Friday, August 30, 2013

Slogging along

I don't know if its possible to become addicted to the tens machine but if it is, I might be... When I first dug it out and replaced the batteries to use it the feeling was horrible and only remembering that it used to help pushed me to stick with it. Now I'm starting it up again as soon as its 15 minutes set time is up, even if I'm chopping, stirring, eating or trying to carry a full cup of decaf cappuccino through the house ;-)
I worked from home again today. It is such a relief to be able to work not wearing a bra (for some reason my back hurts more when I do) and wearing my tens machine.

Food today:
Breakfast: Scrambled egg with butternut squash & spinach
Lunch: vegetable soup and beef brisket
Dinner: Lyn�s low carb meatloaf with steamed tenderstem broccoli & sweetheart cabbage                                                            Snack: protein cookie and pork rinds

Winner of Fit Quickies, Funny Friday: LA Girls Love Kale and Blog Housekeeping

Happy long weekend everyone! I hope to start this one off right for you with a little healthy kale humor forwarded to me by none other than the co-writer of the video herself, Kristin Wald. Kristin said her friend is a fan of HGK and thought we might like this. There is one line in particular that made me totally LOL! Can you guess which one?

Read more �

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A is for...

My back has been unbelievably painful today, I think maybe I slept on it funny and exacerbated the earlier problem. At one point I had taken pills, had the tens machine zapping me vigorously, and was rocking myself practically begging my upper back, shoulders and arms to stop hurting. Luckily the pills kicked in only a short eternity later, and I was able to work from home and the (relative) comfort of my sofa.
Work was a lot less tiresome without all the people - or maybe it was acting as a welcome distraction from the discomfort (and vice versa). I did overeat as usual when my routine is disrupted but I think I did ok at breaking the cycle before a binge got underway (I had a protein cookie and thought about going for another but didn't). As well as the back trouble I was expecting a delivery which was due between 8am and 4pm but hadn't come by 5pm. Or 5:30pm. Or 7pm. And still hasn't come. STILL. At least my Tesco order arrived within its delivery slot. After putting my groceries away I managed a slow and careful 1 mile walk, the only time I left the house all day apart from a trip to the bin store in the morning - the exciting life I lead, the glamour, the drama, the action...

Food today:
Breakfast: Paleo pancake with Greek yoghurt; scrambled egg
Lunch: vegetable soup and corned beef
Dinner: salmon poached in olive oil with salad. (Fish recipe on  http
:// ) Looked really bland and pallid but it was really quick and really easy and the salmon was moist and tender, so I'll do it again anyway... With other types of fish as well.
Snack: protein cookie and part of a protein muffin in a mug (I threw the rest away)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twitching on

Well, using the tens machine last night did make me a lot more comfortable during the evening and helped me sleep (though I can't judge how much was down to that and how much was because I took ibuprofen and later Nytol) The improvement wore off by mid day today, probably because if my office chair was ergonomically designed at all, it was designed for a different species of life, most likely a badger or a killer whale, and can give me backache when it was fine before.
I tried to walk at lunchtime but was so horribly uninspired I ended up going about half a mile - in total - just to buy some cashew nuts. Then spent the rest of my lunch break searching for a winter sun getaway that won't break the bank.
After work I was reunited with the tens machine on a low enough setting to let me chop without cutting off any extremities due to involuntary muscle spasms and got stuck into much needed food prep. I had tons of veggies in the fridge - enough to make my ability to eat them all before they rot extremely questionable - and I've been using brute force to get the crisper drawers shut all week. This evening I roasted, cooled, then chopped a whole butternut squash and a large handful of carrots, baked beetroots in foil, made a large pan of vegetable soup with homemade garlic chicken stock, more carrots, celery, leek, turnip, swede and cabbage (with the intention of dividing it into portions and adding a protein portion to each when I heat it up, so the soup is a little more varied without having to find room in my freezer for multiple batches) and I also made a tub of cauliflower rice ready for steaming when required. After that lot was done I could see the bottom of the vegetable drawer for the first time in days. Maybe weeks... I can't actually remember buying the butternut squash...
Food today:
Breakfast: my favourite egg salad - hard-boiled egg, avocado & bacon in Caesar salad dressing - in lettuce leaf wraps
Lunch: gammon with salad
Dinner: grilled pork chop with grilled asparagus and tenderstem broccoli
Snack: baba ganoush (sp?) dip with raw veggie crudit�s, cashews

Healthy Hair on Youtube: Traycee

This is for my relaxed/texlaxed ladies!  In the following video, Traycee (who is approaching hip-length) talks about texlaxing to maintain thickness, products with protein, and more ...

Mixology || Simple Detangler Recipe Using Shea Butter and Oils

This recipe is ideal for undoing an old set of twists or braids.

4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted shea butter (optional, but makes the process much easier)

All you need for this detangler are coconut oil, olive oil, and melted shea butter. Apply this mixture to dry or damp hair, allow it to set, and then proceed to finger detangle. (Leaving coconut oil on dry hair overnight has been demonstrated to reduce combing damage.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bank holidays are bad

Because they show us how good life could be....
Without work.
I had a lovely Saturday and Sunday visiting my parents at their various homes, chatting nonstop for hours, getting little exercise - just the odd very short walk - and not going anywhere. I accepted a couple of tiny sins in food while visiting to make things easier for them (they are both afraid I'll starve to death without bread and potatoes, and paranoid about giving me boring food) - a sauce thickened with a tiny bit of corn flour at Dad's, and beef warmed in gravy (then removed from the gravy and shaken a little) at Mum's; no noticeable ill effects and no bingeing as a consequence. Then I got home Sunday evening and that was lovely too. But then I woke up yesterday with upper back pain that stopped me doing pretty much everything and had me lying in bed by 6:30pm watching Miss Marple and wishing I'd bought new batteries for my little portable TENS machine :-(. And eating cashews & pork crackling at 9pm because I was uncomfortable and miserable. But although that was undoubtedly comfort eating / excessive eating it still didn't degenerate further into desperate, guilty, sweaty bingeing. I count that as a (small) victory!
Then I woke up 27,909 times last night because I hadn't taken any Nytol (I took 12yr old scotch instead, turns out that's not as good for treating insomnia as Nytol, nor as good for treating pain as ibuprofen) so I felt like sh*t this morning, and that really never changed all day. Plus the main reason I came into the office instead of working from home was the hope that a new laptop I ordered last week might arrive (my old one died horribly at its own hand, possibly so I couldn't use it to inflict any more posts on the world) but according to the online tracker its in China or somewhere. Not here anyway.
At lunchtime I managed a 2 mile walk in the sun. I had to go to the post office so I took an early break to avoid the queues then went for my walk. If I hadn't had to go to the post office I might not have gone out at all, but the sun did improve my mood quite a bit so I guess it was just as well. And now I have batteries for my tens machine thankfully, its been shrugging my shoulders for me all evening!

