Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Well, just a quick update first of all :-)

I have broken the 80kg curse and am bobbing around just underneath on a delightful total of 18 kgs loss! To say I am pleased is an understatement - there is such a freedom at knowing I can walk straight into most shops and just buy a sz 14 off the rack, and even then the waists can be a little roomy, however, with such a generous post-baby paunch below, I doubt I will drop much more in the size department. But do you know what???? I really don't mind. In discussions with my PT yesterday, I told her how that spare tucked away tyre is not what I can judge my body changes by (ESP as it seems to get looser, not tighter), but by the gradual smoothing of the tummy above the waistline. To look nice and flat-ish in a slim fitting singlet or tee, is a constant source of joy and utter gratefulness to God for keeping up my strength in this on-going adventure.

I have found that I have let a bit of flour/ bread sneak back into my diet and am trying to wrap my head round finding constructive substitutions again in times of dire temptation.... Rice & pasta I don't seem to worry about, but I have to be on the alert for sneaky additions here and there (like at the Teppanyaki bars I've been frequenting lately - the most delectable grilled meats, veggies, & sashimi but must be wary of the tempura, fried rice & miso soup). It's been lovely to get out of my comfort zone a bit but School holidays proved a little bit difficult, as with the relaxed atmosphere, I seemed to want to eat more and snack a little bit freer than normal. And of course there are more opportunities to have a glass of vino at night as it's not a school night!!!  Also, with both mine and my husbands birthdays in October - we did over-imbibe at times, but not as dramatically as I was going to allow myself. 

I won't waffle on today but will put up a few SUCCESSFUL sweet recipes I have been working on to find alternatives to the stuff I am trying to avoid:

Apple & Blueberry Crumble

I loooooove a good crumble - it has to be sweet, meltingly soft below, and a little crunchy and crusty on top.  Every time I've cheated a little in creating the crumble but I have finally found the perfect mix:

Dice 6 - 8 peeled apples into good-sized chunks (smaller than 1/4s though) and cook a few minutes in lemon water till just tender.  Drain and cool. 

In a bowl put 100g of cold diced butter.  Add 1/2 cup of almond meal, 1/2 cup of coconut flour, 1/2 cup of chopped macadamias (or any nut or oats if you want) and 2/3 cup of coconut palm sugar.  Knead butter into mix with fingertips until it all resembles rubble. 

Place cooled apple into a greased pie dish and mix through 1 tsp of cinnamon and 2 tbsp of maple syrup and then add 3/4 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries.  Tumble them through the apple gently so the colour of blueberries does not bleed everywhere.  Sprinkle crumble mix all over the top - thick is best!  Place in oven and cook until top is golden and fruit is bubbling up  - serve with a dollop of cream! YUM!

Rich Chocolate Coconut Tart

The base is crusty coconut, the filling - succulent rich chocolate - 2 of my favourite things together!

Crust:  2 cups of dessicated coconut, 2 egg whites, 1/3 cup xylitol.

Mix altogether and then press into bottom of greased springform pan (with base in upside down - not sure why??).  It needs to be a THIN crust, but it's better to start off with too much than too little.  Pat in firmly up the sides first before filling in the holes on the base.  It does not have to look perfect, believe me!   Place in mod oven to brown - 20 - 30mins.  I found the top side edges browned VERY quickly so cover them with foil so the base can get more golden.  Pull out and leave to cool.

Filling:  Heat through 300ml of pure cream in a saucepan until just about to boil.  Pour over 300g of chopped 70% cocoa eating chocolate (this has very little sugar in it so if you need a little extra sweetener, swap 100g of 70% to 50% cocoa- now available in Lindt;  or add a tbsp of maple syrup) and let sit for a few minutes for chocolate to melt.  Mix until smooth and then let cool a little.  Add 2 beaten egg yolks (handily retained from the crust) and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract, and if necessary strain mixture through a sift to get rid of any accidental eggy bits.  Pour into base and put in fridge for 4 - 6 hours till choc is set.  Release from pan, and carefully lever off of base.  I served this with some creamy marscapone sweetened with a little maple syrup and vanilla extract.  A delightful treat.

I already have Christmas on my mind and am discovering some good recipes for some old favourites - a Chrissy cake using coconut flour and no processed sugar;  some sugar-free chutneys to give as gifts and preserved lemons - I LOVE this time of year!  I have downloaded a 12 week Christmas holiday planner and am getting all "dopey" over lists, lists and more lists........

Monday, August 30, 2010

Losing track of time..........

I suppose now that it's over 6 months, I'm finding it very hard to keep track of time.  *sigh*

I've passed the 15 kg mark now and I am happy that that milestone is under my belt (or should I say "not" under my belt!).  I have been convicted about my sugar intake again, and i know, even though I have expelled most refined sugar, the amount of maple syrup & honey I have is prob not so good, especially when trying to get the candida under control.  And with this in mind I did minimize temptations last week by not baking or making many sweets for the kids - I find when I cook, or make stuff, I struggle to control myself.  But then, of course, I had another dilemma, what to give the kids each day????  Yes, I did take an easy way out and buy some muffins and lamingtons from the bakery, and I wonder, what price my selfishness???  What should I be concerned about at the moment - giving the kids an unhealthy dose of refined sugar again, or keeping the temptations away from me.  I honestly don't really like muffins, so it is never an issue with me when bringing in "outside" ones.  However, baking them is different - there is nothing quite as appealing as a fresh, out-of-the-oven, crusty, homebaked muffin - and I'll always think: "better just check they're OK...."  

Now, I know a good argument would be - just don't give them anything sweet!  And I don't everyday, and there is always fruit each afternoon, but it is one of their pleasures I still like them to enjoy at times.  (And half the time I'm too lazy to think up creative snack ideas that they're not going to turn there noses up at!)  I do rice crackers and dip or cheese, fruit salad, natural corn chips, smoothees, and yoghurt - but I need more ideas.  Please post any ideas for this frazzled mother who is needing some fresh insight..........

My gym regime has changed a bit lately too - I am not doing any "weights" excercises or much cardio as such.  So what am I doing?  My PT has got me focussing on my "stabilizers" - the itty bitty muscles needed to give you balance and strength in everyday movements - mainly in legs and core.  So, my mornings are full of different "holds" - plank, lunges, squats, etc and precarious movements on balancing apparatus.  But, even without the boxing and dumbbells - my heart is crazy pounding, my legs seizing up excruciatingly, sweat pouring off everywhere and my gut so sore I feel it in every move!  However, because these little muscles are hidden deep down, I am not feeling so "buff"!  I am getting dragged down by my pouch - nothing seems to hide it, nothing seems to make it better, and nothing fits me so I look like the "success" I want to be!  Blah!  Now, if it really stressed me out, i could work better on my eating, and i could put my own extra excercise programs into place at home - but I can't!  And I think I know why.....

Once again I am looking at the world's view of me.  I am trying to feel lifted up by the ideals of others, and by standards that are superficial and worthless.   Just sitting here I am lamenting the fact, that once again, my time spent with God - soaking and seeking, has been frittered away again.  So instead, my soul starts seeking for man's affections, for an emotional high that does not come from glorifying and worshipping the Maker of the Universe, but from compliments - a temporary flush at best. And when you are self-seeking, pleasure is temporary, ups and downs more brutal, your confidence gets bruised and a loaf of nice crusty white bread looks soooo tempting, even though I'm not at all hungry. 

I long for the days when I relish time with God, my heart is singing, my time is used constructively and wisely, and food takes a back seat.  I love to get to the end of a day rejoicing in the blessings of the day, satisfied with exceptional self-discipline, content with jobs accomplished and acknowledging that my God is gracious in all things.  My time is so stretched at the moment, and while most occasions are joyful and enjoyable, some require so much preparation and planning, the stress becomes overwhelming and overshadowing, and I just feel unable and unworthy to finish a job properly.  But each day, I must continue to strive to rest in the Lord, accept His strength and refreshment, and perform in all things for His Glory!  And I will pray the same for you all........

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week 27 - Sick of Baking.....15 min NO-BAKE goodies.

There are just some days I can not stomach the idea of MORE baking.  There seems to be too long a process to get to the end-product, and more than likely it will disagree with me, as I'm finding even gf or other more nutritious baked stuff, just gets too heavy for my belly, and doesn't make for a happy Kathie!

Don't get me wrong - I could never give up baking.  And I do normally bake every second day, as, knowing what's in what my kids eat, is more important to me than the time it takes to make something.  With 4 kids, it will always be a part of my life.   

But two things I've realised is:  if it's not baked, chances may be that there could be some raw goodness to be gained; and, there is less chance of using wheat or grains (as they ALWAYS need to be cooked) which is definately not a bad thing for kids and adults alike!  So this started me on a bit of a search for easy treats I could whip up without turning on the oven (not to say the microwave or stove-top wasn't used), were healthy, attractive to kids and wouldn't take me longer than 15 mins to put together. 

