Category Archives: Diet

New Year, New You?

Needless to say, I totally went off the blogging radar for a while now. Quick recap:

  • Mom was here visiting Nov 5-Dec 3. It was AMAZING to spend time with her and I love that she got to see my place, my (new) office, meet my friends and generally see what my life down here is like.
  • I have a new job! As I mentioned before my hiatus, I found out I basically lost my job when the show I was to be production managing got put on hold. The timing was great, though, as it allowed me to spend a whole month with my mom while she was here. Long story short: within a week of leaving my old job, I had interviewed for and been offered a job as Production/Facilities Coordinator at Oktobor, a post-production/VFX company that deals mainly in advertising. (www.oktobor.com for some samples of our work). I LOVE it. It’s the first job I think I’ve ever had that I absolutely love and feel like it’s something that really fits with my experience, personality and generally what I’m looking for in a job. Yay!!!
  • My diet/workout routine went out the window with my blog. The combination of mom’s visit, losing a job, gaining a new job, Christmas and everything else are all just excuses, I know, but kept me thinking about and putting energy into just about everything other than my diet/fitness. And it’s totally taken it’s toll…

In the end, it’s been a couple months of changes that have left me in a really great place. I’m really happy and grounded. I feel like I’m finally working for a company that really values me and wants me to do well. My boss had already talked about the next steps in my career and my options as I work my way up. Add the fact my mom was around for the whole process and got to encourage me before the interviews, celebrate with me after landing the job and even come by and take a tour of my new office and meet my coworkers… the whipped cream and cherry on top!

The downside to all the excitement is my health taking a complete backseat and I think now that I’ve started to slow down a little over the 2 week holiday break, I’m feeling the effects. I’m tired. I have more headaches, feel weaker and almost constantly bloated, and just generally don’t feel all that great. (Sound familiar?)

Taking the break and the new year as a chance to regroup, I’m trying to get back on track. I don’t want to say it’s a resolution, because those seem almost doomed to fail. It’s just refocusing my energy back on me. Putting my health back in the forefront and finding the discipline, inspiration and commitment to get back to where I was late September. Since the new job has longer hours – 8:15-6 as a minimum – I doubt the gym is going to find its way into my schedule too soon. (I let my 3-month membership expire in November. There was too much going on in my life and the gym was getting too busy when I did find time to workout). Thankfully, it’s summer here, so I’m going to try to take advantage. Swimming/surfing on the weekends and just generally getting outside whenever possible. Walks, frisbee games, fishing – whatever.

I don’t think I’ll be updating this every day anymore but hopefully I’ll be able to get something up at least once a week. And, of course, I hope to get back into reading your blogs and commenting and all that good stuff. I know you’ll help boost my inspiration and motivation. ūüôā

 

Did you make any new years resolutions?
Anything I totally missed in the last 2.5 months that I simply MUST read?

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Filed under Diet, Exercise, Goals, Life

Oomff!

First of all – thank you SO much for all the lovely birthday wishes! I was certainly more than spoiled with my presents this year. The bf earned MAJOR points, obviously, and just further secured his position of “best boyfriend of all time”. (Not like he ever had much competition!) I’m slowly trying to detox and get back to feeling normal after some slight over indulgences, including polishing off about 1/2 a Kahlua cheesecake in the course of 2 days. I’m hoping a couple days of conscientious eating and exercise will help me get right back on track. And, of course, that includes lots of oomff!

What is oomff? Oomff is “one of my favourite foods”. But not just any old “mmm, that’s yummy!” foods. Oomff needs to live up to its name, too. To be oomff, it has to be delicious, nutritious, energy boosting and generally make me feel good after eating it. And, of course, it has to be food.

I’ve added a few new things to the oomff category recently. The current “omg why did I not know about this recipe years ago!?!” is raw brownie batter. It’s packed with all sorts of things your body needs to function at optimal levels. Oh, and it actually tastes like homemade, delicious, “oh so bad for you but oh so yummy” regular brownie batter.

Raw Brownie Batter
(adapted from Megan at Healthy Hoggin)
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt.

Put everything in a bowl. Mix well. Eat.

This is TO DIE FOR. It feels like you are mega cheating on any sort of healthy diet you may be on. It’s sweet and chocolatey and nutty and amazing. But, unlike the traditional stuff, this is made with ingredients your body can easily digest and won’t cause sugar spikes or crashes.

It should be noted that this is an incredibly calorie-dense treat. Don’t go eating this by the bowl-full daily and expecting weight to magically drop off you because you’re eating “raw” and “vegan” dessert. Both the almond butter and the coconut oil are high in calories and in fat. They are both really good for you, but keep in mind that moderation is the key to getting the benefits without the downsides. (Like added pounds!)