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs micro-scrambled with bacon, gf chipolata, broccoli & mushroom
Lunch: gammon with salad
Dinner: slow roast chicken leg (cooked with a ton of garlic) with sweetheart cabbage & leek saut�ed with a little cr�me fraiche
Snack: pork rinds, cashews

Fit Quickies Explanation and Giveaway!

I don't know Lani Muelrath personally, but I can tell you one thing about her for sure. This woman is passionate about fitness, and of course, plant based eating. When she asked me if I would do a review and giveaway of her popular book, Fit Quickies, I was thinking, "I have no business writing about fitness" and I never got up the gumption to do it. It's just not my area of interest or expertise.

So when Lani asked me if she could submit a guest post, I was like, this I can do! I'm happy to present to you Lani's explanation of her bestselling book, Fit Quickies.

Is there a 5 minute food, fitness, and frame of mind fix?

by Lani Muelrath, M.A.

A five - minute fix that hits the food, the fitness, and your frame of mind? Does it really exist?

Yes. And there's even a handbook for it.

You can achieve more in five minutes than you ever thought possible. And yes, that means not only in terms of your fitness. The research also tells us that five minutes are all we need to turn our frame of mind around. And that means better moods, and more willpower - as well as 'won't' power. Interested?

The 5 minute fitness solution to the rescue: body, mind, and heart

Let's be honest. If you can get control of your food, you can get control of more than you ever thought possible. And if you can get control of - or gain some degree of mastery over - your habits of thinking, then it is sooo much easier to get control of the food. Plus, we all want the benefits of being more fit, don't we? We want the energy and vitality that allows us to do all the things we want to do in our life. But five minutes? Can it really make a difference? And what's the connection between the fitness, the food, and the frame of mind?

Read more �

Friday, August 23, 2013

Not as good a day today

First up, sorry for getting you excited about coconut hearts Jess - as a vegan I suspect you'll feel mildly ill when I admit the coconut was coconut milk and the heart bit didn't grow on any plant...
I actually slept quite well last night for a change, thanks entirely to the Nytol I took. Obviously one night doesn't make up for many bad nights, but it did make me feel a little more positive this morning, as did the fact that its Friday and we have a bank holiday on Monday! However, once I got to work that didn�t last long � yesterday�s crap was still oozing and splattering around the place today, and it wasn�t a fun place to be.

At lunchtime today I walked less than a mile because I forgot my walking shoes and can�t walk far in my work shoes without getting blisters the size of my head. I was carrying a heavy rucksack though, which helped. After work I couldn�t train because the above heavy rucksack hurt my back/ shoulder so I walked a mile into town instead. Then ate a protein cookie. Damn. But it didn�t degenerate into a binge even so�

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs micro-scrambled with roast gammon, a little leek and some tomatoes

Lunch: deli turkey with a pathetic salad, hugely unsatisfying until followed by a pot of yoghurt with passion fruit. It was from a canteen & had no nutritional info, but wasn't 'tangy' enough to be unsweetened, or sweet enough to be a binge trigger.

Dinner: fresh tuna marinated in Tamari, red chilli & lime juice, served with samphire & broccoli with almonds

Snack: cheddar, cottage cheese and blueberries

Thursday, August 22, 2013


No. Sleep. Last night. Making this morning an unfunny comedy of errors. I forgot my lunch & breakfast,remembered 2 streets from home and went back for it, spilled breakfast all over the car (luckily it was the eggs which fell, and they didn't break) drove to work miraculously incident-free, reached work, dropped the Tupperware box containing my breakfast again, this time one egg did break but luckily the box seal held so it stayed inside... Making coffee (always my first job in the morning) I dropped bags of coffee grounds on the floor, sprayed water all over the kitchen, and generally klutzed my way around. Coffee helped but not that much... Left to myself I would have worked from home to minimize the risk of exposing my clumsiness to everyone but for once I had some testing that had to be done today and required me to be in the office. I spent the rest of the morning keeping my head down and my mouth shut to avoid attention :-)
I couldn't sleep because I was hungry, and stayed hungry even though I waited for 20 minutes, then 40, 60... Eventually, around 1am, I did get up for something to eat, had some Greek yoghurt and went back to bed. I didn't binge or go back for more, and I did stay in bed until I'd decided what to have then leave the kitchen so I wouldn't look for anything else. I don't know if that qualifies as mindfulness but its as close to it as I seem able to get, and after that I managed at least a fitful doze till around 3:30. I was actually pleased with some of what I did there. I would have preferred not to need a snack, but I guess that I didn't eat enough during the day for walking and training as well, and it was definitely better to try not to rather than jump in, but later make a reasoned decision to eat something so I might get some sleep than to splurge on everything I could find. I do need to eat enough as well as not eat too much after all...
If there was ever a day that a refreshing walk might have saved me today was that day.... and so of course it rained at lunchtime. Hmph. I did go out, primarily for some Nytol, but it was straight out and straight back, no relaxation, no fun, no exploration. Sigh. Just a very small disruption to a crappy work day full of stress, guilt, blame... Oh well, its over now and as I discovered today I will almost certainly not be renewed, only about 7 weeks more to suffer through...
After work I followed my plan for 10 minutes intense followed by 30 slightly less intense minutes and felt good, so tomorrow it should be a 15/25 split. And I am ecstatic to report no binge - or desire to binge - in response to my rubbish hamster in a wheel day. Yay!

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs micro-scrambled with roast gammon, a little onion, and some very ripe (very cheap) tomatoes
Lunch: ham salad
Dinner: coconut heart stew (leftovers!) with cauliflower rice
Snack: cheddar, cashew nuts

The Blogroll is Gone, But I Have a New Name

I have some good news and I have some bad news. First, of course, the good news:

Healthy Girl's Kitchen is now located at . . .

and not

Not that there's anything wrong with, but I have been trying to acquire the URL "healthygirlskitchen" for years now and it finally happened. You see, shortly after I started my blog, someone purchased the URL "" and wanted me to buy it from them for $2500! Can you believe it?

Well, I was patient and they finally forfeited it, and I purchased it. Yipee! And don't worry if you go to, you will automatically be redirected.

Okay, now for the bad news. It has to do with my blog redesign.

