Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Great American Pickle Diet

"I think I need a new hea-a-a-a-a-art, oh-oh, I think I need a new hea-a-a-a-a-art, oh-oh!"

This Magnetic Fields' song is stuck in my head, and it made me realise, "I think I need a new po-o-o-o-o-ost, oh-oh!"

So, I'm going to post. About pickles!

See, every so often (like every time I step on a scale) I get on a health-food "kick". Meaning I decide I'm going to start eating this this and this and stop eating this this and this. Or sometimes I go so far as to sign up with WeightWatchers. But these kicks never last, usually falling to pieces upon the temptation of a huge slice of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream scoops or some other such blessing of the beautiful sugar.

But! Today is different! At least it's different today! I started reading a book - it's not a fad diet book, it's not even a diet book at all, but simply a, what Scott would dub, a Common Sense healthy eating lifestyle book. It's got real, believable ideas in it, with lots of easy, realistic recipes and "instead of" options. Instead of that chocolate bar, have a hot chocolate with skimmed milk. Instead of fried chicken fingers, have a poached chicken breast. Instead of soda, have fruit juice mixed with sparkling water. I can do this, folks!!

But the best thing is all the IDEAS it's giving me. I'm such a boring eater, and this contributes to me and Scott eating the same thing every day (curry, mostly). I don't have a food imagination. I can't come up with new ideas, especially if they are hard and take a lot of time (and ingredients I don't readily have).

For instance, I completely forget about sandwiches. When I think of sandwiches, I think of deli meat and cheese. Ick. Or peanut-butter-and-jelly. Yum! but not healthy. But this book makes you think of yummy things like avocado and melted swiss and tomatoes (which I don't like but like the sound of), etc. And it's got clever ideas about getting fruit and veg in your diet if you're unaccustomed, like blueberries in your yogurt or kiwi and strawberries in your cereal. Yummy!

But. The Number One Best Idea this book has given me, or rather reminded me of, is pickles.

I used to freakin' LOVE pickles. But pickles aren't terribly popular here, aside from spreadable pickle which is basically a dark brownish-purple version of pickle relish, and dude, that's just wrong. But this book just mentioned pickles, and I was ready to change my whole life. In fact, it was on the pickles that made me finally decide to get off my butt and head for the supermarket to begin my new lifestyle. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't find any pickles in the supermarket, until I asked a guy unloading fabric softeners for help. He pointed me to aisle 4, Organic, Sauces, and something else (I want to say Chips, but that doesn't make sense). There at the end of the aisle was a modest corner labeled Pickles.

Most were sweet gherkins, which are okay, but not what I was salivatng for. Then, on the bottom row, I spotted the oversized jar that said The Great American Pickle. Bingo! I placed the jar in my trolley, and seriously, ya'll, I nearly skipped. And I kept thinking how not cool it would be to skip and how I'd totally have to explain myself to myself about the skipping, but even as I thought of how uncool skipping is, I still had to stiffen my legs to keep my feet from skipping. Pickles!!

Maybe you're thinking, "Pickles aren't, like, THE healthiest thing in the world, woman." No, they aren't. But dude. I've been without pickles for YEARS now and had completely forgotten how much I love them. Amanda and I used to stock UP on the pickles. I think we almost bought the enormous skating rink sized jars a few times before calming ourselves and realising there would be no room in the fridge for such a jar.

What else did I get, you ask? (I know, you didn't really, but I'm gonna tell you anyway!) I bought Danone Activia yogurts (kiwi and peach flavours), strawberries, blueberries, bananas, WeightWatchers malted rolls, WeightWatchers ginger and lemon cookies, Go Ahead apple bars (okay, so those aren't fantastic but I needed something for the flight) and of course, the pickles. And two £5 tank tops, what?

And the pickles - I fully intended to eat one when I got home, but I'd bought a new carton of milk and there was just a little left in the old one so I finished that off and by the time I drank that, I realised how totally gross a pickle would taste after milk.

Which makes this moment so much more special. I shall now crunch into the very first Great American Pickle:

* * * * * YUM! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! * * * * * *

Ok so they are SO NOT The Great American Pickle, as they are incredibly sweet and not dill-y at all, but they are so good anyway! And they compliment my Leicester cheddar sandwich on a malted roll perfectly!!

I think this kick is going to last about six pickles longer!

(The banana in my Sultana Bran (yes, Kellogg's over here calls it "Sultana Bran" instead of "Raisin Bran" because British people don't eat raisins apparently, nor do they eat grapes, but blackcurrants. Whatever.) and the handful of blueberries and strawberries made for a fantastic breakfast.)

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