Archive | September, 2012

Nomnom home-baked kale chips

17 Sep

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With its luscious looks and myriad nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder kale is blooming in popularity.

Nutritionists have been raving about the dark green leafy vegetable, heralding it as a ‘nutritional powerhouse’. And it’s easy to see why with these health benefits:

  • Has zero fat and just 36 calories in 1 cup
  • Aids digestion
  • Filled with fibre
  • High in iron, vitamin K, A and C which boost immunity and maintain health and wellbeing
  • It contains several powerful antioxidants including carotenoids and falvonoids
  • Keeps your liver healthy and is an ideal detox food
  • Has more calcium than milk

Kale is also low in cholesterol and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against asthma, autoimmune disease and a range of other conditions.

So when I spotted a box overflowing with vibrant bunches of fresh kale at the Marrickville farmers’ markets on the weekend, I couldn’t resist grabbing a bunch. Especially since it only cost $2 a bunch – that’s cheaper than a chocolate bar!

I was excited to try making my own oven-baked kale chips. Here’s how to do it:

What you need

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs oil of your choice (I used olive oil)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees C
  • Break the kale into 5cm strips. According to Sarah Wilson, the stalks can cause digestive issues, so throw them away
  • Pour the oil and sprinkle salt over the leaves
  • Line the leaves on the tray, careful not to let them overlap
  • Bake the kale for around 5 minutes, or until they’re crispy

There you have it – a quick, healthy and addictive snack that will keep you energised between meals.

Aside from chips, you might like to enjoy kale in a salad, soup, pasta or boiled. I might even try a few variations in coming weeks and let you know how it goes. 🙂

Have you tried making kale chips? How else do you eat kale?

What to do when you only lose…gulp…200 grams

17 Sep

I weighed myself last Wednesday. Three weeks in to the 12 Week Body Transformation and, after having lost 2kgs in my first week, I was looking forward to another grand loss.

Instead, I stepped on the scales and lost a measly 200 grams! I thought the scales might be faulty (they’re brand new. They’re electric. I ignored these facts), so I weighed myself again. Again, the scales flashed a 200g loss.

WHAT?!

“But I’ve been so good,” I wailed to myself. I’d kept to 1200 calories and  busted my butt burning 500 calories each day. I’d stopped snacking and only had one takeaway meal. So what was the deal?

I took a few deep breaths. I put the scales away and I celebrated my weight loss, albeit a small one. I patted myself on the back for sticking to the program, developing healthier habits and staying disciplined.

I think it’s important for us to realise that some days just aren’t sparklers. We don’t get a ‘wow’ result. But on those days, rather than throw in the towel (such as scoffing six Mint Slices), we need to regain our focus and try again the next day.

It’s all about consistency

Self-improvement is all about being consistent. It’s about developing new habits to replace the ones that have been holding us back. While I had a piddly weight loss this week, next week I might surprise myself. In fact, I’m already planning to go harder in my workouts  and chuck in a few extra push-ups and tricep dips at the end of each session.

I’m convinced that by showing up, being consistent and just getting on with  it, I’ll get the results I crave.

Besides, I’m already feeling lighter, leaner and more vibrant. It’s not all about the number on the scales – it’s about how we feel, how we treat our bodies and what we learn along the way.

Do you agree? 🙂

I try…working out without waiting for motivation

15 Sep

 

Ah-ha!

Yes, I’ve had an Oprah ‘ah-ha’ moment!

It slapped me right across the face…and left a big red mark.

After years of waiting for motivation to strike before committing to an exercise routine, I’ve JUST discovered that I no longer need to wait.

Nope, no waiting.

Why?

Well, I’d like to begin by thanking Michelle Bridges. I reckon I’m fairly clued up on the health and fitness front. I’m forever studying the latest nutritional info and research. I’m always trying out new tips, techniques, recipes and routines. Heck, I’ve carved a career out of writing about it!

And yet, I had never had one small snippet of advice impact me in such a profound way.

Here’s what Michelle says about motivation: it’s like a bad boyfriend – never around when you need it.

After giggling like a schoolgirl, I realised she’s right. Motivation is too flaky. When I lay out my exercise clothes at night, motivation promises it’ll show up in the morning. It assures me that we’ll both go out for an exhilarating run and burn a  million calories and look freaking fabulous! And then we’ll do it again the next day, and the next, and the next  until I’m the best version of myself, rocking a polka-dot bikini on Bondi Beach.

But the next day, motivation turns its phone off. Or it stays out late and doesn’t come home. It leaves me there, in my room, peeping at the alarm clock, moaning and rolling back over in bed. Meh, if motivation isn’t here, what’s the point? I’ll just lie here and try and reason with myself until motivation shows. I’m sure he’ll be along any minute. Any….an…y….minute…..zzzzzzz

Yep – motivation is one. big. fat. joke. Humph.

