Friday, June 28, 2013

Healthy Hair on Youtube (Encore): MsTanish

So I've featured MsTanish's Youtube channel before and couldn't resist doing it again after seeing her recent videos.  Below she discusses her length retention regimen using loose twists.  I love this explanation because it is very detailed:

Then in this video, she demonstrates her moisturizing routine while in the loose twists AND the various (and beautiful, I might add) styles she wears with the loose twists:

Healthy Eating || Ways to Add Protein to Your Smoothie

Protein powder.  I recommend going for a flavorless one or vanilla.  Either of these go pretty well in most smoothies.  Chocolate, strawberry, or other highly distinct flavors will limit the amount of tasty smoothies you can make.

Natural peanut butter.  This is probably my most favorite way to add protein to a smoothie because it is natural and adds a nice (but not overwhelming) flavor.  Go for the natural peanut butter because processed ones tend to have added sugar and hydrogenated fats.

Soy milk.  Soy milk used to be a pretty popular replacement for cow milk but has gotten a slightly bad reputation over the years largely because of its association with genetically modified soy beans (GMO).  However, if you can find non-GMO soy milk, you should be fine.


Not fair

Rain this morning so no walk before work - but I forgot to take a Nytol last night so I wasn't groggy this morning anyway.
I killed my recent sweet cravings with a tiny amount of Greek yoghurt - about a tablespoon and a half - and honey - a teaspoon at most - before I left the house. I didn't enjoy it as much as I used to so I guess my taste is changing despite my occasional slips on the sweet side.
Now a question - I'd value opinions on this. If you've been here before you probably remember how much I've loved baking the last few years. I haven't been interested for a while, but now I'm missing it much more. The question is, is it better to avoid giving into the urge, or will resisting just make me more and more resentful? I think my choices are 1) don't bake at all
2) bake only traditional stuff I shouldn't eat even ignoring the low carb thing because it contains gluten, with the intention of palming it off on my colleagues or
3) go the route of satisfying the urge by baking fairly paleo / primal stuff - lots of almond & coconut flour, not too much sugar - and risk tripping over one of my many overeating triggers (which observant readers would realise is also a risk in option 2, gluten intolerance notwithstanding)
Crap. I think I've answered my own question... Option 1 is clearly the safest option at least while I'm actively working towards weight loss. Unless I can think of something to bake that I personally don't like, and I'm not sure such a thing exists... Amazing the many good things in life you can lose if you're naturally a binge eating fatso with a desire to neither overeat or be fat...

I had the pleasure of yet another queue in the post office today. Selling on old games & movies is good but the post office here is tiny and not well staffed. Also my foot hurt as I walked there again - so even without the depressing drizzle there would have been no proper walk. And my back aches again, possibly because I was trying to walk with my left big toe curled down from my shoe. I must have looked drunk. Or possibly like a really large duck. Combined with my visiting plans for the weekend it looks like no training or proper walking till Sunday at the earliest. Sigh.

And some more moaning. This afternoon one of the guys in the office brought doughnuts in. I�d love to say I wasn�t tempted but I�m not going to lie to you lovely people. Some of them were coated in chocolate frosting, and I was tempted. Hey, its TTOM and I�m only human (as you pointed out Jess � thanks for the support). While I was battling temptation with all my strength (and winning!) this one guy in the office walked past my desk with 3 different doughnuts � 3!!! and he�s a pencil on legs, I could snap him with one hand behind my back. There�s no justice in the world� 

Food today:

Breakfast: Greek yoghurt with strawberries, flaxseeds & desiccated coconut flakes
Lunch: salad with cold meat
Dinner: very mature cheddar (big lump) with tomatoes, cucumber & celery
Snacks: pork crunch and cashews

Thursday, June 27, 2013


After waking up so early yesterday I took a Nytol last night - then woke up just as early but groggy with it :-( I really envy people who sleep well! All I wanted to do was hook myself up to a coffee iv and sit on the sofa till it was time for work, but given my desire to cut back I had just the one cup and then walked into town - a smidgen under 2 miles in total. It did wake me enough not to be an active danger driving to work, but I felt a little pressured to get ready and out in time. Not that I needed to worry as I sat in my car outside the office for 10 minutes before anyone arrived to let me in...
At lunchtime I had the pleasure of another visit to the post office and as usual it took far too long. Walking down there my toe was quite sore - I seem to have bruised it somehow and my walking boot was putting some pressure in just the wrong place, so I went back to the office rather than walking further. I also didn't train after work due to back ache - I'm falling apart again!!!
I felt quite revoltingly sorry for myself this afternoon - the back thing mostly - and I have to admit I got as far as taking some cash out to go to the vending machine... I put the money away, but I really felt like comforting myself with some chocolate (a Snickers bar to be precise) and it was a close thing. Obviously although I can ignore fudgy chocolate cakes when I'm doing ok all round, my emotional attachment to the sweet stuff is nowhere near a thing of the past (sob). Anyway, I didn�t go for the chocolate, but settled for a couple of strawberries and some Greek yoghurt when I got home.

