Friday, February 28, 2014

Whole 30 day 26

During yesterday's trip to Reading I fell over due to misjudging the height of a kerb I was stepping onto. I went crashing down, caught myself on my left hand and right knee. Painful! I also bashed or twisted (maybe both) my right elbow and jarred my back. I didn't really care yesterday given that I was busy freaking out slightly at the prospect of someone stitching something to my EYE but then it kept waking me up all night so today it's more of a problem than the eye (although... Stitching... Bleurgh)
My hand isn't bad, just a couple of shallow grazes that are very slightly bleeding through the plasters I slapped on them. My bashed knee though stiffens up if I sit too long and was painful if I tried to turn over to lie face down (apparently I do that quite often in my sleep... who knew?) And the elbow was so sore when I tried to towel off my hair post-shower this morning I had to switch hands and get my towel bloody (the first lot of plasters having come off in the shower). So I was planning to train today but given my knee, didn't. Again. Sometimes I think I'm so clumsy it's hardly safe to let me out of the house on my own... Or possibly let me loose in the house. Oh for a nice safe padded cell...
About the only thing I feel in control of at the moment is my eating. I know, who'd have thunk? Even there I'm talking about types of food more than quantities of course. The thing more than anything that I love about doing the whole 30 is that the unacceptable list, containing most of my favorite trigger / binge foods, combined with the whole 'if you cheat you fail - or, if you're not willing to fail, you have to start over' does dramatically reduce the days where I feel the food is controlling me (obviously it's not necessarily able to stand up to female rampaging hormones, but then what can?) Also, if I wasn't on an elimination diet with less than a week to go I strongly suspect I'd be hungover today as well as tired... And that's a source of 'comfort' I really don't want to turn to. Even though a double whisky would go down a treat...

Anyway, I apologize for all the misery that seems to be all I can spew out here at the moment. I'm fully aware that my problems are minor ones and I shouldn't be trying to make them into mountains. I'm also aware that I am having an operation, even if it doesn't involve losing a limb or major organ. But we're also waiting to hear from the bank we've asked for a mortgage and trying to find a good local moving firm; our solicitors keep asking for extra documentation we've never been asked for before; and to be honest all I spend my time doing (apart from chasing these things) is trying to escape from my actual life into tv. (Walking (or limping, as I was for 2 or 3 miles yesterday) actually gives me too much time to think... Not to mention the return of the disgusting weather again.) Pathetic, unproductive and unhealthy. But it's all I feel able to do at the moment. Someone come & kick me off the sofa please...

Food today:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms & 'riced' cauliflower
Lunch: chicken salad (baked chicken breast in spicy coconut mayo) in lettuce wraps
Dinner: chicken & mushroom stirfry with sunshine sauce
Snacks: strawberries; cashews

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whole 30 day 25 appointment #2

Today started out much better... I've realized my hunger & depression the last day or two were mainly hormonal, (TTOM) making me feel substantially less insane and weak!

My reduced caffeine push is going well - third day in a row with only one cup each of caffeinated & decaf coffee. Tomorrow I may just go straight to the decaf unless I have a really bad night tonight.

I worked from home again today in preparation for my appointment. I do like working from home but after a day or so I start missing the noise and (superficial) company. Not to mention being irritated by the built in delay when asking questions / asking for help electronically instead of in person. It doesn't really help having sunshine outside either - home is supposed to be the place I can just go out if it's sunny! I did once again get the 4 miles walked of course, but the sun didn't last long enough to get the benefit.

My appointment happened today as it should have. Apart from the part where he confirmed I had a detached retina requiring a scleral buckle procedure - general anaesthetic, 2 weeks not driving (he said off work, but I checked it really meant not driving). It's surgery. Woo hoo. Within the next 2 months.

At least I know now...

Food today:
Breakfast: back to the eggs... Scrambled with leek, courgette & tomatoes
Lunch: mushroom & spinach soup and some salmon - mayo in half an avocado (made with remoulade - great combo with a little red onion as well)
Dinner: chocolate chili with coconut rice
Snacks: plantain chips with more salmon - mayo; cashews and comfort cashew butter.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Unbloodybelievable

Ok it's not a massive calamity, it's just really annoying... When I went to the hospital last week she referred me to a special retina clinic. When they made me my appointment, it was with the general eye clinic, the one that had already run out of ideas and had nothing more to offer me... Of course that was only realized after I'd arranged to work from home, dragged myself in to Reading, registered at reception and waited 15 minutes... For nothing.  Except the chance to book an appointment with the right clinic for tomorrow so I can repeat the whole process again - hopefully more productively.  I'm so glad I'm working for a company that knows I'm not just taking the Mickey with all this... I know this is a really tiny screw up in the scheme of things (Diane, I know you & James would have been delighted if that was the worst screw up you suffered at the hands of the NHS) but even so - Aarrgh!

The day wasn't going great even before this stupid screw up. I wasn't feeling at all bad this morning - positively human in fact - but then I couldn't stop eating all morning (only foods on my allowed list, but in decidedly un-allowed quantities). I was hungry, hungry, hungry...

And then depressed again because of the pigging out. My 4 miles walked (in the sun!) helped a bit, but my mood stayed distinctly shaky for the rest of the day just the same.

