Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End of June Update

I am so very glad that I started this diet because this first month has been so incredibly satisfying. First of all I survived and stuck with the diet. I think the main reason I stuck with it is because it is so challenging. I am not the type of person to leave a bag of chips unfinished so I personally need the extra challenge that comes with this diet to stay away from my traditional comfort foods.

I've learned how to make butter, whipped cream, cream cheese, feta, and yogurt from scratch. I've also learned of the importance of getting enough fibre in your diet and that there are many more choices of flour beyond whole wheat and regular white flour. I plan on building upon these lessons as I keep moving forward.

And last but not least ..... I lost weight. As of this morning I weigh 181 pounds ... I dropped 15 pounds in June. I feel better, I look slightly slimmer and I have more energy. I couldn't be happier with the results I see after only one month.

Where do I go from here? Pretty much more of the same ... I want to continue to survive, learn and become healthier (lose weight). Looking ahead in to July I expect that you will see me making mozzarella cheese, baking veggie and cheese quiches and for a little variety maybe a little goat soap making. So stay tuned!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I strayed from my diet slightly this weekend

We went to our neighbours for dinner on Saturday night so obviously my diet had to include a few exceptions. The point of this diet is not to be antisocial so I have to be flexible with my rules when these situations occur. I must admit that the menu was very "100 meter diet" friendly with fresh greens from their garden and a loaf of home made bread and a fresh mint tea afterwards. The off diet menu included green beans, potatoes and BBQ pork ribs with pumpkin pie for dessert. It was a very nice meal and a welcome change.

The rest of the weekend followed my typical agenda with time spent in the garden, some yard work and some time in the kitchen. I did manage to make 3 batches of yogurt but unfortunately the first attempt was a failure. I don't have a store bought yogurt maker so I had to make one. For my first attempt I put the yogurt pot on a heating pad set to medium and wrapped in towels. This turned out to be too hot and the culture didn't work. For my next attempt I set the heating pad on low and put it in a beer cooler for about 6 hours. That worked well. Four cups of milk seems to yield about three cups of yogurt. The process isn't time consuming especially when I need to pasteurize the milk anyway. I simply add the yogurt starter when the milk has cooled to around 108 F and then leave the incubator undisturbed for 5 or 6 hours. I ate the entire batch as a snack on Sunday so I had to make more last night.

I also made some feta cheese on Sunday. This time I added some yogurt to the recipe and the feta came out a little more tangy as a result. One of the things I love about making all of my food myself is discovering the connection that exists between different foods. For example I use egg yolks for noodles and the egg whites for angled cake. After making butter I use the left over buttermilk for pancakes. When I make cheese I get about 4-5 cups of whey. I use 2 1/2 cups of whey to start my pita bread dough and I freeze the rest of the whey for later. I love the fact that nothing is wasted plus the taste the whey brings to the pitas beats the flavor of any store bought pitas.

I'm not watching as much TV as I used to because I'm in the kitchen preparing meals. I wouldn't call it exercise but I am up and doing something. It is a lot more work but so far I'm not complaining.

I've certainly established my Sunday routine by making cheese and pitas for the week ahead. It doesn't burn a lot of calories but it does get me off the couch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tonight's menu

Tonight's meal was a nice one. Goat burger on a toasted pita and topped with feta and lettuce. I had left over sauteed yellow zucchini on the side. It was really good.

I'm really taking a shine to feta because it brings a fantastic flavour to such a simple meal. Before I make some more feta though I'm going to take a stab at making yogurt. I'm adding yogurt starter to my grocery list because so many of the more complex cheeses call for yogurt. I never knew that when I started my diet. I'm learning a lot on this diet and I expect that will continue.

Just to keep everyone up to date on my fibre intake ... last night Barb made red currant muffins using spelt flour. Each muffin should have about 4 grams of fibre. I've eaten more than my share in the past 24 hours. Barb saves the day ... again. Thanks Hun.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I need more fiber

Barb thinks I'm over sharing. She's probably right ;)

I used the trusty Internet to analyze my daily food intake and it's telling me I'm extremely low on fiber and carbohydrates and just slightly low on fat. I'm not sure what I can do to increase my fiber intake - the garden is a few weeks away from producing anything in quantity. I still have some frozen squash and zucchini but that isn't going to make a significant impact.

