24 June 2013

Quitting sugar....

The official launch of #50daysnosugar commences on 1 July... I decided to do it a week early to really get in control of not eating the entire contents of the work lolly jar for a week before the "start date".  I have to do that... I do things the hard way.

So I commenced yesterday, woke up feeling great after a night of bubbles/cocktails and karaoke cooked the birthday boy pancakes & bacon for breakfast and I had scrambled eggs, bacon & avocado with a black coffee. SCRUMPTIOUS. Love a good breakfast like that on the weekend.  We then went to the movies, another sugar temptation & I was good and brought my home-made protein balls and some strawberries to have with my 2nd long black of the day. Delicious.  Not thinking "I can't have" I was just thinking "what can I replace maltesers with"... the mind is a powerful tool isn't it? Classic.

We went out to Barzura in Coogee for dinner last night to continue the celebration of the Festival of Drew. We have always gone had breakfast at Barzura, but never dinner. They were doing a full moon, love ambiance vibe with no lights and just candles, so pretty nice actually.   The dessert menu looked divine but we both didn't order any, I actually had oysters for entree instead & Drew had a bourbon and coke. Delicious. Again simple decision to not make a fuss and get all flustered about "sweet stuff".  Oysters with shallots and Worcestershire Sauce, oh my!

The no sugar thing is really easy - it is just saying no to the lolly jar at work and all the pre-made chocolate/desserts that are in the shops.  Ordering off a menu at a restaurant is easy and since the birthday celebrations are over, it is time to get saving and shape up for our wedding in 10months time! AHHHH.

So it is all mind over matter at this stage, obviously because it is all new and exciting.  I entered a competition a few months ago and today I received my prize - a tub of vital protein, pea protein powder - no dairy, no sugars.... coffee flavoured. Scrumptious.  My afternoon snacks are complete.

It will be interesting to see if I have any "cravings" for sugar. Will work out if they are all in my mind or not.......   I look forward to trying some of the recipes I got in the plan from Nat. Instagram pictures here we come!!

My body measurements are all done.  Food shopping delivered on weekend, menu ideas ready to go & have my training plan for the week all ready to go.  Planning is vital.

Check it out for yourself http://www.50daysnosugar.com.au/

20 June 2013

3 more sleeps until I quit sugar for good!

ARE YOU MAD? I hear you ask.. nope not mad, well ok a little but sometimes can be a little smart also.  What is the one thing that holds me back from achieving my goals I asked myself, binging on sugar.  And when I have to start trying on wedding dresses, it is amazing at the willpower one can tap into. I have always needed an end goalto strive for to help me get motivated, not just because I want to. Am an Aries, very stubborn, but when I want something I will strive hard.  

The reason for this goal is to improve my health, longevity, increase my energy, reduce afternoon slumps and to look healthy & feel it too.

The wonderful Natalie Carter from Outlook Fitness has created this fantastic challenge.  Check out the great page, Natalie has created a handy booklet that you can get to assist you if you are too wanting a healthy challenge. http://www.50daysnosugar.com.au/
Cannot wait to share the journey with you all - my ups and downs, before and after piccies, new recipes and eventually my success and that great feeling of believing in myself enough to do this challenge which will make me feel better, less bloated, have more energy and shed some unwanted pounds in the process. 
Starts officially on the 1 July, the anniversary of when Nat created the 50 days no sugar program, I am starting it earlier. Because I can!

18 June 2013

Don's Favourite Healthy Recipes....

I always share pictures or descriptions of the yummy healthy food that I cook and eat and I thought I would share with you some of my favourite recipes.  Some I have whipped up myself and others I have been inspired by other people!  So much fun trying new things.  I love left overs for breakfast.