Food today:
Breakfast: I couldn't face eggs for breakfast so instead I had some Greek yoghurt with strawberries, ground flaxseeds, and Brazil nuts
Lunch: small chicken breast marinated in Nando's hot hot peri peri marinade with salad including a hard boiled egg
Dinner: Omelette primavera (broccoli, asparagus, green bean and leek) with salad
Snacks: beef jerky

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013


This morning I woke up at 4:20 again having tried taking a night off from the Nytol. I forced myself to stay in bed till 5, and that 40 minutes went by even slower than the average 40 minutes in work... Hard to believe as I've always felt the work day passes by in a black hole where time is infinitely stretched... Once I was refreshed by my shower I decided to take a little walk instead of just sitting around till it was time to go out to work, it was literally just a mile round trip into town but the cool temperature was invigorating (though only while I was out in it) and it was good to get my blood moving a little. Especially as I'm still cutting back on coffee - only one full caffeine cup today before switching to herbal tea, water and decaf.

At lunchtime I walked another 2 miles - with a heavy rucksack on the way back as I did some shopping. I'm visiting my parents this weekend and won't have time for my normal weekly shop but if the weather permits I should be able to keep up with it on foot before work & at lunchtime, at least everything but the frozen stuff I generally get. I then yawned my head off all afternoon even though I was marginally less bored than I often am at work. I got confirmation today of my extension at work, not sure why it took so long but anyway� I�ll be staying till the end of October now. I can�t believe that I originally went there for just 6 weeks � and if I leave after this extension I�ll have been there just over 13 months!

After work I did another 40 minutes on the climber, so I�ve had quite an active day! Tomorrow I�ll probably turn into a sloth and spend the whole time on my ass ;-0

Food today
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs
Lunch: Chicken leek soup and Fage Greek yoghurt
Dinner grilled liver, red onion & mushrooms
Snacks: Cashew nut snack pack

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

No nuts today

I  managed a bit of a walk at lunchtime today - less than I'd hoped for because I had to fit in a trip to the post office as well. There was actually some sun - and not too much wind for a change. After work I dragged myself to the climber, and did the full 40 minutes I'd planned. I've now started using the preprogrammed exercise programs on the machine, though I don't always manage to keep up with it the whole way. But today I did - and sweated like nobody's business!

It was a slightly higher carb (still officially low carb, just not ludicrously so) day and I did feel a bit better for it. So I'll try to keep up with the veggies more consistently from now on.

Someone at work brought in a chocolate cake to celebrate getting married. It was chocolate sponge (two layers sandwiched together with chocolate cream filling, topped with about an inch of chocolate icing and then covered with chocolate shavings... They might as well have melted a ton of chocolate and sugar together then supplied it with a hypodermic needle) No temptation whatsoever. I guess my craving/obsession switch is still stuck at the cashew nut setting.... Although since indulging at the weekend (moderately) the edge is off that too happily.

Food today:
Breakfast: chicken leek soup again - I made a large pot and have little room in the freezer so I have to use it up ASAP. Plus a slice or two of ham
Dinner: more chicken leek soup (only one portion left!) with added spinach and a side of roast asparagus
Snacks: tiny bit of peanut butter, pork scratchings, and (very naughty) medium Costa Coffee latte

No, I'm not trying to cover up a naughty lunch - I ate the pork scratchings at 11 and simply wasn't hungry until dinner time. Yes, that's what I said - I wasn't hungry and didn't eat anyway - almost like an intermittent fast (just a small one) and it just happened!

Monday, June 24, 2013

I crumbled.

I ate cashew nuts on Friday afternoon.

And Saturday

And Sunday

On the other hand,I bought snack packs and ate them in much smaller quantities, so I don't feel as guilty as I could have. But even if they are allowed back into my eating choices, it will have to involve portion control through buying small bags, because when I get started I'm not measuring out a 'portion' I'm eating the bag...

The weekend sucked. 2 viewings on Saturday afternoon so no training or walking (not that the weather was walking friendly anyway), just housework and a hair cut in the morning.

Sunday I tried to go for a walk because of some pains that made me feel training might not be a great idea, and only managed 2 miles because the strong cold wind turned it from pleasure to endurance test (which I obviously failed).

I'm really depressed at the moment. For once I don't think its the weight battle, though I'm sure that its making things harder thanks to increased Cortisol or increased desire to comfort eat or something, but I barely have any inclination to walk or train at all at the moment. In case it's exacerbated by how very very low carb I've been getting some days I have boosted my carb intake a bit - for instance, buying and eating a big punnet of strawberries over the weekend. God knows how my mood will be if that causes a glycogen - water retention related weight uptick though...

