Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Day Forty Two - Completed!!!

Hey hey! Today is the last day of my six week no sugar challenge.
I've completed it by eating 95% guaranteed no sugar in my diet from processed food (none), alcohol (a sip of Petes mead), white flour (a bite of a piece of buttered toast) ,white pasta (none), white sugar (4 smarties!! And a few randoms ) ... But mainly ivevbeen eating clean foods; organic locally sourced meat, local and organic vegetables, where possible and berries and green apples. Coconut products have also featured heavily as have nuts and seeds. Xylitol has been included in some of my recipes as a sugar substitute but needs careful monitoring as because it's a sugar alcohol (it has a very low glycemic index compared to regular sugars) it can cause bloating.
I feel like rushing out and buying a very expensive bottle of pink fizz! However, need to hold my horses, as my mum would say, and wait for the go ahead from Emma, my digestive health guru. I have an appointment with her on the 4th October when she'll run some tests and she mentioned something about me fasting for twelve hours before. Oh joy!
The results will tell us whether the last six weeks have shown a positive result. Here's hoping and praying. It may be,however, that I have to continue for longer and do you know what, that's fine. I've got used to this way of life, it suits me.. Unless there's a chilled glass of Camel Valley Rose in front of me...
Today's food :
Breakfast: Protein shake
Snack: Cacao nibs and cashew nuts
Lunch: turkey and spinach in butter, with tomatoes and basil.
Snack: Impossible pie (very small piece)
Dinner: Bolognaise sauce and iceberg lettuce
Snack : Bite of Laurens chocolate lolly from M and S to celebrate the end of six weeks! Only one bite!
Day forty two down...... Six weeks completed!!!

Day Thirty Six - Kick Sugar's Butt

Here are some ideas to help you get the dreaded sweet stuff out of your daily diet :
Get your mindset right - know what you want to achieve, write it down, make it big.
Go through your cupboards and separate out the CRAP food from the clean food. Get rid of the CRAP stuff - go on, dare you!!
Restock your kitchen with the good stuff!
Whilst shopping check ingredients, there is often hidden sugar in things you least expect.
Tell other people what you are doing, for their support!
Change your eating balance, go for more savoury food, less sweet.
Make sugar free desserts as a treat.Message me for any of the ones I've mentioned and I'll let you have the recipe.
Get lots of sleep - it helps stop cravings!
Stay hydrated, you'll want to eat less. We often think we're hungry when in fact we're just thirsty.
Get on with it! Just do it! Don't think too hard!
Today's food:
Bacon and spinach, hot water with lemon and aloe Vera gel. Peppermint tea
Lunch: Roast turkey with salad
Dinner: Bean Bolognaise with ice berg lettuce
Snacks: Nuts and cacao nibs, blueberries, peppermint chocolate circles (made with xylitol chocolate)
Drinks : fizzy water with lime, peppermint tea.
Day thirty six down- six days to go!

Day Thirty Seven - Quotes

Keeping it simple today. Three quotes for you; profound though!

" Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness". Edward Stanley.

"Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork". English Proverb.

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meal". Benjamin Franklin.

Food for thought!!

Day Thirty Eight - The Pooh Train

Ok, so todays blog is on a subject most people will find pretty revolting, but its one of my fave subjects! Ha ha! : bowel habits.
Us English people tend to be a little prudish where such subjects are concerned, however as we all pooh and all have to pooh to be fully functioning human beings it's not a subject I shy away from.
On my CHEK health course I learnt about the 'Pooh Train' and how each time we eat a meal (ie three times a day) our digestive system is stimulated and a bowel movement should be activated. This is if all is in order!
Babies are a great example of this. I remember when I breast fed my three, (they'll love to read this!) , after each feed they would produce a dirty nappy. That's a great sign that good digestion is taking place.
However, as we get older this can go slightly, or very much awray .
Things like being busy, eating the wrong food, drinking too much alcohol, too much coffee, smoking, lack of exercise, and suppressing the urge to go to the toilet, can all interfere with our 'regularity ' in this area. It can also be down to social conditioning. My dad was telling me last night that Indian women are only 'allowed' to pooh at night! So I guess their bodies have to get used to that.
If we regularly suppress the urge we can become constipated. Lack of fibre and water in the diet can also lead to a sluggish bowel and constipation. This is why the over the counter market for constipation remedies is worth millions and millions of pounds a year. However, the body soon becomes reliant on the medication and won't work naturally without them. I know because I've been there, and had to wean myself off them and re-educate my bowel to work on its own.
Constipation can also result in skin issues; eczema, psoriasis and acne can all be made worse by a sluggish digestive system, holding onto toxins inside. Yuck, not great when you think about it is it?
So top tips to get your 'pooh train' on the right track :
Drink several litres of pure water each day.
Eat good quality fibre from low glycemic carbohydrates and lots of fibrous vegetables.
Keep processed white flour to a minimum.
Keep processed sugars to a minimum.
Allow yourself time after each meal to go to the toilet ( or whenever you get the urge).
Don't suppress the urge - ever.
Dont rely on OTC medication. Ultimately it will not serve you.
Get adequate sleep, and rest.
Exercise regularly, even if it's just a brisk walk a day.
Keep stress levels down. This can result is a 'distressed' digestive system.
I came across a great video on YouTube the other day, by a guy called CainCarroll. Google him. He does yoga to improve the digestive system and demonstrates positions such as 'thunderbolt' and a deep squat that can help a sluggish bowel. Amazing and very effective. The natural way is always preferable to medication.
Today's food:
Steak with courgettes in tempura batter and asparagus - yum dum dammer!
Day thirty eight down, four to go!