(great for the weekend, or cook the night before and reheat at work)
Put the following into a food processor/blender:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup skim milk or light coconut milk or water if you don’t drink either
3 egg whites
1 full egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
Blend together to a nice pancake mixture and fry in coconut oil or olive oil – less is best…. Hot pan – depends on if you like little pancakes or big ones as to how many this serves.  I normally use this as two breakfasts, putting the mixture in an air tight container for the next day or so.
For CHOC pancakes, add a scoop of chocolate protein powder to the mix.
Serve with Greek yoghurt, coconut flakes and fresh strawberries/blueberries or your fav fruit!

Green Smoothie
Love a good green smoothie before I head off to work, this is a great way to get some good nutrients quickly into your body before the day starts – my morning multi vitamin. My favourite mix so far is:

2 handfuls baby spinach
½ cup chopped pineapple
½ banana
1 cup water
1 tsp coconut oil
Blend together, ensure all the stems are blended, pour and drink. Delicious. I added a kiwi fruit the other day – yummy…. Added a little sweet tang.

Scrambled eggs on avo/vegemite rye toast

Simple, yummy and soo good for you! 
2 slices rye bread
1/2 avocado
2 tsp vegemite
3 egg whites
1 full egg

Scrambled up the egg and put on toast with avocado and vegemite. A quick favourite.

Egg Muffins
These are great for breakfast, lunch or snacks! They freeze well too.  You can bulk them up with any protein and vegetables that you like.

You can either use muffin tins sprayed with olive oil or put cupcake patties in the muffin trays or onto an oven tray.

*Do not overfill if you are just putting in patties on a tray, they might expand

Makes 16-20 egg muffins
10 -12 eggs whisked well (use whole eggs)
1 shallot
2 zucchini
3 big handfuls of spinach
1 cup  roasted capsicum (red and/or yellow)
6-8 slices of cooked bacon or sliced ham
Fresh basil
salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees, grease with olive oil two muffin pans (or one at a time depending on your pan situation). Whisk all your eggs in a big bowl. In a food processor throw in the shallot, zucchini, bacon, and peppers and process until finely chopped but NOT smooth (yuck…).  Add this mixture to your eggs.  Throw your spinach into the processor and finely chop and also add to your eggs. Mix the egg mixture well and using a 1/4 measuring cup, fill the muffin pans Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle. 

Allow to cool for 15-20mins before putting in fridge or freezer. I use glad bags and freeze two at a time, they are ready to go!  Serve with a green salad, avocado and homemade salsa! YUM

Baked eggs 
I so love this on the weekend or even a cheeky mid week dinner, if you have ramekin dishes these are perfect.... 

I use tinned tomatoes, you could make your own tomato mix and add fresh herbs, garlic
Fry off some onion, chorizo (or bacon) mushrooms if you fancy, do not overcook
Mix in with tomatoes/herbs, place in ramekin dish and crack egg on top (two if dish fits)
Bake for about 15-20mins at 160degrees

Serve with avocado, salsa and spinach

Quick homemade salsa

2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt, pepper, and garlic (to taste)

Combine tomatoes, onion, pepper and lime juice
Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste
Store fresh homemade salsa in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Oats with Banana

30g oats cooked in microwave with water or coconut milk (just covering)
Cook for 45seconds
Stir in 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder, cook for another 10-15 seconds
Stir in banana or strawberries

Baked chicken, with paprika, lemon garlic (great for large batches for left overs)

500g - 1kg chicken breast or thighs (your choice, I love thighs myself)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes/or fresh
2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 tsp garlic
Put 500g to a 1kg of chicken breasts (sliced in half ) or thighs (with skin, or without, your choice) in a oven proof dish.

Mix paprika, lemon, garlic into a paste and pour over chicken   Cover chicken with lid or foil.

Bake at 180degrees for 20-25mins, taking cover off for last 5mins.
*For something different, add chorizo and pineapple to the mix. Delish.

Chicken or Turkey patties

500g chicken or turkey mince
1 chopped brown onion
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1 egg whiskey
1/2 cup grated carrot

Mix all items in a bowl with salt & pepper and roll into small balls, flatten out and cook in olive oil or coconut oil.  You could use this as a meatball recipe, roll smaller and bake in the oven in a tomato & basil sauce.

