All recipes at a glance by taste/texture


The matrix here shows the meals and snacks that met my own taste and texture cravings. Of course, most meals have a mixture of tastes and textures but I’ve just listed them under the taste/texture they had that was most dominant for me. You’ll likely come up with your own matrix but I hope these get you going. All of these foods

  • are fairly quick and easy to cook (I was a virtual novice to cooking a few months ago, having existed mainly on convenience food, so they had to be!)
  • have a lower proportion/total amount of carb (bulky green vegetables fill you up but have a low carb density so visually they will take up much more room on your plate than your protein source) than traditional meals – except for a handful (like those with pitta bread) which you can occasionally eat as part of a ‘normal’ diet when you’ve reached your weight goal.
  Sweet Spicy/peppery Savoury (salty) Acidic (sour) Bitter
Creamy Cocoa milk shakeYogurt and raspberry pudding Yogurt and cocoa
Soft Yogurt and pear pudding Avocado half
Boiled organic free-range egg
Cheesy Ryvita with cottage cheese and cucumber
Meaty Thai fish and vegetable curryThai chicken and vegetable curry AnchoviesBolognese with cauliflower

Bolognese with Ryvita

Beef/salmon with cauliflower and broccoli

Beef with sweet potato and cauliflower

Roast chicken with salad/cauliflower and broccoli

Tuna and tomato/cucumber yogurt pitta

Spaghetti bolognese

Chewy Yogurt, pear, walnut and prune pudding
Porridge and fruit
Spinach and oil/seasoning Mussels in garlic sauce
Penne with tuna, cucumber and tomatoBean salad and chicken slices
Scrambled egg and salmon on brown toast
Grapefruit half Cocoa powder spoon
Nutty All-Bran and skimmed milk Ryvita and peanut butter
Walnut half
Crunchy Apple Broccoli/sprouts and oil/seasoning Cauliflower and broccoli saladCottage cheese

Celery/cucumber/sugar snap peas

Pickled onion/cucumber
Refreshing Skimmed milk Lime and soda Green tea

In most cases I haven’t detailed the ingredients/quantities and instructions however the internet is overflowing with recipes and you’ll in any case have to develop a rough understanding of the nutritional value (amount of carb, protein, calories, etc.) of the ingredients and foods you commonly eat and a feel for how large given quantities look (like 100g – for which a food scale is very useful when starting out)  to make a permanent change to your lifestyle. Generally, I made my protein source (typically cooked in a way that kept bad and saturated fats low – e.g. supermarket-rotisseried in the case of roast chicken) half the size of the plate and low carb density vegetables (typically steamed in a microwave steamer) the other half. Make up your own recipes that adhere to the general biochemical principles you’ve learnt (that apply to everybody) and are tailored to your own experiences/findings from monitoring your weight loss against the foods you eat – just keep the grams of carb below the threshold that you can tolerate without spiking your blood sugar (signified by feeling hungry again a short time later) at one sitting (typically 20 to 30g and ideally less than the grams of protein/fat) and make sure you get your daily allowance of nutrients (vitamins/minerals are OK to come from a tablet during your period of fat loss). Personally, I found my hunger following a meal was kept lowest when I kept carbs very low (under 20g/meal) but the level of carb you can tolerate without spiking your blood sugar will depend on

  1. how quickly it’s absorbed into the blood – which itself depends on (a) how the carb is exposed to the stomach e.g. diluting the carb with protein/fat/fibre/water will reduce absorption and (b) how much work the body needs to do to turn the carb into glucose i.e. the GI and
  2. how quickly it’s being taken out of the blood by your muscles – which depends on how exhausted i.e. depleted of glycogen they are.

Of course, you’ll probably break the principles from time-to-time e.g. when socializing (even then your body probably won’t want to gorge anyway if you’ve kept it well nourished) or when pressure of work means you don’t have time to cook but if you follow the principles you’ve discovered the large majority of the time and continue to monitor your weight don’t worry about it!

Enjoy 🙂

The Secret of How to Lose Fat!


