Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bye bye dairy

Well, still feeling too lazy to walk at lunchtime today.I sat around reading The Paleo Answer by Dr. Loren Cordain and deciding to give up dairy (Greek yoghurt I'll miss you - sob!) After work we'd agreed to let our house buyer pop round with her decorator so I had some last minute housework to do (as a quick aside, who does that??? She hasn't even had her survey done yet and she's bringing a decorator??? Just FYI most of the house is a fairly unexciting but I would have said unobjectionable shade of almost-magnolia - the kind of thing you might want to brighten up 'some day' rather than the sort of thing that must be sorted out ASAP) so anyway I didn't train or walk after work either (slaps own hand) apart from a quick mile to pick up some odds & ends

Food today:
Breakfast: one grilled sausage, 2 scrambled eggs and a granny smith
Lunch: leftover turkey sloppy joes over salad
Dinner: seafood stir fry with shirataki noodles
Snacks: 2 cold bacon rashers & some walnuts

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking for Recipes for Your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker? Or Some Confidence With It? Plus Another Fantastic Giveaway!

As I write this blog posting, I've got a pot of Chef Aj's Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes cooking in my electric pressure cooker. It's an Instant Pot that I received as a gift from the company right before Chef Aj came to visit. Aj knew she would need an Instant Pot for the demo that she was performing in my kitchen and the Instant Pot company was more than happy to send me a complimentary one.

Now that said, I would not promote a product that I do not fully believe in, just because I received one for free. I only have the time and energy to tell you guys about the good stuff!

So it seems that quite a few HGK readers have purchased an Instant Pot since Aj's visit and my blog postings about the Instant Pot a few months ago. I've been using mine every single morning for breakfast, and a handful of other times for soups/stews, but I haven't used it much more than that (think potatoes, grains and other stuff). Well, all that is about to change, because Instant Pot has just published a free on-line cookbook.
Read more �

No more migraine�

Well, finally not throwing up my guts anymore thank god, in fact feeling great day - just the relief of not feeling sick.
I actually did feel like walking at lunchtime today... Right up until I walked out of the office into the heavy mist of drizzle that would have drenched me in approximately 5 minutes. No, I don't carry an umbrella. I do usually have a waterproof jacket in the car but seemingly not today. So instead I went back indoors and read Protein Power by Michael R Eades & Mary Dan Eades - in hardback no less, as the book is not available on the kindle. I hardly remember how real books work, I'm so addicted to the kindle nowadays...
After walk I took a short, gentle walk. Nothing excessive because I figured I still had a little healing to do

(ok, that was an excuse... mostly ;-))

Food today:
Breakfast: one grilled sausage, 4 grilled mushrooms, a third of a yellow pepper (yep - also grilled)
Lunch: last night's leftovers - pork tenderloin - with a salad I bought because I was too lazy to make one myself
Dinner: big chicken salad
Snacks: beef jerky & walnuts

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend washout - strong stomach required (hint: mine isn't)

I had plans for this weekend - Saturday I was getting my hair cut, then going to another National Trust estate, Sunday I was going to visit a housing development we're considering buying on followed by a long walk and possibly some shopping. Because I have been a little disappointed at the scope to really get walking at some of the Trust properties I've visited later I decided to get my main walking in separately, walking to the hairdresser (4 miles round trip) and into town a couple of times (1 mile each time). So, I did do that,and in total walked about 6 miles, some of it loaded up with a heavy rucksack, but then I had an hour to kill before the Trust place opened and during that hour I just felt like I'd slammed into a brick wall - So no trip out because I just couldn't force myself back out of the house - instead I just lay (literally flat on my back) watching TV and occasionally nodding off.
Sunday we went to the housing development and were there for a slightly ridiculous 2 hours while they walked us around the site then talked us through the plans etc. I felt slightly unwell on the drive over - kind of like motion sickness, which I blamed on my snacking on cheese before we headed out. I was fine while we were there, fine driving home & getting lunch, but an hour later I had a headache which rapidly developed into an ice-pick in the skull migraine complete with running to the loo to throw up - violently. I actually have sore stomach muscles and an aching back today, it was how I imagine projectile vomiting to feel. And that was the end of my Sunday - I lay down around 3:15 and basically stayed in bed until 5 this morning trying not to move too much. I felt great by comparison this morning, but after eating a couple of rashers of bacon for breakfast the nausea came back, so although I felt I had to go into work I was definitely not 100%. Urk. And Blech. An hour in I was throwing up again, even though there was hardly anything left to bring up. And then again an couple of hours later - I'd been drinking tea, and clearly my stomach felt that was a bad idea. After that I gave up on the proper migraine meds I�d been taking � the headache was gone - and switched to my favourite stomach settling meds - an ancient sachet of Resolve Extra which settled my stomach for the rest of the working day. I then had another sachet when I got home and had some food at dinner which is so far staying down � I just hope it doesn�t re-emerge when the Resolve wears off again in the middle of the night!

