Monday, May 24, 2010

One day a week

I've been getting on my soapbox a lot lately, because I lost a lot of weight recently, and people are noticing. They ask me how I did it, and my response is "by eating."

You heard that right, I lost weight by eating. I never set out to lose weight, and didn't care that much, as I wasn't terribly overweight for someone of my age (BMI 29, now down to 25). But in March, I started eating SLOW- seasonal, local, organic, whole. I actually increased the percentage of animal fat in my diet, without increasing the amount of animal products I eat. So- whole milk and whole milk products, grass-fed beef, sustainably farmed chicken, with !gasp! the skin on. I stopped buying food with ingredients, and have been making my own everything: crackers, salad dressing, bread, jam, mayonnaise, you name it.

I have not been eating any less. By eating SLOW and other efforts (walking a lot more, expanding my garden) I reduced my family's carbon footprint by an entire planet.

And when I tell people this story, the responses are predictable-- too expensive, don't have time, don't know how to cook, my kids won't eat like that (why, do they have an independent income for their own food?) and on and on.

So here is MY challenge-- change your eating one day a week.

Just one day.

Do you eat out all the time? Start cooking from scratch one day. I'll let you buy pasta, but make your own tomato sauce, and buy your lettuce in a head instead of a bag. Use oil and vinegar instead of additive-rich purchased dressing. Just for one day a week.

Do you already cook from scratch one day a week? Pick another day, and eat only seasonal, whole foods that day. I'll let you go to Whole Foods (if you must) or another aware market, and buy strawberry preserves in March, as long as they're organic. I'll let you buy pasta, but read the label and make sure it says "semolina flour, water" and nothing else.

Already doing that too? Make bread. Or jam. Or crackers (they're ridiculously easy, look for my recipe on this blog). Roast a chicken. Don't worry how it turns out the first couple of times, you're only doing this once a week, remember? Do you bake a lot? One day, don't use the mixer-save the electricity and do it by hand.

How often do you go to the grocery store? One day a week, right? Go to the local, organic market instead, or the nearest farmers' market, or Whole Foods if you must. Too expensive? It's only one day a week!

Are you like me, and way into this already? You can change yourself, and your family, and your planet one day a week as well. Eat vegetarian one day a week. Already doing that? Eat vegan one day a week (that's where I've gotten). Already doing that? Eat raw one day a week.

If you've taken your food as far as you're comfortable, then take your one day a week and walk everywhere. Use it to donate time to a community or school garden, or a political action group. Grow a tomato plant- that's way less effort than one day a week, and then use your day at harvest time to preserve the bounty. Use your day to write your elected officials and demand recycling, the end of Big Ag subsidies and work arounds, and fair rules for small family farms.

I believe it. I lost 25 pounds with literally no effort toward that goal. We can save the planet, folks. What will you do one day a week?

And yes, I know it's sconeday, one day a week. Here you go:

Rhubarb Cream Scones
(adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, who adapted it from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 cups diced rhubarb (¼-inch cubes), about 3 stalks, macerated in sugar (abt 3 T)
½ cup honey
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sour cream + 1/2 cup milk, whisked

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust a baking rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, mix the rhubarb with 3 tablespoons sugar.

Mix the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, knife or your hands until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir the rhubarb into the flour mixture. Lightly beat the honey, egg, yolk, and milk/sourcream together in a bowl (use the same one you used for the rhubarb), then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). Using a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool slightly before serving.


  1. Even though I'm not much of a cook, I've started eating a LOT fewer processed foods. I also stopped eating dairy with growth hormones. And I'm exercising but my weight is coming off WAY slower. I lost 14 pounds but not one person has noticed. Ah well. Mustn't give up...

  2. No one noticed until yesterday. It's been driving me crazy.

  3. This makes total sense to me. We have been eating from scratch for some time and last week I began biking to work again. Losing 10 pounds would be great, but hey if I don't gain weight I'm happy.

    I am copying that rhubarb scone recipe down since we have lots of rhubarb at the moment and they sound delicious.

    Glad I finally came across your blog.

  4. SoH glad to have you! I love the conversation, and yes, the Rhubarb scones were delicious. Trying to make it to the Farmer's Market this weekend and see if I can come up with a strawberry scone recipe!