Food today:
Breakfast: green smoothie - half an avocado, half a banana, coconut milk, 4 large strawberries & 2 big handfuls of spinach. I just didn't want eggs :-)
Lunch: 'split pea' soup and some roast chicken
Dinner: chicken leg with roast vegetables & salsa verde
Snacks: almonds, toasted coconut, half an avocado with Himalayan pink salt and black pepper. That doesn't sound bad because of the deliberately hidden quantities...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Whole 30 days 23

I think I slept better last night - I don't remember waking up really early or often - but you wouldn't know it from how I feel today. I'm still tired but not just ordinary yawning inappropriately tired, my whole body just feels drained and heavy as lead. Not to mention pains in my lower back, shoulders and hips. I feel about 96 years old and falling rapidly into decay. Even lifting a mug of tea is an effort. Maybe the horrible weather overnight that I've heard we had made my night more restless than I'm aware of.
I did only have one (small) cup of full caffeine coffee today (does that explain the first paragraph of this post perhaps?) followed by one small cup of decaff (I know that still has a little caffeine) and then switching to herbal teas - rooibos, ginger, lemon & ginger, and peppermint, all totally naturally caffeine free. Hopefully that should mean a good night's sleep tonight.
I also woke up absolutely starving this morning, at 5am (well, a little earlier) and didn't have breakfast till I got into the office around 7am. I hadn't eaten anything in that 2 hours but as soon as I finished my eggs (no, I didn't wait 20 minutes) I started on my snacks....

I guess you probably gathered from the gloomy tone that I'm feeling miserable and depressed today... Also I have a (probably caffeine withdrawal) headache. Argh

After work I had to call the bank we've asked for a mortgage - 25 minutes on the phone I'll never get back - and get a quote for a moving company. So needless to say no training or walking again. At least tomorrow's hospital appointment will force me to walk 4 miles.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushroom, leek & tomato
Lunch: 'split pea' soup and some melon
Dinner: salmon coated with Wasabi mayonnaise and baked, with salad & ginger dressing
Snacks: cashews, toasted coconut & tinned salmon in homemade mayo

Healthy Body || Stephanie's Back - Summer Bodies Are Made in the Winter!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness


  fitness 101 round button

After a looooong delay I AM BACK! What have I been busy doing? Completing my Masters AND opening my own health and fitness personal training studio! Yes...that should tell you how busy I have been over the past few months!! But things are going well, I have managed to FINALLY find a good balance and now I am BACK!

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THIS is the time that you should start to think of how you would like to feel AND also LOOK when the summer gets here.
If you start working NOW you will look and feel great when you have to wear those cute summer outfits (or bathing suits!)
So I bet you are now wondering what YOU can do now to help you shed the extra pounds before it gets warm:
  1. You can set a REALISTIC goal. You have to be real with yourself and realize that you can lose 1-3 lbs a week. Any more than that usually is an indication of something is wrong.
  2. You then set a REALISTIC time frame. So if you want to lose 15 pounds that should take you about 15 weeks. (And I ALWAYS over shoot the date with my clients so they will not get discouraged if they have not quite reached their goal by that date, BUT it will be more motivation if you are losing weight at a faster speed to help you reach your goal before that date).
  3. Set a P.O.A. This is what I call a Plan Of Action. This is when you will sit down and plan out your menus for the week, plan what days you will dedicate to workout, and the workouts that you will do. The more prepared you are the easier it will be for you to follow this plan and to stay on track! Yes, everyone has a busy life! And even with my own busy schedule I personally do not have time to workout....but I MAKE TIME to workout. So you have to MAKE TIME to get your food ready, to get your workouts done, and anything else that is needed to help you reach your goals.
  4. You have to find what is motivating you and find ways to keep you motivated. You can do this by placing quotes, images, scriptures, or whatever you like in places that you will see them. I personally have written messages on my bathroom mirror with a white board marker, I place quotes on sticky notes and have them in the kitchen, in my car, and at my fitness studio. I have constant reminders around me to help me stay motivated and on track even on the days that i am not feeling up to sticking with my routine.
  5. Lastly, you have to WORK HARD! Stay consistent with your workouts and eating healthy and you will reach your goals. YOU HAVE TO STAY CONSISTENT! And another rule is your diet is MORE important than your workouts. You have to fuel your body with the proper foods in order for you to start losing the extra weight to reach your goals.
Reaching your goals can be done in these easy steps! You have to get up and do something about it! No one else can do it for you! YOU have to want to make the changes in your lifestyle! Try to get your family to adopt to these changes as well OR get a friend to do it with you as well. This will also allow you to have an accountability partner to help keep you on track. The more support you have around you the better it will be! DO NOT put it off another day! Get up and do something about your health TODAY! You have the tools to reach your goals! So why not start NOW so you can flaunt your confidence and new body this summer. This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness tips!

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Almond Joy Energy Bites


As i'm a relative newbie to this lifestyle i find a lot of inspiration and ideas from other pages. One brilliant one is called My Whole Food Life (www.mywholefoodlife.com). This recipe below is one of theirs.

