Fig.1 Baked veggies - assorted everything and oodles of spices and seasoning.
This looks pretier than my flabby belly, but going from 90kg to 84kg in the last 12 months could be my most valuable legacy of the Open University.
Let me explain.
This is year two of a postgraduate degree in open and distance education (MAODE). Finding appealing the jobs ad at the bottom of our VLE (this) for someone to do social media for the Open University Business School (I blog a lot, I do social media, I've been active online since ... the mid 1990s I suppose, with a blog since 1999). Anyway, they say yes and then I think 'oops'.
'Oops' finds me staying with a lovely family in Milton Keynes during the week.
A home. And Mum who is a neutrionist (also works at the OU)
She is much more than this, the 'good life' writ large with a garden that is a small holding. It isn't just food, it is a way of life.
The sceptic at some stage shares a medical crisis - cholesterol at 7.7 and the prospect of a lifetime popping a pill (Statins).
She says 'no'.
My wife (medical market research - she knows her pills) also says 'no'.
The answer is a radical change in diet.
I run with it. No question. Just go with it.
Out comes red meat (most of the time), all dairy and other suprising things. I ditch what I thought was a healthy bowl of muesli every morning with soya milk for plain porridge as the truth was the calories in the fruit muesli were huge.
So vegan for breakfast, vegetarian for lunch ... and to start with, perhaps a piece of chicken (no skin) more likely fish in the evening. I have rice milk in coffee. I very rarely touch cheese. Some of my favourite things are totally out - like duck like cassoulet.
A year on fish as the dish - helped by the fish landed fresh every day at Newhaven.
We're inb Lewes, East Sussex. I shop for the week and freeze cod, turbot, skate wings, mackeral et al.
A year on I return to the doctor for a blood test - Cholesterol 6.6.
Still too high, but achieved without a pill. My weight is down from 14 stone something to 13 stone something.
A teen vegetarian daughter is benefiting from a father's new found love for cooking all things veggie. My wife too has shed many pounds too. Our son gets the meat budget.
I'll graduate next year, but what may matter more is better health and a less indulgent view of food.
And I solve a life-time medical problem.
I am allergic to white flour.
Periods of nausea and asthma attacks
Six years ago the NHS had me at the top of the list to see a nutrionist then pulled the plug.