No-Bake Delicious Muesli Slice

2 1/2 cups of Brown rice Puffs or Rice Bubbles (I actually used Pure GF Rolled Oats and Brown Rice Puffs)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used macadamias)
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup choc chips (optional)

Basically you need 4 and 1/2 cups of dry ingredients so it can be ANY mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.  You can just use them as is, or do as I did, and lightly toast them in the oven till they had taken on a little colour.  I just mixed all the ingreds (except the choc of course), piled it on an oven tray and put it in the oven, keeping a careful eye on it and stirring it around every few mins.  Pour back into a bowl.

Meanwhile melt 4 tbsps honey, 4 tbspns butter, 4 tbspns peanut butter & 1/3 cup brown sugar (I used 2 tbspns of maple syrup or just add extra honey) altogether till smooth.  Pour over dry ingreds in the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Leave to cool for a bit and then add the choc chips, mix quickly and then pour back onto the oven tray and smooth over with a spatula.  Refrigerate till it hardens, then, slice up.  Be prepared, this is seriously more-ish!

Another note:  You must use butter for this as any margarine or oil will not allow this to set without baking.  Just as well I looooooooooove butter.

Honey-coated Frozen Bananas

I love buying the little ladyfinger bananas from the organic shop, and they are the perfect size for this treat!

6 little ladyfinger bananas
1/2 cup of raw honey
toasted shredded coconut or crushed toasted nuts
paddle pop sticks

Put a paddle pop stick up the middle of the little bananas to create a "handle" for the bananas.  Gently heat up the honey in a small m-wave bowl till it is nice and runny.  Dip the bananas into the honey until completely covered and then quickly roll it in the shredded coconut (or sprinkle over, whichever works better) till coated.  Lay on a plate covered in baking paper.  Repeat with the other bananas and then place the plate in the freezer till the honey is set solid.  Then yummy to eat!    And just a quick note:  yes, this can also be done with melted chocolate instead of honey - but you tell me which one would be better for you?! 

OK, now for a very HEALTHY treat:  Cashew and Coconut Bliss Balls 

This reminded me of the Ferrerro Rocher chocolates Raphaellos but sooooo much better for you.  You just have to remember to soak the cashews a few hours or overnight beforehand.

1 cup raw cashews soaked & drained
1 cup shredded coconut
50g honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla (do not forget this very important ingredient, it makes all the difference!)

Process altogether until fine and the mixture clumps together. Taste to make sure they are sweet enough for you, just add more honey if needed.  Roll into balls, and then roll balls in extra shredded or dessicated coconut to coat.  Put on a plate in fridge to set.  Seriously, this is the quickest recipe known to mankind!

And for the more adventurous:  Raw Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

1 ripe avo, peeled and cored
1 ripe ladyfinger banana, peeled (optional, but I think it disguises any avo flavour)
3 - 4 tbsp cacao powder
1/3 cup raw agave
1/2 scraped vanilla pod (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 - 1 glass of water

Blend all the ingredients with 1/2 glass of water to start off with.  Gradually add the rest of the water until it reaches a very smooth thick consistency.  Make sure there are no lumps and just add more water or sweetener to get the right taste.  The banana should cover any avocado flavour but you need the avo for that perfect mousse consistency.  I didn't tell my kids that this was made from avocado and they ate it all, and raved about it!   I had a big bowl today for lunch with frozen berries sprinkled on top - really luscious and tasty.

My kids adore Smoothees so that is also a very filling snack that requires little effort and maximum flavour.  For a successful smoothee you need a thick base (bananas), something icy cold to make it frothy (frozen berries), liquid (water or milk or both), sweetener (optional - we use honey/maple syrup) and any extra flavour (such as cacao powder or coconut oil or flavoured sugar free yoghurt).  Smoothees are very filling and a great way to pump yr kids full of vitamins and anti-oxidants!

And last but not least - my most amazing discovery:  No-bake vegan choc oat cookies

2/3 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter if you don't care about the vegan factor!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups gf rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt together the syrup, cacao, oil and cinnamon in a pot and then boil for 3 mins stirring constantly (watch this as you do not want it to scorch).  Add to the oats, mix, and then stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  I then left it to cool a bit and mixed in a handful of choc bits as well but they aren't really needed.  Roll into balls, place on a tray, press down with a fork and then refrigerate till hard.  YUM!  10 out of 10 from the kids, and soooooo easy.  Just remember, they need to be kept refrigerated to stay firm.

WARNING:  All recipes are tested on children, so adults may not get a look-in!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Week 26 - All things Maple & Walnut!!!!

OK, 2 of my favourite things at the moment are Maple Syrup and Walnuts, so I thought I'd do some recipes that higlight their MAGNIFICENCE!  The beauty of Pure Maple Syrup (not to be confused with Maple Flavoured Syrup - which is just sugar water & of no benefit whatsoever) is that it is a naturally occuring sugar (the sap from maple trees) that is not altered or processed in any way (however it is not considered raw as the sap is boiled to evaporate off the water & leave behind the maple sugar)- meaning the body can digest it easier and it has a lower GI (than cane sugar & honey) so that it does not give your body as fast a sugar rush.  It contains essential fatty acids, zinc & manganese which are known for their antioxidant powers, and for boosting immunity and protecting your heart.  It is a lot sweeter than sugar so, you can use it as an alternative to sugar, and use less, which is a good thing, as sugar has absolutely NO nutritional value and also because maple syrup is expensive! 

Walnuts are similar in that they also contain omega 3 fatty acids & plenty of manganese too - once again a very good anti-inflammatory, and helpful in protecting you from heart disease and high blood pressure.  The trick of the ole walnut is, however, that once toasted, a lot of it's benefit is lost.  Most of my recipes call for the walnuts to be toasted, and I do try to only do it lightly so that not all the goodness is killed.  More importantly, tho, once you have a taste for them, you'll find it very easy to snack on a few raw ones a day, or grind up a few to sprinkle on your salad - it really takes it to another level.

My favourite salad ever:  Rocket, Pear, Parmesan & honeyed Walnut Salad   

Roughly chop a bag of big leaf rocket, and slice a firm pear (or Nashi) into thin slivers, and dress them in 2 tbsp of lemon juice so they don't go brown.  Using a vege peeler, create shards of parmesan to cover the rocket.  Drizzle over a good amount of olive oil.  In a saucepan lightly toast 1/2 cup of halved walnuts, add 2 tbsp of raw honey and coat walnuts.  Turn off heat and let cool.  Using a fork, fish out the walnuts and stud the top of the salad with them.  Place pear on top, season with S & P, and give a very gentle toss, making sure there is enough oil and lemon juice to dress the salad.  Eat and Enjoy!

The next 2 recipes have been slightly adapted from the latest Donna Hay magazine which does a mouth-watering feature on maple Syrup:

Maple and Date Syrup Cake

1 cup fresh pitted dates, chopped (I used dried)
1/2 cup chopped sultanas (I used dried pears, I think you could use any other dried fruit, sultanas are just one of the sweetest)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water

Place these ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for 10 mins.  Using a hand-held blender, blend the mix till smooth.

1 1/2 cups S R Flour (I used 1 cup gf sr flour & 1/2 cup almond flour wtih 1/2 tsp bak soda - def think you could do 1/2 and 1/2 with this recipe)
3/4 cup brown sugar ( I used 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar and then doubled amount of maple syrup)
150g butter melted
2 tbsp maple syrup (I used 4 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs

Mix dry ingredients and then all other ingredients and mix well to combine.  Pour into greased 20cm round tin and bake for 50 mins till cook (test with a skewer).  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out to cool completely.

At the end of the recipe it says to boil down 2 cups of maple syrup till thick to pour over top, but maple syrup is WAY too expensive to do that for 1 cake so all I did was poke holes all over the cake (with the skewer) while it was still hot, and drizzled more maple syrup over the top so it soaked into the cake and made it amazingly moist and very more-ish.  I served it with a ribbon of cream and some toasted chopped walnuts - mmmmmmmmmmmmmm........ def a kiddy favourite.

And now for something a little different but equally as delicious:

Speck & Maple Beans

Place 1 tbsp vege oil, 200g speck trimmed and chopped ( I used nitrite-free bacon), and 1 chopped brown onion and cook for 1-2 mins till golden and tender.

Add:  1 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp worcestshire sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup beef stock (I used home-made chook stock)
1 cup tomato puree
1 & 240g can each of butter beans, cannellini beans, borlotti beans & kidney beans (rinsed and drained) - good way to get rid of the backlog of cans in yr pantry!
S & P

Stir till well-combined.  Cover with tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 mins or until thickened.  Yummy, and perfect for winter's night vegetarian dish on it's own, or as a side to some grilled meat or with some toasted sourdough.  It's quite hard to find baked beans in the supermarket that are actually genuinely nutritious (without sugar & additives) and this is just so much more flavourful then any tin!

OK, and some more sweet delights:  Simple Baklava  (thanks to Giada de Laurentiis)

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chopped apricots
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I just used almond meal!)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch salt

Process all of the above ingredients till fine crumbs.  Empty into a little bowl and add 4 tbsp honey & mix in.  Melt 125g butter and then start brushing 12 sheets of filo pastry individually, and divide into 2 stacks of 6 sheets.  Slice each stack into 12 squares (3 down, 4 across).  Place each square into the bottom of a greased muffin mould (on a muffin tray).  Place tablespoonfuls of the nut mixture into each pastry and then fold over the rest of the pastry to form a little sachet.  Brush with a little extra butter on top and bake in mod oven for 20 - 25 mins till golden and crispy.  

