I was officially off any kind of diet for this past weekend, which started on Friday, because that day I went out with my mom on Part 2 of my 4P mission (I do really owe this blog a proper update on that, soon, soon!) and eating is as much for survival and health as it is a social thing. So, I didn’t want to make any weird requests to fit a Paleo diet. Yet. I’m still reading up on it and I’ve decided to take it slow.
So on Friday I ate like this:
Late breakfast / brunch at 11am:
One egg fried in olive oil, with cheese melted on one slice of wholemeal bread instead of the usual two (this is how I take it slow; I reduce the grain by half). Downed with plain water (no sugar – score!)
Lunch at 2pm: Nasi Ayam Penyet from the hawker stall with some rice, fried chicken, fried tofu cake and cucumbers going to my mom, and I finished off the rest plus lettuce and tomato. I had to admit I felt a teeny bit of guilt and hesitance eating the rice (I shouldn’t be as my readings later on revealed that white rice is not as bad as grains). I actually considered ordering mutton chop without egg and peas from the Indian stall, but considering that I have no idea what goes into the mutton chop sauce (possibly lots of processed flavouring and colouring), Nasi Ayam Penyet seems like a more straightforward meal in terms of ingredients used to make it. Not to mention balanced, due to the fresh vegetables. Downed with mineral water (no sugar – score again!)
1.5 hours post lunch: One relatively small-sized, thin piece of home-made wholemeal chappati with a bit of dhal and a chunk of mutton cooked in tomato puree-based gravy. Downed with mint tea mixed with minimal sugar. (I am a bit sensitive to sweetness, even from something like carrots so I could tell the tea did not have much sugar.) This is the part where eating is a social thing because it would be rude not to eat what a host served – especially since the host is my FMIL.
Early dinner at about 5 or 6pm:
Small serving (about 2 to 3 heaped tablespoons) of Nasi Bukhari amal that I got my dad to redeem at Masjid Sultan since I could not redeem the coupon myself, with a bit of mutton (really small bit it was, since I had to leave some for my sister and the amount of mutton was disproportionate to the amount of rice.)
Interestingly, despite the short intervals between meals, I did not feel too full to the point of wanting to just sleep right after eating.
Saturday’s intake went like this:
Late breakfast / brunch (I started working on my wardrobe revamp in the morning and got carried away without realising the time. I wasn’t hungry too – I think my body thought it was fasting):
One chappati and a bit of mutton packed home from Friday’s obliging-guest meal. Downed with plain water, and then half a mug of warm soya milk made from the soya milk powder (shared with my sister, hence the half mug). We wanted to try it and I’m happy it’s not so sweet. There were 15 sachets in there so I told my sister since there’s 14 left, we could finish it in one and a half months if we were to drink one sachet each a week (yes, that’s as much as I would allow myself, seeing how soy aren’t as good as they’re made out to be). As it turned out, I don’t even need to consume it anymore as my mom took the rest of the pack and her own (unopened) pack of organic oats the following night to my 2nd brother’s place as a buah tangan (translation?) since he was down with lung infection. It feels like a double-edged sword; while I was glad I didn’t have to consume something just for the sake of not wasting it, having someone else consume it instead, knowing what I know now, makes me feel a bit guilty. Yet, I couldn’t possibly stop my mom from taking the pack (it would look terribly selfish), with the ridiculous-sounding reason that it’s not good for the body so I’d rather protect my loved ones and finish it off slowly myself, could I? So that was that, no more soya milk for me. 🙂 😦
Lunch at 3 or 4pm:
Spaghetti aglio olio with mixed mushrooms and carrots. This was a more reasonable serving than the last time I cooked. It was a plate full rather than a plate-with-seconds full. I still didn’t feel satiated so then I ate an egg fried in olive oil with not-quite-melted cheese. Plain water. 🙂
No dinner as I went to bed pretty early at 8pm or so; I had been up since 7 or 8am without napping, moving and folding / hanging clothes (while mentally cursing my shopperholic tendencies – more about that in another post) the whole time I was awake, with the exception of a few hours cooking and eating, then resting in front of the telly.
