Rowing back and reining in…. April 2nd 2016

Easter is a long holiday in Ireland – this year more so than most years as our Saint’s Day linked with it so we had two weeks and two days off for the holidays – they still didn’t go any slower but it was a great break – and suddenly it’s all over again!

I have managed to maintain my weight loss – almost – I have two pounds on but that isn’t bad considering I’ve entertained several times and been out and about too – and of course my niece bought me a caramel flavoured chocolate egg – I didn’t completely resist – I shared it between four of us –  I still ended up having about 50 gms of sugar in my portion!

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So I did a bit of reading, and a bit of cooking, and a little shopping too to get myself re-energised for my banting journey – I still haven’t managed to start my couch to 5k – I’m scared of the notion of running if truth be told but I will have to bite that bullet now that the longer evenings are here. I did get out for a few walks over the break but not enough. What is interesting is that although I have now really been in plateau for about three months – well – I have four pounds off in that time – I have managed to maintain that weight loss and not do my usual mad hike back into bad habits and weight gain.

I read a really good article on the Realmealrevolution.com website last week about banting and food lists and what should be or not be on the green list – it was reassuring to know that this is not an exact science – Jonno wrote that the bottom line is that you make good food choices to suit your lifestyle, and sometimes that means cutting corners – not always but to focus on the most important aspect of banting for you – and for me that is following a lifestyle that I can live with while not feeling deprived or isolated from the rest of society!

In a nutshell this is the most important section of that article –

“What is Banting?

  • It is learning you are right to challenge your existing beliefs
  • It is taking control of your life and living on your terms
  • It is refusing to accept the status quo
  • It is making healthy choices and knowing why
  • It is being empowered, not overpowered, by what you eat
  • It is digging in. Not passing up
  • Not depriving
  • Not abstaining
  • It is indulging in delicious meals you used to think were harmful
  • It’s avoiding other meals you believed to be good
  • It is overcoming your body’s harmful addiction to sugar and carbs
  • It is saying ‘yes’ to real fats and real foods, and ‘no’ to refined grains and processed goods
  • It is challenging the not-so-supermarket machine
  • It is voting against the foods you don’t want by choosing the ones you do

Each of us has our own food journey and our own health story to tell and how we interpret what Banting is depends on our own life experiences.

The number one rule when Banting is to eat real food – no sugar, no refined carbs, no processed foods. This is not a diet; it is a lifestyle, and it is your lifestyle. The rest is up to you.”

– http://realmealrevolution.com/real-thinking/the-lists-keep-changing-but-do-they

I haven’t managed to stay off the dread sugar for the two weeks – but that was partly by choice – I felt like indulging so I did and decided to accept the consequences which were minimal – I also managed to reign in my mad cravings – I had no night like my Christmas binge night so that was a positive. I had fish and chips one day – and on that same day I gave in to a craving for some white bread – an Italian roll from Lidl – God it was gorgeous but I had the hangover from hell the next day – and no desire for bread or potato since! It really is amazing how awful I feel when I eat too much carb now – so that is incentive to stay away.

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I was at Mc Nean’s Restaurant in Blacklion today for a parent and child cookery course with my middle child – a Christmas gift for her – and I tasted all she made – including the chocolate brownie – and have no regrets – I didn’t taste the nibbles left out for us when we arrived – I took my chia porridge with me instead – and so I am learning moderation in all things. However that same child will be confirmed in five weeks today so there is some pressure on now to make the dress I am going to wear just a little more comfortable than it is already….

Here are a few new things I have discovered in my banting journey to make it a bit more interesting for us all….

I made my first ever chia porridge yesterday – and tasted it with a lot of trepidation – I bought chia seeds way back in August in my first flush of banting and then put them in the back of the cupboard terrified of them – I’m not sure why really – turns out they are pretty gorgeous if you know what to do with them.

I got the porridge recipe from realmealrevolution.com – it’s very simple –  mix a tin of coconut milk – check that there is no added sugar in – with 1/3 of a cup measure of chia seeds and a good dollop of cinnamon. Leave it in the fridge overninght – it doesn’t look hugely attractive in the morning – but what happens is the chia seed takes in the liquid and takes on the consistency of tapioca – I love tapioca so I’m good with that! It doesn’t taste too coconutty either – and then I added just heated frozen raspberries yesterday – it was fine – not glorious but it tasted good enough. this morning I added the same raspberries – and some chopped almonds and a little dessicated coconut – and wow! It was so delicious – and it is incredibly filling – I had half the portion that I made yesterday – a third is really enough, and it also lasts in the fridge for up to three days so it can be made in advance for a quick lunch on the go – a new delight to intrigue my staff buddies with! Honestly – the pictures don’t do it justice – it really does tste lovely!