I hardly need tell you I didn�t walk at lunch time, and didn�t walk or train after work either�

Food today:
Breakfast: cold bacon
Lunch: cashew nuts
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's herb encrusted pork tenderloin with fig preserves (should have been dinner yesterday if I hadn't been dying at the time)

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Friday, July 26, 2013


This morning I was weirdly hungry yet uninterested in food - the food I had in the house, anyway. The second (or maybe third) time I opened the fridge in search of inspiration I decided to just eat left overs since that was easy and they were ready to go. Unfortunately my hungriness lasted all morning and in addition to eating all my planned snacks by 9am I ended up buying a bag of nuts just to get through to lunchtime. After lunch my appetite did a complete 180 and I actually felt somewhat stuffed most of the afternoon. The main thing was that I didn't need more carbs - of course nuts do contain carbs, but my overall carb count for the day was well within my target range despite adding an extra snack.
Another attempt at enjoying the cooler weather by going for walks today. At lunchtime I managed a happy 2.2 miles without being uncomfortably - or antisocially - sweaty, in fact I really enjoyed it.
After work I went out again, 3 miles this time,mainly striking out across local fields away from the roads. If only it could always be that way....
Food today:
Breakfast: cold bacon, small cold lamb chop, one slice of corned beef
Lunch: home-made (also leftover) mushroom soup
Dinner: bag of cashews and (too much) wine... Then a protein cookie. But I figure being slightly pissed explains/excuses that...
Snacks: Tesco snacking cheese - 20g of chilli cheddar, beef jerky and the nuts.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


No walk of any kind at lunch today - frustrating given that it was both cooler and less humid after torrential rain overnight, but I thought that I had to work through lunch and by the time everything went pear-shaped, meaning that I could have gone out, there was only 20 minutes before I had to go to a meeting. So that was pretty much that. As a result I decided to go for an after work walk instead of jumping on the climber - but that turned out less satisfying than I hoped because I only lasted one mile - it proved hotter than I expected once I got out there!!!! On the plus side I was really hungry when I got home but even though my pitiful one mile walk included a supermarket stop I didn�t snack AT ALL and instead just waited for dinner� a rare thing for me as I often do nibble a little bit while cooking (oops, I haven�t ever mentioned that in my food of the day have I? Cat out of the bag�.)

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs, scrambled with a small piece of bacon; strawberries
Lunch: salad with corned beef
Dinner: gammon steak with celeriac 'chips' and salad
Snacks: Babybel, pork rinds and that�s all honestly

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Oil-free Vegan Pesto and The Vegan Cheat Sheet Giveaway!

Chef Aj, this one's for you!

Ever since Chef Aj came to visit our home in Cleveland and I fed her the most delicious of all delicious food, Jane Esselstyn's Dr. Seuss Polenta Stacks (for recipe, see My Beef with Meat by Rip Esselstyn), Aj has been asking me about this pesto.

You see, pesto is not what is called for in Jane's original recipe for Polenta Stacks, but pesto is what I had on hand before Chef Aj's visit. So I used it instead of the OMG Walnut Sauce (which is truly OMG IMHO) that Jane calls for in the recipe.

The result was outstanding, and I've been meaning to give Aj the oil-free pesto recipe ever since. I'm sorry it's taken this long, but better late than never, right?

If you've got a garden, it's about now that you are probably overloaded with basil for the season. So I've got a whole bunch of ideas for things to do with this pesto (see below) and I can't wait to start experimenting with it.

Read more �

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...

This morning when I left the house it was only 15 degrees! That's not a massive drop from yesterday morning,when it was 19 degrees by that time, but oh the relief....
At lunchtime today I had the energy yo walk just over 2 miles in 50 minutes rather than an hour (I confess I still needed to freshen up on my return to the office) and just wanting to, let alone being able to, made a really nice change!

I've been feeling like my brain is melting in the heat lately. Yesterday it was evening before I even realised I hadn't written a post, and for the second day in a row I didn't bother reading any either, making me probably the last blogger / blog reader around to discover that was lying in a heap on the floor. Luckily I also joined bloglovin' after the death of Google reader so I was able to catch up today.