This is an amazingly simple baklava and a fab crunchy sweet.  Yes, it has pastry and I have not investigated a gf solution but this is a nice little sugar-free treat.  And my philosophy with baking is - if you've made too much for one day (as in there is a chance you will go overboard gutzing them all down yourself), then make sure you bestow a few on a friend as a little treat.  I am blessed with a lovely friend who loves baklava, so I made sure I made some the day before I saw her so after I had my two, I passed the rest on!

And for a very easy nutty sweet cake there's Flourless Maple Walnut Cake.

Grease and line the base of a 9 inch cake pan.  Preheat oven to 180C. 

Toast 1 1/2 cups of walnuts and process till fine meal.  Separate 4 large eggs and mix egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1/2 baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add walnuts and beat on low till combined.  Whip egg whites till doubled in size but not stiff.  Gently fold into nut mix until just combined; and pour into cake pan.  Bake for 25 - 30 mins till skewer comes out of cake clean.  Drizzle a little extra maple syrup over top if you want.

And there ends this delicious foray!  Wish I'd taken a few more photos to show you how great they were but you'll know how great they are when you cook them YOURSELVES! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

6 months on - Where I'm at!

I suddenly realised that it must be close to 6 months when I was writing Week 25.......where did all that time go?  It gave me a sudden urge to look back on the beginning of this "adventure" and see how far I'd come, and whether I was fulfilling my motives for starting on this journey in the first place. 

So, in 6 months what have I achieved????

1  I have lost 14kgs!  yay!  It was tough at times, esp when at 10kgs, everything stalled for almost a month.  However, I am finding I am probably averaging a kilo a fortnight, which is just perfect thank you.

2  I have built up a lot of muscle and core strength thru my thrice-weekly PT sessions at the gym.  I know my body looks heaps better and I'm really pumped that I continue to really enjoy boxing and training.  Most of the credit has to go to my PT as she comes up with new strategies, new forms of torture and then has to bear the brunt of my displeasure at being made to suffer.....

3  I have lost ALL my physical symptoms of fibromyalgia - no pain in my ankles, wrists, fingers, toes, or other joints!  It is truly hard to believe that I suffered this agony daily, with no hope in sight.  (Thank you God)

4  I'm not nearly as exhausted and fatigued as what I once was;  I have more energy and other than just normal physical tiredness from gym, I feel great, and am able to easily get up at 5 am on my gym mornings.

5  I've been gradually exchanging all my body products to organic or "safe" ones - I'm using Neways bodywash, mouthwash, toothpaste and facial moisturiser, have found some good Organic Care shampoo & conditioner, and am using a combination of A'kin, and Trilogy organic products for the rest of my facial care.  That has been really difficult, as my skin and scalp always rebel with any changes made - I have had on & off dandruff issues and acne break-outs as my body not only gets used to a new diet but a new cleaning regime as well.  As someone said to me - "these new "healthy" products have to work its way thru all the chemical layers you've piled onto your skin & scalp to be able to begin to nourish and feed your body again" - it does make sense.

6  I have a daily supplement regime too - While trying to stick to a candida diet as much as possible (except for that addictive maple syrup) for the last 6 months, I took a full course of Natren's Natrabifidus powder and then the Natradophilus powder - to clean out any icky yeast or fungi.  I also take a good dose of Vit C powder as your body loses so much of that through stress, which is the number one reason of yr immunity suffering and resulting in yr getting sick.  I also have a great mineral supplement from Neways called Feroxin, which gives me a boost of all those important trace elements that we never get enough of in our daily diet.  These are all mixed into a small glass of organic juice that I have each morning.  Throughout the day I will sometimes use some organic flaxseed oil, coconut oil, wheatgrass, or alfalfa as an addition to smoothees or salads.  The multitude of supplements you can take is breathtaking but it is so up to the individual what they can or want to take.  (Oh, and I also have homeopathic oral sprays that boost immunity, help the hormones & to help the liver function well - as you may have noticed, easy for me to forget too!)

7  DIET - *I have cut my coffee consumption (80% of the time) to 1 cup a day.  My other hot beverage of choice at the moment is Tulsi honey chamomile tea.  I occasionally will have a normal cup of black tea or moroccan tea (green & mint), but I really try to stick to caffeine-free teas such as peppermint & pomegranate & my honey chamomile.....mmmmm. 
                 *My main liquid intake is water - and lots of it.  I try as much as possible to have this with lemon juice as it is such a great cleanser and alkiliser - do not underestimate the power of doing this one small thing!
                 *I am still grain-free as much as possible.  I avoid rice, pasta, bread, flours, pastry, crackers, etc - anything grain-based basically.  I really believe in nutrient-dense food, rather than artificial fillers.  I would much rather imbibe in hi-caloric, nutritious whole food, then settle for stodgy, gut-fillers that may have less calories but have little nutritional benefit.  Instead I use nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, and coconut) and seeds (buckwheat, and quinoa are my favourites) and this has opened up a whole new world for me that I love.  Nuts are especially known for having a higher fat content (esp coconut) BUT these are little packets of perfect nutrition with their health benefits far outweighing anything else.  But like anything in our food world - gluttony is a sin, there is no reason to gorge on any of these things! 
                 *I am loving RAW food - raw food is alive and FULL of very beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals that haven't been cooked out.  I believe eating veges cooked can be healthy but I believe eating veges raw can be healing!  I thought I would get sick of eating salads pretty quick but I have discovered so many awesome combinations that I still enjoy doing that as much as possible.  I've also experimented with a lot of smoothees and sweets too, and have bought a dehydrator so I can experiment more with keeping things as close to their natural state as possible.  I really try to focus on a 50% raw diet, with mainly salads for lunch and snacks that vary all the time as I do like a raw, vegan choc crackle, but still also enjoy a baked grain-free, sugar-free muffin too! 
                 *My idea of sweet has changed a lot, I do not crave it most of the time but I still treat myself with "healthy" goodies as it's one of life's pleasures but I rarely ever touch refined sugar.  My natural sweetener choices are maple syrup, honey, agave, and coconut palm sugar.  I can use these as substitutes in almost any recipe.
                 *I have cut my dairy intake a lot as well. I admit my skim milk is of no nutritional benefit whatsoever - if I want calcium I eat more almonds, or more green veg - a much better way of acquiring it!  My smoothees are either made with filtered water or coconut water.  I still put organic full cream milk in the kids' but I always take out my portion first before I add the milk.  I rarely eat yoghurt but I am known to imbibe in cream as a treat - mmmmmm - and I do love my cheese, a weakness that will prob never leave me.  I use plenty of butter in cooking but my spread of choice will always be avocado!  I use to hate those buckwheat crispbread I bought and now, I cannot get enough of them:  loaded with avo, lettuce, tomato, grated carrot and a sprinkle of cheese - delicious!  It's so funny how your tastes change as you get used to eating more whole and wholesome food!

Just some of my collection of nuts and seeds

9  I am so not perfect and I still make plenty of MISTAKES!  Some days I still crave bread, esp when I bring in a warm, fresh loaf that has that magical sweet heavenly smell.  Sometimes I will eat 4 pieces in a row spread with soft butter and sugar free jam - oh, it is delightful, and altho I don't feel the best afterwards, I will feed that need and then move on.  This happens occasionally, and I'll wear that. I don't care for choc so much but some nights after the kids are in bed, I will make up a choc sauce (70% dk choc and cream) and pour it over sliced banana and guzzle it up.  BUT I don't do that every day, and it could be a lot worse, so once again I won't beat myself up about it.  (This is still pretty good on a Whole Foods scale - but not such a great thing to do last thing at night.

10 Learning properly about my body's digestion was also a major turning point.  As the mornings are the time that our bodies are trying to eliminate the useless stuff, it is important not to overstress our digestion by scoffing down HUGE breakfasts that essentially stops up our systems and can cause a lot of fermentation. (The only exception being fruit as this is digested super fast so does not slow things down too much - so you are welcome to eat as much as you want.)  This goes against the grain of everything we are taught about having a good breaky to start the day, but I've learnt too much about this all to ignore what works extremely well for me.  I now fast for the morning, have a big lunch, snack through the afternoon (when our bodies are primed for taking in food) and try to finish eating at night a good few hours before bed so my body is primed for investing a lot of energy into utilizing all the nutrients I've taken in.

This is what works for me!  I do not expect anyone else to agree with my ideas 100% as we are all individuals and what works for me, may not work for you.  But hey! if you need somewhere to start this may be a good place.  I am sooooooo thankful for the people who have supported me so much in this journey so far, especially my family and my lovely sisters.  I want to know I am showing my kids how important it is for food to nourish you, not to make you sick and how excercise needs to be a part of our day-to-day activity.  I want to continue learning and not pretend I know all there is to know.  One of these days I may list some of the awesome books I have read which have really helped me - especially by Phillip Day, Eric Schlosser, William Dufty, Barbara Cousins, Gillian Mc Keith and the DVDs like Food Matters, Simply Raw and Food Inc. 

