Hastings on Food

SALUTATIONS zucchinis and patty­ pans. Apologies for my recent silence I was however, indisposed paying for the sins of my youth. For as much as we want to believe we are invincible, as we get older we only really pay attention when we are shocked into realisation.

Such was the case with me when I was knocked flat by a particularly worrying virus that affected my lungs, and I had to be hospitalised in order to get well. Thankfully I am still able to work again I am however, far from cured.

The reality is if I don’t change some of my lifestyle habits I could get sick again. It is a dream of mine as well as a desire to get completely well again and I know I will have to write notices to myself and place them throughout my house to ensure I am constantly reminded of why I am embarking on this programme in the first place.

The first thing I have to do is lose a considerable amount of weight. Subsequently as a chef as well as a great lover of fine foods, changing one’s diet to omit all of one’s favourite high-fat items can be quite daunting.

My dietician Linda Stack, who is well known and recommended by doctors and physicians in the area, and who has helped me in the past, reminded me of what I am capable of achieving.

She instructed me that in this instance you need to treat your predicament as an addiction and remove all temptations.

Accordingly I had to re-look at my kitchen at home with the out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach and completely restock it with items that are acceptable to my new health plan.

Consequently I am embarking on a complete change of life-style that includes eating more healthy fat-free foods three times a day with two snack periods in-between, try to sleep eight hours a day and do regular exercise.

I must confess, changing one’s behaviour can be overwhelming and total reform cannot happen overnight - it must be done in stages that ultimately result in your whole lifestyle becoming healthier.

Seven years ago I gave up smoking overnight, and again, the first five days are the worst. After that the cravings and desire to smoke usually pass within 10 minutes. Regrettably five months ago, when my mother was visiting me, I started having the occasional cigarette­ with her, but soon learnt that nicotine has a way of grabbing you and my smoking gradually increased.

Basically I had allowed myself to become complacent, did not really look at it as a relapse into a habit that ultimately could or will cripple or kill me, and forgot for a moment the reasons behind why I quit in the first place.

With tobacco well known as being harder to quit than heroin or cocaine, thankfully five weeks ago I stopped again and have at this point resided myself to taking this day by day and adopted the attitude of never take another puff with a new respect of realising the true meaning of nicotine dependency as well as the mindset that although nicotine is stronger it has an IQ of zero and my superior intelligence and will power will ultimately prevail.

Being in the hospitality industry it is difficult to completely set sound routines, as the order of each day varies. Part of my new outlook will have to include, as much as possible, going to bed and waking at the same time each day as the amount of sleep one gets is also important to healing oneself.

I have a quite dusty treadmill at home that will have to be used more often as regular exercise assists with the recovery process. I know from past experience that the first 10 days are the hardest to set a sound routine, but with gradual beginnings working up to an achievable daily goal of 30 minutes will help maintain the consistency. Also brisk walking in a rhythmicity manner is known as endurance activity and is great for improving the health of the heart and lungs additionally if other family members or friends are involved it will also assist me with the process and it is an activity I truly enjoy.

My insight to this all is that I have to remain positive and with as little as 15 minutes a day of time-out for myself I can recharge my mental battery.

I can’t detach myself - I must stay connected and reconnect with old passions and revitalise positive energy, and as much as possible take advantage of the outdoors at any time with or without sunlight.


Fat-free chicken salad


• 2 skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips

• 1 tablespoon paprika

• 1 bunch wilted spinach shredded

• 200 grams sliced mushrooms

• 2 tomatoes diced

• 1 head cos or Romaine lettuce, washed and torn

• 8 leaves fresh basil, shredded

• 2 stalks celery diced

• 1 cup diced gherkins

• grated lemon zest

• salt

• pepper

• spray and cook


• mix the chicken breasts paprika, salt and pepper together

• using spray and cook sauté the chicken strips till just cooked through

• remove and set aside

• in the same pan with more spray and cook, sauté the mushrooms

• remove and set aside

• combine the chicken, mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, celery, tomatoes and gherkins

• add some dressing and mix through

• arrange on a plate and garnish with the shredded basil and lemon zest.


• 8 tablespoons fat-free yoghurt

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 12 coriander leaves, chopped

• 12 mint leaves, chopped

• ½ red onion, finely chopped

• 2 cloves chopped garlic

• salt

• pepper

Combine all the ingredients and use as desired.

The reality is if I don’t change some of my lifestyle habits I could get sick again. As a chef as well as a great lover of fine foods, changing one’s diet to omit all of one’s favourite high-fat items can be quite daunting

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