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Boo hiss

Boo hiss because it’s not a great day today. Wednesday is weigh-in day and after losing a couple of lbs for each of the last few weeks I stepped on today and found I was back to my starting weight! It had ALL gone back on. I can’t tell you how disheartening that was, my initial response was just to say f*ck it, what’s the point trying to eat well if my weight stays exactly the same? I feel a little more rational now and have reminded myself that I wasn’t eating as well as I’d liked last week, in fact, on Saturday I had a McDonalds! *hangs head in shame*. It’s a long story how that happened and I won’t bore you with it. I also had a bar of chocolate and a Chinese takeaway on Sunday. So it really isn’t surprising that I haven’t lost any weight and I mustn’t let this derail me no matter how pissed off I feel. The weather’s hot, I might be retaining a bit of fluid and it’s also coming up to my pre-menstrual time. So be it. I’m finding that my commitment to eating whole/organic foods lessens as the week goes on. Monday to Thursday I’m usually pretty good, I cook meals around the contents of my vegetable box, but Thursday evening comes and I start to want treats and easier food- this Thursday for instance I had oven chips and scampi. Not the end of the world but I *could* have made my own chips and had a healthier piece of fish. This Friday I’m having a nice lunch out with my Mum and then friends are coming round for cocktails and a takeway on Saturday evening so I really need to be eating well until then. My husband and I are foodie people, we LOVE good eating and are fortunate to be able to eat at nice restaurants from time to time, that’s not something I’m wanting to give up  so I need to be able to find a happy medium. The happy medium just might not be compatible with the weight loss that I’m looking for though.

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I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this book. It arrived this morning and I can’t put it down. It’s a family cookbook with the philosophy that children should eat the same food that adult family members do. It has lots of wholefoods recipes, information about how to cook the more unusual ingredients, a section on ‘basic grain and bean cookery’ and the beginning of the book is a primer on nutrition and wholefoods, perfect for novices like me. There is a chapter on food intolerances and also on breastfeeding and weaning. It is by an American writer but nearly all of the ingredients I have seen so far are widely available in the UK, plus it gives me the chance to use my new set of US measuring cups. Here are a few of the recipe titles: Red Bean and Quinoa Chilli, Sweet Apple Walnut Kale, Sweet Squash Corn Muffins. Interested yet? I’m off to find a recipe that will use the big bunch of chard and spinach that came in my vegetable box yesterday…

Smoothie Love

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Smoothies and Summer are just the perfect partners. I know breakfast is really important but sometimes I just can’t face eating first thing in the morning, so instead I’ve been making myself a smoothie to sup while the Monkey is eating her breakfast. Today’s was made with frozen summer fruits, a banana and some orange juice. I’m a bit conservative with my smoothies, it’s red fruits for me and definitely no vegetables (although I did add a wheatgrass shot to the smoothie I bought on the way in to work on Monday!)

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Not even remotely diet-friendly, and after two large slices accompanied with ice-cream, I will be very surprised if I actually lose any weight this week! But it’s worth it, and so am I! This is from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (see sidebar for link to Amazon) and it was an absolute delight to share with my family this Sunday for a Father’s Day BBQ. It has a digestive biscuit crumb base and a creamy mascarpone filling. The only slight let down was the strawberries which, being supermarket bought, didn’t have a great deal of flavour.

I’ve been doing some research this evening about food supplementation, which resulted in the purchase of some Seagreens capsules. From what I can gather this supplement is powdered arctic seaweed, which is a good source of micronutrients and high in Iodine. What particularly attracted me to this product is that there is some evidence linking it to weight regulation:

Is it true that Seagreens® can help regulate weight and reduce cellulite?

Wrack seaweed was the subject of uncontrolled trials (1999) for body weight and fat reduction and the wrack seaweed in Seagreens® is the same species as the main active component in a best-selling cellulite control product (Cellasene).

At the University of Pavia, Italy, female patients lost an average 5% from their waist and hip measurements, 30% of their subcutaneous fat, and increasing blood flow to the skin by as much as 45%, with claimed reduction in cellulite.

