On again, off again – the cycle continues. August 1st 2016.

I took July off – from the blog that is, as other things were occupying my head. I corrected for the whole month and had no time hardly to breathe let alone blog.

I haven’t stopped banting but I have had a bad month of it. I have actually lost twenty pounds – but unfortunately they are the same ten pounds that I gained and lost twice – and have back on again for the third time. Every summer I think that I will get to lose weight and organise my life. Instead when the school term is out so are my good intentions. I haven’t stopped banting – I have just slipped off the wagon more than I should have.

What’s the secret to getting back on?

Reading, organising the pantry and not beating myself up. I was doing really well then had my parents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary party. I didn’t break out at that – I waited till I went home then broke out. That is part of the addictive nature of my habits – I don’t cheat with good stuff – I deprive myself then go home and gorge to satisfy the girl who didn’t eat the cake at the party!

I spent a couple of days in Cork in a most divine part of the world – Glengarriff – and managed for the first two days to stay on banting track. Then I decided to break out. Therein lies the problem. I am back to my binging ways when I break out – I really break out and eat all I can find. So that is the task for August – how to stay on track and if not, how to break out without actually killing myself by overindulgence!

I haven’t been reading the Realmealrevolution.com pages, so I am back to that. Yesterday I made crackers and banting bread, and some banting brownie – all to remind myself that I can eat lots of lovely things while banting. It’s a question of retraining those tastebuds again. I tried twice before to get back on track by intermittent fasting – I think maybe I need to give the fasting a break until my body releases me from the old addiction to sugar. It is very scary how quickly that heroin gets back in – and like heroin you cannot stop the binging. It is all consuming. They say knowing the problem is half the battle. Now I need to up my game on the other half of the fight!

I’ll keep you posted. One pound gone – nine more to go! Maybe my problem is I keep thinking I’m a sprinter when in fact I’m more of a long distance cross country type!

 

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Family parties – can it be done banting style? May 2nd 2016

We have a confirmation in our house this coming weekend.

My husband and I bant. Our children do not – well they do the bits they like I should say!

We are a major dessert family – and that will pose a problem – but I can overcome that one – I will make some lemon curd and fill it into some tiny little butter pastries I found in Sainsbury’s last month – they are delicious – and very carby I know – but the size of them makes it okay – they have only 4.3 gms of carb in each one – so I can live with that for my guests! I could make some pastry with almond flour but I’m not feeling the love there at the moment as everything I make these days seems to crumble – there’s an idea – I could do lemon curd beneath a nutty crumbly top for the purists! I’ll let you know how that goes! I plan to try out meringue made with xylitol today as well – for the top of the little lemon curd pots!

I will make the banting brownies too – I’ve to adapt the Nevin Maguire recipe – I’ll try to make that later today and post a picture. Or maybe I’ll get my daughter to make it instead – she’s fairly nifty in the kitchen.

I plan to make a banting pavlova – it should be possible – with xylitol – and that would be perfect for dessert too – with double cream and fresh berries! I know there’s a lot of small carb stuff going on – small carb stuff is okay as long as it’s not carb heavy food along with it.

I also perfected the humble chocolate pots last week – and wanted to share them with you – I actually weighed the ingredients this time! I also added ground almonds so I’m not totally out of love with almonds in general yet!

Chocolate pots recipe updated

Ingredients

  • 200gms cream cheese
  • 500mls cream
  • 30gms cocoa powder
  • 100gms ground almonds
  • 2tbls xylitol
  • 20 gms 100% chocolate, finely grated and more for dusting the top
  • generous tsp vanilla paste

Mix all the ingredients together with an electric whisk and fill into pots – this made 12 for me – I use ramekin dishes.

Grate some extra 100% chocolate on top and refrigerate for  24 hrs.

The almonds soak into the mixture and lose their grainy texture and add a rich creaminess to the final dish. A whole load of lovely. If you like it sweeter add more xylitol. There’s not a lot in each one as you can see from the number of pots I got from this.

Mains

I have a selection of salads from The Avoca Cookbook I plan to make that will be perfect for the barbecue – a good butcher who will provide a side of beef I can cut to size myself for individual portions. I may also provide chicken or pork with some pepper seasoning on it. Barbecue is great for banters! Provably why it started in South Africa – they call it braiing there I think!

I’m going for the broccoli, cherry tomato and feta salad, the carrot and courgette one and and cauliflower broccoli and nut one too – it calls for monkey nuts but I’ll use either almonds or pecans – smoked almonds if I can get them in Avoca on time!

By tweaking the recipes all will be banting friendly – even the carrot and courgette one if I up the courgette quantity and reduce the carrot part. See, it can be done. And I haven’t even mentioned my favourite food at present – the humble avocado – I plan something exotic for that – I’ll post that recipe next week – when I’ve made it up! It will involve bacon anyway – that’s a given!