By far the biggest change was WHAT and WHEN I ate but here’s the full story:

1) I changed WHAT I ate to stomach-filling meals with a much lower amount of carbohydrate (90 grams total per day is fine if you have a fairly sedentary lifestyle but go as low as you can comfortably manage while ensuring you get enough fibre in your diet – read the grams of carb on the nutrition label on your foods or google their ingredients e.g. here) combined in the meal in a low-GI way (see the videos here if you don’t know what GI means) while at the same time ensuring I got essential nutrients (proteins, vitamins, minerals, essential fats, fibre) so my body was not denied what it NEEDED and my blood sugar was kept at an even level (rapid rises in blood sugar are always followed by rapid drops – which make you feel incredibly hungry!). I gradually learnt about the calories in various foods and limited my food intake so I ate 1000 fewer calories than my body was using per day (to lose around 1kg a week). I came up with a list of meals I liked  that both satisfied my cravings for specific tastes, textures and smells like spicy, savoury, sweet, chocolaty, acidic, tart, crunchy, nutty, meaty, cheesy, chewy, creamy, aromatic but ALSO met my lower carb/high nutrient criteria and then shopped for those meal ingredients only, preparing batches of the cooked meals in advance (that I stored in my freezer) – I’ve posted pictures of the staple meals/snack ‘faithfuls’ I settled on (including a Slim-Fast style meal replacement milk shake) in the Recipes section. A strategy I found useful was to eat the majority of ‘feel-good’ carbohydrates in a pudding (like this) after the main meal – that way I finished the meal on a carb high feeling completely satisfied but without having consumed too many in total. I took a cheap supermarket-branded multivitamin and mineral tablet daily to ensure I got the nutrients I needed on my calorie-limited diet and made sure my diet included foods containing Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. What you give your body is as important as what you deny it but I reduced saturated fats, eliminated products with artificial sweeteners (which stimulate appetite) and caffeine (which causes water and minerals to be lost from the body), drinking water or green/herbal tea (without sugar) when thirsty – note that you will feel more thirsty and need to drink more as you start to burn your fat reserves. Remember, you will eat a smaller quantity of food but once you get over your sugar cravings (which can last for a few days) your body will quickly adapt to burning fat when it needs energy and re-educate your body’s cravings for the healthier foods you have introduced into your diet – if you only source of XYZ vitamin or mineral is French fries then you will crave French fries; when your body has healthier food sources of the nutrients it needs it will actually crave those healthy sources and you will come to love several foods you didn’t before!

2) I changed WHEN I ate to (a) include a breakfast and (b) rarely eat anything substantial later than 8pm so I didn’t go to sleep on a full stomach and had a restful night’s sleep. I also only ate at a meal time or when I was really feeling hungry in my stomach – rather than when I wanted a food ‘high’/’hit’ to cheer me up because I felt stressed or down or tired or bored or wanted a pleasurable distraction giving life a purpose/goal. Distinguishing real hunger from thirst (dehydration) or just feeling low in mood/energy is a skill that can be developed fairly quickly by allowing yourself to drink water/unsweetened tea or eat a limited repertoire (like apples, low-carb-density vegetables and canned tuna) of nutritious but not highly pleasurable foods when feeling the urge to eat. I never starved myself and always allowed myself to eat one of my repertoire of nutritious but not highly pleasurable foods if feeling truly hungry between meals. By BALANCING your energy intake (how much you eat and when) against your energy expenditure (how active you are) before and after that intake you can ‘coast’ along at a comfortable medium-to-low (but not so low that you feel hungry and end up over-eating) blood sugar level and get your body to burn fat by doing nothing – even when you sleep! In fact, the easiest time to deal with low blood sugar is at night while you’re sleeping since your body ordinarily burns fat then anyway and you don’t feel hungry at all. Modern work life can be stressful but if you allow yourself the time to savour tastes on your palate and take at least 30 minutes over your main meal of the day from the first bite to the last your stomach will have time to register how full you are and you’ll naturally know when you’ve had enough to eat. Listen to your body (but not false hunger cravings) and eat until you are satisfied. Remember that whatever you do during your weight loss phase has to also be manageable comfortably long term – there is no point exerting lots of willpower to deny your body’s real hunger cravings since you will just end up compensating (and more) down the line.

