I was converted and started preaching a sugar-free way to all that would listen.
Fast forward a few months. Ok….most of the year.
About halfway through the year, and looking back it was funnily enough after coming back from holidays in Sri-Lanka and falling pregnant, I started craving the sweet stuff again. When I found out I was pregnant and couldn’t have my beloved wine, I think I started compensating by replacing wine with chocolate. MILK chocolate. And if that amount is anything to go by, then I was well on the way to becoming an alco.
Lots of compensating was done.
It was done in the most overt way that I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I’d accept a handful of M&M’s while watching a movie, and then find I’d eaten the whole packet. Foods that hadn’t graced our kitchen for a long time suddenly started sneaking back in for those “just in case we have visitors” moments. Vegetables were on my hit list for things I couldn’t stand the sight of. I started feeling sluggish and tired and bloated and I put it down to the joys of being pregnant.
The funny thing was, everything tasted SO SWEET to me still yet I couldn’t stop.
Anyways, Sarah is throwing out the call to one and all to get back on the wagon – no judgement – in her pre-Christmas program. It starts today (29th October) and after seeing that and reading Laney’s post, I thought it was just the kick in the pants to get me back on track.
That being said, I’m all for listening to my body and if I wake up in the middle of the night with an itch only two things can cure (and the husband’s asleep)…well….I’m not going to feel guilty over that.
It’s really all about re-calibrating myself and getting to a place where I feel as good as I did the first time around. It’s also about respecting my body and ensuring that I’m giving this little baby all the best nutrients it can get.
The best thing about doing this is that I KNOW I CAN DO IT. I have done it before.
Evs is on board leading up to the silly season and I’ll be posting my journey here again for those who are interested. I bought the IQS cookbook when it came out as well and have since made some of the delicious recipes from it. One of the things I’ve been wanting to do more here is post more quick and easy healthy recipes, only because I tend to use blogs as my main source of inspiration for food and I want to share how easy it is to eat delicious food while taking care of your health.
For those interested, to get yourself started, I have a few posts I wrote the first time around that might help. I also highly recommend getting the I Quit Sugar e-book because it covers a lot more than what I did (or you can get the bundle with the cookbook which is also good) (and as a small reminder, they are aff links which means I get something small for it – which means – woohoo one free coffee for me!! )
You can also sign up for Sarah’s newsletter which will also give you a lot more tips and discounts on some of the things she mentions in her book as well. There’s a ton of support out there through the IQS community and I’ve joined Laney’s FB group as well which is great for meeting other people and sharing like-minded things related to quitting sugar.
As for me – I’m starting by getting myself prepared. I’ll be doing my weekly grocery shopping tonight and making sure I stock up on lots of nutritious food. I’ve made a loose meal plan for the dinners I want to make this week and will share some of the recipes as well here too.
So for the week:
Monday – leftovers (my cousin gave us heaps of food from the weekend – all healthy Indian stuff, so that with some rice will do )
Tuesday – Vegetable Noodle stirfry (may chuck in some meat for the husband, but I have tofu/paneer that needs to be used up)
Wednesday – Vegetable Cauli-rice (Evs will most likely have a steak with this)
Thursday – Stuffed chicken breasts with home-baked spicy sweet potato fries and salad (or possible going out for Pho)
Friday – Cheesy mushroom quesadillas
I’ll also be preparing for my breakfasts by making a batch of my fructose-free granola and removing all tempting things from my fridge and pantry.
Firstly I want to thank ALL of you who read, commented and emailed me on my last post. I can’t tell you how stunned I feel when I see you all thanking ME. I didn’t do anything to be thanked about – it was just my heart poured out onto the page and posted with my eyes closed and a feeling of nervousness engulfing me. It was just a reminder to me that no matter where we are in our own journeys, what our dreams are and where we have come from – we’re all looking for that place of just…peace.
I want to say to all of you now – YOU ARE ENOUGH.
You are more than your body, you are your experiences and intentions and mind and soul. You can do anything you put your heart and mind to
But enough of the soppy
I was going to post this on Friday but I came home, buggered after a long day at work and went straight to bed only to get up and head back into the city. I swear I’m too old to go out anymore – but I ended up having fun at a friend’s 30th and then at the movies after where I gave myself a fright by watching Paranormal Activity 4. Throughout the movie, I could feel my belly shifting and I hoped it wasn’t the bubs getting freaked out, because I definitely was.