But, most of all I am still learning that physical discipline is great to do, but spiritual discipline is of even more importance.  I would never have come this far without the constant amazing graciousness of God - who holds me, comforts me and reminds me that preparing for our eternity and storing up things for Heaven, is of a higher priority than being consumed constantly with earthly worries, problems, and vanities.  I believe my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit so I will continue to strive to give Him the healthiest & holiest place to abide - however, whenever those old doubts, lies, and stresses, start to weigh me down - I set my eyes on Jesus - my Saviour who has lifted me out of the miry clay, and set me on a safe and secure Rock.  All thanks go to Him!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week 24 - 3 day juice fast

Well, I'm glad that's over but never underestimate the value of a disciplined time of restricting food intake and cleaning out yr body a bit.  I had to keep reminding myself to "get over it, food is not everything!" but that's not to say there wasn't still a little cheating.  And do you know why - HABIT!  I didn't actually search out food when I was hungry, it was just natural to pick at something when I was cooking, and when I was baking.  I wasn't even THINKING, I just did it - and then I kicked myself.  DOH! 


Started last night (Saturday) as I just feel so bloated and abnormal after getting back from holidays. I didn't feel hungry so decided to officially start my fast then & there.  Drank nice tall glasses of lemon water.  This morning I religiously made my juice and while clenching my fists so tight they cramped, I refused my husband's offer of coffee.  Took the opportunity to explain that I would need a little help in staying strong for the next couple of days, and he readily agreed. 

Off to the markets for inspiration and stocked up on plenty of bananas, avocadoes, pineapple, celery, baby spinach leaves & passionfruit - all to inspire me for nice juices.  Skipped the fresh sourdough and raw vegan treats!  Off to church and happy sucking on my bottle of lemon water.  Home and not really feeling hungry so wasn't hard to make wraps for the family for lunch.  Then off to shops for some delightful distraction.  Was going to treat myself to a juice from a juice bar, but was too busy and didn't feel hungry enough - YAY!  Home to prepare myself for dinner torture but I had decided to cook chicken in tomato sauce with pasta as it's not my fave thing.  Worked a treat, and focussed on my lovely cherry juice/smoothee - banana, frozen cherries, spinach leaves & coconut water.  Worked well!  More water and didn't even need a hot herbal tea to tide me thru the night.  Was a little headachey thru night so took some nurofen, hmmm.... I have a feeling the worse is still to come.....


Woke up feeling rather depressed at knowing there was another day ahead where I could not excitedly plan a day of fabulous food - humph!  And it was gym day - could barely pull myself out of bed, felt very tired which is very unusual for me.  Off to gym and altho the PT went easy on me, it hammered me.  Kept drinking my water but was getting h-ache and feeling light-headed.  Ick, home to lovely shower and panadol. The kids had friends coming round so while I was still feeling satiated from my morning juice (p'apple with vit c & probiotic powder) I got them involved in baking brownies (gf flour & sweetened with maple syrup & coconut palm sugar).  I have to be in the mood to enjoy brownies but when they came out of the oven, they were so gooey and heavenly - AAAAAHHHHHHHH, it was hard, but I sucked back a small bottle of coconut water & blood orange juice, and just handed them all out to be eaten:  RESULT - none leftover to be tempted by.  Chatted all morning on the couch with a friend and sipped on a honey and chamomile tea. 

Okay, so now it was lunch time and was really struggling to keep my mind off FOOD, really hard.  Pulled out cruskits and made them up with avo, vegemite and grated cheese for the kids.  Mmmmm..... cheese ........ cleaned up the scraps on the chopping board (in my mouth) and then got the kids into bed for naps before lying down with another headache - *sigh*. Babysitter over so popped out to Mrs Flannerys to stock up on other groceries.  Water in arvo, and a couple of soy crisps.  *Stop thinking about food, stop thinking about food.*  The 2nd day really SUCKS!  Sister over in arvo to stay night so in preparation for making dinner, I set about creating a delectable juice with the flesh of an orange, a peeled apple, a lemonade lemon, some filtered water and 2 passionfruit.  Very refreshing and sipped it down before and after tea.  Made mini meatballs out of some organic beef sausages with potato mash and honey carrots, and just popped some meatballs in as they cooked - I had to check they tasted OK, and I didn't even blink till later - another DOH!  Lemon water rest of night.


The end is in sight.  Some friends were coming for dinner that night so was going to end my fast by then.  It was easier to refuse the coffee this morning - a small victory!  Juice in morning again and started on preparing dinner - Apricot Chicken, smelt heavenly and did do a purposeful taste test before putting it in fridge till later.  Then there was choc oat cookies that Wendy made with kids - yes, a taste-test ....... and then the apple crumble ....... no taste-test but was starting to think - what's the diff, I should just finish the fast now and be done with it, no matter.  Nah, the guilt wasn't worth it, I decide to just keep suffering it out, as cheating as I was.  Another headache again - more coffee withdrawal??  Off to pathology then with Bailey and glad to be out of house at lunch time.  Then, some more lovely distracting shopping - nope, I will not have a coffee, I will just finish my water - *smile*.  Another small victory. 

Home, and those blasted cookies!  *sigh* oh, well!  Nearly did it.  A small portion for dinner but really enjoyed that apple crumble after.  And that's that! 

I know the initial reaction from most people is "why bother, why make life harder than it has to be?"  I really believe that fasting can be a great discipline of "refusing your fleshly desires" - sounds corny but in a lot of life we really need the whole "mind over matter"  philosophy to succeed in not being tempted to do things we know aren't good for us.  And this is a great excercise in that.  However, my thinking went a bit further in that I was trying to put the focus on food further back in my mind, and bring to the forefront more important things like my relationship with my kids, and my relationship with God.  I know it doesn't make sense as fasting seems to make you think about food MORE, but there are moments of clarity when you realise how freeing it is NOT to have to plan your food, not to have to waste time eating, but can focus on something else instead.  It also helps to know that you don't need that much food to get through life - it can change your perception on how food-needy you are.

Sounds like I got a lot out of a measly 3 days, hey?  This isn't the first time I've fasted and I have actually fasted for 3 days before so I have learnt a few things along the way.  At the end of the fast I really was determined to start a regular 1 day a wk fast again.  I initially did this when Bailey started at speech therapy, it was my way of focussing on praying for what was to come for him, and be really centred on Christ holding us up at a time when it was tough knowing how our boy was going to go with all this knew learning.  It really was a blessing, and I miss that feeling of closer connection when sacrificing pleasurable things to be more centred on Him.

This was not a very spiritual fast - with school hols and keeping kids occupied etc I didn't get to spend much time in prayer as I hoped but there were moments of clarity and seeking God, and I did have a break through in that I got the chance to go into a kindy and talk over the possibility of Bailey starting there - very, very satisfying and a huge answer to prayer in providing me comfort in the next step I am to take with him.  Thank you God! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 23 - Glorious Fraser Island!

Well, I'm back!  What an awesome holiday, I cannot explain how great it was to be buried in the middle of an island wilderness for a week and enjoy all of God's amazing creation!  The sky, the water, the trees, the wildlife (whales, manta rays, fish, dingoes, birds, turtles), the friends, the fabulous food, the amazing sunsets and seeing my hubby and kids sooooo happy.  Just priceless!

And even tho I happily enjoyed myself while away, it was with a great deal of relief I got home to discover I had maintained my weight.  I didn't do any "purposeful" excercise throughout the whole week, but  there was plenty of walking, climbing sand dunes (awesome calf work-out) and just constant activity;  so I didn't feel like I had taken it too easy.  There were a few glasses of wine throughout the stay, and way too much coffee, and some other special treats - like beer-battered freshly caught fish, pancakes with bacon & maple syrup, and LOTS of sausages - but all nicely balanced with lots of salads, some fruit smoothees and lots of good wholesome meals, thanks to all the pre-prep!  I must include this amazing recipe that my friend cooked for us while we were away - a few things in it that I don't ususally imbibe in (due to Candida rules), but overall - very healthy!


150ml white wine
100ml soy sauce
100ml mirin
100ml water
2 cm fresh ginger peeled & grated 

Simmer all the above ingreds for 2 - 3 mins and then add in 1 white onion finely sliced and simmer for 5 mins till onion is soft.  Add 500g rump steak very finely sliced or shredded and let simmer a further 1 - 2 mins till just cooked.

To serve, layer baby spinach leaves around your bowl, top with some steamed rice and then ladle over some of the beef broth.  Can be garnished with chopped cherry tomatoes or cucumber, sliced avocado, or grated carrot.  Finish off with some pickled ginger and a drizzle of japanese mayo. 

It was so delicious and utterly filling!  The hubby absolutely loved it too.