3) I kept a weekly record of my weight and fat % (using a set of electronic scales) and took weekly photos of my body to monitor my PROGRESS. Seeing the results gave me feedback on how various foods impacted my weight loss and looking more conventionally attractive and feeling healthier motivated me to continue losing weight. Muscle in fact weighs more than fat and your weight can change by 3kg from one day to the next depending on your intestine contents and level of hydration so recording fat % and pictures of your muscle tone is vital to know how amazingly well you’re doing!

4) I did 1 minute (yes, that’s not a typo!) of INTENSE (heart rate up to 120bpm) exercise a day on 3 alternate days a WEEK – as 3 bursts of 20 seconds of intense running on the spot (or cycling or swimming) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The effects of this small amount of exercise on your blood biochemistry are profound and extend well into the next day.

Prior to my new lifestyle (it’s now a way of life I enjoy rather than a temporary regime of denial) I had in the main eaten foods I mistakenly thought were healthy and good for weight loss (like brown bread, wild rice, baked potatoes, cereals) together with convenient supermarket ready-meals (lasagne, fish pie, curry, M&S ‘fuller for longer’ meals) and in fact spent more time exercising (though at a lower pace). I had also dieted from time to time in the past when I felt the waistline had gone too far but always ended up putting the lost weight back on.

This is a lot of information to take in presented in a condensed way but my hope is that this site will provide you with a sufficient understanding of nutrition and your body’s biochemistry to enable you to implement the lifestyle changes that will let you take charge of your weight and stay healthy throughout your life – as well as pass on the understanding you develop and good habits you learn to those you care about. If you have questions not answered here then do please ask/comment.

Some people find it easier to be given a more prescriptive approach to what to do when starting out – a kind of one-size-fits-all template – and I have provided such a ‘prescription’ here, however, it’s important that as you see positive results you understand why the regime works so you can continue to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight at a healthy level forever.

Pandasql broken in Google Colab – Quick fix

Pandasql AttributeError

Last week a time-saving Python program I had been running successfully for several months in the Google Colab Jupyter notebook environment suddenly failed with a curious error.

The cause – an upgrade to a package (SQLAlchemy) that a library I was using (pandasql) depended upon had broken the library.

This was rather concerning since I had written a huge volume of code using the library and refactoring the code to do things a different way would have been a not insignificant undertaking.

Happily there are a couple of fixes. One is proposed in the link above which is to downgrade the package the broken library depends on before installing the library:

!pip install --upgrade 'sqlalchemy<2.0'
!pip install -U pandasql

This is not entirely satisfactory since one can imagine a time when that downgraded version is no longer supported.

Ideally a fix would be released to pandasql itself but despite its popularity and widespread use it seems no changes have been made to it for several years so what are the chances of that happening..

Alternatively, we can use a forked ‘fixed’ distribution of pandasql that someone has kindly created:

Pandasql fix

and simply install that fixed distribution (instead of pandasql) and then import the modules needed from it:

#!pip install -U pandasql
!pip install -U pansql
#from pandasql import sqldf
from pansql import sqldf

There may be debate about whether to use SQL and pandasql against dataframes, when other mechanisms to query their data are available:

Regardless of such stylistic, philosophical and aesthetic considerations, SQL remains one of the most established and popular languages for querying tabular data and rewriting existing code to use alternative methods, like the pandas query function can be time-consuming and will certainly require retesting.

I’ve experienced these unexpected failures of previously working code on occasion before e.g. where a package was completely removed from the base Colab distribution.

Happily the community developed a fix in that instance too.

So, running Python programs on Google Colab’s ever changing foundation remains a rather nerve wracking experience with unexpected work being required from time to time when things suddenly break and you need to research, implement and test fixes. If you know a better approach to managing the relentless and inevitable changes to Colab please leave a comment!

Being fat keeps us fat

Being overweight actually keeps us feeling unsatisfied and overweight

Inflammation increases with weight gain, which leads to insulin resistance and leptin resistance. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, reducing inflammation is key. You can do this by avoiding processed foods and added sugars, eating more anti-inflammatory foods, getting enough sleep and decreasing stress levels. Reducing the amount of inflammation in your body will also lower your risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

There is more to long term health and weight maintenance success than calories in and calories out. Check out these conversations by 2 London hospital doctors.

