Tag Archives: health

Then that happened…

I’ve had a weird week, well, fortnight really filled with my birthday, money stress, and many nights with little to no sleep. I blame my birthday indulgences and make a variety of excuses for my inability to deal with the minor bout of carb flu. And while I’m sill low carbing, I know I’m not in keto; also not the end of the world, and wholly my own doing. The trouble when any of us get into this sort of state, is that we end up fighting temptation while also combating exhaustion and stress. Truth is, something has got to give and some days are better than others. I’m not writing a self winging my life sucks entry, I don’t do those. But everyone goes through tough times, it’s all part of life, especially in this day and age with shifting economies and global chaos. So you just roll with the punches and redo your personal budget accordingly; so what if your clothes don’t git anymore because you’ve lost heaps of weight…that’s kind of the point! And if we can’t stick with our program every day of every week, fine, we can work through that.

The important this is to persevere, and not just write off your healthy future because your present isn’t where you want it to be. And yes I may just have eaten an entire block of chocolate, but guilt isn’t going to get me anywhere. Sticking to your guns day in and out can get tiring, sure, exhausting even; but at the end of that rough day – or week – you’ll remember that the guns are in your holsters for a reason and you’ll cowboy up and get back on your horse because guess what? You’re an awesome, strong person and you’re not about to let yourself down.

You’re number one. Don’t ever forget it.

Clear skies,
Vee

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Birthday Plans with Psyllium

It’s my birthday today, and I’m determined to not blow myself out of the water completely – so to speak. So far so good, with the support of my husband and my adopted sisters – yes, you know who you are – I haven’t stuffed my face yet with the chocolate cake that I made yesterday for the Cafe, and this despite every opportunity presenting itself. Nor have I eaten a single piece of the amazing rocky road I made – stuffed full of dates, prunes, walnuts, and yes, marshmallows – so, in other words, I believe I’m doing pretty darned good. But it’s only 11:30 in the morning and it’s going to be a long day. In an effort to be mostly good, I’ve just made myself eat psyllium porridge, which tends to keep my hunger and cravings at bay.

2 Tbsp Psyllium Husks
2 Tbsp Thick Cream (make sure it’s not wheat thickened, people!)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (I always use the organic pure, real stuff, not the fake stuff!)
2 tablets of Stevia (or whatever sweetener you’re comfortable with)
Add hot water to your taste, mix, and endure – I mean, enjoy.

If I’d had a little more headspace and foresight, I’d have made Chocolate Psyllium Puddings instead, but silly me didn’t, so porridge it was. The Chocolate Psyllium Puddings – I think I mentioned them in the previous post – are a tasty treat, completely sugar-free and fill you up while satisfying your brain with the idea that you’ve just had something bad, especially if you add whipped cream to your treat.

2 Tbs Psyllium
1 Tbs Thick Cream
1 Tbs Cocoa Powder (I use Cadbury’s Bourneville)
2 tablets of Stevia
~ 200ml boiling water

That should make around two serves – I split them across two little ramekins so I can fridge them and eat them individually. They do need a little while to set, unless you like them runny, but they are well worth the sit! If you’re throwing a party, they’ll make for tasty desserts that you can enjoy right alongside your guests without feeling guilty!

Psyllium also regularly makes it into my eggs – scrambled, omletted, or otherwise – and after a while you get so used to them you don’t even remember that they’re there. Much awesomeness. Just always remember to drink enough water or you’ll give yourself a stomache-ache from hell, if not worse.

Clear skies,
Vee

A Word About: The Dangers of Boredom and Cookies

So I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to get bored. Not just with what I can eat but just in general: I get bored. The boredom really hits home when there’s nothing going on at the Cafe and I’m surrounded by food that I shouldn’t be eating. No fun really. The troubling thing is, the boredom tries to translate itself into eating. This might also be because I tend to start baking when I get bored and there’s nothing going on. For example, the other day the Cafe was dead and I really do mean ‘dead’; a handful of customers, nothing to do, all the cleaning done, nothing to tidy up…so. bored. So, to alleviate said boredom, I decided to bake cookies. In this case, Chocolate-Marbled Shortbread. I can’t eat it on my current carb count, but they sell quite well and I was out so hey, what the hell.

Hurdle 1: do not eat the cookie dough. Easy enough with a little bit of stubborness. Hurdle 2: do not ‘accidentally’ make a tiny cookie that you can’t sell so you need to eat it. Also done. Hurdle 3: don’t eat the batter while you’re making the cookies! Harder, but done. Into the oven they went. Awesome, twenty whole minutes of not being able to eat a cookie even if I could! I busied myself tidying up the mess I’d made while getting the cookies together; boredom alleviated for ten minutes.

