May 23rd, 2011

hound of heaven

Over to you, Lord

Last year, I lost thirty pounds in order to make the proper weight for Philmont. I felt wonderful. I figured I'd gain a lot of that back over the winter, but I was not prepared for how quickly I gained it ALL back, and then some. Now, I find myself struggling with trying to lose weight again. I'm fat and miserable.

My doctor has been saying that I'm "pre-diabetic," which I've always assumed was medic lingo for "fat and middle-aged." But it's more than that.

I am not overweight because I lack discipline, or because I'm a slob, such that if I just ate a normal diet like a person with decent self-respect, I'd have a healthier weight. No, I eat a normal diet like a person with decent self-respect. Sure, there's a little bit too much snacking between meals, but I'm not fat because I'm a slob: I'm fat because my body can't handle the ordinary load I'm putting on it any more.

Which means that in order to lose weight and keep it off, I'm going to have to eat a very UN-ordinary diet. For the rest of my life. I'm going to have to restrict starches and oils more than an ordinary person would have to in one's diet. And I'm going to have to figure out what to do with the desire to stick something in my mouth all the time.

I'm a compulsive person, and the medium of my compulsion is oral. Quitting smoking years ago was a terrible trial, and having broken free, I realize that if I took but a single puff off a cigar, I'd be a chimney again within six days. But you can't just quit eating like you can quit smoking. Stress control may be important in all this (how you control stress in the pastorate is anybody's guess and nobody's success), but in the end, I'm going to have to find something I can eat, chew, or swig that doesn't overload my pancreas.

If I want to be able to take my little grandcub backpacking when I'm seventy, I can't be insulin-dependent. Extending the life of my pancreas means re-ordering my life in a profound way, something beyond merely eating healthy and getting enough exercise. I have no clue how to do this. But I've got to.
cook with fire


Deanne likes to use a Bread Machine, since her RA makes kneading dough too painful. I always complain that Bread Machines make loaves with crust you need a saw with a masonry blade to cut through. I suggested to her that soda bread would be even easier than messing with a Bread Machine. She replied that she didn't have any luck making soda bread; that was my specialty. Besides, she was avoiding using white flour in order to get more fiber and protein in her diet.

So this afternoon, I took her favorite ingredients and made a loaf of soda bread. It was awesome. Delicious. Hearty. Here's the recipe before I forget it.

Arthur's Hearty Soda Bread

3 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup bran
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, stir in milk to make a light dough, form into a round, flat loaf (add more whole wheat flour if it's too wet) on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on rack; cool completely before cutting.

(You can also bake it in a greased loaf pan if sandwich-style slices is your goal. I just like round loaves, because they're easier to bake in a Dutch oven. On a campfire. Like God intended.)

Of course, the ultimate test is to make it again. Might tweak the recipe a little, too. But I have proof of concept! It was dense and grainy, but still bread-like enough for a good sandwich. This bread is crying out for ham and brown mustard!