The last couple of days I've been eating quite well (apart from some peanut butter yesterday evening) - my definition of well is that if I'm hungry and it doesn't go away after waiting 20 (sometimes 10) minutes I'll eat something - but something low carb if at all possible, definitely grain free and preferably based on fat & protein. Having said all that, I did buy myself a treat at lunchtime when I walked up to the farm shop near here.... A beautiful donut.... Sorry, a beautiful donut peach, that is! I ate it walking back to the office and it was yummy... And so much more satisfying than the sort of crap I generally 'treat' myself with!

I've also now trained on the climber for 3 successive days, though the lack of air conditioning in the gym makes it feel like training in a sauna. And I'm recording my food and training on (my walks get uploaded automatically when I remember to track them with runtastic, which is great for helping my melting brain that often forgets what I've done) So I'm actually feeling pretty good at the moment, despite spending way too much time discussing where we should move to next with M. He specialises in constantly making new suggestions under the heading 'keeping our options open' where I would happily make an arbitrary decision then stick my head in the sand to avoid seeing anything that might be better on the horizon... On the plus side, since he got a job near London he no longer wants to move back to Wales, so yay!

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with a little red bell pepper, mushrooms & spinach
Lunch: home made chicken, veg & Italian sausage soup, donut peach
Dinner: lamb chop in mango & mint marinade with broccoli & asparagus
Snacks: Almonds, pork rinds

Healthy Hair on Youtube: AfricanExport

I've been following this type 4 lady from the start, and let me tell you, her hair has flourished recently!  It has grown tremendously and looks healthy from root to tip.

In this video, she talks about her protective styling regimen (via cornrows under wigs) and shows her hair in rare form:

And in this video, she discusses her long-lasting moisture routine:

Healthy Recipes || Sweet Potato Smoothie

As some of you probably already know, I am a big smoothie drinker.  Well, in a recent effort to be more creative with sweet potatoes, I created a super simple smoothie recipe:

1 cup banana
1 cup sweet potato (cooked)
2 cups almond milk (or more for desired consistency)
4 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Just blend the ingredients together and you're done!

Transcendent Tabbouleh. Oil-free.

Looking for something to serve with those fabulous unfried falafel burgers I was blogging about the other day? Look no further than this uber healthy tabbouleh recipe. It's the perfect cool and refreshing accompaniment to a warm veggie burger.

Read more �

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hi! Over here!

I decided to not post Friday because I'm kind of sick of just moaning on and on... So for a while anyway I won't post if that's all I've got to say! As a quick summary: Thursday night I was up all night with an upset stomach exacerbated by the hot weather. Friday I stayed off work, tried to sleep in the morning but failed because of the daylight, went out twice - just a mile each time for some fresh air - and otherwise settled for TV watching and very light reading.
Friday night I slept like a rock by my standards. On Saturday I felt so much better I went to Basildon Park, a National Trust property that you may have seen on film or TV. I did a house tour and wandered around the gardens for about an hour and a half, then spent an hour following a marked 3 mile walk through the parkland. It was cooler than it has been lately in the morning, but heated up later. The grounds were obviously suffering in the heat and dry weather.

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Sunday was a quiet day too. I walked just over 4 miles midmorning and another mile later on but all of it very, very slowly because of the temperature. I also watched Ice Age 4 in 3D, and loved it like all of them (even though I don't like 3D because of the glasses).

I tried to walk today but was crawling along so slowly because of the heat (28 degrees) that I covered less than 2 miles in my lunch hour. After work I managed 40 mins on the climber, and fell into a cold shower as quickly as I could afterwards!

Food today:
Breakfast: bacon omelette & one gf sausage
Lunch: home made chicken, veg & Italian sausage soup
Dinner: Turkey Bolognese sauce served over steamed leek and courgette
Snacks: Greek yoghurt with strawberries & raspberries, mixed seeds and pork rinds � a hungry day!

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Vegan. Oil free. Unfried. Falafel Burgers. Fabulous.

Good morning folks! Here's the final recipe from our Fourth of July party. I'm pretty impressed with myself that I've gotten them all up here on HGK and it's still July. Not! But seriously guys, this one is totally worth trying if you are a fan of falafel.

Not familiar with falafel? Here's the description from Wikipedia:

Falafel (/f?'l??f?l/; Arabic: ??????, [f�'l�?f?l] is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is a traditional Arab food, usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack or served as part of a meze.

Generally accepted to have first been made in Egypt, falafel has become a dish eaten throughout the Middle East. The Copts of Egypt claim to have first made the dish as a replacement for meat during Lent. The fritters are now found around the world as a replacement for meat and as a form of street food.