Made some Cocoa-Pysllium Pudding for tomorrow – that’s another five minutes gone, and at least I’ll have a guilt-free treat for tomorrow if I feel the need for something sweet (yay for stevia!). And then the oven timer goes off, and the cookies are ready.

Nothing in the world is harder to resist than freshly baked, straight out of the oven, shortbread chocolate cookies. At least for me. They are my nemesis right alongside cranberry-chocolate scones. That nemesis-status gets amplified tenfold when I’ve got nothing to keep myself occupied: boredom is evil! So they were sitting their cooling on the rack while I wrote a little bit, mulled over the wording of a poem, got bored with that and scrubbed some dishes instead. They’re still cooling in the background, spreading their delicious, decadent perfume through the Cafe – hopefully inducing customers to come in, but no such luck. Just me, the husband, and these damned cookies.

Hurdle 4: do not eat the cookies. 

That’s it. Just don’t. Don’t let the boredom win. Find something else to do, even if you’ve already done it: polish a window, scrub the floor, take out the trash, go for a run, make up a game using chopsticks and a hairdryer (safely!) but whatever you do: do not let the boredom make you eat those cookies!

Clear skies,

Vee

Fibre Is Your Friend

First off, a remembrance to those who lost their lives on the 11th of September. Thoughts, wishes, and hopes to all the families and loved ones.


Most of us don’t get enough fibre in our diet, whether we’re LCing or not. Fibre is a vital part of anyone’s diet, nutrition and yes, overall health.

“…it seems everything at the moment is ‘vital to overall health’,” you might grumbled sarcastically.

You’re not wrong, a lot of things in the weight loss scene tend to go through phases where they are the most important, bestest thing you can do or your body. And in truth, a lot of them are important, just not to the exclusion of all other things. That goes for fibre as well: it is important, very even, but not in place of everything else thats good for you.

So first up, what the hell is fibre really? Must of us assume that it’s ‘ruffage’, the stuff that’s physically fibrous and helps clean out our intestines as it passes through. You’re not wrong. Basically, fibre is stuff that the body doesn’t conpletely digest – certain seeds, husks, grains and certain vegetable fibres that the body has trouble dealing with. These ‘pesky’ things work their way through your digestive system as a goop that clears everything out. Think of it like a scrubbing brush that cleans out your insides.

“Sure, whatever…why is it important then?”

It’s important because if you’re not getting enough fibre in, you’re going to get stopped up. And by ‘stopped up’ I mean constipated like hell.

Constipation isn’t just irritating, its unhealthy. Think about it, you end up with waste just stocking up in your bowel where it’s not just sitting, by the way, but decomposing, fermenting and going through all manner of chemical changes that are causing gas, bloating and stomach aches. Worse, you leave it there long enough and certain bacteria and other elements can sneak back up into your digestive system and cause all sorts of havoc. In serious cases, some studies have shown that repeated constipation can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and/or cancer.

So what is the recommended amount of fibre a day? I’m sure there’s a whole lot of data put there that gives out a specific number, but I’m of the firm belief that if you’re having bowel movements daily or every other day and they are smooth and easy to pass, you’re getting enough fibre. If you’re struggling with regularity, you’re going to need to add in some more fibre and likely up your water intake as well.

Regular exercise also helps. Myself I go for a good combination of insoluble and soluble fibre, just to make sure I’m covered. That means I eat a lot of green leafy veggies and I have two table spoons of psyllium husk every day – in some form or another. Psyllium husk is cool because you can do all sorts of things with it like eat it as a porridge – with dairy alternatives or cream and hot water – or you can mix it in with some egg and make a faux pancake. Just be careful to go slow if you start taking it! I had the misfortune a few months back to go a little crazy with it. The result was not pretty, and trust me, you do not want to lose 2kg in a day by puking and er…flushing your guts out. It’s not fun and it’s not good for you! My advice is: yes, lots of exciting recipes about ‘psyllium bread’ and the like but remember that this stuff turns into a gel-like substance that absorbs liquids! This means that if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re eating too much of it, or both you’re going to get a serious bowel obstruction and that is not fun. So go slow! Most people advice that you start off with one tablespoon and plenty of water and do that for a few days before upping your intake. Pay attention to how your body reacts. You can buy psyllium husk (and flaxseed meal, which has a similar effect and a slightly different taste!) in most health food shops and some supermarkets; for those of you in the area, I do have a stockpile here at the Magpie Cafe (48 Main St., Upwey VICTORIA) for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for recipes, a quick Google search will yield plenty of results, just keep my advice in mind and go slow to start with.