I got pretty sick just before we left - yep, sure sign of stress.  Got a cold and have had an awful week of interrupted sleep thanks to the coughing and congestion.  During the day wasn't so bad, so could have a rest occasionally which is not usually possible when not on holidays.  Am still feeling a little foggy and sniffly now I'm back, but I suspect it will gradually disappear.  The other thing I noticed when I got sick was that I broke out in pimples - eeek!  I don't know whether this was the way my body was coping with trying to get rid of the toxins, but it was awful.  I am so not used to it and it took all week to heal up again.  I am sure there may have been other contributing factors too.  I have been drinking a lot of coconut water and smoothees lately, and I reckon my body could be adjusting to that too.  It is such a delicious and nutritious drink, and I really prefer using it in my smoothees instead of milk.

Anyway, I am currently on my juice fast, I started on Sat night and will hopefully go till Tues night (when we have people coming for dinner!) so will blog about it as I go.  See you all!  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 22 - Too busy.....

Hey, I know I missed a week but I'm just unable to keep up at the moment - I doubt it was really missed anyway, everyone has such BUSY lives! 

I'm madly trying to get ready for a trip to Fraser Island in a week - we are staying in an awesome house owned by friends on Orchid Beach which is, unfortunately, no where near civilisation so am having to plan a weeks worth of meals and make sure I bring enough of everything to last us that whole time - Fruit and Veg included.  My son is nearly into his 3rd week of going gluten free so I also have to make that adjustment work too.  Which is why I am trying to precook a few meals before I go - so I have the security of knowing that there'll will be plenty of things for him to eat, and I won't have to spend my whole holidays COOKING!  So far the list looks like this:

* Mini Quiches - caramelised leek, sweet potato and fetta (for adults), ham & cheese (for kids)  DONE
* Spaghetti Mince - full of veges & will take normal & GF spaghetti  DONE
* Apple & Raspberry Crumble - topped with GF oats, GF plain flour, macadamia nuts, a little brown sugar and butter  DONE
 * Sandwich meat - roasted 2 chooks & then shredded the meat for use on sandwiches and in a Thai Curry with Brown Rice  DONE
* Choc chip, Oat Cookies - I will make a stack of these with GF flour, almond flour and GF oats & maple syrup and they will be a big treat to have on their own or as s'mores with toasted GF marshmallows & Lindt 70% Dark Choc - too divine!  STILL TO DO
* Carrot Cake - delish cake with grated carrot, tinned p'apple, walnuts, almond flour & coconut palm sugar.  DONE
* Sausage Rolls - organic sausage meat, grated apple, potato & onion in normal and GF puff pastry.  DONE
* Chicken nuggets - organic chicken breasts cut up and dipped in flour, egg & normal and GF bread crumbs.   DONE

Hmmmm......doesn't look very healthy does it????  But it at least it's not all rubbish prepackaged processed stuff - that's the main thing.  I am going to bring a lot of fruit and veg (esp for me & the kids) as well as some frozen soups and frozen berries and bananas so even at the end of the week I can make good smoothees.  I purchased a stick blender to take so that makes it even easier. So a busy weekend ahead with lots of cooking and the start of packing.  If I can finish all the cooking by Monday I will be able to spend the week packing and picking up groceries as I go.  Exhausting just thinking about it!

AND now for the GOOD NEWS!  Yes, it's official - 12kgs definately gone!  Wow, it has taken for ever, and it did take a bit of a boost to get it moving again.  Last Monday the family went on a great trek around the falls at Springbrook and that extra 5 kms straight after an impressive leg work out earlier that morning seemed to just max out my muscle burning and upped the stakes a bit.  I also noticed that my appetite really diminished that week.  I was able to easily make it thru till lunch without snacking, and was able to easily pace myself throughout the rest of the day with light meals and a smoothee mid arvo instead of those evil coffees.  I need to make the most of these times as I know there will prob be a "starvation" phase coming up where my body just wants to eat again.

I'm already on my way to 13kg, and have started fitting into a few sz 14s.  OH MY GOODNESS - I have not been in a size 14 since before having Amber 10 years ago.  I have weighed less than this but it just goes to show how much my body has changed with that all important gym work.  And, people are noticing!  I've had a few comments lately (all from guys, I must say) and it's just made my day.  My PT says that's the best feedback, when people notice who would never normally say anything about how you look - and it's TRUE.  I have to say, also, that my husband is also way more effusive about the way I look.  Not that he ever dissed my weight, but he was always so encouraging whenever I lamented my heaviness and unhealthiness.  It's so nice that he now comments often about how noticeable the changes are, and it just makes me want to keep going and keep trying. 

With the holidays coming up tho, I am slightly apprehensive of being away from my routine and my securities.  One week of no gym and no access to to shops whenever I need to pick up stuff I need.  I will have to be more restrained and not tempted to go overboard with meals or get lax in my discipline.  That's not to say I won't enjoy myself (you can see that from the menu) but I need to keep control and just eat when i'm hungry and then STOP! 

I've already decided that when I get back I am going to do a juice fast as a 3 day cleanser.  I just want to get my digestion cleared out and operating effeciently again.  I know it's not going to be easy but I'm actually a little excited about it.  I hope this will be beneficial physically and spiritually as well, as I am hoping to spend less time eating, and more time praying, and focussing on keeping an ear open to God.  Anyway, hopefully, you will read all about it after my "restful" holiday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 20 - a Week's worth of Salads!

Oh yes, my Salad Fetish has returned, and I've found some goodies lately.  Now they may not all be your cuppa tea but I really hope you find one out of all these to give a go.  Raw Food Rocks!  In this season of yucky sickness and flus and germs, raw food is sooooo important to boost your immunity, pump your body full of needed vitamins and minerals and give your gut a good cleanse so it works better. 

DAY 1:  Adzuki Bean salad (thanks to Gillian Mc Keith)

1 400g tin of organic adzuki beans (a jap bean that has great healing qualities and has the least amount of calories, with the most amount of nutrients - minerals & B vits - I get mine in the Organics shop)
1/2 red onion diced finely
1 125g tin of corn kernels
1 handful of parsley chopped
2 tbsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
Add a little olive oil and S & P to taste.

OK, my kids would not eat this but I enjoyed it as it really was a "meaty" salad.  I served it with lamb chops for my dinner (instead of rice) and then had the rest for lunch the next day - very filling.  I could not eat this every day, but really enjoyed something a little different.

Day 2 - Beetroot & Apple Salad (with Grilled Haloumi) - from "Delish" on 7two

1 beetroot (simmered in boiling water till tender - about 40 mins, then sliced into batons;  I'm sure you could use tinned)
1 apple (unpeeled, sliced into batons)
1 handful of parsley, chopped
1/2 cup whole almonds toasted (in a tbsp of s'flower oil in pan)
1/4 cup currants (I used chopped cranberries) - optional in my opinion.
S & P
juice from 1/2 a lemon and olive oil

Mix all together and serve with freshly grilled haloumi (we used 1/2 of a pkt for 2 people).  I cannot tell you how heavenly this salad was - I wanted to eat it allllllll day.  I served this with steak and it was a divine meal.  I finished the rest of it the next day for lunch and it still tasted terrific (with more freshly grilled haloumi). 

Day 3:  Orange and Fennel Salad (thanks to Jamie Oliver)

1 bulb of fennel (very thinly sliced - I used a V-slicer)
2 oranges segmented (very fiddly but worth it if you cut them out between the pithy bits)
1 handful of parsley (boy, you'd want a lot of parsley with all these recipes)
1/2 red onion, very finely sliced
dressed with S & P & olive oil
apple slithers, toasted almonds - OPTIONAL EXTRAS.

This is a very refreshing salad and the sweetness of the orange really compliments the aniseed of the fennel.  I squeeze out the juice of the leftover orange carcass to add to the dressing too.  So simple, but so effective.  Serve with any grilled meat or roast chicken (which is what I had it with).

Day 4:  Brocolli Salad 

1 head of brocolli (cut into florets and lightly steamed or m-waved for 2 mins, still needs to be crunchy) 
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 red onion (finely diced)
2 rashers of bacon (fried till crisp)
Dressing: 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp honey OR traditional viniagrette (olive oil & lemon juice, tsp mustard, tbsp honey, S & P)

This definately isn't the healthiest of salads but it's an oldie and a goodie in my book!  Not one you'd have every day but nice for a change - the crispness of the brocolli, with the sweetness of the raisins and the saltiness of bacon, is too great a combination to miss out on.

Day 5:  Salad Sushi 

I love a bit of sushi, but I really struggle with how gluggy the rice is and just hate the thought of how hard it must be to digest being so sticky and starchy.  So this is my "better" option:

Instead of rice I use mashed avo with lemon juice, seasoning and a tbsp of horseradish cream (or sweet chilli sauce) spread all over the sushi sheet.  Then, along the centre, goes strips of julienne carrot, cucumber, and capsicum and add some ribbons of smoked salmon, sunflower sprouts (or bean shoots) and coriander leaves.  It gets rolled up as normal but just sliced in 2.  It doesn't need soy sauce either as there is enough flavour in the avo mash.  I saw this done on a raw food dvd (minus the salmon of course), and was skeptical that it would taste as good as normal sushi - but it was great - very satisfying and tasty.

Day 6 - Moroccan Carrot Salad

2 cups shredded carrot
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup chopped oranges
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1/3 cup chopped coriander
Dressing:  1/4 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp cumin, pinch cayenne or paprika, salt.

