Victory Day Weigh In – One year on wartime rations!

Today it’s been exactly one year since I started living 100% on wartime rations (British WW2) to see what effect it would have on my health, my morbid obesity…

My heaviest weight ever, prior to weigh-in, one year ago was 345-350 lbs (25 stone) but by the time I weighed in for THIS attempt to live one year on wartime rationing, I had reduced to 299 lbs (21 st 4 lbs).

TODAY, this morning, after one year, of living on wartime rations, I weighed in at 219 lbs (15 st 7 lbs)…

I’ve lost 80 lbs in one year! (and 130 lbs in total) I’m so very, very happy with that.

I’m so happy because a year ago I was scared, I had headaches, dizzy spells that made me fall down, lower crushing back pain on standing and walking (so I just couldn’t go for walks), my pulse raced on any exertion, at rest it raced too, my blood pressure was high, I sweated profusely, I really thought it was going to be a matter of time before something awful happened and despite the public facade of being bubbly and happy, I was depressed.

Today, even with about 60 + lbs still to lose, my quality of life is just amazing. I rarely get a headache, the dizzy spells have gone, no back pain, low pulse at rest, normal blood pressure, I can walk forever and I’m training for my first 5k run!

This is my THIRD attempt at the 1940s Experiment. Both previous attempts before were very successful, I just couldn’t stick with it for more than 4 or 5 months. For the first two attempts I was still a meat eater but also a HUGE vegetable consumer too. Both previous attempts followed the same pattern as this attempt (even though I am now vegan)… initial rapid weight loss as the body detoxified from it’s “modern diet” state, eventually plateauing out and then followed by a very gentle weight loss.

For over SEVEN years now I have been passionate in my belief, that a return to a SIMPLE, UNPROCESSED way of eating, mainly plant based and plant strong diet, with only very small amounts of meat, fish and dairy, is the way to optimum health. I am happy I’ve proved to myself that my theory is correct and that returning to this way of eating, as they did during the war, has ABSOLUTELY improved my health and my quality of life.

At 219 lbs posing with my freebie copy of Wartime Farm which I am about to review for Octopus Publishing on my blog.

An important part of this process was also becoming more active and early into the experiment I decided to start walking. It was tough to begin with as I was still in a lot of pain with my back and experiencing dizzy spells but a lap here and there soon became several laps (yes it was tough, yes I sweated and wanted to give up) and before I knew it, my back pain had gone and I could just walk like everyone else! Walking is the best form of exercise and I am so grateful I can now do this. These days I take myself off for 10 km hikes over all sorts of terrain. The freedom is LIBERATING!

I have made a LIFESTYLE CHANGE for good, for ever..

THANK YOU for everyone who has supported me during my year. EVERY SINGLE MESSAGE and COMMENT has kept me going. Please, you really do not appreciate how this has helped me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

SO WHAT NOW? I still have 60 lbs to go (and still classified as obese). I still want to lose 100 lbs living on wartime rations so I’ve decided to continue, business as usual until I reach 199 lbs and then the third and final phase will be to get to my ultimate goal of 160 lbs. The VICTORY PARTY is on hold until then too. It’s something to aim for, to look forward to, a GOAL!

At 299 lbs
Chest: 59.5 inches
Waist: 56.5 inches
Hips: 62 inches (the tape measure only goes up to 60 inches)
Thigh: 27.5 inches
Upper arm: 16.5 inches
B/P: 176/88 at rest
Pulse: 89 at rest

BMI= 48 (Morbidly Obese)

At 219 lbs
Chest: 46 inches
Waist: 42 inches
Hips: 46 inches
Thigh: 24 inches
Upper arm: 12 inches
B/P: 128/73 at rest
Pulse: 55 at rest

BMI= 35.3 (Obese)

Weight about 335 lbs

Belted leeks

I bought myself a small bunch of organic leeks from the Bridgewater Farmers Market yesterday, after I had attended a quick volunteer meeting at the market for the Growing Green Sustainability Festival , taking place next week, where I’m looking forward to being a greeter (and hopefully not scaring folk away!)…

I found a Ministry of Food recipe for belted leeks and couldn’t wait for lunch time today and I’m pleased to say this quick and simple dish was delicious.