And I think that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope it helped some!

Clear Skies,

Vee

A Word About: Diets and Vacations

This weekend, the husband and I are spending a few days away from the home. It’s the first time that we’ve had a chance to travel for fun in about three years. Weird. It’s also the first time that I’ve been really away from home since I started LCing. Also weird. At first it concerned me, I mean, we’re going to be out of the house what am I going to eat? Clearly, two choices were available to me:

1. Should I just cheat the whole way through? It’s only two days right? And there’s such awesome food available! This is what I desperately wanted to do, just lash out and take a short holiday from the weight loss. I wanted to be able to enjoy food the way it’s served, without having to requested complicated food changes. That would be a relief. But then I thought, why should I lose all this awesome progress that I’ve made so far? Sure, I wouldn’t lose it all, but I’d stall again and definitely knock myself out of ketosis. Which lead me to the second option:

2. Do I stick with it and persevere? Deconstructed food is also pretty awesome and it’s not like we’re going to be going to a fancy restaurant – this is low key fun! On top of that I don’t particularly want to be bloated and gassy in my brand new bathing suit, I’m already self-conscious about my thighs at this point, I’m not going to be adding unhappy tummy to that.

So in the end, I decided to stick to my LC, with a few exceptions here and there. I decided to let my hair down a little bit but without putting the overall keto at too much risk!

What should you do when you go on vacation? Really up to you. You’re your own person and I’m not going to dictate one way or the other, but let me tell you: you can’t control the temptations you’ll be faced with while out of your regular port of call (so to speak), so keep in mind that despite the many new tasty options available to you while en vacances you can always say ‘no’ and have the duck salad instead, I’m sure it’s just as tasty.

Clear Skies,
Vee

Weigh Your Words

I envy people who can eat whatever they want and not bear any consequences. You lot are extremely lucky! I think we are all aware that most of us don’t have that luxury. Whether it’s because of PCOS, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer or whatever other reason, some of us really need to watch what we eat.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I sometimes get really annoyed by naturally skinny people – and not to be sexist, but yes, its primarily other women – waving a dismissive hand and saying something like ‘Oh, surely it isn’t as bad as all that, I don’t have to keep track of what I eat no reason you should.’ I respect that people who say things like that aren’t concerned with their own weight or size, and in all honesty that’s super for them, but the reality of this all is: you simply cannot compare one person to another. Especially not when it comes to weight, health and/or necessity.

This doesn’t just go for people not trying to lose weight mind you. This also goes for the lot of us who do watch what we eat. I may lose 2kg this fortnight while you only lose 0.5kg even if we are doing the exact same thing. Why? Because our bodies are different. My metabolism might be a little quicker than yours, I might be less further along in the weight loss than you at a point where I dot have to inrease my kj deficit yet. There are a whole range of reasons why two people may not lose weight the same way.

This is why I always get so worried when a friend tells me they’re on the latest celebrity diet because such and such lost 20kg in 6 weeks. Not only is that unhealthy and puts you at risk, it’s probably unattainable unless you’re a celebrity with time and money on hand to fix your diet. It’s also stupid. The quicker you lose weight the faster it’ll come back, which is really why you need to set yourself reasonable targets. Me, for example, I need to lose 30kg in total and I originally aimed for the steep 1 year timeframe. I’ve amended that to 1.5 years because while the initial burst of weight loss was awesome, I do nit just want to gain it all right back again and that means slowing down a little and adding in more exercise. By May next year at the latest I aim to weigh 52kg, so I’ve still got a little ways to go, but I’m nearly through.

The other type of person I have trouble with is the obese person who excuses their weight by saying ‘It’s okay, I’m healthy’ or that they’ve tried dieting and exercising but ‘it’s just too hard’ or ‘it didn’t do anything for me’. Now, its really none of my business, your weight and health don’t really affect me, but when I hear that I just want to throttle them. When I hear that I feel like my battle against obesity – and let’s be honest here, it is a battle – is being dismissed as some sort of vain attempt to conform to society. I’m being trendy, clearly. I find it rather upsetting and lately it’s been getting under my skin; I know, not very professional of me.