Read more �

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meetings suck

Frustrating morning today with a long, tedious and ultimately pointless (from my point of view, as I neither contributed nor learned anything - it was probably useful to some of the people attending it). It was supposed to be my second meeting of the day but I managed to avoid the first by pleading emergency testing. As well as being a waste of time the second meeting ran until 12:35, which is later than I usually take my lunch walk, and in the past I've often decided not to bother with the walk due to hunger or apathy of the 'if I can't do it 100% the exact way I want to, I won't bother at all' school of thought. Today I needed a few groceries and decided to force myself to walk the mile to the farm shop for them rather than going to the much nearer mini supermarket I typically use when pushed for time. I think it was a very good call as I walked the morning's frustration away and felt much more positive when I got back - even though I had to go into the mini market as well because I couldn't bring myself to pay �6.50 for 2 tiny chicken breasts at the farm shop. (I was glad of that as I also bought a small bag of raw cashews while I was there and they came in handy very soon.)
At the farm shop on addition to the planned shopping I also bought some reduced, slightly soft tomatoes, some baby beetroots and some limes, all half price because they were a little less fresh. Now I just have to decide what to do with them, and I have some thoughts on that already. The tomatoes are very ripe and should make a tasty pasta sauce (of course I won't eat it on pasta) and I'll roast the beetroot whole. The limes will probably be cut into wedges and frozen to cool and flavour water for drinks.
After work it was back on the climber, and I tried to move up to the next program too! Sadly I was overly optimistic and couldn't keep up for 40 mins as planned, so now I'm planning to do the tough program for 10 mins tomorrow, then switch it down a notch for the last half hour and build from there.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs micro-scrambled with leftover grilled Halloumi, asparagus, aubergine, courgette & peppers (very very small amounts of each) plus a grilled Portobello mushroom
Lunch: should have been homemade beef & veg soup but it was horrible and I only found out after taking my walk, so: 3 dates and a bag of cashew nuts.
Dinner: stir fry of chicken breast and vegetables
Snacks: roast beef with sugar snap peas, small portion of Greek yoghurt

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chugging along

I breakfasted at work again today. My choice of breakfast didn't have the same level of sticking power, and I was thinking of having my morning snack at around 9:55., when my manager came over and asked me to attend a 10am meeting. It was due to last 30 minutes so I figured the snack could wait till afterwards... 1 hour 15 minutes later when the meeting finished I was absolutely starving, and practically inhaled the snack, far too quickly to feel satisfied by it. So I had a late snack followed by an early lunch, which is hardly ideal but at least I staved off any kind of binge!
I walked 2.5 miles again, this time taking a slightly longer break so I could fit in a little grocery shopping as well since I'd eaten lunch while working. It was a fairly pleasant 20-21 degrees, not hot enough to feel sticky, with intermittent sunshine - very nice!
Finally I made it back onto the climber today after work. Such a good feeling to do something more sweaty and more structured after my recent apathy (and pain, to be slightly more fair to myself). I had a good workout, and felt really happy afterwards!

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs micro-scrambled with leftover grilled Halloumi, asparagus, aubergine, courgette & peppers (very small amounts of each)
Lunch: pork soup with sauerkraut followed by a pot of Fage Greek yogurt (no, not the big size!)
Dinner: chicken karhai with mint (curry from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey) with cauliflower rice
Snacks: beef jerky, individual portion of cheddar, blackberries & raspberries after training

Protective Style Lookbook || Elegant Updo on Curly Mini Twists

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

Model: MsTanish

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Twists are curled and pinned to the side.  Marley braid hair is added for fullness.

Study || Food-Packaging Chemical (DEHP) + Diabetes Risk in Children

Check out the following excerpts from recent research on DEHP (a food-packaging chemical) and diabetes precursors in adolescents:

"Mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP), a DEHP metabolite, activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor(PPAR) g transcription more selectively than rosglitazone,[12] a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.[13] This selective upregulation appears to explain the differential effects of rosglitazone and MEHP, in which MEHP produces a phenotype of insulin resistance in cellular models,[14,15] and in vivo.[16] Given that PPAR plays key roles in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism,[17] these ?ndings provide biological plausibility for DEHP metabolites in insulin resistance. ..."

"Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) is an environmental chemical commonly found in processed foods [and food packaging]. Phthalate exposures, in particular to DEHP, have been associated with insulin resistance in adults, but have not been studied in adolescents."

"Urinary DEHP concentrations were associated with increased insulin resistance in this cross-sectional study of adolescents. This study cannot rule out the possibility that insulin-resistant children ingest food with higher phthalate content, or that insulin-resistant children excrete more DEHP."


Monday, August 19, 2013

Busy busy busy

Well, the weekend was busy enough to ensure that I did no training, long walk, or National Trust visit. I did do a few short walks with a heavy rucksack despite some back pain leftover from dragging my laptop around during my epically horrible journey home on Friday, but that was as energetic as I got. On Saturday we went to the housing development where we hope to buy a house to look at a million plans and architectural drawings and sign stuff. Because we were doing that all morning I didn't snack and was starving by the time we left, as was M, so we went out for a Mexican lunch where I ate well but drank two small beers. As I get drunk as soon as I sniff a second beer these days that was enough to guarantee a sedentary afternoon. Because I'd eaten two courses for lunch (no dessert) I wasn't hungry again that day but ate some cashews at around 7pm just to ensure I wouldn't wake up starving for a midnight binge - which I didn't.
On Sunday M's father visited us - he's recently bought a motorbike and wanted to show it off and try a longer journey. He arrived with a sore bum and phoned us when he got back home saying his 'ass was in pieces' (snigger.) While he was with us we took him over to the housing development to show him around (my idea, in a desperate and thankfully successful attempt to distract him & M from the subject of motorbikes for an hour or so). While there we took a nice walk (more of an amble) through a really attractive and very local park that I think I might actually jog in once we've moved - how cool is that?
After he left I did some cooking and a little shopping, re-awoke the back pain, and then used it as an excuse to watch a movie instead of training or doing housework. The movie was rubbish - a horror effort called Don't be Afraid of the Dark. Normally we would have switched it off after about 20 minutes but as I was also playing candy crush and M was browsing the Ducati website we just let it play through and then agreed it was silly and crap (silly of course can be good - but not this time) and wondered why we'd stuck with it. Food on Sunday was fine, nothing unhealthy or over the top, I snacked on nuts and berries (I sound like a squirrel!) and didn't have any booze, so a good day diet-wise.
This morning I brought my breakfast to work as an experiment in eating breakfast later (7am instead of 5:30) and it felt fine - I wasn't particularly hungry while still at home and was ready for it but not starving when I got there. My morning snack was eaten but later and at a more leisurely pace than usual. I think I'll eat breakfast at home if I'm particularly hungry or want something that needs cooking on the hob, but otherwise eat in the office.

At lunchtime I walked 2.5 miles - along the canal and then off down a kind of beaten track. I didn't need to shop so I treated it as a walk for pleasure rather than an errand, and fitted in a little bit of blackberrying along the way (they weren't growing at the side of the road like a lot do, so I wasn't worrying about petrol / diesel fumes and they were very tasty!)
I didn't have time to train after work; our house buyer's survey is being done tomorrow so I got in and started on the housework I should have done yesterday but didn't. That might qualify as a bit of a work out since I was up and down stairs, bending down, stretching and scrubbing ;-)

Food today:

Breakfast: almond parmesan pancake and eggs micro-scrambled with mushrooms & leek

Lunch: grilled Halloumi & vegetables with salad

Dinner: left over pork osso bucco with cauliflower rice

Snacks: pork rinds, portion of cheddar

The Dessert Post. Raw Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

Hello friends! If this is your first time here in a few days, welcome to the new blog design. It's a work in progress and I am attempting to fix some of the things that many of you are concerned about. The readability of the main text is something that the designer that I bought the template from will need to change. I'm hoping that will be fixed rather quickly. The lack of a blogroll has been partially made up for by adding a list of resources (see top navigation) to the blog. I will see if there is a way for that page to become a dynamically updatable feature, but I've got my doubts that it is possible.