Although I had tried eating falafel as a kid, I didn't really acquire a taste for it until after college, when I moved to Los Angeles and my diet began expanding to larger amounts of ethnic and somewhat more spicy foods. Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai . . . these cuisines suddenly became far more accessible to me and my love affair with them began.

But no one on a Plant-strong or Nutritarian diet wants to eat a fried ball. So, I have made many attempts at a baked falafel and even falafel burgers, but had not hit on the �one� recipe that packed a full-of-flavor punch like a fried falafel ball does�until this.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

I slept!

Not three weeks worth, but definitely a full night... I had a pedestal fan about 3 inches from my back, every window open, and ear plugs to avoid the morning chorus... Whatever it takes!
Still no real lunchtime walk - I set out, but it was so hot I only made it about half a mile - in total, round trip. I'm so ready for this heat wave to break...
M spent today negotiating with a possible buyer for our house. The offer was lower than we wanted but not terrible so we accepted it - now to get through the process without everything falling apart!

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled egg
Lunch: lamb & salad
Dinner: Italian sausage sauteed with peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms, simmered in passata and served with shirataki noodles
Snacks: pork rinds, pistachio nuts, pink champagne to celebrate the probably/maybe house sale

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Last night I was so hot that after struggling to sleep for approximately an eon I gave up and played a bubble shooter game on the iPad for a couple of hours before reverting to lying in the dark praying for sleep. I had so little energy I had to take multiple coffees just to get the energy to leave the house. Even after 2 coffees and a pre-workout stimulant based on more caffeine I still really wanted to go back to bed...
At lunchtime I thought about going for a walk but I've been feeling self-conscious about walking in these high temperatures (plus its uncomfortable and therefore less enjoyable) so in the end I just stayed in the air conditioned office throughout the lunchtime period.
Then lay on the sofa during my designated training period after work.

My eating was 100% on plan - even tiredness didn't drive me, or tempt me, to the carbs, so maybe I did actually satisfy the cravings at the weekend rather than feeding the addiction. I lost 2.5lbs of not-true weight overnight, and felt a fair bit better on that account anyway.

Early night is called for. And if tonight is like last night, I will not be working tomorrow.

Food today:
Breakfast: hardboiled egg, avocado & bacon salad
Lunch: chicken & salad
Dinner: Roast mutton with broccoli
Snacks: pork rinds (spicy)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back again

Ok, so my carb holiday (holiday with carbs, not from carbs) is now over. I enjoyed eating foods I haven't been eating... I really didn't enjoy the after-effects, and I'm glad to get back to normal today. Since Friday, in varying quantities, I've eaten: bread, (not even gluten free) chocolate, potatoes, pastry, brown rice, lentils, ice-cream and sugar. And drank beer. It was a treat to eat them but if I could have unzipped my stomach and emptied them out pre-digestion I would have - especially Saturday evening, when I felt like I'd swallowed a cannon ball and was not looking forward to Sunday's 7 mile charity walk one bit. I also walked about 6 miles Saturday, 10 Sunday, and 5 or 6 Monday.
The scales told me I'd gained 5 lbs this morning - I can believe one, maybe even two - the rest's constipation and water retention due to filling my glycogen stores so I'm trying not to feel too bad about it. I also kind of intermittently fasted a couple of times, missing or dramatically cutting dinners because of big lunches.
So, Saturday we all went into Reading for lunch. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants, the London Street Brasserie

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Then walked around town a little - it was roasting hot so didn't last long before we headed home. The train on both legs was supposed to be air conditioned but actually it seemed like the heating was on, and the windows wouldn't open so that was really pleasant. On getting home I and the two S's - my father in law and brother - went for a walk in a local nature reserve. The plan was to stop for a drink at a pub nearby, but that one was shut for some reason so we had to go on unrefreshed to another one. We did go momentarily Primal though, wading through a ford and then walking barefoot (ouch!) On the road till we found a patch of grass to dry our feet on. We then found an open pub and stopped for a drink before heading home.

On Sunday myself and the 2 S's caught the train into London about 9:25. Registration started at 10 and last year we got there at 10 then sat around bored until the walk started at 11:30 so this time we gave ourselves 2 hours to get there for the start of the walk - and actually got there slightly after the start due to reduced tube services. The walk was great this year. We were slightly slower than last year (its easier to walk fast in pouring rain like last year than baking heat like this year) but we did the 7 miles in under 2.5 miles with lots of good conversation and the occasional photo stop

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Then we went to Wetherspoons and pigged out on burgers (i didn't eat the bun), chips, onion rings and other unhealthy crap. We also had 99 ice-creams before heading back, walking further than planned because the Circle line was suspended due to signal problems. Another roasting journey home, and I was ready to collapse. I did eat a little ham for dinner at midnight but that was all.

