This post was imported from my short-lived, now-defunct food blog, Cooking With Ginger.
As I approach the business end of my Fat Busting adventure, I'm having to fight for every tiny wee ounce I lose. My body seems reluctant to surrender any more lard. All it takes is a stray slice of toast, one skipped gym class or merely breathing in some Lamington Fumes and I'll wind up with a nasty result on my Wednesday Weigh Days. So lately I've been scouring my food journal, looking for things to cut out or modify in order to get some results.
This week I focused on milk. I normally drink semi-skimmed, which contains about 1.5% fat. That's the bottle with the green lid. Here in Britain the milk is colour coded and it all makes perfect sense to me. Full fat milk is blue, which makes one think rich, lush, indulgent – fat jersey cows ambling over pastures. Green is wholesome, inoffensive, natural – a happy compromise. Red means pain, suffering, deprivation – the mournful moo of a malnourished bovine. Red is evil. Red is for skimmed milk.
So that's what I drank last week. Here's where I need to insert the disclaimer. I hate Skimmed Milk. I hate Non Fat milk too, which is the American equivalent. I even hate Skim Milk, as it's called in Australia with our fine tradition of abbreviation. I hate skimmed milk as I was forced to drink it as a child. Well, I wasn't forced very forcefully, it was just often all we had left in the fridge. The Mothership liked to stock healthy foods such as brown bread, green vegetables and sensible cereals like Weetbix. The typical parent/child conversation went thus:
"Muuum I'm hungry."
"Have an apple."
"I don't want an apple."
"Well you're not really hungry then, are you?"
The Mothership's milk of choice was Shape,
which was allegedly not as evil as Skim as it contains half a percent or so of fat. But I couldn't taste a difference. It was still pale and watery. Even if you added Home Brand Chocolate Topping and blasted it for ten minutes in the milkshake maker, it was still pale and watery. Just BROWN, pale, watery. I used gag and screw up my face and clutch my stomach most melodramatically, counting down the days til the weekend where I could guzzle full cream milk and sugary cornflakes at my dad's house. And I always thought the design of the Shape carton somehow made it taste worse. It was white with gold stripes, the word SHAPE zapped across it in a neon 80s font. There may also have been a silhouette of a lady in a leotard and legwarmers, because that's how we all dressed back then.
Despite this troubled history I decided to give it another try. I'm all for revisiting the Food Foes of ones childhood – I used to say I hated avocados because they seemed pale and nasty to my ten-year-old self. But now? Mmm, avocado. I pity the fool I was back then. ANYWAY, in my quest to save calories and fat, skimmed milk seemed a good place to start. Plus they tell me that low fat dairy is higher in calcium.
How can you go wrong? I subjected the brew to a number of different taste tests.
First test: The Smoothie
Hidden amongst frozen berries, yogurt and orange juice, the half cup of Skimmed Milk wasn't a dominant enough player to really make an impact. I sniffed and sipped, looking for the tell-tale notes of water and evil, but it was indetectable. So score one for the Skimmed Milk. But then again I used full fat Yeo Valley yogurt. I guess that cancels out the benefits. D'oh!
Second Test: The Porridge
After trudging to work on a winters morn, there's nothing better than zapping ones oats in the microwave for a hearty breakfast. I usually make my porridge with a 2:1 ratio of semi-skimmed milk and water, but this time it was pure Skimmed. I thought there wouldn't be much difference between 0% skim and 1.5% semi + water. But there was! It was rotten, ROTTEN I tells ya! Usually the oats are burbling after two minutes, white and creamy and begging for a pinch of brown sugar. But in their insipid Skimmed Milk bath, they just sort of blinked up at me, grey and sludgy. They hadn't melted at all, and the addition of sugar just made it murky and sickly sweet. Never again!
Third Test: The Glass
One of my favourite snacks is grainy toast with almond butter.
But it has to be accompanied by a glass of cold milk, so you can swirl it round your mouth and hose all the sticky bits off your teeth. So I made the toast and poured the glass and sat down in front of Ready, Steady, Cook.
All I can say is, BLARRRRGH! On its own, the Skimmed Milk tasted like not just all the fat but the SOUL had been drained right out of it. And when gnashed around with a bite of toast it just got lost completely, instead of being part of the overall flavoursome mess as the Semi-Skimmed does.
Conclusion: Definitely the taste of evil. I shall stay loyal to the green cap. While I envy and applaud those healthy folk who manage to chug this stuff down, for me the 1.5% fat I'd save is not worth sacrificing 100% of the taste.