Day Thirty Nine- No Alcohol

John is excited! He's largely been following the same 'diet' as me and whilst he's lost a lot of weight he's looking forward to a 'night off'. We're going to a wedding reception this evening and beer is calling; loudly!
Im dreading it in a way, which sounds like I rely on alcohol to enjoy myself! It's not that, it's just nice to have a glass of champagne, and I do admit to finding it relaxes me. Especially when I don't know too many people!!
I'll be sticking to mineral water, however, and feeling virtuous tonight (when many people will be making fools of themselves!lol!), and tomorrow morning (when they're nursing their hangovers!!).
On the up side alcohol does relax, and is a pretty sociable indulgence, in small doses. On the down side it's empty calories, full of sugar, and your body uses it rapidly for energy, leaving food to turn to fat. Ooh nice. And it makes some people completely change their personality!
Today's food :
Breakfast: coconut cream, berries and nuts
Aloe Vera gel, hot water and lemon
Lunch : hummus and carrots, picnic of tomato salsa, bean salad in the peak district. Peppermint tea
Dinner: at a wedding reception : Ham and salad!
5 fizzy mineral waters with a piece of lime!!!!
Peppermint tea
Day thirty nine down, three days to go!

Day Forty -Hungover!

Most bizarre, I woke up this morning with what felt very much like a hangover; after drinking five glasses of sparkling mineral water with pieces of lime in them. How does that happen then?
I did stay up until 1 o'clock so am beginning to wonder whether its a myth that alcohol gives you a hangover and actually its just lack of sleep, as they tend to go hand in hand!
Anyway, spent most of the day feeling a little vacant and I have to say because of the way I was feeling I craved comfort food: carbohydrates. I had to work very hard indeed to stay away, and did succumb to a tiny piece of white bread smothered in butter, and it was yum!
Not pleased with myself but am not going to lose any sleep over it at this stage in the game.
Move forward!
Today's food:
Breakfast: poached eggs, sausage and tomatoes
Lunch: Yoghurt with berries and nuts (I was doing an event and wasn't very organised)
Mid afternoon: Sliced ham, hummus and salad.
Dinner: chicken and spinach curry
Dessert: Home made chocolate mousse
Drinks: lots of peppermint tea, lots and lots.

Day forty one Chocolate The Health Food

Contrary to popular belief, cacao, the main ingredient that makes up chocolate, is actually good for us - without the sugar etc thats added to commercially produced bars, I might add!
Cacao is the unique,and irreplaceable , ingredient that comes from the bean of the Amazonian cacao tree. Pure cacao powder delivers a powerful dose of natural flavonols that have been found to help prevent clogged arteries, improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.
Raw cacao is high in magnesium, iron, chromium, tryptophan, and antioxidants. It's also high in the mineral sulphur associated with strong nails, healthy, shiny hair, and a clean liver and pancreas.
Wow!!!! Impressive! So how come we've learnt to abuse it by mixing it with so many CRAP ingredients which are now responsible for the likes of diabetes, obesity, IBS, acid reflux, constipation and many many more wide spread health challenges?

In its natural state it can help your health - raw cacao can be bought in powder form (like cocoa powder) or as 'nibs', both of which can be bought on line from the likes of www.goodnessdirect.com. I love cacao nibs as a mid morning snack mixed with toasted cashew nuts, and use cacao powder in recipes for cakes, buns, pancakes and mousses. It can even be added to the likes of chilli!
There is no evidence that when eaten in this way the cacao bean is linked to obesity - but abuse it in commercial chocolate bars sold in their millions every day in this country alone and you have a very different story!
Yes the cacao bean contains some caffeine but not in great amounts, it's actually considered a poor source. It doesn't elevate the blood sugar in the same way that other stronger caffeine containing products do, unless mixed in the commercial bars already mentioned.
So why not go ahead and try some- I believe you'll be most pleasantly surprised.
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake aloe Vera
Lunch : Turkey, tomatoes, basil and rocket salad
Dinner roast pork with crackling , roasted vegetables: carrots, onions, courgettes, garlic
Snacks: nuts, cacao nibs, chocolate and nut cookie, blueberries and strawberries.
Day forty one down, one day to go!!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Day Thirty Five- What Are You Made Up Of?

