Is handing over the kitchen to a biochemist a good idea?

So a couple of days ago my OH said to me, “I’m going to be cooking five meals a day for the next three months because there’s a healthy eating plan I want to try out, as an experiment on myself. Do you want me to cook for you too?” This is what it’s like to live with a biochemist, and I immediately thought back to one of the first “meals” he made for me, which was basically dinner from a blender, which tasted like blended broccoli but was, apparently, a “perfectly balanced meal.” Oh boy. My instinct said, yeah, of course I want you to cook for me, but as he started talking about meal plans, cutting sugar, measuring everything, blah blah, it started to feel a little less… fun. I like cooking. And eating. Cooking is fun and measuring is for wimps. So what was all this talk of measuring everything, and why!?
It turns out he’s really on a mission. The meal plan he’s bought is based on the bodybuilding holy grail of a 40% carb, 40% protein, and 20% calorie split from each meal, based on five meals a day. There’s a solid scientific basis for eating this way, apparently. I asked, do I get to eat more on cycling days? Er, no. I get to eat the calories I need spread across my five meals a day each week. What, so no cake or curry reward post-ride? Hmm, but there is still the cooking every day for three months thing. So, what the heck, I’m in.
I’ve tried to negotiate some foods in addition to those in the plan (I can tell my questions are not always welcome!), such as, “what about venison instead of beef?” and other suggestions based on “what about x instead of y,” and – my personal favourite – “what about carrots instead of oranges” (apparently not funny) and I will continue to try and influence what goes into our meals because I think for it to be sustainable it doesn’t want to be too much of a departure from the way we already eat. While OH is getting ready to launch the plan, I am tasked with planning ways to get through everything that will be banned from the time we start, so I have two weeks to clear the freezer and the cupboards. I have some lovely homemade meals lurking in the freezer, most of which I make up as I go along depending on what I have handy. Nom nom nom. Talking about this makes me hungry.
Before we start we decided it would be interesting to compare what we eat now so we can see how we do on the carb-protein-fat balance, so we plugged in the contents of the brocconut noodles I made the other day and were way off. As it turns out we are way short on protein, so I’m interested to see whether this meal plan recalibrates my approach to cooking and delivers some of the benefits that even cyclists are starting to talk about when it comes to diet.
Having cleaned out the cupboards, which involved a fair amount of label gazing (and archeology: soup from 2001 anyone?) we’ve noticed that there is sugar in just about everything; tinned tomatoes, for example. Why oh why does a product that is supposed to be adding tomatoes to a recipe need sugar in there too? It would seem, from the contents of our reasonably healthy cupboards, that sugar sneaks its way into our diets if we buy anything canned or ready made, even if it’s an apparently “healthy” product. The flipside of this is that the thought of not eating any sugar brings on a feeling of mild panic. Maybe I’m an addict and don’t even know it?
And that’s the the story for now. I have two weeks to figure out how to eat everything lurking in our cupboards, then we’re on a 40-40-20 “diet” from then on. We’ll see what, if any, impact it has on my cycling. I’ve said I’ll give it a few weeks and if I’m not enjoying it I’ll go back I’ll take my own shift in the kitchen and he can carry on with it. I’m sure I’ll learn a few things and get something from it and, if nothing else, I’ll have more time to ride while he’s slaving away over a hot stove at home!


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