 

Another oomff? Choco energy balls. I don’t have a recipe for this one as I just started throwing things in my food processor and adjusting as I went along. But I brought them into work (mainly so I wouldn’t eat them all myself in one day) and everyone loved them, with a few people asking for the recipe… so I’m going to make another batch, measuring and noting the ingredients this time. I’ll post it up here – with photos – when I’m done.

The basics, though: dates, cashews, coconut, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, agave nectar. All put through the food processor for a few minutes, then rolled into balls and dehydrated in the oven for a couple hours. They are SO yummy! And addictive. I ate 6 for breakfast the morning after I made them. (Hence the bulk of the rest getting brought along to work!) Can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys and see what you think!

 

How was your week? Have you recently discovered any new oomff? Anyone fall off the “good eating” wagon like I did recently? Are you getting right back on track or finding it a little hard?

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Filed under Diet, Recipes

You’re not eating enough food

I’ve been doing more research into raw food and while I’m definitely not about to become a raw foodist, I am interested in the concepts behind it and in trying to incorporate a few more raw food recipes into my diet. (Especially the ones that don’t involves hours of prep in a food dehydrator!)

While looking up new websites, blogs and forums to find new recipes, I stumbled across a forum post called “If you’re overweight or unhealthy, it’s because you aren’t eating enough food”. Of course, after reading that title my mind immediately went to “Who is this crazy person and what on earth is she on about!?!” I clicked on the title and started reading her post. And it made absolute sense!

Food (noun)
Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth and repair, and maintain life

Now think about what you eat. Does is meet the criteria set out in that definition of what is “food”? Does it produce energy, stimulate growth and repair, and maintain life? It’s amazing how the answer to that, for a lot of things we eat, would be a resounding “No!”

Let’s take a look at a slice of pepperoni pizza (yum!) using the criteria above:

1. Will pizza produce energy? Will it help me feel good and get through a long day?
Not really. I might get a bit from it, but I’ll probably feel worse off by the time it starts digesting.

2. Will the pizza stimulate growth?
Well, there is calcium in the cheese, which may help build strong bones… but there isn’t much else that will contribute to the creation and growth of healthy cells, tissue, organs, etc. (Unless waistline counts. It could certainly stimulate growth there!)

3. Will the pizza stimulate repair?
Nope. In fact, the fats and sodium levels will probably do far more to harm vital organs than it will to repair them.

3. Will the pizza maintain life? ie: Is it contributing to my overall health and ensuring my body has all the nutrients it needs to live a long, healthy life?
Yeah, that’s another big no.

What does that mean? Well, in short, a slice of pepperoni pizza is not food. It’s just stuff that we eat.

Now give that a minute to sink in. Really absorb what this is saying. I’ll wait.

Just because we eat something, doesn’t mean it is food. Just because we swallow something, doesn’t mean our body knows what to do with it.¬†Our bodies know what to do with fruits and vegetables and grains and nuts – with food. They know how to break them down and how to use their nutrients to nourish, feed, heal and grow our bodies. Our bodies have no idea what to do with stuff. So we get tired and irritable. Bloated. Sick. Overweight.

I’m going to try to remember this and consider it when deciding what to eat.
Is this FOOD or just STUFF that tastes good?
In theory, eat way more food and way less stuff will lead to improved health – including your body returning to a more natural, healthy size and weight.

Do you eat more food or more stuff?

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Filed under Diet

Hello spring! You’ve been missed.

I am definitely struggling this morning. I’m on my second third cup of green tea, hoping the caffeine will kick in soon. Monday mornings, in general, are always a bit of a challenge after two glorios days of staying up – and sleeping in – a little later than usual. Never mind the first Monday after a time change. Yep, yesterday we here in the southern hemisphere gained an extra hour of sunshine with daylight savings. The sun is now starting to set around 7:15 pm and the days are only going to get longer for the next few months. And can I tell you how good that feels? Add the fact that yesterday was the first day that actually felt like spring and I suppose I can’t really be all that grumbly about an hour of lost sleep.

And despite the earlier-than-appreciated morning, I’m glad it’s Monday. The solid, reliable, “I’m going to eat well again” workday. The more I pay attention to what I eat, the more I notice the effects when I don’t. This weekend didn’t have nearly enough fresh fruits, vegetables or water and my body is absolutely feeling it. Craving the nutrients. 10 pm Sunday saw me peeling and cutting carrot sticks because my body was screaming for something raw and simple. All I could think was “Where is all the healthy food!?!” and wishing I had a fridge full of fresh produce.

When did I start craving vegetables???

I recognized the feeling. That “omg I MUST eat _______, NOW!” thought consuming my brain – but it had always been something I shouldn’t have. Chocolate, mostly, but also pizza or ice cream. Sometimes fried rice of pad thai. Certainly never anything good for me. It was surreal and exciting. I actually craved raw produce after not having enough over a couple days. Who’d have thought!?

