Friday, 27 November 2009

Weigh In

I had my first proper weigh in for ages this morning. It was a good one! I've just passed my second goal weight!

My first goal weight was just a random guess at an ok weight but I still felt too big so set my second goal for another 10lb. I've been ill for the past two weeks and eating badly and not exercising enough for the last 2+months - but generally Monday - Friday 9-5 I've eaten well. I've kep an eye on my weight the whole time and stuck at around 139lb. While I've been ill I've not had much of an appetite but when it did come back it was mostly sugary drinks, crisps and bacon rolls with butter I was cramming in. I'm also just through with TOTM, last month I didn't take a break from my pill so have been suffering the bloating effects all month so I am fairly confident with what the scales said this morning and that it wont go shooting up as my appetite returns.

Anyway I have lost a total of 2.2 stones since mid February this year. I started for about a month on 1100 calories per day for a loss of 2lb per week, I found this just wasn't enough and changed to a 1lb a week loss then when I got to the first goal I went down to 0.5lb a week. In total it works out that I've been losing 0.7lb per week with some weeks being over 2lb and others being small gains or staying the same.

I've tried to stick to eating natrual and unprocessed foods, I've gone lower carb and higher protein to support my exercise which consisted of heavy weight training and interval training on the exercise bike/cross trainer/treadmill. I also used a personal trainer once a week for a few months - which was a fantastic motivator but just too expensive to keep up.
My consistency has been quite poor - though far better than any other times I've tried losing weight, and improving! Whenever I've wandered off track I've managed to get back on - though this latest fall is taking a lot longer to recover from!
I found keeping a diary on a thread in a forum I used incredibly helpful, sadly the forum kind of died a death so my blog took over and has been such a great tool in keeping me going and interested in what I'm doing. I like being accountable, even if I don't know who is reading or if no one was reading, putting it out there and knowing people can see really does help!

I still have a bit of podge to shift so I have set my next goal for 10lb though I have no idea if I will reach it. I'm now under 10 stones for the firstr time since I was a child, I really never thought it was possible - I'm quite broad built and always figured I just would be big, I never realised I had as much as 2 stone going spare that I could comfortably lose!
My main aim now is to focus on exercise, getting fit and improving my shape - and falling into a comfortable exercise habit I never want to give up!

Ideally I'd love to not have to count calories but I'm not quite there yet so will be sticking with WLR and counting until I am! I am going to try to be a bit more relaxed about counting by making more of an effort to stick to the right foods.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Pome-not-so-great

After getting to work on pomegranate number 2 I have come to the conclusion that pomogranate is just not worth the effort, not ones bought in Aberdeen anyway!

Firstly they look a bit.... peely wally and sad, dull pale red or a pale pinky-red-yellow kind of colour.

Then inside, I was expecting something like this:



But the reality looks a bit dry and more like lots of seeds with a wee bit of juice, not like a little plump and juicy berries with a little seed inside



I mean they don't look bad or anything, just not so exciting!

Which is why I added vodka! :D



It was....not as good as it looks! Too bitter. And I still had 3 more left! I'm not impressed but they are good enough for me to eat the rest so I am trying again tomorrow and have packed a tub of raspberries and pomegranate arils to take to work tomorrow



I also packed up some oats with coconut water and a thinly sliced banana for breakfast and a salad with mived leaves, grated courgette, yellow pepper and pomodoro tomatoes with some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing to add



I'm feeling much better today and even ate lunch so thought I should get back into the habit of preparing food to take into work. I now just have a painful and irritating cough but at least I feel normal and have a lot more. Which is just as well since I had to spend this evening preparing food for my friends who are coming round for dinner and drinks tomorrow - I can't wait!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Spoke Too Soon

Because I'm still ill and feeling rubbish :(

Fed up of it now - it's just a bad cold and it's getting better which is good. I went back to work yesterday only to be off again today! I'm sure I'll be baack tomorrow and fine for the rest of the week but definitely going to be taking it easy aand not going to bother with the gym. I've thought about doing some yoga at home but I'm struggling to breathe so will probably give that a miss too for a few more days.

 



Food has been a bit better, I still have harldy any appetite during the days but less foods are making me feel sick. I'm on a really tight budget this week so no cash left for crappy foods - though I am having friends over for dinner on Friday so I wont exactly be eating healthy all week, but it will be homemade, and there will be pictures!

 



Get well soon to all those others suffering with colds or flu!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Feeling Human Again...

...ish.