Say sayonara to motivation

Once I realised that waiting for motivation was just an excuse I used to get out of exercise, I wondered what the solution was. How do I shift my thinking from needing motivation to just getting on with it?

And, naturally, the answer came from the uber-helpful Michelle Bridges. If you’re part of her tribe, you’ll hear the term JFDI bandied about. Quite simply, it means ‘just f-ing do it!’

Sorry to swear, but I reckon this is a message we all need to hear. Forget waiting for inspiration to strike, give up on reasoning with yourself and JUST DO IT! Pull on your sneakers, turn  up the tunes and get out there.

Here’s (no one) looking at you kid

In the past, my favourite excuse for ditching a workout was telling myself that people would point and laugh. “They’ll judge me; they’ll think I’m too fat to wear a fuchsia top.” So rather than getting out there, I deliberated in my room for far too long, lost interest and gave up on exercise. For good.

But here’s the thing I realised – no one cares about me! They’re all thinking about themselves – what their boss said to them, what they need to buy for dinner, whether they’re meeting their mortgage repayments. Like me, they’re only worrying about themselves.

Ah-ha!

So now, I don’t worry about what other people will think. I simply slip on a pair of sunnies, crank up my iPod and work out like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t.

Do you wait for motivation to strike before working out? Or are you a JFDI advocate? I’d love to hear your insights, tips, struggles and successes. Let me know by commenting below! 🙂

x Kat

The perfect snack for hot chip lovers

15 Sep

It’s the weekend and you have a hankering for a tasty, salty, lip-smacking treat. But you’d like it sans calories, fat and other nasties, thank you very much!

If you’re a hot chip lover like me, then you’re going to love this healthy snack I just whipped up.

Introducing my Super Spicy Sweet Potato Chips!

What you need

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1tbs olive oil or another heart-friendly vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp Cajun seasoning (check the salt content before you buy)

Nutritional info

Think of these as a ‘sometimes’ snack. I recommend sharing them with someone. 🙂

Serves: 2 (if having it as a snack)

Calories: approx 140 per serve (depending on sweet potato size. I recommend adding each ingredient to a calorie tracker like My Fitness Pal.)

Fat: approx 9g per serve

How to make it

This one is so easy, you could probably do it with your eyes closed. Please don’t though – that could get messy.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Peel the sweet potato (it’s best not to wash it after it’s peeled, as the oil won’t stick and your chips could go soggy)
  3. Cut the potato in half
  4. Cut each half into 5cm x 1cm chips (these are ‘ish’ measurements – you just  need to cut them to resemble chips)
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the chips on the tray (don’t worry about lining them up just yet)
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chips. Don’t drown them; they should glisten
  7. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning and black pepper over the chip pile
  8. Smoosh the chips around with your fingers to coat them in the oil and seasoning
  9. Line the chips up on the tray, with an even space between them. It’s really important not to let them touch, as otherwise they’ll sweat and go soggy
  10. Place the tray in the oven
  11. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the chips over
  12. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until they are soft and brown
  13. Pull the tray out of the oven, pour the chips into a bowl and…..EAT THEEEEM! YUM!

That’s it! A super filling, super scrummy and super easy recipe for hot chips! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat my chips in front of a chick flick. Ahhh, I love weekends. 🙂

Oops, I had a Maxibon

13 Sep

Last night, I cooked a deliciously healthy meal for The Lad and me: lamb cutlets on a bed of minted peas, lemon, ricotta and spicy sweet potato.

I added it to My Fitness Pal and completed the day just a few calories short of my daily allowance.

And then I had a Maxibon. It was calling to me from the freezer at the 7-Eleven. ‘Eaaaat me, Kat! Eaaaaat meeeee!’ All it took was for The Lad to grab one for himself, and my resolve was unraveled.

I’ll admit, it tasted a-ma-zing. And, having already made the decision to eat it, I really enjoyed the snack. I savoured its sweetness, delighted in the crunchy texture and devoured it in minutes.

In the past, I would have beaten myself up about scoffing something that wasn’t in  my nutrition plan. I would have eaten it guiltily and tried to pretend it never happened.

Acknowledge and move on

Now? I no longer beat myself up. I acknowledge that I went a bit cray-cray and try to understand why I did. I know I ate the Maxibon because I wanted to reward myself for sticking to my fitness plan. I realise how illogical that is!

I’ve decided that next time I want to reward myself, I’ll go to the movies, have a epsom salt bath or read a magazine. I’ll find food-free ways to pat myself on the back.