As always, I used a meat substitute for bacon (Tempeh) and a dairy substitute for regular milk (hemp milk) what with being a vegan and all…

Here is the original recipe…

Belted Leeks

  • 1 lb small thin leeks
  • 2 oz bacon rashers
  • 1/2 pint of white sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • dried herbs if wished


  1. Trim and cook the whole leeks in boiling water until soft enough to eat (about 10-15 minutes)
  2. Drain well and save some of the leek water for the sauce
  3. Put the leeks in a heated dish and cover with the white sauce (see recipe for white sauce below)
  4. Grill the bacon and cut into narrow strips and arrange as belts over the leeks

(makes 4 helpings)

Recipe for white sauce

Use margarine or butter. Heat 1 oz of this in a pan and mix in 1 oz of flour, cooking over a low heat and then add in slowly while stirring, 1/2 pint of liquid (milk, milk and stock etc). Keep stirring and as the sauce comes to the boil it will thicken. Season to taste..

Some sights from Saturdays Farmers Market in Bridgewater..

I last wore jeans 20 years ago…

Something simply AWESOME happened today…

I was looking for clean trousers in a rush, about to go and drive my son back to the city, when I came across a pair of jeans I bought a long time ago to “one day fit into”… The last time I had tried them on was back in January and I took photos. As hard as I tried I could not get them done up but decided this summer I’d try them on again to see if they would fit…

Last time I wore jeans was 20 years ago- Jess and I

Looking back in my trunk full of photos I could see the last time I wore jeans was when my eldest daughter Jess was just a little girl. Jess is now 23…

Seeing the jeans, earlier to day, I grabbed them, wanting to see out of curiosity how tight they would be now.

I pulled them up over my thighs and hips and pulled the waistband together and did the button up, simple as that. There was NO resistance. MY JEANS FIT! And with that I hopped in the car, drove Josh to the city and felt like a queen (albeit it a rather saggy tummied chubby one) walking around Sobey’s at Tantallon, picking up more healthy food for my cupboards.

And so I took some photos with my webcam and put them together with the ones I took back in January.

I may have a long way to go, BUT this afternoon I have simply shed a few tears, as for the first time in 20 years, I have worn jeans. I don’t know why that would have made me cry but it has.

Maybe I can do this….. just maybe!!!!!!!!!!

C xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Vegetable Pasties

Yum, yum in my tum!

Here is the wartime recipe for an awesome vegetable pasty I made the other night.. I LOVE these and they are great cold the next day, perfect to carry in to work for a packed lunch!

Vegetable Pasties

  • Shortcrust pastry ( click here for recipe )
  • 1 lb of lightly cooked diced vegetables (onions, carrots, turnip, parsnips, potato, swede)
  • 2 tablespoons of gravy (I actually used 4 tablespoons of leftover thick lentil gravy)
  • 2 chopped tomatoes (optional – I didn’t use)
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (optional – I didn’t use)
  • salt and pepper
  • reconstituted dried egg or milk to glaze


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C  (400 F) and grease a baking tray
  2. Roll out the pastry and form into 4-6 rounds brushing the edges with a little egg or water
  3. Mix the ingredients and gravy etc together and put in the centre of each round or to one side depending on where you intend to have the seam
  4. Bring edges together and press between finger and thumb along the seam to seal
  5. Make a slit of prick with a fork and brush with egg or milk
  6. Place on baking tray and cook for 20-30 minutes until golden brown

CAROLYN’S TIP: Wheatmeal shortcrust pastry can look a bit grey! Take a pinch of curry powder and mix with a few tablespoons of milk or your egg mixture and brush over the pasty to give it a lovely golden glow


Hungry for Change- Free World Premiere

Watch this. Please watch this…. Please watch this all on 21-31 March 2012.

This is what the 1940s Experiment is trying to prove… that obesity can be cured and health radically improved by eating simple wholefoods,  meat and dairy very sparingly, and eating vegetables and legumes abundantly.

A plant strong diet devoid of processed convenience food and drinks is the way we need to head to heal ourselves and our planet

C xxxxxxxx

Split pea soup

Dried peas were available through the points system during the rationing years… you could get quite a lot of split peas for your points every month (8 lbs) if you didn’t use your 16 points up for 2 lbs of dry fruit or just one can of meat/fish. Split peas have lots of fibre, protein and iron so were a very healthy and frugal food to have as part of your ration..

I had split pea soup as my main meal of the day and had two servings. I currently buy a whole bag of organic split peas for $2.49 and that is enough to feed 8 people with a large bowl each! The recipe below uses just half a bag.