I know this seems to be a recurring theme:  but it really is the season for oranges, and good flavour combination means that sweetness really enhances the goodness of these salads.

Day 7 - Salad in a Smoothee 

1/2 avo
1 banana
1 cup frozen berries
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups of cold filtered water
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 tbsp cacoa powder
1 tbsp raw honey

Yummy - the avo adds real smoothness and there's plenty of goodness in this with the berries and spinach.  So many things you can do with these recipe - a cup of grated carrot would be yummy too or chopped orange - delicious and so very nutritious.....

I will be interested in hearing if anyone tries any of the above.  Sorry it took so long to finish but will try and blog again a bit sooner!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Week 19 - Tracking....

In alot of the weight loss blogs I read, the writers often comment on their weekly "tracking".  I think this is a practice that Weight Watchers encourage, where you write down every little thing you put in your mouth.  So, I thought I would try it this week and see what it reveals.  Guaranteed, there will be a little embarassment ahead.....

morning:  Juice with vit c powder, pro-biotic & mineral supplement; coffee on skim milk, a kiwi fruit.
lunch:  Salad (rocket, kale, spinach, grated carrot & zuchini, tom, cuke, red onion, avo, roasted p'kin, fetta) with dressing (olive oil & lemon juice).
arvo:  chicken burger patty (was cooking meals for freezer, and could not resist trying one of these - recipe below!), coffee on skim milk, piece of pear.
night:  Eggplant canneloni with salad, bowl of ricotta dessert (ricotta, maple syrup, cacoa powder, vanilla).

morning: Juice with extras, coffee, pce of toast, pce of apple, cuppa tea (at play gp)
lunch:  Eggplant canneloni, salad
arvo:  coffee on skim milk, 2 sliced banana drizzled with choc by spoonful.
night:  Chicken burgers on lettuce with salad, Turkist toast drizzled with maple syrup, cuppa tea.

morning:  Juice, coffee on skim, sliced p'apple.
lunch:  rice crackers & hommous dip, 2 vegan pizza bases with avo, rocket, beetroot, l/over chicken & grated cheese.
arvo:  Decaf coffee on skim, banana & yoghurt with no-grain granola & choc by spoonful.
night:  5 pieces of thin crust pizza (State of Origin at friends')

morning:  Juice, coffee on skim, 1 peanut butter cupcake (no grain, no refined sugar - freshly baked, mmmm).
lunch:  peppermint tea, 1/2 ham & salad wrap (at the shops)
arvo:  3 cupcakes, coffee on skim milk
night:  Pumpkin & vege soup, morroccan tea.

morning:  Coffee, pce of apple, handful of org dk choc covered dried blueberries.
lunch:  6 buckwheat cruskits w/avo, toms, coriander, cheese,  6 pces of raw organic choc.
arvo:  rice crackers & hommous, cherry bomb fruit smoothee.
night:  1 pce homemade pizza, some vege soup.

morning:  Juice, Coffee with skim, 1 fried egg and 2 sausages (GASP!)
lunch:  rest of soup with some salad on top.
arvo:  2 choc brownies (fresh baked), coffee, piece of pear.
night:  TURKISH FEAST (at restaurant) - lovely fresh dips, grilled veges, turkish bread, salad, grilled lamb chops & chicken shish kebabs, kofta - delicious!

morning:  Organic coffee & 1/2 pain au chocolat.
lunch:  pce of sour dough bread w/butter, baked beans with salad on top.
arvo:  raw vegan choc crackle, coffee
dinner:  2 spring rolls, 2 curry puffs, thai penang curry with a little coconut rice.

PHEW!  And that's that. OK - a few observations from me:  1) I'm really struggling again with keeping to 1 coffee a day, I really need to focus on the smoothees in the arvo to keep me away from the coffee, but it is sooooo tempting because its such a pleasure.  2) I need to have cut up veges in fridge to have with dips, so as to avoid getting into crackers.  3) I am finding that having fresh baked bread or cupcakes a real temptation to have around, however, so long as I am doing them as nutritious as possible, I can't give that up for the sake of the kids' enjoyment.  4) I am LOVING having leftovers from dinner the night before for lunch with salad, sooo easy.

RECIPE:  Chicken Burgers

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
3/4 cup chopped cashews
500 g minced chook
2 cloves garlic minced
2 shallots
small handful chopped coriander
grated lemon rind from 2 lemons
3 egg whites
S & P
Combine althogether with hands (I found the mixture very moist) and shape patties onto plate to refrigerate till dinner, or straight into oiled fry pan.  Fry on each side till cooked thru.  Absolutely delicious and the kids loved them!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Week 18 - In Praise of Excercise!

I'm sharing a bit about EXCERCISE this week. It's truly amazing what you find out when you are open to learning. I feel so refreshed each time I can add more to my mind in regards to benifitting my body and using it to share with others.

I am referring to the interesting stuff I was reading in the Courier Mail weekend magazine ("Stand to Lose" by Gretchen Reynolds, May 15 2010). "The newest science suggests that exercise alone will not make you thin, but it may determine whether you stay thin, if you lose weight." In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss, and that's because people often end up consuming more calories when they exercise.  The body likes to remain at whatever weight its used to. So even small changes in energy balance can produce rapid changes in certain hormones associated with appetite.

However, thankfully there has lately been some more encouraging news about exercise and weight loss, especially for women.  If you can somehow pry off the kilos, exercise may be the most important element in keeping the weight off.  "In an experiment 97 healthy, slightly overweight women were put on an 800 calorie diet until they lost an average of about 12kg each.  Some of the women were then assigned to a walking program, some were put on a weight-training program, and others were assigned no exercise; all returned to their old eating habits.  Those who stuck with either of the exercise programs regained less weight than those who didn't exercise and, even more striking, did not regain weight around their middles. The women who didn't exercise regained their weight and preferentially packed on these new kilograms around their abdomens" (very unhealthy).

The most important things about excercise (to me) is that 1) it helps get heaps more oxygen into my body - which is a great and healing thing;  2) it helps to strengthen my muscles and bones, hence helping avoid certain problems later on in life (my oma had shocking osteoporosis, and I have always struggled with back & neck pain);  and 3) it is a physical and emotional stress release that is invaluable in my crazy life.  So, even without the "losing weight" issue it is imperative to me.  Reading another article tonight reminded me again that I won't be able to ever stop the excercising if I want the benefits, as, if the muscle stimulus is not continued, the muscle starts to go back to its original form.  May sound slightly depressing, but I can only see it as more motivation to LOVE it!  If I only see it as a chore, then I will never truly want to be doing it.  Thankfully, it now comes a lot easier to me - to enjoy it, that is.

Also, you can't "spot target" fat reduction!  You can't just decide to do 100 crunches a day to get rid of tummy flab.  It comes off gradually from your total stores as you slowly change the energy/calories-in vs energy-expended-out equation.  And that is why it can be so discouraging when you first start out with an excercise/muscle building program - it takes a while to activate the muscles enough to start to change.  And chances are, you will increase the muscle density (put on added weight) before it begins to work on decreasing your fat stores.  I was pretty discouraged that my weight loss barely changed in the first 9 months I was at the gym (even tho I felt better for it) but that was because I hadn't changed my diet.  Now, after 4 months of really concentrating on the gym and the food intake, I know I am maximising the benefits to my body and can claim 10 kgs weight loss! YAY! 

You cannot convince me otherwise.  If I, a mother of 4 kids, who still has disrupted sleep and who has never in her life been able to get up early for anything & has never really ever frequented a fitness establishment for very long, can look forward to getting up at 5am to go to the gym  - ANYONE CAN!

(And thank you so much to all my sisters who knew all this before me and have lead such a great example!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week 17 - slooooooooooooow going......

Oh, this 11th kg is going to be the death of me. I am feeling quite so-so about getting past this 10 kg mark. Yes, I've been a little hungry of late so have been sneaking some morning snacks and prob been maxing out more on dinner, but seriously - I am back pumping at the gym and I really need a weight loss fix! Look, I'm not that phased really but you know how you want to see some results after getting back in the swing of things again. It just might take a little longer to get this next 5 kgs off - I've given myself 2 months to reach my next goal, so that by 6 months I'll have got 15 kgs binned. We'll see.......

Stoked that I can now buy a size down in my underwear and yes, have lost a size in my bras too - altho, not cup size! I have been noticing more stuff about my body that I'm proud of as well - finally there is a little definition on the inner thigh! They still rub (and I HATE that and want to get rid of it) but it is less and there actually is a little dip where those blasted lunges have finally started working. And altho my saggy, baggy baby belly still has to be tucked away, my abs are getting stronger and I can see an improvement there as well. And you'll just have to take my word for it, as there is still no way in the world I will be showing off these developments to anyone!!!

I discovered 2 AWESOME recipes this week and have to, have to share them with you all. The first was a gluten free, sugar free choc chip cookie recipe. These were so delicious and absolutely wolfed down by the kids and ME. They stay quite soft so won't last very long.