Most people eat sugar and processed food as part of their daily diet without thinking twice about it, and certainly without thinking what its doing inside of them.
We really are what we eat, to borrow Gillian Mckeiths famous line (slightly annoying woman!?) but to be even more specific we are what we absorb. And if that's sugar, white flour, and alcohol most of the time we're heading for health problems. Not today, not the next day necessarily but some time in the future.
Small symptoms will start to appear- a runny nose, regular acid reflux, sinus problems, migraines,headaches, slight nausea, aches and pains, constipation, diarrohea, IBS, and many, many more that we spend a fortune on over the counter remedies for. That quick fix just suppresses the symptoms but the cause is being largely ignored.
The cause is usually what is being put into our digestive symptoms where we hold most of our immune systems.
How about this little exercise- go to your cupboards and your fridge and check out what your food is made up of. Separate the sugary, starchy, processed, alcoholic products from the wholesome clean foods and look at the proportion. For a healthy diet 80/20% in favour of the latter is where we need to be. If yours is the other way round.... the bin is usually in the corner of the kitchen.....
It's always possible to improve on where we are currently by making small
changes- not buying multiple packs of crisps, cutting down on packet biscuits( how about making your own), swapping white pasta for whole wheat or spelt, trying whole wheat and seeded breads and crackers instead of the white bleached processed flour variety. How about a small change each week or month until its a habit.
Today's food:
Breakfast: poached egg spinach and spelt toast and butter
Lunch: vegetable chilli
Snack: blackberry and apple cake
Dinner: vegetable chilli and chicken
Snacks: cacao nibs with cashew nuts
And spelt cracker with cashew nut butter
Peppermint tea/ fizzy water/coconut water/aloe Vera gel .
Day thirty five down, 7 days to go!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day Thirty Four - Pill Popping

I get the occasional headache, and if its bad enough and I know why I've got it then I may pop a couple of headache tablets; this is very seldom - probably just half a dozen times a year.
On the radio and in the newspapers today its being reported by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) that over 10 million people take painkillers (such as aspirin, paracetamol, and triptans) on a daily basis, and most of them for headaches. We seem to have become a nation requiring a 'quick fix' for everything and this includes our health.
Headaches are there for a reason - the headache itself is a symptom and there is always a cause. In my experience, and through my health related courses the most usual cause is linked to diet; food and drink, frequency of eating, quantities, type of food, amount of drink, and also sleep deprivation or broken sleep, and stress or anxiety. To pop a couple of pills will not eradicate the cause it will merely mask the symptoms for a couple of hours. Your brain is fooled into thinking all is well. It is not, unless it's a very temporary condition for example a hangover (which by the way is caused primarily by dehydration).
If you read the side effects for headache tablets the number one is usually headaches- most bizarre! No wonder people are needing to take them every day.
Headache tablets are made up primarily of chemicals that our livers have to de-tox. A build up over months and years can cause havoc inside us but a simple pain killer is very rarely 'blamed'. I'm really pleased that our attention has been brought to how dangerous these 'over the counter ' products can be. Maybe now we can all start to clean up our diets and lifestyles with a view to supporting our health naturally and not popping a pill to get us through the day.

Today's food : Cashew nut cream, raspberries and mixed nuts and cinnamon. Aloe Vera gel and hot water.
Snack: Spelt crackers with hummus and rocket leaves. Blackberries
Lunch: Peppermint tea. Turkey slices, beef tomatoes and lots of fresh basil.
Snack: Bits of baking!! peppermint tea.
Dinner: Vegetarian chilli with iceberg lettuce. Fizzy water and lime.
Dessert: Apple and cinnamon cake.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day Thirty Three- Baking

I've totally revived my interest in baking with this six week health challenge diet. Believe it or not I used to make children's birthday cakes as a bit of a paid hobby. I can't begin to imagine how much white flour and sugar I used in all the cakes, let alone the buttercream and ready rolled icing. Luckily the children only ever ate a small piece each (I hope).
I remember making a Batman cake; it was in the deep Batman blue colour, and the mum who ordered it rang to tell me that all the kids at the party were doing blue poohs for days after eating it! Whoops- not good!
My baking now consists of very little refined ingredients full stop. I'm loving concoctions including avocado (makes a great cream substitute), coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut cream and the dessicated variety too(what a super food; and its lauric acid content means the fat is good for you and your body will use it rapidly for energy), nuts and seeds, 100% cocoa chocolate, spelt flour, berries, limes, apples, lemons, xylitol, cacao powder, cinnamon.... I could go on. Who needs white, wheat flour and granulated, refined, no nutrient sugar.
My No Sugar Dessert Recipe Book is coming along nicely.
I have had a few 'epic fails' (my kids words) but apparently every successful person has failed lots to get there. Although John seems to genuinely like everything I concoct! And tested a few out on my mate Pete the other day and he was, in the main quite complementary, especially about the apple and cinnamon cake. I'll keep experimenting! Any ideas please message me.
Today's Food:
Spelt toast with butter and avacado.
Protein shake . Aloe Vera. Hot water with lemon.
Snack: 100% cocoa chocolate
Lunch : Chicken stir fry. Peppermint tea.
Tea: Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce straight from the fridge. This is seriously my favourite tea!!
Dessert: Bits of my baking today!
Day thirty three down! Nine days to go!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Day Thirty Two - Listen To Your Body

