The Second Half

Anything goes. Within the bounds of propriety, of course. Welcome and behave, please!

Broccoli demon gets kicked out of cauliflower heaven: Day 4 — November 17, 2017

Broccoli demon gets kicked out of cauliflower heaven: Day 4

Alas, all good things must come to an end and this was one good head of cauliflower indeed! My grief is tempered by the gratitude I feel for the four excellent meals I squeezed out of it.

So, my esteemed readers, our cauliflower journey has come to its conclusion. In parting, I’d like to give you the recipe for one of my most favorite salads ever. In fact, this is what I usually end up making when I have cauliflower around. It will only set you back by a few minutes (when you exclude the time for steaming) and is a fantastic crunchy, creamy mixture I can never get enough of 🙂

Without further ado, here’s what you need besides the steamed cauliflower:

  • A cucumber
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes
  • Boiled eggs (I used three)
  • Parsley
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard

So, roll up your sleeves and cut the cucumber and tomatoes. The shape matters not as long as the pieces aren’t too chunky – just common sense really, you don’t want to use force to stuff them in your mouth. Then chop up the boiled eggs and add everything to the cauliflower, sprinkling with the parsley.

The dressing is the same we used on day three – mayo mixed with some mustard. You may have noticed that I rarely mention salt. I leave it up to you to decide if or how much you want.

And there you have it, the culmination of this cooking adventure. Granted, it didn’t require much in the way of utensil-wielding and pan-tossing skills, but that’s how I roll – minimum effort for maximum enjoyment 🙂

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey! I hope you gave some of these recipes a shot or at least enjoyed reading.

I’m off now to indulge in some mindless entertainment. Have yourselves a glorious weekend!

Broccoli demon outstays welcome in cauliflower heaven: Day 3 — November 16, 2017

Broccoli demon outstays welcome in cauliflower heaven: Day 3

Sorry, sorry, sooorryyyy! This series was meant to take a few days and be done with. Eyes will probably start rolling now, but I swear this is the truth: I got swamped with work, then went out of town for a couple of days and time just passed. In fact, I’m using a lull in the daily workflow to get this one finished and dispatched. Yep, I feel guilty, please don’t hate me!

So, let’s proceed. On day three of this cauliflower journey, there will be no cooking, just mixing stuff together. Well, apart from where you spend a couple of minutes to throw the cauliflower and carrots into the veggie steamer.

Here’s an interesting fact: for most of my life, I had no idea what tuna fish tasted like. I won’t start reminiscing about my childhood and adolescence, which were spent under an authoritarian communist regime. What I want to say is that many things were unknown in these parts, tuna included. Sure, we had fresh and canned fish, but no tuna graced supermarket shelves. At least the masses didn’t have it, the bastard commie elite may have gorged themselves on it.

The point of telling you this is to make it known that I have become a huge fan of tuna in recent years. No, I don’t start salivating profusely and acting strangely at the sight of it, but I do love it. Ergo, today you’re getting a recipe that features tuna. We’ll be having a salad of sorts, for which you need your cauliflower and carrot mixture plus the following:

  • Some canned tuna
  • Sweet corn
  • A cucumber
  • A few radishes (A spur-of-the-moment thing, saw them in the supermarket and thought it would be a good idea to throw some into the mix. My taste buds thought so.)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard

Do you even need me to tell you what to do?! Just in case you do, here’s the procedure: chop up the cucumber and radishes, add to the cauliflower, and then throw in the corn and the tuna. In another bowl, scoop up some mayo and mix with a bit of mustard. The quantities will depend on how much dressing you want and how mustardy you prefer it.

And here’s what you get for your efforts:

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Incidentally, I’m having another tuna-based salad for dinner today. Don’t worry, I won’t be forcing that recipe on you as well. In fact, my cauliflower head proved enough for four meals, so the next post will be the final in this series. Then I really need a change of theme or people might think they’ve stumbled across a cooking blog. Which they have not, I must point out.

Broccoli demon lingers in cauliflower heaven: Day 2 — November 6, 2017

Broccoli demon lingers in cauliflower heaven: Day 2

So, the Earth did its rotation thingy and a new day dawned on my cauliflower project. After the euphoria of day one, I felt like something creamy for the next round. My thoughts strayed to the two options I typically debate in my head: mayonnaise with mustard or blue cheese sauce?