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This is the carrot and courgette salad – a little more courgette and a little less salad and we’re away!

Obviously I will provide some rice or pasta for the visitors who don’t bant – but Paddy and I won’t feel deprived when we have this much to choose from.

I’ll post pictures of all as I go.

Orla

 

 

 

I finally baked bread! April 16th 2016

I’m posting quickly tonight because I finally did something I had planned for so long – and I eventually got around to it today. I wanted to share the results with you.

It’s hard when you get off the Banting treadmill to get back on – harder for some than for others. Paddy has fallen off slightly but the difficulty is that because he’s a man it hasn’t caused him a lot of weight gain. However with confirmation season approaching he has decided to join me fully again. He never ate as much fat as I did and I think that makes it much harder to bant – if you don’t eat fat you don’t feel full and so you eat more – but of the wrong stuff – and it becomes a vicious cycle. I wanted to make him some bread to show him that we can have a normal lifestyle while still staying true to the banting way. Truth to tell I also found a kilo of sunflower seeds I had bought in the first flush of banting which need to be used up and I figured this is a way to do just that!

I apologise in advance – I didn’t measure anything and just threw stuff in as I thought of it – so it might not have worked at all – it did – and beautifully too – this bread is nutty, full of flavour and almost sweet! Here is an approximation of what I did. I will measure the next time and update when I do. I should also have cooked it for a few minutes more – it is slightly wet inside – but we like our breads underdone at the best of times so it worked for us. I had a slice this evening with butter – it was gorgeous and I can only imagine how wonderful it will taste with salmon paté or just plain old smoked salmon on top! It tastes eerily like my mother’s brown bread from long ago – and looks like it too.

Banting bread

Ingredients

  • 1lb sunflower seeds approx
  • handful of flax seeds
  • 100gms almond flour
  • 50gms dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp each of bread soda and baking powder
  • 2 very large eggs – I used duck eggs so maybe try 3 hen eggs
  • 160gms cream cheese – edited amt – apologies!
  • 70mls double cream

I started by blitzing the sunflower seeds to a pulp in the food processor. Then I added all the rest of the ingredients on top and blitzed again until I had a mixture that looked like a thick bread mix. I really did this by trial and error – I have no scientific knowledge of the whys behind using bread soda or baking powder but it seemed like a good idea at the time!

When the mix was ready I spooned it into the usual 2lb loaf tin and put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees fan. Because there was no butter in it I put a few pats on top – I might add it in the next time to help to make a lighter consistency although it wasn’t too dense at tall really.  Then we turned the oven down and cooked it for a further 30 minutes at 150 degrees. It could have done with maybe ten more minutes but I took it out anyway.

It turned out easily from the tin – I do line my tins with the parchment inserts mind – and I left it to cool. There was a little fall off on the side – and I was afraid it was going to be crumbly and binnable – but no – I cut a slice and Paddy was impressed – it tastes great! The top of it looks green  when you slice into it – don’t be put off – it’s made predominantly of sunflower seeds which go green when baked!

I am going to cut this up tomorrow and freeze it – it will be lovely toasted I think with butter – or under the grill with cheddar on top! Another successful banting bake, and a wholly made up recipe of my own – now I just have to try to replicate it….. hmm…

Talk to you soon

Orla

POSTSCRIPT:

We ate the bread today and as we cut further into it it looked greener – it tastes divine but some of you might think there is something wrong with the green colour! There’s not – but I’ll make it next time with a bit less sunflower seed and a bit more almond flour maybe…. then it won’t taste as great though.

 

Getting there! April 13th 2016.

I said I’d post when I had news! Well today I reached my first tangible goal – three stone off. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot but believe me it is. It is 42 pounds or 19 kilos. The difference is enormous. I have reduced my BMI from 43.64 to 36.55. I have dropped from a size 24 to a size 18 – I’m a teenager again! That is so significant – that means I can now go shopping in regular shops again instead of having to search out shops for larger sizes only.

It has been slow but so worth it. I had a small blip over Easter and then decided to really try to go with the intermittent fasting. I have no food until about 1.00pm any day – honestly that is no hardship as I was never a breakfast person anyway – and then I eat a second time at about 7.00pm and I eat a hearty feed I promise – and that’s me done until the next day again. It means I eat a very big meal both times and I make sure to have lots of fat. I also keep a tin of nuts on my desk at work so that if I don’t get my lunch for any reason I have something banting friendly to fall back on. I am not evangelical. I am trying to make this lifestyle work for me. I have started buying the Lidl Almonds with chilli – they are not perfect – but God they taste great and I feel like a sinner when I eat them! So much tastier than crisps and so much more banting suitable! I think I’ve bought most of the stock in the three local shops I can get to! I got five tins today – the joy of it is my children love them – and if they will reach for those instead of crisps or buns I’m very happy.

