Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Small changes?

You go away from a place for a while and expect to find things more or less the same on your return. Small changes are inevitable. The Cairo cafe has updated its wifi password so that it now ends in 2018 instead of 2017, keeping up with the year. The goats I see in one of the allotments I pass on my run appear to have acquired a new member to their little flock, a small brown goat, and the oldest goat has become a lot more vocal. Well, she was this morning anyway. And the sheep on the other side of my running path have lambs already - spring is clearly in the air.

However, you don’t expect to find that your favourite bread-shop, your source of local gossip, to have closed up in your absence. But that seems to be the case. The blinds were down and the doors firmly closed yesterday morning and again today. So either they have gone on holiday - unlikely - or they have shut up shop! What a disappointment! I had to go elsewhere and may have to experiment, trying different panaderĂ­as until I find a suitable replacement.

Some people might say we should not be eating bread for breakfast but good, fresh bread does make a very nice start to the day. Besides, I came across this recently: -

“If you never eat gluten, you will find yourself ‘allergic’ to it faster than you think,” Guy-Hamilton says. “When your body is not exposed to something for a very long period of time, that once-a-year bowl of pasta may very well make you sick.” Instead of forgoing gluten and dairy completely, try peppering in small amounts in your meals every now and then. “Eating high-quality yogurt or aged cheeses is a great way to keep yourself exposed to dairy while not necessarily eating it every day,” she says. “The same goes for gluten; a high-quality whole grain sourdough in an appropriate portion will do you far more good than completely abstaining and in turn, regularly eating processed versions of gluten-free products.”

So there you go.

I seem to remember also reading something a while ago about changing attitudes to exposing babies to small amounts if nut products to prevent nut allergies. Scientific/medical opinions change over time.

Another food related thing I found was all about the speed at which we eat. It appears that studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. So the people who eat slowly, chewing everything thoughtfully, become aware that they have had enough to eat before they have consumed vast quantities. Speedy eaters, who gobble down their food, shovelling it in as fast as possible, do not realise that they have had enough and continue eating more than they need. That way obesity lies!

Eating difficult food helps: they did a study with pistachio nuts. One group had to shell theirs, the other group received them ready shelled. The shellers ate fewer pistachio nuts before feeling full than the other group.

Having a good conversation over your food also slows down consumption. And, of course, eating more slowly allows you to savour the flavour more completely.

The writer Will Self, talking about how to live well, concludes: “All you have to do is walk a bit more and eat a bit less and you’ll be fine. And don’t smoke.”

I bet he is a slow, reflective eater too.