Monday M & I had reservations at Petrus courtesy of his brother. The S's came to the station with us and headed in the other direction. Our journey into London was pleasantly cool and I thought we'd broken the trend at last. In London we walked to the restaurant in Knightsbridge, through Hyde Park. It was hot but not unbearable, should have been just under 2 miles but due to me getting us lost was more like 2.5-3 miles.

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Lunch was a 5 course tasting menu and it was amazing!

Watercress mousse with salmon tartar


Followed by asparagus veloute with confit duck & a soft boiled duck egg


Then rump of lamb with crispy breast of lamb, roast potato cubes, green beans, puy lentils and thyme jus


A vanilla cheesecake with raspberry sorbet


And a hazelnut frangelico parfait with a heavenly chocolate ganache


Plus petit fours (not photographed) and a small cheese board (ditto)

Needless to say I did not need dinner after that lot! We walked back to the station (going a long way round again, whoops!) and roasted to death on the train home and after all that really did collapse.

At lunchtime today I walked a sweltering 2.15 miles and after work... did nothing else

Food today (much more restrained....)
Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: cold deli turkey & salad
Dinner: big hunk of cheddar with celery, cucumber and tomatoes
Snacks: cashew nuts and beef jerky

Hair Diary || From Loose Twists to My Usual Twists + New Detangling Method

Doing a new set of twists.
I wore the loose twists for almost two weeks then undid them, washed, conditioned, and detangled.  After that, I air dried in rollers again and put in another set of loose twists.  I wasn't quite feeling them this go around, so after a couple days, I transitioned to my usual twists.  I'm in week #2 and plan to keep them in for a total of three weeks.

Now for my new detangling method.  As an effort to get to hip-length (HL) sometime late next year, I knew that something(s) in my regimen had to improve ... one being that I be more patient in my detangling method.  As my hair got longer, detangling sessions obviously became more tedious and opened the door to a bit of impatience on my part.  I did not notice the effects until I started monitoring my front hair over a couple of years.  (Check this earlier post for more details.)  Once I became more patient with that section (and gave myself a fresh trim), it flourished!  And here I thought my bangs had reached their terminal length.

For the remainder of this year, I want to try that theory on the rest of my hair.  I'm not going to lie ... for a while, I thought WSL was it ... was my terminal length, but I want to exhaust this option before making that conclusion.  So what is my new detangling method?  Well, I'm currently experimenting with a few different ones before I finalize on one.  Here is option #1 at the moment:

Finger separate on dry, lubricated hair + Finger detangle on damp, conditioner-soaked hair.
In all honesty, doing a full finger detangling on dry hair prior to washing just doesn't work for me and does my hair more harm than good.  However, finger detangling on damp, conditioner-soaked hair has been working really well so far.  The catch?  My hair cannot be too tangled beforehand.  That being said, I've haven't tried this on hair that has been twisted for the long-term, so the story could be different in that case.  Right now, my experiment is to thoroughly finger separate each twist after pre-pooing overnight with coconut oil, put my hair into 8 big braids, wash, then whip out the conditioner and do the full finger detangle.

I will keep you all posted and should have a final updated regimen before the end of the year.  Now for more hair pics:

From loose twists to my usual "traditional" twists.
Done.  Will wear for three weeks.

Study || Grapeseed Oil and Removal of Sun-Induced Hyperpigmentation?

When the summer hits, my face begins to tan more quickly than the rest of my body (because it is more exposed).  I usually do not have a problem with this tanning variation except when it comes to matching foundation or wearing low-cut tops that reveal a less tanned complexion from the neck down.   I've learned to deal with it since it is only temporary, and during some summers, the tan does balance out over time.

Nevertheless, I stumbled upon this interesting study (while researching grapeseed oil) that demonstrated lightening effects on UV-induced hyperpigmentation (i.e., a tan) after topical application of linoleic acid.  Since grapeseed oil contains a large amount of linoleic acid, it makes you wonder if it would have that effect?  Maybe you can do your own personal experiment or research.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Middle Eastern Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

Today I'm here with the second to last of our fantastic Fourth of July Festivities recipes. This one came to me courtesy of that friend Laura I mentioned the other day, you know, the one whose house we go to and always leave with great new recipes?

Well, Laura and her BFF Chaya have been really into this cookbook, Jerusalem, A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I took one look at this book and decided it was screaming my name. I just had to have it. It's not a vegan cookbook and it's certainly not oil-free, but with my penchant for Middle Eastern flavors, I guessed it would provide me with great inspiration. And it does. I read pages from it each night before I fall asleep, like a novel. The stories of the people and the food that have all evolved out of this region of the world are enchanting to me.