Barb suggested baking with kamut flour (10 grams of fibre per 125 ml) or spelt flour (12 grams of fibre per 125 ml). That's a big difference from regular white flour which has only 3 grams of fibre per 125 ml. We'll have to try some out in a muffin recipe .... sooner rather than later.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All I could eat salad weekend

Barb's enjoying a nice cold beer right now while I'm having a peppermint leaf tea. I can't help wishing I knew how to make beer. This is going to be a long hot summer without beer.

It's been a beautiful weekend with plenty of sun and just the right amount of rain. I got some gardening done and some work done in the kitchen as well. To top it off I ate really well thanks to our neighbours.

Our neighbour's gave us a very large bag of fresh garden lettuce on Saturday. I wish my lettuce was even half as nice as their lettuce. Now I know I didn't grow this lettuce myself but I consider it worthy for my diet. It was grown with the same spirit that inspired my diet plus I could really use the roughage. I've had several bowls of salad with oil and vinegar dressing topped off with crumbled feta that I made last weekend. It was the perfect combination.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Two weeks ago, at the beginning of my diet, I wasn't so sure that I'd like the taste of goat milk all that much. I had fears that it would taste gamey and that store bought milk was somehow better. After all, store bought milk is all that I have known. But this is where the subtle beauty of this diet comes in ..... I have no choice but to acquire a taste for it if I want any variety in my diet.

So I started slowly by only drinking a glass every other day or so. I drank a lot of water the first week as a result. But after working hard outside it was easy to come in the house and down a large glass of goat milk in a few seconds. That's when I truly began to appreciate fresh goat milk. It's no longer goat milk to me. It's simply milk. Cold, delicious milk.

I can even detect subtle differences in the taste of Lucy's milk each day. I assume it depends on what type of plants she's been eating. I wonder if I'll ever get as good as Napoleon Dynamite as a milk tester? If Lucy breaks in to the garden again and eats all my onions I'll let you know if I can taste a change in her milk :) I hope that doesn't happen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Things are starting to grow

We've had a very poor internet connection for a few days now. I'll try to sum up the past week in this update. So far my meal choices have been rather limited. Most mornings I've enjoyed french toast and for lunches have been something eggy. My dinners have been a little better since I had the Lilly burgers, curried goat with noodles and a simple chicken soup for this weekend. Barb's rhubarb muffins see me through the rest of the time.

On Friday night Barb made a special treat. It's amazing! She improvised the following using what we have available.

3/4 cup red currants (frozen from last year)
1/4 cup fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh goat butter
1 cup goat cream cheese
1 fresh large egg
1/4 cup white sugar with a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt

This will definitely be made again. It was way too good.

I can see variety just around the corner though. The green and yellow zucchinis are starting to form. There are also a few small green tomatoes on the vine. Unfortunately I have a new pest to contend with ... a mouse. I have traps out all over the place that I hope will catch him. He's eating my peas and some zucchinis. He's got to go!

To top off the weekend it looks like my attempt at making feta cheese worked. I followed the recipe ... for the most part ... and the feta cubes are now in the salt brine to mature. I'll give some a try in my eggs tomorrow morning.
I've been on this diet for almost two weeks now and I have a new appreciation for a varied diet. It's strange to say it but I miss ketchup. I am looking forward to making my own ketchup soon ... very soon I hope :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

She meant well ...

I trans-planted some rhubarb on the weekend and I had to dig up a burdock plant (bur bush) to make space.

Now I admit I was lazy and just left the burdock leaves on the grass near the newly planted rhubarb. So on Monday Barb saw the burdock leaves and thought that they were rhubarb and she planted them all nicely around the real rhubarb plant. An easy mistake .. they do look similar. She really meant well. She is really supportive of my diet and was just trying to help out. I appreciate the effort but I appreciated the laugh even more!

Organic Eggs?

I've been searching for an organic chicken feed supplier for quite awhile now and I finally found one in Guelph. We currently pay around $11.75 per 25kg bag of regular non-organic chicken feed. As you might expect organic chicken feed is significantly more expensive at $26.95 per 25 kg bag. I really like the idea of switching to an organic feed but I am not thrilled with the idea of having to charge more for the fresh eggs we sell to our neighbours and friends.