2 1/2 cup of almond flour/meal (blanched - no skin - works alot better than other almond meal)
1/4 tsp sea salt - crushed fine
1/4 tsp baking soda - sifted (otherwise you'll bite into a lump in yr cookie, not nice)

1/2 cup sunflower oil (could use melted butter or coconut oil)
1/3 - 1/2 cup maple syrup (could use agave or honey)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup 70% cocoa choc chopped

Mix dry together, and then whisk wet ingredients together in a jug. Pour wet into almond mix and mix together well. If the mixture is too wet, add some more almond meal and mix till a little stiffer. Stir in choc chips and then drop spoonfuls onto a greased oven tray. Cook in mod oven for 7 - 10 mins. Allow to cool.

Next, the Cherry Bomb Smoothee! Thanks to Susan, who sent me this recipe, I am now addicted to this delicious treat:

1 cup milk
1 banana
1 cup frozen cherries
1 handful spinach leaves
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder or organic cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup

Yes, it tastes like a cherry ripe, and no, you do not taste the spinach AT ALL! I normally don't put milk in my smoothees but considering this has got the added bonus of coconut oil and spinach, I'm willing to make an exception.

And just quickly, the soup of the week is another carrot soup. I am including the link for you guys if you want to follow it. I made it today, for the weekend, and it was lovely - very thick and quite sweet. I added some cardamon & would have used orange rind and juice if I had them instead of lemons - they work so well together: http://networkedblogs.com/3P4S4 .

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 16 - Party, party, party....

Even though I'm now into Wk 17 I'd better report a bit on last week and the lead up to No 3's b'day party. I was really glad I was able to do a lot of prep before-hand as I did feel quite organised by the morning of. A few things (like the cupcakes, sausage rolls & meatballs) I'd made earlier and frozen till the day of. There was definately more savoury things at the party than sweet as I was really trying to avoid using any refined sugar in any of the food. In the end I used coconut palm sugar in the muffins & cookies and only used icing sugar to make the icing for the cut-out cookies that the kids took home in their party bags - and even then I gave them a choice of iced or uniced.

However, some of the other yummy things I disovered in my search for sugar-free sweets resulted in a couple of goodies listed below:

Honey Caramel Popcorn
1/2 cup of corn kernels popped
1/2 cup of honey, 1/4 whipped cream & 2 tbsp butter - melted together and brought to a gentle boil, simmer for 8 mins (don't let it burn!). Pour over popcorn and mix thru quickly, let cool and ENJOY!

On a practical note, make sure you soak all your pans and bowls straight away as this caramel sets hard.

Another variation I found but haven't tried yet was Peanut butter choc chip Popcorn:
1/2 cup of corn kernels popped
1/2 cup of peanut butter melted with 1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of choc chips - and mix all together.

And I also made the Pecan Caramel Toffees out of "Healing Foods" by Sandra Ramacher:

1 cup honey
1 cup nut butter (I just used natural peanut butter, just make sure it has no additives)
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup chopped pecans (wish I'd toasted them)

Bring the honey to boil in a saucepan and let it boil for 8 mins (will froth up). Turn off the heat and add nut butter, butter and chopped pecans. Let it cool for about 10 mins and then spoon tbspfulls into little cupcake papers. Set in fridge but eat at room temp.

These basically tasted like a mouthful of peanut butter & honey, but I was surprised they weren't that popular at the party - maybe too sweet? So, have popped them in the freezer for a tasty morsel every so often- definately good for a sweets craving......hmmmmm...... like now!

And what else? Oh, yes, the birthday cake! Well, thanks to my sister, I was able to try a chocolate gluten free, sugar free cake the week before and she sent me the recipe which I will also include below:

Chocolate Torte

Soak 2 cups of whole grain flour (of your choice - I used brown rice flour) in 3/4 cup of natural yoghurt and 3/4 cup of whole milk. This is not a wet mix, it will look like a thick cake mix. Leave overnight - this makes it more digestible in the cake.

When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to mod temp and grease a deep square cake pan.

In a mixer, mix together:
1/2 cup of melted butter or coconut oil
3/4 cup of honey
2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa (I used half cacao powder, half dutch process cocoa)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda

Add in the flour mix by spoonfuls till blended well. This should be a nice sloppy cake mix now, if not you will need to add more liquid.

Pour into cake pan and put into oven for up to 30 mins. Check it after 15 mins and then every few mins, because it does cook fast. Stick a wooden skewer in and when it comes out clean it's done. Err on the side as caution as even slightly undercooked it tastes fine and actually more "mudcakey". Cool in the pan for a few mins before flipping out.

I iced B's cake with a chocolate ganache made from 70% cocoa Organic chocolate and pure cream and even tho this had very little sugar in it, if you wanted completely sugar-free you can do what my sister did and make a philly cheese icing with philly cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Do it to taste. I made this icing for my banana muffins and prob used 2 pkts of cheese, up to 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup and prob a tbsp of vanilla extract. You could seriously eat this out of the bowl on its own!

It is a dense cake and yes, it's not that sweet but I like the choc ganache on top to give it a little more depth. The kids seemed Ok with it, so was overall pretty happy with the results.

So now, it's left to us to finish the leftovers! Not such a problem altho I'm glad the sausage rolls and the honey/soy chicken drumettes are done with! Now just a few muffins and a bit of cake left. I must say the sushi was probably the biggest hit (I bought it premade) along with the little individually boxed salted popcorn - no ones likes too many kids' hands in the one bowl!

So, as to be expected, this 11th kg is taking it's time to fall off. Along with all the food foibles I had further trouble with the gym too - couldn't get there on the public holiday and then injured my back somehow and couldn't go another day! So thankful that after 2 days of pain killers and pain patches, it settled down a lot and then my chiro made sure everything was back in place, and I haven't had a skerrick of pain since. Phew! So back to the gym again this morning. And after a morning of grazing on bread & leftover cake - I have to spend today researching some inspiring recipes to get me back on the straight and narrow. Will post anything successful :-).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 15 - 10 kilos lighter and lovin' it!

YES, I can definately say that 10 kgs is gone as I've just slipped past it now. I was rather stagnant there for nearly 2 wks - going back and forwards, but finally it's passed me by and I'm relieved. I was expecting a bit of a lull but I am hoping that being back into my gym routine with my PT really pushing me, that I will keep up the loss. A friend also recommended I try incorporating a good solid 45 mins of steady walking as well now to help up my ante - and this again reiterates my desire to get the school walk back into the timetable. So my goal this weekend is get my pram situation sorted out so that next week I can really get started. The weather is just glorious so I know I will really enjoy it.

I honestly can't believe what I've achieved (through the grace of God) and although I have still had my ups and downs, I'm really ecstatic that I am enjoying this way of life and seeing it pay off. I have NEVER stayed on any sort of diet this long. I have tried a million diets over the years and have a file full of all the latest "fads" from years gone past - but none have ever kept me on the straight and narrow like this "life change" has. Prob the only other diet I tried that helped me lose weight before my sister's wedding was the Tony Ferguson diet - with the shakes and soups. I enjoyed this because once again it takes all the guess work out of it for you and you always knew where you were up to, and what was for breaky the next day! I think it helps you to break the sugar addiction as well as it encourages you to get rid of it out of your diet and it is not incorporated into the mixes. However, I never excercised much back then and I now believe this is of absolute importance for not just physical health but emotional health as well.

Also, I really believe God has provided all the right nutrients in whole organic foods to give us a balanced and super-fuelled diet, and this is why I prefer now to gain benefit out of real food that He specifically created for us right from the beginning of the world. He knew what He was doing when He created the veges and the fruits and knew exactly how they would help us, so I will honour Him in using them to benefit my body. I am often reminded of the verse in the bible that tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit - so why dishonour Him by polluting it with so much trash, rather than pure and perfect foods. Only the best for my Lord!

I have struggled with a shocker of a headache this week - it started on Wed arvo and died off Thurs arvo but reappeared at the gym Friday morning and absolutely floored me! Even tho I kept with a lower impact workout, I got home and collapsed - awful pain. And the reason - I believe it was the choc chip cookies I made for the kids. Yes, they had a little wheat flour in them, and some non-refined sugar but I actually think it was mainly the choc chips because they were just the cooking ones. If I'd had some better quality dk choc I would have just chopped that up but that is no guarantee it wouldn't have still affected me, esp as I scoffed down about 4 - that was just OVERLOAD. Anyway, it was a good reminder that if I want to be debilitated by these headaches - sure, eat as many as you like and then be out of service for 2.5 days! But what sort of life is that? It was another wake up call that yes, I can still have a taste of stuff but that is it - if I go back to my guzzling gertie life, I will be the one who loses out.

Ok, now would like to share a couple of recipes that I have used lately out of a cookbook my sis lent me - "Healing Foods - Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn's & IBS" by Sandra Ramacher. Basically these are gluten and sugar free recipes - so a real plus for me. I made the next cake twice - the 2nd time was practically perfect and I got sooooo many compliments.