In between working on the blog design this past weekend, my husband and I hosted not one, but two, parties. The first was a barbecue at our home for his pick-up basketball crew. Not exactly Plant-strong, but it was his party and I had to go along with it. I prepared a spread of raw vegan desserts and asked everyone not to bring any desserts to share. I prepared everything well ahead of time and froze all of the treats. On the day of the party I just pulled out white dishes of varying heights and it was a snap to create a fun display.
Read more �

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Good morning.

I didn't mean to scare you.

We (my husband and I) changed the look of Healthy Girl's Kitchen last night.

I would have given you a heads up in advance, but truth be told, I never thought we could actually pull it off. I've been wanting to do it for a long time, but changing computer HTML code is not something I'm exactly comfortable with. And tinkering with something that means so much to me, with the chance of screwing it up, was really, really scary.

Read more �

Friday, August 16, 2013

Reassessing priorities

After yesterday's binge and today's snickers bar I'm taking a very hard look at my relationship with food and the healthiness that this blog - and my life - is supposed to be about.
Apart from the odd aches & pains I keep getting, which I suspect are down to inefficient and inconsistent training, my body is pretty healthy despite being about 14 lbs heavier than I want it to be. My brain / mind is clearly less healthy given the way I keep responding to unbelievably trivial stressors with binges, and because I do binge on foods which are bad for me in themselves, regardless of the impact of the quantities eaten, if I don't sort out my head its going to have a definitely adverse effect on my body as well, above and beyond the weight issue.
So I've made a decision that I already think might be/look like a cop out but it has to be worth a try...
I'm not happy weighing this much and I'm not accepting it as my destiny BUT I genuinely feel that being this (comparatively small) amount overweight is less damaging than bingeing so for now I'm putting the weight loss component on the back burner while I focus on getting the bingeing under control. To do this I'm continuing to low carb, and I'm focusing on cutting out processed foods even more than I already have in order to eat clean all - or at least most - of the time. There are foods I own - some quite expensive or hard to get - that I haven't wanted to throw away even though they don't fit into my diet plan; obviously these become temptations and triggers when I hit a snag, so regardless of the cost or effort involved in getting them, they are out of my house. That's things like Tcho hot drinking chocolate, which I kept around because I'd have to go back to San Francisco to replace it if I wanted to, carob, peanut & chestnut flour that had to be ordered online; liquid stevia ditto, Canadian maple syrup bought in Nova Scotia, and so on. They are history. I'm also cutting back down on fruit just to shut the door on sweet flavours. I don't really enjoy snacking on veg, but I'm going to try to find a way I can like, so I can keep the fibre and watery carbs up.
I also plan on looking into recovery techniques, through reading rather than my initial inclination to throw money at the nearest hypnotherapist, and I would really appreciate any suggestions anyone can offer for material. I'm currently reading �Only fat people skip breakfast� by Lee Janogly, as it was well reviewed on Amazon. Its not a low carb diet and I already know she thinks low carb / higher protein & fat is a fad, but as its not a book full of diet plans and recipes I can still read it for the concepts.
I have to warn you that I will no doubt talk about this more than you want since I have found in the past that outing myself reduces the need to binge.
So I'll start now. First with a confession. Earlier I said that yesterday's binge was mostly Paleo (I meant to say primal, which isn't quite the same). The thing is, call it Paleo or primal, it doesn't really matter which, because it wasn't true - I didn't deliberately lie, but I did block some stuff out. I ate 2 avocados blended with cacao powder. The cacao was unsweetened and is semi-accepted (as a treat) on such a diet, but it also triggered the chocolate demon. And 2 avocados is ridiculous in one day. The mention above of Tcho chocolate was not coincidental either - when I wanted more chocolate that was my next port of call. And though I didn't sweeten it myself, it came pre-carbed. I basically ate enough to have a very disturbed night, and this morning felt groggy, nauseous and had a splitting headache - the snickers bar was actually my version of the hair of the dog. (one small victory last night was not adding booze to the mix, as I often do when bingeing, to take the edge off the guilt I'm feeling. Though before you call AA its usually only a little booze) So now that I've spelled out why I feel I need to focus on fixing this... It took one snickers bar, 2 coffees, 2 paracetamol and a bottle of fizzy water to clear my head, ease my headache and settle my stomach today. No amount of hormonal disarray, stress or frustration is an excuse for doing that to myself. It stops now.

I will give myself a small pat on the back. Today I caught the train so M could borrow my car. I left work one minute early to make sure I'd catch the train home and reached the station to find it had been cancelled (i have now tried twice to catch a train at that station, I've never succeeded). I walked and ran into town for a bus; it had broken down (to be fair if it hadn't broken down it would have left before I got there). I called a cab. I knew it would be at least a 20 minute wait and for ease of meeting it I waited outside a pub. I had to get cash, and did so in a supermarket. I neither bought crap in the shop nor bought beer in the pub. I admit I wanted to... But I didn't and that's what counts. I'm happy with that.
Food today:
Breakfast: 1 egg poached and served on an almond parmesan pancake with 2 rashers of green dry cured bacon from the local farm shop.
Lunch: homemade pork soup. I livened it up by adding sauerkraut today. Followed by a granny smith apple.
Dinner: Bolognese sauce on courgette & cabbage noodles
Snacks: pork rinds, almonds, snickers bar...

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Yesterday I worked from home to wait in for a plumber due to a leak. In a house we're currently selling. As I wasn't using it M borrowed my car and left his to be collected by a local garage because its been doing some weird stuff. They forgot about us, collected it late, and couldn't / didn't get it back to us, which means, since I work closer to home, today I get to catch the train to work while he borrows it again. This will double the length of my (normally short) journey to work and require a change in Reading. I know this is no big deal, but I'm also hormonal right now (if you know what I mean) and as I've already complained at length, having knee problems.
Due to waiting in for plumbers, car collections, phone calls about cars, and car drop offs that didn't happen, I was less active than usual - in fact I didn't leave the house or train, and I'd planned to do both. Bet you can't guess what I did instead... Yep, I binged. Again. All of it except peanut butter and a protein cookie fitted within the letter of being paleo, demonstrating that you bloody can overeat on higher protein / fat diets if you really want to...
God, I wish is gone low carb about ten years ago before I started bingeing - if I had, I don't think I would ever have started. Now I'm starting to wonder if its something I discovered too late, and I'll always now react that way to stress / frustration / worry or loss of control. I'm not giving up on low carb because when I'm not bingeing I feel better for it and I think I binge less overall doing it. But so far anyway it hasn't really 'fixed' me... I'm still dysfunctional with food. I'd like to think I'll keep improving till one day I realise I haven't binged for a year / five years / a decade... Does anyone know if that's likely? Please tell me it is...

