Somtimes You Feel Like a Nut….

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AaweekendherbbloggingA few years ago our insurance carrier offered complete physical exams and a health assessment at a special, and very good rate.  As our carrier at the time was BUPA, this meant that we would have to go to London to take advantage.  A hardship, yes, but one we were willing to suffer!

As part of the health assessment we had to record everything we ate and drank for one week. 

I was feeling rather smug about the whole thing!  After all, I prided myself on my healthy diet (or at least the parts I thought were healthy)  I ate yogurt with active cultures, nuts, beans, lentils, whole grains, lo-fat milk, lots of fruit and veg and a reasonable amount of fish and meat.  I used olive oil, rarely ate butter, didn't eat those 'other' fats and exercised seriously and regularly.   Mountain walks!  Golf on a very difficult course and I carried my clubs!

I was going to get a gold star!  Maybe even TWO!

'Your reasonably fit', I was told.  (Ahh, the British mastery of the understatement, I thought!)

'But your diet is terrible!'  Wha ?!?  I thought!  (Here is an amusing aside: Did you know that the only people (British) that regularly use the 'glottal stop' are incapable of pronouncing it?)

Oooops!, Shucky darn!  I hit save instead of draft!  To be continued……after I have fed me…

What can I say: the sun was shining for the first time in days, the dogs were running in circles and barking, the postman was at the gate, I clicked, I dashed and Bob's your uncle!  Half a post!  Back to my terrible diet—(got my garden hoed!)

How could my diet be terrible?!?  He must be wrong!  He was just a doctor, after all.  What did he know?

He pulled out the facts: more than half (as in over 50%) of my calories came from fat!  Sacré bleu!  This is not possible! 

Well, it was possible.  There are not a lot of calories in fruits and vegetables, I wasn't eating much in the way of grains (whole grain pasta, breads, cereal), and I was eating olive oil, yogurt and nuts, all high in calories.  If I sautéed some peppers, onions and potatoes in olive oil, half of the calories in the finished dish came from fat!  My breakfast was yogurt, dried fruit and nuts: almost all fat!  Toss in a handful of nuts for the occasional snack, and well, you can see the problem.

Since I thought (and still do) that my diet was basically a healthy one (though the good doctor obviously disagreed with me) I decided on a compromise.  I would tweak!  I stared using a wee bit less olive oil in the pan, a bit less olive oil and a bit more good vinegar in the vinaigrettes and alternated my yogurt breakfast with whole-grain cereal. 

But I wasn't giving up my nuts!  I love them and it's rare to find a food we love that loves us back!

Walnuts are are so amazingly good for us that I cannot possible describe it all here.  The short story: Walnuts improve cardiovascular health, improve the cholesterol profile, help protect the arteries, prevent gallstones, reduce the risk of weight gain, are a good source of melatonin and the high omega-3 fats help maintain brain function and protects bone health.  All that on just 4 nuts a day!

And that's just walnuts!  I won't even get into almonds (known to lower the glycemic-index of foods eaten with them), pecans and chestnuts….

Nuts are 'super' foods!  Maybe, just maybe, I was loving them a bit too much.  I did note the '4 nuts a day' bit.  So maybe my 'handful or two' was a bit of overkill.  I can exercise self-control….sometimes….

Salad with Warm Chevre (Goat Cheese) and Walnuts Chevresalad

1 goat cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olives
Lettuce for 2 small salads
Tarragon Vinaigrette

Prepare lettuce and put into medium bowl.  Add half of the vinaigrette and toss lightly to combine.  Taste and add the rest if desired. (I did – but it depends on how much lettuce you have.)  Arrange on 2 dinner plates.  Slice cheese into 1/2" (1.25cm) rounds and place on a nonstick and/or foil lined baking sheet.  Place under the broiler (grill) or in a 425F (210C) oven for 2 – 3 minutes, just until they start to get bubbly.  Remove from oven and place half the slices on each salad.  Sprinkle with walnuts, olives and serve.

Tarragon Vinaigrette

2 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
1/2 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp fresh tarragon
2 tsp snipped chives

In small bowl whisk vinegar, mustard and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in olive oil. When incorporated add herbs and whisk to combine.

One of the absolute best ways to enjoy walnuts is with a glass of vintage port after dinner!  That also rates a DO Award!

It's nuts for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by the recently well-traveled Chris of Mele Cotte.
Stop by her blog on Monday for the complete recap – sooner if you want to read all about her recent travels to Poland, Budapest and Vienna!

Bon Weekend!

22 thoughts on “Somtimes You Feel Like a Nut….”

  1. I am confused too, what part of your diet is not good? How could an english food eating person say that 🙂

  2. Ooooops!
    Sorry about that folks, I hit the save instead of the draft key then headed out to work in my garden. I shall explain all after my shower and lunch. Damn, I hate these fat-fingers!