I didn�t have the energy to train after work but I did walk two miles at lunchtime

Food today:

Breakfast: ok, I know its weird, but at the weekend I made some chicken, leek & cauliflower soup (I really fancied leek & potato soup but that was the closest I could manage while staying low carb) and I had a bowl for breakfast

Lunch: no longer weird - a bowl of chicken, leek & cauliflower soup, followed by Greek yoghurt

Dinner: Singapore noodles with shirataki noodles

Snacks: Beef jerky

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Friday, June 21, 2013

I love Nytol

Almost 8 hours sleep last night - hurray! I felt so much better this morning when I woke up just before 5 having gone to bed early and actually slept straight through the night! I actually did 30 push ups this morning!
Still cutting back on caffeine - today I had only 1 real coffee then switched to decaf coffee and naturally uncaffeineated teas.
You probably guessed I didn't train last night - I just didn't have the energy. Same goes tonight � still playing catchup!

I wanted to walk at lunchtime but the weather looked rubbish though in the end I could have gone for it. Instead I sat in my car and tried to nap - didn't manage it, but came close and managed to feel very relaxed which was nice.

On the less cheerful hand... I miss nuts! I miss nuts! OMG I miss nuts... After his lunch my boss had a snickers and I was actually tempted to do the same - not for the chocolate or caramel, which didn't appeal, but for the peanuts... Which has me picturing myself buying a snickers, melting it in the microwave to soften all the gunk, then rinsing the melted chocolate & caramel off the peanuts... I didn't, but I was considering getting a pack of nuts from the coffee van to satisfy my craving... It could take longer for me to get over the nuts than it did the chocolate... Someone tell me it doesn't matter and I can eat them again, go on, please....???

Food today:
Breakfast: green monster smoothie (except it was more grey-green sludge monster due to summer berries being blended with purple & green lettuce, under-ripe avocado, and a teaspoon of virulently green spirulina powder. Red / purple + green = ugly.) with plain unsweetened whey protein powder
Lunch: soup (roasted cauliflower & leek) and salad (with feta cheese)
Dinner: Turkey mince Bolognese served over leeks & cabbage
Snacks: home-made low carb meatballs

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My dilemma

Years ago my best ever successful diet was based on calorie counting. I didn't know I was gluten intolerant and didn't count out wheat, let alone other carbs. My husband several times suggested low carbing and I argued against it every time - unhealthy, faddy, unbalanced, unsustainable, too much effort while working away, the list of reasons not to low carb was longer than I am tall.
Then I gained back about 25lbs and when I tried to get it off again it didn't shift - calorie counting stopped working, or I stopped being able to calorie count, call it what you will.
I tried variations on the theme with intermittent fasting but my bingeing tendencies put the kibosh on that and then I decided to finally try low carbing as a way to break free of the sweet trap I felt I was in. I'm not perfect obviously but that's mostly worked in that I eat sweet things maybe a tenth as often as I used to - actually no, less than that - and don't really binge anymore (once in about 3 months after previously bingeing weekly or more often), I feel more in control, I have fewer mood swings even though I quit taking antidepressants. All great things.
I truthfully started this to lose weight,and in 3 months or so I've lost a massive 4lbs. Yes, I said lbs. Yes, I mean only slightly more than 1lb a month (and truthfully again, most of that in the first 3 weeks)
So the dilemma - everything except weight loss is great eating this way. But I am overweight, not just trying to get lower in the healthy weight range. Bit I'm not very overweight - 5 or 6lbs above the top healthy weight for my height. And I've read books that say slightly overweight is healthier than underweight (or even average weight).
So do I stick with what works on every other yardstick, forget about losing those last few lbs (and the others I want them to take with them), buy clothes for the size I am now and stop trying to squeeze myself into the ones I used to wear - and risk getting more overweight with time and relaxation (though so far maintaining at this weight seems really really easy).
Or do I change what I'm doing now to chase weight loss however miserable it makes me, with the plan to go back to this once I've lost the weight? If I do?
I've been calling this a plateau for weeks. That's what got me back on the climber (almost) every evening after work, in an attempt to kickstart things again.

But so far the plateau is winning...

I don't know what to do. Here's a question for you, if you're reading this - have you had a plateau lasting more than a week? If you have, how long did it last? And how did you break it / stay motivated until it broke? I could really use some advice... My knee jerk response, as you've no doubt noticed, is to tweak or change things without necessarily giving things time to have an effect, but I'm sick of that and its got me nowhere so far..

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Its getting worse...