Here’s something I’m learning – life is for living. If that means I want to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then, I’ll do it and enjoy it. If I feel like counteracting that with a few more lunges or going for a run, I’ll do it and enjoy it. I’ll celebrate my decisions and applaud myself for being in control of those decisions.

And if I feel like it, I’m going to have a Maxibon. Who’s with me? 🙂

My latest discovery – the farmers’ markets

10 Sep

 

Last week, my grocery bill came in at $70. For one week’s food. For one person. I was floored!

The eating plan I’m following as part of Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT has a focus on fresh, filling, clean foods. There’s hardly a pre-packaged product in the entire menu. Instead, my shopping basket is filled with veggies, fruit, eggs, nuts, fish and meat. It’s not exactly an indulgent way to eat!

I came to the conclusion that supermarkets are super expensive. So I’ve started searching for a more affordable alternative.

Enter the farmers’ market

Thankfully, I live in an area of Sydney where organic farmers’ markets are all the rage. Even cafe menus in the inner west boast a spread of organic, farm fresh ingredients.

So when a friend invited me along to check out the Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers’ Market, I grabbed my green bags and sprinted down to Addison Road.

I was immediately staggered by the array of vibrant, juicy, delectable produce on display. Boxes were brimming with bright spring fruits, ripe greens and luscious herbs. I spied succulent strawberries, knobbly sweet potatoes and perfectly round organic button mushrooms. Rows of spelt bread loaves and gluten-free treats adorned makeshift stalls; the rich scent of just-roasted nuts lingered.

With so much on offer, I quickly filled my bags with a week’s worth of groceries. While I wasn’t able to find any meat (though there were many scrummy-looking vegetarian dishes on offer), I ticked almost all the items off my shopping list.

The savings

It wasn’t just the quality of produce that put a skip in my step. I was absolutely floored by the difference in price. Even with a few organic ingredients thrown into my basket, my wallet ended up just $14 lighter! Yes, $14 for a full week’s worth of vegetables, fruit and unprocessed snacks.

Even once I visit the butcher for a few lamb chops and kangaroo steaks, my bill won’t come close to last week’s ridiculous $70 bill.

The verdict? Farmers’ markets are a godsend for those of us on a budget. I’m planning to get down there every Sunday to stock up on fresh produce.

The only trick is avoiding the sweet treats – there are so many stalls brimming with calorie-laden cakes, cookies, creams and chocolates!

I’ve lost 2kgs…and hope they’re not under the couch!

9 Sep

Woohoo! I’ve been doing Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) for two weeks and have already lost two kilograms!

They were bloody hard to lose, let me tell you. I’ve been burning 500 calories a day, sticking to a 1200 calorie a day nutrition plan and trying to make better choices.

Every morning, before getting stuck into my freelancing work, I switch on a workout DVD, push the living room furniture aside and turn into a sweaty, red-faced mess! It’s definitely easier to work out first thing, before I have time to make excuses and start work. Plus, I end up getting so gross that I’m desperate for my morning shower!

The challenges

The hardest thing so far has been resisting temptation when The Lad tucks into a calorie-laden, full-fat delight. I’ve always justified overindulging by saying, ‘If they get to eat it, I can too.’

Of course, thinking like that is what made me overweight in the first place. Now I realise that just because I can have something, doesn’t mean I should. Plus The Lad is one of those men who can eat virtually anything and never put on a pound.

Losing those first two kilograms has given me to push to silence that voice and keep on track. Eventually, I hope to get to the point where I can taste a treat without wolfing it down and feeling a rush of guilt. I hope to enjoy, not overindulge. Savour, not scoff.

Giving my liver a break

While I’m two weeks into the 12WBT, I’m also one week into the detox that my naturopath prescribed. After her whizz-bang electronic scales calculated my metabolic rate as 44 (44? But I’m younger than 30!), we decided that while I endeavour to lose weight on the 12WBT, I should also cleanse my liver and body with a much-needed detox.

Each morning, I take a few herbal supplements (including an icky-tasting powder that I mix in water) and enjoy the headache that crops up in the afternoon. Without coffee, gluten and dairy, my body is struggling somewhat. GAA! GIMME CHOCOLATE! CHEESE! BREAAAAAD!

That being said, I’m really enjoying the light feeling from avoiding those foods. Like many people, I find bread and dairy weigh me down and cause all sorts of tummy troubles. The longer I avoid it, the healthier I’m feeling.

I hope next week will be less draining and I’ll find renewed energy as I finish the detox and keep up my new nutrition and exercise regime.

Are you doing the 12WBT? I’d love to know how you’re going – please comment below. 🙂

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