Makes about 12

Ingredients
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup desiccated cocnut
  • 10-12 Medjoo Dates
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil melted
  • 2 Tbsp water

Method
  1. In a food processor combine the almonds and coconut until fine

  2. Then add the dates, coconut oil and water.
  3. Pulse until you see a dough start to form

  4. Roll into balls and store in the fridge to firm up

(these can also be stored in freezer and consumed later.. if you can last that long :) )

Chia Porridge or Pudding (low carb)


For a breakfast on the go this requires about one minute preparation and then leave it in fridge over night. Easy as and you can vary the ingredients for different favorite flavors that you like

Ingredients
  • 2T Chia seeds
  • 3/4-1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Flaked almonds
  • dash Cinnamon
Method
  1. Add all the ingredients into  bowl or jar and stir up to make all ingredients covered by the milk and a smooth/runny texture

  2. leave in fridge overnight ( or if pudding 1-2 hours should do it)
  3. In the morning take it out of the fridge and add any fruit/nuts/yogurt that you would like on top.

This can also be made with mashed banana for higher carb meal :-) . So basic ingredients chia seeds, almond milk and banana left overnight to soak. 

In the morning i added some flaked almonds and blueberries to the top.. You can add anything like chopped walnuts, greek yogurt, berries, depending on your tastes. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Whole 30 days 20-22

Another pretty successful weekend - so long as I don't talk about exercise that is. Saturday I walked about 4 miles as the weather was so much nicer, then in the afternoon watched Star Trek Into Darkness; Sunday I only walked about 2 miles due to the strong wind - I went shopping in the morning, overdid the shopping & hurt my back carrying it home, planned another (un-laden) walk in the afternoon & allowed the wind to dissuade me.

I didn't eat or drink anything I shouldn't and I tried two new meals - Saturday was another well fed 2 recipe, crispy chicken livers, which I actually enjoyed (I am NOT a fan of livers but keep trying to find a way to accept them due to their nutritional value) and on Sunday I improvised a mutton stew which was very tasty though far too simple to qualify as a recipe / invention. I'm still enjoying experiments with whole 30 foods & recipes. Yesterday I made a new batch of mayonnaise & turned it into Wasabi mayo, spicy coconut mayo, and remoulade, all of which will be popping up in the next few days' food!

Last night I slept for all of 4 hours and today I'm shattered. It took heroic quantities of coffee to get me through the day and I decided that's getting too common these days - I need to cut back drastically as I'm feeling kind of dependent on it. Until the last mug, which was making me feel sick, persuaded me to stop... Starting tomorrow, only one cup of full-caffeine coffee a day...

After work I had to visit our new solicitor to prove I'm not a money laundering terrorist so showing a photo of and a bill. I can't believe there are would be terrorists all over the country thinking 'I would buy an overpriced house to hide this cash but how can I get around the need for a photo id???'
After that I didn't have time to train (plus still having some residual back pain) so I did housework & then mixed up a new salad dressing to try instead.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushroom, leek & tomato
Lunch: low-carb no pea 'split pea' soup
Dinner: chicken salad with a wonderful ginger dressing from well fed 2
Snacks: cashews & toasted coconut flakes

Sunday, February 23, 2014

roast chicken with garlic

Have you ever spatchcocked a whole chicken? It sounds wrong. But spatchcocking (which involves �flattening� out the chicken) is a great technique to speed up the cooking time when roasting a chicken and it exposes more skin for crisping potential.

I roast a chicken like this quite often. It's what I call 'laissez-faire' cooking because it requires minimal preparation and then you just throw it in the oven, leaving you free to do other things. I love the addition of roasted garlic. The flavour permeates the chicken while it�s cooking and then you�re left with the little cloves of soft and sweet roasted garlic (which you can just squeeze out of their skins to enjoy with the chicken).

ingredients 


  • 1 whole chicken * 
  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Salad leaves (or other vegetables) to serve

preparation



1. Preheat your oven to 180C.

2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken breast-side down on a chopping board with the legs facing you. Cut down both sides of the spine and discard the spine (or keep it for making stock). I do this using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten.

3. Separate the cloves of garlic, but leave them in their skins. Place the cloves in a roasting tray (large enough to fit the flattened chicken), drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the flattened chicken, breast-side up, on top of the garlic. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken, rub it into the skin and season with salt and pepper.

5. Roast in the preheated oven for about 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy. The cooking time will vary depending on the weight of your chicken. A 1.8kg chicken takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes in my oven. Towards the end of the cooking time, push the cloves of garlic out from under the chicken to the sides of the tray (you�ll need to carefully lift up one side of the chicken with tongs or a spatula to do this � take it out of the oven if you need to, just make sure you don�t burn yourself!).

6. Serve the chicken with the garlic cloves and some salad leaves, which I dress with the garlicky chicken juices from the tray.

* I have an embarrassing confession - the first time I bought a whole chicken and held it in my hands to start preparing it, I randomly started crying . It had hit me that it was a real animal before it ended up in my kitchen (of course my boyfriend got home right at that moment to find me standing at the sink, crying while holding the chicken. It was a bit awkward to explain). It's easy to forget where your meat has come from when you're just dealing with the separate parts. I eat meat because personally, my body requires it to function well. I buy meat that I feel confident has been raised and killed as humanely as possible. Free-range and grass-fed (without any added hormones or antibiotics) is best. 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Choose Natural Sugars - Choose to avoid Refined Sugars

I can't speak for everyone when i talk about sugar addiction.. But i can speak for myself.. When I first went on a sugar detox.. i had a my eyes wide open.. I thought well i can do this. how difficult can it be� You do go through the tiredness, the nausea, the crankiness� it really is addictive. (apparently more addictive than drugs) .. so weaning yourself off it doesn't necessarily come easy..