Is it Just a Phase?


My husband asked me why I stopped making us salads for dinner every night. He said he'd gained ten pounds lately and that he figured it was because he wasn't eating volumes of salad for dinner anymore.

I've noticed that I am relying more and more on vegan and vegetarian frozen foods to feed my three children. I might be accumulating ownership in Morningstar Farms at the rate that I am purchasing boxes of faux chicken nuggets.

All that stuff that a few years ago I was snuffing my nose at in the frozen section of Trader Joe's--frozen pizzas, frozen breakfast convenience foods--I'm filling our freezer up with it every week now.

I'm tired and that's all there is too it.

Back when I found God, whoops, I mean a plant-based diet, I had so much enthusiasm and energy to plan and prep and cook and blog and everything that goes along with this lifestyle. And that passion and energy lasted many years, and things were very good. That doesn't mean that it wasn't hard or a struggle a lot of the time--fighting with my kids over what they were going to eat for three meals each and every day or putting up a fuss about the food that was going to be served at social events or debating what restaurant we were making reservations at on rare evenings out with extended family or friends.
Read more �

Hair Diary || Incorporating a Protein Conditioner Into My Regimen

Time for a wash!
So a few "Hair Diary" entries ago, I talked about adjusting my regimen so that I can reach hip-length by late 2014.  In this same entry, I also discussed an experiment with a new detangling method.  (Here is that entry for those who missed it.)  So what is the update on that?  So far, so good.

Other than tweaking my detangling method, I also need to incorporate protein deep conditioning to help with length retention.  Why?  The ends of my hair are the oldest and thus most worn and susceptible to breakage.  During my first five years as a natural, I rarely (probably less than a handful of times) used protein conditioners, but that might have to change if I want to reach hip-length.  So that being said, I have been using ORS Replenishing Conditioner after the past few washes.  (This is separate from my detangling conditioner - Suave/Tresemme.)  I will report back with an update on that in the near future.

And now for some more hair pics:

Pre-shampoo treatment on the go.  Coconut-oil drenched hair in jumbo flat twists.

Mandatory shrinkage comparison.  (LEFT) Mostly shrunken wet hair.  My hair shrinks more than this once dry. (RIGHT) Stretching that same section of hair.

All done twisting.  I do not usually twist on wet hair, but I was on the go.
Planning to keep this in for 3-4 weeks.

Attempted back shot of the twist bun.

A new staple in my regimen.

My Exercise Routine for When I am Super Busy

When it comes to exercising, the biggest obstacle I face (and many others might face) is finding the TIME.  Yes, the time.  My motivation exists ...

I want to be the healthiest that I can be.  I want to keep my heart healthy.

I want to boost my mood (my happiness).
"When we exert ourselves the brain releases endorphins -- the same neurotransmitters that give us a natural high when we fall in love." ~ Dr. Timothy J. Sharp, 100 Ways to Happiness
I want to stay youthful.

I want optimize my hair growth.  (You can read more about the "theory" in this earlier post.)

I want to tone up a little (not too much ... been there and done that).

So, yes, the motivation is there, but finding the time is difficult given a busy schedule.  However, truth be told -- and I have always believed this -- we make the time for things to which we want to give time. That being said, with the time that I am able to carve out in my day, sometimes I can fit in a 30-45-minute workout and other times, all I can really devote is 10 minutes.

Hence, my interest in the "high intensity workout" craze that has been sweeping the exercise world lately.

I've tried a few here and there, but it is this one that I LOVE, have been using for a while, and recommend (after you first consult with your doctor to get the o.k.).  The video is free (available on youtube); the instructor is very clear, motivational and easy to understand; and the pace really gets your heart rate up and your muscles working.  I highly recommend stretching before and after the routine to get those muscles loose.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Resting and supporting my knee yesterday seems to have helped not a lot, it felt fine today. Until about 4pm, or time to go home. At lunchtime I went for a walk but only managed 1.75 miles, slightly disappointing, due to an over-running meeting cutting into my walk time. As I returned it started raining, not a great deal but enough to make me glad I was back indoors!
After work I wanted another walk or training session, but the knee started hurting again so I didn't risk it. Instead I played the Candy Crush Saga on my phone and made some perfect Paleo pancakes...
Food today:
Breakfast: 2 eggs poached and served on an almond parmesan pancake with 2 rashers of green dry cured bacon from the local farm shop.
Lunch: homemade pork soup. It turned out to be a little bland when I had it on Monday so today I added about half a teaspoon of Thai yellow curry paste. No longer bland!
Dinner: venison burger on lettuce & red pepper, with coleslaw & grilled asparagus
Snacks: pork rinds, cheese - cheddar, peanut butter

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Not feeling particularly inspired today. I needed more caffeine than usual to get through the morning (the cutting back went by the wayside again) and I've been hungry all day. I steered clear of high carb snacks but did manage to overeat at lunchtime - my excess food was a packet of cooked beef and a small pot of Greek yoghurt (Fage 0%) so definitely could have been worse.
I did go out at lunchtime, my walk was slightly marred by a decidedly chilly breeze, and more by a weird twingey discomfort at the side of my left knee - its been doing it since yesterday afternoon, and although it did ease off as I walked I didn't push it, managing just 1.25 miles. For the same reason I didn't risk getting on the climber after work. Frustration all round as I wanted to get back into weekdays on the climber, but it is almost all legwork. (as well as twingeing when I walk, its also tender to the touch, feeling almost bruised though there's no sign of a bruise and I don't remember bashing it)
Instead of walking or training I spent the time doing laundry and cooking almond parmesan pancakes for the freezer. While wearing a sexy elastic support bandage on my knee.

Food today:
Breakfast: 2 large eggs scrambled with a little butter and served on an almond parmesan pancake. The eggs were given to me by a colleague who keeps hens, and they were fantastic!
Lunch: beef salad and Greek yoghurt
Dinner: pork fried cauliflower rice
Snacks: beef jerky, mixed nuts, baked gammon (should have been lunch but was eaten as a snack at 11am)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another weekend bites the dust.... And another week begins

Sunday waa not as good as Saturday regarding food, but a lot more active. First thing I walked into town loaded down with recycling and a donation to a charity shop. Then I went to Cliveden in Buckinghamshire - the mansion is a hotel, but the national trust run the gardens and woodlands, which contain miles and miles of walks through the woods and along the Thames. It was beautiful, the weather started off cool & cloudy then cleared and got warmer, and all in all I covered about 5.5 miles there, including climbing over 200 steps, so quite an energetic visit. I will be going back there, possibly in the autumn if there's a dry spell, and I'd actually like to stay at the hotel some time.
After getting home I walked another mile with very laden rucksack (so heavy I felt as though my spinal column was compressing as I walked) before getting into a bit of a marathon food prepping session - so a productive afternoon. I now have portions of homemade oven chips in the oven for M, plus individual snacking portions of cantaloupe melon,and I prepped cauliflower rice & bags of broccoli florets and carrots too. So long as they don't go bad too quickly to use I may try to do that every weekend. I was also making soup in my big slow cooker and a steak and kidney stew in my small slow cooker for last night's dinner.

