Diet changes

Over the past couple of years we’ve (Beloved Husband and I) been becoming more aware of issues around food. It comes after years of eating as students and, at various times, struggling with money, health, stress, and all those other little things that make healthy eating a struggle.

We started watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage programmes. We became more concerned about the fate of animals bred for slaughter and wanted to eat meat that had been sourced from a reputable place. Various things—money, resources, energy—put paid to that, and we gradually slipped into habits not, perhaps, as bad as they had been but we certainly weren’t model dieters.

Fast forward a couple of years, and that’s had its inevitable effect. We’re both heavier than we’d like to be, not all that fit and health issues weigh on your mind more. Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes right at Christmas finished it off.

For a few months, if we’ve been out for food anywhere I’ve been choosing the vegetarian option most of the time and going into full-fledged vegetarianism was a natural progression at a time when health issues, environmental issues and ethical concerns converged. Beloved Husband joined in enthusiastically and although we both had a little meat at Christmas (don’t judge, we’re still brand new) we haven’t looked back. I’ve lost several pounds in just a few weeks so that’s a nice bonus! We’re both interested in veganism too – it feels like the next step although we’re not there yet.

So what’s helped? Realising that vegetarian/vegan food is delicious! We’ve splashed out on both the Deliciously Ella books, The Happy Pear by the Flynn twins, and—perhaps my favourite— Keep It Vegan by Aine Carlin. The recipes are gorgeous, simple and healthy and I recommend all of them highly.

Shepherdess Pie from Keep It Vegan

It’s a one meal at a time thing; we’re both fairly confident calling ourselves vegetarian now, but although being vegan is something I’d like to explore, I’m not quite ready to take the plunge yet! We’ll see…

Apocalyptic summer hailstorm.

Middle of July, red hot yet hailstones bigger than golf balls (this was one of the smaller ones). Cars dented, greenhouses smashed, guttering broken, garden furniture punctured.

It’s nearly midnight now and there is still ice on the lawn even though it’s sultry and close.

Gotta say though, LOVED our little community coming out and chatting together after the storm, checking out everyone’s damages and making sure everyone was OK.

From Instagram:

Newcastle on a Friday night

Well, I suppose technically this is a view of Gateshead from Newcastle. But who’s being picky?

Newcastle always gives me the feeling of being a vibrant city, full of life.

The Millennium Bridge here has a hen party crossing over, closely followed by what I suspect is a stag do. Probably with many ribald comments being exchanged between the two groups!

The Baltic, when we crossed the bridge and looked up, had some sort of posh do on, with an outdoor grill and a lady shivering in a flimsy red dress before scampering back indoors with her food.

The Tyne (looking up and away and not at the dirty water with of bits of litter in it that we could see beneath us) glinted in the few ragtag rays of sunshine that struggled to come out from behind a blanket of cloud. Looking to the right the bridges gave me that instant jolt of recognition and pride. I’m a Durham girl myself but the sight of the Newcastle bridges gives people from the region a feeling of belonging and identity.

If I were in a fantasy novel the North East would be a little kingdom dominated by the cities Durham and Newcastle. Durham would be the ancient capital, no longer the powerhouse but the seat of some displaced royal family, regal and proud, and the city of the lawmakers. Newcastle would be the new capital, with everyone in the kingdom drawn here at some point in their lives. The place where the village boy comes to seek his fortune, hearing of streets paved with gold. Watch out, GRR Martin.

But it’s not a fantasy novel. It’s an evening in one of my local cities and I can just enjoy being on the Quayside with the wind around my face and familiar landmarks making me happy.