The truth is that Western society does seem to promote skinniness as being ultra healthy, thus the rise in eating disorders and fad diets, but on the flip side we are also plagued with obesity to such a degree that people do get dismissive about their weight. The truth is, if you are obese, you are not healthy. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Forget how much you weigh, studies are showing that increase in waist size along can lead to diabetes and other problems. I’m sick and tired of people saying ‘I can’t’, the answer may not be Low-Carb for them in particular, but there’s something out there so grow a spine and lose the extra kgs before you keel over and die. Seriously, people, your health is important! If you’re thinking about losing weight but doubt whether you can, your first step is always to say:

Yes, I can!

Clear skies (with apologies for the slight rant),
Vee

Low Carb and PMS

Firstly, welcome to all the new followers! Thanks for sifting through everything and tuning into LCO. 🙂

Today I want to briefly touch base with all you women out there who go through the irritation that is PMS. (Guys, clearly you don’t have to read along here, but hey, you never know when this information might come in useful to help your significant other!)

So, then: what is PMS and how might LC effect it? The first thing we should clear up before we dive into that is that not all women will ever experience PMS, some of us may suffer through some symptoms of it, while others get the full whammy. So, PMS: Pre-Menstrual Syndrome describes the symptoms prior, during, or even after a women’s monthly period arrives. Generally speaking these symptoms can include things like bloating, water retention, cravings, abdominal cramping, muscle pain, back and neck aches, headaches, gas, and/or migraines. Some of us might have all of them, others none! I tend to trade potential muscle aches for breast tenderness, no fun. Another thing many women.experience are mood swings, crankiness and depression.

Most of us assume that all this is due to hormonal swings as our body goes into its cycle. That’s not entirely accurate; hormones are certainly a piece of the puzzle, especially for women with PCOS – estrogen excess and progesterone deficiency can definitely be a factor. Other possible causes are a lack in Vitamin B6, abnormal glucose metabolism – i.e. high insulin resistance – and electrolyte misbalances. In addition, you’re more at risk of developing PMS symptoms if you smoke and/or have a BMI of over 30.

And this is where the LC comes in. Some of us may have gone to the doctor to ask about these things we go through around out period, and we might have been told that weight was a factor. So we troll the Internet and decided to try an LC diet since it seems to be the current thing to be doing. Great. Just be mindful that weight loss will initially mess around with all your internal settings, so make sure you’re taking the appropriate minerals and vitamins and keeping your electrolytes up. Cutting out foods you’ve been eating your whole life can lead to a sudden deficiency in certain essentials, so just be mindful of that.

Something else to keep an eye on is that some people appear to get worse PMS symptoms while on LC I honestly don’t know why – and I’ll try to find out, so stayed tuned!  – but it can get pretty bad. My advice is, if you’re one of these people, to up your carb count when you feel it start to get bad. If you do find that your PMS gets worse while on an LC, I would love to get your pointers and opinions.

Clear Skies,
Vee

The Art of Deconstructing Meals

The skill of deconstructing food is one that any LCer should explore.  So what do I mean by ‘deconstructing’ food? It’s something I’ve become rather good at, even if I say so myself. It came about when my husband decided we were going to have hamburgers for dinner one night; naturally that meant no bread for me, no ketchup, no caramelised onion. What it did mean was that I received a plate with two hamburger patties – made from scratch, no breadcrumbs, and only a little red onion! – served alongside beetroot, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and a lightly-spiced mayo. It was, literally, a deconstructed hamburger – and I ate every last bit of it.

So, clearly, deconstructing is all about serving food in such a way that you’re not eating the wrong carbs. It’s easy enough to do with homemade hamburgers, but what else can you do? Pasta and sauce? Spaghetti bolognaise? You’ve been avoiding these, no doubt. My mother-in-law has taken to replacing my serves of pasta with gently-boiled cabbage instead – not quite the same, but definitely better than just sauce. Speaking of, try to make your sauce from scratch, that way you know what’s gone into it and you know that you’re not eating hidden carbs in the form of sweeteners or thickeners.

In our household we also get spectacular salads with every dinner meal; which is fantastic, except that sometimes there’s bits in there that I’m not eating like onion, shallots, or crunchy noodles. That’s alright though, I just scoot those to the side and don’t eat them; it’s a fiddlier form of deconstruction, but it’s still a deconstruction!

There’s a whole heap of meals you can do this with, especially if the rest of the household/family isn’t eating LC. Just make sure you’ve got an idea of what’s actually gone into the food and you can pretty much work around the carbs. Obviously there’s meals you can’t do this with, but for the most part a little ingenuity goes a long way.

Anyone have any deconstructing stories, ideas or tips? I’d love to hear about them!