Food today:
Breakfast: soup made with pork from a pigs hock & trotter bought in Reading on Saturday for stock and soup purposes. It was so full of gelatin it was literally solid when I took it out of the fridge!
Lunch: more soup
Dinner: chicken stirfry with cauliflower rice
Snacks: pork rinds, cashews, peanut butter

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Simple Summer Salad. A Complicated Night Out.

This morning I was greeted with a big bag of red and orange tomatoes fresh from my friend Chris-Anna's garden. I was attempting to fall back asleep at around eleven a.m., after having gotten up at seven, and our doorbell rang. It was Chris' son with a bag of loot.

Why was I trying to fall back asleep at eleven? Well, Chris and her husband and my husband and I were out late (for me) last night at a Chef's Gala benefit for a very worthy cause, Autism Speaks, so I was feeling rather wasted this morning.

But this bag of tomatoes was screaming to be used right away, and I remembered that I had made a very simple tomato salad years ago that we had loved. A few months ago that same salad came into my radar again when the photograph of said salad was labeled "The Most Pinned Photograph on Pinterest" or something like that. There's just something about the beauty and simplicity of this simple salad. And I guess I'm not the only one who thinks so!

But back to the Autism Speaks benefit. This Chef's Gala-type benefit is not the first of it's kind that I have ever attended. But as my eating tastes have changed over the years, my experience at these events has also dramatically changed. I usually eat something before we go, because the lack of Vegan options is astounding. And if there are any vegetables to be found, you can just forget about getting any that are not drowning in oil.

This particular event is headed up by my great friend Shari Goldberg and Chef Michael Symon. My printing company, Luscious Verde, has helped out with the event for the past few years, providing printing services for the invitations, programs and other stuff.
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Human again

Well, yesterday was a bit of a self pity party wasn't it?
I think you're right, Jess, I reacted to my no snacking experiment on Thursday the same way as I react to a fast day - by clicking into mad binge must eat everything mode. I still think the experiment was worth doing, as it answered a question, even though it wasn't the answer I wanted. I guess I have to accept who/what I am and work with it instead of trying to fight it and impose behaviours that suit other people on it. I am not, by the way, saying that what I am is a fat person, just one who does need to graze... So its back to slightly smaller meals and snacking, especially in the morning, and especially when at work (and by definition bored enough to let the devil find work for idle minds... and appetites)
This morning I had real trouble getting out of bed. Part of that was almost certainly the sugar- and gluten- hangover from yesterday; the rest I think was the sparkling wine I drank last night to cheer myself up (another questionable decision I know). I also realized this morning that while on my mad quest to singlehandedly deprive the world of chocolate bars I forgot to hydrate properly, so I've been making up for that today.
I was completely unhungry first thing this morning. I went to Tesco without breakfast, something I'm usually careful to avoid, and towards the end of my shopping I did feel a bit hungry, but for the moment anyway the idea of eating chocolate etc appeals slightly less than ripping the skin off my own body, so there was no problem waiting to get home to cook my breakfast. As usual once the feeding frenzy passes I can enjoy feeling calmer about food... almost indifferent. If I could feel that way without the binge I'd be so skinny...
I went into Reading this morning. I tried to clothes shop... Ok, I succeeded in buying a couple of dresses for work... and visited an oriental supermarket, plus treating myself to a latte at Starbucks. It was a lovely relaxing morning at a slow amble and I really enjoyed myself (apart from the trying on clothes bit, that's only fun when I'm thin. It was (relatively) cool, which definitely helped.
Food today:
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, and an apple
Lunch: cold meat, cheese and egg salad
Dinner: saag paneer - spinach & Indian curd cheese curry - with turnip rice
Snacks: pork rinds, vintage cheddar, peanut butter

Healthy World Cafe will be open for lunch Wednesday, Aug. 28!

Take a break from your day and head down to Healthy World Cafe for lunch Wednesday, Aug. 28. 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.

Tomato Basil Quiche
We're celebrating summer with our menu this month:
  • Summer Gazpacho 
  • Melon & Celery Salad with Mint Vinaigrette
  • Cold Green Bean Salad
  • Eggplant, Summer Squash/Zucchini, and Corn Pasta
  • Tomato Basil Quiche
  • Chicken & Roasted Pepper Sandwich
  • Marinated Peach & Nectarine with Whipped Cream

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. Aug. 28) to healthyworldcafe(at)gmail(dot)com.

When coming to the Cafe, please DO NOT park in the private lots surrounding 1st Moravian Church.  You may park on the street (metered), or you may park at 1st Presbyterian Church at W. Market and N. Queen Sts., and walk one block west down Clarke Ave. to 1st Moravian (enter on north side).

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.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Fuck. Crap. Bugger.
I binged today. On cheap(ish) chocolate. And white bread and pastry. Not gf.
Why??????? Why do I want to hurt myself???

Food today:
Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, bacon, and an almond parmesan pancake (recipe in Barry Groves book) with a small donut peach
Lunch: lamb & mint salad baguette, crisps & treacle tart
Dinner: hake fillet with chips (oven... But potato)
Snacks: all the chocolate in the world. And cashews.

Protective Style Lookbook || Two Chic Up-do Styles (Natural OR Relaxed)

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

Model: Jsong

Difficulty level: 3/5

Description: Two up-dos on stretched medium-length hair.

Mixology || Natural Blackhead-Busting Blackout Mask

This recipe is from blog.  For more details and more DIY recipes, check out the blog.

2 capsule of activated charcoal
1/2 tsp of bentonite clay
2 tsp of water

Mix (using a plastic or wooden spoon only) all the ingredients together into a smooth paste, and spot test the mask on your cheek or underside of your wrist.  Wash face with a mild cleanser and pat partially dry.  Apply the mask evenly avoiding the delicate skin around the eyes and lips, and let sit until dry (~7-10 minutes).  As the mask dries, it feels tight on the skin, which can sometimes feel a little itchy.  (If you start to feel uncomfortable, wash the mask off.)  After the mask dries, wash it off, pat face gently with a clean towel, and let the skin breath or apply a mild all-natural moisturizer.

Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes. Plant-strong. Vegan. Double Stuffed.

Crispy. Creamy. Healthy. Bet you never thought those three words could be said about the same food.

It all started when I set out to find a plant-based, oil-free Vegan Mac-n-cheese recipe that my kids would love. I made attempt after attempt. My friends on Healthy Girl's Kitchen's Facebook page cheered me on. Gave me suggestions and recipe ideas. One went in the garbage. One was only tolerable to my husband. The last was acceptable to me as a one time deal, but would never pass for Mac-n-cheese with the kids.

But there was something about that last try that made me wonder. Maybe the sauce didn't quite make it as a Mac-n-cheese, but it was pretty yummy and it really did taste cheesy. Could it be used for something else?