No breakfast. Resumed wardrobe revamp and simply did not feel hungry until noon.
One scoop (about 3 heaped tablespoons) of rice, one sotong hitam (squid in black ink gravy) – one squid equals one body and tentacles (I call them badan and janggut respectively) and sup petola (I googled it and it’s called luffa. Or loofa. Something like that.) Plain water. 🙂
Early dinner at 5pm:
Same as lunch. (I’m surprised at how I managed to refrain from taking more rice at each meal, as I usually take one scoop first, then if the dish is good – and my mom’s sotong hitam IS good – I would take another scoop, and maybe a third)
‘Supper’ at 9pm:
An apple and some mixed nuts. I know by right I shouldn’t eat past 7 or 8pm if I want to lose weight / fat because supposedly it is those hunger pangs that mean your body is burning fats from your body (according to something I recall hearing on The Oprah Show), but I was just feeling peckish so I snacked. Healthily, I hope.
Exercise? None for all 3 days; Friday was 4P mission-filled, Saturday’s Zumba class got cancelled because the instructor was on course, and I neither replaced it with Dee Dee’s class nor go for the one on Sunday. Once I had started on my wardrobe revamp project I couldn’t stop. It’s still not fully done, there’s still about 20% to go. Will post about that once I’m done.
Egg fried with palm oil on cheese partially melted by the hot egg from the pan, with a sprinkle of ground black pepper. Why palm oil this time instead of olive oil? Because I found out that olive oil gets oxidised easily when heat is applied to it, and is then considered ‘damaged fats’. Palm and coconut oil are OK for high heat cooking along with other solid fats. The following chart lists what other fats to use and not to use in food preparation, taken from this site, which explains why.
Lunch at close to 2pm:
A bit of fried bee hoon (2 to 3 heaped forkfuls) and 2 pieces of fried chicken. Plain water from the water cooler.
Snack at around 4pm:
2 mini curry puffs. Plain water.
I didn’t have time to prepare lunch in the morning, plus I had a forum to attend in the afternoon and I knew lunch was provided. The last time I attended this annual forum last year, the food served was rice with meat and vegetable dishes. I thought it might be the same this time, especially since the venue is within proximity of established nasi padang restaurants, but I was wrong. So I went for protein and fats (fried chicken) but limited the grain (bee hoon, though I think it’s made from riceflour, have to check that.) Of course that wasn’t filling so I had to have the snack.
Dinner at close to 7pm:
Fried fish soup from my favourite (actually the only one I know) halal Chinese coffeeshop! No laksa noodles, no rice, just plain fried fish with cabbage, tomato and seaweed in clear soup. It did occur to me that the fried fish batter is obviously made from flour (that’s grain!) but I had to have my fried fish soup since I was disappointed not once, but twice when I went to there previously because on both times, the fried fish soup stallholder balik kampung (literal translation: returned to his village) and had not come back! So yes, I had to have my ultimate comfort food, after walking all the way there from the forum venue, in the rain to boot!
Anyway, it did also occur to me that whatever fried things I consumed that day could have been fried in vegetable oil, but what the heck, I can’t control that can I? (Well I can, provided I cook and pack my food. Which I didn’t, that day.)
Tuesday’s Paleo FAIL meals:
Breakfast at 7.30 am:
Nasi Lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk, served with half a hardboiled egg, sambal which is a chilli-based condiment, some ground nuts and fried anchovies), some kampung fried rice shared with my 1st brother, and a cut slice of roti canai (Indian oily pan-fried bread made with flour, better known to Singaporeans as prata).