 

I also made my own fresh pesto this week – I was in the butchers and vegetable shop – I love that they are side by side and so easy to pop into – it kept me out of the supermarket – and I do think that you get better produce from craft butchers. I saw wild garlic in the vegetable shop – new to me – so I bought it along with some basil and made a batch of pesto which I smeared onto some chicken wings as an alternative to bbq sauce – they were very tasty – although next time I may just use a new product my children love on their potatoes – a spicy seasoning which is delicious

– I’ll try that next time and let you know how that one goes. We put it on along with the oil before cooking… okay – the recipe.

Homemade Basil and wild garlic pesto

Ingredients

  • a handful of basil
  • a handful of wild garlic
  • 60 gms pine nuts
  • 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor and use for tomato sauces, or on wings as I did. The children loved it in some homemade burgers as well – that and some onion – gorgeous!

 

 

With the confirmation approaching I will be making food ahead and freezing – you know me and my freezer – so as I do I will post – today’s brownie by Neven was very adaptable for banting, and I have that Italian gateau that I can adapt too as a vegetarian side – I will get cooking and posting – oh and couch to 5 k-ing too!

 

Enjoy the weekend!

Orla

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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

 

“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 –

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

I made it! January 28 2016. 

I said I’d post when I reached my first target – to lose 2.5 stone. That  happened yesterday. Not before time. I last lost weight on December 16th so it’s been a long road. I feel amazing. I’ve managed to reduce my BMI by 6 and drop about three dress sizes in the process. 

I’m not nearly at my goal – maybe six stone to go – but that’s okay. I’m a lot closer to the end zone than I was and I know I’ll get there. This isn’t a race. I’m not hungry at all. I’m not feeling the need to binge on junk. I eat when I’m hungry and I don’t when I’m not. Gone are the peckish nights when I motor through everything in the cupboard. Gone are the sugar cravings again. Back is the taste of good food and on that very subject I found a recipe on Facebook this week that I tried this evening for tea and it’s worth sharing. 

Bear in mind that I didn’t get home until 8.00 tonight – this recipe took about ten minutes to prepare and tasted delicious. It took a further half an hour to cook. I had made pasta sauce for the children’s dinner so that was our dip – Passata, cream, pesto and a little red wine, heated together until the alcohol burns off.  

  
Cauliflower cheese ‘breadsticks’ with tomato sauce 

  • One head of cauliflower blitzed in processor
  • 4eggs
  • 2oo gms mozzarella 
  • Season with garlic, pepper, salt and oregano to taste 

Pre heat oven to 200 Celsius. 

Blitz the head of cauliflower in the food processor so it resembles breadcrumbs or rice – I overdid mine a little but it still tasted great 

  

  1. Microwave this for about six minutes with a cover on. 
  2. Mix the eggs, 100 gms of the cheese and the seasoning together.   
  3. When the cauliflower cools down mix these two together. 
  4. Pour out onto a parchment sheet on a baking tray. Make two rough circles of the mix. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.   
  6. Add the rest of the mozzarella on top and bake for a further five or six minutes. 
  7. Slice and serve with aforementioned tomato sauce. 

Scrumptious. 

That’s it for tonight. 

I’ve a few more recipes to share in the next week. I want to try out a few almond flour recipes and I saw an interesting nutty treat on Neven Maguire’s new cookery show that I’m going to try to adapt for Banting. It looks tasty but made with peanut butter so that’ll have to be changed anyway! 

Orla 

Back on the wagon – and stepping it out as well! January 10 2016.

They are not my feet – obviously – but that is what I decided to do for the New Year – it’s not a resolution – apparently we fail at all of those – but it’s a challenge I have set myself – to do at least 11,000 steps a day while Operation Transformation is on this year.

For those of you who don’t know, it is a weight loss programme in Ireland on RTE 1 which takes five ordinary folk and makes them leaders and they follow an intensive eight week weight loss and life changing plan – I am determined to talk to Dr Donal O Shea of that programme when I reach my target. Check out the page here http://www.rte.ie/ot/ – I don’t follow the diet or exercise plan but it is a great motivator to keep at your own plan – and that’s what I’m doing! The irony of watching is not lost on me this year. For the last few years Paddy and I faithfully followed the programme but we watched with a cup of tea in one hand, and a pile of biscuits in the other! Not any more!

