Monthly Archives: July 2014

Keeping focused, not getting discouraged.

Photo by Chris Lu

I’ve lost all of my baby weight and now I’m trying to lose the weight that I was trying to lose before I got pregnant.

When I look at the bigger picture, I’m happy, I’m excited and I know I’m on to a very good thing. Since the end of March, I’ve lost 22 pounds / 10 kilograms. That’s a number that you can’t turn your nose up at.

I’ve also gone down three jean sizes from a 33” to a 30”. Not too shabby.

So you’d think I have a huge cause for celebration, right? Well, that’s when moving from big picture to the detail causes problems. Tonight, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I realised that I’ve lost 4 pounds in the month of July. Four pounds is good and I’m happy with that, but I had a moment where I started to beat myself up and think that I could have done more and that what I was doing wasn’t good enough.

Then I paused, shook my head and took a deep breath. This isn’t a diet, it’s not a fad – it’s something I’m doing for life. I’m trying to set a good example for my son by living a healthy, vibrant lifestyle.

These things take time.

I need to enjoy my life, have the odd indulgence, have a glass of wine at the end of a challenging day. These things mean that the numbers on the scale don’t down so quickly.

But they’re going down. And I’m embedding all of my new food and exercise principles into my life in the right way.  And I’m enjoying life.

Getting strong again.

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Before I got pregnant, I was in a nice groove of eating primally, working out with my kettlebells 4-5 times a week and doing a lot of walking. When I got pregnant, I had the best intentions, especially about working out.

And for the first three months, I did. I was diligent about getting a good kettlebell workout in, so much so, that I lost weight in my first trimester and bought a 16kg kettle

bell because the 12kg one was getting too easy, especially on swings.

Then I got really, really sick. The kind of sick that makes you miserable, especially when you’re sick in the coldest winter London has had for years.

So I stopped exercising, gave into my pregnancy cravings and did a lot of sitting around on the couch.

As my son has grown and wants me to carry him or rock him to sleep, it’s made me realise that I need to get stronger. It’s one thing carrying a 6kg baby, it’s another thing t

o carry around a wriggly 9.5kg eleven month old that doesn’t want to go into his buggy. So it’s time to properly get back into my fitness. I walk miles everyday, but that’s not going to make me stronger. I need to lift (swing!) heavy and do this consistently.

Kettlebells – welcome back, old friends!

Spicy tuna cakes!

I’ve been obsessed with nomnompaleo‘s cookbook since I bought it a few weeks ago. And like any good cook, I often add my own twists and adaptations to the original recipes.

This afternoon, while baby J was sleeping, I decided to try out the Spicy Tuna Cakes recipe, as I had eyed it last week and made sure I added some nice albacore tuna to my Ocado order.

I changed things up from the original recipe by adding red peppers, garlic and onions for some crunch and colour and ground coriander and smoked paprika to give it an additional depth of flavour.

If you haven’t invested in these silicone muffin cases, I highly recommend doing so. They are so easy, environmentally friendly and no-fuss! After they cooled, the fish cakes slipped right out of the cases and on to the plate.

What’s the verdict? Well, I’ll definitely make them again, but…next time, I’ll use more seasoning and reduce the amount of mashed sweet potato, as the fish cakes were a little too wet for my liking.

The added red pepper, onion and garlic was good for the extra texture and next time, I’ll probably add some shredded carrot as well for even more crunch!

Paleo granola for the non-paleo

My husband has always loved granola and for years, a bowl of Jordan’s granola with milk was his go-to breakfast. For the last few months, I’ve been really conscious about getting him to think about what’s in the packaged food he likes to eat. When I mentioned the gut-busting 12.4g of sugar in a 45g bowl of his favourite Crunchy Oat Granola with Raisin and Almond, he finally seemed interested in trying paleo and primal alternatives.

I made my first batch of primal / paleo granola a few weeks ago and it was a really big hit. We finally ran out on Friday, so I decided to make a fresh batch this afternoon after a tough night with a poorly bub. I find cooking so therapeutic and relaxing; the perfect thing to do (other than nap, which I also found time for this afternoon!) when the baby’s napping.

After feedback that the last batch had a little too much coconut oil in it and not enough honey, I made some tweaks to this batch. In my trusty Mason Cash bowl, I mixed:

  • 400g flaked almonds
  • 200g pecan nuts
  • 100g macadamia nuts
  • 200g walnuts
  • 100g dessicated coconut
  • 100g currants
  • 100g chopped dates

Then I added 1.5 tablespoons of ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg and mixed it all together. I upped the cinnamon and nutmeg to the entire recipe because I reckoned that it would add the sweet flavour that my husband wanted without creating a massive insulin response.

In a small pot, I then blended 100g of coconut oil, 50g of raw honey and another tablespoon each of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg under a low heat for two minutes.

Once you’re happy, you can store the granola in big Tupperware containers and should last for a week or two, depending on how many people you need to feed in the morning.

Et voila! Enjoy!

My slippery slope foods.