Fail, I know! Overeating and too much rice! And that bit of grain from the prata! The question is, why? Well, for one, I was in another country, on Part 3 of my 4P mission (this shall be the 2nd time I’m telling myself in this post that I’ve got to update on that). I was with my sisters, mom, 1st brother who drove, his wife and his mother-in-law. We went to eat breakfast at this place which by right should serve a variety of dishes (typically eaten with rice) and you could choose what you want in any combination and portion, and they’d charge you for what you have on your plate. By left, however, since we were there pretty early, those dishes were not ready yet.
What’s available were 2 types of fried noodles (kway teow and bee hoon), kampung fried rice, Nasi Lemak already wrapped in banana leaf and brown paper, plain rice porridge with condiments, eggs fried or hardboiled, pau goreng kacang / sambal (fried Chinese dumpling filled with red bean or chilli-based condiment), hot prata station and that’s about it. I took Nasi Lemak because save for the anchovies, sambal and groundnuts which I could take sparingly, the rice and egg are essentially cooked without oil (specifically vegetable). However, the rice was a bit of a disappointment. Somehow it did not taste as lemak (fatty? savoury?) as I expected it to be. I suspected that the coconut milk was replaced with low fat milk (the horror!) or it was just not good quality or not fresh coconut milk. I really hope it’s just the latter.
So what happens when my food is not satisfactory? I hanker to eat something else. As it so happens, my family’s the sort that would offer each other a taste of our own food; that way we’d get to sample many different food items even though we only ordered one for ourselves. My 1st sister (the already married one, whereas the other sister whom I always refer to is the 2nd one who’s not married yet) offered me a taste of her kampung fried rice. Obviously, after a few dismal spoonfuls of the Nasi Lemak, I wouldn’t reject something else. The fried rice was so hot (equals delicious) because of the chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli), I tell ya, I wanted more than just a spoonful. So my brother, after eating his own food – I’m not sure what – took a plate for us to share. My 1st sister wanted to have more of the prata from my 2nd sister’s meal, so he ordered another one for us to share too. And that’s how I ended up eating 3 different things in one meal. My only consolation is I ordered a glass of tea without sugar to down all that food.
Lunch at 3pm:
All processed food at my brother’s place when we returned; one piece of battered tongkeng ayam (I shall not translate that), one piece of Mexican-spiced chicken and more than a handful of fries. My only consolation was that they’re all air fried, so no possibility of (additional) vegetable oil there, and the fries were unsalted. And I drank mineral water.
An observation: when I eat lots of carbohydrates like this I get sleepy easily. I slept in the car all the way back home after that lunch, then continued napping at home, waking up after an hour or so only to go back to sleep throughout the night – kind of opposite to what we’ve been taught about carbohydrates giving you energy, isn’t it?
And then, on to today! Today today happy day! Why?
Ok beginning today til the next 10 working days or so (might be less), I’ve been sent to work outstation at
New Zealand this place with a word meaning ‘new’ in it. It means taking a different mode of transport and leaving earlier in the morning because not only is it further from my home, I had to report earlier than the late October / early November datang suka hati later reporting time.
It being a different routine, I was rushing around in the morning and didn’t have time for breakfast or even a drink. I grabbed a pack of the Jacob’s crackers before leaving but only managed to eat at 10 am, after the first part of the briefing. For the first time ever I voluntarily made and drank hot green tea (thank god there was an option of green tea sachet among the other instant tea and coffee 3-in-1s), and that was my breakfast. I didn’t need that much energy because I was merely listening and then ‘trying out’ the task that I had been appointed to do.
For lunch, I had to brisk walk for a good 5 to 8 minutes (yay to any opportunity to exercise!) to the nearby mall, where many food options are available, but if one thinks Paleo then that figure gets shrunk a bit. In the end I ate Caesar’s salad at BBQ Chicken, without any dressing save for a special request to have some olive oil spritzed on it after a bite proved the salad too plain. (Seriously, that shows the calibre of a chef; a not-so-mediocre chef would have provided an alternative to the dressing without being asked.)
