"As you get older, you might notice that maintaining your usual weight becomes more difficult..." advises an article on the Mayo Clinic website. The good news, according to the writer, is that "the hormonal changes of menopause might make you more likely to gain weight around your abdomen, [rather] than around your hips and thighs." Oh, yay, not!
The bad news is that muscle mass diminishes with age, while fat on the body increases, hence if you continue with lifelong eating habits and don't increase your physical activity, you WILL gain weight. And, if your parents have extra weight around the abdomen, you're likely to do the same. [Insert *sad face* emoji here].
My mantra for middle age might have to become: "I wish everything was as easy as getting fat."
To combat this problem, we baby boomers could do what the funnies tell us: try hiding the bathroom scales until they apologise, avoid mirrors, wear fat pants, pray for a miracle that we grow taller, or simply console ourselves with ice cream, chippies and chocolate cake.
Or, we can modify our food intake and exercise regime to accommodate the situation. Peter and I have chosen the latter. For us, this has meant a complete change of lifestyle, rather than going on a diet.
We swim, cycle and walk several times a week; as often as our energy levels allow. I have pretty-much stopped baking cakes, biscuits and bread; and have reduced our portion sizes, increasing servings of vegetables, and decreasing servings of meat. I'm happy to report that we have both shed around 15kg. We could both lose around 10kg more.
Today's recipe is adapted from one in the The 21-day Wonder Diet from the Australian Women's Weekly (AWW). I bought the book on impulse because of the subtitle, which promises: "Lose up to 10kg in 3 weeks".
I have long been a fan of the work of Weekly's Food Director, Pamela Clark, and her team of home economists, so was happy to add this title to my collection of AWW cookbooks.
In the original recipe, the pumpkin was oven-roasted and the lamb cutlets cooked in a pan with curry powder, chicken stock and coconut milk. My preference was to simply brush the cutlets with fresh lemon juice before grilling them on the barbecue. I served four lamb cutlets to Peter, rather than two, because I think he might have protested at the lesser amount.
I cooked the pumpkin in a frypan sprayed with the teensiest amount of olive oil (rather than turning on the oven for such a small quantity). Plus, I added a teaspoon of maple syrup to the vegetables for extra flavour, and used fresh parsley to finish, instead of coriander. We both enjoyed the finished dish.
PAN-COOKED PUMPKIN WITH CHICKPEAS & BABY PEAS
200g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
125g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen baby peas
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley leaves, to garnish
sea salt and pepper, to taste
Spray a heavy-based frypan lightly with olive oil. Toss in the pumpkin and cook it over a medium heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and the peas to the pan, together with the garlic (if using) and the maple syrup. Cook for five minutes until the pumpkin is tender and the peas are heated through. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and serve, garnished with fresh parsley.
GRILLED LAMB CUTLETS
4-6 lamb cutlets
juice of a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
Brush the cutlets with lemon juice and a light spray of oil. Heat a grill or barbecue and cook the cutlets briefly, turning once, until cooked to medium-rare. Allow the meat to rest and season with sea salt and pepper before serving. Serves 2.
Tell me dear readers, are you in the baby boomer age group, and are you struggling with your weight? What changes, if any, have you made to your lifestyle?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.