I woke up even earlier today even after training yesterday and hoping that would help. At this rate I may just give up going to bed at all (until I crack up from sleep deprivation). Or I could just buy some more nytol - which I did at lunchtime today..
This morning I was feeling quite pissy and resentful because of the crap night I'd spent, so as usual I behaved in a totally measured, grown up fashion, analysing the problem and devising a strategy... Not. I ate a protein cookie instead. Too sweet (sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which I'm trying to avoid) not gluten free let alone grain free, low in fat and high in very processed protein... As I finished it I was already saying 'why did you do that???' And feeling that everyday feeling of 'you've ruined the whole day you jackass' and 'with that amount of self discipline no wonder your weight is barely shifting' - you know, the usual self-loving, helpful comments a lot of dieters probably make. Then I fed it into my online food diary on www,
Admittedly this doesn't alter the facts above about grains and sweeteners, but I discovered it only had 20g of carbs - which is exactly the allocation by meal recommended by Barry Groves in the diet plan I read first before going low carb. So I was on the verge of throwing the whole day away because of a slip that broke the letter & spirit of my diet plan... but in a way that I can totally live with AS A ONE OFF.
Notes to self: 1) a cookie at breakfast time doesn't make up for lost sleep & 2) don't over-react until you have all the facts. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in my head. And I'm the one who lives there!
Oh yes, and 3) I'm cutting down on caffeine in case I'm just ridiculously sensitive to it, and taking the damn Nytol. If that's not enough I may have to take up meditation... And I really don't know if I can do that...

Under the motivation of buying my Nytol I did go out at lunchtime - and spent 20 minutes wandering around the High Street. It started drizzling so I headed back after walking ooo, at least 0.6 of a mile... I want clear, dry, sunny weather, not too hot and not humid please, then I'll walk at lunchtimes. Clearly the 20 minutes of ambling were not enough to refresh me as I was absolutely knackered half an hour later - as in dropping eyelids and a tendency to a nodding dog impression. I had a mug of decaf (I believe that it still contains a small amount of caffeine) because I didn't want to embarrass myself falling asleep at my desk, but it was still a lower caffeine day - 2 cups (not mugs) of black coffee before work and one mug of decaf after lunch rather than my normal 2 cups & 2 mugs of full caffeine coffee.

Food today:
Breakfast: protein cookie
Lunch: cooked chicken breast and pretty yellow baby plum sized tomatoes of an unknown breed
Dinner: feta cheese salad
Snacks: scrambled eggs (that should have been breakfast) and pork scratchings

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Jess' Twist Out on Blown Out Hair

I love Jess' simple hair care routine and moreover this recent tutorial of a twist out on blown out hair.  Hmm ... I'm thinking I might try this style next weekend. :o)


Mixology || Making Your Own Carrot Oil

LOO'S NOTE: When making carrot oil from scratch, you will find that you are using a lot of carrots to make a small amount of oil.  The beauty of the below recipe is that the addition of an oil to your process makes the creation easier and increases your yield, though it is obviously a mix of carrot oil and the oil you chose.  A similar process can be applied to make coconut oil and avocado oil.  


Supplies Needed
  • Veggie peeler
  • Hand grater or food processor
  • Crock pot
  • Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • Glass mason jar
-2 organically or home grown carrots
-olive, coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil, to cover
  1. Wash and peel the skin of the carrots.
  2. Grate carrots with the use of a hand grater or food processor.
  3. Place the grated carrots in a crock pot and pour the oil of your choice to cover. Note: I used 2 1/4 cups of oil or 18 ounces.
  4. On your crock pot�s lowest setting, maintain a warm temperature � infusing the oil for a full 24-72 hours. Note: I use the �warm� temperature setting on my crock pot. Try not to allow the temperature of the oil to rise above 100-105 degrees farenheit. You will notice the oil becoming orange in color.
  5. Once the infusion process is complete, pour the carrots and oil mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and strain.
  6. Reserve the oil and compost the carrots.
  7. Label and store the oil in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator until ready for use. Will keep for 6-8 months if stored properly.
For more recipes like this, check out Frugally Sustainable.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And still tired�

I hoped to report being more rested today but in addition to waking at 4:20 I also woke up at 1:40am, so that did not improve matters. Having said that I think missing training last night did help, and I was able to complete my 40mins after work today thankfully, although I must admit I didn�t work full out the whole time.

I was really really hungry this afternoon. I ended up having a mug of Bovril and a mug of decaf with milk in an attempt to not be as hungry, but it only worked to a degree. I guess it confirms what we're always told about the importance of sleep - lacking sleep does make it harder to lose weight. Luckily I still didn't find the refined carb crap in the vending machine appealing (and for once a full working day passed without anyone celebrating a birthday) so there was nothing around I could eat.

Food today

Major shopping fail this week so my breakfast was a tad weird...
I only had one egg because I didn't buy enough, no yoghurt because I ate too much, no nuts because I'm still avoiding them, no milk not that I had anything to go with milk...
Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg, half an (unripe) avocado & 30g smoked salmon mixed with salad dressing
Lunch: salad (bought on the way to work) with prawns and feta cheese and thousand island dressing
Dinner: cold chicken breast with broccoli
Snacks: Babybel & beef jerky

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review of Whole by T. Colin Campbell. Petition on Win a copy of Whole.

A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of T. Colin Campbell's new book Whole by BenBella, the publisher, to review and host a blog giveaway.