Yesterday I had my cousin’s baby girl’s first birthday and it was great seeing all my family again. I feel like it’s been too long.
But to squeeze in the last bits of the weekend here’s a few of what I liked around the interwebs this week. Get yourself comfy, pour yourself a cup of tea/glass of wine and enjoy this Sunday night.
If you haven’r discovered Thought Catalog - you should. It’s like a vortex of amazing posts that suck you in and you emerge bleary-eyed hours later wondering how suddenly it got all dark in here. I came across these two which rated the characters of two of my favourite shows (the men of Game of Thrones and characters from Dexter) on the character’s marriage material. For fans – this is a must read (although slight spoiler – it’s using the characters from the current season of Dexter).
For those not TV show inclined, here’s a another great post listing 32 of life’s most perfect moments. (Can you tell I got sucked into the vortex??) #14 is one of my personal favorites – even if it just Evs and I trying to out-do each other booty-popping. Also #32. (And Hannah - #28 is for you )
I LOVED this video response from from a maxipad company to a man’s claim that he was “deceived” and that the “company had lied to him through their advertising campaigns over the years, leading him to believe that periods involved a lot of blue liquid, extreme sports, and fun music.” via Unmana. Actually, go have a read of the other links Unmana has posted this week – I also loved the article from the NY Times about how dads who work aren’t called working dads.
A really good post from Sarah Wilson about loving food and hating waste. Meaning starting to think about using up all the little bits left in the fridge (which I’m totally guilty of NOT doing). She details some tips about how to save waste from food as well and I’m definitely going to try the fish cake recipe she posted.
If you haven’t come across Masala Chica, then you need to NOW. Her posts are full of honesty and beautiful writing about her family which is only surpassed by her own gorgeousness and hidden talent for music.
With Gangnam Style going nuts around the world (and getting to the point where I hear the faint strains of Op, Op, Op in my sleep) – someone had the brilliant idea of getting a Tollywood music video set to the tune. It’s actually really good and the dancers are brilliant. I almost like this better than the original.
After scouring the RSPCA four years ago and knowing we weren’t coming home without Dex, and then a year or so later when we rescued Toby from a guy selling him online – I never realised how much having those two mutts around would prepare me for parenthood. They’ve been my training wheels and when they destroy yet another pair of shoes and come slinking up to me to put their head in my lap, I can’t help but wonder….am I going to be THAT much of a pushover when it comes to my kids?? Here’s a post from Mamamia about the parenting tips this girl learnt from her rescue puppy. (Now I really must get onto Googling that site that teaches them to poo in one area of the yard – not everywhere!)
As a child, salads were never the main star of the meal – often sitting forgotten to one side in a bowl of wilted icberg lettuce and tomatoes while we focused on the good stuff. Occasionally a cucumber would sneak in and maybe a carrot or two. We never bought the store made salad dressings, no matter how longingly I looked at them, desperate for a change from what I thought was the never changing, boring as hell lemon-oil-S&P combo.
Salads were dull. And they never filled you up.
When I grew older and started paying attention to my health, I rediscovered salads. It was a quick, easy way to get my daily intake of vegetables and the best part – I could literally do any combination and it would be delicious.
These days, I aim to have a salad at least once a day. Whether it’s as part of my lunch or with dinner – it’s usually the main course along with some other vegetables and my protein/carb source.
I don’t think I need to extol the virtues of the wonderful beings salad beasts are, but if you still not convinced, hear me out:
You can eat as much as you like. Within reason of course. (Not that I know anyone who died of a salad overdose, but you can’t be too careful). Even if you’re not watching your weight, there is a huge amount of volume of salad you can eat that will equal or get close to the same amount calories you would normally have in say, a sandwich. If you are someone (like me!) that is a visual eater, then having a big bowl of salad already makes me half-full. It’s a great meal that doesn’t make you feel heavy after lunch and feel like face planting onto your desk. I try and make sure its a balanced combination of greens, protein and healthy fats (more on this in the next post!)