I'm not boasting but I've always been pretty intuitive, it's just something that's in me. I get a strong sense about something and will always go with my gut instinct - it serves me well. This applies to how I'm feeling in my mind and body too, and how I knew something was out of kilter inside.
It's important not to ignore signs that your body gives you. Many people suffer from niggly health problems for years and years and pop pain killers to sort them, or rub some prescribed cream on, rather than getting to the bottom of what the real issue is. I've done this too, and ultimately it is never a good thing.
"Ignoring the natural messages of the body lies at the basis of most illnesses today", says Andreas Moritz, an Amercian Heath guru whose book, Timeless Secrets Of Health and Rejuvenation, makes The most fascinating read/reference book. It can be anything from ignoring signs to go to the toilet ( which if done frequently enough can result in chronic constipation) to eating when your body is telling you it's not hungry. Andreas says that "ignoring the body's basic instincts means the mind will look for substitutes, which causes (legitimate) cravings for or addictions to foods, beverages, stimulants, sex etc. By giving a little extra attention to your body, it will soon tell you the difference between a balanced and an unbalanced influence or message".
So try listening to your body today instead of just doing what you've always done, it will pay you back in kind.
Today's food:
Breakfast : Spelt and linseed bread with butter, poached egg and spinach. Divine! Protein shake with cinnamon.
Peppermint tea.
Snack: No sugar home made chocolate mousse with blueberries.
Lunch: Left over poached salmon and veggies. Peppermint tea.
Dinner: Stir fried chicken with pak choi, onions, broccoli and green beans with a nut butter 'satay' sauce (I can't eat peanuts).
Day thirty two down! Ten to go!!

Day Thirty One- Bread

Yippee! Emma has said I can start to introduce low glycemic carbohydrates into my diet, slowly and carefully.
So made some spelt and linseed bread in my bread maker today- wow it's gorgeous. John is my super taster and is loving all the recipes I'm conjuring up at the moment, and this is a definite favourite. It's very dense but so tasty, especially with good quality butter on it!
I'm going to experiment with other breads this week and see what I can come up with.
Rick Stein's cafe in Cornwall serves the most beautiful walnut bread with breakfast, so that's going to be my challenge. With no wheat in it!
There are so many different flours available, even in supermarkets now, that it's so easy to eat wheat free. As a nation we are pretty much dependent on wheat, some people for every meal. When I'm analysing clients' diets I'm never surprised to see wheat in many different guises at every meal; toast for breakfast, pasta for lunch, cake for a snack, and breaded fish for tea. The body is being drip fed a very (in the main)7 processed grain and it can over time produce an intolerance. How about trying some different grains; rye and spelt breads are available everywhere, and lots of seeded ones too. Try shaking up your diet, it makes life more interesting if nothing else. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same old thing every day.
Today's Food: Protein shake, Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Hazelnut butter on spelt cracker. Peppermint tea (flask whilst watching Ben play footy)
Lunch : Fizzy water. Roast chicken and heaps of vegetables in the Scott's Arms.
Snack: 100% chocolate covered nuts.
Dinner: Poached salmon with roasted vegetables; courgettes, asparagus, onion and carrots.
Peppermint tea.
Day thirty one down - eleven to go!!

Day Twenty Nine - Mood Swings

John deserves a medal for being so patient with me last night and today. My moods have been so erratic, ive been Flying off the handle at the slightest thing, crying, the works. Dont get me wrong I'm never ultra laid back, and calm but even I have to say I'm no joy to live with at the moment. I don't think I've been managing my blood sugar levels very well, and in the past I've perhaps reached for something that will quickly raise them, ie quick release carbs, whereas now everything I'm eating is more slow release.
Slow release is very much better but if I leave it too long between meals and snacks it shows!
So my plan is to eat every few hours; it works for me and should make me more easy to be around (phew, says John!).
Breakfast: Protein shake, coconut cream, berries and cinnamon.
Lunch : Poached salmon, tomato, basil, avacado and cucumber salad.
Dinner : scallops and prawns in herb butter, and chilli, with asparagus .
Drinks: Aloe Vera gel, peppermint tea, water, sparkling water, chamomile tea.
Day twenty nine down - 13 to go!!

Day Thirty - Booze

Wow I can't believe I've done almost thirty days without sugar in my diet. I'm really proud of myself and actually feel that I could quite easily make it a way of life; apart from the occasional glass of quality pink champagne!!
I went out for dinner this evening with a group of girlies; all drinking apart from me (great free taxi home I was!!). This is the first time since starting my diet that I've been out with a crowd who have been drinking. John in the main has been abstaining, to support me, and lose weight himself.
Anyway, I was strong, and to be honest not even tempted to indulge in even a glass. We ended up having a conversation about hangovers and how sulphites(preservatives) in wines are what causes them primarily. That was why a few years ago I started drinking pink champagne, good quality ones at that. They are made using 'turning' methods that create the bubbles and nothing is added. So clear head in the morning! It's also possible to buy organic wines that don't include sulphites (plenty of sites on the Internet).
Holidaying in France is great for hangover free wine, as John and I discovered last year. The local rose was €1.5 a litre, and had no additives! So we had a week drinking with no hangovers in sight.
Todays food :
Breakfast : Protein shake, Aloe Vera gel. Peppermint tea.
Lunch : Sausage casserole. Peppermint and green tea.
Snack: Nuts and blueberries.
Dinner: (Saint Angelo) Garlic chicken with green beans and peas.
Fizzy water, and lime.
Day thirty down, twelve to go!!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Day Twenty Eight - Physio