I finished up the book a few moments ago and my head is racing. There are so many things to write about! Plus, I AM SO ANGRY I don't even know where to begin. But begin I must.

Whole is not an easy book to read or digest. I consider myself to be of decent intelligence and there were many chapters that I could not get through. But I skipped those and I pressed on, and it was totally worth it. I feel far more educated about the system of health research, medicine, pharmaceuticals, disease societies (think the American Cancer Society), the media and big food and how they are all interconnected--and not for our benefit.

Read more �


It has now been over a week since I last slept till after 4:20am. I can't think of much more irritating than waking up less than an hour before you usually get up, knowing you rarely get back to sleep in under 30 minutes once awake, and feeling that you aren't really rested but if you do fall asleep again you'll feel worse because there isn't enough time to get more rested. I go to bed at the same time (within about 30 minutes anyway) 7 days a week and get up about the same time - say within 60 minutes - every day so I'd say I keep regular hours as the experts say you should; I almost never drink caffeine after lunch and I train more than 3 hours before going to bed. So what the hell is with this general lack of a decent night's sleep? I keep my room fairly cool, my bed is very comfortable with good support and only about a year old, I don't own pets that jump on my head when they think its time I got up (or children that jump on my head either come to that). I read every '10 / 5 / 7 tips to good sleep' article I come across and usually score well when it comes to matching my habits to their advice... And still wake up hideously early every morning. So frustrating... I've been advised to ask medical advice - which of course means sleeping aids - but I don't want to become dependant on that sort of thing, plus I've heard that the quantity of sleep may go up but the quality goes down... This lunchtime I found myself nodding off while reading a really interesting book (Salt, Sugar, Fat - How the Food Giants Hooked Us) that was not even a little bit boring, so it was genuine tiredness. I suppose I'd probably have been better off walking through lunch, but as I said - too tired... And too tired to train after work too�
I'm also being frustrated waiting to learn if I'm being extended or not... I suppose that could be causing me to sleep badly but I wouldn't have said I felt that strongly about it...  Food today: I wanted a lower low carb day today, though my body was encouraging me to up the carbs for quick energy...

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs with some smoked salmon
Lunch: prawn salad of prawns in Caesar dressing and a bowl of roasted cauliflower and leek soup
Dinner: baked gammon, cheese and tomatoes
Snack: pork scratchings, Babybel cheese

Monday, June 17, 2013

Its just another British summer�

Most of the weekend was pretty rubbish, so just a very quick recap on the high points - if they really qualify for that description.
On Saturday the weather started out looking good enough for a decent walk but I had some knee pains so I declared a rest day. Then in the late morning / afternoon it clouded over completely and eventually rained, which annoys me even when I'm not going out. However, before that happened I did have a high point - on the way to the supermarket first thing I'd spotted a sign advertising a farmer's market in Reading, so instead of walking in I caught the train and went to that, where I found several meat stalls, cheeses, and cheap local free range eggs. I enjoyed shopping there so I followed that with some slow paced ambling around town before catching the train with my shopping.
Yesterday the weather was lousy again. I did slowly walk a couple of miles and my knee felt fine so I went on the climber for 40 minutes, which also went fine (its very low impact on the knees). Apart from that nothing good happened.
This morning I woke up annoyingly early so I got up annoyingly early and was knackered all day. And hungry. And moody and frustrated. I did manage my 40 minutes on the climber after work, which cheered me up for a while. Working on getting it to be a habit� so far its a daily internal conversation about whether or not I�m going to train, but I hope soon I�ll start taking it for granted that I will because that�s what I do�  

Food today:
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs and some Greek yoghurt
Lunch: feeling lazy, I bought a packaged salad to which I added some baked gammon from a joint I cooked at the weekend and a hard boiled egg.
Dinner : chicken breast marinated in Greek yoghurt and some Tandoori Masala I bought in Brick Lane last time my brother visited, with a tomato & cucumber salad and some asparagus
Snacks: beef jerky

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Mixology || Protein Pre-Treatment by Chicoro

1/3 teaspoon each (cysteine, cystine, methionine)
300 grams or 1 block of soft tofu
1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (water based/moisture)
1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of oil (for lubrication)
melted coconut oil

For details, watch the below video:

How the Sweet Potato Stacks Against the Regular Potato

Why do I prefer the sweet potato over the common potato?  The sweet potato has:
~40% less starch
Tons of vitamin A
~2x more vitamin C



Friday, June 14, 2013

Blue skies

When I got up this morning (about 5:10am) the sky was blue! Honest it was! By the time I left the house it was a different story, in fact if I hadn't been standing up looking out the bedroom window earlier I might have thought I dreamed the whole thing. Wall to wall clouds - but at least no rain.
I went out at lunchtime planning a 2 mile round trip again - no matter what - and this time I made it, and even got 3.25 minutes of sun!
Three (3, yes, actually THREE!!!) different people brought cakes and stuff into the office to celebrate their birthdays today, and another for her last day at work. Type 2 Diabetes Central! People were walking around complaining about how much cake they'd eaten... hmm, seems to me there's a straightforward solution to that problem... It was reassuring for me, given the moaning about missing carbs that I was doing yesterday, to realise that I still wasn't tempted by them, although it probably helped that the things they brought in were mostly things I was never that fussed about anyway. Except the chocolate stuffed doughnuts, that hurt... Less positively I wanted to eat all morning, and by 11am I had already eaten my snacks for the whole day and the ham that was intended to be part of my lunch. I don't know why it was such a hungry day - I slept ok, I ate a reasonably sized dinner yesterday and my breakfast was no smaller than usual... But regardless, I was hungry!

