The dreaded plateau – and chicken delights. February 19th 2016

It’s been a lean few months in terms of weight loss. I have my 35 pounds off but since I reached that milestone I have stopped losing again. It’s frustrating to say the least of it. I have continued with the banting lifestyle – I just haven’t seen any improvement to my shape in recent times. I’m back to playing with the same three pounds up and down now for weeks.

I also stopped tracking. I broke out twice since Christmas – one major blowout involving wine, which is okay, but then crisps and chocolate biscuits too. Not a good evening – I got no sleep that night, and on a work night too! The second one was only little – I had a small piece of chocolate cake over the mid term – so not worth it. I didn’t particularly enjoy the flavour – it was very sweet, but I did it anyway. It didn’t set me back but I’m definitely not feeling the healthy lean feeling I had come to enjoy on the plan before this.

In an effort to get this whole thing moving again – I have a goal which is next May 2017 – my fiftieth birthday – I need to address a few issues. So here is my list of Not So New Year Resolutions – I’m hoping posting it here will help me to keep to it! I sat down this afternoon and watched the week four programme on the real meal page and it discussed plateaus and how to deal with them – so armed with that knowledge this is my plan.

  • First off I need to go back to tracking for a few weeks. I track on the real meal website – https://banting.realmealrevolution.com but there are apps out there that will track your food for you too if you don’t sign up for the course – there is a great one for iOS users – it’s from MyFitnessPal and it tracks your carbs, proteins and fats for you – it has more than 5 million foods in there so it should be pretty helpful! Ironically I went to download it and realised I had it from years ago – but never used it. Maybe I’ll start – it’s handy on the phone – and I do love my gadgets – it might be more fun that loading up the web page all the time.
  • I have gotten back into the habit of having about 40gms of Green and Black’s 85% Chocolate most evenings. It’s delicious and I love it. Now I’m thinking it’s maybe not such a great idea. I have definitely found I crave more food in general recently. I haven’t fallen off the banting wagon but I definitely snack more than I did before. I found Lindt 90% Chocolate in Sainsbury’s in Newry yesterday – and it is lovely – the carb content is much lower – have a look at the nutrient information.

    I was blissfully happy eating the 85% chocolate as it has only 14gms of sugar per 100 gms – so that is say 6gms of sugar a day – but look at the carb content! 22gms? That’s very high – too high for an everyday event. the interesting thing is that it is like a drug alright – you find the taste far too bitter to start and then you adjust and suddenly it tastes sweet and delicious and you’re getting that sugar rush all over again – no wonder I broke out twice in the last month! No more chocolate until Easter I think – that’s going to be hard but I want to get moving again so it has to be done! On a positive note I have no interest in any of the treats that appear with grim regularity at work – welcome as they are and generously given, I have no problem resisting as it is milk chocolate full of sugar – and to me at this stage it feels like I’d be ingesting poison. Result!

  • Having listened again to Prof Noakes about fasting I think this is something I need to try. he talks about our appestat all the time – the part of our brain that tells us when we have eaten enough – and suggests that when women plateau – and it is invariably women it happens to most – it is because our appestats are confused. We have spent so long too-ing and fro-ing  with every conceivable diet plan known to woman that it is difficult to teach it when we are genuinely full. SO fasting is a way to readjust the appestat. Mine is not happy at present. I am snacking all day – not eating a huge amount at any one time and so I’m not gaining any weight – but my body cannot tell me when I am hungry or when I am full. I need to pull back so I can experience genuine hunger again so that little part of my brain can get back into shape so I can too. I don’t think I could actually fast for days on end – people fast sometimes for up to five days – I’m not saying that I’ll do that but I will certainly try to snack less and fast more – have an eight hour window every day when I eat and then fast for the other 16 hours. That sounds drastic but it’s actually quite easy –                                             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DALqoZYWig8&feature=youtu.be –              this is the link for a very interesting talk by an Australian doctor on the subject – I think I posted it before.
  • Because I had a dodgy knee for a while after Christmas I stopped doing my 11,000 steps every day. The knee is mostly fine again – I still get a twinge when I come down the stairs sometimes, and if I wear one particular pair of boots – I never went back to the walking however. As a result I’m averaging only about 6,000 steps a day. so I need to get this back up to 10,000 or thereabouts I’m thinking. I’m loathe to try a 5km run but maybe this time I’ll just go for it – not sure if I could actually do that – I’m not a runner – never was – but maybe I need to up my game a bit! I watch my former colleague Siobhán’s amazing transformation into an Ironwoman with awe – maybe I need to follow very gingerly in her footsteps – in a very minor way of course!

 

That’s the plan from now until Easter anyway. We Irish have a history of famine conditions and are great at the Lenten campaigns – mine is kicking in a few days late but let’s see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted.

Finally – that chicken recipe. i found it over on a YouTube site called “proper tasty” and it’s one for chicken stuffed with ricotta and spinach then topped with cheddar and paprika and baked in the oven.