It was just lettuce, hardboiled egg, boiled chicken strips and those small cubed hard bread (I have no idea what they’re called.) I could have ordered the main course, but what stopped me was: any chicken fried would have been fried in 100% pure olive oil as claimed by the restaurant, which as we know is not as healthy as widely thought to be. (The oil itself is healthy, but frying with it on high heat makes it turn unhealthy.) The grilled or bbqed ones were bound to be grilled with a sauce that has sugar in it. I was willing to compromise with something pan-fried, but it came with a choice of fries or coleslaw or mashed potato (all obviously processed) and I wanted plain salad vegetables to go with the meat but could not negotiate that with the restaurant, so in the end it was just plain salad without dressing. The hard salty bread helped to keep it interesting, and I felt satiated at the end of the meal without feeling too full that I start getting sleepy.
And get this: when I got back to the workplace and got started on the task for real, I was not fighting sleepiness! Neither was there any lethargic or fatigued feeling that usually ensues a typical carbohydrate-filled lunch! Happy happy happy!
I took a long bus ride home instead of the train. I had to transfer buses at the neighbouring town but before I did, I dropped by the supermarket at one of the malls. The plain Caesar’s salad cost me a mean $11 plus, and if I were to buy lunch everyday that’s going to cost a lot! So I had to start cooking and packing my own lunch again. A trip to the supermarket was due to get Paleo-approved foods. Hating crowds, I went for the one at the mall which is usually less crowded. Lo and behold! There’s a new FairPrice Finest! So there was definitely more choice there.
Here’s my food loot:
Skin-on garoupa fillet ($7.25), beef sukiyaki ($7.99), baby honey salad ($4.75), piri piri seasoning ($3.90), red and green capsicum ($2.34), sliced white button mushrooms ($2.45) and Freedom Range barn-laid eggs ($3).
Most pricey loot so far at $31.65! The fish and meat I plan to Happy Call pan fry with olive oil and the piri piri seasoning (which is ok because that’s on low heat, and on a different note I’m beginning to get sick of just Italian seasoning so yay for the piri piri!), with the red and green capsicum possibly grilled direct on the gas stove (finally got great looking capsicums, and Nom Nom Paleo lady did the grill on the gas stove before!) to pack for lunch. I might throw in the sliced mushrooms (saves time and effort) and the yet-cooked eggplant from my previous food loot every other day for variety.
The Freedom Range barn-laid eggs are damn expensive at 50 cents each, but I just have to know if there’s any difference in taste to normal eggs. Plus it feels good to know that the chickens that laid them had space to roam around just like, well, chickens! Instead of being cooped up in tiny cages and exploited like machines. The only thing left is to know what they’re fed with. And since the company that produces them is local, I could possibly get in contact with them and ask! I could even technically even visit to see the barn for myself!
I could pack hardboiled eggs with the baby honey salad for breakfast, or I could make fritatta with egg, capsicum and mushrooms!
Now, if only I could get a halal-slaughtered chicken from there! I spent some time looking at the frozen chicken range, considering whether to buy them as it would definitely be easier to cook (just boiling and steaming), and found that most of them are imported from Brazil! Now I have this suspicion on chicken from Brazil because I heard they’re reared factory-farm style, and even when slaughtered, a conveyor machine cuts them while arabic verses are played out loud in the facility! In other words, not respectfully and properly slaughtered by a person! Although some packs were labelled ‘hand-slaughtered according to Islamic rites’, they’d carry another label that states ‘all natural feed’ with a picture of corn in it. And corn is a grain! So after much consideration, I decided against buying such packs. I saw kampung chicken amd considered just buying a whole chicken to boil, strip off the meat to be kept frozen and to be used bit by bit in salads, while the broth can be kept as stock for soups. Unfortunately, the kampung chicken is not halal.
Now I’ve got the ingredients for breakfast and lunch, and what’s left is to cook! It’s either I cook the night before to avoid rushed mornings, or sleep earlier and wake up earlier too to do it. I hope I can do it!