Read more �

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Keep Your Hair Moisturized in Dry Heat

Unlike moist heat, dry heat can leave our hair super parched.  In the following video, Ambrosia discusses how she keeps her moisturized in dry Arizona:

Friday, July 12, 2013


Well, I'm still struggling with the carbs today bit less so - I think I'm working back to doing ok. I wanted to say thanks for your lovely comment on my last post Deniz - you did make me feel better! I don't think my tiredness is due to a health problem per se, its just lack of sleep (that's not as patronizing as it may sound - stay with me). I've always slept badly - any unexpected sound wakes me up with a jolt of adrenaline that keeps me awake for ages (but if I use ear plugs I stress over the possibility of not hearing my alarm), if I'm tense, stressed, depressed, hungry or excited I can't sleep, I don't tolerate extremes of temperature very well... Basically a decent nights sleep is more surprising than a bad night. In the past though, one - two weeks of bad sleep would be followed by a night where I might get up to 12 hours heavy sleep (once it was nearly 15) and actually feel better, and this time round that hasn't happened. Anyone got a spare isolation / flotation tank I can borrow? Just for one night... I'll pay you money or pieces of my body for it, there's several I'm not really using...

I have a really busy weekend ahead of me too, so I could really do without feeling so mixed up and out of control. My father in law arrived for the weekend today, and my brother's getting here tomorrow morning, so that the three of us can do the charity walk in London I mentioned a while back. That's going to mean being on my best (barely adequate) hostessly behavior for several days; lunch out in Reading for the 4 of us tomorrow; a local walk for me, FiL & brother after lunch; the proper walk starts at 11:30 on Sunday, and will be followed by a late lunch out in London and possibly but not definitely a little sightseeing (that will be based on the weather - forecast to be very very hot and the state of our feet), and on Monday M & I have lunch reservations at Gordon Ramsey's Petrus so it will be back into London for us. Just thinking about it all is tiring!!! Now do you see why I'm eating chocolate??? This weekend is going to be a carbohydrate holiday, because its too much effort to be low carb with this much going on, then it will all be out of my emotional system and I�ll be glad to get back to it!
PS if anyone comments to say they do all that and more every weekend, twice on Bank Holidays, I may just have to hunt you down and sit on you. While eating a chocolate doughnut.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled egg + egg whites with farmers market lamb sausages
Lunch: ham and an apple
Dinner: homemade chicken & spinach curry with brown rice � yes real rice!
Snacks: chocolate choux bun(s) - at least that's the only massive hitch today!

Healthy World Cafe will be open for lunch Wednesday, July 24

Take a break from your day and head down to Healthy World Cafe for lunch Wednesday, July 24. We'll be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. serving up healthy, locally sourced eats at First Moravian Church, 39 N. Duke St., York.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tim Sackton.
Check out our menu:
-- Spring Greens and Bean Soup
-- Chilled Melon & Peach Soup
-- Spicy Lentil Tacos
-- Roasted Corn & Cheese Quiche
-- Tomato & Spinach Pulao
-- Bulgar Veggie Salad
-- Pasta with Pesto and Spring Vegetables
-- Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches
-- Fruit Crisp

Of course, our offerings are always based on whatever is available from our farmer friends, so also stay tuned for updates!

At Healthy World Cafe, we always feature our "eat what you want, pay how you can" philosophy.  The ability to pay should never be a barrier to accessing delicious, unprocessed, healthy food.  Take out orders are available by e-mailing your selections (by 10 a.m. July 24) to healthyworldcafe(at)gmail(dot)com.

Interested in volunteering for food prep or serving? Sign up through VolunteerSpot for our July lunch or other upcoming events.

And don't forget our switch to volunteer shifts for Wednesday's lunches: In order to better respect our volunteers' time, we'll be splitting the Wednesday lunch into two volunteer shifts: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and noon to 3 p.m. Feel free, of course, to sign up for both shifts, if you wish.

If you can't volunteer for an exact shift, hey, we understand that, too! We love that you're still eager to help out when you can. We would just ask that, after signing up through VolunteerSpot, that you'd send a quick email to sarah.e.chain(at)gmail(dot)com and let us know when to expect you. That makes it easier for us to plan out volunteer duties.

Check out a calendar of other upcoming events as well, including our third annual Market to Table event coming up Aug. 10.

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad

Here's the second hit recipe from our Fourth of July Festivities. If you missed the first one, White Gazpacho with Green Grapes and Almonds, check it out here. Seems I'm not the only one who is not a raving fan of cold soups, but this one really blew me away. I encourage you to give it a try.