I no longer feel like I have flu/have been hit by a train, it just feels like a bod cold now.

I'll be making an effort to post properly again over the next few dats, and hopefully be back at the gym from Tuesday.

No point in a diet update since there hasn't really been one! For what must be the first time in my life I have lost my appetite! Even when hungry over the last week there was nothing that I actually wanted to eat, there's been a lot of juice (shop bought, no energy to do my own), lots of cereal and lots of bread, plus some crisps. I am starting to want food now though, just no much of it and it mostly seem to revolve around really crispy bacon.

Making a real effort from tomorrow - it's not going to be an exciting food week - we have about £20 to last until payday between us! But I will be having more pumpkin tomorrow, and making a pumpkin soup for lunches during the week!

 



Going to wait and see how I feel but I'm hoping to go back to spin class on Tuesday and other than that exercise will be on the gentle side! I'm also going to be getting into yoga this week - I want something *more* than weights and cardio and I kind of have the yoga bug from a lot of the other blogs I read.

 



Umm....anything else interesting? Not really! I bought 4 pommegranates! They don't look as appetising as the ones from the blogs, they are yellow for a start. I'm not feeling too hopeful for the flavour, I imagine they might be a bit bland sadly.

 



Well I'm off to fill up my glass (Koko Kanu coconut rum and cranberry juice). Have a good weekend!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Flu

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been away for the weekend and now I'm in bed with flu, never felt so awful in my life!! Will update as soon as I feel able.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Pumpkin Love

Whoohoo! I got more pumpkin! I would have bought even more but I couldn't carry it :(

 



I now have a little pumpkin family :D

Umpkin

The munchkins are my favourite, I'm not so sure I even want to share them with my boyfriend... so it's a good thing I made a big batch of chunky chocolate nut cookies to bribe him with!

 



Cookies

I mixed 25g of Flora Extra Light Margerine with 150g Light Brown Muscovado Sugar and then stirred in 300g Self Raising Flour along with 2 tbsp of Skimmed Milk then chucked in some Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate which I smashed off the floor gently chopped into odd sized pieces and roughly choped cashews, brazils and walnuts, added some cinnamon and grated nutmeg, stirred it all up and baked in blobs for about 30 minutes, maybe more, at 180 degrees.

I haven't tried them yet but they were delicious last time I made them!

 



Cookie

 



I also had a go at making some kale chips after reading about them on the Fitnessista blog and on Kath Eats Real Food

Raw Kale

I didn't like them.... but I will try again! I've never had kale before and I put some nutritional yeast on them which I've also never had before. Thr flavour of the nutritional yeast was good, the kale flavour was ok, but the texture was a bit weird for me, I found it quite jaggy. But I'll try again.

I cooked the kale in the oven at 150 degrees for around 15 minutes after throwing over some olive oil, salt and nutritional yeast

Kale Chips

 



And then I took some more pictures of my cat!

 



IMG_1896

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness

Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness

Have a look over on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog at her post on Operation Chocolate-Covered Kindness - every click on her blog helps raise money towards the Enough Project so click away as much as you can! The best part is, her blog is filled with loads of yummy chocolate recipes! (and other yummy recipe's too!) I made a batch of her Fudge Babies a while ago and they were to die for! Hopefully I'll manage to make some more at the weekend as I've ran out of Nakd bars and I'm down to my last Larabar so I could definitely to with an alternative!



Have a look here for more info on the Enough Project http://www.enoughproject.org/about



I wont say too much more as I'm leaving work in 3 minutes but I wanted to post these links as I think this is a worthwhile cause - my final year university course involved an Ethics class and the group I was part of wrote our coursework on the genocide in Darfur so this is something of interest to me. (if interest is the right word..)



Anyhoo! Clicky click click

More Pumpkin!

Yesterday was a tasty food day! It may not have all been good but I really enjoyed it!

Breakfast was the trusty Green Monster with homemade almond milk, spinach, banana, spirulina and 1 tsp flaxseed

Lunch was a shop-bought New Covent Garden Butternut Squash and Sage soup which was lovely, must make my own sometime!

For my afternoon snack I tried out some goats milk yogurt with blueberries and dried banana cips. The yogurt was..... interesting! It had a gorgeous thick and creamy texture and tasted pretty much like most natural yogurts, only a little bit too "fresh", normally I eat yogurt and think nothing but this made me think 'this just came out of a goat' and then I'd think 'so what? Regular yogurt comes out a cow!' I think I do like it, just need a couple more servings to get my head around it!