However if you can take the time to do it.. I try to keep the recipes here free from processed sugars, and try to use Raw Honey, Bananas , Dates and other natural sugars

Here's an interesting graphic i came across regarding sugars addiction and our health


A few things on the harmful effects of sugar also are




So do yourself a favor today� If looking for something 'sweet treat'.. Avoid a shop bought bar, cake or  refined sugars..

Reach for natural sugars instead such as a piece of fruit :)

Mug Cake

Probably the simplest, easiest and quickest cake you can make.. Well it's certainly the quickest one i've made AND i was pleasantly surprised by the taste too..

Went well with my cup of tea, and goes well if you're craving a 'treat'

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Egg Beaten
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Almonds
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs

Method

  1. Crack the egg into a mug and use a fork to beat it up.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients into the mug and beat up until mixed together well

  3. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute
  4. Take it out and check the consistency.. If needs be then heat for a further 30 seconds (as microwave heats vary)



Chunky Twist Obsession Begins ...

So I have about a week left in my current twists (photos later), and I'm itching to do a set of chunky twists for the month of March.  Since these sort of twists age faster, I just have to figure out how not to redo them too often.  My current thoughts include 1) doing witch hazel scalp cleanses to lessen the amount of times I have to wash my hair and 2) wearing a headwrap for some days when/if my twists start looking rough.  I want to attempt to only have to redo them once in March.  We'll shall see ....

In the mean time, here are some of my favorite chunky twist styles I found online:









Mixology || Making Your Own Aloe Butter at Home


Ingredients:
aloe vera juice
coconut oil
vitamin E oil
beeswax
preservative

For the instructions, check out the video below: 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Super Tasty Energy Bars


I got this recipe from a friend of mine, and i've made it a lot.. I even made the bars and took them with me when i was training and taking part in an event called Gael Force West.. I didn't take any energy gels.. just a few of these and they kept me going �

Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 and 1/2 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins (chopped dates or sultanas)
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (raw honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (nutmeg or cardamon)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 135degC
  2. Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl. The mix should be quite sticky
  3. Make sure everything is coated with the mashed banana and syrup


  4. Using wet fingers press the mix into a 7x11" lined baking tray

  5. Bake for 30 mins to 1 hour depending on degree of 'chewiness' required
  6. After allotted time remove from oven and press on wire tray to cool

  7. Cut into slices and store in the fridge


These also freeze well :)

Mmmmmm Berry Muffins


What better than a saturday treat of a muffin.. Right� well with this recipe you can have ALL the treat with none of the guilt� No refined sugar, dairy free and gluten free

Prepare them the night before for a perfect on the go breakfast or anytime of the day snack

My friend Edel gave me this recipe. and it's so simple to make and so rewardingly tasty

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of almond flour
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana
  • handful of berries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • splash of unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 dates
  • seeds/chopped nuts for the top of each muffin
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180/190C
  2. Add all the ingredients into the blender EXCEPT the dates and seeds/nuts for the top of the muffin
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. Grease a muffin tray with coconut oil
  5. Place a date at the bottom of each muffin case
  6. Pour the mixture evenly between each muffin case
  7. Sprinkle nuts/seeds at the top of each muffin case

  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden on top

  9. Remove from oven and muffins should easily be removed from the muffin cases
  10. Once removed leave on a wire rack to cool

Serve with some Full Fat Natural Greek Yogurt and Fresh berries, or as a snack with a cup of tea


Chicken 'curry' stir fry

So this one is a curry without the curry 'sauce' as such, just using spices and coconut oil� But you are in for a treat.. It's very tasty.. and very spicy too.. if that's what you like.. if not you can always ease off on the curry powder a bit

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper - cut into strips
  • 1 head broccoli chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic - finely sliced
  • 4 spring onions - chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Tumeric
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder ( i used mild)
  • 1.5 tbsp smoked paprika


Method

  1. Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in a pan on medium heat
  2. Add the spring onion and garlic and fry until golden
  3. Add the chicken and fry until browned or cooked through
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and stir until cooked through or browned

  5. When the chicken and vegetables are cooked through add the remaining coconut oil and spices 
  6. Combine well so that the spices cover the chicken and the vegetables
  7. Serve hot


If you want you could serve this dish with quinoa or rice; however i had it with a side salad of spinach and rocket and it was delicious :)
Enjoy


Whole 30 day 19

Well, I've already been informed of my next hospital appointment - its on the 26th of Feb,or to put it another way, 1 week after the last one rather than 2 months. Ah well, best to get it over with I suppose...

At the moment my life is revolving around house purchase stuff - mortgage applications, talking to estate agents (no-one wants to do that...), solicitors... M can't get a signal in his office so they all have to have my phone number and I get to liaise if I can't answer questions directly. It's masses and masses of fun and even though our offer was accepted only a couple of days ago I can already feel my blood pressure - and cortisol levels - rise with the stress. Someone tell me, why do I keep doing this to myself? If ever a person was a natural born sitting tenant it's me, yet I keep finding myself in the same position, and instead of getting better at it and feeling more relaxed because of all the past experience of it, I just start expecting problems before they can arise, it's madness and definitely not a survival mechanism. Any time I start building up stress I start suffering anxiety dreams when I manage to sleep, while losing the ability to get to sleep in the first place... Last night I did get to sleep, but it was a horribly restless night and I've been knackered all day today - just barely finding the energy to walk a couple of miles for some shopping at lunchtime, although I enjoyed it when I did.
No training after work due to mortgage application work...