This second new recipe originated for me at a semi-Vegan potluck about a month-and-a-half ago at our friends Jenny and Alex's house. It's an Asian peanutty flavored quinoa salad with loads of veggies--hence the name "Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad." Quinoa is one of the grains that I have really taken a much greater interest in since Chef Aj's visit in May. I immediately knew that I needed the recipe and wanted to "clean it up" in any way that I could to share it here on Healthy Girl's Kitchen and also to keep in my arsenal of awesome dishes.
Read more �

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yesterday�s post� I binged

Mainlining coffee... And chocolate for breakfast

Yeah. Still knackered though last night was slightly better than the night before. Lots to do at work, so more coffee needed... I had to stop for petrol on the way to work and found myself adding a Wispa bar to the bill. Which I then ate while making a pot of coffee, thereby combining two of my favourite vices. I will confess that I almost didn't own up to it, but that's silly. So here goes again - I had 2 protein cookies at supper time yesterday as well. Obviously I'm not doing well at the low carb thing right now. I don't have any doubt that its the way I want to eat, for weight loss and for generally feeling healthy, but I'm so damned tired at the moment and I can't deny that when feeling that way I want carbs emotionally even though my mind - and body - know better. So I'm trying not to be too judgemental towards myself now as adding guilt and loathing to the mix won't help, and I'm still very much intending to go back to it as soon as I get my head straight. I just don't feel the same energy boost from fat as from carbs, and trying to force it seems to cause situations like 2 protein cookies not one... I mean, why 2? If I'd just been able to make myself wait 10 minutes after the first I don't think the second would have happened (see how I try to disclaim responsibility by talking as if the second one happened TO me rather than me unwrapping it and stuffing it into my own mouth there). To admit my responsibility further, lunchtime I absolutely binged.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: left over sloppy Joes turned into soup by the addition of beef stock, green beans, celery, spinach and mushrooms
Snacks: a boatload of crap

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crap day

I felt like complete crap today. I woke up at 1:30am freezing cold due to an overexcited portable air conditioning unit, I don't think it took hours to get back to sleep once I'd relocated to the less chilly spare room to thaw out, but I was up at 5am already feeling terrible and only feeling worse as the day wore on... Headache, gritty sore eyes, nausea and as much energy as a rock. I might need to hire someone to bash me over the head hard enough to knock me out for 8 hours tonight... I didn't have the energy for proper walk at lunchtime, beyond popping to the nearest shop for painkillers to get rid of the headache. All morning I was craving chocolate for the painkilling endorphins to cure my headache but luckily I didn't have any change for the vending machine. By the time I had change - after buying the painkillers - I managed to persuade myself to buy a snack pack of dried fruit instead - I know sugar is sugar, but at least it was combined with fibre and it wasn't refined or processed beyond drying. As soon as I ate it the nausea cleared right up.

I still didn�t feel well enough to bother training this evening� just laundry and other chores 

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon
Lunch: duck salad
Dinner: sloppy Joes from Rob Wolf's excellent book The Paleo Solution (its flavoured with cocoa powder, how could I not?) on a bed of lettuce & tomatoes


Snacks: pork rinds and almonds; We Are Bear dried mango & pineapple.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Back to it

Still knackered. Still waking up in the middle of the night. Still cursing till morning.
Enough of that particular moan...
I'm no longer weighing daily, I'm switching to once a week. I'm not sure how that will go, as I have been known to feel almost unaccountable when not weighing - as though I can't be gaining /stalling if I don't know what I weigh... Or at the very least as though what I do today doesn't matter if I have all week to put things right - which of course doesn't happen when you're thinking that way. We'll see though - I don't want to be so obsessional even if it does slow me down (even if progress is so slow that it looks like standing still...) and I'm sick of basing my mood (and my eating behaviour) every day on what the scales said that morning. Which does happen. Sometimes a bad weigh in annoys me so I eat too much; sometimes a good one inspires me to relax for a day and treat myself � or try to do even better, but that�s rare unfortunately�

At lunchtime today I went for a walk along the canal towpath. Its really busy these days with far more narrow boats now that the weather is better. It was a slightly longer walk as I wasn't wasting any time inside a shop, just under 3 miles in total, but I was very hot and really appreciated the shadier stretches. I wonder if I should actually bring a change of clothes for these walks - its all very well popping into the ladies for a bit of a clean up, but the effect is limited when I then get back into the same clothes... After work I went on the climber and that left me definitely in need of a shower not just a wet wipe!

