Saturday, February 11, 2012
Yes, I'm cooking for Valentines Day - out of choice!!!!
I thought it would be romantic to decorate our table properly, light plenty of candles and serve something a bit more nutritious than we would probably enjoy at the restaurant.
I recently bought a book called 'natural wonderfoods' and it explains the health benefits of various foods and then also provides recipes that go with them. All the recipes (except dessert - that's not healthy at all!!) come from that book.
Here's the menu:
Starter: pineapple and cucumber salad (In a nutshell: pineapple is a good anti-inflamatory and provides anti-oxidants which is much needed in this Wintery weather. I thought a pineapple was a nice brightly coloured fruit, which would look colourful on a plate and also cheer us up a little)
The pineapple and cucumber are chopped up, chilled for two hours then mixed with mayonnaise and lemon juice and granished with mint leaves.
Main course: Chicken with pineapple and honey marinade served with asparagus and cauliflower provincale. (Lots of ingredients are repeated mainly for budget reasons - apologies to those cooks who disagree with that style!!)
The cauliflower is steamed and then added to a tomato sauce (tinned tomatoes with sliced courgettes, onions and garlic - garlic is fine if we're both eating it!!!!)(It helps the liver detoxify stuff)
The asparagus is served with a honey, mustard and garlic sauce(2tbs honey, 1tsp mustard, 2 garlic cloves)(An aphrodisiac - enough said!!!)
The marinade will be interesting!! Mix chopped up pineapple with honey (according to taste) and add a tsp of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves plus 2 crushed garlic cloves). i'll probably marinade it in the chicken overnight (again, that's personal choice, marinading for two hours before is fine too) and then pop it in the oven for twenty minutes or so in a roasting bag. (chicken is low fat, but also has tons of vitamins like B6, magensium and zinc)
Dessert: mocha cream hearts
This is not the healthy part - the healthy part was everything before hand!! This is because I thought it would be cute to serve a dessert shaped as a heart!! It's also a bit more complicated than the other recipes. I think it will turn out like a small chocolate eclair in a heart shape.)
Although, not healthy I know the portion will be small, which is where it becomes healthy - all things can be eaten in moderation and in small portions!!)
All of the food has been chosen because it's my husband's favourite. i haven't checked the calories yet - I'm not sure how hgh calorie honey is. That would be the only ingredient i would be concerned about (apart from the cream and chocolate in the dessert!!!)
We also love playing board games together, so i'm busy creating a board game for us that's based on our lives since we got married. I'll give that to him at the end of the meal with our tea.
What I'm wearing while serving dinner is still to be decided - and i'll probably keep to myself!!
I'm quite excited - it's been fun planning and in this cold weather I quite like the idea of having something at home. It's a great excuse to experiment with food and will also be a great excuse to go shopping for some decent tableware!
Monday, February 06, 2012
I've just experienced Jillian Michaels for the first time and I'm impressed!!
Her training style of combining strength and cardio is not new to me. There is a similar class at my gym that I go to and really enjoy. What makes her special is what she says. All that encouragement to keep going and not to stop - it is so motivating and so very true. Consistency is the key to exercising and it was so wonderful to hear a trainer saying that - encouraging me to keep at it.
It led me to think about a visiting instructor that we had at the gym. She kept on saying 'power' (in that loud strident gym instructor way) while we were kicking and punching, and that little word made me get my muscles to work harder and realize that there was definitely more I could be doing in a class which has much the same routine every week. That trainer taught me just a little bit more about how I exercise and it's going to go a long way.
The other thing that is very useful for me is when they say - 'push your belly button in' - this still makes more sense to me than 'activate your core' (which I'm starting to get). I have a tendency to completely forget that i have to think about using the muscles in my belly and need reminding all the time!!
I guess there are little things that may seem like common sense to a seasoned athlete, but to beginners are pure pearls of wisdom, and, every so often we come across instructors who are able to say it in exactly the way we need to hear it so that the light bulb switches on.