Frankly, I stick with those because they are easy to make, especially the first one. I mean, you just mix mayo with mustard and you’re done! Sometimes I add a spoonful or two of yogurt, depending on what else is in the dish to keep it from getting too rich.

I decided to go with blue cheese sauce. Since that’s quite the extravaganza in my book, I thought, “What the hell, let’s go wild and throw in some mushrooms!” And that’s what I ended up with: cauliflower with mushrooms and blue cheese sauce.

Cauliflower in blue 🙂

All right then, you have your steamed mixture of cauliflower and carrots. You’ll also need the following:

  • A few mushrooms (I had five mid-sized ones)
  • A little butter
  • Parsley
  • Ground black pepper

And these for the sauce:

  • 100ml of cooking cream (mine came in one of those small cartons)
  • 50g of blue cheese
  • 50ml of milk

And…action!

Cut the mushroom up however you want and throw them in the pan, where the melted butter is sizzling and beckoning. My two cents: use as little butter as possible because there’s plenty of fat in the sauce. Of course, if your attitude to butter and similar fats is summed up by “the more, the better,” don’t let me stop you.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, turn off the heat, sprinkle with black pepper and chopped parsley and give the mixture a few good final stirs. Then remove the pan, take a deep breath and proceed with the sauce.

Did you notice how I gave you exact measures for the sauce ingredients? People who have read my recipes know that I have quite the disdain for precise quantities, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes you just have to do what you’re told. This sauce is a case in point. The first time I made it, my passion for blue cheese got the better of me and I plonked in the entire piece, which was 100g. I tell you, it was a massive waste of material as the sauce turned out too salty. I may or may not have cried in anger and despair.

Anyway, here’s how you make the sauce. Pour the cream into a pan and bring to boil while stirring. Add the milk and the mashed blue cheese and keep stirring until the cheese fully melts.

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That’s it! All you have to do now is mix everything together, give it a few minutes to settle and proceed to devour with gusto. I think I gave my cats a scare because I was practically growling while I ate. I probably sound disgusting…Maybe I should just keep some things to myself.

See ya soon!

Broccoli demon goes to cauliflower heaven: Day 1 — November 1, 2017

Broccoli demon goes to cauliflower heaven: Day 1

Those who’ve read my article on fruit and veggies know that I turn into a demon at the sight of broccoli, a fiend losing all regard for familial ties, any sense of propriety and basic human decency. Must-have-all-broccoli-no-touch-you-die…..that kind of thing.

While not as demented, my reaction to cauliflower may also seem unhinged. Domestic peace has endured due to the exceptionally fortunate fact that my son doesn’t much care for either broccoli or cauliflower.

What I’m going to do over the next few days is share with you how I consumed a massive head of cauliflower (not all at once, of course, I split it into several portions). These are concoctions I felt like trying out, but I won’t claim originality – it may very well be that some ideas have stuck during my frequent browsing of recipe sites. I don’t even know what to call them: some are neither properly cooked meals nor salads. What I can tell you for certain is that I found every single bite orgiastic!

To spare myself some keyboard clacking and your good selves reading time, here is something that unites all recipes: the cauliflower is steamed together with some sliced carrots and this is later mixed with the cooked portion of the meal. OK? So every recipe has this as its foundation. Quantities are entirely up to you.

Some of these combinations probably violate a rule or two or a dozen of proper cooking. I kindly ask you to note that I’m clueless as to said rules and I’m solely guided by my taste buds and intuition.

Now, let’s see what came out of my kitchen on day one.

Broccoli meets cauliflower in epic merger of near-equals 🙂

In addition to the steamed cauliflower-cum-carrots mixture, you’ll also need:

  • Some broccoli (I got the frozen variety because my store had no fresh broccoli right then and I couldn’t wait)
  • A cucumber
  • A couple of tomatoes
  • Chili pepper flakes
  • Cooking oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt (perhaps)

As I noted above, this is a hybrid of sorts. I may like veggies, but I’m not too keen on steamed ones; they are depressingly bland. But combine them with some stir-fried goodies and you bring a good thing into this world.

All you need to do is stir-fry the broccoli, adding the chili pepper flakes near the end. I love spicy dishes, but if you don’t, you can just use sweet pepper flakes. Mind the salt because the soy sauce has plenty of it.

 

broccoli flakes
Phase 1: broccoli done

 

And that’s all the cooking, I kid you not! I mean, involving heat and some stirring. Remove the pan, add the cauliflower and carrots and mix well. I suggest leaving this to cool before proceeding to the next step.

