Senses

I have just started reading Bird Sense: What It’s Like to Be a Bird by Tim Birkhead and a paragraph in the introduction jumped right out at me:

The sensory system controls behaviour: it encourages us to eat, to fight, to have sex, to care for our offspring, and so on. Without it we couldn’t function. Without any one of our senses life would be so much poorer and much more difficult. We strive to feed our senses: we love music, we love art, we take risks, we fall in love, we savour the scent of freshly cut meadows, we relish tasty food and we crave our lover’s touch.

How many times have you gone shopping and bought something in a dark colour because it’s supposed to be slimming? It’s not just our stomachs that need feeding – I want to feed my eyes and brain by wearing bright colours, and dammit I’m going to! Since I’m shopping with my sister on Monday anyway it is now a mission to at least begin a rainbow wardrobe.

I want everything I do now to be about feeding my senses, and that fits in perfectly with my weight loss. Relishing tasty food doesn’t have to be about eating crap, it can be about eating fresh and vibrant fruits and vegetables and trying new things that you never knew you’d like. When I have my first cup of coffee of the day I don’t want it to be automatic, I want to think about the taste and the smell. Where I have it every day it’s all too easy to forget how much I love the aroma of coffee. I don’t want to take things like that for granted. It’s all about pausing for a moment and seeing/feeling/tasting/smelling/hearing what’s right in front of me. I genuinely love the food I eat on Slimming World, but how often do I just shovel it down without thinking about it? All too often, truth be told. So many tiny yet wonderful things pass us by without us even realising it.

In a nutshell my mission for this week is simple: pay attention!

I have tried a couple of new things already this week. I got some frozen aubergine and frozen courgette from Tesco, which have only just become available. I like the idea of having a variety of speed foods in the freezer for when time is short, because speed foods really do make all the difference to my weight loss. Unfortunately the courgette is very close to being inedible! On the packet it says to cook it for 7 minutes, which (let’s be honest) was never going to be long enough in a million years. They were watery yet still rock hard so I cooked them for about 20 minutes longer in all. Eventually they were soft enough to eat but still very watery, but worst of all they tasted awful, and nothing like courgette. I can’t even describe it! So that was a fail, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I was a little more optimistic about the aubergine as it was chargrilled so I thought it might have a little more flavour. Wrong! It was edible but really rubbery, and although fresh aubergine does have a texture that’s not to everyone’s taste the frozen stuff just doesn’t compare. So I won’t be getting that again either. I have some frozen stir fry veg to try too so I’ll let you know how that goes.

The aubergine after cooking. It tasted better than it looked.

On the plus side time saving microwave brown rice (syn free) is fabulous and cooks in 2.5 mins and it has built in portion control. I am terrible when it comes to rice and end up cooking enough for 6 people (but I still put it all on my plate and scoff it down anyway).

Another success was Linda McCartney Vegetarian Scampi Bites, which are 10 syns for the entire pack. I’m really not sure why I bought them because I never liked Scampi to begin with but they were actually rather nice. The fishiness of them is a lot more authentic than pretend chicken, yet not in an unpleasant way. I probably won’t buy them again though because the syns are just too high and I’d rather spend them on something else. Coming in Sunday’s shopping is a packet of Quorn Fishless Fingers. Again, fish fingers are something I wasn’t keen on before I became vegetarian but for some reason I’ve had a hankering for a fish finger sandwich. So that’s what I’ll have, in a Kingsmill Wholemeal Sandwich Thin as my B choice.

The Scampi Bites are top right (5 syns-worth), featured in one of those dinners where I just wanted a bit of everything!

This was last night’s dinner and it was absolutely wonderful. The cavolo nero was delicious and I haven’t had feta cheese in absolutely ages so that went down a treat. I’d never make a decent Masterchef contestant because I have totally mixed up my cuisines here and put the veg and Greek cheese with Linda McCartney vegetarian Hoisin duck and potato wedges. I wonder what the judges would make of that? But it was on plan and I really enjoyed it, so that’s all that matters.

Finally I also did something recently that I never thought I’d do – I bought some decaffeinated coffee! I always wondered what the point of it was, but when I know I’m going to need to have a sleep before work but am also desperate for a tasty Syn Free hot drink, it’s the only thing that makes sense. I was happy to find that it tastes just the same, too. So there’s another victory for Hayley right there.

Dinner time is now approaching so until next time, thank you for reading!

Hayley x

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