Sometimes the best things come out of complete failures.

Today I present to you my recipe for Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes. Please, make the effort to make these. If you split up the prep into a few different short sessions, the whole thing really will seem like a breeze.

Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes
serves 6-6

print me!

There are five steps to this process. The first two steps can be done well in advance. I baked the potatoes in the morning before I left for work and then refrigerated the baked potatoes until I got home. I prepared the cheezy sauce days in advance.

Bake the Potatoes

6 medium russet potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in middle. Wash potatoes thoroughly with cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place potatoes directly on rack in middle of oven. (Optional: place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.)

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Carefully remove from oven and set aside to cool.

NOTE: If you're cooking less than 6 potatoes, you might need to decrease the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Prepare the Cheezy Sauce

1 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
2  Tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp light miso paste
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt (or not)
1/2 cup alternative milk, I used unsweetened almond milk

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Process until mixture is smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.

Steam the Broccoli

Enough to end up with 3 packed cups of steamed and chopped broccoli.

Assemble the Potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper.

When the potatoes are cool, slice each one in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh of each half and place it into a large bowl. Reserve the potato skins.

When all of the flesh is in the bowl, place the cheezy sauce into the bowl and mash with a potato masher until well incorporated. 

Place 2 cups of the steamed and chopped broccoli into the bowl and stir well.

Using a soup spoon, scoop the potato/broccoli mixture back into the potato skins. Tamp mixture down into the skin (you can use your fingers during the process) and fill until the mixture is piled high into the potato skin. Place on prepared baking tray and repeat until all skins are stuffed. Top off each potato half with some of the remaining cup of chopped broccoli. Smush the broccoli into the potato mixture.

Bake the Stuffed Potatoes

Bake for 20 minutes. 

Turn heat on oven to broil. Let potatoes and broccoli crisp for a few minutes under the broiler, watching that the potatoes do not get too burned. Serve immediately.


Refrigerates well, so makes excellent leftovers. These would be great to prepare in advance and reheat any time you are having company or bringing food over to someone else's home.

I imagine that you could use a bag of frozen broccoli that has been defrosted and that it would work quite well. I also think that you could add more vegetables to these--a little bit of whatever is in your refrigerator that you want to use up. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I wanted to try not snacking between meals today, it's something that all the Paleo / primal / low carb books agree you shouldn't need to do once you stop the blood sugar rollercoaster of a high carb diet and also - you may noticed - something that I have a problem controlling. So I deliberately had a larger, effectively 2 course breakfast with plenty of fat and protein to see if it would get me through to lunchtime. I think one reason I struggle with morning snacking in particular is that I breakfast so early - I eat at around 5:30 - 6:00, so even if I eat again at 12:00, which I don't on days when I go out walking or shopping at lunch, it's a long gap. Perhaps I'd do better to wait till I reach work to eat breakfast, maybe 7am, but then I've been up for longer than I like before breakfast. Plus if I want scrambled eggs they have to be microwaved at work and I'm so, so, so much better at scrambled eggs cooked on the hob. Decisions, decisions. I could probably tolerate the micro-eggs if I felt more confident of the sticking power of the breakfast. So how did it go? Well, I was definitely satisfied by the breakfast when I finished it, and still not hungry 3 hours later (which isn't always the case), in fact I wasn't hungry most of the morning... But. Why is there always a but? But the morning seemed to stretch on forever, I think because food at work qualifies as entertainment as well as nourishment. Let's be honest, work is boring. My work is anyway, maybe you're lucky enough to love what you do but my job? I test software. It's boring. It defines boring. Often it's so boring that I fantasize about walking out, getting into my car, and just driving 200 miles in any direction that could be defined as 'away'. Breaking up the morning by snacking breaks up that interminable stretch of time into manageable chunks, and eating a big enough breakfast to theoretically last till lunchtime leaves me lacking the spare calories to snack. I don't really want to think of food as entertainment (unless I'm eating at an expensive restaurant) or distraction because for me that seems to be a triggering feeling that justifies splurging or bingeing if the day is going really slowly... But on the other hand it stops me doing something that might lead to me sitting home alone all day whingeing about the terrible job market, and its hard to see that as healthier or more productive. Today I settled for a large mug of beef bouillon when the boredom got too much - by this point I'd had 1,234,567 mugs of herbal tea plus water and 2 coffees, and really wanted a different flavour.
I did I confess eat lunch early, around 11:30. I still wasn't feeling terribly hungry, but didn't feel like I wanted to wait till after my lunchtime walk either. It was a fairly successful first attempt though, and one worth repeating I think. Apart from the bit where I was suddenly ravenous at 15:53 precisely... I guess my lunch didn't have enough fat & protein for the whole afternoon... At lunchtime I walked in the opposite direction from all the shops so I couldn't give in to the undeniable temptation to buy pork rinds / Babybels / cashew nuts. I walked to a little local park and then walked around the lake in the centre of the park. It was really peaceful - I don't think there was anyone else there the whole time - apart from the weird and wonderful 'songs' of various ducks, geese & wood pigeons. And because I didn't waste any time on shopping I walked almost 3 miles rather than just over 2, so win win!
I declared this evening rest day and didn't train this evening. I did snack though - 11:30am to 6:45pm proved too long between meals :-(

Food today:
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 rashers bacon, and a portion of carob avocado pudding (literally just avocado blended with carob powder)
Lunch: beef, tomato & spinach soup - homemade (I just added chicken stock and frozen spinach to leftover Bolognese sauce - but it was fairly souplike, tasting a bit like spicier oxtail soup)
Dinner: pork kebabs (from a recipe in a newly purchased cookbook called Beyond Bacon - all the recipes involve pigs in some form) and salad
Snacks: cheese, cashew butter

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Casting Calls for Vegan Families and Healthy Eaters?

I love to see signs that people are waking up to the power of their food choices. That's why I'm blogging about two e-mails that I received in the past few weeks.

E-mail Number 1: Metal Flowers Media is Looking for Vegan Families Across America

"Hi -

My name is Janelle, I am the VP of Casting at Metal Flowers Media. We cast TV shows including: Storage Wars, The Colony, Capture, Bar Rescue and Naked & Afraid. I came across your blog and wanted to reach out to see if you could email blast your members/followers or pass along to anyone that may be a good fit.
Read more �

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


No aches at all today, what's that about? Not complaining, I'm very happy not to be in pain today, but given the weight of my rucksack yesterday (5lb bag of potatoes plus other veg & jars), not to mention working hard on the climber, I was sure I would be popping pills today.
At lunchtime it seemed pleasantly cool again so I headed to the farm shop for some odds and ends. It was quite a nice walk out once my legs warmed up a bit, but a bit hot coming back again loaded up with fresh veg, eggs and more. Well worth it!
I must admit today was a hungry day, possibly because I'm being more active this week. I didn't plan to include any nuts today but wound up buying a small (though not small enough) bag of cashews while I was out. I didn't take advantage of the fact that someone brought in a dozen bags of doughnuts, cookies and cakes today though, or of the tons of sandwiches and other nibbles that found their way into the work kitchen after someone greatly overestimated the size or appetite of their meeting.
After work I did get on the climber again. It feels great to be slightly getting into training mode even though I know you have to keep doing something a lot more than 3 times to build a habit. Back in the days when I had access to an elliptical walker I built up such a habit that I felt restless and dissatisfied on days when I couldn't train, and fitted in a session on Christmas morning. I haven't been that motivated for a while, and I'd love to get that back! After the training I had dinner, and then walked another mile, just popping into town for some shopping. I'm pretty knackered now...