Great for breakfast, snacks, with veggies and salad for lunch! Freeze well.

Simple Curry
Seriously, the internet nowadays is a great resource, I have so many favourite links stored with recipes.  This one I started using this recipe late last year and found it easy, which should be the whole point of cooking. I always have coconut milk and curry paste in my cupboard - just add fresh ingredients depending on your mood! I love a red fish curry with green beans and sweet potato.  
* use light coconut milk if you want, Ayam brand is best. Don't be afraid to use full fat. serve with steamed vegetables or just have on own. If for lunch serve with brown rice.

 Baked Fish

When I get home from the gym and could eat a horse, this is what I whip up.

Put fish fillets (any kind of white fish or salmon) on tin foil
Mix up soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chilli and a little lemon
Pour over fish fillets
If you have a bit of time, marinate the fish in the marinade for 10-15mins then put in oven
Bake in oven for 20-25mins or until cooked, 180 degrees
Serve with steamed vegetables (bok choy, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli) or with some sweet potato mash if you fancy.

Bunless Burgers
Great for Friday night when you want to relax, have an easy dinner with a glass of red.

Beef patties (Angus ones are nice from Coles) or make your own (similar to turkey.chicken patties)
1 brown onion, sliced, cooked in olive oil
2 slices lean bacon, grilled
3 large mushrooms, sliced and cooked sep
1 egg cooked to your liking
Put pattie, onions, mushrooms, bacon, egg on top of each other and top with beetroot, tomato, sliced gherkins - any salad you like and enjoy!  

Protein Balls

These are great if you really feel like eating bad processed chocolate or lollies - these are a great treat, you can make them and freeze them in sep bags and they will be a much healthier option.  I wouldn't eat daily.....

200g almond meal
1tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
10 dates (chopped super fine)
1 scoop your favourite flavour of protein powder (I love Tony Sfeir's natural or pea protein) choose one with low sugar and less crap added in.
1 tbsp almond butter or natural peanut butter
Mix in a little water to get a good "ball rolling" consistency and roll in coconut

Chocolate Dessert

1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (casein or egg if at night time)
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence or almond essence
Mix together and let set in the freezer for 5-10minutes, serve with slivered almonds or strawberries.

Fresh, delicious, colourful and easy to prepare dishes.  Do not be afaid to eat healthy foods everyday - do not starve yourself this WILL NOT make you healthier and fitter in the long run - just stuffs up your bodies metabolism and you want that baby firing with great fuel.

Dressing on salads, make them fresh with lemon juice and herbs. Have greek yoghurt with lemon, garlic, dill etc. Make things fresh. When shopping, stick to the outside of the supermarket except for cleaning products etc. Do not think that muesli bars and packaged health foods are GOOD for you. 

12 June 2013

Why cravings?

In a nutshell if you eat any type of carbohydrate (simple, complex, fibrous) on their own your pancreas will release insulin, causing an insulin spike.  What goes up must come down, causing your body to "crave" more of the same to get the levels up again.
Mixing simple, complex & fibrous carbs with proteins/fats will keep your levels regular and allow your body to function smoother.

Another note is that your "pleasure" receptors of the brain know your habits & your mind has already been programmed by you to say yes to want that second slice of cake because you usually do or have those biscuits with your tea etc. That is why breaking the habits is hard - your body dosen't want chocolate like you think it just wants a quick energy boost.... by keeping your levels steady you will reduce cravings.

Being hungry isn't good for you, you won't burn more fat as your body goes into starvation mode. Fuel it properly to function efficiently.

Ensure you eat fresh food daily with proteins at each meal to keep you full & ensure you eat a serving daily  healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, almonds etc)

11 June 2013

Thinking outside the box.......

