I'm back at home after a week of family get-togethers, catching up with old friends, and altogether eating far too much of everything, despite staying primal throughout the madness. So rather than bore you with a day-by-day breakdown of food, here's a run-down of the highlights:
The first dinner at the farm - rack of lamb, expertly prepared by my dad, and roast pumpkin with cabbage, spinach and bacon, expertly prepared by me.
Family Christmas #1, at a restaurant in Hamilton - 'roast turkey' with ignored vegetables...
... accompanied by a half-dozen natural oysters. Disappointing.
Baked oysters topped with tomato, ham and cheese. Much better, and made by me.
Introducing my family to haloumi.
The Usual but with salami instead of ham.
Another dinner at home with the folks - crayfish night! Served with cold meats and a range of veg I whipped up: bacon/cabbage/spinach, roast pumpkin, and roast fennel.
Family Christmas #2 - my contributions: date/walnut balls (same as Apricot & Walnut Balls but using dried dates) some dipped in 100% cacao, then in coconut,
Fruit 'n' Nut Cake (recipe coming soon!), apricot/almond slice (same mix as the Balls but using almonds instead of walnuts, and squashed into a slice pan) topped with 100% cacao,
& Choc-Berry Pie (topped here with date/walnut balls)!
I also brought along a cheese platter for nibbles, and was forced to provide crackers...
... and I also laid out a selection of date/walnut and apricot/almond balls, along with almonds and walnuts.
My main course. The 'salads' provided by the hosts were disappointing - scalloped potatoes, cauliflower drenched in white sauce, and defrosted corn/potato/pea combinations... So I loaded up on meat (there wasn't as much available as I would have expected though), and dipped into my cheese and fruit platter to fill the void, thus beginning my Christmas treat for myself - consumption of fruit! I also began an unexpected indulgence - Dad bought me some bottles of a low carb/cal/alco wine, so it became my beverage of choice throughout the following days.
The desserts were a big hit, although there was still a lot of food left over at the end of the party. We took everything home as the hosts had little storage capacity, and what this slideshow does not reveal is the domination of fruit/nut foods over the rest of my eating throughout the following days! Fruit 'n' Nut Cake for breakfast, date/walnut balls between meals... I've returned with a bit of remaining bloat, and a much higher number greeted me when I weighed in this morning! Let's hope it doesn't take long to shake off!
Back at the farm for dinner - a light meal of ham, boiled egg and veg.
The light dinner was followed by a not-so-light serving of Choc-Berry Pie, date/walnut balls and a serious heft of double cream.... Mmmm...
Boxing Day leftovers - roast lamb, cold meats, cheese, salad, etc.
Family Christmas #3 - a BBQ at last! I scored a perfectly cooked piece of steak, served with a colourful salad (I combined aspects of all the salads on offer, plus some nuts I brought along. Win!)
More crayfish! This time we had two smaller ones, so we tackled one half each, accompanied by salad and grapes! Grapes! My first for the year (and last for another 12 months! Oh, the stomach pain...)
A low-key dinner of steak, chicken, broccoli and roast pumpkin.
Picnicking in the Hamilton Botanical Gardens, lunching on BBQ lamb chops and Mum's crisp salad.
A brief return to normality - chicken and ham. My sore, bloated guts appreciated the respite!
The final breakfast at the farm - almond pancakes with fruit and cream.
A new experiment - Coconut Cherry Ripe Ice-Cream Cake! The recipe will be coming soon...
On the drive back to Melbourne, we stopped in at the home of some friends, who served us a surprisingly vegetarian dinner (thankfully low-carb, as I avoided the one dish containing lentils). I enjoyed a zucchini, asparagus and pea frittata, as well as some crisp cabbage with vinegar and mustard, and a Middle Eastern eggplant/tomato/onion dish called Imam Bayildi. Overall, a light and delicious meal, perfect for the 40degC day, but I was hungry again about an hour later. It was great to arrive home to my freezer full of organic meat and my trusty grill! Mmmm, pork chops...
Today I'm back to all-meat whilst my intestines recover from their fibre-shock. I don't expect to suffer too much Atkins Flu since I didn't notice any sugar rushes despite the heady consumption of dried fruits in the past week. We'll see how I go. The menu for the rest of today consists of cold meat (ham!) since it's another scorcher today. We're off to an NYE party tonight, where we're free to throw items of preference on a BBQ, but I'm hoping we'll eat before we leave.
My Pithy Farewell to 2009:
So, given that's it's the last day of 2009, and I began my new way of eating on January 1st of this year, obviously today has a lot of resonance for me. Even with my holiday weight-gain, I'll be starting 2010 a full 10kg lighter than 12 months ago. But the biggest change is doubtlessly my mindset and way I schedule myself. Food is obviously a major priority now, and nutrition/health is at the forefront of my mind for much of the time. This new knowledge has changed so many aspects of my life that it's hard to remember what I felt and thought as the ignorant me back in 2008.
What has changed thus far:
My size and shape
My way of eating
My ability to prepare and create meals
My enjoyment of food
My passion for local, real food
My food sources and shopping style/frequency
My fashion sense
My appreciation of fashion
My online activity
My online presence
My plans for 2010:
Widen my social network
Get back into dancing & singing
Develop my garden
Continue to improve my physicality
Starting investing in my financial future
Travel to catch up with loved ones and expand my cultural awareness
Spend more time outdoors
So there are no real absolutes in that list, since I am very happy with where I am today, and the hopes noted above are more articulation of where I think I'm headed. I want this list to serve as a reminder of my current priorities, and maybe my ideas will inspire you to consider various aspects of your life that aren't getting your full attention. At the very least, if I still haven't made changes in 3 months, this list can be a procrastination wake-up call!
I hope that everyone has found success in their endeavours in 2009, and that you will reflect on your positive outcomes whilst letting go of the various stressors and pain suffered throughout the year. I wish you all the best for 2010 and look forward to sharing your achievements and passions in the New Year.