Blueberries were lush as always and the banana chips were a great addition! The yogurt makes them go all soft and chewy like sweeties!

Before heading to the gym for spin class I made a smoothie with frozen spinach, frozen mango and water - it was ok, I should have used almond milk instead of water though.

Mango Spinach

Spin class was fun - really tough, but definitely fun! We've had someone different take the class almost every week, each one better than the last but none quite as good as the first so I was pleased to see the first girl was back - she had ran a marathon and been on holiday. I was in agony throughout the whole class and my heart rate was in the 170's for most of it, rarely below 160! I had my usual walk home in the dark and cold :( and stopped by TK Maxx and bought some penguin and snowman plates which I've been eyeing up for ages now - simple things really make me happy!

For dinner I had some Brusselsprouts - first time I've had them since christmas when I must have been under 10 and I hated them! But since this whole stick was only £1 I thought I'd give them another chance

Sprouts

I decided I'd finally have my munchkin pumpkin too

Munchkin Pumpkin

Look how tiny!

Munchkin Pumpkin Hand

I chopped them up and added some olive oil and black pepper, and some garlic salt to the srouts

Pumpkin and Sprouts Raw

And roast them in the over for about 30 minutes

Pumpkin and Sprouts

Served with  after a fillet of Cape Hake grilled with a little chinese 5 spice and soy sauce, served on a penguin plate, naturally.

Cape Hake

Annoyingly I messed up the timings and have to have the fish and veg separately.

And just for the hell of it, here is my very very happy cat!

happycat

Sorry for the poor picture quality, my photo editing abilities are somewhat limited at work!

Pumpkin Risotto

Here is the recipe I used to cook my first ever pumpkin! I used a basic risotto recipe from the BBC Food site but it ended up being more of a guide!

I started by chopping 1 red onion and 1 white onion, while my boyfriend hacked up a pumpkin with a cleaver!

1 Onion

 Fried the onion a 1tsp olive oil

2 Onion and Rice

 Add in approx. 100g risotto rice per person for large main meal sized portions - stir to coat the rice with the oil/liquid form the onions

3 Pumpkin

 Add a beautifully hacked chopped pumpkin, we had some larger pieces and some smaller pieces but decided the smaller ones are better since they cooked faster

4 Pumpkin In

 Stir in the pumkpin with some vegetable stock - I used about 1.5L total with two organic low salt stock cubes and poured in about one third of this when I added the pumpkin

5 Cooking

 Let the rice and pumpkin simmer a bit and add in some seasoning - I used salt, pepper and thyme. Keep stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed, add more stock and repeat until all of the stock has been used/the desired consistency/texture has been reached - I like it pretty soft and creamy but with a good bit of bite to the rice. You can add more stock if you need/want - just keep tasting as you go along until you are happy with it.

It's best to do this really slowly to get the right texture in the rice and to give the pumpkin time to cook.

6 Stirring

 Stir in some hard cheese like padano or pecorino - I only used 30-40g so the recipe still comes out pretty low cal.

7 Served

And serve!

We piled our plates high and ate most of it, I had the leftovers with some bread the next day but it makes enough for three normal sized meals!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Foodie Update

Ooops, it's been a while since I posted! Work has been busy so no time for sneaky at work posts and in the evenings I've mostly been really, really tired, or doing housework, yawn. But slowly the flat is starting to look great once again! Anyone else find it just impossible to *do* things when thier surroundings are messy? I can't do anything with mess surrounding me, clutter stops me thinking straight and stresses me out. This wouldn't be a problem if I wasn't also lazy when it came to housework, I would just tidy/clean then get on with whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. But I can't be bothered and then end up doing nothing at all, silly really. So, anyway, I am going to be making a real effort to chage this by doing a little of the boring housey stuff EVERY day!

I've pretty much not been eating very well over the last week but I'm just going to ignore that for now and post some of the good stuff! And plan for a healthy week this week...

Thursday nights quick dinner, carbonara

Carbonara

Started the weekend well with a bowl of porridge cooked with skimmed milk, water and thinly sliced banana, served with chopped dark chocolate and some coconut.

Cocoats

And a glass of apple/carrot juice

Coconut Oats and Juice

And some coffee with excessive foam

Coffee

Followed by shop bought sandwiches and Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips, and I discovered that I *love* San Pellegrino sparkling water! I've never been a sparkling water fan, I don't like the odd nothing-y taste it has, like cucumber, bleugh!

