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A couple of cooking and diet notes that will be exceedingly boring unless you're interested in cooking and diet.

The cooking note:
Tried and love: sunflower oil for cooking. We've had olive oil, butter, and canola oil around for most of our cooking needs for years, like most people, and those do okay. But olive oil and butter both have low-ish smoke points, so they can get that scorched taste in the pan fairly easy. And canola oil tastes like, well, canola oil, which has never been in its favor. I do use coconut oil sometimes as well, and on the whole I like that (it performs especially well in baked goods), but it does taste like coconut, and has a heavier presence than some oils. So I picked up some sunflower oil, because I'd heard good things, and dang! It does well at everything I've tried so far: pan-cooking (eggs, vegetables, quesadillas) as well as baked goods. It tastes like pretty much nothing; it's the lightest touch of all the oils I've tried so far. It doesn't smell heavy and smoky when cooking with it. When I made a big batch of scrambled eggs, the kitchen just smelled like scrambled eggs, not like scrambled eggs with a thick veneer of hot butter like it does if I use butter. So yes, we're sold. Sunflower is the new canola.

The diet note:
Now that I'm over 40, I've found I weigh a few pounds more than I used to, even though I still eat the same and exercise the same as ever (perhaps better than before on both counts, even), and in particular I've found I have a bloated belly more often than I'd like. So to combat these two things together, I tried what I think of informally as the "just don't eat so much" diet. It involves smaller portions on the whole, as suggested by its name, but it also involves avoiding wheat, sugar, alcohol, and salty junk food. Or really any junk food. In trying this for the past couple of weeks, I have't cut these things out entirely, but I eat way less of them. Things I mainly eat, if you're curious: eggs, nuts, meat and fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy of all kinds (except sweetened things like ice cream or sweetened yogurt, but I do eat plain Greek yogurt), dark chocolate, tea (with Stevia if I want it sweeter), moderate amounts of oat-or-rice-based cereals and dishes, corn tortillas, moderate amounts of tortilla chips.

Results are exactly as hoped: less bloating, a couple of pounds shed, and, best of all, a marked reduction in even the desire for things like wheat or sugar. So if you're thinking, "Oh, but I could NEVER give up bread/cookies/etc.," well, a) I'm not saying give them up, just maybe try restricting yourself to one piece of bread a day instead of five, or one cookie instead of a stack, etc., and b) I really do think that once you try lesser amounts, you recalibrate fairly quickly and don't miss it as much as you thought you would.

That said, some people are abstainers rather than moderators--they find it easier to give up something entirely rather than just have a little of it. In their case, sure, try giving up your problem foods. I'm a moderator, though, and would feel depressed if I thought I could NEVER have a cookie again. So if I get a cookie a day, and otherwise steer clear of sugar, I'm good with that. And so is my aging belly.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 6th, 2017 09:09 pm (UTC)

Heh, sunflower oil is so common over here! Probably the cheapest cooking oil. Didn't realise it was less common over there :)

May. 6th, 2017 10:14 pm (UTC)
It certainly wasn't the cheapest here! For whatever reason, we're given tons of types of canola and olive oil, but not as many of the others. But I like this one!
May. 8th, 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
I would not have guessed that you were over 40! I thought you were about my age (32) or younger. However you're eating, you're doing it right. :)
May. 8th, 2017 11:58 pm (UTC)
It's my less-than-mature spirit giving that impression, I'm sure. :D But thank you! I still find myself saying "when I grow up" in half-seriousness, so, yeah.
May. 14th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
I'll have to check out cooking with sunflower oil. Thanks for the tip!
May. 14th, 2017 11:34 pm (UTC)
Enjoy! It's been working well for us so far.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )