Monday, March 06, 2006

Magical Leek Soup

No I haven't gone into Narnia, but I have decided to do something about my weight. Given that it is now four years since the last of my offspring arrived, I no longer have an excuse as to why I am a stone heavier then I was ten years ago before I set off on this mad mother thing.

I'm not a big fan of diets, as I really think they are a no brainer, but over the last couple of years I have tried the Carol Vorderman detox diet, which I was crap at as I got bored. Last summer I also bought a GI diet book - having read at the end of my marathon training last year that Steve Redgrave followed a GI diet when training for the Olympics. What's good enough for Steve... isn't really good enough for me as I get so fed up following diet plans, and never have the right ingredients in.

So the other week when I was in Wottakers purchasing last minute pressies for the old man for his birthday (actually very last minute, I am ashamed to say the tables have turned and I was actually out on his birthday buying him presents, oh dear) and there was a 3 for 2 offer and I was scrabbling for a third book, a title just leapt off the bookshelves begging to be bought. It was called French Women Don't Get Fat, and I had read about it somewhere. The author apparently advocates chocolate, champagne and sex as part of a sensible diet and way of keeping thin. Hmm, sounds like my kind of diet, that...

Actually, what it appears to amount to is a French version of A Little Bit Of What You Fancy Does You Good and Everything in Moderation - two precepts with which I was brought up, which have rather gone out of the window of late. I do agree with her wholeheartedly about cooking proper food every day, eating fresh when possible and cutting down portion sizes, but helas, am unlikely to find a wonderful vegetable market outside my door, so can't buy fresh veg every day. I also can't see myself discussing ad infinitum the relative merits of different veg as she also suggests, but I'm with her In Principle.

Which is how I found myself embarking on a detox programme to end all detoxes. She advises reprogramming your brain to do something called recasting where you chuck out all the offenders in your daily diet (in my case the chocolate crap that I end up buying for the kids, and my very bad habit of finishing what they don't). Prior to recasting you have a "tough weekend" where you eat nothing but leek soup - or actually you drink the water leeks are cooked in every two to three hours and when it is meal time you eat leeks in olive oil. She assures me this will be so tasty it won't feel tough at all. Now I like leeks as much as the next person, and we have just celebrated St David's Day, so what the hell, I thought I'd give it ago. I am already an alcohol free zone as I foolishly decided that I would give it up for Lent in a desperate attempt to reduce my intake, so in for a penny in for a pound...

Sat started with the usual mayhem of ballet runs et al - made more complicated now as no 3 has just done a ballet exam and her lesson is at 9 am, no 1 is doing extra tuition (because as the appallingly pushy parents we are we are hoping she sits an exam for a rather good local school in the autumn - she otoh wishes to go the more local one with all her friends - guilty mum, qui moi?), so also does that at 9am. No 2 had her first reconciliation rehearsal at 11.15, and no 1 was back at the Fame School for 1.30. So I was out and about most of the morning. I therefore had time to force one mug of leek juice down my unyielding lips, because despite the author's assertions it really was pretty foul, before I had to leave. I managed, nobly to resist the siren calls of tea and toast at the local cafe, and then shot into town in between ballet lessons to buy some more leeks (I had dug up all the pathetic attempts we have grown in the garden, and I didn't have enough for the weekend).

I rushed back home shoved the leeks on, only to discover that Spouse had bought some too. Blimey I could have magical leek soup forever at this rate. He snorted in disbelief when he saw me eating the bowl of leeks I had prepared earlier, while the rest of the family feasted on white bread (very very bad for GI, I pointed out smugly), ham and salad. By this time I was feeling a bit peculiar. I wasn't sure if it was by dint of the leeks, my lack of sleep on Friday night, or the fact that I had a stinking cold. But refreshed, invigorated I certainly didn't feel. Rather the opposite in fact. By the middle of Saturday afternoon I cracked and ate a couple of slices of rye bread (Good GI, so that felt like I wasn't cheating too much), but managed to stagger through the rest of the day on leeks alone.

By Sunday morning the thought of leeks for breakfast was certainly beginning to pall. So I stayed in bed rather then have breakfast. That worked.

I had to get up sometime, though, so got downstairs to discover children in reasonable state of pandemonium. No one had had breakfast, and only two out of four were dressed. Spouse meanwhile was at the gym, and when he returned feasted on yet more lovely, gorgeous, crusty looking white bread, which was starting to call me siren-like. Hell, I hadn't been at this fasting business for twenty four hours and I'm hallucinating about bread. I am so not cut out for dieting. I don't possess the No I Can't Have That Gene, and I'm definitely not a French woman (in size or thought...)

I managed to get to about 2pm and then cracked. We'd run out of rye bread, so the white it was, which probably negated all the effect of my previous starvation. By 4pm I was thoroughly sick of leek water, and had a cup of tea when my mil arrived. Meanwhile I was preparing a lamb roast, and baking goodies for the children for the week, in attempt to prove to myself I am not a slave to food. I must have been a masochist in a former life...

My French friend advocates a small piece of meat and two veg for dinner that evening -never had food tasted so delicious. She also claims we often eat when we are thirsty so suggests drinking water when you think you're hungry. That didn't work at all for me, by bedtime I was ravenous. But at least I've sort of detoxed.

Today was meant to be a day of restraint, and of learning to banish my key offenders. But it was also the day I was planning to go the London Book Fair, where it is damn nigh impossible to eat healthily. However as we were late getting up and no4 wasn't well, I was running around headless chicken like till Spouse took the three eldest off in the car. So breakfast consisted of a slice of toast. So far, so good.

Mil had kindly offered to have the poorly one, but two minutes before I was to drop her off, I managed to knock a perfume bottle on to her finger, giving her a nasty bruise and blood blister under the nail. Feeling really heartless, I took my sobbing child to my mother in law's somewhat later then intended. Shades of my last bad mother moment when I went up to London for the evening only to end up in Casualty with a very wheezy baby, sprang to mind, but I had appointments to keep and Dammit! I only get out about once a year. So I went and when I rang later she seemed fine... Guilt assuaged for now...

The Book Fair was slightly surreal as it was combined with a Beautician's Conference. It was easy to spot the difference. Publishers marched around, wearing black or beige, carrying coffee, lugging briefcases and looking Self Important, whereas, beauticians had an average age of 17, wore crop tops, tracksuits and trainers, and sported unseasonably (and in most cases, unreasonably, considering the size of them - why am I worried about my weight?) large amounts of midriff.

Excel where LBF now finds its home evidently couldn't cope with this influx of people so at lunchtime a friend and I hunted in vain for anything to eat. Oh well, I thought perhaps I'll skip lunch (something not recommended by our French friend). However, when I nearly fainted through lack of food, I decided perhaps I had better eat something and managed to grab a houmous wrap from a shop with a marginally smaller queue. So, healthy eating was still on the up. I had failed dismally on the drinking front though, as I was two cups of coffee worse off then normal, and hadn't drunk the requisite amount of water. And by three o'clock, I was absolutely starving, which is why I succumbed and bought the kitkat which was crying out for my attention. (This is getting serious, now kitkats are talking to me....)

After my meetings were over I headed off home and spent an hour or so picking up offspring. No3, conveniently was brought home, but when I went to pick up no 4 from mil's she not so conveniently had gone to sleep. So I went to get the two biggest from their best friends' house, from whence I emerged half an hour later having promised no 2 and her best friend that when they have completed their bestselling book, I will send it to all my publishing mates... they will be so grateful.

Then it was back to mil's to pick up a rather sleepy and damp no 4, whose finger was still throbbing and looking worse then ever (Oh Guilt, thy name is Mother!). No3 hadn't eaten, so I shoved some food down her neck, while Spouse who had just got back transported grobags into the garden (it being nearly Spring we are in the process of getting our own crops going). And then I chased them all into bed. I haven't had anything to eat yet, but I know one thing for sure. French women might be thin, but I am never going to lose weight while I stay at home. Today (barring my failure with the kitkat) I hardly ate a thing. If I went out to work I reckon my stubborn stone would be gone in a month. But on the other hand, I also reckon what is left of my sanity would be out of the window. I have enough chaos in my life without having to pick up all the pieces at the end of a working day.

I just have to face it, magical leek soup nothwishtanding, that extra stone is here to stay...


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fiction_painter said...

you are one strong woman! i've only had the magical leek soup twice sofar (once today and once yesterday) and im already sick of its tastlessness!

Ana said...

Well, im on my first day of the magical leek weekend and i had to google something to make sure i was doing this right.. now i know im not the only one who thinks that leek soup is unbearably disgusting!
anyways, thanks for the funny blog. its helped.

Anonymous said...

I am also on day one of my Magical Leek Weekend (during the week, as I can't face the deprivation during my precious weekends!). Having just returned from two weeks in France (where, to my amazement the 'little of what you fancy' diet seems to have worked) have decided to give the leek thing a go as well. I can't see me lasting until tomorrow though!

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Allison said...

I'm ending my first day of leek soup 'recasting' and I was sick of leek broth from the first sip this morning. The leek 'salad' I enjoy however, I just wish I could add a tiny bit of salt to this food, but I am restraining (a lot of restraint) bc I am a HUGE salt addict, and I really want to cut back. I'm also eating a few pieces of altoids, I don't want onion breath. Anyway, thanks for the funny blog, and everyone else's related comments--good to know I can get through it too!

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Anonymous said...

I Was also totally bought by the French women's philosophy! Was just about to make the magical leek soup myself when I read your blog. Thank you for saving me the time. Screw the leek soup, I will have a liquid supper of wine instead ;)

play said...

I stumbled across your blog when I googled "leek soup diet results'. You made me laugh! I am venturing into shedding a few pounds & thought I would give the leek soup thing a shot. Ummmm in day 1 and actually not having fun at all! G;ad I am not alone on this.

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