Day One

For all my hype and posturing, Day One really doesn’t amount to much. It’s too early in the game for one’s body to realize that stuff is missing and instigate all manner of cravings. But it is the first day of the routine and that bears mentioning.

The morning starts with three boiled eggs and maybe a bannana or other fruit. And coffee, of course.

This may sound austere but in actuality it’s a time saver and a great boost of protein to start the day. It’s also substantial enough to last until lunch at least with a moderate bit of snacking.

As far as snacking, I keep a mix of almonds, sunflower seed, walnuts and raisins at work to nibble on during the day. If I can find beef jerky that’s not loaded with chemicals and sugar, I’ll keep it around as well.

This along with water or tea can sustain me through the day until dinner. Or I can opt for lunch, usually a salad or left-overs from last night’s dinner.

Dinner will usually be something simple and quick. I commute an hour each way, Monday through Friday with a couple of nights a week and all day Saturday devoted to pottery lessons or just pottery. This along with house cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing and general chores does not leave a lot of time to cook. Not to mention, I hate it. Cooking that is. I grew up in my uncle’s restaurants and learned how but I never learned to enjoy it. I’ll work on that, mind you but I’m afraid I have to start here with loving good food but hating to cook it.

So, with my dislike of cooking and a general lack of time, I’ve been experimenting as of late with ways to cook good, balanced meals in thirty minutes or less with a minimum of effort.

For instance, Day One’s dinner was baked fish, spinach and potatoes.

Baked fish is simple and under appreciated. I drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil and lay out two or three pieces of tilapia (a cheap, easy to cook fish), drizzle a little more oil over the fish and then salt and pepper. Or if you want a bit spice, get some Zataran’s Blackening Seasoning and sprinkle lightly. Good stuff with just the right amount of kick.

Bake the fish in a 375 degree oven for around 10 minuntes, checking at the 8 minute mark for flakiness. If you twist a fork in the fish and it comes apart easily, it’s done.

While the fish is cooking, I sweated minced garlic, diced green onions in a frying pan and with some olive oil then added a can of drained spinach. I let it sizzle for a few minutes and then took it off the heat. Salted to taste but salt is usually added to canned goods so I taste before I salt.

I cook with jalapenoes a lot and one would have been good in the spinach. Keep the seeds out to manage the heat.

The potatoes will be baked or if I’m really in a hurry, instant mashed. Add some of the Zataran’s if you used it on the fish.

I’m really on the fence as far as potatoes and corn. For now they are allowed but I may have to revisit the issue if I don’t get the results I’m looking for.

So start to finish, including dicing onions and mincing garlic, is around 15 minutes. Not bad. Very tasty and very satisfying. Not to mention very cost effective. The fish was around three dollars, the spinach was a dollar and the potatoes came from a box of instant that was around two dollars. A bunch of green onions cost a dollar. I used three out of the bunch. Garlic cost around a buck for two heads and I used 4 cloves. The olive oil can be expensive initially but it lasts a while depending on how you cook. I maybe used four tablespoons in the whole meal.

So it averages out to maybe around four or five dollars to feed three people. That’s good considering that this lifestyle has to be done on a budget.

And that’s the end of Day One. There are challenges to come but I fell into the rythym of the lifestyle with relative ease.

But it’s only Day One.

On to Day Two.