Set yourself a target. Make it realistic, difficult, but achievable.

I have two. I will do my 11,000 steps, and I will be down 3 stone by February 14th. That’s the midterm here in schools and as I teach in my real life that’s as good a target as any. I have  lost 3.5 pounds of the 7 pounds gained at Christmas so that’s a reasonable goal. I have 2 stone 2.5 pounds off – this will push me to be disciplined. They say women keep their promises when they make them public to their friends – I guess that’s what I’m doing then!

 

I made a new recipe yesterday evening which I want to share. I have found myself going back to our old staples this week – I had gotten into lazy cooking habits really over the Christmas so I am back cooking dinners for the freezer. I did a big batch of Thai green curry which our children loved as much as we did, and I made 9 dinners of banting lasagne today. I also made a divine creamy chicken recipe which was incredibly simple and so tasty Paddy was eating it out of the pot!

Chicken and Bacon in a creamy white wine sauce.

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  • 1 tbl coconut oil
  • 150 gms bacon
  • 650 gms chicken pieces
  • 150 mls cream
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1tblsp pesto 
  • 1 red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fry off the bacon in the coconut oil. Remove the excess fat and add in the chicken pieces and cook until fully browned. Add in the pepper, chopped to taste and then toss in the cream, pesto and white wine and simmer on a low heat for about an hour. The chicken becomes soft and tender and the flavour is spectacular.

 

One other recipe I must share is a fishy one – I’ll post it during the week – a delicious and incredibly simple one – divine!

Talk soon. Feel free to make your targets public if you wish as well!

Orla

 

 

New Year, new you! Or nearly new anyway. January 5 2016.

There’s always such a plethora of programmes, articles and information thrown at us in January about losing weight and getting fitter that I am surprised there isn’t a backlash against it all and an anti-fit campaign raging somewhere – maybe there is.

After I posted last week I felt so virtuous that I decided on New Year’s Eve that I could have another day of junk – I deserved it – and I had only put on four pounds after all – usually Christmas could be ten!

Unfortunately I learned too late that “cheating again” had major consequences, and it has been a very difficult week trying to shake off the excess.

I had a blowout of a day on New Year’s Day, and in fact New Year’s Eve wasn’t bad at all. I have issues with New Year’s Day in general – I know it is meant to be the start of something new for everyone but I don’t like to be led so I never have a good day on January 1. Usually it’s a rough one – and so it was this year…..

bisuits, cake, sweets, chocolate, not a lot of actual food on that list you’ll notice.

I was up seven pounds on January 2 and I felt like I had the world’s worst hangover. I’m not joking. It felt like I had been out to twenty four pubs the night before – and I hadn’t had any alcohol at all. I felt ill and unwell and terrible all day. I also was annoyed with myself that I had just eaten junk which hadn’t even tasted nice. My taste buds have definitely changed. I got no satisfaction from anything I tasted. The other part that upset me was that my BMI went over 39. It started at 43.64 and I had been down to 37.9.

I started back properly on Saturday. Here we are at Tuesday night – I’m about to head back to work and I have two of those seven pounds gone but I’m back in the zone. My BMI is more importantly below 39 again – it’s back to 38.74 – and that is such an incentive. I even went back onto the website and logged all the food I’ve eaten since then. I am eating a lot more these few days than I had gotten used to but I am following the banting mantra – if you are hungry eat – and I know that the quantity will reduce when my body gets used to the foods again.

I had some yogurt and berries and flaked almonds on Saturday – God I had forgotten how beautiful it all tasted. This morning I had two fried eggs and an avocado, and made a creamy chowder for tea which was gorgeous. I made some chicken broth and then took some of it and added a little cream, blitzed it smooth and then added my packet of fish pieces. It was delicious, and also satisfied my visual sense – it looked like chowder! The tomato based one is yummy but it doesn’t look like most chowder does.

 

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I don’t want to be anyone different to who I am. We live in a society that teaches us to always want to be someone different, to always aim to be thinner, richer, happier. I’m happy as I am. My only goal is a health one. I want to be fit enough to run with my girls this summer, and able to keep up with the hectic pace of everyday living without feeling exhausted.

Happy New Year to all and good luck with your own challenges.