We then stopped by Tinderbox where I threw most of a mug of spicy hot chocolate all over myself - I had bought it to cheer me up and didn't even get to drink it!

Dinner was a bit last minute and rushed but my boyfriend sorted us out with some poached eggs and chopped crispy bacon on toasted rolls, which I had with some sparkling pomegranate and raspberry juice - I've been getting very envious of all the girls blogging about pomegranate, you don't really get much in the way of 'exotics' round here :(

Poached Egg and Pancetta

Pommegranate Fizz

After dinner we went to see a movie - The Men Who Stare at Goats - it was good, funny, weird, bit disappointing though I still liked it! And I got myself another spicy hot chocolate from Tinderbox that I managed not to throw over myself or anyone else!

When we got home we tried to play some Monopoly, but someone decided he just had to get in the way join in

Monopoly JeffMonopoly Cat

Sunday I started off with one of my favourites - a Larabar!! I came across 4 of them in a health food shop on Saturday, there were 4 Pecan Pie bars and an empty box of the Cinnamon ones, still, better than none!

Pecan Pie

I made another wee batch of almond milk - I don't really know what's different but it came out so rich and creamy, it's really beautiful!

Almond Milk

Dinner was pumpkin risotto - first time I've bought or cooked pumpkin - love it, sadly only managed to buy two and now halloween is over nowhere will stock them.

7 Served

Friday, 6 November 2009

Stevia


I've been reading a lot of American blogs about healthy, natural foods and raw diets and everyone seems to be using a sweetener called stevia.

 

605stevia

 

I just assumed it was like an American Canderel-type artificial sweetener so never really thought much of it at first, until I started thinking that if the girls I'm reading about are eating all natural, healthy, RAW foods, they aren't going to be using an artificial sweetener!

 

 stevia

 

When I first googled it everything I saw was really negative and mostly linking stevia to cancer. The Food Standards Agency in the UK carried out safety assessments which resulted in stevioside  not being allowed for sale as a food or food ingredient in the UK, or the EU. The most up to date information I found on the FSA site is from 2002 and a 2004 entry stating that they have banned importation of stevioside into the UK.

Stevioside was first considered for approval in the EU in 1985 and reviewed in 1988 and 1998:  "The data considered by the Committee indicated that the extract has the potential to produce adverse effects in the male reproductive system that could affect fertility and that a metabolite produced by the human gut microflora, steviol, is genotoxic (ie. damages DNA). The Committee concluded that stevioside was not acceptable as a sweetener."

Also in 1998 the was a request for stevia to be approved as a "novel food" (food products which were not used for human consumption to a significant degree) in the EU, this was reviewed by Belgian Authorities and in the UK - both concluded stevia could not be approved "due to lack of information supporting its safety"

The criticism of stevia seems to stem from a 1985 study which reported that steviol may be a mutagen - which apart from reminding me of the word I used instead of 'close' when I was a baby ("mutiden the door") can also be a carcinogen. However, this report has been widely criticised due to its procedures and the handling of the data apparently meaning that even distilled water would appear mutagenic.

According to Wikipedia (I know, not the best source but quick and easy!) the WHO in 2006 performed a thorough evaluation of various studies and found no evidence of carcinogenic activity.

In the US, stevia was banned except for use as a supplement and in 2008, Reb A - which is extracted from stevia was permitted as a food additive in the US - both Coca-Cola and Pepsi were involved in developing Reb A sweeteners. Though the FDA did not actually grant approval but confirmed they would not object to its usage.

Stevia is only banned in the UK, EU (except France for testing), Singapore and Hong Kong.

Some sources suggest that restrictions on stevia may be connected to the "powerful forces with financial interests in sugar and sweeteners"

 Most of the information outside of the UK seems to suggest stevia is safe to use as a sweetener and I have noticed quite a few UK sites who sell stevia, though some of them do mention that it's not being sold for human consumption ;)

The above is just information I found online because I was interested, not something I have researched in detail, I can even say how accurate my sources are and I have only linked to a few - I'm just sharing some thoughts really

 

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Porridge

I've been in such a porridge mood today, I had a bowl for breakfast and dinner! My first in ages, don't know why I waited so long.

My morning bowl was somewhat uninspiring

photo

20g oats with 200ml (ish) almond & hazelnut rice milk with a small banana stirred in - my first bowl using banana and I really enjoyed it! Not quite the "whipped" effect I was hoping for but still tasty!