After the ham and the walk I didn't want the rest of my planned lunch - a hard boiled egg and some avocado - so I just settled for some beef jerky instead. Even then I felt physically full but not satisfied - I hate that feeling, it seems so unhealthy to almost be trying to think of something else to cram in even though I'm not remotely hungry to satisfy what can only be a purely emotional / psychological wanting. Perhaps I was feeling left out of the monster cake-fest??? i didn�t cave in, though by the time I left at 4pm I was seriously considering the mini chocolate muffins just to see if it would get rid of that dissatisfied feeling. I got home and trained for 40 minutes, and strangely enough no longer wanted carbs � yay VersaClimber (still just wussing out on manual programs rather than the ones that come with the machine though). I was very very tempted not to train this evening, but very glad (afterwards) that I did.

Food today:
Experimental breakfast: 1 whole red pepper cut in half, drizzled with olive oil, roasted for 15 minutes, filled with snippets of cooked streaky bacon and an egg in each half, baked for another 20 minutes. It was good but I should have knocked 5 minutes off the cooking time for softer eggs and it's too long a business for a weekday really!
Lunch: pack of sliced ham & beef jerky
Dinner: Turkey Bolognese sauce on Courgette & carrot 'noodles'. And some whixky. Whiskey, I mean� less than a bottle, more than a shot�And some blueberries with single cream
Snacks: the meatballs I made from my meatloaf mix a few weeks ago and Babybel cheese.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Still fed up...

And another lousy day today. Flaming June my (big fat) ass!
I don't want to spend all my time every post moaning about the weather but. I probably will. It is so frustrating right now, if I didn't have the climber as an alternative form of exercise I don't know what I'd do. Probably try (and fail) to enjoy working out with kettle bells, then flop on the sofa till the skies finally clear... I did try to go out at lunchtime today, planning on a 2 mile round trip to Sainsburys. Unfortunately literally as soon as I cleared the shelter of the office a big rain drop splatted on my cheek and I was lightly drizzled on all the way to the much smaller and closer co-op that I used instead. It didn't turn out to be more than a light drizzle while I was out but a persistent cold wind kept hinting that it might! And it did, after I retreated to the (relative) comfort of the office, so I was pleased not to have gone too far afield.

Yesterday I threw away a few bits of chopped nuts and decided not to buy more for a while. In the evening I wanted to attack M's peanut butter - but resorted to an early night watching tv in bed so that getting some just seemed like too much effort. I'm not remotely thinking about giving the low carb thing up as I still feel much more in control this way, but I'd be lying if I denied that I've been having more carb-related yearnings lately - they haven't reached the height(?) depth(?) LEVEL of cravings so far but thoughts keep popping into my mind and I can only assume I've allowed a little too many carbs to creep back in, setting my body back into carb-mode. I think the nuts are the most likely culprit, hence the decision to go temporarily cold turkey. If in the next week I mention snacking or breakfasting on nuts, please send me a virtual slap on the wrist...

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon
Lunch: salad with corned beef (British style not American) and a small amount of leftover feta cheese I wanted to use up before it was too late.
Dinner: curried chicken livers with steamed cabbage
Snacks: Babybel cheese, pork scratchings and NO NUTS!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Today I miss bread

Sourdough bread from a San Francisco bakery�.

Slathered with butter, lightly toasted�.

Scrambled eggs (for breakfast) just aren�t the same without a couple of slices of really good bread to lie on





Reader Advice Day: What To Think When Friends Call You Names

Hello out there! Today I bring us another installment of "Reader Advice Day" where I present a question that was asked of me to you, the readers, to get community input. This is probably one of the most important topics we will ever discuss here on HGK. I believe that most of us have dealt with this exact issue at some point in our journey, or maybe even deal with it regularly.

"Hi Wendy,

I recently had a friend describe my form of eating as 'restrictive' and it kind of hit a chord. I have been mostly plant based for the last 6 months. I went on a road trip with my friend and I packed some of my meals because I knew we would be stopping at some fast food places where I would not have any options. I do have children and do not impose my way of eating on them, I give them choices and often times I will fix them something different. My husband is totally on board and 'gets' why I changed. But I am wondering how to deal with the whole 'restrictive' label I was given. Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me!"

