Tuesday, 1 November 2016

November 2016: intuitive eating


It sounds ridiculous: ‘intuitive eating’. What else have we done in the last few million years? How did we survive?
It’s not so easy anymore though. We are bombarded with advertisements for foods which were never meant to be eaten; for foods which were fabricated by machines. There’s wise - and well-paid - advise from experts who studied with other experts. Intuition has disappeared down the drain.
Only to be dragged back in 1995 by a book called “Intuitive Eating’ by Tribole and Resch, the “go-to book on rebuilding a healthy body image and making peace with food”. It all sounds too fashionable. Too American.
But can we, down-to-earth Europeans (yes, we are, and will always be, Europeans, whether we like it or not) learn something from this? Something we don’t know?
Here are some tenets of the book.

  1. Reject the diet mentality. Indeed. My attitude to ‘dieting’ is: don’t. See Thought for Food of January 2015. [1] 
  2. Listen to your hunger. Pay attention to your body. If you haven’t got time to pay attention or indeed to eat, your body, and you, will suffer. 
  3. Make peace with food. Restricting certain foods can lead to uncontrollable urges and overeating. People who diet often end up gaining weight, instead of losing it.
  4. Challenge the food police. Those experts who said that butter is bad for you have recently had to change their tune. How long will the advertisements for Country Life, Utterly Butterly and the like, go on lying to us? Till the stocks are all gone, the machines reprogrammed, and the people in charge have retired. Unfortunately they are cheaper as well, but isn't nice butter, eaten with a clear conscience, one of the good things in life? [2]
  5. Respect your fullness. Try avoid extremes of both hunger and being stuffed. Realise when food becomes less enjoyable and stop eating. That surplus on your plate is better off rotting in the compost, than wreaking havoc in your tummy. 
  6. Discover the pleasure of eating. Take your time. Sit down, pay attention, share a meal. Knowing that you can eat whatever you want, when you want, can help you to stop when you’ve had enough. 
  7. Try not to use food if you really want something else. If all you really want is sit still for a bit, read a book, watch the telly, you can do this perfectly well without eating. If you’re upset, go for a walk. If you’re bored, think of something new to do.
  8. Respect your body - yes, as it is, now! Don’t be too critical of yourself. You got where you are for a reason. 
  9. Move. For the fun of it, for the fresh air, for the change. Walking, dancing, playing, refresh you more than that gym. 
Much easier said than done! And better not take all this too seriously, mind, or it will be just another diet ….. [3]

Veg: Brussels, beet, sprout tops, cabbage, celeriac, celery (with stilton!), corn salad, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, salsify, kale, kohlrabi, landcress, leeks, parsnips, pumpkin/squash, rocket, spinach, swede, turnips, winter radish, endive, winter purslane, cavolo nero.
Fish: megrim, clams, crab, cuttlefish, mussels, oysters, scallops, whiting.
Meat: wood pigeon, pheasant, wild duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison. For (Christmas) game recipes, see www.gametoeat.co.uk/

Sow broad beans and peas. You can still try sow American landcress, Chinese leaves, winter lettuce and corn salad.
Plant rhubarb sets, autumn onion sets, spring cabbage. And garlic: it likes sun and woodash.
Give brassica's attention before the winter. Firm the soil around the stems, mulch with rotted manure, maybe support with canes. Pick off yellowing leaves.
If you leave veg in the ground, apply a thick mulch (straw, bracken), both for protection and to get them out more easily.
As ground becomes vacant, dig it over and spread manure. Leave roughly dug in large clumps and the worms will break them up.


½ red cabbage, 1 tbsp olive oil, knob of butter1 sliced red onion, 30ml red wine vinegar, 6 tsp soft dark brown sugar, 1 chopped red chilli or powder, 2 rosemary sprigs, 1 large cooking apple roughly chopped.
Halve the cabbage, remove the tough stem and slice thinly. Place in a pan with all the other ingredients, then mix in 300ml water and some salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover with a well-fitting lid and gently cook for 1 hr, stirring frequently. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. Serve alongside simple mash or boiled potatoes. Very good with pheasant! Or just sausages.

LIME CRUSTED COLEY (also called pollack, pollock or lythe) 
4x175g coley fillets, 2 limes, 200g fresh or 150g old breadcrumbs, 50g melted butter, salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil, lime wedges to garnish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grate the lime zest. Mix the crumbs with butter and zest. Cook gently for 2-3 mins, stirring until the crumbs are pale golden. Put fish in a shallow dish. Season and squeeze a little lime juice over it. Brush with oil. Pat crumb mixture on top and bake for 10-12 mins until cooked.

ESCAROLE SALAD (or radicchio or chicory) with ANCHOVY DRESSING 
1l bite-sized pieces escarole (or similar greens), grated raw beetroot, 2 minced anchovies packed in oil, 1/2 tsp mustard, 2 tblsp cider vinegar, 4 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil, pepper, 3 chopped spring onions, olives or raisins, sunflower seeds.
Mash anchovies, add mustard, vinegar and olive oil, whisking to create an emulsion. Add everything else and mix.

For more recipes, see the same months in the past few years. Or look at https://thoughtforfoodaw.wordpress.com, which still has a selection of 8.