As I continue to hobble around with my stupid meniscus tear in my left knee I am planning to keep this body in shape, train hard and not do any further damage to my knee(s).   Pending further catch ups with my physio will set myself some upper body and core challenges this week.  Have had a nice week of adjusting to the crutches and trying to sleep comfortably.... then a nice four day long weekend off in the countryside,  it is time to get back into training....

Positives about knee injury:-
* Slow this gal down just a little, re-group, finally booked in to see knee surgeon (le sigh)
* Upper body will get a great workout, lots of high-intensity training
* Push ups and pull-ups will ALL be proper ones, definitely NO sneaky on the knees when I get tired     after doing 30ish....
* Sit ups with legs slightly extended
* Nutrition will be 100% clean (did I mention first bout of wedding dress try-ons in 8 weeks)
* Continue with single leg isolation work (got to keep the VMO active)
* Lower back work continues - switch on glutes, lower back, hammies
* Time to try out the new Alfred pooool near Central station - lots of lateral movement
* Boxing standing on one leg???

Love training in Winter, time to keep it up! Bring it on!

10 June 2013

Weekend away - wine, cheese & no social media please!

Seeing the stars so clear at night, the fresh air, birds singing, kangaroos bouncing around the fence line and the smell of open fires just relaxed me over the last three days. With champers, bubble baths, red wine, strawberries, sleep-ins I truly felt like I had gotten away from the hustle and bustle.  We just had three days wandering around the countryside, checking out some wineries and other shops in the area. Bliss.  Our wine rack is full and we are looking forward to sharing with friends over dinners and events over the next couple of months.

So now, am sitting on the couch whilst it is raining, hot coffee in hand, downloading pictures of the weekend with a sleeping kitty next to me & thinking my life is pretty good.   It has been a while since we both went away (July last year) and really needed some r&r....  I decided that part of this relax and rediscover the Hunter Valley was for me to have a little break from social media. 

I am always on my phone reading something whether it is a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... amazing how our lives have transformed into "I must just post this"! Wonder how we would all function if we were to (god forbid) leave our phones at home for a long weekend.  If I didn't use it as a camera and phone I may have.  I was amazed at how little tempted I was to have a look on Facebook over the weekend, I wasn't too fussed really, I noticed that we weren't at dinner on our phones or at drinks on our phones, so that was lovely. No interruptions just quality time together.

Whilst away I read the paper both print and online, I googled restaurants, google mapped our way to our hotel.... still felt like I was connected.  Did hear the odd Facebook update from Drew as he checked his page a couple times (more for the Coogee United soccer game he missed) and realised that nothing changes much in three days (obviously).  Was quite refreshing to not be online in that capacity and read about other peoples stresses with buses being late, kids, work, sports etc. Was nice to concentrate on my own time with Drew. We have just found our location for our wedding ceremony and reception, so it was nice to just chat about that over a few drinks, discuss our guest list (ahhh how hard is that to get numbers down) and ideas for the most important part - The Honeymoon!

So pictures are posted on Facebook and some on Instagram and I feel organised. Time to enjoy a quiet evening in front of the tv with some red wine. Four day week, bring it on.

6 June 2013

Going offline..... see you soon.

Would you get anxious if you couldn't access Facebook or Twitter or your email account?  Are we overloaded by social media? What would really happen if you didn't access your social media platforms for a couple of days or a week or two? 

Yes you probably could still send updates/tweets using a scheduler, but what would you MISS by not checking in, updating and posting everyday?  Peoples workouts, coffees, pets, motivation piccies, do you really NEED to know all that everyday?

I know I do it without even realising sometimes, go to reach for my phone to text someone and get lost in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a bit and then think, "what was I doing again"!? Or spend ages taking a picture of my food before eating it (even though I am starving) just so the world can be inspired by my version of clean eating or being creative.

So for the next four days I am switching off social media. No access at all.  No pictures from our trip to the Hunter Valley or checking in to make people wish they were there. Nada.   

Three things I know I will do:* Read the newspaper over my coffee, print version* Enjoy the time away from busy city with my fiance*Eat well and drink copious amounts of wine

See you on the flip side....