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushroom, leek & tomato
Lunch: golden cauliflower soup with a little tuna mayo salad
Dinner: ginger-lime white fish (halibut? It was in an unlabelled package in the freezer & I can't remember what I ordered) with roasted baby fennel
Snacks: cashews & toasted coconut flakes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Whole 30 day 18

Not much to say today� except thanks for the support and sympathy while I was panicking, it really helped and I appreciate it very much�

Food today:

Breakfast: Poached eggs on a bed of cavolo nero saut�ed in ghee with bacon, leek & crushed red chilli flakes

Lunch: Cauliflower soup (getting bored with it now) and some chicken mini breast fillets

Dinner: chicken stir fry

Snacks: macadamia nuts and toasted coconut; a hard boiled egg in home made mayo

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Appointment / Whole 30 day 17

I would have posted this yesterday but after they put eye drops in my eyes to dilate the pupils I couldn�t see well enough to feel like writing � I had to increase the size of the font in my Kindle to such a degree that each page fitted about 20 words, and even then struggled to get it focused!

My appointment was of course a bit of an anticlimax. It took forever, included yet again having to do the field of vision test that picked up my blind spot originally (and did so again yesterday) along with an exam involving shining very bright lights into chemically dilated pupils � cruel & unusual punishment if you ask me. The result was the consultant I saw asking me if I�d ever injured my right eye. (squeamish people may want to skip ahead now)

When I was very little � must have been less than 5 since that�s when I first started wearing glasses) our family was involved in a very minor car accident that caused only one very minor injury � I had a sliver / splinter of car paint fly out and get stuck into my eye. Probably my right eye. Stuck. Like a little spear. Anyway, it was removed and more or less forgotten apart from anecdotes when the subject of idiot drivers came up (it was the other guy�s fault). That�s the only incident involving my eyes that I�m aware of, so I�m assuming that�s what caused the scar tissue the consultant saw in my eye. She said that the retina was also slightly wrinkled, which is probably due to the same cause though she couldn�t 100% rule out the possibility that my retina was detaching, because the fibrous scar tissue made it hard to see properly what was going on. So she referred me � again � to another specialist clinic in a couple of months and took scans so they can make sure there�s no sign of further deterioration, and said that assuming it�s stable they probably won�t want to touch it. So no calamity, and probably no treatment needed. Yay! And no more moaning about this other than to say that although I�m glad the optician was conscientious enough to check on it, I wish she had been a little less alarmist about it with all that �urgent referral� stuff.

Food wise yesterday was a little hard. My appointment was in Reading and I took the day off work for it, so I was a bit at loose ends. I ate a normal breakfast and lunch, and between my appointment and a quick shopping trip I walked about 6 miles. I was starving by the time I got home, and if the cafes and restaurants at the hospital had had anything that I could convince myself was acceptable food I would probably have had a second lunch while I was there (some of that was more about comfort than hunger before the appointment obviously). Fortunately they didn�t seem to cater for GF let alone Whole 30 so there was nothing, and I resisted breaking the plan with great ease there � it was later it got hard. But not impossible thankfully!

On the way back to the station after my appointment I stopped at a butcher in Reading (a tiny little street called Smelly Alley, I assume because there�s a fishmonger there as well) and bought some pigs trotters for stock and some mutton leg � looking forward to doing something interesting with that!

Food:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with vegetables

Lunch: a mug of cauliflower soup and some chicken mini breast fillets that had been briefly marinated in wasabi mayonnaise before being grilled

Dinner: hake baked in foil with coconut aminos, garlic, red chilli & spring onion, served with roast brussels sprouts and sweet potato slices

Snacks: toasted coconut, macadamia nuts

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Eat to Live Cookbook Project: Spiced Pumpkin Seed Cabbage Salad


I promised that I would be back in February with The Eat to Live Cookbook Project, and here I am! I was beginning to get scared that I wouldn't make good on my promise though.

I've got a confession to make: I'm going through a serious "I don't feel like cooking phase" of my life.
Read more �

Whole 30 day 16

I know I complained about being tired yesterday but compared to today that was nothing... I woke up at 1:30 am this morning and that was it for the night. I suspect it's a combination of worrying about my hospital appointment tomorrow and agonizing about whether to increase our offer for the house we viewed on Sunday, which was indeed rejected, as both subjects kept ricocheting around my brain through the rest of the night. Whatever the cause though, I'm not feeling great and not very happy today.
I was planning to try a new approach to training today to increase the likelihood of actually doing it - namely splitting my session in half, doing 20 minutes before work and 20 after work. Frankly this morning I was thisclose to working from home so I could stay in bed, except I figured that that would allow too much scope for more worrying and agonizing, so getting physical & sweaty was the last thing on my mind.
And about an hour before I left work, I was phoned by an estate agent to tell me...that our offer for the house we want has been accepted after all - without any increase!!! So after work instead of walking (as I'd planned) or training (as I wish I had the energy for) I spent my time on the phone getting solicitors' quotes for conveyancing. Worth it though!

Nearly time to find out what's going on with my eye....

