Blogging and Eating !

I’ve put on weight since I started blogging. There aren’t enough hours in the day, so that instead of going for a walk I catch up on reading blogs – for as we all know – writing a blog is the quickest part.

But even walking doesn’t wear off the pounds gained by sitting still, gazing at the seductive screen, tripping the light fantastic across the blogs, there a ‘comment’, here a ‘ like’, there a ‘follow’.

This morning I read a story about a massively obese young man going on the Paleo diet when he was refused life insurance. He sat in front of a computer all day, and snacked. Eating like a caveman, he lost kilos almost immediately. Aha, I thought. The Paleo diet consists of meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables and oils. No-no’s are dairy, grains and carbohydrates, salt, sugar.

But this morning I also got up early to go the Saturday morning food market in the next village, to visit one stall for a delicious round artisan wholemeal loaf, and then the cheese truck, where I bought two generous hunks of Brie and Havarti for half the price I’d pay in the delicatessen. So Brie for lunch with a nice glass of chilled Pinot Gris.

And this is the dilemma. I eat because I enjoy food and savour the infinite variety that modern man has access to, unlike cavemen. It seems to me that cavemen – or Paleos, if I want to sound up to date- ate a vegan diet if you leave out the meat. I’d be happy to leave out the meat, but that doesn’t leave much nourishment for the likes of me…

I have friends who’ve become dedicated vegans recently, or vegetable strong, I think it’s called – but I don’t like the beans you need to eat in order to get enough protein. I also find the food rather bland, and I love my flat white coffee and my hot cups of freshly brewed lapsang souchong tea with milk.  Sometimes my flat white or my lapsang are the only things that keep me going! Paleo food with no salt, would be hard to stomach – p’raps that’s why people do lose weight on it!

But I’d hate to live without the occasional delicious pasta supper, or a tasty risotto, and what are potatoes without a little butter? No heavenly aoli, or the odd pancake when I can think of nothing else… no scrumptious rhubarb crumble, or soothing crème caramel, no lovely kedgeree or curry… no boiled egg and toast fingers for breakfast, no tomato omelette when there’s nothing in the larder? No hot buttered toast when all else fails? No,no, Paleo is out.

So how am I to combine blogging with a diet that doesn’t put on weight? Organise my time better, and get a pedometer is one solution. But that still leaves a self – indulgent diet which isn’t doing me any favours. My thoughts go back to my war-time childhood, when no-one ever got fat, and dentists had no patients, while rickets and crossed eyes from malnutrition disappeared from poverty-stricken slums. All teenagers earned the description lanky, no-one even had puppy-fat.

We all ate the same food because that was all there was. Being rich was no advantage. Go shopping without your ration books, or lose them, and you could buy no food. Ration books were stamped when you bought the necessities of life, while coupons which allowed you luxuries like jam or a tin of salmon, bully beef and the like if there were any available, were cut out. When you’d spent your coupons for the month – no more luxuries – if you could call jam, or cocoa a luxury.

We had five ounces of meat per person per week, four ounces of butter, two ounces of cheese, one egg per week. So little sugar that we had golden syrup on our porridge. Tea was rationed, there was no coffee, no chocolate – an orange at Christmas.We also had a small allowance of dried fruit in December, so as to cook a Christmas cake – they thought of everything!

If the butcher made some sausages, word would go round, and there would be a long queue until they ran out, and many times we went home empty handed. Bread went on the ration during the hardships after the war, so you couldn’t even splash out on toast then. Orange juice was supplied for small children. Milk was plentiful, and free for under-fives, so we had milk puddings galore. I know about this, because when I was old enough to go shopping, I was sent out with the ration books. This went on until the end of the forties, and I remember the day sweets came off ration in 1953, when I was fourteen, and I gorged on Maltesers.

But this sparing diet meant no obesity and healthy people… should I be looking at eating like I did when I was a child? Would it be possible to turn back the clock? Could I ration myself to strong cheddar instead of imported camembert? Sausages, instead of smoked salmon? Water instead of wine? Would such a diet be conducive to my blogging lifestyle? You had to cook back then – no pasta for a quickie,  and no ready- made meals or frozen suppers to whip into the oven when blogging has got the better of me.

(I lost another frying pan two days ago, mushrooms bubbling gently away in cream and garlic with fresh chopped sage and rosemary, to have on toast for a light lunch. When I remembered it, the mushrooms were just charred relics, and the pan was crusted with burnt everything else, and being non- stick incapable of being scoured – c’est la vie for this blogger – at the screen I’m oblivious to the real world)

So it looks like a pedometer and some plodding, plus self discipline, of which I have very little these days. But at least blogging takes my mind off the problem!

