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

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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

 

 

 

 

Dessert in our house today. 22 November 2015.

Hi everyone. Apologies that it’s been 11 days since my last post. Life moves quickly on and people think I’ve given up on the banting – a favourite past-time has been to try things for a while and then give up. Not this one! My mother tentatively suggested that when the weight is not moving in a downward trajectory to stick with it. That has been the case for the last three weeks – until yesterday. I broke the two stone barrier and then had another pound off this morning – such a great feeling – I have 29 pounds off and I have brought my BMI down to a 38 – huge for so many of you but such a result for me. My husband went to the doctor and got his blood pressure tablets reduced by more than half. He also got a reading on his cholesterol – 3.6! Even the sceptics are sitting up now and taking note!

The beauty of this plan is I am not on a diet – I am just choosing to eat in a certain way – I can have a glass of wine if I choose, I can have a piece of chocolate if I want, but most of all – for the first time ever I can truly say that I have lost the gaping, yawning hole inside of me that food never filled before. Psychologists tell you that you are emotional eating – I have come to the conclusion that I was addict eating actually – because life has not suddenly become utopian – the same rows and the same struggles happen every day – but I don’t have the same yearning gnawing at me to feed the beast – the sugar addict!

Two updates on the previous post – that Thai curry sauce is available from Dunnes Stores – and at a cookery demonstration the other night I learned that if your coconut milk separates then add a little chilled butter and it will bring it back together!

 

Okay – today’s recipe comes from a site called Iquitsugar.com  – there are so many sites out there that have all sorts of recipes for you to try out. I’m going to my parents’ in – oops ten minutes so I made this cake as an alternative to Mammy’s tart! Let’s see how it tastes – I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Lemon cake with lemon sauce

Preheat oven to 160 fan oven

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tblsp of xylitol
  • 1/2 cup milk – I used cream!
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour- I used 3/4 and 1/2 coconut as I ran out of almond.
  • 1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil  – did you hear the scandal about that during the week – lots of reputable companies diluting with cheaper olive oil!
  • Juice and rind of two lemons
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites whisked to stiff peak stage

Sauce:

  • 1 tblsp cocnut cream – make sure not to take any of the watery stuff – just the solid cream.
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • xylitol to taste – max 1 tblsp!

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and put to one side.

Throw all the wet ingredients into a bowl together – except for the egg whites – they need to be whisked to a stiff peak separately.

Then add the dry to the wet – I did it the other way around – will try the correct way the next time!

When all is mixed well fold in the egg whites and place all in a cake tin – mine was a ten inch – Id say an eight inch would be better but I didn’t have one here so I made do.

 

Cook this for about 25 minutes.

It came out flattish but smelling great – I’d suggest leaving in the tin as it’s very delicate – mine cracked slightly after moving it – not to worry – there’s a lovely sauce to go over it!

Heat the coconut cream in a pan and add the lemon juice and xylitol.

Pour over the cake and serve. I have no photo yet as I will do that at home in Newbridge!

I’ll post how it was received tomorrow – along with my husband’s meat soup recipe – he swears by it for filling him and helping the pounds to move!

Keep that sugar at bay!

 

 

 

 

 

Banting Irish Style. October 6 2015.

Lifestyle

So. On August 21st of this year I started out on a journey that I’d like to share with you.

All of my life I have been overweight. This summer came a moment when I finally contemplated whether it was in fact time to consider surgery. I hear people say – “she’s just too lazy to try” or “just walk away from the junk”, “don’t have it in the house”, “go to bed hungry”. For someone with a food addiction it’s not that simple. I never ate because I was hungry. I didn’t eat because I was unhappy. I wasn’t and am not in a bad relationship. I love my job. I just wasn’t in control of my eating.

It’s very hard when you come from a family of people who all manage their weight and who have never had the same issue as you. A BMI of 43 is not a good place to be. If your BMI teeters from 28-33 your issue is not the same as mine. I have tried twice as an adult to lose the weight and twice regained all of it and then some. I have done Scarsdale, the Mayo Clinic, the three day Irish Heart Foundation, the Weight Watchers plan, the Slimming World plan. I even did the dreaded Lipotrim shakes.

None of them worked. None of them was fun. None satisfied my constant craving for – I couldn’t name what I craved, but it was not fed. I felt deprived all the time and I always saw these plans as something to do until I got the weight down so I could go back to my real life. When I did the shakes I felt high – I was in ketosis after all which gives you a kick, but the problem was I couldn’t eat anything – three shakes a day and 600 calories. The weight fell off but as soon as I ate normal food again I piled the weight on. My sister – a paediatric endocrinologist told me that my body responded to starvation by hoarding every calorie I put into it once I increased my intake for fear I would starve it again. Oops! I found myself eating far more on the Weight Watchers and Slimming World plans than I normally ate because it was all no fat or low fat and so sure I had to make sure I ate enough. I still binged and craved but never felt that I had enough.

So as I say this August I decided I would go the surgery route. The scary thing was my sister – said doctor – did not argue with me – she actually agreed. That set me thinking. Three years ago I saw a sponsored ad on Facebook for a film called Cereal Killers. I had looked and wondered but never seen it. I decided I might as well have a quick look before ringing a surgeon to enquire about the gastric band or bypass.

To say I was blown away by the notion of disregarding everything I’d ever been told about losing weight was a revelation to me. I couldn’t believe what Donal O Neill was suggesting – eating loads of fat could help you to lose loads of weight. No way – not a hope. But I was intrigued enough to google Dr Tim Noakes and that is where my story begins……….