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushroom & tomato and a small smoked mackerel fillet (dipped in Wasabi mayonnaise - which complemented it beautifully)
Lunch: golden cauliflower soup with a little tuna mayo salad
Dinner: Prawn stir fry with Paleo hoisin sauce
Snacks: cashews & (lots of) toasted coconut flakes


Guacamole


Serves 2-3
Ingredients
1 avocado
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli chopped
juice of a handful of cherry tomatoes
1 spring onion finely chopped

Method
Remove the flesh from the avocado
Place all ingredients in the blender and Mix 

To serve
Put in a bowl and add some chopped spring onion as a garnish

Chicken Pizza


Pizza without the dough, Pizza without the bread even.. Grain Free.. Dairy Free� Sure why not just use the chicken itself as the base..

The recipes just using the toppings that i chose today, but the beauty about this and of course any pizza is that you can add whatever you like on to it

Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Chicken Breasts 
  • 1/2 Yellow Pepper
  • 1/2 Green Pepper
  • 6-8 Mangetout (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 Courgette (finely chopped
  • 1 Spring onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • Handful spinach
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree ( or pasata, or i even used my homemade roasted red pepper pasta sauce)

Method
  1. Pre Heat the oven to 180deg
  2. Butterfly the chicken breasts and places on a baking tray

  3. Finely chop up all the peppers, mange tout, courgette and spring onion

  4. Spread the tomato paste onto the chicken breasts
  5. Sprinkle the peppers, onion, mange tout, courgette, over each chicken breast

  6. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20minutes
  7. Crack open egg and beat using a fork
  8. Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle over spinach on top
  9. Spoon over some egg onto each chicken breast
  10. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes 

Serve :-)

Banana Pancakes/Omelette


Must be on a banana themed roll today.. When my little one asked for a pancake this morning it wasn't difficult to find the ingredients and made in minutes :-)� Possibly most houses have bananas and eggs at the ready!?!

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Method
  1. Crack the eggs into  bowl and whisk up with a fork
  2. Mash the banana well and add it to the eggs
  3. Whisk the mixture together with a fork
  4. Heat up the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat until melted
  5. Pour mixture into pan and fry until golden.
  6. Flip over and fry on the other side.

I've found if you fry this on a low/medium heat, it cooks better and doesn't stick or burn.

Serve on its own or with yogurt, berries and chopped nuts :)

Banana Ice Pops

This one is quick and easy and tasty for all the family.. The little ones really enjoy their 'ice-creams' too..

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2 Tbsp Full fat Greek Natural Yogurt
  • handful flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method
chop up banana into 3
put each third of the banana on a ice pop stick
Roll the banana in the yogurt, until coated
Roll the banana/yogurt in the flaked almonds
Sprinkle with cinnamon

Place in ice pop container and put in the freezer to set


Monday, February 17, 2014

Healthy World Cafe will be open Wednesday, Feb. 26!

February has been a great month for Healthy World Cafe -- and we're excited to share some updates with you!

First and foremost, join us for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at First Moravian Church, 41 N. Duke St., York, where we'll be serving up delicious, locally sourced eats.

Check out our menu:
-- Lentil Spinach Stew
-- Curried Pork and Winter Squash Soup
-- Potato Tart
-- Fennel and Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
-- Mujadara Pilaf
-- Healthy World Cafe Signature Cookies with a Cider Glaze 
-- Winter Salad Bar with Cider Vinaigrette
Of course, our menu is always based on what's available from our farmer friends, so 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.

As for our other big announcement: 

We signed a lease! 


We formalized the details for a space at 24 S. George St. in downtown York, where we hope to open by summer, so long as we can secure the necessary funding. Tax-deductible donations made out to Healthy World Cafe can be sent to Healthy World Cafe, P.O. Box 1226, York, PA 17405.
Housekeeping items worth noting:
-- PARKING: When coming to the cafe for our Wednesday lunches, please DO NOT park in the private lots surrounding 1st Moravian Church.  You may park on the street (metered), or you may park at First Presbyterian Church at E. Market and N. Queen Sts., and walk one block west down Clarke Ave. to First Moravian (enter on north side).

-- TAKE OUT: Take out orders for lunch are available by e-mailing your selections (by 10 a.m. Feb. 26) to healthyworldcafe(at)gmail(dot)com.

-- VOLUNTEERING: In order to better respect our volunteers' time, we split 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.

Speaking of volunteers, we also this month catered a beautiful baby shower for volunteer Stephanie Schuessler, who was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on the food:
"As for the food, it was incredible. ... As anyone who knows me knows, food is my thing, and I thought the menu was perfect. I�m so glad my shower was catered by Healthy World Cafe, which is an organization near and dear to my heart. I met Liza and started volunteering with them shortly after I moved back to York in the fall of 2012. 
For those of you who haven�t already gotten the spiel, HWC is a pop-up style restaurant that is open once a month (although soon they will be open a lot more now that they�ve secured a permanent location). The concept is pay-what-you-can, so the idea is that anyone can go enjoy a healthy, homemade, unprocessed meal. The food is always delicious, and the ingredients come from local farms as much as possible. Food access -- or access to nutritious food -- in economically depressed urban areas is becoming an increasing problem, and it�s organizations like Healthy World Cafe that are providing solutions to this problem. So if you live in or near York, please consider supporting them... that would be the greatest gift to me of all."
Thanks, Stephanie -- and thanks to all of our customers and friends who support us!