Does this table of food look restrictive to you? Or abundant?

My thoughts?

I want to say that the word "restrictive" is a loaded word. I myself have never been anorexic, but I have read a little bit about it and I know that anorexia involves severe restriction. Was your friend implying that you are becoming Anorexic? Have you ever been Anorexic? Are you starving yourself to be thin? If so, that is a whole other ball of wax, so to speak, and probably not the subject of this blog posting.

Okay, so let's say that the answer is "no" and we are not dealing with anorexia.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hair Diary || Ombre Color for the Summer

The resulting hair color.
My red highlights from about 2.5 years ago had grown out and faded gradually and so I've been back to my natural beautiful black color (with a few faded sections) for some time.  With summer approaching and my itch for a change intensifying, I decided to dye my ends brown for an ombre effect.  The brown did not come out as light as I thought it would but it is growing on me.  I may or may not decide to go lighter in a few months.  We will see.

Circa January 2011.  My red highlights months were done circa November 2010.
Clairol Textures & Tones is a popular brand among naturals, largely because it does not dry out and damage our strands as other dyes can.  I don't know whether I like the product yet.  We'll see how the color fairs over the next few months.  (I let the color set for 35 minutes before rinsing.) 
This is how I achieved the ombre.
I figured it would be easiest to work from  eight big braids and apply the color to the ends (which I left unbraided).
The result.  It looks more subtle in person.
The result.  The flash enhances the color.  It looks more subtle and less red in person.
It looks more subtle in person.
It looks more subtle in person.

Pool Hair Care || Using Vitamin C to Neutralize Chlorine

The weather is warm.  You go for a swim in the pool.  Even after taking all the measures necessary to prevent the pool water from reaching your hair, perhaps your tresses still get drenched ... and encounter chlorine.  Fortunately, there are shampoos on the market that are specifically made to remove chlorine from your hair, but what if you want a cheaper or natural alternative?

Ascorbic acid is one option.  There are quite a few experiments (and studies) out there involving the use of this form of vitamin C to neutralize chlorine in the realm of water treatment.  Additionally, ascorbic acid can be purchased online or in certain health stores in capsule, crystalline, or other forms.

If you are interested in making your own mixture to remove chlorine from your hair, do read more about ascorbic acid as an option.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

What Happens When You Eat Vinegar Everyday? Homemade Flavored Vinegars.

WARNING: The following post may contain TMI (too much information) for the average Joe or Jane.

Approximately one week ago I began a new breakfast ritual of consuming steamed greens with vinegar and Chef Aj's Faux Parmesan (a blend of nuts, Nutritional Yeast and Benson's Table Tasty).

No more oatmeal. No more green smoothie. No more coffee.

And I felt great.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unprocessed Winners Announced and Chef Aj Responds to Your Questions

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the overwhelming responses to Wendy�s awesome blog post. I wish I could respond to each one of you personally, but that�s just not possible right now, so I thought I would answer the questions that keep coming up. Wendy already addressed HOW to easily cook your greens in the Instant Pot so to that I will just add that it�s always a good idea to have an extra bag pre-steamed in the refrigerator for days that you just don�t have the 4 minutes in the morning to make them. I generally eat mine plain, but on days that I don�t feel like eating them I add a flavored vinegar. My favorites are Wild Blueberry and Ripe Peach from 41 Olive and Tangerine from The Olive Tap, which was a gift from Ann Esslestyn. When you add these flavored vinegars I swear it tastes just like dessert!!!

The idea behind having greens be the first thing you eat every day is that it sets the tone for the day. It doesn�t have to be kale, it could be any green vegetable, even broccoli, Brussels Sprouts or cabbage. You just want to eat the vegetables BEFORE you eat anything else. The United States is the only country where eating veggies for breakfast seems weird. Every other country I have ever visited served me vegetables for breakfast. I taught at Rancho La Puerta in February and for breakfast they served me steamed vegetables, corn tortillas and beans. In Japan I was served miso soup, rice and salad. Only in America does breakfast have to be something sickeningly sweet. You want to always start your day in the most nutrient dense way. It�s not that you can ONLY eat kale, it�s just that you want to eat your veggies FIRST. If you are truly hungry after you eat your pound of greens, then eat something else. But don�t eat until you are truly hungry. Make a commitment to try it for just 30 days and see if it makes a difference in your cravings and overeating.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Which WFPB Blogs Do You Read?

So I'm on a blogging roll this week and while I'm at it I've decided that it's time to refresh the list of blogs over there on the right side of Healthy Girl's Kitchen (just scroll down if you don't see it).

The list of "blogs i'm into" is there as much for me as it is for you actually. It's the way that I find out when my favorite bloggers have a new blog posting to read and it's also a way for me to start following blogs that I barely know anything about but think might have potential.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Oops! I'm so sorry . . . Steamed Greens Instructions Revised

I was in such a crazy rush to post this morning's blog post about how to cook greens in the Instant Pot that I forgot to mention that you absolutely do need water in the pot with the greens. I had a feeling that a lot of people wanted to know how to do it and I just wanted to get it out there but that was a mistake. Haste makes waste, right?