The options are endless. Whee! I’m a person that gets bored easily. Some people say I have a short attention span, I just try to defend myself spluttering and then usually get distracted. Typically by something shiny. Variety is the spice, someone more famous that I can’t recall said. I’m going to get all funny on you here (and feel free to roll your eyes) but salads are like empty canvases to me. You start with a base of fresh greens and then add colour and texture and taste to your salad with lots of lovely toppings. Pretty much everything and anything goes and it will taste AWESOME. Play around with flavours and textures to paint a pretty picture.
It’s easy baby, yeah! As most of us are time poor and struggle with eating healthy while everything in life just throws itself at you at once, salads are something that I don’t even have to think about. I make my salads usually the night before (or even better when there are LEFTOVERS from dinner!), but I know of people who prep their salads at the start of the week to have their base ready to go. Then you just have to add whatever toppings take your fancy as you go along. The best part to doing this is also the use of LEFTOVERS in salads. Couldn’t finish that chicken you had? Cut it up and toss it in a salad! A spoonful or two of stir fry still hanging around? Toss it in a salad! (You reckon I can get “Toss it in a salad!” made into a legit catchphrase? Would it catch on??). Get creative – BBQ chicken offers an opportunity to go Mexican with some canned black beans, corn kernels, salsa and cheese. Leftover Bolognese sauce is so good on some spinach. Do be wary of storebought salad dressings though – they tend to have a lot of hidden sugars, not-so-great ingredients and unnecessary calories. It’s funny but now the easiest dressing I can make is just one with flaxseed oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, sea salt and cracked pepper. Adding some more simple seasonings can really add some sumthin’ sumthin’ to your bowl of veggies.
Whoa. Check out those colours man. There are not many meals you can say that are as much of a nutrient powerhouse as a salad. The more colourful a salad, the more different types of vegetables (and fruits!) you are getting into your diet. It’s also pretty to look at and again if you are a visual eater, then you will tend to like your food a lot more if it looks nice. Eating salad on a regular basis can even strengthen your immunity. The vitamins and minerals present salad because of the variety of vegetables, protein and good fats can provide you protection against a host of diseases.
The perfect salad, with the right combination of fresh nutritious vegetables, filling protein, fun toppings and healthy fats can really be one of the most healthiest things you can eat. That’s not to say that automatically every salad is healthy – particularly pre-made or from some salad bars. Some toppings aren’t really that great nutritionally wise and that along with the inexplicable drowning of the vegetables most places tend to do with their dressing, it can really rack up the calories and unnecessary amounts of fat and sugar in your diet.
My next post I’ll go into a little more detail about what actually makes a “perfect” healthy salad and give you some tips on how to build one.
Are you a salad eater? If you do, do you eat it first or last to a meal??
If you have never had a Green Monster, you need to get onto this revolution now. It’s tasty and good for you and makes you feel like Popeye and about to burst out of your work shirt (which has nothing to do with the fact that most shirts cannot contain your buxom chest in the first place and has been known to throw off a button at the most inopportune moment.)
(It is also why you barely wear shirts anymore.)
(But you still wear tops. Just clearing that up.)
The special ingredient and source of its name??
Yep – I drank spinach for breakfast.
Before you back away like I am some sort of crazy woman for even suggesting this – hear me out.
Number one – it’s delicious.
Number two – you can’t taste the spinach.
Number three – the secret to the smoothie is bananas.
You can many many variations of this smoothie (just Google it and you will be surprised), but here is my favourite.
I thought I’d share so you can join me in the Green Monster madness. (Said in a creepy join-my-cult voice. Joiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnn Meeeeeeeee. Preciousssssssssssssss.)
Choc-Banana Protein Green Monster
1 large handful of washed spinach (I used baby spinach)
1 medium banana (Since the price of bananas here in Australia is equivalent to that of your first born child at the moment, I bought some slightly overripe ones from the market for a cheaper price, cut them into pieces and froze them. Perfect for smoothies now.)