Just had a great session with a Physio who was recommended by Emma to take a look what's going on with me. I've been a personal trainer for approx six years now and always kept fit and healthy. But for the past two years or more I've had a niggly 'thing' going on in my left hip. It comes and goes, sometimes really painful, sometimes not at all, other times it affects down my leg when I'm driving and into my back at other times. It's been so bad at times that I went privately and had a laparoscopy and a bowel check done to rule out anything sinister. All came back clear. I've had massage, Physio, acupuncture and it relieved it for a while, but didn't totally eliminate it.
I had thought it was connected to my tummy and what's been going on there, and Emma confirmed my suspicion by sending me to this Physio who specialises in visceral work.
Turns out she's been working with Jess Ennis through the Olympics and for the best part of eight years, so I'm in good company.
She manipulated me and reported her findings: my left kidney (the side I feel the hip 'thing') doesn't move at all, and they should both move to a certain extent when we breathe etc. Likewise with my uterus, and the left side of my head and neck is not as it should be either. So, she did some exercises with me, manipulated me, got me to do some breathing .... And my tummy started rumbling; a good sign. This took an hour and already I feel much better in the way my hip is moving. She said this could have been caused by childbirth/an exploratory operation where they pump you full of air, past trauma, car accident etc. but is sure it will be cleared completely in a few sessions. Yeah! Happy with that!
She also said it will help my intestines to operate more optimally, and that was the best news for me because it fits with everything Emma is doing with me.
I so love complementary therapies, and how they can work together holistically. I've never popped pain killers for anything, as it just lulls you into thinking everything's ok when actually its still going on you just can't feel it.
I even opted to have my three children without ANY pain relief because I believed my body was made for child birth and it would know what to do without medical intervention; I was right. Yes, it was painful but not unbearably so and soon forgotten about when baby is born (obviously some people have no choice and this is where for me conventional 'medicine' comes into its own).
Today's food:
Breakfast: Emma's protein shake
Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Coconut pieces with strawberries, cinnamon and coconut cream.
Peppermint tea
Lunch : Left over Bolognaise sauce with ice berg lettuce.
Snack: green apple with hazelnut butter
Dinner: Sausage casserole - home made with courgette, onion, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, green beans and 100% organic meat sausages. Yum.
Day twenty eight down. Fourteen to go!!

Day Twenty Seven- Addictions

I have a client who I've worked with for a number of years, teaching him how to cook healthy meals from scratch. It's most enjoyable for both of us, but for me getting paid for what I love to do anyway (exercise and cook) is fantastic) . When my children ask me what they should do when they grow up, I always say choose something you're passionate about. What's the point of spending years of your life doing something you don't enjoy?
Anyway this particular client was a smoker when I met him; a heavy smoker. But not only was he addicted to nicotine, he was addicted to caffeine too and they went hand in hand. Coffee and a cigarette is lots of people's idea of heaven! My idea of hell but then each to their own....
He works next to a Starbucks too so it makes it easy to fuel his habit.
He never wanted to give up; said when he was told he had a serious health problem then perhaps he might....
This is the same for a lot of people who are 'addicted'. The thought of stopping is just too horrendous to even contemplate. Its their comfort blanket, their security, their best friend. Actually as it turned out for me, the reality is way less scary, but the mind set has to be right. Thats where a book by one of my favourite nutrition chaps comes in . Patrick Holford (who I've mentioned before) has written a book called How To Quit Without Feeling S**T, and its all about ending addictions to sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, illicit or prescription drugs. It's excellent, and his step by step no nonsense approach works so well. For me it highlights what a big 'problem' it is and I know over a million copies of Patricks health books have been sold, in over 36 countries around the world. Definitely an author to look out for.
Breakfast: Protein shake
Lunch: Omlette with watercress,avacado turkey, tomato.
Snack: Crunchy chocolate nuts( macadamia and line nuts coated in 100% chocolate, melted).
Dinner: Bolognaise with iceberg lettuce. This is one of my all time favourites; real comfort food.
Day twenty seven down, fifteen to go.

Day Twenty Six - Variety

I didn't eat many vegetables when I was younger, but have always been into fruit. I'm making up for it now as an adult; veggies are my favourite foods. No really. There is such variety, so many different tastes and they are so versatile. We need variety in our diets and apparently not many of us get it. Its that old 80/20 rule again, that can be applied to anything in life. We eat the same small group of foods around 80% of the time; quite sad given the long list of foods we have available at our finger tips.
I've never eaten so many vegetables before as I am doing at the moment but reading through my blogs today I've realised that I'm tending to eat the same things over and over. I'm loving avacados for their good fat, and tomato and basil salad drizzled with olive oil and always eat heaps of spinach. But the body needs variety and so I'm going to be more mindful of the veg I'm choosing and try to vary my list. That way I'm getting my vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, and my taste buds will never get bored!
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake , aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Lunch: scrambled egg, tomato, onion, lettuce, turkey.
Snack: Xylitol covered chocolate nuts
Dinner: Chicken fajitas without the tortillas! Just chicken and lots of veg, watching the kids make the fajitas!
Dessert: strawberries, coconut cream, 100% chocolate grated.
Day twenty six down, sixteen to go!

