Monday, 22 March 2010

Food Week

This week has been a bit of a food week for me. I don’t mean that I’ve overindulged or broken my rules. I mean it in the way that I’ve been looking deeper into what I’m eating, and experiment with fresh and new recipes and ideas.

Monday evening was a turkey kebab on a bed of rice; Tuesday I satisfied my potato craving with a potato rosti (with bacon). Wednesday I made a chicken and mushroom pie, and I have to say it was a rousing success. It was my first attempt at short crust pastry (or any pastry at all) and it wasn’t a complete failure. There was even enough left for Thursday’s dinner as well! Friday was one of my awesome risottos, but Saturday was the pinnacle of my food week. I made a Thai inspired beef noodle salad, which was utterly yummy. I may post some recipes later. There may even be pictures.

In addition to this I was spontaneously taken out for lunch on Thursday. One of my friends had just finished a hospital treatment and wanted to celebrate, so his mum took myself and Sam to Frankie and Benny’s for lunch. In keeping with my food week I tried something I’d never had before; their Californian pizza, which was stuffed with yummy vegetables and goat’s cheese. And I was good and had water with that instead of coffee or fizzy drinks.

This explosion in my interest in food came about because another friend put me on to Tastespotting. Every spare moment I get I’ve been eagerly browsing that site for pictures, delicious recipes and new ideas. The best thing about it is that I’ve been able to sit and look at photos of food for hours on end and not feel tempted to snack. Somehow along the way I’ve managed to break the association between seeing food, wanting it and feeling hungry. Which is good, because it means I can research new tasty things without getting the urge to stuff my face with food.

A few other good things have come out my explorations on Tastespotting. I’ve been spending a lot of time over at this site, which discusses raw veganism. While there is no way I’d ever even consider going vegetarian, let alone any variation of vegan, this site ahs had a lot to offer me. I’ve realised it would be a good idea to incorporate more raw food into my diet, both the wean me away from having three cooked meals a day some days, and to increase my vegetable intake. Both of which are good things. I’ve even been tempted to make some of the vegan recipes, such as this yummy looking cheesecake. Making such treats with vegan recipes certainly makes them a lot healthier, as it would cut out all the unnecessary fat in dairy products.

Although cutting out meat from my diet is just not an option for me, this isn’t the first time I’ve been tempted by vegan recipes. I’ve been very tempted to make my own almond milk for some time now; I’m just waiting for the right time (and the right almonds). While I am open to alternative food lifestyles, and am willing to try out their recipes, there’s just no way I’d be willing to give up animal products or cooked meals. But just incorporating just a few of the ideas discussed over at rawmazing could have a drastic effect on my health, and hence my weight.

One of the other things I like about that site is the writer’s hatred of the word diet. She refuses to use phrases like “I need to lose weight” because they are demeaning. And I have to agree. My overall goal is to lose weight, because there is no doubt that I need to, but I’m going to try to be more positive about it. Instead of telling people I’m on a diet, or I’m trying to fat bust, I’m going to tell them that I’m making new lifestyle choices to improve my overall health. I think I can cope with a doctor telling me that his chart says I’m unhealthy if I know that I’m as healthy as I can get myself.

To this end I’ve been trying to increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. Wednesday evening I spontaneously started doing exercise, of my own free will, because I felt like it. I’ve managed to come up with a short 5 minute exercise routine that I can do at any time during the day. The routine (so far) consists of 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 star jumps, 10 bendy down and touch my toes things, and 10 reps on my ‘weights’. Hopefully once I managed to get a decent sports bra I’ll be able to incorporate some skipping into this routine as well.

I’ve also been considering going to the gym once a week. I’ve looked around and have managed to find a gym that is fairly affordable, which I plan to check out in the next few weeks. I think that even an hour in the gym every week would have a dramatic impact on my health. And I absolutely adore the rowing machines, which is great cardio work out. If I can find exercises I enjoy, then it becomes less of a chore and I’m more likely to it. It’s just that most of the exercise people have tried to get me to do my whole life I’ve hated. I’m hoping to change that for good.

Back to the food, I’ve also been looking at creating more variety in the carbohydrates than I eat, in addition to cutting back on them. I’ve started eating more potatoes (as you may have guessed form my comments about craving them) and I’ve all but given up pasta. In it’s place I have bought some couscous, pearl barley and cracked bulgur wheat. I’m looking forward to trying out the latter two in recipes, since I’ve never cooked them before. I’m hoping to get one with the barley in particular, as it is ridiculously cheap, which will keep my bank balance happy as well as my waist.

I’ve also been taking measures to reduce the amount of oil I use when I’m cooking. Instead of just pouring an indeterminate amount into the pan I’m using, I’ve a acquired a silicon basting brush. This means I can coat the pan lightly and not use too much oil. When I finish the oil I currently have I plan to get one of those 1 calorie per spray things. But for now the basting brush works just fine, and things taste the same as they always did. It’s just I can stop worrying about adding unnecessary calories to my meals.

There is a small amount of bad news though. I did break my ‘no alcohol in the month of March’ rule. I blame it entirely on t being St Patrick’s day and ending up in a pub where they sell all my favourite alcohols. The resolution seems to have had some effect though I had a single bottle of Kopparberg and felt slightly nauseous. I’m hoping that this manages to curb my drinking without putting me off entirely. It would be a shame to have to go teetotal.

Well, I think that’s about it for now. The Easter holidays are looming, which hopefully will mean I have more time to post. I still owe you guys that BMI essay, and I have a few other blog ideas up my sleeve. Easter will bring its own challenges though, as I will be spending three weeks at home with a greatly reduced control over my food. My mother is mostly to blame for my addiction to large portions of carbs, but she’s aware of my rules and resolutions. We should be able to sort something out, which will probably involve me cooking. Not that I’m complaining, of course.

Full rawmazing rant about weight loss can be found here.

Further thoughts on raw food diets and weight loss can be found here.

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