Food today:
Breakfast: 'egg salad' - 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 rashers bacon, half an avocado all mixed / mashed with a spoonful of cottage cheese.
Lunch: roast chicken leg and salad
Dinner: rump steak stir fry
Snacks: pork rinds, cashews & an apple

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

After work yesterday I trained.

After training yesterday, today I ache just a bit. Quite a bit actually, but not enough to incapacitate me from being active today. So at lunchtime a shopping trip incorporating a 2 mile walk with my rucksack (empty on the way, fairly loaded on the return trip). It was a bit cooler today - driving into work this morning I actually saw 11.5 degrees on the dashboard computer! - and therefore a lot more pleasant. We had torrential rain yesterday (perfectly timed to be at its heaviest while I was driving home) and that seems to have temporarily reduced the humidity as well.
After work I was back on the climber again, sweating my ass off (if only that was a literal statement...) I lasted 47 minutes because that's how long the show I was watching lasted. Feeling good now though I expect to be complaining about aches and pains tomorrow

Food today:
Breakfast: chicken soup made with homemade chicken stock, various veggies and the meat from a roasted chicken leg with half a teaspoon or so of yellow Thai curry
Lunch: roast gammon and salad
Dinner: Bolognese sauce over steamed strips of yellow courgette & sweetheart cabbage
Snacks: pork rinds & cashews. And a small piece of cheese after training & while cooking dinner

Adventures in Pressure Cooking. Winners of The New Fast Food by Jill Nussinow.

This past weekend I set out to recreate a favorite recipe of mine, Cuban Black Beans with Kale, using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. It's a recipe that was totally inspired by a recipe by Lindsay Nixon, The Happy Herbivore, from her book Everyday Happy Herbivore.

I've served my version of it at parties to rave reviews and I crave it! It's that good. So I thought, maybe I can make this cheaper, faster and easier using my Instant Pot. No more canned beans, no more multiple steps. Pretty much just throw everything into the pot (after soaking the beans overnight) and let it pressure cook.
Read more �

Monday, August 5, 2013

Eventful weekend

Saturday I went to my favourite national trust property so far (apart from Stourhead). It's called The Vyne, in Hampshire, and combines a stunning house, with formal gardens, vegetable gardens maintained by a charity named Thrive, that helps people with disabilities, and amazing woodland. I toured the house first, then looked around the gardens before doing a woodland walk. It was only just over 2 miles, but the woods were lovely and at one point I startled a small family of deer in the undergrowth which bounded off across the path ahead of me - an absolutely wonderful surprise!



The only slight downside of the day was that I failed to hydrate properly and was exhausted by the time I got home.
Yesterday we probably bought a house! Its a new build and we bought it completely off plan - I don't think they've even broken the ground for the foundations yet, so it isn't due to be ready until April, which means that when our house sale completes we'll be moving into a rental property for at least 6 months while they build it. The house is in a town we haven't lived in before, so we hope to find a rental property there to allow us to be sure its a place we can live before we're 100% committed.
With all that going on I admit I wasn't very well behaved yesterday. I didn't eat anything I actually shouldn't, but I did drink a beer and some whiskey, and I did nibble for most of the day. It definitely could have been worse though!

Food today:
Breakfast: egg drop soup made with homemade chicken stock, various left over veggies, a splash of Tamari and 2 large free range eggs, beaten and then cooked in the stock as I stirred it. Followed by some strawberries.
Lunch: roast gammon and salad
Dinner: spatchcocked chicken with broccoli and asparagus
Snacks: cashews and chunks of coconut.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Re-post || 4 Lesser-Known Practices of Naturals with Long Hair

Originally posted on BGLH.

What do CiprianaFrancheskaGeniece and most other long-haired naturals have in common when it comes to regimens?  Well, it is no secret that protective styling, low manipulation, minimum heat usage, and washing in sections are generally a must.  But what other components of our regimens have helped us to achieve long, healthy hair?  Here are four that are generally overlooked:
1. Washing: Conditioner washes or pre-shampoo treatments
When it comes to washing our hair, we either do an oil/conditioner treatment prior to shampooing (i.e., pre-poo) or we use conditioner as a shampoo substitute (i.e., co-wash).  Why?  Because pre-pooing and co-washing help us to avoid the drying effects of shampoo, which can lead to brittle, breaking hair.  Additionally, certain pre-poo treatments, like coconut oil, can strengthen the hair and minimize hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair due to water uptake and eventual evaporation). Those of us who do use shampoos generally go for sulfate-free ones, which can further decrease any drying effects.   However, even with sulfate-free shampoos, many of us still pre-poo for added protection.
2. Trimming rarely or dusting instead
Many long-haired naturals go a year (yes, a year) between trims while a few go six months at the minimum.  Some long-haired naturals do not trim at all and just �dust� or do a �search and destroy�. A �dust� involves trimming � inch or less off the ends.  Doing a �search and destroy� involves only trimming those strands that have visible split ends.  What is the bottom line?  Generally, we only trim when our hair absolutely needs it AND we keep our hair fairly healthy so that it does not need one often.
3. Staple Products: Oils and inexpensive conditioners
When it comes to staple products, we generally love oils and conditioners, and they do not have to be fancy, expensive brands either!  Conditioners help to reduce dryness and breakage. Oils either replenish or seal in moisture, depending on the type.  Additionally, oils help to minimize knots and tangles, which can be death to our length retention.  Some of us long-haired naturals also love to add oils to our conditioners to provide extra slip for detangling.
4. Detangling: Wide-tooth, seamless comb or fingers
When it comes to detangling, we generally use our fingers and/or a wide-tooth, seamless comb.  Those of us who use combs usually do so on conditioner-soaked hair and with the K-cutter or a bone (or resin) comb to avoid snagging and ripping.  Those of us who finger detangle do so on wet or dry, lubricated hair depending on what works for us.  Whether we detangle with our fingers or a wide-tooth, seamless comb depends heavily on our hair texture, density, type, and styling process.  What about the brush and thin-tooth comb?  Many of us steer clear of them.
Though these are the more common techniques of healthy, long-haired naturals, you will find that a few of us stray from these basics.  Ultimately, what works for one individual may not work for another, so learn what works for YOU!  Hopefully this can be a guide, but most importantly, keep in mind these three concepts:
Less is more!  Keep it simple!  And leave your hair alone!