 

mixture
Phase 2: broccoli mixed with steamed veggies

 

Once the mixture has cooled down, grab that cucumber and the tomatoes and chop them up, in as small or as large pieces as you want, in whatever shape pleases you. Add them to the pan and mix carefully so as not to squish the tomatoes.

 

final
Phase 3: all done

 

What next? Just scoop some of it onto a plate, drizzle with soy sauce and tuck in!

I realize I’m excessively biased in this case, but I have to tell you I was stuffing my face to the sound of heavenly trumpets and angel choirs. It was all in my head, of course, and I plan to seek professional help. That said, I hope somebody is intrigued enough to give this a try and get back to me with a comment. Happy cooking, fellow broccolites and/or cauliphiles!

‘Twas a day of peppery pleasure — October 29, 2017

‘Twas a day of peppery pleasure

Remember a while back, when I shared with you the recipe for a fantastic meal? Well, I happen to find it exquisite, you may beg to differ. Anyhoo, I told you then I’d be back one day with the recipe for one of my favorite dishes and here I am. Sorry it’s taken this long but I had to up and cook it, you know, take pictures and stuff. And that’s just what I did the other day, which is the reason I’m now at my desk, pounding away on the keyboard.

Before we get into the swing of things, let’s give credit where it’s due. I did not come up with this recipe, uh-uh. It resides here but might not be of great help because it’s in my native language (Bulgarian). You can try with translation or you can just rely on me – I’ll give you my version but also tell you what the original says.

Now, this one is supposed to be a salad – you prepare it, let it cool and serve it. I’ll probably become the object of ridicule, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: I’ve consumed this in the prescribed way but I have it more often as a proper meal. You know, serving it hot with crusty, fragrant bread to dip in the sauce.

The second thing I want to note is that you’re supposed to grill the peppers and peel them. I tell you right away it’s too much hassle for me. I might be persuaded to grill peppers, but I do my Speedy Gonzales act when peeling looms. Besides, very few things smell as heavenly as frying peppers or taste as good. In other words, my version has the peppers fried.

OK, we’re ready to get cracking. If you’d be so kind as to look at the picture above, you’ll see the ingredients you need and realize it’s a simple meal. I have another selling point: it only takes about half an hour to prepare. Here’s what I invested in this cooking venture:

  • About 400g of chicken cut into small pieces (I bought about half a kilo but my cats decided they were in the mood for some. Mind you, they don’t much care for chicken, cooked or otherwise, but they were being contrary, for some reason)
  • 420g of corn (that’s what it said on the can)
  • 400g of peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 7 or 8 red peppers cut in strips (I forgot the exact number, shouldn’t matter much)
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (or as many as you want or maybe none, depends on your relationship with the plant)
  • Ground white pepper
  • Basil
  • Cooking oil

It’s all pretty straightforward from here on. Heat the oil and start frying the chicken. A couple of minutes will suffice because you’ll get to cook it some more when you add the peppers. Don’t let them fry for too long either as they’ll get mushy when the tomatoes go in. Say, 10 minutes max for the peppers, then on with the tomatoes and the garlic. That’s where most of the cooking time will go – give the tomatoes at least 15 minutes, adding the white pepper and the basil at some point. When you decide it’s just about ready, throw in the corn and let the whole mixture cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and you’re done. Congrats!

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Whether you serve the cold or warm version, I hope you find that half an hour time well spent. Bon appetit!

Why not? — October 27, 2017

Why not?

It’s been a month since my last post so you could say I’ve been slacking. Am I ashamed? Erm…not really.

And you won’t really be getting an article today. I mean, it IS an article but not the type I write for my own pleasure. It wasn’t intended for this blog but what’s the harm in sharing? Might as well use it to inject some life into this place. I’ll be back tomorrow with a proper article (I think). Cheerio!

http://appiral.com/how-to-fail-at-freelancing/

 

 

Special birthday girls, Part 3: B.B. — September 28, 2017

Special birthday girls, Part 3: B.B.

On this day, a silver screen legend turns 83. But what does it matter? They say myths are ageless and Brigitte Bardot is every inch a myth and then some!

I thought for a moment there to say “the quintessential silver screen goddess” but it immediately felt wrong. Oh, Bri-Bri is a goddess – no argument there or at least none that I care to hear. But she is too unique to fit into the confines of any description. Silver screen goddesses were thick on the ground during the golden years of cinema, but Bardot was in a league of her own. Besides, she never thought much of the profession and never sought the adulation.