The most likely mode of action is through metabolism and hormone system regulation, improved digestion, blood cleansing and mineralisation.

Our view is that Seagreens® may be helpful as a daily nutritional aid within a dietary improvement and exercise programme to regulate or reduce body weight and fat, for which over a long period there seems to be substantial anecdotal evidence. We recommend 4 Food Capsules every morning for 3 to 6 months – effects appear to be extremely subtle and homeostatic.

But it is more likely that continual intake of 2 Food Capsules a day is adequate in maintaining weight regulation.

“Seaweeds are useful in weight-loss programmes and for lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood. Marine plants have a ‘sinking’ quality and hence direct the energy of the body lower and more internally.

They contain soothing, mucilaginous gels such as algin, caragheenan, and agar, which specifically rejuvenate the lungs and gastrointestinal tract” – from ‘Healing with Whole Foods’ by Paul Pitchford, North Atlantic Books, 1993.

We have seen no evidence that a thin person will become thinner by taking Seagreens® – a thin person may equally put on weight. The tendency seems to be more toward establishing the ‘true intended’ weight of the healthy individual.

Sounds good, huh? I really want to learn more about diet and nutrition, but why does nutrition have such a bad name? I’ve been looking at this website, for instance. It’s highly critical of the nutrionist Patrick Holford (as the Guardian’s Bad Science writer Ben Goldacre has been) and appears critical of virtually anything nutrition-related. Is ALL nutritional research “bad science”? Why does such an important area of health have such a bad name? I’m going to look into this further but at the moment it seems to me to be highly political. Apparently the only people who are interested in eating well are narcissistic, well-off liberal types who can afford supplements and organic groceries:

And that’s the most sinister feature of the whole nutritionist project…it’s a manifesto of rightwing individualism – you are what you eat, and people die young because they deserve it. They choose death, through ignorance and laziness, but you choose life, fresh fish, olive oil, and that’s why you’re healthy. You’re going to see 78. You deserve it. Not like them.

That’s from Ben Goldacre. He doesn’t pull any punches, does he? I’m not about to go and spend a fortune on snake oil, and I think “Dr” Gillian McKeith is a frightmare, but I do want to find out what the best things are for me to put into my body. I’m going to read some more and I hope he (or someone else) can tell me where I can find ‘good science’ with regard to nutrition. 

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This one doesn’t look nearly as delicious as it tasted (and I’ve no idea why the photo is the wrong way around) but it’s been my favourite meal of the week so far. I found some sausages from Sainsburys which were flavoured with Italian herbs, but it was the fennel seeds which really made them fantastic. Next time I will hopefully have some organic sausages and just add fennel seeds during the cooking. I removed the skins from the sausages and fried the meat with an onion and a clove of garlic. Saute some mushroms, add a small glass of white wine, some half-fat creme fraiche, et voila, the most scrummy pasta sauce. I used farfalle which was perfect. And I had another glass of wine to drink with it. Decadent, moi? I know it’s not diet food exactly but it tasted damm good and that’s the point, right?

Kitchen Diaries

{459792A1-84CB-45F8-831C-515D54B74A0B}_1I am loving Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. Each turn of the page brings a new recipe that I want to try. This evening I’ve made cumin mackerel (very simple, mackerel fillets rubbed with ground cumin and then grilled and basted with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice) and zuchini cakes. The zuchini cakes are not exactly slimming but hey, I’ll try to only eat a couple of them. The first one has turned out nicely, they are little fritters of zuchini and feta, mixed with a little flour and an egg. Delicious.

Tomorrow I’m going to weigh myself, I’m interested to find out if I have lost any weight in the last week. I’ve been pretty good, I’ve vastly reduced the amount of bread I’ve eaten and I’ve eaten NO cakes, biscuits or other processed foods. I did, however, have a posh Indian meal last night to celebrate my wedding anniversary, and I had one scoop of ice cream at the parlour at the weekend (orange and lime flavour).  Even if I haven’t lost any weight I feel a lot better and much less bloated. DH thinks I have definitely lost weight in my face. I’ll come back and let you know in the morning.