Here’s the link to the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljklQ9VXBZ4 – it’ll take 41 seconds of your life and it’s worth it – I just had it for my tea – delicious and filling and satisfying. It’s amazing how much LCHF food is out there on so many different sites when you go looking.

Ingredients

  • chicken breasts
  • 50 gms spinach per breast
  • 50 gms ricotta per breast
  • cheddar for grating on top
  • salt, pepper and paprika

 

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius

Heat the spinach in a frying pan and when it has wilted add the ricotta and turn off the heat. Mix the two well together. Leave to cool unless you are planning to cook these straight away. Slice the chicken breasts almost through like hasselback potatoes – make sure not to cut straight through or you will end up with strips of chicken and not a breast.

Slot spoonfuls of the spinach mix into the gaps in the breasts then cover with cheddar and and a good dollop of paprika so they look red – as below, and season well with salt and lots of black pepper.

 

I cooked mine for about half an hour and served alone – you have veg and protein in the one portion here – serve with some broccoli if you feel it needs something on the side. It was a nice change but I’m not sure I’d make it a weekly addition – maybe once a month – they freeze really well so might be a good one for when there’s a busy time coming up. I am trying to empty my freezer not fill it at present so none went in mine today!

 

I’m away. New game plan starts tomorrow – wish me luck!

Orla

 

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“Choceile” and almond cookies – Pancake Tuesday alternatives. February 6th 2016

Hi everyone.

I said I’d post a recipe or two on sweet treats because let’s face it if there are no sweet treats then this is not a good plan for life – it’s a bit dull and where’s the fun in being good all the time?

My children adore Nutella. Let’s be honest – I adore it myself – what’s not to love – a little jar full of hazelnut and chocolate sunshine that is so versatile – except that it is full of sugar – more than 50gms per 100gms of product – have a look – this has been all over the web this week –

nutella.jpg

I don’t like to harp at the girls about food – I am aware as a person with an unhealthy relationship with food most of my life that it is essential that they grow up without obsessing. I did show them a clip or two that I saw about this particular product. It is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday in three days and I don’t want them to be the only ones not indulging in some chocolate covered beauties. Mind you in our house we tend to have the less traditional, but tastier, crumpet in place of the French crepe style flat version.

So I checked out one of my go to sites – http://www.ditchthecarbs.com/ and searched for the nutella recipe there – it is gorgeous. I didn’t weigh or measure out anything but this is worth trying – I’m bringing some in to work on Monday to let the staff taste because it’s so good. You can use either coconut oil or butter – I’m Irish – it’s got to be butter!

We call our version Choceile – eile is the Irish for other – a fitting name we figure!

Choceile

Ingredients

  • 200gm walnuts – Lidl packet!
  • A dollop of butter – about 45gms?
  • a generous tablespoon of Xylitol
  • 4 tblsps cocoa powder

Throw all into the food processor and blend until it’s no longer grainy looking. It is very chocolately and quite heavy – a dark spread. The girls didn’t like it at first but then I mixed equal measures of Philadelphia cheese and the spread and they loved it! Success. The next day they were ready for the mix without the cheese to lighten it. I had to make some more yesterday evening as the first batch was all gone – the younger two had it on breakfast brown bread all week – and I really didn’t mind – far better than jam or honey let’s face it! My children are not banting but we try hard to replace their treat foods with banting alternatives – they tend to fill them better and with all three of them stretching daily I’m happy to fill them with high fat food.

Of course I couldn’t have the bread with the choceile so I needed to try something new to spread it on. Hence the almond cookies. I found a recipe for almond cookies with honey and coconut oil in them but I am avoiding honey so I decided to just experiment – the result is fabulous – I made a batch of these Thursday and made another larger batch tonight – they are ideal for the choceile but on their own they are just as tasty – think chewy almond slice style biscuits – yum!

Chewy Almond Bites 

Ingredients

  • 200 gms ground almonds
  • about 60 gms  dessicated coconut
  • 1.5 tblsps Xylitol
  • 1 tsp almond essence – it’s worth paying for an expensive brand – no comparison with the cheaper ones
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence – ditto
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 tblsps melted coconut oil
  • About 30 mls cream

Preheat oven to 170 degrees fan

Mix all the ingredients together to form a paste. Pat out in random pieces on a silicon mat on an oven tray.

IMG_1335 (2)

Bake for about fifteen minutes – keep an eye on the oven – as soon as they are brown pull them out – they can go from perfect to bin fodder in a matter of seconds!

Leave them to cool on the silicon mat then pop into a sealed container – I imagine the shelf life on these is short – they won’t last that long I can guarantee you that – and they are a perfect alternative to pancakes next Tuesday if you feel like something but don’t want to go back to wheat based products for the sake of the day that’s in it.

 

Yesterday I saw a recipe for oopsie rolls – they look a bit like a flat pancake – made with eggs and cream cheese – could be another alternative – I’ll keep you posted!

 

Enjoy the sweets – I’m away to have a warm creamy bowl of tomatoey chowder!

Orla