30 July 2012

Whole 30

A few posts ago I said I wanted to quit sugar. It's been 2 weeks since I stopped taking sugar in tea and coffee. I felt completely depressed for the first few days, it got easier but I've found myself craving sweet things in the evenings. I don't want to replace the sugar I'm giving up in tea with snacks in the evenings! So this week while looking for inspiration I stumbled upon this;


This is basically about as paleo / clean eating as you can get. Its about eating what makes you healthy and not eating things that make you unhealthy, simple! So that's eating plenty of real food – meat, seafood, eggs,  vegetables, fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds

Its about completely cutting out;

  • added sugar of any kind, real or artificial
  • alcohol
  • grains
  • legumes
  • dairy

Today is day two and so far its fine. I think its 'do-able' as long as I plan ahead and make sure there is lots of variety in what I'm eating.  When I look at the list of no no's I think, I can do that no problem but in reality these things are added to so much of what we eat. There is a little bit of me that thinks its too strict, there is no way I would do this for longer than 30 days but I'm intrigued to see how I will be effected by eliminating these things from my diet. And that's what appeals to me, this isn't really a long term way of eating but about understanding how foods affect your body and mind. I will gradually reintroduce some foods, like lentils and chickpeas, cheeses and see what happens! I can't say I'm going to be super strict, I can get a bit obsessed with sticking with things to the letter but I don't want this to effect my enjoyment of food and cooking, but I will give it my best shot.  Wish me luck! 
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Sweet Potato Falafels

My new favourite recipe, Sweet Potato Falafels. So easy, quick and healthy, my kind of food.

You can find the recipe over at 'My New Roots' blog. I served mine with loads of tahini sauce on spinach, rocket and tomato salad. The recipe makes loads so perfect for lunch the next day.

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15 July 2012

The Commandments

As I mentioned in my first post I've been trying to eat as gluten free as possible lately. As well as limiting gluten I have also tried to eat as 'clean' as possible by sticking to fresh, unprocessed, unrefined foods that haven't been played around with too much. There is so much out there about what we should and shouldn't eat and conflicting arguments as to why not. I was overwhelmed by this at first but I'm starting to figure out what is right for me personally. I am a firm believer that 'you are what you eat' and that healthy food equals healthy mind and body. What works for me is a diet that includes a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, protein, good fats (i.e nuts, fish, some meat and whole grains. I try to steer away from 'bad' carbs (i.e. white bread) and up my intake of 'good 'carbs' such as beans and sweet potatoes. So the recipes I find and write about on the blog will be based on this balance. I am no expert in diet or nutrition, I'm still learning but my interest in food and what it does to my body fascinates me.

I have made lots of changes to my diet recently but its just a start, so this seems like a good time to set out the ideas I want to strive towards. The blog is about giving me focus to achieve this, to learn more about diet and nutrition and to keep a record of the journey.

1 - Eat natural, clean and simple foods - lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of lean protein, complex carbs, no processed or refined foods. 'Clean' eating is a whole other post in itself and a way of eating I am still learning about, we'll come back to that one. The pyramid below however is based on the 'paleo diet' and is the closest I could find to the way I want to eat but doesn't allow diary or legumes both of which I eat at the moment. 

2 - Cooking from scratch almost all of the time - this is a priority for me and gives me total control over what I eat, its pretty much the only way you know what's in your food. Having said that I love eating out with Mr A, and I don't think eating out once in a while is a bad thing. As well as cooking from scratch I rarely make the same thing more than three or four times (apart from a few favourites), for me variety and discovering new foods and recipes is so important to eating well.

3 - Low Carb - my carb intake tends to come from fruit, vegetables and legumes rather than white potatoes, white breads and white pasta. This is because these are the foods I automatically go for when I'm hungry but also because I don't see the point of filling myself up with simple carbs when I can eat more healthy carbs! That doesn't mean I don't like a good portion of chips! For me this is about making healthier alternatives rather than sticking to strict 'do's and don't'.

4 - Limit Wheat and Gluten - I was surprised when I read up on the effects gluten can have on the body, like causing inflammation of the digestive tract. This is one of the main reasons I have been paying more attention to my diet, but more on that once we've got to know one another better :) I won't say that I will eliminate gluten completely just yet because I'm not sure that's necessary (because gluten is in everything including some yoghurt's and seasoning) but I will be looking to add healthy alternatives instead (like coconut and almond flours instead of plain flours)

5 - Quit Sugar - whilst I hardly ever eat chocolates, sweets or cakes I do take sugar (1 tsp) in my tea and coffee. As I have anything up to 6 cups a day, I know the effects this has on my blood sugar levels. Although I have a pretty healthy diet, my energy levels are all over the place throughout the day. Sugar is another ingredient that is in everything so if I can cut out the sugar in tea and coffee it can only be a good thing. I haven't been able to tackle this one yet, but I will. Soon. 

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14 July 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I can't stop telling everyone I know about this clever little recipe I found at Eat. Drink Smile. I never know what to do with cauliflower other than steaming, crudités and adding to curries, so I came across this recipe when scouring  the internet. Here's a picture of my version, which I think is not far off the original and tasted so good! This also fits right in with my attempts to eat as gluten free as possible. Once the base is baked, I spread tomato purée and then added olives, anchovies, mozzarella and sliced ham. Mmm mmm mmmm

For my two bases, here's what I did;

Half large cauliflower
2 eggs
2 balls mozarella
Oregano (or whichever herbs you prefer)
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 200°C. 'Rice' cauliflower in food processor until it looks like grain, mine looked exactly like cous cous. Do the same with mozzarella, or you could just use grated mozzarella. Combine cauliflower and mozzarella with eggs, herbs, salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to pieces of baking paper (I sprayed baking paper with olive oil spray). Smooth down and form the base into a circle. I wanted mine quite thin. I also wanted them golden and crispy so I sprayed each of them with more olive oil spray. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. You can then add any sauce and toppings you want, add back into the oven or grill until your topppings are warmed / crispy. You would have to precook any toppings that needed cooking before adding them to pizza and under the grill.
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