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

I’ve just perfected a recipe for sea-food risotto after enjoying it in my favourite riverside restaurant. In fact, I think I’ve improved on it by adding the herbs which give it depths… and it’s still a cheap meal. The one extravagance is making sure you have a few ounces of moist, melting smoked salmon – not the thin bright orange slices, but the smoked hunks. I keep it in the deep freeze. I always have a packet of frozen shrimps and prawns in the deep freeze too.

So chop an onion finely and fry in a little oil and butter until soft. Add a cup of Arborio rice or similar, and fry for a few minutes.Pour in half a glass or so of good white wine, and let it bubble away. Then start adding hot vegetable stock in small amounts. Chop very finely a few leaves of fresh sage and a small spring of rosemary and add to the rice.

While the rice is absorbing the stock, get  half a cup of frozen shrimps or prawns or both from the deep freeze. Let them thaw. (I’ve also used a tin of shrimps if I have no others) Chop the smoked salmon. A small piece is enough for flavour. When the rice is cooked, pour in half a cup of cream, gently fork in the sea-food, and cover for about five minutes. Serve with freshly ground Parmesan and a glass of chilled white wine. Paleos stay in your cave, rub your sticks together and roast your dinosaur.

Food for Thought

The first pre-requisite for education is a willingness to sacrifice your prejudice on the altar of your spiritual growth.

Luisah Teish, African-American writer, teacher and priestess. She is an Oshun chief of the Yoruba-Lucumi tradition



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Filed under bloggers, cookery/recipes, great days, life/style, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

72 responses to “Blogging and Eating !

  1. Thanks Valerie, I thought it was only me who was having this weighty, writing related problem. One of the reasons I have taken up poetry is that you can compose it in your head on the go! Invaluable for mums with younger children, and invaluable for the waistline. X

    • I’m just not on the go enough Michele. I do remember how running after small children kept me slim, long years ago!
      I envy you the small children for all sorts of reasons, not just the weighty ones!

  2. Oh my! You have made me hungry! It’s almost dinnertime here and we are going out. No Paleo for me for sure!

  3. Your story reminds me of the stories my grandmother told us growing up, Valerie. In the summer, a vegan diet is much easier since there is such an abundance of fresh fruit and produce available. I’m quite fond of hummus, nuts, and nut butters and those are good ways to bring protein into the diet. The weight thing has always been a challenge for me, and I gave up obsessing over it some years ago. As long as I’m healthy (and I am) and I get exercise (living in NYC, mostly I do), I no longer worry about it! xoxoM

    • Yes, I know what you mean, Margarita, but I’ve never been able to train my taste buds to like hummus more than once a month, and nuts and seeds don’t do much for me either… I came to things like nutella and nut spreads too late – no nuts in a war-time diet!
      I just go with eggs, and some shellfish, occasionally some salmon,..and unfortunately love pasta, potatoes and rice!
      nil desperandum !!!

  4. So true! Thank goodness for zumba. :) Though we do try to keep our portions reasonable as like you we love to eat but I still want to get through out front door!

  5. Byte by byte or perhaps megabyte–the menu calls and the wrong Windows beckon a Scroll instead of stroll.

  6. Anonymous


    I always snack while blogging or writing but I’m one of the people who don’t eat much and rarely any sweets. I’ve been watching my salt a long time because of a hearing problem I have. It’s usually trail mix or some such thing for me during the day. Oatmeal with raisins for breakfast with cinnamon and no sugar and then a tiny salad for dinner accompanied by hummus and half a slice of flat bread (no butter) and maybe about 2 ounces of chicken or fish. I tend to use all sorts of other spices, but rarely any salt or butter, and definitely no sugar.

    You’re recipes sound wonderful, but I rarely splurge away from my usual routine. I’m glad I hate to cook. That makes it easier.

    I know what you mean about getting carried away and shutting the rest of the world out while writing. That can be dangerous while cooking at the same time.