What was the hysteria about then? Sure, she was insanely gorgeous, physical perfection personified. But then again, there was a horde of other actresses beautiful beyond words.

It certainly had nothing to do with her acting abilities either. Bardot herself once declared, “I started out as a lousy actress and I have remained one.” Film critics say she did well in a couple of films (Le Mepris and La Verite), but she is generally considered a mediocre actress at best.

I have to agree: she usually seemed disinterested and somewhat disdainful on screen, as if the whole thing was an annoying chore. This inevitably translated into wooden, forced performances. Bardot never claimed to love acting. On the contrary, she consistently voiced her dislike for the profession and vowed to leave it when she’d truly had enough. B.B. kept her word and bid cinema adieu in 1973, devoting her life entirely to the animal rights cause.

But this woman had a presence so powerful that you couldn’t tear your eyes away from her! She could just sit in a corner and sulk, stare vacantly at a wall, or smoke with a supreme air of boredom and you would still feel compelled to gaze at her, entranced and spellbound.

The magic of Bardot has virtually nothing to do with the quality of her cinematic work. Her films are mostly light fare, sometimes downright silly and occasionally boring to tears. But people kept flocking to watch her. Why the abiding fascination?

The pursuit of the answer made Brigitte the subject of cultural, sociological and feminist studies. Another French icon, Simone de Beauvoir, explored the appeal of B.B. way back in 1959 in an essay titled “Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome.” Here is an excerpt from that work:

“When Marlene Dietrich exhibited her silk-wrapped thighs while singing in her husky voice, she was casting a spell . . . Brigitte Bardot doesn’t cast spells; she acts. Her flesh doesn’t have the generosity that symbolizes passivity. Her clothes are not fetishes and when she undresses, she reveals no mystery. She simply shows off her body, which is in constant movement. She walks, she dances, she moves. In the hunting game, she is both hunter and prey. Males are an object for her, as much as she is an object for them. This is precisely what hurts males’ pride.”

Another prominent woman of French letters, Françoise Sagan, made Bardot the focus of a book in 1975. “She was success, money, love incarnated and she didn’t see why and who she should reimburse. She wasn’t ashamed of herself, she didn’t apologize for her absolute triumph whereas so many others apologized for their half-victories. And this is why she scandalized everyone,” Sagan wrote.

Brigitte refused to bow to conventions at a time when such dissent sparked public outrage and moralistic diatribes. This is a woman that the Vatican once denounced as the personification of evil by using her image at the 1958 World Expo in Brussels in its pavilion hall to depict suffering, hell and the devil, and lasciviousness. There’s an irony somewhere here because Brigitte remained a conservative at heart throughout her life. She was, after all, brought up in a wealthy Catholic family that upheld tradition.

Controversy has always surrounded Brigitte, nowadays mostly for her far-right inclinations and nationalistic views. Many in France revile her for her stance on immigration in general and anti-Muslim sentiments in particular. She’s been convicted several times of inciting racial or religious hatred. And while claiming to have many gay friends, Bardot has spoken some ugly words about homosexuals.

On the whole, the French have mixed feelings about their erstwhile screen goddess. Many hate her for the things mentioned above but many also praise highly her immense contribution to the fight for animal rights. Quite a few admire her refusal to follow in the footsteps of actresses her age who desperately fight the passage of time by resorting to cosmetic surgery and often end up looking ridiculous. Bardot looks every year of her age, all wrinkled and frail, limping along propped on crutches.

The woman has endured, that’s for sure. Her style has been copied avidly through the years, but no-one has even come close to the original. She was a being apart, floating in her own universe: an incomparable body moving with animal grace, a shock of blond tousled hair, a pout the likes of which the world had never seen and has yet to see, an unapologetic attitude, and a total disregard for the trappings of fame.

She has symbolized many things in her life, among them France, sexual freedom and women’s liberation. It didn’t seem as if she cared much about all of that. Brigitte often claimed she was happiest in La Madrague, her villa in Saint-Tropez, next to the sea, surrounded by her swarm of animals and away from people. They say that Saint-Tropez became the jewel of the French Riviera after word spread that Brigitte had taken up residence there. The city is now honoring its famed denizen by unveiling a statue of Bri-Bri on her birthday.