I will be tuning in to Operation Transformation, starting tomorrow evening, and signing up for the million pound challenge – maybe you will too – let me know how it goes for you. In the meantime I have five pounds that need to get back to where they belong – down the drain – I’ll keep you posted.

Orla

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How did Christmas go for you then? 28 December 2015.

Having 34 pounds off before Christmas was  a really great incentive to stay focused and not deviate from the banting lifestyle for the holiday season. I was determined to stay healthy and not go back to unnecessary and sugary foods just because tradition dictates that we should stuff ourselves for the holidays.

Christmas is all about the treats though isn’t it? You feel like you deserve to have a nibble of something a bit rich, have a glass or four of champagne and then of course all determination goes out the window and you wake in a stupoholic mess the next day wondering what went wrong!

I decided late on Christmas Eve after sampling a rather delicious mince pie which I made that evening that I was going to over indulge Christmas Day and taste all the things that have been absent from my life for the last four months, and hang the metaphorical expense of it all.

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My mother’s pastry – equal quantities butter and flour – deadly!

Before that however I did make a couple of Banting friendly treats which I will share later. So I got up Christmas morning ready for sugar.

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It was interesting. I had a bit of stuffing with the turkey and ham – and of course lots of brussel sprouts, and I took a bit of gravy on that – Bisto, full of bad things! It was rather lovely I must say. It helps when the turkey is one you have watched grow from a tiny bird to the twenty pound specimen that graced our table Christmas Day. I had nothing much to eat before that – I had some banting nuts and a glass of champagne – nothing else.

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Home grown twenty pounds of deliciousness.

Amazingly we were very full after that – I have noticed, as has Paddy, that our appetites are much smaller than before, which is great. So we resisted all else and had a break for an hour or so before diving into the homemade trifle.

My sisters will tell you. I am a sucker for “Tradition” – (sung like the song of that title in “Fiddler on the Roof”). So custard trifle it had to be – made with fake Bird’s custard, tinned fruit, shop bought swiss roll, bananas and sherry! Oh my. It was pretty gorgeous – topped with banting friendly freshly whipped cream!

Not content with just that, as the evening wore on I also had: mince pie, Christmas cake, a Curly Wurly, and about fifteen Roses. None of which satisfied me in the slightest. It was an interesting experience. The roses were in fact bland and quite unpalatable. Gone were the flavour rich foods of the last four months and in their place marched sugary, unsatisfying junk.

So. I ditched all on St Stephen’s morning, happy that I had had my blowout and my body was none the worse for one day’s gorging. I had two pounds on but that could be gone in the morning.

Except that wasn’t the end of it. That evening I opened our christmas cake – the iced one – and lost myself all over again. I had one piece and then another bit of a one, and then another. It was glorious. The almond icing was exquisite and the fondant icing on top was totally addictive. I then moved onto the box of Celebrations – did I mention I don’t actually like any of the flavours in the box? – followed by ginger nut biscuits. It was awful. The feeling of compulsion was back with a bang – it was as if I had never given up sugar at all.

 

The most interesting part of this for me has been the fact that I have learned that I am no way near being over my sugar addiction. I also learned that the carb element is not an issue – I had no interest in potato, and while I had the stufing, made with bread, it is really the herby flavour that I love there – next year I will make it with sausage meat instead! Sugar is such a potent drug. I woke up yesterday morning with 6 pounds on! Obviously that is temporary weight, and already two of those pounds are gone today. however. It just shows how easy it is to slip back into old habits.

Yesterday I went back to my banting lifestyle again. It was easy. I was very full and bloated feeling from the night before so I just had one meal in my parents’ house – turkey and ham and trimmings – lovely – and then last night when I got home and was ready to hit the junk I feasted on some banting junk instead – raspberry mascarpone cream and lemon curd, with some Green and Black’s 85% chocolate. I’ll let you know how long it takes to get back to my pre Christmas weight.

Am I sorry I “cheated”? Honestly? The old “negative about me” part of my brain is furious. Most of me is okay with it though – because this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. There is no set agenda. I want to lose weight, but more than that I want to embrace how being sugar free feels – and it feels so good – believe me! Today I’ve been very productive – sugar free! I ate the Green and Black chocolate last night as a bridge to detoxing. Then today I had a big bowl of turkey broth and put on a pot of our favourite recipe of all – the banting lasagne – I’m jazzing it up tonight – stuffing it into peppers and adding cheese on top, and serving with some guacamole – I haven’t told Paddy that yet though! I’ve stocked the fridge with smoked salmon, cream cheese, avocado and bacon, and I’ve bought more nuts to make some more banting nuts. I also baked seed crackers and got some duck pate – all fatty filling tasty delicious foods that will get me back into the banting way…..