For laypersons check out this article by a dietician.

In a nutshell these resources help us understand the need to put good foods in (leafy greens, broccoli/cauliflower, nuts, fatty fish) as much as avoid bad foods.

How to lose weight

I wonder whether we may ‘self-medicate’ and become fat exactly in order to reduce our metabolism, feel tired and hence reduce troublesome thoughts.

It’s not easy. Good luck! All the best for now.

The true size of every country

World map with true country sizes

This Nature article illustrates the distortion to our perception of the world introduced by the map most of us are familiar with.

The world map we know makes objects closer to the poles appear larger so Greenland looks the same size as Africa which is 14x bigger.

The 6 largest countries by size are Russia, Canada, China, the US, Brazil and Australia.

Largest countries by area
Largest countries by population

Both these maps put the UK at the centre of the world for historical reasons. The links below provide further perspectives and details.

Best TV picture of 2023: LG G3, Samsung S95C, Panasonic MZ2000, Sony A95L..or something else?

Which TV will have the best picture quality in 2023? There is a lot of talk about the headline flagship sets from the consumer electronics arms of the OLED panel manufacturers, LG and Samsung, with Sony’s A95K QD-OLED successor yet to be announced, but the truth of the matter may just have been staring us in the face all along.

Let’s summarise what some of the biggest TV YouTubers and Audio-visual websites have to say before reaching a conclusion.

Best TVs of CES 2023 (Caleb Denison)
  • Samsung S90C / S95C has potential for greater colour brightness and luminance if pushed
  • LG G3 META Micro Lens Array improves brightness but not necessarily colour brightness because of the white subpixel however he found colours to be brighter perceptually
  • Panasonic MZ2000 processing and picture quality made it one of the best at CES 2023
  • MLA just focuses existing light better rather than increases light energy so doesn’t increase burn in risk
  • MLA peaks at 2100 nits so a ‘150% increase’ (2.5x original or 1.5x original?)
  • QD-OLED2 colour brightness is measurably purer since no white subpixel but perceptually MLA may appear little different
LG G3 is 70% brighter (Vincent Teoh)
  • LG Brightness Booster Max light control architecture (MLA) and light boosting algorithms increase brightness by up to 70% but just on 55, 65, 77 inch models (not 83)
  • Samsung puts Micro LED top of its range with, OLED bottom and Neo QLED in the middle.
  • S90/95C in 55, 65, 77 inch sizes
Measured first MLA
  • MLA is brighter across all window sizes from 1% to full screen white giving more depth and punch and brighter colours
  • Panasonic MZ2000 1500 nits (cd/m2) peak light output on a 10% window
  • Graph shows 50% brightness boost over previous year’s LZ2000 at 10% window size but reducing to just 20% brightness boost at 100% window size.
  • Though brighter MZ2000 clears image retention quicker than LZ2000
  • Some scenes look identical in brightness on old LZ2000 and new MZ2000
  • With ambient light blacks look less black and more pink on the new MZ2000
Panasonic MZ2000 MLA
  • MLA design uses 27 billion lenses to redirect out of the screen light previously reflected inwards
  • Brightness is 50% greater than last year’s model
  • MLA increases colour volume
  • “True to the film maker’s vision” slogan – even though film makers take into account typical end user equipment
QD-OLED 2nd generation
  • 30% brighter over 2022 QD-OLED due to higher intensity light and less internal absorption
  • Blacks will be truer than the greys of QD-OLED v1 due to optimisation of the top layers of the panel
CES 23 Best Tvs
  • LG MLA and Samsung QD-OLED2 are the main technologies impacting top end picture quality for 2023.
  • TCL Micro LED promises the best picture quality but is 5 years plus away
  • Panasonic MZ2000 with MLA is vote for best of show with a visible difference against last year’s model
  • Wireless HDMI is on the LG Signature OLED M model
LG G3 vs Samsung S95C matchup (FOMO)
  • G3 Micro Lens Array (MLA) will achieve the best full screen brightness
  • S95C QD-OLED has a brighter blue OLED material and a new anti reflective layer will reflect less light and so achieve truer blacks in a brighter room than its predecessor (OLED v1 also used by Sony A95K)
  • LG G2 issues were full screen brightness, uniformity (magenta tint) and colour accuracy
  • Samsung S95B issues were lifted blacks under ambient light, low bit rate content processing and bent panels
  • The competition will be about high APL brightness and lower luminance colour accuracy
LG MLA G3 vs Samsung 2023 QD-OLED | Really 2000 Nits? (Classy)
  • Marketing materials don’t specify the brightness window sizes
  • Panel may be capable of 2000 nits but the implementation in the models may be less
  • Forbes states QD-OLED v2 is 1500 nits at 10% and a 30% improvement over the previous year.
  • QD-OLED issues remain: colour fringing with coloured lines in bright scenes and near black smearing.
  • LG G3 1500 nits on 10% window and 2000 on 3%
  • Both Sony A95K (QD OLED with heat sync) and Samsung S95B (without heat sync) holds sustained brightness better though does not get so bright as LG G2.
  • Panel consistency and lack of pink tinting are the main advantages of QD-OLED over OLED.
G3 v S95C (Brian)
  • Samsung updates in 2022, presumably to keep the panel safe, meant the S95B no longer offered its original brightness by the end of the year
  • QD-OLED2 is trying to be brighter than MLA (2100 v 2000 nits)
  • LG Evo G2 panel had a pink tint uniformity issue and Samsung QD-OLED S95B panel had a software update trust issue
Second generation OLED (KG)
  • At CES 2023 the Samsung booth demonstrated QD-OLED v2 as being perceptibly brighter with even more saturated colours than 2022 QD-OLED. provides measurements for several popular TVs and top of the line LEDs measure and are perceived as much brighter and more impressive with bright full screen scenes than top of the line OLED TVs, whether WRGB OLED or QD-OLED.

