad ingredients or if they are soaked in vegetable oil, etc.

Dairy fat is a big temptation for lacto-ovo vegetarians, but I don’t quite understand how consuming lots of dairy makes any sense for anyone who is very concerned about the welfare of animals

If you must have dairy, you should make it organic and fat-free, and limit your intake of diary to once a day maximum. 

If you have not experimented with light soy and oat or rice-based drinks instead of dairy milk, please do so.  These are superb alternatives, provided they don’t contain sugar. 

Additionally, many vegetarians simply do not get enough high value protein in a lean and concentrated form, therefore they wind up hungry, and noshing on bad carbs. 

If you exercise a lot, or are in a weak state of health, you must ensure you are getting good high value proteins.  Soy is a good solution, so ensure you are getting enough. 

Make sure you are eating “integrated” foods – protein/ carbohydrates such as pulses and legumes, and ensure you are eating lots of different types of organic grains, fruits, vegetables, soy products such as tofu and edamame, and that you also are cooking with soybeans like any other pulse or bean.  Variety is key if you are vegetarian.

If you are celebrating vegetable plant life with your vegetarian diet, that is absolutely wonderful – ensure to celebrate the full spectrum and spend lots of time in the fresh produce section of your supermarket – where the fruit and vegetables are! 

You may wish to consider eating organic, wild fish from time to time, but that’s down to you.  If not a little fish, perhaps a few organic eggs.  Organic eggs are excellent sources of protein.  I believe it is better to eat organic fish and eggs than dairy products.

If you are vegetarian, Macrobiotics can be the solution for life-long health.  If you’re a passionate vegetarian I encourage you to explore the philosophy and methods of the Macrobiotic diet.  It is truly a celebration of plant foods, and will teach you about food combinations and ingredients, as well as a whole integrated philosophy about eating well. 

You may not think you are killing an animal, but ensure you’re not killing yourself either!

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Why Organic?

Why Organic?

My simple answer to this is – why not?  If you have a choice, why would you choose the non-organic?  It is not a mystery – organic food tastes better and retains more of its naturally found nutrients. 

I don’t want to eat food that’s been reared or grown in an environment that is ridden with inorganic compounds – fertilizers, pesticides, hormones or whatever  the manufacturer or farmer has used to get the goods to market in a hastened or unnatural way.  It really is that simple. 

I think there will come a day when we look back on non-organic food and see it as just a phase that we went through in a post-industrialized world.  A phase that thankfully ended. 

For now, we should be demanding full digital disclosure on the barcodes of all food labels – organic or not. 

If the manufacturer can’t fit lots of information on the package, we should be able to enter a barcode online at home and get all the information about the production and/or growing processes. (Clothes too for that matter…) 

This way, we could have the correct information about what we are buying and can make the best, most informed choice. 

If you are a convert, please tell others about the goodness of organic foods.  Cook with them, tell people where to find them, and discuss the quality of organic foods with anyone who wants to know.

If you are worried about the cost, it may be worth doing a real comparison shop.  I think you will find the cost is not that different. 

And think not only about the cost to your health from eating inorganic compounds.  Think about being efficient with your food, not wasting your money on processed foods or foods you don’t need, and even growing your own garden. 

Start an organic garden – for you and your kids

If you have the space, try growing your own vegetables, herbs and even fruit.  There is no greater testament to organic, than to taste food that you have grown organically in your own back yard. 

There are many rather large suburban gardens that in summertime, could be heaving with fresh produce.  Yet, we go back and forth to the supermarket to buy what we could have grown, essentially for free. 

For children, taking part in the activities of a garden is educational and a truly wholesome way to spend time. 

Many urban areas have schemes for land-sharing and allotments.  Some are easier to join than others.  If this appeals to you, why not get involved?

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Its a Cow’s Life… For Goodness Sake Try Grain Milks

I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about dairy products.  One might say I’m a bit fanatical.  If you have read my missive about what foods you should avoid when you’re trying to lose weight, you know I have it in for dairy.

I will admit, I do enjoy a drop of skimmed organic milk with my coffee, and occasionally (like once a month) I have cheese.  When I was preggo I had glasses of skimmed milk.  But really as things go, I am not a lover of dairy.

So… the other night I was looking on Ye Olde Handy Internet, trying to discover why I thought I may have been brainwashed by my friends in a Macrobiotic cult in the 1980s. They eschewed dairy – it was like a poison.  Really, nothing was worse than dairy.

So, I did some research into the life of dairy cows.  I knew their lives were bad, but not that bad.  Even organic dairy cows don’t have that great a life, so now I’m skeptical about that and will reduce my consumption of organic dairy also.  It is also unnecessary for humans to consume.

Here are some lovely facts about dairy cows on Wikipedia – a softer touch.

There are other more dramatic descriptions here on Dawn Watch and milksucks.com

Clearly there are some folks who are VERY anti-dairy.  And having read these web sites, I would advise any lacto-vegetarian to seriously consider grain milks instead.

In addition to having a mostly terrible life, dairy cows are eventually slaughtered for hamburger and dog food, so if you are really concerned about animal welfare, maybe re-think why you think you need dairy products.

So, why do people drink milk?  Well, the diary industry does a big job on people. Some people are convinced that milk is a requirement.  Mothers give their kids milk because they will drink it, and it allegedly contains must-have nutrients that are hard to come by. That is, if your kid won’t eat any decent food.

My son cannot tolerate dairy, so he has soy formula and unsweetened Rice Dream.  He loves Rice Dream.  There are lots of people who can’t tolerate dairy. Others just don’t have it as part of their culture.  In any case, not eating dairy forces you to be more imaginative about other types of foods, more valuable and more nutritious.

I think eating or drinking the mammary secretions of another mammal is just plain odd.  And quitting meat or fish and ingesting dairy as a protein substitute is, I think, also very odd.

In my view it is best to have very little dairy, and feel strongly that if you do eat it, it should be organic and fat-free.  It is however, totally avoidable.  I feel the same way about meats and poultry. Less is more – and organic is definitely best.

So what would you have instead of milk?  There are several fantastic grain milks that are very easy to come by.  You can get all of them unsweetened and many come calcium fortified and also organic.  Here they are:

  • Soy milk – Much improved, available everywhere, you can put it into your coffee, there are crazy flavours like chocolate and strawberry and banana, but these contain sugar and / or other sweeteners, which I maintain are NOT necessary and are a risk to health.
  • Rice milk – Rice Dream is my favourite, and my 1 year old son likes it too, great on cereal and just as a nice refreshing drink.
  • Oat milk – What a revelation!  Great on cereal, a bit heavier than rice milk and nice to create variety in your grain milk diet.
  • Quinoa milk – Harder to find, but a lovely grain taste that goes great with cereal.

Obviously if you are trying to lose weight, you’ll need to count your calories with grain milks like you would with anything else.  Don’t drink more than 100 calories of soy, rice, oat, or quinoa milk at any one time – its not necessary.

If you go over to the dark side and take in some dairy product from time to time, make sure it is organic and that you do so every once in awhile.  I might also add that if you are eating full-fat cheeses, you’ll need a LOT of luck losing weight and in particular cellulite.

Remove cheese from your diet and you can reap health benefits straight away.

Grain milks – the way forward!

Love to you all!
La Libertini

Categories: Uncategorized