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon
Lunch: chicken salad
Dinner: Grilled peppered duck salad
Snacks: pork rinds and cashew nuts

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday came round again already�

I thought I didn't have anything to post about today since I already noted you with a hundred thousand photos yesterday, but actually I did have a busy-ish weekend so I can still do a catch up!
Saturday morning was dull, I didn't want to go further than the supermarket in case I found a way to get stuck and miss my speed awareness course (it started at 12:15) so I really just hung around. The course itself was a lot better than I expected - not preachy, more interesting and more interactive rather than sitting through a 4 hour lecture. The presenter was good and it went quite fast. The only sad thing was that it was held in a holiday inn meeting room with no windows - and the weather outside was gorgeous.
After the course finished I trained then threw together a very quick meal.
On Sunday there was more hanging around until the NT see fit to open their properties. It was a half hour drive through some lovely little villages in Hampshire. I wanted to go on to a second property while I was already over that way but as I got into the car there was a traffic bulletin on telling me that a lot of the roads in the area were at a standstill so I decided against it. Instead I went home,stayed indoors hiding from the heat, and we started (and abandoned) a couple of movies - Apollo 18 and Resident Evil: Retribution.
At dinner time I absolutely ignored the ambient temperature to try a couple of firsts for me - I roasted a tiny rolled breast of mutton I bought at the Reading farmers market, and I also spatchcocked and roast a chicken (I've previously bought a spatchcocked chicken to roast, but this time was back to the beginning). We taste tested the mutton before I froze it to use another time and had the chicken for dinner. I did feel the shorter cooking time allowed it to stay juicier so I'll do that again pretty soon - I have another 2 whole chickens in the freezer, and I plan to use the carcasses to make stock as soon as they're cooked and dismembered.
Today was less interesting all round. Work = dull (I may have mentioned before). At lunchtime I walked to the supermarket - 2 miles round trip. It took a full hour with the shopping because it was far too hot to walk at speed.
After work I wanted to force myself to train for forty minutes as per usual. I'm getting better at using the climber now I've been doing it more often. I still don't like it as much as I liked the elliptical I used to use though. As I was very tired after waking up at 3am this morning I didn't make it. It�s a shame because if I still had access to the elliptical I might have. Ah well, I guess I have to accept what I have to work with�

Food today: NO CHOCOLATE OR REFINED CARBS � and no temptation. Possibly because I upped the fat to compensate while I�m readjusting.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with bacon, a little cheese and some slices of pickled jalapeno
Lunch: chicken salad
Dinner: Chicken salad
Snacks: beef jerky and nuts

Protective Style Lookbook || Elegant Formal Twisted Updo

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

Model: Nik

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Flat-twisted bang into three bunned twists.

Mixology || Lola Zabeth's Mud Wash Recipe

Are you interested in making your own mud wash?

3 tbs bentonite clay powder
1 tbs organic powdered honey
1 tbs organic slippery elm powder
3 ozs aloe vera juice

1. Mix the bentonite clay, powdered honey and slippery elm powder in a bowl.
2. Funnel the mixture into a bottle. Pour the aloe vera juice into the bottle. Shake well. The consistency is perfect�loose enough the spread easily without being drippy and messy.

For the full tutorial and/or more details, check out Lola's blog.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The National Trust and a million photos again

Today I went to my second NT property � travelling into Hampshire to the West Green House Garden. I wanted to find somewhere nice for a long weekend walk, and in that I failed as the property isn�t large enough for that; but I think you�ll agree that it was certainly someplace nice! A lot of the flowers were a little past their best, and I�d like to go back earlier next year to see them at their peak � but even so it was glorious! A lot of my pictures turned out poorly because the sun was so bright, and in retrospect the fact that I couldn�t walk as far as I�d hoped may not have been such a bad thing given how hot it was. Like most NT houses and gardens it doesn�t open until 11 am, which meant I was there at the hottest time of the day.

IMAG0928 IMAG0947 IMAG0975  IMAG0977 IMAG0978 IMAG0981  IMAG0984 IMAG0989 IMAG0990  IMAG0992 IMAG1004 IMAG1008 IMAG1042 IMAG1048 IMAG1064 IMAG1065 IMAG1075 IMAG1094 IMAG1100  IMAG1103 IMAG1106

I have to confess that I went in the tea room and with my fairly innocent cafetiere of coffee I �accidentally� had a gluten free chocolate brownie. At least it was gluten free� I�m now back to the low carb diet and not allowing any exceptions until the 15th, when I am going for a luxury tasting menu with M courtesy of a birthday present. So I will NOT be eating any refined carbs for the next week � and that�s a promise!!!

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