Whole 30 weekend & day 15

Another fully compliant weekend is behind me with some more experimentation as well. Apart from Saturday's breakfast, when I had eggs baked in avocado, I didn't eat particularly interesting food, though I did make a big batch of chocolate chili from the well fed book that I ate today for dinner. On the other hand I once again wasn't even tempted to break the rules (though I ate quite a lot of toasted coconut) and I continued to enjoy my food (apart from a bag of cashews from Morrisons that tasted weirdly soapy)

On Friday night the high winds took down the garden fences both sides of our back garden. We didn't need to care of course, as it's a rental house our only responsibility was informing the letting agent so he could organize repairs. The weather stayed sufficiently horrible on Saturday - more wind than rain - that I wasn't tempted to walk further than the shops in the town centre, which was lucky because we had two house viewings that were awkwardly timed to not allow a long walk very easily anyway. On Sunday we had another viewing but I did manage to go out for an hour and discovered a new fairly appealing walk not far from home which was nice. We really liked the house we viewed and put in an offer that we're waiting to hear about (I'm not particularly hopeful as there's a lot of interest in this one).
I also watched The Life of Pi (loved it) and Hansel & Gretl: Witch Hunters, and enjoyed both though Life of Pi was way better obviously

Today I struggled to get up - shattered for some reason - and for the first time I did fancy something sweet - to drink, not to eat. Apart from some fruit at lunch I resisted but it was a bit sad to have to resist just when I've been feeling good about how easy it was feeling! I've also been hungry today, annoyingly, but I suppose the most likely reason is the tiredness I started the day with. I'm also unsure if I've been eating enough fat lately to compensate for the starchy carbs I'm not eating - usually my Greek yoghurt habit helps with that but not, of course, at the moment. That's obviously something I can experiment with. Of course being so damn tired I had a meeting at 3:30 (I generally finish work at 4) so that was just thrilling.

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with mushroom & tomato
Lunch: golden cauliflower soup from well fed 2 with a little roast pork tenderloin and a small fruit salad to follow
Dinner: chocolate chili (also from well fed) over zucchini noodles - I admit as a  British person eating chili over any kind of noodles instead of rice (regardless of whether either or both are the 'real' thing or a veggie replacement) seems odd, but I've seen it on enough blogs to give it a shot anyway, and is it happens I liked it that way. Though rice is better. Topped with avocado and sliced olives
Snacks: cashews (not from Morrisons) & toasted coconut flakes


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Almond Pancakes

I just LOVE pancakes ...but what to do if you are gluten free and dairy free...adapt of course ..

These are the pancakes I made for breakfast this morning (and no carbs either)

Ingredients
30g ground almonds
20g vanilla protein powder 
2 eggs
Almond milk
1 tsp coconut oil for frying 

Topping
2 Tbsp full fat natural Greek Yogurt
Fresh berries
Chopped nuts

Method  
Combine eggs,ground almonds, protein powder into bowl and whisk together
Add in almond milk to desired consistency 
Heat up coconut oil in frying pan
Pour in 1/2 pancake mixture and fry on a low/medium heat - flip and heat on the other side

To serve add yogurt,berries and chopped nuts 




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Reward Yourself

So often in life we berate ourselves for what we have NOT done, rather than congratulate ourselves on what we HAVE done, WHERE we have come from and WHAT we have achieved�

Today take a moment to congratulate yourself, to say thank you to yourself.. and above all look after yourself..

Whether its a walk in the fresh sunshine, a nice mug of hot tea , a sit and relax.. or even a massage or retail therapy..

You deserve it


sweet potato pancakes

Got leftover sweet potato? Make these! I came up with them one afternoon when I had some leftover roasted sweet potato from the night before. They�re naturally gluten-free and don�t contain any sugar or sweetener. They�re also a great alternative to the grain-free pancakes made with nut meals for people who can't tolerate nuts.

Make them sweet, topped with coconut, dark chocolate and mixed berries. Or have them savoury, topped with poached eggs, avocado and fresh herbs.

Hot tip: make them small so they�re easier to flip (I make mine about 3cm wide). And use roasted sweet potato (not boiled), otherwise they can turn out too �wet�. To roast sweet potato, I just put the sweet potatoes in a hot oven on a piece of foil (whole, with skins on) and bake until soft inside. Then all you have to do is peel off the skin and scoop out the insides (and eat any leftovers warm with a little organic butter and sea salt � heaven).

ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (for sweet pancakes)
  • Pinch of salt (for savoury pancakes)
  • Coconut oil or butter for frying

preparation

1. Heat a little coconut oil or butter in a fry pan over a medium heat.

2. Place the sweet potato and eggs in a bowl and beat until well combined and smooth (you could also whiz it in a food processor). Stir through the cinnamon or salt.

3. Drop small spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, spreading out into discs with the back of a spoon (the mixture will be quite thick). Once set on the bottom, carefully flip with a spatula and cook on the second side for another minute or so. If you keep them small, they will be easier to flip. If you�re having trouble getting the spatula under the pancakes to flip them, use a second spatula or spoon to push the pancake onto the flipping spatula.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

Yes ok.. so it's valentines day, some of you may or may not subscribe to it all.. I am indifferent, I enjoy it cause it seems to put most people in a good mood.. it's a fun day.. but i don't buy in to the whole dinner, flowers and pressure that goes with it ;0)�

Having said ALL that i did think it was a good occasion to rustle up a few valentines treats.. Now don't get me wrong.. these are also an any occasion treat.. however a few heart shape moulds.. equals valentines treats.