We currently charge $2.50 per dozen for our eggs. At that price we almost, but not quite, cover our feed and supply costs. Moving to an organic feed would equate to a price of around $5.75 per dozen. Would people pay that much for fresh free range organic eggs?

I think I'll give organic a try and absorb the costs for now. Our new hatchery chicks will start laying in September and I'll be looking for new customers by then. I think I'll place an ad on Kijiji and see if there is any interest in organic eggs.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ode to Lilly

I have to tell you something. The day before our trip out west we* took Lilly to the butcher. Her abscess flared up again and I had to remove her from the farm to protect the others from infection. Her meat is fine to eat ... I think.

* We meaning Barb. I've suggested to Barb that she start her own blog to chronicle life in this household through her eyes. I'd read it. Barb taking Lilly to the butcher has a story behind it. It involves Barb, Lilly and the school busdriver while Barb gets Lilly in the mini van. Ask her about it :)

So while we were away our farm sitters only needed to milk Lucy. Even with all that attention Lucy was happy to see us come home. She normally gives 3-4 cups of milk per milking. The night we got home she gave 8 cups. Unfortunately Lucy shows signs that she's picked up Lilly's virus. Not quite sure what I should do but I'll check out some options.

Anyway, back to Lilly. I have another confession to make. Lilly was on the menu tonight.
(I'm sorry you had to read it like that. It's best not to give a warning first. Just blurt it out.)

Barb made me Lilly burgers. They were excellent! Michael and Matthew even had a taste. It was bbq perfection. I had it with no toppings at all. Just with plain bread from last night. It felt like fine dinning.

To top it off. Barb's made me some rhubarb treats the past two nights. They are excellent as well.

Day two and things are looking good.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The 100 Meter Diet Begins ...

Today is the start of my one year journey on the 100 meter diet. On this diet I will only eat foods prepared with ingredients produced on our 4.5 acre property. Since I cannot possibly produce everything I need I will allow myself the following exceptions:

Some spices (salt, pepper, etc)
Baking powder
Sugar or local honey
Multi vitamins

That's it. Everything else I plan to raise, grow or make.

Since we've been away on vacation and just arrived back home last night I am starting my diet slightly unprepared so the meal plan for day one was very simple.

Breakfast was simply 2 plain fried eggs with a glass of goat milk. This was the first full glass of goat milk I've ever had. It was good. It tasted like regular 3.25% cows milk. There was no odour or 'goaty' taste at all. I quite liked it. A very good first step.

Lunch was equally simple. Pickled eggs. That's all I had prepared for day one.

Dinner was a bit more exciting .... egg noodles with a goat cream sauce made with pan fried spinnach and chives. It was decent but not amazing.

I'm making fresh bread tonight so I can add a little more variety to tomorrow's meal plan.

I've mentioned before that one reason for me undertaking this diet is to actually lose weight. By cutting out all the unhealthy 'crappy' foods I eat I hope to shed more than a few pounds. My official starting weight is 196 lbs. I'll post my weight at the start of each month to track my progress.

Day one wasn't so bad. I did miss my coffee though.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Heading Home

We wish we could take this beautiful view back to Ontario. Instead we have many pictures and memories of our time here to take with us.

My sister and her family have been incredible hosts and we thank them for inviting us in to their home for two weeks.

During our stay we had several good discussions about the 100 meter diet, this blog and where this next year might lead me. In the end who knows where this will go but I'm looking forward to getting underway and finding out.

To help me get started my sister taught me how to make whole wheat pita bread the other day. Once I got the hang of the correct technique I was able to make nice puffy pitas. I expect this recipe will get a lot of use over the next year.

We've heard that things are starting to get a bit crazy back on the farm. Some chickens have found a way in to the garden and Lucy the goat might have mastitis. We are anxious to get home and try to get things back in order.

Ontario has been under a warm spell while we've been away and many of the seeds I planted before we left have already sprouted. That's better than I could have hoped for since I was expecting that frost may have been an issue.

The diet starts on the other end of this travel day ... wish us luck!