Citrus Cake
* 1 med navel orange, 1 lemon, 1 mandarin - place whole fruits in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 mins till the fruit is soft. Take out and cool, slice open & remove seeds, and then puree in blender.
* Beat 3/4 cup of honey and 6 eggs until light and fluffy. Fold thru fruit puree.
* Mix 2 1/2 cups of almond flour or meal with 1 tsp of baking soda, and then fold thru the egg and fruit mixture.
* Pour into a prepared round baking tin (lined with baking paper) and bake in a mod oven for up to an hour - checking with a skewer after 30 mins. Remove from oven and while hot, drizzle a little honey over the top to add a syruppy finish. Alternatively, completely cool before removing from tin and then make an orange caramel sauce to serve over top.

Orange Caramel Sauce
1 cup honey
200 g butter
grated rind from 1 orange
2 tbs fresh OJ

Mix all ingreds in a saucepan and simmer for 10 mins - sooooooo yummy!

I haven't had a Soup of the Week for awhile - but this one certainly hits the spot and was absolutely amazing.

Pumpkin and Macadamia Nut Soup
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 tsp fresh ginger grated
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup peeled cored & diced apple
1 kg p'kin peeled and diced
1 cup chook stock

Heat oil in a lge pot. Add onion, nuts, ginger & garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Add the turmeric and stir. Add the apple and pumpkin and stir for 2 - 3 mins and add chook stock. Cover and cook for 20 mins or until p'kin is soft. Process or blend until smooth and creamy.

*I also added some coconut cream to make it go a little further - just superb.

Anyway, will post this now while I remember and then will hopefully post some more soon. All very busy here in preparation for Bailey's 4th birthday party next Saturday so have been doing a lot of early cooking. Till next time!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 14 - The return of my nemesis.....

Phew! What a week, and so far, not much light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a seriously tough week struggling to get this depression monkey off my back. At the moment I feel like I'm madly trying to tread water to keep my head above the waves, but each day something new seems to add another weight to my shoulders, and slowly drags me under.

I was just robotically cleaning the kitchen this morning mulling over my desire to just lie down and sleep for 10 years, when it came to me crystal clear - "what is the difference between now and a few weeks ago when I was living the high and happy life?" And the answer of course is "the gym". I know all the studies that have been done to say that the endorphins produced while excercising and the "psychological" benefits of "improving" oneself are incredibly beneficial, but if I hadn't seen it happen to myself, I doubt I would have believed it. 3 weeks is a long time to deprive yourself of something that has been such a strenghtening force in your life. I am happy and relieved to say that I was back at the gym this morning, and even after 1 session the rush afterwards was just amazing.

However, I think it will take my body a little longer to still get those "happy" hormones rushing around again, as I did crash down again a little later. It's so difficult to make others understand how debilitating it can be to feel depressed, esp if they have not experienced it themself. My husband constantly struggles with this issue and unfortunately is still having to learn the small things it takes to bring me back from the brink. I was sitting at the lights the other day, thinking "why not drive round the corner and get "accidentally" hit by another car? Then I could have a long rest in hosp and not have to be constantly bothered and frustrated by 4 kids and all those issues building up and wearing me down!" Of course, with my kids in the car with me, I knew I wouldn't follow through but, it wasn't so much that, that then I suddenly started thinking of how inconvenient it would be, that I didn't have the energy to go thru with it! Now, I am not making light of having these compulsions, but it is so typical of mothers to think "I would love to just disappear for a little while, but...... the washing isn't up-to-date, I doubt if my husband could put a dinner together with the 6 bits of dried up veges in the fridge and 1/2 tub of yoghurt & tomato sauce, so maybe I should pop out to Mrs Flannerys to grab a few things......and actually I was going to make spaghetti anyway, so while I'm out........." And in a few mins you have lost yourself to the practicalities of running a home and a family (and heaven forbid - a job as well) and by the grace of God, can be distracted from any other spontaneous folly.

I know there are less dramatic ways to achieve a little balance in one's life but I spose that is why it is a neurological issue for us - that when things are out of whack, it is awfully hard to get them back in shape by one's own self-effort. Usually it does take a few days of taking a back seat to life, getting encouragement from the people that do "understand", and trying to get through minute by minute without freaking out about the millions of things going wrong or purposefully thwarting you. Also, it pays to look at the external circumstances (for me -too big a build up stress, not enough time with my husband, not enough time spent doing what I enjoy (gym, socialising more at church, doing hobbies that give me a release (cooking, photos, organising)) and then there are of course the internal issues - what you fill your body with and what symptoms they give you. But prob the most important area is the spiritual circumstances - normally depressive periods instigate a desert time when devotions are sparse and half-hearted, and there is just a general mumble occasionally that passes as a prayer. I believe whole-heartedly in a compassionate and loving God who gracefully holds us in close at these times and completely "gets" the fact that things are tough and that soon we will be back in closer relationship with Him. I thank God that even though I feel alone and hard done by, He is still with me and protecting me and my family. Even when I rant and rave and get angry at Him, He waits, and when I kneel to confess and crave His closeness again - He is faithful to forgive and affirm. Thank you Lord.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 13 - Eek! My shorts are falling off!

Well, with 9kgs off I have begun to finally see some changes. I almost lost my shorts at the park yesterday and had to kick myself that I didn't put my belt on. I'd been putting them thru the dryer in the hope that they would shrink some but it doesn't seem to be doing the job. I also tried on some of my "skinny" pants and was quite happy with how they looked. It's made me want to go thru my clothes and get rid of a lot of the fat, baggy, elastic stuff left in there. Yes, there are still a couple of maternity jeans in there that I loved the shape of, but now I don't need to be so scared of finding normal ones again!

The last time I was this weight was for Wendy's wedding 2 1/2 yrs ago but I still think my body looks way different from back then as I was not doing any gym training.

I haven't seen my PT for over 2 weeks now and I was feeling pretty low about it but I've just been so sick that I just didn't want to rush in and overdo stuff too early and get laid low again. I did do heaps of walking in Melbourne and had one weights session at the hotel gym - which I thought was pretty successful considering I was on my own. It was funny that day because I was sooooooo tired and just wanted to collapse on the bed for the arvo - but I actually realised that it was because I wasn't excercising that I had no energy, so I really felt motivated to thrash it out. Did me the world of good.

However, now that I'm better, Georgie's gone away for the wkend and so I won't be back at it till next Wednesday! Aaaaagh! But got my act together and have been doing an abs workout every wnd night. I doubt I could do a good overall weights session myself so just focussing on an easy target so that my muscles are still "working". A bit of rest is good for them so that they can start activating on the fat around them, but I feel like when I'm not working out regularly, they might go stagnant, as will my weight. And I can't imagine anything holding me back from getting back at it on Wednesday.

This week's been rather haphazard in the feeding department seeing as the week started off with me so sick. I wavered between not wanting to eat, and just wanting some comfort food - buttered toast dripping with jam (and yes, i do believe one day I gave into that dream!). I found I was craving the bread the most - it really frustrates me how hard it is to avoid bread when my family eats it alllllllll the time. And what's more, I am pretty sure it's what aggravates my dandruff. Just wish that I could release that craving......

One night we had Thai again and then Thurs night we got a night out at a new Turkish restaurant - not too much that I couldn't eat and I was able to just have a little taste of everything so that I didn't overeat. Steamed fish, leg of lamb, greek salad, squid, and a little taste of baklava - mmmmmm.......I miss baklava!

The night before I'd actually made kofta for our dinner and the kids had loved eating it wrapped in pita bread with coleslaw.

Mediterranean Kofta (adapted from Coles mag):

500g beef mince and 500g lamb mince

3 garlic cloves crushed

3 tbsp chopped parsley

4 tsps ground cumin

2 tbsp ground allspice

2 eggs, beaten

S & P

Blend all in processor till smooth. Mould meat balls around skewers and then let rest in fridge for awhile. Cook in a little oil in pan, and brown on all sides.

I did a lovely coleslaw to go with it and it was enjoyed by all! And there was enough leftover for lunch the next day. I've been enjoying some nice big lunches - omelette and salad, leftovers, and today - sauteed kale (in garlic, ginger, chilli) with baked beans. I'm still coping quite well in the mornings with my coffee and fruit. The pink lady apples up here are absolutely gorgeous and they are my fruit of choice at the moment. Every time I start one, tho, the bubba tries to steal it and sometimes eats it all up and I miss out.

Today I made the spice muffins that I got in my Easter gift from younger sis - it was like a pkt mix with all the sep ingredients (except milk) indidvidually packaged and pre-measured. So I don't know all the details but I did substitute the 1/2 cup of caster sugar with some extra honey and 1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar. They were very tasty muffins with buckwheat flour and an amazing mix of spices (not sure which). I decided not to make the cream cheese icing for on top but instead I drizzled the hot muffins with honey. Delicious.

Now, I don't want this to drag out any longer but I must just bring you uptodate on my ankles. I had the x-ray and ultrasound done on Monday and saw the dr on Wed, who confirmed I had an inflamed achilles tendon in my left ankle, and a calceneal spur as well. Nothing too serious so the dr just recommended I have some work done on it by a physio (much to the disgust of my chiro) and because I have suffered with it for over 3 months I was given an EPC for 5 free sessions. My ankles have been quite OK lately (prob due to lack of gym work) so will let it relax for now and get the work done when I have a clearer schedule.

And so, will now see how the weekend goes and if the next kg will stay off and not surprise me by sneaking back on. Strength is what I need!