Day Twenty Five - Immune System

Wow I can't believe I'm on day twenty five already. Could really do with a glass of champagne! Ha ha only joking, I'm doing just fine without alcohol. I'd rather have a bar of Green and Blacks!
I've just realised today that I've not had a headache since I started this eating plan, my bloated tummy is way better, my nails are long for the first time in ages, my hair is fab and the skin on my face looks 'fresh' ( well as much as it can at 45! Lol!) . I'm eventually sleeping better. I go to bed at 10.30pm and used to work frequently up until midnight, and my energy is constant throughout the day.
I know I'm absorbing my food better and as the saying goes "we are what we absorb", not just what we eat.
We hold over 70% of our immune systems in our gut so the food we put into it can make or break our resistance to niggly health problems and dis-ease. If we constantly bombard our gut with CRAP food, little health issues will occur ; these could be anything from the following list, and they make up why so much money is spent on over-the-counter medication. If this continues the little health issues can develop into full blown disease. Toxic symptoms: headaches, migraines, joint pain, acne, dry skin, fatigue, mood swings, anger, irritability, bad breath, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, sweating, food bingeing , heart burn, indigestion, athletes foot, jock itch, broken sleep, shortness of breath, lack of motivation... and I could go on.Some of these symptoms can be down to other causes but by changing your diet to a clean food/drink one, can eliminate many, many of these symptoms without the need to pop over the counter pills every day.
How much is your health worth to you? It is beginning to become apparent that, as a nation, we are finally coming around to the fact that if we don't have out health we don't have anything. How can we lead long happy independent lives if we are constantly challenged by health issues? and popping pills is not the answer; they can give long term side effects (as I experienced with steroids) which are totally avoidable.
How about investing in your health from today and see how different you feel?
Today's food :
Coconut yoghurt, strawberries, dessicated coconut and cinnamon. Aloe Vera gel, hot water with lemon.
Lunch : chicken and salad, home made.
Peppermint tea
Snack: apple slices with hazelnut butter.
Dinner: pork chop with onions, green beans, broccoli in sesame oil.
Dessert: strawberries in coconut cream with berries.
Fizzy water with lime.
Day twenty five down, seventeen to go!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Day Twenty Four - Protein

Yesterday I ate bacon (organic), salmon, chicken and steak . Wow that sounds like a lot of protein and certainly way more than I'm used to eating. But you know what I actually feel better for it. It's all top quality stuff; organic and local where possible.
Protein is so necessary for the body to function properly. It's needed for brain function, muscles and tissue to repair, build and maintain, and it keeps the blood sugar stable so you feel fuller for longer (to name but a few).That's the biggest bonus in terms of how you can stick to an eating plan. When we overload with carbs we get a quick rise in blood sugar, an instant 'energy release feeling' but with refined carbs this rise quickly drops leaving you wanting more to get that 'feeling' again. The body is never fully satisfied with a diet heavy in refined carbs; it's always wanting more and more and more.... and we miss out on the good stuff that we need.
Carbohydrates obviously have their place, and are one of the major fuel groups allowing the body energy but it's easy to get hooked on the wrong types. The best ones for slower energy relates (low GL) are : whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat/seeded breads, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, basically avoid the white refined stuff unless it's in the 20% of your diet. I always suggest to clients that if they feel the need to eat refined carbs that they do it immediately after a heavy workout. Blood sugar is low here so you can get away with eating something that will offer quick energy. However within 45 minutes of exercising protein needs to consumed as well for recovery.
Today's food :
Breakfast: Aloe Vera gel. Hot water with lemon. Protein shake. Sausages with tomato and greens.
Lunch : Poached salmon and a mixed salad. Peppermint and green tea.
Strawberries and coconut.
Snack: Cashew nuts and cacao nibs.
Dinner: Roast chicken with green beans, broccoli and carrots. Fizzy mineral water with a piece of lime.
Day Twenty four down! Twenty to go!

Day Twenty Three - Whoops

Hurray! My blogger app is working again. Don't know what happened there but the screen froze for some reason.
Anyway, I'm still on the programme!
Had a bit of a challenge today though, and blew it but very temporarily. The kids had a tiny Smartie cake between them after tea (dad bought it, not me) and I cleared the plate away. There were four tiny smarties left on the plate... And I ate them.... Without even thinking about it. And then felt hugely guilty to the point where I wanted to cry. I'm self critical at the best of times and gave myself a real telling off. Have I ruined the whole six weeks, will I have to start again from scratch or will the minimal amount of sugar that I consumed mean if I just get back on the programme all will be ok?
In the end I resorted to reading a chapter of Beyond Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett (who I've quoted before) and she maintains we need to "give ourselves compassion no matter what". We human beings are not perfect. Slips ups are normal,and most people will slip up at some point when
on such a strict programme. Phew! That made me feel a bit better.
Connie says that " self compassion is so critical to your success that from now on, you want to spend a few minutes every day giving it to yourself".
And this is how (again taken from Beyond Sugar Shock) :
- Give yourself some TLC
- Hug yourself
- Accept that everyone makes mistakes
-Silently reassure yourself
-Act like a compassionate figure or someone who loves you
-Do tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique
-Play a favourite soothing tune
And any other ways you can think of, just don't beat yourself up too much.
I immediately got back on my programme and planned my food carefully for the next few days. I realised that when I ate the Smarties I did it almost subconsciously - it wasn't a calculated decision; I realised too late that I'd just popped them in my mouth. How many times do people do this with CRAP food? An extra biscuit, another glass of wine, another piece of chocolate. That's why planning and keeping a record is so key to sticking (in the main) to a programme. It reduces, if not stops (mostly!!!!) this happening because you become more aware of what you're doing.
Today's food :
Breakfast : Aloe Vera. Bacon and iceberg lettuce. Hot water and lemon
Lunch: poached salmon and salad - love this! It's such 'clean' food.
Snack : Strawberries, coconut cream and dessicated coconut with cinnamon.
Dinner: BBQ chicken and steak with salad sitting in the evening sun. Fizzy water.
Peppermint tea during the day and lots of it.
Day twenty three down, nineteen to go!!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Day Twenty Two- Exercise