I prefer my soups to be thick with texture but if you prefer to have yours thinner and smooth then just add a little extra water and when cooked, liquidize it.

Split pea soup

  • 8 oz (225g) of split green peas
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip or british turnip
  • 1 medium white potato
  • 1 pint (600 ml) of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon sea salt)
  • sprig of mint or a little dried mint


  1. Wash the split peas in cold water
  2. Cover with cold water and soak overnight or you can use straight away (they’ll just take longer to cook)
  3. Chop up the onions, parsnip, carrots finely and potato into 1/2 inch chunks and add to a pint of boiling water in a saucepan with the drained split peas
  4. Cook until the split peas are cooked (about 40 minutes over medium) in a covered saucepan, stirring now and again
  5. Serve as is with a sprig of mint or liquidize for a smooth soup

Serves 4

1940s Google Searches

And now for something completely different…. in my day job I’m rather a stats geek. It’s not surprising that this carries over to my WordPress Blog….

Google seems to love the 1940s Experiment and around 300-500 of the 2 to 4 thousand daily visits comes from search engines. It seems the 1940s and wartime recipes are more popular than one would have thought!

For anyone else who is part retro and part stats geek like me… enjoy. Here is what people were looking for today when they clicked through to my site…

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Dig for Victory

If governments really cared for their people they would be using their resources to put together a modern day “Dig for Victory” campaign…

During WWII public information films encouraged individuals and communities to be ingenious, creative and to take responsibility in growing extra food for the table to balance food shortages.

The “Dig for Victory” campaign was launched in 1939 by the British government. Before the war Britain imported 55 million tons of food annually (over 2/3rds) . During the war that reduced to only 1/3rd and the dig for victory campaign helped alleviate some of the vegetable and fruit shortages.

People were encouraged to use any spare land like gardens, Anderson shelter roofs, parks etc to create productive wartime gardens that would be able to put food on the table for their families, most of the year.

The “Victory Garden” and the “Dig for Victory” campaign provides a model for todays society. 70 years ago, victory gardening was setting an example promoting recycling and sustainable land management (using companion planting, growing plants side by side to repel or attract insects) and fresh seasonal local produce straight from the earth (no air miles) high in nutritional value.

It’s time to return….

C xxxx

Article in The Awl….

Stephany Aulenback has written a very enjoyable and interesting article in THE AWL about rationing in Britain during WWII and the 1940s Experiment is featured!

But that is only a small part.. she has found many interesting facts and references other articles and memoirs… you HAVE to read it. Fascinating stuff!

Diane Duane, for example, explains how C.S. Lewis’s experiences under rationing may have influenced his writing about food in the Narnia books…

Below is a snippet of the article and a link straight to it…..

Mock Goose And Other Dishes Of The War-Rations Diet

There is a website, called The 1940s Experiment, whose proprietor, Carolyn Ekin, who was born and raised in the UK but now lives in Canada, is attempting to lose a hundred pounds by following a wartime rations diet, specifically made up of the foods eaten by the British public during World War II. For every pound she loses, Carolyn will recreate one authentic wartime recipe and post about it. She has already posted recipes for Mock Goose (made with lentils), Potato and Carrot Pancakes(“delicious”) and an Eggless Fruit Cake (“looks curiously like meat loaf”), among many others. Carolyn has attempted—and succeeded at—this type of diet before; in 2006, she lost 57 pounds following the diet. This time, about six weeks in, she’s lost around 25 pounds.

Click here for the rest of the article!

1940s Recipe: Mince Slices

Had a very satisfying dinner this evening… simple and quick to make and let me tell you my belly is very full indeed after eating this meal. I had intended to make a dessert but in the end I had a handful of wild blueberries..

I always half fill my dinner plate with fresh veg and I served my mince slices with steamed cauliflower and string beans with a small shaving of salted organic butter on top.

Mince Slices

  • 8 oz minced meat (any type cooked)
  • 4 oz cooked mashed potatoes
  • 3 slices of stale wholewheat/wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper (thyme added is also nice)


Mix all the mashed potatoes, cooked mince, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper together thoroughly
Form into an oblong shape (like a small meatloaf)
Slice up into about 10-12 slices (if crumbly place in fridge for a while)
Pre-heat a frying pan and melt some butter
Place slices in and cook until browned on a medium heat
Serve with fresh veg
Serves 3-4 people
PS Oh I nearly forgot to say I got the recipe from this little pocket book..