  3. If YOUR diet is not good, I am afraid of what they would think of mine!!! Actually, yours sounds very much like mine! Add a couple glasses of wine a day, and we are pretty much twins!!!(I’ve been drinking more reds lately…not so much because I think they are better than a good Chard, but because I tend to drink them slower! An icy cold Chard just goes down far too easy!)

  4. Aaaah, Farmgirl, as to the wine… My (former) doctor in the U.S. had just told me never to have more than 1 glass of wine a day… and even that was pushing it. I told the doctor in the U.K. that. He said “Tell her to get a life, nothing wrong with a glass or two of wine a day” I asked another doctor friend about it and he said ‘well, as a doctor we always at least double what a patient tells us they drink…and expent them to double what we tell them’
    A long way of saying – I’m with you! I usually have a white or rose AND a red.

  5. Doctor’s – hmph! You keep doin’ what you’re doing, then let us know what time dinner is! hee hee!
    Thanks for participating in WHB!

  6. Hmm, but you are eating good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – we need fat in our diets to survive and thrive. I think your diet is right on the money, how you feel is what is important, and I feel great on protein, fat and veggies for the most part. I’d say keep doing what you’re doing, you only live once and there’s no use being miserable. I told my husband I’d rather lose 5 years of my life (because they’re the crappy 5 years that you’re in diapers and in pain) later than not live life to the fullest now.

  7. I’m laughing at the comments here! And not just the ones that came before you fixed it. Fat is my biggest weakness when it comes to food, and some days if I’m stressed I can eat an unbelievable amount of nuts. But I really think the saturated fats are the ones you need to pay the most attention to. I try to be careful about that at least (even on those days I’m eating so many nuts!)
    The salad sounds wonderful! I love everything you’re using here. Wonder if pecans are significantly less nutritious than walnuts? I love pecans more than walnuts, although both are good.

  8. Lannae, I have to admit that I agree with you, we eat much healthier here!
    Chris, we eat late (a carry over bad habit from Spain), around 10:00 – we’ll leave the light on for you!
    Columbus Foodie, I agree wholeheartdly with THAT sentiment…. ew, adult pampers, spare me… Johhny Carson once said something to the effect that do we really live longer (eating totally healthily) or does is just feel longer? Thanks for stopping by…
    Kalyn, according to the WHF site, pecans are right up there with walnuts – go with the ones you love!

  9. I agree with what Columbus Foodie said about the types of fat. I think your diet is well-balanced and healthy. And if your feel good about what you eat (& sounds like you are also keeping active), then I say carry on. I can’t imagine life without nuts and EV olive oil….

  10. You wonderful French people DO indeed eat healthier and better foods than we who remain in the States! And the wine, bring it on! I generally come back from every trip weighing less because I really make the effort to eat exactly as the locals do~works for me! You are so correct about the nutritional value of the nuts~then there is the delicious walnut oil. Your salad is generally one of the first luches I order when I arrive in France. Maybe we can share one someday soon….Cheers!

  11. Completely agree with all the above. I wonder exactly what would constitute healthy if your diet isn’t! There are so many things out there that are low/nonfat that are much worse than a handful of nuts.

  12. Yeah, one can’t give the doctors too much credence, after all. And I’m with you on the nuts. Love all kinds, but especially almonds and hazelnuts! The salad looks wonderful, and the dressing I must try, growing tarragon and chives as I am. Yum!

  13. Nora, I can’t either, and life is for living, Right? Sometimes I saute the nuts IN the olive oil… a little salt…mmmm
    Jann, you’re on! I’d love to share that salad with you… and a glass or two of wine!
    Peter, yes, in summer fresh tarragon rules!
    VC, I was looking at the lo-fat/non-fat offerings in the salad dressing aisle when I was in the U.S…. Is there anything but fake food in those things? Ewwww! (Okay, but I drink Coke Light… Ewww on that, too)
    Lisa, almonds have lots of calcium, too – another added bonus. Do try the dressing, simple and tasty – esp. with the herbs in your garden.

  14. I’m in big trouble if your diet is bad. Yikes!
    I did have to chuckle though… once you get a little too smug there is always someone right around the corner to put you in your place, isn’t there?

  15. Kristen, That’s for sure! Thank god I never let my pedestal get too high or I would really be hurt when I get smacked down… which I always do.. LOL

  16. Katie
    By the way how were the test results…I presume you proved him wrong and were in top shape.
    Your diet sounds excellent to me.
    You have inspired me to make a dish that I saw on TV Walnut Crusted Goats cheese sitting in roasted red pepper with beetroot dressing. Doesn’t that sound good

  17. Oooog, Gilli, does that ever sound good – post the recipe and pics, please!
    My test results were fine… Unfortunatly, I never saw the doc again to ‘discuss’ it – haha!

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