So, I’m going to try to make a point of stocking up fresh fruits and vegetables at home as much as I do at the office and try to keep my diet a little more regular and produce-rich on the weekends as I do during the week. Obvious, right? Well, up to now I always thought I could be really good and conscious about what I eat for breakfast and lunch during the week and I could relax a little on evening and weekends. Not going wild, but not really worrying as much about what I ate. I don’t think that’s going to cut it anymore!

Other than the poor diet choices, the weekend was pretty good! I spent a lot of Saturday touring around New Zealand Fashion Weekend – where I scored some amazing Inika natural mineral makeup samples and bought an adorable “Forget Me Not” silver keychain ($5) and a gorgeous Oyl hoodie ($350 on sale for $60!) at the Desginers’ sample sale. The fact that the hoodie was a size 8 and fit was almost reason enough to buy it!

Sunday featured a gym workout followed by a Subway wrap. (Reason #1 for feeling bad later in the day. Bad, bad gluten!) It also involved lots and lots of playing around in the kitchen making:

Granola

– muesli/granola. Oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, dried apples, cinnamon, vanilla and honey. Toasted then mixed with some seedless dried currants.

Raw macaroons

– Megan’s Detox Macaroons. I don’t have a dehydrator, so I made these in the oven on the lowest setting: around 75*C. I did only half the recipe and made it half blonde and half chocolate (adding some cocoa to the original recipe). They’re not quite on par with traditional macaroons, but still good.

And cheesecake!

– Another one of Megan’s recipes: Raw cheesecake. Except I made a different crust – 1/4 cup almonds, 2 tsp cocoa, 2 dates and a smidge of coconut oil. Chop up & blend in food processor, then press to bottom of cups to form crust. There was a bit left over, which I sprinkled on top. I would add a little stevia or honey next time, though. It’s just slightly bitter for my taste.

So I’m now thoroughly stocked up on healthy treats for the week. Just need to get out to the grocery store tonight and I’ll be a happy little bunny!

Did you have a moment when you realized your cravings had changed? Do you crave certain things since altering your diet? Do certain foods trigger cravings for you? (ie: sweets trigger salty, savoury triggers sweet, etc.)

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Filed under Diet, Life

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

(I promise I won’t keep posting about smoothies every day!)

This morning was attempt #3 at a Green Monster. ¬†I took pictures of the entire process – mainly because I’d like to start adding more photos to my blog but I’m always forgetting to actually take any – and what do you know? This smoothie is the best one yet. Not that I’m attributing it all to the photos, but I have a sneaking suspicion that helped in some way.

Laying everything else - ready to start

I started by getting everything out and onto the countertop. I was toying with the idea of adding frozen peas. I’m not sure why. They aren’t “leafy greens” – but they are veggies. And they’re cold. I nixed them for frozen berries, though.

Spinach & bok choy

Taking Cammy‘s advice, I tossed the spinach (and baby bok choy – fancy!) into my food processor with a splash or water and started blending away, occasionally scraping down the sides. I left this running as I ran around the apartment getting ready for the day.

Mmmm - healthy!

After a few minutes – and a little foam – I was content that there were no more little spinach bits left. Blending all the greens with a little water before adding anything else is definitely the key. It was silky smooth and completely green-bit-free. Yes!

The last step.

When I was happy with the consistency of the greens, I tossed in the rest of my smoothie ingredients: frozen banana, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and some ice cubes. I added a little more water to thin it out a bit, as well. And since the greens were already set, I only had to blend this enough to break up the fruits – minimizing any potential extra foam.

Ta da! All done.

(You can still see a little bit of the leftover greens on the side).

I can say this is definitely far and away the best of the 3 smoothies. No little green bits. Minimal foam. And very, very yummy. I think the ice cubes are important, too. They keep the smoothie colder for longer AND if there were any little bits of greens or fruits, they blended in with the bits of ice and I wasn’t bothered by them.

So, there you have it. My “best yet” smoothie – with photos!

And while those of you back up in the northern hemisphere are chatting about the cooler weather, shortening days and coming of fall, here in the southern hemisphere we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer. The clocks spring forward this weekend and even with the crazy storm, you can tell summer is on its way. And I can’t wait!

For those of you who have just been through summer – do you have any advice? Is there something that you wish you would’ve done this summer? Or something you wish you would’ve known when summer first started? In-season fruits and veggies you should’ve taken advantage of? Workouts that take advantage of the nice weather? Recipes that helped you make it through the hottest months without consuming tubs and tubs of ice cream?

If you could do summer again – what would you do?

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Filed under Diet, Photos, Recipes

Foam, foam, go away.

Green Monster attempt #2 this morning wasn’t any more successful than my attempt yesterday. In fact, I think I like yesterday’s smoothie better. bah!

It's so foamy!

