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: .

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 :-).