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They are so spicy – and that’s what I realise is missing in my food when I want to go off course. I need strong flavours. So of course I went back to cooking – we have two hectic weeks in our house so I spent Saturday cooking so that when we arrive home from work there is something banting friendly to eat even if we only have half an hour to eat and go. I never managed to empty my third freezer – I will over the summer but I’m glad to have it this week.

I cooked a double batch of my Thai Green curry and of my normal curry and the pesto and white wine chicken – notice the theme running through all three?! They were great to have and so everyone got to choose their favourite one for tea on Saturday while I headed out with my buddies for steak and red wine.

I made a new recipe. The Late Late show here in Ireland – an institution of a Friday night programme – ran an item on what goes into sausages – I’d still eat them anyway – reminds me of the horsemeat scandal – my children were horrified to find that Burger King burgers contained horse – they said they’d happily eat them anyway  – but I decided to try again to make a sausage replacement with no wheat.

This is what I came up with – and they are so delicious that I had one for my tea this evening sliced and fried in butter and scramble thrown in on top. It is not a sausage – it is technically a pork burger but next time I may make sausage shaped ones – or even invest in a sausage maker…

Pork burgers

  • 1lb pork chops minced – ask your butcher to do that for you.
  • 1 egg
  • a dash of tabasco – adjust to your own tastes – I like spice!
  • salt and pepper
  • spices – I used my current favourite – the chip one – see below.

 

Simple as that. Mix all together and shape into either patties or little sausages. I baked mine in the oven at 180 degrees celsius in a fan oven for twenty minutes. Yo could leave them in longer if you wanted them to be browner but I did them for the freezer so I left them a little lighter. Gorgeous. I would say they’d be even nicer on the pan in a bit of coconut oil and a dollop of butter. Not that these got to the freezer – I did about double the batch and got to put away four only. My gang don’t like cheese put in anything but these would be delicious with real mozarella torn into them as well I think – but then they are moving from the realm of sausage flavour to burger.

I had this for lunch on Saturday with a slice of mature red cheddar melted over the top and Paddy had Bellingham Blue cheese over his – they were voted a success by all five tasters.

I found a great recipe for an alternative to fajitas the other day – have a look – this is the link – I’m definitely trying this one out next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Making good Banting choices when eating out. March 6th 2016. 

   
    
 
It’s been a busy few weeks between work and family commitments. I’ve eaten out more often than I’ve eaten at home. I had two hotel stays and was away from home in Dublin for two full Saturdays on top of that with no access to home cooking. My weight? I’m down another three pounds. 38 pounds down and counting. Now that’s what I call a result. 

Remarkably this is an eating plan that is actually quite easy to follow when out and about. It takes a bit of practice but it can be done. Tonight I want to share a few tips about what to go for when you’re not at home. 

I ate in Frangos in Dundrum Shopping Centre for the last two weekends and both days took the same dish – fabulous smoked salmon terrine with Caesar Salad – hold the croutons- and the fennel and orange salad – hold the orange! It was luxurious, decadent and deliciously satisfying and filling. The Greek Salad was also very acceptable but I’m not a fan of raw onions so I declined. 

 I also found a few more items on their menu that could be eaten as well. Have a look and see what’s available to enjoy from this board. 

  
In fact there are two items here that would be fine. Hold the hummus on the veggie option and it’s a great choice, as is the rotisserie chicken salad. 

Another board – more choices. 

  
The half chicken is a great choice here too. Choose the salads carefully and you’re good to go. 

It’s easy to make good choices. 

I spent two different sessions in a lovely hotel in Athlone recently – the Sheraton. It’s a fabulous spot. The staff are uber friendly and extremely helpful. I had bar food there three times. A lunch of smoked salmon salad – delicious, and great value. I ordered Cajun chicken breast and they added bacon and cheese for me, held the bun and the fries, and gave me sautéed mushrooms and side salad. When I went back this week I had the minute steak with pepper sauce, aforementioned sautéed mushrooms and green salad.  

I also had a fabulous meal in Thyme with an college friend from thirty years ago – it’s a stunning little restaurant in Athlone  – there are lots of them. I wish I had taken photos. I had a divine starter of ham hock, with a celeriac velouté – gorgeous – steak again – what can I say – I love my steak! – and we shared a cheese plate. I had the vegetable side – some carrots but not too many, the rest were greens. 
This is so not a diet plan. It’s a really easy lifestyle. There are moments when I hesitate – I baked lovely lemon cupcakes today and was tempted for about five minutes 

  
In fairness you can see why. I did have a taste – one mouthful of a bun before I iced them. Then I went back to my mortadella salad with cream cheese. I do plan to bake more with Xylitol but not at the moment. 

It can be done. It’s not a diet. It really is just a lifestyle choice. 

Talk soon. 40 pounds is approaching – that’s got a satisfying ring to it!

Orla 

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 –

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

 

 

 

 

 

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 

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