I've been a big follower of a great fitness guru called Craig Ballantyne for years now.Not sure how I first came across him but he tells it like it is where exercise and diet are concerned; I've taken his advice a lot over the years. One of his biggest covered subjects is that you can't 'Out Cardio A Bad Diet' - meaning that all the exercise in the world will not get you ripped/fit/toned/healthy if your diet is made up of CRAP foods (caffeine, refined, alcohol and processed). Since qualifying as a personal
trainer I've given this advice to clients and coach them to use the 80/20 rule. That is eating well for 80% of the time, means your body is able to handle other 'stuff' the rest of the time. You can have a 'cheat day' a week if this works for you, or you can just have the odd 'treat' during the week to suit. If you're continually eating from the CRAP foods list though, however many times you visit the gym, go for a run etc.. You'll never get a fit and healthy body.
On my No Sugar diet however I'm not even allowed the usual treat foods as they will undoubtedly contain sugar, refined carbs or alcohol. That's why I've been inventing my own sweets, that taste great and it is a treat to eat them but they don't contain any rubbish. It can be done!! Message me if you'd like help cleaning up your diet. It's so easy to get into bad habits, but good habits are not so hard to get into either, and it takes 28 days to create one.. So what are you waiting for?
Breakfast: mixed berries with nuts. Water with lemon.
Lunch :Spaghetti Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce. I love this combination and it's packed full of veggies and top quality grass fed organic beef.
Tea:Salmon tikka with salad, followed by chicken shashlik, lots of onions, tomatoes. Sparkling water with a piece of lime x 2.
Piece of home made chocolate and apple cake- so yummy and the apples make it really moist.
Day twenty to down- twenty to go!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Day Twenty One- Mornings

Johns started his new job this week in teaching; he's hugely excited and I'm sure he'll be amazing. He now has a really early start though and the alarm goes off at 6am! Middle of the night for me; I'm not a morning person. But according to my lovely friend Maria, it's the best time of the day! So in order to spend a bit of time with my lovely man before he gets suited and booted and dashes out of the door I'm getting up with him.....and I'm actually really enjoying it. This morning , in peace and quiet I've been 'inventing' in the kitchen. I've made coconut and berry ice cream, chocolate covered nuts, chocolathe and apple cake and seed crunch cookies, and that's all before 8am! And there's no sugar or refined flour in sight! Wow, even I'm impressed.
Today's food:
Breakfast:Hot water with lemon. Organic nitrate free bacon, avacado, tomato and raw spinach. Water with lemon.
Peppermint tea with Mikey B down by the river in the sun.
Snack: Berries and coconut yoghurt.
Lunch: Garlic prawns with mixed salad
Peppermint tea- two pots with my old friend Pauline, whilst we put the world to rights! (she's not old by the way I've just known her a long time!)
Dinner: Poached salmon with stir fried veggies- onion, asparagus, spinach, peppers, chillies, in sesame oil (John cooked - delicious)
Dessert : Half a chocolate cookie- home made , no sugar.
Day twenty one down, half way there!!! 21 days to go! Yeah!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Day Twenty- Six Basic Human Needs

Earlier this year I went on a two
day course in London, Unleash The Power Within, run by Tony Robbins. My already enlightened friend, Lindsey, recommended it to me knowing I was not in a good place in my life. Tony is the most amazing speaker and coach. He has a gigantic personality, incredible presence and awesome people skills. He's also larger than life - a giant of a man in every sense (please YouTube him- it will be worth it).
I think I learnt more in one weekend than I've ever learnt in my life before until now, and all of it relevant and useful to real life(rather than the square route of something or how to mould perspex to make a mirror stand...)
And the most memorable part is , I believe, relevant to anyone who has sugar cravings, a very sweet tooth, or are addicted to CRAP foods (caffeine, refined, alcohol, processed).
We human beings, Tony Robbins identified, have six basic needs : certainty, uncertainty/variety, significance, love/affection, contribution and growth. Whilst we all have the same six needs, they vary by individual as to how important they are. If your needs, and particularly your key needs, are being met, chances are you'll be happy and content. If they're not, however, it can throw your life completely out of balance. And boy do I know how challenging that is!
Having got divorced five years ago, even though it was civilised, friendly and respectful on both parts (we're still good friends and holiday with our three children together) it threw me big time! All of a sudden I had no security,and no certainty, and I've worked out that these along with love/affection are my key needs. I had a 'wobble', a major 'wobble' for a long time.
I was eating very little and what I did eat, wasn't full of nutrition. I craved sweets and chocolate, and even pink fizz to give me comfort/security/good feelings....and it did, but very temporarily. That's the key word here. Sweet food hits the spot but it's rubbish to your body so your body asks for more food. When you give it more sweet,empty,no nutrient stuff it keeps asking for more, until it gets good food to satisfy. That's how many people, particularly obese people can 'put away' so much fast food. It doesn't satisfy them, so they keep eating. There is no STOP button! So inside emotionally I still felt empty. I lost weight and my skin condition deteriorated, and my moods were very up and down.
To cut a long story short I'm much better than I was, but still am challenged with the security and certainty issues. I now feel loved, but keep pushing to get the other two in all areas of my life, and it's slow coming.
Tony helped amazingly by helping me change my pattern. It's easy for us to get stuck in a rut of negative behaviour and food is often playing a very large part in this. My six week no sugar journey has thrown up my insecurities again, as I have lost my 'crutch'. John is great; he's helping me through my mood swings by being patient and reassuring.
How about you take a look at your needs and which are most important to you. Tony suggests scoring them out of ten in terms of importance, and then scoring them out of ten, positive ten or negative ten as to whether they are currently being met! It's an enlightening exercise and may throw up some stuff that you don't really want to deal with. Are you comforting yourself with food? Are you making up for aspects of your life not meeting a need by drinking too much alcohol? By eating too much cake? By reaching for the biscuits? Food for thought.
Tony has many books available on the Internet. I can highly recommend any and all of them. He also has a CD/DVD collection available to help personal relationships. It challenges everything about us and how we work/live/love/co-habit with others, and why and how we live with certain learnt behaviour and patterns that create the structure of our lives. It's often something that can be changed very simply and easily and he offers techniques to do this. Tony prides himself on helping as many people around the world as he possibly can, and has a special passion to make the world a better place. I'm not worthy.......
Today's food:
Breakfast : Protein shake/blueberries
Lunch: turkey, asparagus, hummus, black olives, grated carrot. Coconut pudding.
Dinner: Bolognaise sauce with iceberg lettuce. Chocolate mousse. Mineral water with lime.
Lots of cold water because it's been so hot today.
Day twenty done! Twenty two days to go!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Day Nineteen - Thank you