Then, there are the times when they actually take you seriously. Years ago now I told a gym instructor that I wanted to learn how to jog. This was after I had taken his class with the big balls (i still don't remember what they are called) and spent more time rolling off them than staying on them. The next day he found me waiting for a class and gave me a photocopy of a 6 week training plan for learning how to jog in 30 minutes. At the time I thought the guy was insane - I didn't believe I could do it!!! But, I held onto that scrap of paper and every so often I'd have a go at it. It took me nearly five years to manage to run my first five km - but I did it - and I wish I could tell that trainer I did it and how much his thoughtfulness motivated me. He sparked the belief that it might be possible in me.
I guess that's what the good instructors do: get us believing that even in our current state of fitness we can do it. We can reach those goals, whatever they may be.
whilst in the shower, I realized something else my gym instructors were telling me: you have to be eating properly as well as exercising to lose weight. I was in total denial about that one, but, after losing all the weight I thought I'd never lose by beginning to count calories and think about what I'm eating, I believe them. Maybe I'm just a slow learner!!
Friday, February 03, 2012
Life saving may be a bit of over kill here, i know, but, when it comes to 4pm snack time, things have been getting a bit desperate for me, and these little orange batons have provided me with a snack that has the sweetness of a cookie or chocolate and the chewiness of chips - and much fewer calories!!
I bought a packet of them with my grocery shop this week, but only got round to opening them up last night after a day that had been fraught with me wondering how on earth I'm going to curb my cravings. And, funnily enough, they did.
More than that, I started feeling better after eating them (because I was hungry, this wasn't emotional eating, I'm just used to snacking on a cookie at that time, and with recent stress, haven't had the will power to just have one or two and leave it at that.!!
Last night, as I was reflecting on this, it hit me once again how keeping healthy is a constant daily decision, and, it's not always easy to make the best decisions. But, (and here's another big but) seemingly little decisions in this health walk can really help to keep the ball rolling - decisions as small as adding carrot batons to my grocery list this week!!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
They say that the Chinese year of the Dragon is a year full of good luck, but it must also be the year of lighting fires under your backside to get you running because January has been anything but relaxing!
My ticker tells me that I am now in my 6th week of maintenance, which really feels unbelievable. I am still not quite at a balanced weight yet (and wondering if there is such a thing) but seem to be settling at about 4 pounds under my goal weight. I don't full feel in control of my food yet, but this could possibly be because I'm not feeling very much in control of my life this week!!
Last Thursday my husband arrived home with the news that he had lost his job. What has followed has been a bit of a whirlwind week, and a very quick turn around with him starting a new job on Monday - something we are relieved and grateful for.
This week has meant care and attention on my husband and a little voice in my head saying, 'it's ok, you need to take care of yourself too, have another cookie......' and me struggling to figure out what a healthy person has instead of the cookie. I thought exercise would be the answer, but it takes a whole lot more time than eating a cookie does, and most of my time has been invested in my husbands needs. Essentially what has happened is that nutrition and exercise took a back seat.
Now, of course, that is probably natural. Our mind screams emergency and reverts to what it has done in the past, but this time round I knew that the past habits were not the best habits and so I didn't quite know what to do instead.......
Now, I'm pretty good at making sure I eat within a calorie range, but my choices are still not as good as I would like them to be and I still have a lot to learn before the next stress test comes along. Mind you, i'm not completely over this one yet!!
I wonder if the answer is as simple as keeping healthier snacks close at hand. Dried fruit may be a good answer. If I had thought more about it I should also have suggested evening walks with my husband rather than sitting in the house playing games. It would have been spending time with him, but also getting a bit of exercise in. It might not be a jog, but it's something.
So, my 6th week of maintenance has been one with a bit of a real life emergency in it and I would say that I'm about half way there in terms of keeping healthy under pressure. Now that the fire is out I'm waiting for the good luck!!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
The last two days have been so intense for me. in fact today has been an extreme roller coaster - one of those days where it ends and I find myself thinking, what just happened?
So I'm writing this in a bit of a frail state, and the 'replace chocolate with an apple' habit has fallen to the wayside, but I wanted to at least write about the one muscle that I have needed to use a lot this week, and is seriously out of shape:
Faith - that people will help me out when I ask for it
- that it's ok to step out and take risks
- that I won't gain back the weight that I've lost
- that although life is full of curve balls everything does work itself out in the end
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