The instructions are fixed now, so please revisit the post to make sure that you have the correct information. And again, I'm so sorry!

I also wanted to tell you about the strangest phenomenon.

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Protective Style Lookbook || Elegant Cinnabun on Stretched Hair

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)
Model: Onyxbeauty1988

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Cinnabun on blown out or stretched natural hair.

My Switch from Table Salt to Less Sea Salt

Sea salt on the left.  Table salt on the right.
(In taking these photos, I realized that this table salt is not iodized.  I usually go for the iodized version.)

I grew up on Morton table salt.  Even as an adult, I still used it ... that was until last week.

An international friend was using my seasonings to cook when he asked, "Why does it take so much of this salt to season this dish?".  I jokingly replied, "Because it is fake salt".  You see, all week he had been describing American food as tasting "different", from the rice to the fruits to the chicken to almost everything.  And my reply would always be, "Because the food is fake.  That is why I buy mostly organic or 'pure'."  Fake was my short way of saying processed, genetically modified, pumped with hormones, etc.  

So, I decided to do a demonstration by purchasing pure sea salt.  I told him to try it and he said, "Yes!  This is real salt."  Then I began to question my basis for not using pure sea salt to cook.  I have tasted sea salt before and have always had the reaction of, "Man, this is salty!"  I just assumed that sea salt had way more sodium than table salt.  Additionally, my table salt usually comes iodized. (Iodine is a necessary nutrient.)

So here I was, for the first time, comparing the ingredients lists on the back of Morton table salt and this new sea salt, and what do you know?  They have the same percent daily value (25%) of sodium per serving!  What does this mean?  I can use less sea salt (and thus, less sodium) to season my dishes than I can table salt and still achieve the same flavorful result.  (Plus, I was able to purchase iodized sea salt.)  Me being the health conscious person that I am instantly felt dumb for having made this discovery so late.  Lol.

Sea salt nutrition facts (LEFT).  Table salt nutrition facts (RIGHT).
(In taking these photos, I realized that this table salt is not iodized.  I usually go for the iodized version.) 
Anyway, I did some reading after the purchase and noticed that many people usually think they can go uber generous with using sea salt.  No, please don't do that.  Keep in mind that 1/4 tsp of sea salt AND 1/4 tsp of table salt have the same amount of sodium.  Don't go from using 1/4 tsp of table salt to more than 1/4 tsp of sea salt.  I am officially a sea salt convert because I can use less sea salt to achieve the same flavor, but other people's tastebuds may taste the opposite!  (Check out the article below for details.)


Steamed Kale for Breakfast. The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker.

A lot of people had questions from yesterday's blog posting about exactly how Chef Aj recommended that I prepare the steamed greens every morning.

Chef Aj uses an electric pressure cooker made by the Instant Pot company. Instant Pot was generous enough to send me a complementary Instant Pot for Chef Aj's visit to Cleveland and food demo this past weekend. I had tried it a few times before she came, but was really waiting for her to "show me the ropes" before I totally dug in.

The beauty of the Instant Pot is that you can do pressure cooking without any of the stress involved in a stove top pressure cooker. You simply set it and go, either releasing the pressure after the designated cooking time or letting the cooker release the pressure naturally. It really could not be easier.

Of course, you do not need fancy kitchen equipment to steam greens. Just put a bunch of greens in a pot with some water, cover, cook to desired tenderness and go. But I don't know if I could do that every single day. The Instant Pot makes this greens in the morning thing just about the easiest thing you could ever make for breakfast, outside of eating some processed garbage.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

How Chef Aj Lost Over 30 Pounds Since the Last Time She Visited and Giveaway!

I'm bone tired this morning but somehow I have no taste for my usual morning cup of coffee. I just came off three days of cooking with, eating with and best of all talking with and learning from my buddy Chef Aj. If you are not familiar with Chef Aj, she is a Los Angeles based Vegan chef, culinary instructor, author, speaker, and comedian. Her book Unprocessed has the tastiest plant-based recipes on the planet. Check out a few recipes here, here and here.

For the past five years, she has run a successful lifestyle program called The Unprocessed 30-day Challenge with celebrity fitness and Vegan nutritional guru John Peirre. During the challenge the participants follow a whole food, plant-based diet free of processed food in general and all sugar, oil and salt (aka SOS Free).

This past Saturday Chef Aj was speaking at Cleveland's VegFest. We arranged in advance for her to stay at my house and host a cooking demo the following day. No one in their right mind would turn down that offer!

When I saw Aj for the first time this weekend I was totally astonished at her transformation. The first time she came to visit was a year and a half ago, and while she wasn't thin, I'd say she was at a normal weight, eating a healthy plant-based diet. But today, she's a skinny bitch.

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