So for today.. Love yourself.. Look after yourself.. and above all SMILE X

Love someone to give them your last Rolo�. hows about these Raw Los

Can't take the credit for the genius of this one. I got the recipe from the following site . So thank you

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/

Rawlos


Ingredients
Raw Chocolate

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp cacao butter, melted
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
  • 5 and 1/2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder (i used green and blacks)
  • 1/8 tsp himalayan rock salt


Caramel

  • 1/4 cup pitted dates(soak dates in warm water if they are firm, then drain)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • himalayan rock salt to taste


Method

  1. In a heatproof bowl over simmer saucepan of water, melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter together.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in honey until incorporated
  3. Sift in cocoa powder and combine until smooth 
  4. In each chocolate mold spoon in some of the liquid chocolate and make sure to cover the sides by tilting the mold.
  5. Put in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow to set
  6. In a food processor combine all the ingredients for the caramel until smooth.
  7. Remove the chocolate molds from the freezer.
  8. Spoon in a bit of the caramel into each mold.
  9. Spoon the remaining liquid chocolate over the top of each mold ensuring the caramel is covered completely.
  10. Place back in the freezer to allow to set, for at least an hour.
  11. Store chocolates in an airtight container in freezer for 1 month(if they last that long)
  12. Don't store chocolates at room temperature for more than an hour.


Whole 30 day 12


I know that I am very, very lucky not to have my house flooded or even have to find a different route to work due to floods locally, so it sounds ridiculous coming from me to say this, but I am so.  damned. sick of this weather. Enough already... A few days, weeks or even months of no more bloody rain would be wonderful. If the wind would just f*ck off too that would be even better... It's depressing. All the damn time. Maybe I should just go into hibernation for the next 6-8 weeks, I'm fairly sure I have enough fat to sustain me for that long. In the absence of hibernating I'm feeling cranky, depressed and generally fed up today. Plus hungry because of my idiocy in not bringing a snack. I even needed coffee after lunch, which I never do.... After work I was too hungry and tired to train so I didn't. Too depressed as well. Weirdo.

(No 'Valentiney' post here, if you expected one, we don't really bother as neither of us has a romantic bone in our body, or any happy memories of the day from growing up. Also he's better at that stuff than me and I don't like feeling inadequate.)

So it's Friday and that's all it is here. I'm glad it's almost the weekend but frustrated that long walks will not be on the itinerary once again. I have no particular plans except the intention of watching The Life of Pi at some point (in 3D) and some cooking, shopping & housework.

Food today:
Breakfast: scotch eggs with a tiny taste of sauerkraut - would have been more but I'm not sure sauerkraut that tastes 'fizzy' is a good idea
Lunch: silky courgette soup; strawberries
Dinner: rump steak rubbed with gremolata as a marinade/rub then served with more gremolata, sweet potato and salad
Snacks: forgot to bring any again...


Protective Style Lookbook || Rolled Updo on Twists

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



Model: Anneka

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Rolled updo on chunky twists.

Healthy Recipes || Mashed Cauliflower - Low Carb Alternative to "Mashed Potatoes"

Mashed cauliflower that looks and tastes like mashed potatoes ... except with much less starch. Have you tried it?  In an effort to eat more vegetables and less carbs, I decided to give the dish a try.  What's the verdict?  Yo, this dish is DELICIOUS!

Various forms of the mashed cauliflower recipe have been floating around the Web.  Some contain butter while some use olive oil ... some use romano cheese while some use mozzarella.  It really depends on what you want to add to your mashed cauliflower, though I will say a bit of salt and pepper is a must and cheese certainly enhances the flavor.  (I personally use salt, pepper, sharp cheddar, and organic butter.)

Without further ado, here is what you will need at the minimum: 

Ingredients:
1 cup of mashed cauliflower
a bit of salt
a bit of black pepper
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or melted butter

Optional ingredients:
cheese of your choice (e.g., Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano ... as much or as little as you want)
garlic powder
etc.

Directions:
  1. Steam the cauliflower until it is "mash-able" (i.e., soft but not too soft).
  2. Use a food processor to mash the cauliflower.  (If you don't have a food processor, using a blender on pulse is okay or mash with a utensil.)
  3. Mix all the other ingredients into the mashed cauliflower.
  4. You're done!  Enjoy!

Homemade Dark Chocolates


These are yummy.. even for non coconut lovers out there.. and only 5 main ingredients

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks)
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of himalayan rock salt

Method
  1. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix until smooth
  2. Pour the contents into sweet moulds or i also used some silicon ice cub moulds
  3. Freeze until hardened for about 30 minutes and then store in the fridge

The one tablespoon of honey is used to get about 85% dark chocolate.. for Lower % just use more honey. (1 Tbsp approx 60%.. based on taste - no science )

Flavors
I decided to add a few flavors to mine and this can vary for anyones tastes.
  • Frozen rasberry pieces
  • Chopped Hazlenuts
  • Desiccated Coconut
  • Chopped almonds
you can really use anything here whatever you like with chocolate.

If wanting to add flavors the method i've used is
Method for rasberries
  1. Place some of the raspberry pieces into the bottom of the mould and pour the chocolate over the top.
  2. Or pour some chocolate into the mould and then the raspberry pieces and then chocolate on top
  3. (don't pour the flavor directly into the chocolate before putting into the moulds as this will change the consistency of the chocolate and it won't pour into the mould)
Play around with different flavors