Bon anniversaire, Brigitte! Be well and stay happy doing your thing, even if that happens to be nothing more than feeding the animals in your yard and puttering in the garden.

 

 

(Featured image comes from Brigitte’s official Facebook page.)

 

WTF, Switzerland?! — September 19, 2017

WTF, Switzerland?!

Somebody in Switzerland can shit money!!! Like, literally! So far, the unidentified individual has pushed tens of thousands of euro out of their craphole!

Don’t suppose that fooled ya, did it? No, of course not. This is what a four-year-old might be inclined to accept as fact. There’s no excuse for grown-ups unless they are partial to mind-altering substances, in which case the idea of people shitting money wouldn’t appear out of the ordinary. So, let me tell you what all this is about and what happened in the aftermath.

Bloomberg (love you, guys!) reported this week that Geneva prosecutors were investigating how wads of 500-euro bills found their way into the toilet pipes of three restaurants in the vicinity of a UBS branch. For those not particularly interested in financial matters and the institutions that rule the market, UBS is Switzerland’s biggest bank and one of the world’s top sector players: it has operations in more than 50 countries and a global workforce of close to 60,000.

It might also be appropriate to mention that UBS has been involved in a fair share of controversies, some of them resulting in criminal charges. It was one of the financial institutions that held on to Holocaust victims’ assets and claimed them as its own. In more recent years, the bank has been accused of aiding tax evasion in several countries, violating US trade embargoes, colluding with certain peers to manipulate Libor and currency benchmarks, and quite a few other transgressions.

But it’s not my intention to hate on UBS. To prove that, I’ll also tell you that it consistently gets recognized by industry bodies, especially for its wealth management services, equity research, and employment practices. On the other hand, I didn’t set out to produce an article about UBS so let’s move on.

The bank had to be mentioned because the first discarded bills turned up in a bathroom close to a UBS vault full of safe deposit boxes. Within a few days, banknotes had made their way into the toilet pipes of those restaurants, the result being thousands of francs blown on plumbing repairs. Switzerland has no law against destroying banknotes but Geneva prosecutors believe the incident merits an investigation. UBS has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

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It figures that melted cheese (fondue) would be Switzerland’s most famous dish.

All right now, we know Switzerland is a rich country but come on!!! This was one of the first things to cross my mind when I read that piece of news. Then I got to thinking this is one frigging weirdo of a country. Cuckoo clocks, mountains, cows, cheese, fondue, chocolate, bank secrecy laws, neutrality during World War 2 – that more or less exhausts my knowledge about Switzerland.

Then the usual happened. You see, when I read something and it intrigues me for whatever reason, I want to find out more. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not always in pursuit of quality information – sometimes I just want to be entertained. I was leaning towards levity on the day I read Bloomberg’s article so I set out to unearth weird things about Switzerland.

Do you have any idea how many things are against the law in this country after 10 pm? I mean routine, run-of-the-mill things, not some outlandish activities. Check this out: flushing the toilet, taking a shower, washing your car, slamming a car door, or peeing standing up. Apparently, the first two are encoded in laws that allow interpretation. Come Sunday, don’t you dare hang your laundry out to dry, wash your car (yourself, that is; going to a car wash is perfectly legal), mow your lawn, or dump bottles and cans in public recycling bins. And forget about reciting poetry while you ski down a mountain slope!

You wouldn’t believe the passion Switzerland has for animal rights! In case you are considering a guinea pig, a mouse or a ferret as pets, you’ll have to get at least two or you’ll be guilty of animal abuse because these are social species. On the other hand, the country doesn’t seem to care all that much about cats, which definitely gets my goat!

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No guinea pig is lonely in Switzerland (unless its owner is a law-breaker)

Most of its weird laws are intended to keep Switzerland clean and safe. That it is and then some! It may be the only country in the world where heads of state and government members use public transport and do so without any bodyguards in tow. Mind you, this is a country where men have to keep their rifles after their compulsory military service. So, lots of firearms around but no itchy trigger fingers.

What else made me go “WTF”? Switzerland allows discrimination on the basis of gender, age, or nationality, as well as assisted suicide. It also has no problem with illegal downloads but sharing the content is a no-no (huh?). You can go nude or start a campfire in public without fear of legal repercussions. And if you happen to be a wealthy foreigner, you can haggle with the authorities to get a flat tax rate.

