Sunday, 26 March 2017

Laetare, Ierusalem!

Hooray! It is Laetare Sunday--a Rose Sunday--and that means Lent is drawing to a close. At least, we are two-thirds of the way through, and tradition calls for a celebration. In days of yore Benedict Ambrose and I went to (or hosted) a dinner party featuring pink foods (like barszcz, ham and strawberry fool) and pink alcohol of varying quality. Since then we have become more abstemious and more prone to going to bed unsociably early, so today we had just had a late lunch at Edinburgh's Bar Napoli.

Another reason for celebration and thanksgiving: yesterday was Edinburgh's first warm day in weeks and weeks or months and months. B.A. and I carried folding chairs to the top of the Historical House's rather grand porch and basked in the sun. (I basked under my giant green straw hat.) The sky was as blue and cloudless as Our Lady's mantel, which was apt as yesterday was Lady Day.

But back to Bar Napoli, where B.A. and I shared a plate of calamari before B.A. tucked into a bowl of spaghetti carbonara and I chowed down on scallopini con limone. I also ordered a Big Glass of House Red, which was wild and crazy for me these days whereas B.A. made do with the bottle of sparkling mineral water. We were prepared to go without vegetables, but to our surprise, the waiter brought a side dish of green beans and cooked potato halves.

I was happy to see the green beans, but dubious about the potatoes as I have not eaten a potato since long before Ash Wednesday. However, I forked up an experimental piece of potato, and it was heavenly. Simply heavenly. We think it was roasted in garlic butter. Although we looked at the dessert menu, I decided that I would rather have another piece of buttery, garlicky potato instead.

Since it is Laetare Sunday and we may be frivolous, I shall reveal that I have lost 13 pounds since I weighed myself at my parents' house in Toronto circa February 15. I know this because I finally went out and bought a new bathroom scale, not only to how much weight I was losing, but to make sure B.A. wasn't losing too much. I am also--as you see--still alive after five weeks of eating approximately 800 calories a day--although I put this down to the fact that the most exercise I do is walk to the supermarket and back (2.4 miles, 1.2 miles with a knapsack full of groceries). Do not attempt this if you live in an agrarian society, work in a factory or find yourself in the gulag.

Five weeks of living on such a ridiculously low number of calories has its lessons. I should write them all up and sell them to a magazine. But here are some freebee observations:

1. When you have not eaten a potato or anything made of potatoes for five weeks (or more), a potato roasted in garlic butter is like CANDY. It is CANDY.

2. Real candy seems rather pointless and disgusting. The thought of a box of chocolates--even high-end ones like, say, Godiva--leaves me cold. THE most amazing sweetmeats in existence--as you can be sure I have told B.A.--are soft DATES stuffed with WALNUT HALVES. There was a day a week or two ago in which I went over ye olde 800 calorie limit because I kept filling the dates I bought for B.A. with walnut halves and then guiltily eating them.

When Easter comes, I hope B.A. painstakingly replaces the stones of dates with walnut halves, sticks the dates in ruffles, puts them in a fancy box and presents them to me as a gift. I recommend this also for our wedding anniversary, Christmas, my birthday and Valentine's Day. (He can reuse the fancy box.)

3. When on the Blood Sugar Diet, keep dates out of the house.

4. After a while, you do get used to the following:

a) eating breakfast very late
b) having only coffee for breakfast
c) never snacking
d) never eating bread, potatoes or rice or any prepared food
e) going for hours and hours without food

You never get used to eating only 800 calories a day, however.

5. The higher in cocoa dark chocolate is, the higher in calories it is. Cocoa fat is higher in calories than sugar. However, sugar is STILL worse for you than cocoa fat. Ponder the mystery and eat only one square at a sitting, preferably as part of your incomplete supper.

6.  There is absolutely nothing like eating when you are actually hungry, not to mention hungry and tired. When you eat lunch and feel like it has actually made a new woman out of you--that's a great feeling. Those Eastern Christians sure know what they're doing when they fast like it's 999.

Update: I have been reading up on dates. Apparently they are 60% fructrose or something ridiculous like that, so perhaps it would be a bad idea to eat more than one or two of my Date-Walnut Sweetmeats a day. Interestingly, they would be about 34 calories each; a square of 85% dark chocolate is about 52.


  1. If you are not squeamish about prunes, they might work for you. They taste really good, and their glycemic index and percent sugar content is lower than the figure you quoted for dates. Prunes can be stuffed with a walnut too, or with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon for an old-fashioned but tasty cocktail snack.


  2. Sauteed apples are my favorite treat these days. Not low calorie for you, but absolutely delicious and only the sugar from an apple.

  3. I should try prunes. Meanwhile, I'm down another pound and a half. This is really working--and without all the boredom and stress of a gym. After Easter I'm going to take a Pilates class again because I really enjoy Pilates, but so far eating woefully small (but incredibly healthy, bulked out with veg) meals (and never snacks) is working out beautifully.

  4. How many more weeks until the diet is done?

    Personally, I love dates. I try to avoid added sugar. I've enjoyed reading all of your blogs, but not a huge fan of diets in general.

    1. Ironically, the diet ends on Good Friday (I'll keep going until Easter Sunday, however!) I have lost about 20 lbs since I weighed myself on my parents' scale in February and said, "Uh oh.!