    • Hullo Sunni,
      How lovely to hear from you, how are the plans for a new home and a warmer place going?
      Sounds as though you’ve got your diet organised perfectly for you… our metabolisms are so different…and we all have to work with what suits us… Cooking for a husband and enjoying food does make life more complicated! I would eat quite differently if I was on my own..You’re right about combining cooking with computers!
      So good to hear from you, Valerie

    • Sunni, my comments to you on your blog are still getting blocked… doesn’t make any sense…this seems to be the only way I can get to you – do other people have this problem? None of the characters are illegal in my log-in, but they keep telling me that.
      So here’s my latest for your blog:,
      We all think he’s nuts! He’s a motor bike enthusiast, so in my husband’s weekly column, he’s going to suggest we ban all motor bikes because they’re noisy – he will say this will cut the road toll, and everyone will be thrilled not to have their noise…
      Someone else has pointed out that man-made pollution, tree cutting, motorways etc probably endanger native birds fat more than cats… so

      • Valerie,

        I had no idea you couldn’t post on my blog. I don’t know what the matter is because I haven’t changed anything and I know you could post before. I will look in my spam folder since Lee says he finds his comments there sometimes. I’ll see if I can figure this out on my end, but I’m not a genius with this stuff.

        Still place hunting for the “big” move, so don’t know where I’ll end up yet, plus there is a matter of a house to sell first and in this economy I’m not sure how fast that will go, although we have quite a view where we are. Maybe that will hit someone’s buttons.

        Yes I’m sure I would eat quite differently too, if I was alone, as would most of the other women I talk to. Most cook because of the men folk.

        I’m so glad you’re back posting from time to time.


      • Hope we do manage to make contact on your blog, other wise I’ll have to do it this way!!!
        Yes I’m posting regularly again now, about twice a week … couldn’t resist it, it takes my mind off the things that bother me!!!

      • Valerie,

        i didn’t see anything in the spam folder so I have no idea why you can’t post. I post on Sun and Wed, so if you try again and it doesn’t work let me know. There may be one other setting I can change.


  7. I really like salmon. Mmm dinner time here now ackkk! Good post Valerie

  8. Thank you, Valerie, for this enjoyable post and for sharing the sea-food risotto recipe. I’ve been on a diet similar to the Paleo diet, ie low carb, and it works, but as you note, it deprives one of the delights of the wonderful variety of food. Thank you also for sharing your war-time experiences of food rationing. Going through that must make one realize how fortunate we are now living in a world with such abundance and variety of food and wine.

    • Thank you, good friend ( wish I knew your name)
      Yes, the thing about living in our abundant world is that so many aren’t, and I wonder how with the increasing billions, our grand-children will fare. I wonder if a well balanced ration like that for everyone, with the built coupons for chosen luxuries may be the way to go in the future… it was good for us, believe it or not! Because we had no Macdonalds etc, everyone HAD to eat a balanced diet, and were healthy…..

  9. Oh boy, I know what you mean, Valerie. My spread finally moved me from being at the computer too much. I found a Walk Buddy – a woman who was in the ‘Hood and who had time available to do an hour’s stomp with me. We did that 5 days a week, but have now shifted to 3 days of aqua fit and 2 days walking.

    Once I’m away from the computer, I am engaging much more with others and it feels so much healthier.

    Otherwise, my addiction to many different offerings on the computer will keep me here throughout the day. Happily! *Shrugs and goes to finish vacuuming*

  10. Good to know I;m not alone Amy! I shall follow your example and get myself going… no walk buddies round here – they’re either young and working, or old (er) and coping with diabetes, cancer, husbands with Altz, and so on. I will walk alone… reminds me of the song… yes, I won’t walk alone ..I’ll take my blogging buddies with me!

  11. Is it not a universal challenge? :)
    It took me quite a few years to accept being Macrobiotic ( vegan, besides a piece of fish once a week ) is the best option for my small health issues, Asthma. But I finally had to and when I did, my life changed radically, as much emotionally as physically. But it was a long journey…
    Wishing you all the luck you deserve to succeed in your undertaking whichever one you choose.

    • How interesting that your macrobiotic diet sorted out your asthma..
      I’ve found as I’ve grown older that what my body requires or can handle is quite different to when I was young…and things like thyroid mean that cauliflower and broccoli are bad for me, while with arthritis, everything in the nightshade family is a no-no, including potatoes and tomatoes!
      Thank you so much for your good wishes, I really appreciated your lovely words…

  12. Then there are the necessities of life as a good brioche or a warm croissant… :)

  13. LizzieJoy

    Very entertaining as always, Valerie. I thoroughly agree with your views on food -what is the point of eating tasteless food that we don’t enjoy. I love the picture you conjure up of artisan bread and a chunk of brie -my type of food. And I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine, too. I think we just need to remember the ‘all things in moderation’ bit!! Blessings for a lovely Sun-day. Or is it Monday for you now?