Clear skies,
Vee

A Word About: Peanuts

I have a weakness for peanut butter – so much so that just now, typing the word made me crave it intensely. Luckily for me, most PB is low enough carb to fit into my regime: the best kind is homemade, or, in my case the stuff that Upper Ferntree Organics sell that I’m very lucky to have access to. (For those of you in Melbourne: 1232 Burwood Hwy, Upper Ferntree Gully, VIC3156. Ph. 03 9752 2688) I haven’t had it in forever, but it is by far the best pb that I’ve had. That said, if you don’t have access to organic, homemade, preservative-free, gluten-free pb, that’s okay, store-bought brands will do the thing too. And if you’re anti pb for some reason – maybe you don’t like the way it sticks to your mouth? I don’t know. – peanuts are your answer.

“Answer? What’re you going on about, Vee?”

Bear with me, this isn’t just some ramble about one of my favourite foods, I promise it actually serves a purpose.

As it turns out, peanuts – and the pb! – help in lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels. I stumbled across this fact while reading one of the many blogs I read, and the author commented that she’d given in and eaten a popular candy bar but figured the peanuts in it would lessen the damage of the chocolate. I raised an eyebrow when I read that comment, thinking she was making excuses for herself. Turns out, I was wrong, she was right.

As we already know, as nuts, peanuts are fairly good on the GI level, not affecting it all that much. Several studies I came across stated that a handful of peanuts or a small spoonful of peanut butter were enough to have a positive effect on steadying blood sugar levels.  Additionally, because it’s so high in fat and relatively high in sodium, you’re going to feel satisfied with your little snack, keeping you from raiding the pantry any further. This makes it an ideal snack for diabetics and pre-diabetics as maintaining a healthy diet is one of the prime means by which we deal with these issues.

And then there’s the magnesium.  Peanuts, like many nuts, are chock full of the stuff, and because they break down slowly you’ll regulate your magnesium levels while you’re at it.

There’s a wealth of information out there, waiting to be found, and I’ll definitely keep looking into it – I mean, hey, any excuse to eat pb right? But I also want to give a shout out to those of you who struggle with peanut/nut allergies. Of all the allergies, I think I’m right in saying that the peanut allergy is one of the most prevalent and I feel for anyone who struggles with it or has to watch their child struggle with it.

Clear skies,
Vee

Recommended reading:

The Peanut Institute – Diabetes and Blood Sugar
Diabetes in Control – Peanut Butter at Breakfast Helps Control Hunger and Blood Sugar All Day

Sites of Interest: ‘Fat Girl Living Low Carb’, ‘Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes’ & ‘Mark’s Daily Apple’

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” ~Maya Angelou

So, my second ‘Sites of Interest’ post! Exciting. I’m going to try and do one of these every month so that you’ve all got fresh information to look at instead of getting stuck with my rambling words every day.

This month we’re taking a look at my new favourite blog for motivation and recipes: Fat Girl Living Low Carb. I stumbled across this blog quite by accident only to find a wealth of information pertaining to LC recipes, foods, ideas, and just general fun. Those of you who are stuck for something to eat really need to hop over there and have a look! Her writing style is fresh and entertaining, and her articles are always honest and tend to be accompanied by fantastic pictures. There’s nothing like some serious visual aids to help the imagination along. The recipes she provides are very simple, but provide beautiful complex flavours, and on top of that, they’re divided into categories for easy access!

If you need even more recipes, why not jump over to Linda’s Low Carb Menus & Recipes, another great resource for a diverse amount of recipes. Linda’s got a great variety, classifying all her recipes into courses and including some scrumptious snack and dessert recipes. This site also has a page dedicated to ‘Odds and Ends’ which contains all sorts of useful tools for anyone’s weight loss journey,  such as tips and notes on sugar-free syrups, exercise tapes and dvds, and a hidden carb calculator. I like using this site for ideas and its resources, the links Linda provides are very useful and should be part of an LCers arsenal.

Finally, you’ve got to look at Mark’s Daily Apple. Focusing on a ‘Primal’ diet, this site is chock full of awesome information, tips, links, and resources. If you’re looking for a place to start a Primal LC diet, this is the place to go. The only ‘downside’, if you can call it that, is that is a sponsored site; I don’t really care about that, but someone else might so I thought I’d put it up there. But hey, keep in mind that sometimes you’ve got to consult expert advice to temper all the great grassroots information we’re building here! 🙂

And that’s it from me for today! Happy browsing and happy Low-carbing!

Clear Skies,
Vee