Surviving Dukan and the “Victory” meal.

Everyone told me otherwise, but I just couldn’t believe it, because it couldn’t happen to me. I was different, certain that I was going to be spending my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond in a thin, long, elegant body one associates with a dark haired, mysterious French woman, poised and cat like. While I was once overtly thin, able to eat my weight in one sitting with out so much as a blip on the scale, long and mysteriously French was never going to happen without a total body transplant. In reality I am 3 apples high and of the ample bottomed type associated with all together different nationalities. Thin on top squeezable on the bottom.  Now? Now I am in my early 40’s struggling with an expanding everything, cushy and padded in all areas even up top.

For health reasons, for comfort reasons, for the sake of the scale that showed me an Imperical number I was far from comfortable with I have started my first diet. It’s called the Dukan Diet. I chose this diet because it works in phases that are meant, not only to help you lose weight, but also to train your metabolism to handle food effeciently again so that once you are done you will be able to maintain your weight with out giving up on the foods you love. And I love food. It was this or just go for broke and invite the fat in for good and let it make room for more.

As far as diets go I think the Dukan is easy enough to follow. I am not loving it, but I think of all the diets I have read about this one has a pretty simple set up as well as the most real potential post diet.

Phase 1- all lean protein and non fat dairy, bran and lots of water to set the metabolism to burn calories.

Phase 2 alternating all protein days and non fat dairy with all protein and low carb veg days, bran and lots of water.

Phase 3 slowly introducing carbs so that your body doesn’t just drive itself right back to its heaviest weight.

Phase 4 a life time of moderate exercise-walking, lots of water, 2 TBS bran fiber, eating reasonably and 1 day a week all lean protein.

So far so good. I was lucky and lost a lot more weight than is normal during Phase 1 and 2. I am guessing my previously high metabolism is to thank for that. This also meant that I could end Phase 2 earlier than I had hoped. I didn’t make it to my goal, but I made it far enough to feel good about it. Then it was thankfully on to Phase 3.

During Phase 3 you get to have 1 to 2 meals a week that I call the Victory Meal, a three course meal of your choice. The meal that allows you to go off the charts and indulge in whatever you want as long as you eat a normal portion and don’t take seconds. It can be anything. My first Victory was frought with indecision. But WHAT do I want? Of all the things I want what do I want most and still stay coherent? Avocado topped with mashed potatoes doesn’t really work. Pasta topped with mashed potato doesn’t really work. Ice cream topped with garlic bread, nope. I was terrified at the same time that all those hard earned pounds would come rushing back so I was trying to think smart and indulgent. That is a good sign, smart eating. I kept thinking it had to be gourmet-ish when really I just wanted to go hog wild on a menu one would find at the County Fair or Bowling Alley. Chilli cheese dogs, fried chicken, nachos, dough gods, beans, Dixie Doodles… I just didn’t want to have any more lean red meat or shrimps or anything I have been eating over the past three weeks. If there has ever been a time when becoming a vegetarian had a chance of success it would be now. All you can eat meat gets a bit monotonous to be honest.

My first meal consisted of a small appetizer serving of olive oil mashed potato with chantarells followed by butter mizithra pasta with garlic bread and home made ice cream.  It was nice. Thank god I bought a half loaf for the garlic bread. All that butter and garlic and white fluffy bread was irrestistable. A commendable meal, but not really scratching the itch. After a couple of these Victory meals that never really hit the spot I finally did it I went trailer park. Tortilla chips doused with canned nacho cheese, the kind you would find at the roller rink circa 1979. Fried chicken, that didn’t really turn out like mom used to make it but was tasty just the same, with a mac and cheese side dish. For dessert I made a half batch of white sheet cake with raspeberry filling and whipped cream frosting. The problem though was I forgot that I always like birthday cake the day after when it is a little stale so I cheated and had a fork full the day after, concentrating on the raspberry filling. This was all lovely, but what left us both smacking our lips days later was the macaroni and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese simple and easy. The ultimate comfort food. As a kid I thought my moms homemade macaroni was rather, well, nasty. I was a Kraft macaroni and cheese kid, straight from the box. I just felt the cheese in the homemade variety became clotted and greasy. My taste buds just couldn’t deal with it. Subsequently I spent the rest of my life shunning homemade macaroni and cheese. What was I thinking?! The recipe I put together turned out to be really easy, uncomplicated and exceptionally lovely on the tongue. So, instead of sharing my best Dukan meal I am going to share my best indulgence dish, macaroni and cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese serves 4-6

I am not an afficionado. I suddenly realize I have a lot to learn about mastering macaroni and cheese. I can not give you any guarantees as I am convinced that the cheese you use is paramount to the success of this dish and the cheese I am using is not going to be found just anywhere. Rather it will only be found at City Gross in Sweden. Just the same this is a basic recipe that you can use with any hard cheese. This recipe also has the potential of being a good base for a more elegant mac and cheese. Chantarells or a dot of goat cheese here or there in the baking form, some smokey ham or bresalo. 

Ingredients

250 grams CAVATAPPI PASTAI didn’t trust Swedish macaroni so I used Cavatappi (spiral/amori) Cavatappi are tubular corkscrew shaped pasta. 

200 grams CHEDDAR, shredded I use Galloway Scottish cheddar found at City Gross in Rosengård. It’s white cheddar. Not a true Scottish cheddar, but it has a lovely flavor that isn’t too sharp and slightly creamy. I hear Kvibille works too. 

2 TBS FLOUR

2 TBS BUTTER

3/4 Cup CREAM

3/4 Cup MILK

2 handfuls of BREAD CRUMBS

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

Boil your pasta, drain mix with 1 handful of bread crumbs then set aside.

Basically the cheese sauce is a simple roux. Add the butter to a sauce pan and melt over medium to low heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk until well mixed. Slowly add the milk and cream mix until smooth and let thicken. Add the cheese and let it melt stirring until smooth. Add pepper and salt.

Grease a small baking dish approx. 8×12 inches. and preheat the oven to 175C/325F. Mix the cheese with the pasta and pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the second handful of bread crumbs over the top along with a hanful of grated cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes  or unti golden brown on top. Serve hot.

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