    • Hello Lizzie Joy,
      glad you enjoyed it – food is one of the joys in life, isn;t it… and yes, moderation indeed – my liver is always quick to protest at anything else!
      Yes, Monday here, and a public holiday, the sun is shining and the sea is bright turquoise with sharp white foam in a breeze which always makes the horizon hazy, coming from the icy south…

  14. I definitely agree, when we’re blogging it;s like being sucked into the vortex of a cyber surreal nation, where how you look is less important than how you’re feeling. But reality is, that we have a life outside this box. In this world, ahem… ‘the human world of perfect body, retouched 12-year-olds plastic boobies and diet after diet’… how we feel is so much less interesting than how much we’ve trimmed up. Beautiful friend, eat what makes you happy and if you’re not happy then stop eating it. Ok, now direct your cursor to ‘shut down’. Valerie, step away from the screen… you can do it! It’s time to take a walk… even if it’s only to the fridge, that’ll drop a few cals I’m sure…., ha, ha! Much love adriana…

    • Love your thinking Adriana… so took your advice and walked to the fridge and took the last square of chocolate from it, promising myself that really is the last. Yes, our minds and our feelings are so much more interesting than our bodies….
      Lovely comment, thank you

  15. such an interesting post–I had no idea how rationing worked–I too am gaining a few pounds as I find both posting and reading blogs fasinating–yours being one I find fasinating

    • Thank you so much… I’m amazed at how many people feel the same – about food and blogging I mean! and yes, I love your blog – intend to get into the baked beans quite soon – what a wonderful way to cheer up a boring tin of baked beans… and the molasses – great start to a new life style of moderation, sense and sensibility!!!!

  16. If only we could figure out a way to lose pounds while blogging. It is just to additive to curl up in a comfy chair with a soft blanket, yorkie curled in my lap with a laptop to read. I think “tomorrow” I’ll exercise … but ‘tomorrow’ never comes.

    • If only! Yes, you’ve described the addiction perfectly… buy I envy you the yorkie… he must drag you out for some gentle exercise!

      • Actually …. no. This little girl barely weighs 3 pounds soaking wet. Taking her out would be dangerous (Hawks in the area!). She uses housetraining pads for her needs …. and never leaves the house. Her version of kitty litter!

    • Yes indeed, if only thinking made us thin! You’ve described the addiction perfectly, I envy you the Yorkie… he must drag you out for some gentle exercise doesn’t he?

  17. Your post made me laugh! Perhaps we should occasionally offer audio versions of our posts so that we can all catch up on each other’s blogs while walking outside :) But one of the joys of walking is listening to nature, isn’t it, so that’s not the best solution. Hmm, a tough one!

    • Hello Letizia , I fear speed reading made be the only answer!
      But you have a dog who takes you out, haven’t you… that’s one of my stumbling blocks- after a lifetime of walking our dogs, we don’t have any now my husband is so frail… the last one was a darling bull mastiff but so strong he pulled my husband over and broke some ribs… so when he went to the great kennel in the sky, we gave up on dogs…

      • What a shame; it must be tough to be without a dog after living with them for so long! Yes, it’s true, I get my daily 3 walks because of my Baffi- and even if it’s cold or raining, I always end up appreciating it.

  18. Like yourself, I gained weight, not while reading blogs for many hours, but when I worked at my computer for work 8 hours a day. I noticed as the 20s passed me by, the 30s were not willing to easily take the weight that I had not worked off! SO, I ate a lot more BUT different things! I gave up bread for cucumbers or lettuce as my bread and gave up pasta for only once a week. That alone was a huge sacrifice! At least the salmon is the brain food for you to keep blogging!

    • So good to hear from you.. with all your activities I should think the weight would have difficulty catching up with you!
      Yes, the cucumber and lettuce sound a good idea, as well as Linda’s mantra, eat less, move more…
      So interesting that so many people feel the same….

  19. Oh, my…you are living my life. I too have gained and have looked into the same diets. Interestingly I came up the same solution…eat less, walk more, and watch proportions…Really the only way I think. Besides that is what Weight Watches and other popular diets tell you, they will even send you food to eat in proportion. So I guess that is the less, move more.


    • Great mantra, Linda, Eat less, move more – I like it!
      I’m amazed that so many people feel the same… I would have thought all your busyness on the farm kept you up to the mark! And all those walks with Fuzzy and Boomer….