Ingredients:
– 4 handfuls of spinach
– 1 rose apple (peeled)
– 1 banana
– some water to thin it out a little
– a dash of cinnamon

Blend, blend, blend – about 5 minutes.

It tastes pretty yummy. Almost like a very healthy, vegetable-based apple pie?

Problems:
Р it STILL has the little chunky pieces (of spinach and apple this time) that I find myself chewing as I drink it.
– it’s foamy. Due totally, I’m sure, to the long blending time.

Any advice? Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe I should be using a juicer, not a blender, to make these things if I expect a nice, smooth drink. Maybe I should be adding ice so it’s more like a slushie and I don’t notice the bits of food as much? All I know is that something’s gotta change.

Hmph.

Ignoring my failures to make a perfect smoothie, I’ve been impressed with myself recently. I’ve been eating pretty well, drinking lots of water and green tea, walking lots (despite the Australia-sized storm that’s been bashing NZ since Friday). I feel like I’m back in the groove. And while it’s not suddenly super challenging, I feel like I’m starting to work on it again. Maybe it’s all the new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Or the fact that I rocked out a 40-minute chest and shoulder workout with free weights and machines while every other girl in the gym was either on a treadmill/elliptical/bike or stretching. Or the fact that I feel like my waist is getting just the teensiest bit smaller.

Whatever it is – I like it.

Speaking of new recipes, when I got home from the gym last night, I decided to try the Raw Cheesecake I made the night before.

Raw, vegan chocolate "cheesecake".

I didn’t have any cute little springform pans so I just made it in our microwave egg poacher – which happened to be the perfect size. Mine’s the one on the left. Andrew’s is the pure chocolate one on the right. He was skeptical, to say the least, when I was making them. “Add cocoa to mine. I don’t want it to tastes like veggies!!!” In the end, he liked mine better and we both agreed it really, really had the same taste and texture as cheesecake. I think I’m going to make the next batch with a smidge less lemon juice (I found it slightly overpowering) and with a gluten-free crust. Will be testing them out on a couple vegan friends this weekend – exciting!

What was really funny about eating the cheesecake, though, is that even though it’s a healthy version – with no dairy and only a little honey as sweetener – I felt like I have totally cheated and indulged in some forbidden treat by the time I was done! Except it came with no sugar crash, headache, stomachache or cravings afterwards. Guess what else is going to turn into a freezer staple along with my frozen bananas?

Do you have any ideas or suggestions to get my smoothies velvety smooth without all that foam? Should I be trying a juicer instead? Make it the night before and chill it? Help!

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Healthy Hoggin’

I spent a good few hours last night reading through Megan’s blog: Healthy Hoggin. (If you haven’t been there before – go!)

I think she’s going to be my food bible for the next little while. Or, at least, she’s going to be where I turn for some yummy, yummy raw, vegan treat ideas and inspiration for indulgent healthy treats. Plus she uses a food processor lots and I’m totally all about that right now.

After looking through pages or posts and recipes, I decided I wanted to try:
Raw cheesecake
Raw chocolate macaroons
Detox Mac n Cheese
Roast broccoli
and Cherry Chocolate Bomb pudding

Of course, being the clever girl I am, I figured I could remember all necessary ingredients without writing them down if I went straight to the supermarket after reading the recipes.¬†Needless to say, I came home from missing at least an ingredient or two from most recipes. (Though, to my credit, that’s because the supermarket didn’t actually have a few of the ingredients!)

I did whip up some roasted broccoli and raw cheesecake, though!
The broccoli was okay, but I think know I was overly generous with my olive oil and they ended up being too greasy for my tastes. But I can see the potential, so I’ll definitely be trying that again with a little less EVOO.¬†The cheesecake has to sit in the freezer overnight to set, so I can’t give you a verdict on it yet. I can tell you that the leftover “batter” was delicious, though! Can’t wait to try the real thing tonight.

I also whipped up my very first Green Monster for breakfast this morning. Well, technically, it’s more of a Purple Monster…

Roar!

It’s about 2 cups of spinach, a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries/blueberries/blackberries, a splash of rice milk and ¬†some water – blended to bits! Bits is actually a good description… I was running late this morning and, never having made this before, I blended til it looked liquidy. Then I tossed it in a container and ran out the door. It is yummy – I won’t argue that! – but it definitely could’ve used some more time in the processor. I keep having bits of spinach I need to chew and I don’t think that’s really how it’s supposed to be. I think the berry seeds are adding to that, too.

I’m definitely going to keep making these and adjusting the recipe to taste until I find some perfect Green Monster recipes which, of course, I’ll pass along here.

Do you have any websites/blogs that you turn to for food and recipe ideas? Are you a Green Monster fan? If so, what are your favourite ingredients? How long do you blend it to make sure there are no little pieces left?

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Filed under Diet, Links, Recipes