For 10% peak and 100% sustained brightness respectively, gives

  • OLEDs: LG G2 (evo) 450, 190; Sony A95K (QD-OLED) 410, 148; LG G1 (2021) 406, 161
  • Mini LEDs: Samsung QN95B 1,934, 569; Sony X95K 1223, 633;
  • Full Array Local Dimming: Sony X95H (2020) 1085, 625

So to summarise, the latest 2023 OLEDs are 30% to 50% brighter than last year for sub 10% white windows but for full screen white are perhaps just 20% brighter so for viewing in a daytime room or bright high APL scenes with, for example, sunshine, snow or sports both of the new OLED technologies, QD-OLED v2 and MLA (META), remain much less impactful than LED designs.

Micro LED achieves the holy grail of professional reference mastering monitor black and bright performance like the 31 inch Sony BVM-HX310 but is too expensive a technology for mass market consumer sets for now and several years to come, with lower energy consumption being one of the technical challenges needing to be overcome.

How Excel bins handle decimals when using FREQUENCY

How Excel bins handle decimals

Each bin defines the absolute maximum number the bin can contain. A bin of 10 will contain numbers up to 10 so 9 and 10 but not 10.1. In other words, the bin contents are less than or equal to (<=) the current bin and greater than (>) the previous bin.

In short a bin contains numbers up to and including the bin’s number but not a fraction over the bin’s number as shown in the examples above.

People usually give their age as rounded down and age limits operate in that way too so a 17.9 year old can’t vote in the UK. If we want to find the number of people aged say 15-18 we need to use the Excel ROUNDDOWN function to make sure someone who is 18.3 or 18.9 appears in a 15-18 bin defined as 18. The previous bin in this example would have to be 14 to capture 14 year olds but not 15 year olds.

How many people have spoken to the Queen, Elizabeth II

How many people did the Queen speak to?
How many people did the Queen speak to?

A quarter of a million people, or 0.3% of the population of the UK that is alive today, or one in three hundred people in the UK have actually spoken to the Queen.

That figure assumes she spoke to on average 23 new people at each of the 21,000 engagements she attended during her 70 year reign, an average age of her interlocutor of 35, an average lifespan of interlocutor of 75 years (it is 81 in the UK in 2022) and the vast majority of her interlocutors being UK inhabitants.