So, dear readers, I now have a wealth of more or less useless information about this interesting country. Allow me to take a minute to thank Bloomberg and Reuters, whose daily newsletters keep me amply supplied with all sorts of information. Some of them carry serious stories, like world, business, and financial news. Some deal with plain goofy stuff. But you know what? They keep my curiosity alive and very often provide me with writing material. Granted, this article may not have much of a worth but I enjoyed the research and the actual writing. And I think I now want to visit Switzerland one day and cavort in the mountains among the cows, munching on a chunk of cheese and reciting poetry. Since I won’t be skiing, I don’t expect to run afoul of the law.

P.S. Remember how the Internet went ga-ga recently over the “[insert country] Second” campaign? With Trump stomping his feet and screeching it will be “America First,” a swarm of countries began jostling for the second position. The Netherlands produced the first video, setting the tone and style for the rest. Not all of them are good, but Switzerland’s is, without any doubt in my mind, one of the top three. In case you’ve let this hilarity slip unnoticed, grab a spare set of undies and then check out how the country sought to win over POTUS.

Fruit, veggies and a bit of a rant — September 11, 2017

Fruit, veggies and a bit of a rant

No, no, and NO! No way! Really??! When does it end? Can we finally get a definitive answer?

Umm…sorry about the outburst, but it’s difficult to remain calm right now. I’ll try to explain as best as I can and then leave you to decide whether such frustration is warranted. Apologies if I get distracted and ramble some before getting to the point (which typically happens with me).

I’m one of those people who fight all their lives to maintain a healthy weight. I have no excuse such as a metabolic disease or some other disorder associated with weight gain. I’m a glutton, that’s all there is to it. I alternate between fat and slim periods, having the worst possible mentality when it comes to food: it’s either all or nothing (meaning no food at all or a total pig-out). In other words, I can do without but never with little. Shame on me! In my defense, I’ve worked hard on it and grown far more disciplined in my later years. Our bodies wear out and it will be awfully irresponsible of us not to take this into account and go easier on them.

I wasn’t much of a fruit or veggie lover in my youth. Not that I disliked them, I just never consciously sought to include them in my diet. Now I can’t go a few hours without munching on some fruit, grapes and watermelon being perhaps my most favorite. And veggies…You know, I might sell my firstborn into slavery if the world woke up one day with just one head of broccoli left. If my first (and actually only) child would not be enough to secure me that precious cluster of green buds, I would probably throw in my left hand as well plus a few toes. Yes, that’s how much I love broccoli and you couldn’t make me eat that in my youth even under pain of death!

 

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The veggie love of my life!

 

Even if you don’t care about the scientific rationale, you just know that fruit and vegetables are good for you. Your body tells you so, it’s why every person on this planet likes some fruit or vegetable. It’s not the case with other food groups: many dislike yogurt, meat, or fish.

Think back to all the slimming diets you tried over the years. Chances are that virtually all of them were heavy on fruit and vegetables. And they most likely included at least one day per week of eating only one or the other and nothing else.

In general, we have been taught that fruit and veggies are the definitive healthy foods and we should eat as much as possible. But it now appears there are no extra benefits to consuming truckloads of fruit and vegetables! Yes, it broke my heart! Incidentally, the study focused on “the relationship between macronutrients and cardiovascular disease and mortality.” In plainspeak, the researchers looked at the connection between diet and the occurrence of strokes and heart attacks.

A consolation of sorts is the declaration that these findings in no way suggest people with a passion for fruit and veggies should reduce the quantities they typically consume. It’s just that the benefits taper off beyond a certain amount ingested. Elsewhere, the results support the conventional attitude to carbs, which is to say this study is yet another one suggesting we cut down on them. People who love rich food may rejoice at the researchers’ conclusion that the consumption of more fat at the expense of carbs can prove beneficial for cardiovascular health.

So, a mixed bag of goods, this so-called Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study (depending on your point of view, of course). But does it invalidate the reason for my unladylike conniption? I don’t think so. It was simply an expression of the frustration I feel every time study results of this kind come out. What the hell is a person supposed to believe? Eat less fat or indulge in more? Carbs are good for you, some clever folks say??? Oh, wait, other clever folks just said they aren’t, dump that bagel immediately! More fruit and veggies, less of them, none at all…Increase meat intake for more protein, get your protein from sources other than meat…Aaaargggh!!!