Photo by Padurariu Alexandru

The process of cleaning up my diet has forced me to take a hard look at what I eat on a daily basis, but most of all, my slippery slope foods. You know, the foods that send you into a spiral of wanting more and more and more.

Sugary food like chocolate was my go to food after my son was born. It’s no lie that breastfeeding moms crave sugar – in the early days, I ate a slice of cake everyday! After cutting out sugar for Lent, bread became my new crutch. Whenever I was tired or a bit emotional, I would reach for the breadbasket and scarf away. After indulging a few too many times, I knew I had to cut out the wheat and once I did, a new slippery slope food emerged – cheese.

I’ve always loved cheese. When I was in university, I remember standing at my kitchen counter eating slice after slice of cheddar, cutting each slice from a big block. After giving up sugar, I would always order a cheese plate for dessert, enjoying exploring English, French, Spanish and German cheeses. Nothing beats a good goat’s cheese.

But I can’t just eat one piece of cheese and then stop. After giving up sugar and wheat and still not seeing the fast progress I wanted in shifting my baby weight. I knew I had to cut out cheese – my slippery slope food.

And it’s been really successful. I’ve had the odd treat, but knowing that I have to limit my consumption has really helped. I’m not the type of person that can eat food in moderation.

So what’s my new slippery slope food, you ask? I’d like to say that I don’t have one, but then I’d be lying. Oddly enough, I can’t get enough of dried mango at the moment. And I know it’s not great for me, as all the sugar creates an insulin response in me. I really feel the high and then the crash, especially when I scoff a whole bag at the end of the day.

I’d like to say that I would cut out all slippery slope food, but I don’t know if that would be possible. Food shouldn’t be a treat or reward, but after a hard day with the baby, it’s nice to have a little pick me up.

The big lightbulb moment.

Photo by Marta Serrano

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people that reads cookbooks, nutrition books and exercise books in bed. Salivating over new recipe ideas, learning more about the human body and how food affects it, boning up on new exercise techniques – I love it.

After I got pregnant, I thought that I would use my maternity leave to come up with my BIG idea – you know, the one that would make me my millions and allow me to live the life of my dreams. Fat chance. Baby J arrived and reality hit. For the first six months, I had no spare brain capacity – everything was focused on the baby. And then slowly but surely, I started to feel more like a new version of my old self, which made me start to contemplate my future.

Did I really want to go back to a job where I was working 60-70 hour weeks? Was that what I was really passionate about? What was I passionate about? When was I going to get the big BRAIN WAVE about my next business?

Well, it turns out it was staring me in the face all along. I read about nutrition and fitness all the time, I talk about it all the time and I really try to live my life in a healthy way. One day, M said to me, “what if you could do something in nutrition or food?”. And finally the lightbulb went off.

It’s definitely going to be a slowburner. I’ve signed up to do a diploma in naturopathic nutrition at the College of Naturopathic Medicine. Part-time, so it will take me three years. This is my big move, my big passion. And I’m really excited about it.

Becoming a primal / paleo mom

Photo by Monstruo Estudio

When it was just me and my husband, living a primal lifestyle was fairly easy – we worked hard, we played hard and we had lots of time for our respective hobbies and interests. If there wasn’t enough time one day, we would just think, “oh okay, we’ll just get up early tomorrow.”

So when I got pregnant in late 2012, I had a ton of good intentions. I vowed to eat primal, continue to use my kettlebells at least 3-4 times a week and to generally be as healthy as possible for my baby. Ummmm, and then the nausea and cravings hit. So it’s safe to say that my good intentions went out the window and I ate a lot of pizza and chicken wings.

Fast forward to December 2013 and I’m 4 months post partum. Breastfeeding was supposed to help the weight drop off and allow me to eat 500 extra calories a day, right? Riiiight… It didn’t really turn out that way for me and despite losing the majority of my pregnancy weight in the first month, I slowly but surely put it all back on. This is despite walking at least 5 miles everyday with a 15 pound baby strapped to my front in the Ergo carrier – what gives!?!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that I needed to clean up my diet and stop using breastfeeding as a pass for eating cake, chocolate, bread, pasta and drinking loads of milky coffees. What can I say – my brain was in a fog because of the lack of sleep and my primal past was not connecting at all with my present.

It took giving up sugar for Lent to show me that getting healthy for me was 90% about what I ate and 10% about how I moved. After about a month, I decided to give up wheat. Finally, I cut my dairy consumption to the odd piece of cheese and maximum one cappuccino a day. Et voila!

I was so inspired by this, it made really stop and think about what I was feeding my baby and my husband. My husband is still not 100% convinced about primal / paleo eating, subscribing to the notion, ‘everything in moderation’. However, because I do the grocery shopping and the cooking, I have more of an opportunity to stealthily nudge his eating in a better direction at home.

We’ve been eating primally for the past three months and it’s really starting to pay dividends. I’ve lost the baby weight, M has lost a few inches around the waist and baby J has been able to sample a wide range of delicious food – fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts – and he eats whatever we eat!