If we include the 307,000 people she sent a 100th birthday telegram to and the 927,000 couples she sent a 60th anniversary message to that brings the figure up to 2.6 million people in total (alive or dead) she has directly communicated with, though this is an overestimate since there will be overlap between these these cohorts.

Since the written communications were over a period of 70 years, and assuming an average age of the recipient of the written communications of 80, 200,000 could be assumed to still be living, making for up to half a million people in the UK in total who are alive now (2022) having received direct communication from the Queen.

If you have any other thoughts or figures on these estimates please leave a comment below.

Of course, the Queen’s influence was felt by many more people, including myself. Her devotion to duty with good humour and intelligence is just one of the legacies she will leave us with.

May you ever rest in peace Ma’am.

Make diagrams for free

Plantuml Archimate diagram made with Planttext

If you don’t have the funds or inclination to pay for Vizio or Lucidchart here are a few tools for easily creating a variety of common diagrams, from flow charts to entity relationship (data structure), dependency, UML and presentation graphics. Some don’t require any drawing or layout skills whatsoever and allow you to produce clear professional looking diagrams quickly just by typing concise human readable text – no manual and time-consuming drawing, positioning, resizing, formatting and alignment of objects and connectors!

Org Chart

Flow chart

See also Activity diagram for the equivalent in the internationally agreed UML notation.

Activity, Class, Gantt, Mindmap & more

Archimate Diagram

Archimate is an internationally agreed standard, in the style of UML, that lets one describe pictorially all elements of Enterprise Architecture from motivation like drivers, goals and outcomes to business processes, data, applications, technology, strategy, capabilities, courses of action (like projects and programmes) and deliverables.

All Plantuml diagrams can be constructed, shared and saved via


however since the URLs are so long (the URL encodes the script that describes the diagram) a URL shortener can be employed for easier sharing and embedding.

Tip: change the real URL you land on using the shortened link above from the format{long string}

to this format{long string}

to be able to edit the diagram!

Plantuml Archimate Diagram (revised)
Plantuml Archimate Diagram (revised further)

Here is the new URL of the revised diagram, in the SVG format this time, which can be scaled without loss of resolution:

Note: if you change the diagram the URL of your edited diagram will also change, which means that you will need to change the diagram URL embedded in any documents that refer to it if you want them to reflect your edits. Of course, if you simply download and include the generated png file in your document you need to change the document whenever you revise the diagram too. The upside is that anyone can revise the diagram in future without having to recreate it from scratch and without needing any software – just internet access. One isn’t even dependent on a particular website since the ‘long string’ from will also work at and one can even install one’s own diagram server:

Class and many other UML diagrams

Also allows one to quickly write:  Sequence diagram  Usecase diagram  Class diagram  Object diagram  Activity diagram (here is the legacy syntaxComponent diagram  Deployment diagram  State diagram  Timing diagram 

ER Diagram ( – revise as needed and then embed in your document using the URL you are directed to when clicking SVG) (

Dependency Diagram

These can be very powerful by providing insight into the chain of dependencies and relationships within a system. Graphviz allows diagrams in the simple ‘dot’ graph description language to be constructed, shared and saved via e.g.

App Wireframe

Slide Presentation Graphics


Other tools (formerly, fiddly on a phone) (needs sign up, cumbersome on a phone) (needs installation on a desktop OS so unusable on a phone) (needs sign up, app installation on phone and free version limits documents and objects per document)

Hope this helps – feel free to share your favourite diagramming tools and resources in a comment!

How many MPs are supporting Boris Johnson in today’s vote of No Confidence #HowManyMPsSupportBoris

At least 157 MPs have publicly declared their support for the Prime Minister including those listed in the tweet below.

The latest figure can be seen here:

The list above may not include some of the latest declarations of support – you can search Twitter for “support prime minister” e.g.

If you have a more up-to-date figure feel free to tweet a reply here.

WhatsApp – react with Emoji new for 2022

If you want to show your appreciation for someone’s message or photo in a WhatsApp group chat but don’t want to bother everyone in the group with a notification of your reaction there is now a way by simply long tapping the thing you want to react to and selecting your emoji reaction.

This was a feature request raised over 6 years ago but better late than never I guess!