I'm delighted that my blog is creating so much positive interest. Thanks for all your messages and feedback. I'm almost half way there - although I have more tests at the end of six weeks to see if it's been successful. My gut feels better and my skin is showing signs of improvement. Nothing done naturally is ever a quick fix, not like chemical medicines that sometimes just push the symptoms down or away from the surface temporarily. Emma did warn me to be patient, and I have to say its not one of my strong points!
But I've surprised myself with my will power and am loving looking at food in a different way. What I'm eating is giving me sustained energy and not a quick burst like a lot of processed foods do. Sugary foods will always spike blood sugar, and give a temporary 'lift' but the reason we often reach for more quite quickly is because your blood sugar will drop again rapidly.
Alcohol and white flour products,that are heavily refined,will do just the same. It quickly becomes a vicious cycle of 'topping up' rather than using real food that your body will recognise as good food and thank you for, by being satisfied for longer.
Today's food:
Breakfast: protein shake (Emma's recommendation ) with blueberries.
Lunch : Thai fish cakes left over from
Last night, with basil and tomato salad with olive oil. Water.
Dessert: Possible Pie with blackberries. My mum makes a sweet called Impossible Pie; coconuts , eggs, sugar etc and it separates as it cooks and ends up in layers. I adapted the recipe and used coconut flour, coconut milk and xylitol instead of the traditional ingredients to see what would happen. The result was that it didn't separate but it tastes delicious! So I named it Possible Pie.
Snack: Mixed nuts and peppermint tea.
Litre of cold water this afternoon in the sun!
Dinner: White fish (from M and S, can't remember the name but it began with a p) Thai butter, and asparagus and oak choi. Delicious . Sparkling mineral water with lime.
Tonight we attempted to make a chocolate biscuit recipe. It was an interesting experiment ; John loved the cookie dough before it was cooked, my kids didn't like it at all, and I liked the end result but they are extremely rich. Recipe to follow at a later date.
Day Nineteen down! 23 days to go!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Day Eighteen - Hydration

Just realised over the last few days I've been feeling really thirsty, and it's definitely not from too much salt in my diet ! Lol! I think I've been so focused on my food I've been neglecting my liquid intake.
I love peppermint tea so much I could have it intravenously and my body prefers warm drinks to cold, so if I don't have a kettle or flask near by I have a tendency not to get enough fluids in (apart from during and after exercising). I'm blogging about it as a reminder to me but also to you guys- getting water on board and in sufficient quantities is vital . If we don't our body's cant function properly and it can lead to all sorts of malfunctions; the most common for me are headaches and constipation, neither of which I want thank you very much.
So, as awareness is the first step for change, here goes...tomorrow I'll be taking a litre bottle of water out and about with me, alongside my hot herbal teas. Easy to gauge how much you have if you take it with you.
Today's food:
Breakfast: Emma's protein shake with blueberries and oils. Peppermint tea. Aloe Vera gel.
Snack: Mixed nuts. Chamomile tea.
Lunch: Thinly sliced turkey with loads of tomatoes, olive oil and basil. Green tea.
Mid afternoon: Two cups of peppermint tea, small piece of leftover Fake key lime pie.
Dinner : Coq au vin at my mums : delicious! With broccoli and carrots.Water.
Dessert : Blueberries and strawberries whilst everyone else tucked into lemon pudding/impossible pie/ice cream/Celebrations chocolates. Ooh do I feel virtuous! Peppermint tea.
Feel asleep at 9.30pm with Nat!
Day Eighteen down, 24 to go!