Here’s what I have to say about the whole thing. As a rule, I don’t much care what the latest study has found. This one made an impression simply because it messed with fruit and veggies, but I’m over it now. In the end, it all boils down to this: it’s your body and if you listen to it, you’ll know whether you’re treating it right. If you indulge in more carbs than recommended but carry no excess weight and feel fit and healthy, who’s to say your eating habits are poor? And if your passion for thick, juicy  steaks doesn’t have you popping pills for your cholesterol or high blood pressure, then your body obviously has no problem with it.

Now, I’m not saying anything goes. There are still rules to be observed if you want to stay fit and healthy. I may be terrible at moderation, but I fully realize it’s critical for good health. It’s my firm belief that everyone should identify a dietary regime that works for their body. In my case, that’s fruit during the day and one cooked meal in the evening, sometimes just a jumbo salad. And no, I don’t go hungry! The good thing is that I can do without bread (no sacrifice really) and I don’t crave confectionery. In fact, I hardly ever eat sweet things, a bit of chocolate once in a blue moon or a piece of cake at a birthday party and then only if someone insists I absolutely must. Where I make sacrifices is with beer: boy, do I love my beer!

 

grapes
My knees go weak at the sight of white grapes!

 

No, I don’t care what you have to say about the importance of breakfast, three meals a day, or whatever you consider a healthy regime. Conversely, I don’t expect you to care about what I have to say as regards your eating habits. Perhaps we can just agree that each body has its specific needs and then proceed to give ours what they require.

If you’ll excuse me now, I have a piece of juicy watermelon waiting for me in the fridge. Have a great day and stay healthy 🙂

Special birthday girls, Part 2: Mona — September 10, 2017

Special birthday girls, Part 2: Mona

Buckle up now because a human tornado is coming this way! That would be the other birthday chica, whose name is Simona.

Most call her Mony but she looks and feels like a Mona to me. Mony is fine and all, but it’s kind of a girly, wimpy sobriquet. Mona, on the other hand, packs a solid punch and perfectly reflects the pluck and pep of the person. Of course, the association could be in my head alone. Whatever…moving on.

To this very day, it remains a mystery to me why Mona thinks so highly of yours truly. We used to work for the same company before plunging into freelance waters and she goes on about having learned a lot from me or some such. You know what I think? Beer is at the bottom of it all. Our shared passion for the frothy, golden elixir (we favor lager) tuned out to be a great foundation for our bond. Laugh all you want, but far crazier things have brought people together.

How should I start my introduction to Mona? Maybe by telling you that she is an acquired taste. I didn’t take to her right away and her intensity and oomph still send me running for cover sometimes.

You wouldn’t believe the force of nature this girl is! She fears nothing and no-one and pursues her goals with dogged determination, even if said goals are no loftier than procuring the latest pair of sneakers that have got her all a-tingle (she’s a sneakers fanatic, this one).

 

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You do realize that’s just a teeny-tiny fraction of her collection, right?

 

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How deep does her passion for sneakers run? She calls her favorite pairs “my precious”…Need I say more?

 

 

Mona is also clever, witty, loud, obsessively neat and frighteningly determined. Yeah, yeah, I know I mentioned her determination, but I really need to drive the message home!

Mona keeps going on about how lazy she is, but I allege that’s all a massive ruse. If she’s not working, she’s cleaning her flat or her car, reading, out doing stuff with friends, traveling to some place, having quality time with her angelically cute little girl, or sorting out family messes. I swear to you I get dizzy and exhausted just by listening to the accounts of her activities!

And Mona is a fighter! She fights for everything and everyone that matters. She fought like a champ for what matters most: life. Mona grabbed breast cancer by the privates and squeezed until the vile thing screamed for mercy and slunk away! You can’t help but be awed by such willpower and lust for life.

This girl is 18 years younger than me but I often feel like an immature brat around her. And don’t get me started on the debt of gratitude I owe her: Mona was the one who delivered the precisely timed, vigorous kick in the derriere that sent me flying from a dead-end job into a whole new work dimension.

Mona is a giver, plain and simple. She generously shares her time, energy and money, rushing to the rescue and tackling your problem with the abandon that characterizes everything she does. Trust me, you want Mona in your camp when tough times come a-knocking. Actually, you want her in your camp no matter what: this one is also great fun and a party animal the likes of which you rarely see.

 

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Striking a “moody, cool dudess” pose

 

Let me wrap it up by saying this: You overwhelm me, girl, and I mean that in the good sense! Sending you love, kisses, hugs and the best of wishes on your special day! Don’t ever let up because the world might go down the crapper if you do!

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