  20. I am just as guilty, when I do get up from the computer it is to go sit in front of my sewing machine or my comfy chair to read or crochet…sit down chores are the best! :) I do more walking in the spring until it gets too hot then it is back on my favorite chair in front of the a/c till fall. I love to walk on our bike path and take pictures, so I can still do what I want and get out and exercise. Thank you for the reminder to get up and go…

  21. Good to hear from you… had no idea that anyone would feel the same when I wrote this!

  22. I found the rationing idea actually works for me.
    In the sense that I still have everything I want, just in much smaller amounts. And I am not allowed to eat at the computer because I need to be thoughtful about my food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and flavour and recognise when my stomach says it’s full not when my mouth wants to stop eating. I still have wine and cheese when I want it. Even chocolate! I just don’t eat it all at one sitting anymore. :)

    • Absorbing subject, isn’t it… No I never eat at the computer, I think it’s a question of the ratio between eating and exercising, one’s gone down and the other’s stayed the same !
      You’re right about listening to the stomach rather than the mouth – or even the eyes! So good to hear from you…

  23. Very entertaining, Valerie! I wish I could say blogging made me put on weight – as with most things, it has the opposite effect. Skipped meals, inadequate nutrition and all the hard work that went in to the extra five kilos I gained a year ago? Wasted! Still, you make some good points about winding back the clock on the diet – the world might be more sustainable if we did that. Then again, maybe the day will come we won’t have a choice?

    • Hello Alarna , How lucky you are to lose weight … If I didn’t have a husband to cook for I know I wouldn’t bother with regular meals, but would eat when I was hungry, which is quite a different thing…
      Yes, I rather fear you’re right, the day will come when we don’t have a choice… the billions keep on growing… and we’re so busy destroying food sources with all our unsustainable practices, pollution and destruction….

  24. My mother told me the more weight you gain during pregnancy, the more intelligent the child would be. We both laughed because my weight gain was spectacular! But the weight came off quite easily after the birth. My weight gain happened at the computer when I decided to return to graduate studies in my early 40’s. Work, studies, eat, worry, eat, worry, eat,…. it was a real loop. It comes down to our sedentary life, of course. Our conversation with food is far from over. I am learning to have a more simpler lifestyle, which includes food choices. As always, you give us all “food for thought!”

    • I had Kate Middleton’s problem, and was a like a rake after my daughter was born – she was a good weight, but my skirt was falling off me the day after she was born and I was nearly a stone less than when I started pregnancy… the year after thalidomide no-one was interested in giving me anything to help when I was pregnant. I just carried a saucepan around with me.!
      However she seems highly intelligent in spite of my skinniness!
      My weight gain is now, and as you say, work … eat worry etc…

      What saddens me is the lack of knowledge about food which results in the photos of obesity in places like Walmart… problems which are compounded by poverty and lack of self worth…

  25. Valerie when I began to read this I laughed. I’ve got really behind on my blog reading this week and I’m sitting here trying to catch up, watching the time slip away because I’ve planned to work out before supper. Dan has bought cookies for desert and I ate a lot over the weekend too! For me I’d rather up the exercise than limit my favourite foods!

  26. When I started reading this, I knew I had already read it but what the heck, it still captured my attention so I read it again. Lo and behold when I got to the bottom, there was my gravatar where I Liked it earlier. BUT, I did not see where I left comments. I know what you mean about all the sitting and yes, the snacking comes along with it. My dilemma is the little nuggets of chocolate. Um-m-m? Just one…it is small…then, well, I only had a small piece, so another and you know how that story ends. Got to get off my booty before my booty gets wider than the chair!

    • Sharla – me again – catching up on old posts, and finding my negligence has defeated me once more…
      How funny that you found you’d read blogging and eating before!!! And yes, I do relate to the chocolate – and chocolate biscuits. That craving for a bite of something sweet, then you need a bit more and a bit more, and then as you say, we both know how the story ends….No wonder they say that sugar is addictive….
      I so appreciate your comments, and thank you … XXX

  27. I can relate to the sitting there and eating thing! Not good.

  28. Thank you Valerie for liking my (About ) l appreciate your time.You have a wonderful blog.Warm regards.Jalal Michael

  29. I might have the same problem.

  30. I’m right here with you–sitting! When hubs is here, I do lots of things, but when he’s gone, I’m a bit of a hermit, I do go to the gym but I also do a lot of not moving. I’m a vegetarian, but not a vegan and I’ve been one for so long, I don’t really crave meaty type things. Chocolate yes, sausages no! Great blog. I’m follow you now.

    • Great to hear from you, love your comments – agree on chocolate versus sausages… but I also have to cook for my husband….. Thank you for following my blog – I shall enjoy exploring yours too…

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