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Blended turkey broth – twenty kinds of lovely today – fresh and light!

 



 

Two recipes as promised:

 

Raspberry and Lemon Delight

Microwave lemon curd:

This makes quite a large quantity of curd – I gave it away to three others as a little goes a long way.

Mix the eggs and xylitol together then add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix well then put in the microwave for about 90 seconds on full heat. remove and stir well.

Repeat this process again three more times but with only 60 seconds of heating each time. The curd is done when it coats the back of the spoon.

lemon curd

Raspberry cream:

Whip some fresh cream – about 150 mls, and add to about the same quantity of mascarpone which has been out of the fridge for about half an hour. Add 120 gms of frozen berries defrosted to room temperature – mix gently together and put all back into the fridge.

I served this from piping bags onto homemade shortbread. However you could have it like we did – in a pot without the biscuit. It was so tasty, and so rich and decadent that I didn’t feel at all deprived.

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Shortbread is optional!

The other recipe I made this Christmas which was a godsend was the banting nuts from https://banting.realmealrevolution.com. They were absolutely gorgeous. Definitely a recipe for life!

Spicy Bacon Banting Nuts

  • 250 gms Streaky Bacon Rashers
  • 4 packets Lidl mixed Nuts – 800 gms in total.
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 0.5 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • Plenty of Salt

I put the nuts in the frying pan to dry roast them while the bacon pieces cooked in the oven at 180 degrees celsius.

Once the nuts started to look like they were actually roasting in the pan I added the butter and the spices then took the bacon out of the oven and poured it and the fat into the frying pan

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I then placed all on a few sheets of kitchen paper back onto an oven tray and put back into the oven to dry some of the fat off the nuts. I turned the oven down to 160 at that stage.

I took them out after about ten minutes but kept an eye the whole time. I then salted them liberally and when they cooled down popped them into Kilner jars and gave as presents to friends and family.

By the way. Here is a before and a right now photo so you can see the difference that banting has made in my life.

I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I’m also glad I found this photo from last May to remind me of why I am changing my habits.

Happy New Year to you all!

Orla

 

 

 

 

Luscious lemon – and some beautiful broccoli. 29 November 2015. 

After all that baking yesterday I really thought I’d be wiped out today. Instead I was awake at 7.00! I find it so hard to get up during the week – it’s a mystery how easy it is to be up and about at the weekend. 

Anyway. I got up and pored over various websites for sweet treats for Christmas. I have taken down a recipe for coconut macaroons which I may try later but I’m mid corrections at the moment so they need to be done before I do any more domestic stuff! 

I made a gorgeous little lemon pot – definitely not too sweet but I loved it – Paddy had it with cooked raspberries for breakfast topped with hazelnuts – I’d do almonds the next time – or pistachios if you’re not being as rigid about carbs as we are – they have 28 gms of carb per 100 – very high for a nut. I might either experiment with a few variations on a crumble type crumb – Australian Masterchef is a great place for inspiration! Today was the starting place! 

Simple. I mixed some Philadelphia with fresh cream then added in one dessert spoon of xylitol and about a tablespoon of lemon juice. Whipped it up. Yummy! So tasty and creamy. 

   
  

  
    
 

It tasted delicious – I have a family gathering at the weekend – maybe a variation will grace the table…. 

The other recipe I have to share is a made up one – pure delight. 

I had about 700gms of broccoli in the fridge fast approaching bin state – I decided to make another broccoli soup – without the cheddar this time. I added the broccoli to a pot with one veg stock cube and a little water- maybe about a pint. I also added two courgettes – they are such good value at the moment – 49 cents in Aldi – Banting doesn’t have to break the bank! 

When the veg were soft I switched off the heat and added 250 mls of cream and a dessert spoon of Dunnes Stores Simply Better Italian pesto. It’s Banting friendly! 

It was gorgeous – so much so I’m planning on serving it for starter next Saturday night – family members be warned!  We had it with some Parmesan shavings and a bit of black pepper. 

    
 
I just saw a very interesting chocolate dessert on Come Dine With Me – I’ll definitely be adding it to my list of dishes next weekend. 

You can feed everyone Banting friendly food and not deprive them.