‘Cool as an Armenian Cucumber’ Our fav!

Pale celedon green Armenian cucumbers photo

One of the delights of growing your own veggies…or frequenting your local farmers markets is discovering NEW-old ‘Heirloom’ vegetables. Or modern improved hybrid veggies from Japan and Europe ~ cultures that appreciate flavor AND beauty. Why not have it ALL?

Bought these pale, celadon green Armenian cucumbers from the Santa Rosa farmers market yesterday. They’re HUGE! Almost as long as my 17.5 inch bamboo cutting board. Bill, Marc, and I really like Armenian cukes. Their crisp crunchiness, delicate flavor, and smooth thin skins are reason enough, but when you add charming curly curves & decorative ridges, how could a foodie possibly resist bringing home an armful?

Huge Armenian cucumbers photo
Huge Armenian cucumbers as long as my bamboo cutting board

Cucumbers are my diet food of choice this summer.

My goal is to lose 30-40 lbs before my 61st birthday. The weight’s crept up on me twenty pounds a decade since I began peri-menopause in my mid-30s. The combination of various emotional stresses (challenging and/or beneficial), a more sedentary computer production working life-style with getting older and needing fewer calories, plus plump genetics, has ‘fluffed’ me to become more than I really prefer.

The weight gain, though averaging out to 2 lbs year, has actually been more erratic…VERY much related to emotional stressors, known to increase cortisol adding to endocrine / adrenal imbalances (I’m borderline hypo-thyroid). For instance, in the ten months Bri was sick in 2008 when I was her daytime caregiver, I didn’t gain any weight. But after her death in late October….over the next three-to-six months, I put on 10 lbs! And my eating patterns weren’t particularly different. But I was stunned with grief. That ten lbs of ’emotional padding’ is a pattern for me ever since puberty and my first weight gain challenge at age 11.

The key for me is to make do-able lifestyle changes:
~ Less caloric and high fiber food choices (LOTS of veggies / some fresh fruit for snacks / legumes several times a week
~ NO bread / minimal grains
~ Portion control ~ I HATE calorie counting
~ More frequent exercise (daily would be ideal)
~ Occasional teeny indulgences…a smear of yummy homemade jam or a spoonful or two of organic gourmet homemade ice cream, a serving of rice, etc.

The other dieting conversation I have with my emotional foodie self is when I want something “indulgent,” sweet or packed with calories: the gentle reminders that I can have a little now or more once I’ve shed the weight and that THIS moment isn’t my ONLY chance to enjoy that particular yumminess.

I’m surprised at how emotional food is for me, even though I’m not extreme in my food habits, neither prone to binging or serial diets. Do have a demanding appetite (due to hypoglycemic blood sugar levels) and am, as another WeightWatchers friend of mine described, a “bulk eater.” I want at least one meal a day to be a whole plateful of food. Although now that I’ve completed my first month and am 4 pounds down, a half plateful is often plenty.

Armenian Cucumber & Tomato Salad photo
Armenian Cucumber & Tomato Salad with a generous dash of smokey Chipotle

Cucumbers are a terrific “bulk” low calorie food.

Plus their juiciness satisfies my craving for liquids in food form. Ate these Armenian cucumbers with Cherokee Purple tomatoes over organic cottage cheese. Drizzled the salad with a touch of pale green grapeseed oil, a splash of vinegar (rice vinegar or a fruited champagne vinegar would add a touch of sweetness), plus a generous sprinkling of smokey Chipotle and herbed salt. Satisfying and crunchy. Filling and slimming. Simple. Perfect summer food!

This ‘Armenian’ cucumber happens to be a traditional Indian cucumber….called KAKDI!

Anshul ~ The talented veggie gardening hubby of my friend and food-blogger Rinku of Cooking In Westchester is a Facebook friend. We like to look at our gardening albums and I enjoy seeing Anshul and Rinku’s kids helping their Dad harvesting veggies.

Anyway, Anshul wrote on FB “It’s called Kakdi in North India; grew up (not entirely though 🙂 on this stuff.  You can buy seeds online at http://www.facebook.com/l/7cafd;www.seedsofindia.com/CukesRootsCauliflower.htm

I asked how his family ate kakdi in India? Was musing that it might even work in a quick stir-fry as it has some heft…  Anshul repied” “We always ate raw. Unlike regular cucumbers, which you can peel or not, kakdi’s skin is too thin to peel.  Never tried stir fry.  It’s too watery, so am not sure if that will work?”

LOVE the internet! Such a terrific resource for learning about foods from around the world….and connecting with wonderful people.

5 thoughts on “‘Cool as an Armenian Cucumber’ Our fav!”

  1. Cynthe I am with you all the way on losing weight. I also want to lose about 28lbs. I went to weight watchers a couple of years ago and lost about 18lbs and then gave up as I got fed up counting points and I’ve put most of it back on over the 2 years, but not all thank goodness.
    So if you have any good helpful recipes please post them on your blog.

    Trouble is I love cooking and food, which I imagine you do too. But my portion size isn’t too large, but I think carbs are my enemy and like you I have given up bread and cut down on rice, pasta and potatoes.
    Good luck with your weight loss.
    M x

  2. Maureen ~ Here’s are the sorts of large portion foods I can indulge in. Wouldn’t exactly call them conventional ‘recipes,’ but they’re easy and satisfying.

    *Roasted Vegetables ~ Are nutritious, versatile, visually enticing, yummy, & filling. We make two huge cookie sheets full, which makes 4-6 generous meals, if you’re not eating anything else with them. 12-16 servings if it’s a side dish.
    We include root vegetables like beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes / yams, turnips, onions & garlic. Summer & winter squash and apples add nice flavors. The key is not to overdo on the olive oil….just a light glazing is enough. (Will be adding another roasted veggies follow-up post soon to augment the one I wrote this past JAN 2010. An excuse to share our experiments and much improved photography!)

    *Beans in all forms ~ fresh green or shelled, dried legumes in soups, stew-like soups, chilis, curries, or homemade hummus ~ are a dieter’s godsend for concentrated vegetable protein and satisfying, hunger staving, nutrition. Veggies and legumes are so high in fiber that you almost don’t have to deal with portion control or calorie-counting. But do watch out for the oils you may be using to prepare your recipes. (Will be posting a tasty fresh green bean & exotic mushroom dish I made last night. Have to make it again ’cause I didn’t take pics, but it was delish!)

  3. Smaller meals more frequently, WHOLE GRAINS (only 1/2 cup as a serving, offering protein and slow metabolizing of carbs) and exercise, exercise, excercise will increase your overall metabolism, as will a full night of sleep. As we get older, we cannot control weight by diet alone – exercise is critical, as it is to heart health, flexibility, energy, longevity, etc.

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