Tag Archives: nutrition

Saturday snack: hemp and honey

15 Feb

Peckish and parched, I’ve just walked home from a lazy morning at the Australian Open of Surfing in Manly. 

It’s muggy. A humid haze has settled over Sydney. It’s thirsty weather. And I’m suddenly ravenous. 

Facing a bare fridge and near-empty pantry, I’ve improvised. Made up a simple snack that’s a superfood medley. A mash-up of natural goodness.

Introducing…

Hemp and Honey Mash-up

Image

 

What’s in it:

  • Bee pollen: one of nature’s most complete proteins.
  • Hemp seeds: an awesome anti-inflammatory protein source.
  • Chia seeds: a gluten-free, high protein, calcium, iron and potassium-packed wonder food.
  • Cacao nibs: raw chocolate with a big dose of magnesium and more antioxidants than berries.
  • Goji berries: the most nutritionally dense food on the planet.
  • Natural honey: to add sweetness and stick it all together.

Mix it up and voila! You have a protein-packed snack that will ward off the hunger gremlin.

Enjoy!

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!

Today I…have the dreaded sugar comedown

21 May

They look so sweet and innocent…

I co-hosted a garden party for my nearest and dearest yesterday. I whipped up vanilla cupcakes, topped with pink and yellow butter-cream icing. Chocolate coconut slice was laid out on platters, alongside chocolate crackles, carrot cake and other sugar-laden goodies.

It was a delightful day and I indulged in a little bit of everything. Even though I’d been easing myself back into a sugar-free diet in recent weeks, I felt I deserved a little treat.

And then…part way through a conversation, my speech sped up. I felt anxious and my hands were shaking.

It had arrived – the sugar high.

I was flying! What a feeling! My friends and I, filled with food, got the giggles and collapsed on the couch in fits of laughter. I reached for another cupcake, another hit. Weeee! More sugar!

And then…after everyone had gone home and the last dish was washed, I slumped. I was utterly exhausted and had to drag myself off to bed.

It had arrived – the sugar crash.

Ugh.

I crawled under the doona, looking forward to a restful night’s sleep.

And then it was 1.30 and I was still wide awake. With sugar surging through my body, I twitched and tossed and turned, willing for sleep to arrive.

What was going on? My body was depleted, it needed sleep. Yet my brain was on an endless treadmill of thoughts. I tried reading, I tried meditating. Nothing would switch it off.

On top of that, my stomach was a sickly, swirly pit of nausea.

Eventually, I drifted off. And I woke up feeling terrible.

It’s a frightening feeling, having little control over your body. Desperate for sleep but being unable to switch off. Having such a potent substance swirling through every system. I can see now why David Gillespie calls it ‘sweet poison.’

Quitting sugar…again

I’m going to view yesterday’s gorge-fest as a final hurrah. A salute to sugar. Thanks for the fun (and the crappy hangover!), but now this body needs to get back to living cleanly.

Armed with a stack of sugar-free recipes, Sarah Wilson’s new ‘I Quit Sugar Cookbook‘ and a fresh resolve to fuel my body with fresh, natural foods, I’m side-stepping sugar.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been researching the effects of sugar, and the benefits of fats, and come to the conclusion that I should cut out fructose and  see if it works for me. See if my body sings.

I’ll share my ups and downs with you as I give the no-sugar thing another go.

I don’t view my previous attempts as failures. I simply wasn’t ready to accept the change. Now, the message is stronger. The proof – yesterday’s scary surge and slump – more convincing.

This time, I’m going to go gently. I won’t force the change or wallow in guilt if I slip up. But with each meal and every snack, I will ask myself: “Does this food fuel my body with natural nourishment? Why do I want to eat this? Will I feel better or worse after eating this?”

Have you quit (or attempted to quit) sugar? How did you find it?

My latest love – coconut oil

15 May

Today, I smell like a coconut. I’m wrapped in a lovely coconut cocoon, with the smell taking me back to my recent trip to Thailand.

I picked up a couple of bottles of coconut oil before flying out of Koh Samui. There, the oil was slick and runny. After the 10 hour plane journey home, and the cooler temperatures here in Sydney, it solidified. But I simply pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to melt it into a glorious pool of oil.

Lying on my yoga mat, I slather the glossy grease over my limbs and across my torso. I massage it into my temples and breathe in the tropical scent. Sometimes I even play a soft sound in the background. It’s the ultimate relaxation ritual and my latest obsession.

Here are some other wonderful ways to use coconut oil:

  • Work a small amount through your hair, focusing on the ends. I find it nourishes my locks more than Moroccan Oil. Just don’t use too much or leave it on for too long, because your hair will look like it’s constantly wet and you’ll smell like a cake. A 10c piece size on your tresses for a few mins should be enough.
  • Rub it over stretch marks, scars and cellulite. I’ve already noticed a smoother and more even skin tone.
  • Add it to a salad or to your cooking. Apparently, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that help regulate your weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. It may also help with IBS symptoms and aid digestion, thanks to its anti-microbial properties.
  • Soak in a coconut oil bath. I don’t know if this is a good idea; I just made it up.  But it sounds heavenly!

So what are you waiting for? Go on, grab a bottle and come join me in coconutty heaven!

Why I’m keen for quinoa

24 Apr

Note. Do not eat this much quinoa in one sitting. You may explode.

A few months ago, when I was trying out a sugar-free diet (it didn’t last long – I blame Reese’s miniatures. You can read about it here) I stocked up on boxes of quinoa (pronounced keenwa).

Don’t ask my why. I guess I thought a global shortage was imminent and I needed to hoard the stuff, lest anyone else get their greedy paws on it. No! My quinoa!

So I was digging around in the pantry last night, looking for something to accompany the two lamb chops sizzling under the grill. Then I saw it – a big box of red quinoa. Unopened. Neglected. All healthy and smug. I cracked the box open and decided to cook it up.

I bunged half a cup of the rich red seeds into the pot, added some chilli flakes and stirred away. Within minutes, I had a nice little spicy side dish.

It made a refreshingly light change from heavy rice or stodgy cous cous, which is, like soooo 2009.

Here are some other reasons to tuck into this little ‘superfood’:

1. Originating from South America, the seed was used by the Incas to boost their stamina. It’s like a natural steroid, ya’ll!
2. It’s protein-packed with all nine essential amino acids. So you stay fuller for longer, without the carb bloat.
3. Your heart will love it, as it has a high fibre and magnesium content and may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
4. It looks pretty. Well, for a grain.

I’m now on the hunt for some delicious quinoa recipes – please let me know if you have a fave. 🙂

Monday Mantra – I am my healthiest self

19 Mar

Like many women, I’ve fought some serious body battles over the years. As I get older, I am beginning to appreciate my body as a strong instrument that carries me through life, footstep by footstep. I am learning to nourish it, to nurture it, to protect it.

Of course, I still have slip-ups. Occasionally I overindulge and have to waddle my way to bed, wondering why I had those extra mouthfuls of vegetable korma!

But on the whole, I am learning to treat my body with respect. With love.

(Plus, I will be in Thailand in 3 weeks and the thought of spending endless days on the beach is an incredible motivator!)

So this week’s Monday Mantra is about building your body to be in perfect health, so that it can lead you through a long, fulfilling and purposeful life.

Here it is:

“I am my healthiest self. I nourish my body with fresh, wholesome foods.”

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