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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It’s a long road that has no turning. January 23 2016.

January is a tough month for all sorts of reasons. There are 31 very long days without a lot of money to spend. It feels like there is very little to look forward to after months of anticipation of the Christmas. It is a tough task during cold blustery winter evenings to remember why you are following a food plan that for everyone else seems overly restrictive and well nigh impossible.

I started the month seven pounds up. To date I have lost six and a half of those pounds. It has not been easy at all. I have followed the https://banting.realmealrevolution.com food plan and eaten no carbs or sugar since January 2 and nothing was working until last Saturday when I woke and discovered that almost all of the Christmas weight was finally gone.

uphill struggle

This is a great result for me. However when I looked back tonight over my tracker on the site I realised that I have not lost any weight proper since December 16 – that’s 38 days stuck at the same loss. That has always been an issue for me. I’ll be honest, Paddy has gone back to some of his old ways – he will have the odd potato or a little rice with dinner, and this evening he had some stewed apples – I’m emptying two of my three freezers in an effort to use up some of the mountain of food that is in the house rather than  just adding to the pile so stewed apples came up on the menu tonight! – another efficiency that will help in a penurious month! It can stick in the gut a little that although he is not following the plan as rigidly as I am, he is also maintaining his weight. It is a fact that weight loss is much easier for men than women.

So last week, at my wit’s end with no evidence that I was going to shake off those seven pounds – you may remember I had 3.5 gone when I spoke to you two weeks ago – I took to https://banting.realmealrevolution.com and the participant chat page for advice. It is a fantastic forum. People there are all like myself, banters who are following the plan, and reading, googling and searching ways to become a little more knowledgeable about living the LCHF way. I must say the support on there is simply wonderful and it makes the whole journey less daunting knowing you are not alone.

struggle

I got so much advice, more water, cut out the ounce of dark chocolate at night, eat twice a day, or try intermittent fasting even. What happened was that after getting all the advice I had a sit down myself and reassessed what I was doing that could be hindering the weight loss.

One thing was that I had stopped drinking so much water – I immediately upped that. – must have a glass now that I think of it! I watched a video by an eminent Australian doctor,  Robert Sabzo, on the benefits of intermittent fasting – I haven’t given that a try yet – I am afraid that if I did that I would go mad afterwards and undo all the good the fasting did for me – however I’m going to share the link – it makes for a really interesting article and the weird thing about this eating plan is that it’s very easy to go for 18 hours without eating and yet not feel hungry.

Another thing which had crept in without my noticing it much was that I was eating an awful lot of protein – far more than I needed. If you eat too much protein then the body converts it into carbs so you are on a slippery slope downwards again!

I had been doing very well on my 11,000 step a day challenge but read that when you are trying to lose weight that exercise causes you to make cortisol which can inhibit weight loss. I did play badminton on Monday night – with a slightly dodgy knee – not dodgy anymore – decidedly in trouble – so the stepping has dropped back to about 6000 a day – and the weight dropped!

Finally I ate a lot of eggs again – I’d gotten out of the habit and once I started back on them again I FELT thinner – it’s funny isn’t it! I also managed this week to get into a pair of jeggings that have never been on me before so I know that even though the scales is not showing the loss my body is – and that’s good enough for me – the scales will follow through in a few days, or weeks.

No cravings – I spent an hour dishing out cakes today to school visitors – no interest and no desire for the food. I love that power – I control the food now!

bread in chains

So here are a few of the sites that have become my go to places when I am looking for advice, inspiration or just some light reading!

This is a recent one for me – some interesting recipes on there – a gnocchi recipe made from mozzarella and egg yolks – see you can still have pasta and the like!

This is a lovely site – not everything on here is a LCHF friendly recipe but you can find lots of interesting ideas there.

This site is invaluable – it is a blog by two wonderful people on the https://banting.realmealrevolution.com/ forum and they have all sorts of interesting information there. There are testimonials from people who have lost a serious amount of weight on this plan, and I love the irony that it was originally a page that sold handmade chocolates – it just shows that if a chocolate maker can give up sugar anyone can! There is also a really good keto calculator on the page which will help you to decide what ratio of fats to protein and carbs you should be eating for your size etc.

Finally this one is just great! The name of the blog got me and I love to check in on it – I rarely cook exactly what anyone else does but I read their recipes and adapt to suit myself. I read about the egg fast  there – and it’s a great way to kick start a sluggish metabolism – I literally started it and had two pounds off the next day – maybe that’s what I’ll do again this week……

I’ll post again when I finally break the 35 pound barrier!

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