Stream of Consciousness Saturday – 26 November 2022

The prompt from Linda this week is What’s on Your/My Plate.

Both my husband and I enjoy cooking. Now that we are retired our only argument is over who is going to cook. He insists that he is better at it than I am. But every time he gives in and allows me to prepare the meal, he says in a very surprised voice, “Wow, this food on my plate is pretty good!”

If truth be told when he cooks, I’m usually involved in some way. He will take care of doing the braai or cooking the fish while I do the salads, vegetables and dessert. If he’s doing a curry or a casserole then he does do it all by himself. He also loves to do roasts but the one thing I will not allow him to do is lamb. He wants to do it the British or Scottish way and I insist on the Greek way. Greek wins every time! I will only allow him to cut the slits in the joint for the garlic! The rest of the prep is mine. I use lots of garlic, origanum, olive oil and butter and plenty of lemon juice. Then it is slowly roasted on very low heat for at least five hours depending on the size of the joint. When it is done it will fall off the bone and there will be no need to carve. I pour the juices from the cooking over each portion and serve it with Tzatziki. Of course, there is also the obligatory Greek salad as well as roast vegetables done in the air fryer.

For a week or so I have not been hungry due to an attack of diverticulitis so there was very little on my plate. But now that I am well on the road to recovery my appetite has returned with a vengeance. Still, I have to watch what I eat. Soups and soft foods, until your gut has had a rest, is the advice I’ve been given. So what then do I put on my plate? Soup was fine in the beginning. For a while, bananas and yogurt were about as much as I could take in the solid food department. Now I really need proper meals but I don’t want to relapse to feeling sick every time I eat! “What about baby food?” somebody suggested. I never gave my child bottled baby food but instead mashed everything myself. So that’s what I’m doing now. Mashed butternut is delicious. Pureed cauliflower and broccoli is a treat! I put the cooked florets in my food processor, add garlic and herbs, creamed cottage cheese, some yogurt, and blits. For a creamier result, I finish it off in my blender. Green peas crushed into mashed potato is fine too. In fact, any vegetable can be mashed or pureed. Add a bit of creamed cheese or yogurt and herbs and spices and they become quite gourmet.

I tend to be a one or two-meal-a-day person – brunch of eggs, bacon, banana and tomato and dinner with food from all food groups. Now, I need to eat a little at a time otherwise I feel ill. So it’s chopped bacon and banana on my breakfast plate or perhaps a boiled or scrambled egg. Lunch will be soup and dinner a tiny bit of fish or chicken and my mashed veggies. If I’m peckish in between some pureed fruit and yogurt or sugar-free jelly and custard does the trick.

But what is normally on my plate and why did I get an attack of diverticulitis when I’m very careful about my diet?

Diverticulosis is a condition many people have and most don’t even know it because they never get sick. It occurs when tiny pea-sized pouches develop in your colon. When one or more of these pouches become inflamed or infected, the condition is called diverticulitis.

I believe that when I’m in peak condition, my immune system can fight a potential infection. But a few weeks ago I had the ‘flu – possibly mild COVID – I wasn’t tested so I’m not sure. This would have caused my resistance to infection to be low so I succumbed to an attack.

Normally we try to eat a high fat low carbohydrate diet. That means we have plenty of vegetables in our diet. It does not mean we chomp away on as much fat as we like! We simply do not go for low-fat or fat-free products which tend to be full of sugar to compensate for the flavour lost by removing fat. We avoid all processed foods and stay away from deep-fried food. I recently acquired an air fryer and it is awesome. I love cheese but limit the amount I eat because if I have too much rich food my gut reacts badly. So basically for dinner, we have a protein food the size of a fist, a small potato or sweet potato, a Greek salad (every night) and some cooked vegetables. We like cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, gem squash and I try to prepare them in interesting ways. We have always lived near the sea and my hubby has been a recreational deep-sea fisherman all his life so fish appears on our plates more than once a week.

Hopefully, the BIG D will keep its distance for good while now. Although I am eating almost normally again, I won’t forget how bad it feels when I am suffering an attack. The festive season is a time when we are tempted to ease up on our strict dietary rules but this year, I am determined to be careful so that I can deal with everything else that will be on my plate as we prepare for the holidays.

On my plate – cauliflower and broccoli puree, braaied chop, gem squash, sweet potato
Greek salad in the bowl.
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