My dinner porridge was ever so slightly better - and not photographed on my iphone in a plastic tub on my desk! Inspired by Kath Eats as I spent my lunch hour catching up on her blog.

I cooked 1/3 cup oats with 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup skimmed milk and half a small mashed up banana - I forgot to slice it thinly like Kath recommends but it mixed in well and the texture was heavenly!

IMG_1671

IMG_1673

Added 20g blueberries and 20g dark chocolate with fig and a handful of mixed nuts - I forgot to add cinnamon though :(

IMG_1679

IMG_1682

 



It tasted properly rubbish.

 



IMG_1685

Whoopsie!

I went to the cinema last night and ate an awful lot of Minstrels, as well as a scoop of Ben & Jerry's Choc Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt! So, yeah, obviously I was over calories for the day!

But 7.1 portions of fruit and veg, just over 2L water and I had a new healthy meal! We had a beef Gloulash which was delicious! Even better because it was cooked by my boyfriend!

 



B: Green Monster - banana, spinach, almond & hazelnut rice milk, spirulina

L: Chicken, Lemon and Tarragon Covent Garden soup

S: Greek yogurt, blueberries and a little bit of coconut syrup

D: beef goulash with basmati rice

S: Frozen Yogurt and 4000 Minstrels.

Drinks: 2 milky coffee's, 2 green teas, water

Exercise: Just a little walking to/from the cinema

 



We went to see Up last night, can't say I was too fussed about seeing it but I thought it was great! It was really sad in places though, I cried loads! I also laughed a lot though. Despite the tears it is a good happy movie.

 



Obviously I'm all pictured out after yesterday's post as I have none for today! Though I could have sworn I took a photo of my dinner!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Challenge 2

Fail.

Yeah I didn't make it! It was going so well, then I lost it when there were cakes and sweets in work, then I went out for some wine and had pizza on the way home, I then had a Domino's pizza on Saturday night too! And today I ate Pringles! I only needed one more day ad I at least would have been successful with no crisps for the week! I managed to stay within calories more days than I was over and managed 3 lots of exercise, 2 for an hour and one was hours of walking so not far of that one!

For Challenge 3 I'm trying again but not going to get so hung up on the numbers - I'm going to treat them a bit like the Pirate Code and refer to them as more of a guide. My main focus is going to be on what I am eating. I really need to cut junk food and processed foods out altogether as letting the odd thing slip in here and there just sends me way off track and I struggle to get back on. It's really annoying because as I'm eating crappy foods I'm thinking that I'm not really enjoying it, I've got so used to real flavours that processed ones just taste quite bland, I just seem to keep forgetting this and carry on eating because I think I may as well. I don't think there are any more work birthday's or nights out planned for this week so hopefully there wont be so many temptations!

Some of my food over the last few days, in no particular order:

Hangover Cure Apple & Carrot Juice:





Firefly Green Tea with Peach - never tried these before, there are lovely and all natural!



Raw Chocolate Raspberry Truffle - so expensive but absolutely beautiful! If you like proper dark chocolate you must look out for these!





Juiced Carrot, Apple and Kiwi - desperately trying to get my fruit and veg up for the day! Was Nice but the seeds in the kiwi really catch in the back of my throat!

Kiwi Apple Carot

Green Monster with Spinach, Banana and Spirulina and a little taste of my homemade chocolate almond milk - this is great!! It's a bit grainy as I was impatient and ended up dropping the muslin cloth in the jar so had to start again, but not without a taste!



Apple Juice I made for my boyfriend on Saturday morning after I made my hangover juice

Apples

Today's lunch, shop bought pastrami sandwich and half a caramel shortcake

Pastrami Sandwich with Caramel Shortcake

Tonights dinner - Chicken stuffed with Philidelphia, wrapped in parma ham, served with roast veg and some potato wedges - cooked by my boyfriend who also grew the potatoes himself!

Stuffed Chicken in Parma Hm

Glass of white wine, it was rubbish



So I drank it and then had a Cream Cutie Chocolate Orange Liqueur instead - these are just gorgeous! If you like cream liqueurs or chocolate orange you should try them.



Breakfast today was some Whole Earth Cocoa Crunch granola with Greek Yogurt and a mug of Tea Pigs Winter Spice tea - Tea Pigs are nother thing I recommend, the tea is always so tasty and they do some awesome flavours - thought I 've only tried the Winter Spice, English Breakfast and Chocolate Tea so far so I may be exaggerating a little!





Sorry for the picture heavy post, I'm too tired to think of anything to write tonight!

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