Tea according to Christopher Hitchens

Do I really need Christopher Hitchens to tell me how to make tea? Yes, it turns out I do.

After buying some high-end French Theodor tea that I squished into one of those spoon-type loose tea holders, I mused that something was not quite right with my method. The very next day, I hear the Hitch has written about the proper way to make tea.

I followed Hitch’s directions, which were really George Orwell’s, published in 1946, and sipped on my early afternoon brew. The tea was preceded by a salad of mango, avocado, and orange with bits of walnuts.

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Life in the fat lane with journalist William Leith

Reviewers of The Hungry Years couldn’t quite classify it—memoir, personal diet book, literary journalism, creative non-fiction—and this intrigued me.

What would a sometimes-overweight and well-known British journalist do with the topical issue of fat? William Leith needed a good angle for Hungry Years: confessions of a food addict and he found it in his interview with Dr. Robert Atkins.

Leith, the last person to interview the infamous doctor before his death, went on the Atkins diet as any good fat journalist would do for research. And, to spice things up in the book, Leith also chronicles his fondness for cocaine, painkillers, caffeine, alcohol, as well as his penchant for women who smoke and shop too much. Leith is desperate one moment and funny the next.

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What did Bill Clinton say to the vegan?

Is that Daiya on your dress, or am I having a flashback?

Macleans called Daiya “fake cheese that’ll make vegans swoon.” And Bill Clinton, a newly converted plant-based eater, is swooning over his 24-pound weight loss. He says he feels great since adapting to a plant-based diet, with a little fish now and again.

I was sceptical that I could ever love a vegan Caesar salad or a vegan nacho dish, but dining out with Earthsave’s Vancouver Meatless Meetup group, proved me wrong. I loved both the Caesar and the nachos.

Located on the upper eastside of Vancouver, the Eat, Drink and Perch at the Arc Café is an oddly shaped café with a balcony holding about six or seven tiny tables that seat three people each. Nice and cosy for a private party like ours. The balcony overlooks the bar and tables downstairs. This café on Powell Street, owned by the Wallflower on Main, caters to vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free dieters. But, it also offers meat.

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An apple a day—wisdom or myth

The green apple on the cover of An Apple a Day caught my eye. But the subtitle caught my breath: The Myths, Misconceptions and Truths about the Foods We Eat. I panicked. I assumed that an apple a day was a good thing. As you can see in the book’s cover photo, there are some startling unhealthy sounding elements in apples.

The author, a scientist named Joe Schwarcz, is the director of the Office of Science and Society at McGill University. He knows his food chemistry. He also knows how to turn a dull technical subject into an entertaining read.

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Sport has never caused anyone to be slim, according to Montignac

La Méthode Montignac, developed by Michel Montignac, is the original glycemic index diet.

Montignac was a French pharmaceutical executive—I won’t hold that against him. While his work came with the luxury of dining out—and he put on the pounds—his work also gave him access to scientific literature. After learning about the newly developed glycemic index, he wondered if it would work for weight loss. He developed a plan and in three months, he lost 30 pounds. Since then, Montignac has authored 20 books on diet and health, achieving international fame—though I never hear of him before.

Montignac was so convinced with his method that he claims people don’t have to exercise. It works that well, he says. He is, of course, criticized for this view, but I’m sure he didn’t mean for us to sit around on our asses. And no one follows a diet 100%, 100% of the time, so exercise is an important adjunct.

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Nag for hire I—HabitForge

If you’re like me and don’t have a wife to nag you about your bad habits, no problem. Habitforge.com will do the nagging for you. Based on a theory that it takes 21 days to quit an old habit or develop a new habit, HabitForge will send you emails for 21 days asking you to respond yes or no to the goals you had cited. HabitForge will then send your friends an email of your progress and of your success. That way, they can get in on the nagging too. If you mess up, HabitForge starts counting from 1 again.

But you’re right out of luck if you don’t have the habit of checking your email.

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A Meatless Monday

With Monday around the corner, I thought of Meatless Mondays, a promotion by Earthsave to get us away from eating meat. In the spirit of Meatless Monday, I got out my vegetarian cookbook and found a recipe for filo filled with vegetables and feta and a little pesto.

I’ve never bought or used filo pastry before. Instead of following the directions on the Krinoz box, which says to thaw first, I pulled the filo box right from the freezer. Of course, filo doesn’t work frozen — it broke off in small pieces. Even when thawed, it appears to be a tricky thing and needs to be covered with a damp cloth so it won’t dry out while preparing the recipe.

I managed to make my recipe with the small pieces of filo. Mmm, good. Certainly worth the hassle. I’ll use the leftover filo to make apple strudel from the recipe on the box or maybe a spinach and feta filo. There’s lots of great filo recipes including the one pictured: Filo and Apricot Purses.

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