Ice (if you use frozen banana, you don’t really need the ice)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (if you don’t have this, add 1 –1.5 tsp of cocoa powder)
1 TB flaxmeal (optional but I like it for the fibre )
1/4 tsp xanthan gum (not really necessary – I use this for thickening the smoothies. You can find this in most health food stores or near the baking goods)
1/2-1 glass of water ( enough to almost cover the mixture or you can add milk or half milk-half water if you like)
Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender. Add the ingredients in the following order – 1) Flax, 2) spinach, 3) banana, 4) milk/water. From the Green Monster website – “the reason for this order is so the heavier ingredients weigh down the flax and spinach and keep it from flying up around the blender and sticking to the side.”. Makes sense to me, so I do it like that too.
Blend at the highest setting until the spinach is in tiny tiny pieces that you don’t feel like you will gag on them (for those non-spinach lovers).
Drink. Seriously – DRINK it.
It tastes like a choc-banana smoothie with no trace of the spinach at all. Really the only way you know it’s in there because of the colour.
I’ve been drinking these whenever I can for a while now. It’s a great breakfast alternative to when you don’t have much time – I put into into a portable thermos bottle thing and drink it on my way to work.
I’ve noticed an increase in my energy, and my skin has cleared while I drink this on a regular basis. It’s good stuff.
So remember my last post where I said I wanted to expand my culinary repertoire?
Well I had a brilliant idea.
It’s not a new idea, nor a particularly novel one, but it’s an idea that once it emerged in my mind, I couldn’t ignore it. And to give credit where it’s due, most of the brilliance actually came from the more brilliant half, but since we’re married and all and practically the same person etc etc I think it’s totally fair for me to say that it was mine.
It airs on channel SBS here in Melbourne (It’s a free-to-air channel as I don’t have cable. I’m thinking that’s a good thing knowing my tendency to get hooked on really bad TV shows. I’m talking REALLY bad. Like we don’t talk about “Sweet Sixteen’ or ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ anymore in my house), which is renowned for it’s more world oriented programming and is a welcome relief from the drivel that sometimes airs on the more mainstream channels (I’m looking at YOU hundredth repeat of Two and a Half Men!).
It also airs world movies late at night, which I have heard that for any teenage boy it’s the thing to watch.
You know, because of the French movies.
The premise is basically whereby the host Maeve O’Meara (I love to try and guess what outrageous top she will wear each episode) explores the cuisine of a selected country. She speaks to chefs from restaurants here in Melbourne and Sydney about the essential ingredients used in cooking, goes into local homes to talk about their favourite dishes and watches them cook it. It’s great stuff, because everything is either made at home or easily adaptable to be made at home and the most amusing thing is watching her make orgasmic sounds as she bites into each dish.
I feel like I’m prying into a series of very personal moments.
Evs and I loved it, from the very first episode we watched on ‘Spain’ and drooled over the images of massive amounts of paella and thirst quenching ceviche.
Actually loved it to the point where we have now seen every episode and also bought the cookbook. Yes, the recipes are available online for free, but there’s something about having these wondrous meals bound together with beautiful pictures that you can lovingly flip through whenever you want.
So – the brilliant idea.
Evs and I have decided to do our very own Food Safari.
Each month, we will randomly pick a country out of a box and then spend that month cooking dishes from that country. Not every night of course, but on the weekends when we have the time and motivation to create a majestic meal.
We’ve also decided that with the abundance of fantastic restaurants around in Melb, we’ll go out to eat at a restaurant of that country’s cuisine sometime during that month. It’ll give us the opportunity to try out some restaurants that we would have never have thought to go to and also hopefully discover some great places.
Last week, Evs came up to me with his hands cupped. In them, were numerous pieces of folded paper and he looked at me with a big grin.
I squealed with excitement, knowing exactly what he wanted to do and then made him impatiently wait while I tracked down a decent looking box and pulled out the camera to document the moment.
Stopping in mid-squeal (yes, I ran around the house squealing while collecting the box and camera), I told Evs to make the first choice.
And he did.
So, ladies and gentlemen.
Our first Food Safari adventure is…
I’m almost salivating. Right here. At my desk.
Somebody get me a tissue.
This is AWESOME.
For your reading convenience, I have created a new page at the top of the blog to write down my foray into international food. Bear with me as I get it sorted it out, but do check it out if you get the chance
This weekend, stay tuned for our first attempt at cooking Malaysian/Singaporean food.