Hard Days Week… No excuses

It has been a tough 10 days. A few little setbacks along the way, some soul-searching, and a reality check have all been in there.  I had a great fun day with friends today and I am doing ok, but instead of a hard days night it has been roughly 10 days worth of crap. But the point of this blog post is not to gather sympathy, it is to be real with myself and my readers…

I may blog about some of the crap that has gone down later in the week; and while it is safe to say while I am doing a lot better with all the obstacles put in my way, I have fallen off the food wagon a little.

I am writing this post, because some people assume that I have all of my food and eating patterns together now. Well people, that is a fallacy. I still have my days where I lean towards eating through emotions…Most of the this behaviour is in the past, But compounded issues on issues resulted in me taking a side step into this dangerous territory.  Ice cream is not my friend, and it slides through my band like hot butter. With all its evil sugar, carbs and calories.

The hardest part is I am not supposed to run at the moment until I get a medical clearance (Thursday can’t come quick enough)… And running makes me feel good, helps me deal with stress and as I have stated many times re-aligns my head. No running equals Naughty Lin trying to come out to self sabotage with ice-cream and carbs. Not helpful.

A friend had on her Facebook the other day this little gem of a statement (thanks MAE)

This is truth… It is about making wise choices everyday.  So what if I can’t run at the moment… I can walk, and I can walk for hours if I need too, I can lift weights, and go to yoga… Running may be my favourite exercise, but I can go low intensity for a while. Everything else is an excuse, I have had enough excuses for a lifetime, I am done with them… So my resolution, me being accountable to me (and anyone who reads this),  I intend to choose wisely again, focus on me again – and let all the other crap fall to the way side.

Till next time, Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday; Jamie Oliver Sticky Lamb Stew

Jamie; you had me at lamb...

Ok, so I am not going to write out the whole recipe for this one (see link below), but trust me this is delicious, warming and perfect for the cold Aussie winter ahead. I woke on Monday to a rainy day… and hoped that the rain would clear in time for my double outdoor personal training group sessions that night (it did mind you).

On seeing the weather I thought I could do with a hearty casserole when I got home, and didn’t fancy the idea of cooking at 8pm  Given that I was going to be training for 2hrs I needed something I could put on at low heat for a few hours and come home to a warm hearty meal.  Jamie’s sticky lamb stew was first made for me by a friend last year – and the flavours were so amazing, the meat so soft I fell in love.

I do a few things different to Jamie. I use vegemite instead of marmite. I use a whole stubbie of stout (Guinness), and the same amount of stock (so a little more liquid). I also just use 2 large whole carrots, and chop up whatever mushrooms I can get. I used a brown onion this time in place of the red.  For flavour and to keep cost down instead of cubed lamb, I like to use shoulder chops that have the little round marrow bone in them, once slow cooked the meat just falls apart, and the marrow – yum!

But here are my 2 top secrets on modifying Jamie’s recipe.

1. I use my enamel covered cast iron pot to slow cook it in my oven. I brown the meat, add everything on the stove top and get it simmering away as per the recipe, but then I put the pot with lid on in the oven on about 160 Celsius for 2 – 2.5 hours.

2. At the end of the cooking I pull it out and add a couple of tablespoons each of honey and Worcestershire sauce. I do this to taste. Testing the sauce to make sure that it is not to sweet or savoury. It is just something that I feel gives it a little more depth in flavour.

I just serve this up and eat it stand alone. It is good with a slice of rustic bread like a sourdough to soak up the sauce, but I am trying to eat low carb (with varied success I might add). This dish is like a big thick rich soup stew and while the pics don’t do it justice. It is one amazing cold night treat! Oh and it freezes well too 🙂

P.S I know the chippolata sausages sound weird but they are awesome in it, I only used about 8 as they were a little bigger and just threw them in I did not skewer them.

Thanks again Mr Oliver,Till next time, Lin xox

dark, sticky stew | Jamie Oliver | Food | Recipes (UK).

Evil Easter Bunnies…

If I could photoshop I would have made his eyes look evil to reflect his true character.. Actually if you look closely he does look like he is hiding something.

Have you heard the bad news…. It is about the Bunny… We used to be close, I was once so fond of him; but he is abusive and I am sorry to tell you – a little evil.

Sure, he looks cute, with his little red bow and bell. He is all shiny and gold, with a teenie tiny nose, And by God if he doesn’t just taste like a tiny piece of heaven… all creamy, velvety, smooth; so very smooth. OK enough of the food porn… Back to the point of the post.

I got back to my training classes this week – Cardio on Saturday morning and then a fitball session – Whilst there; the amazing Dave (our trainer) decided to educate us on the Evils of Easter. Dave (being the good trainer he is) tells us that the bunny to which I refer *cough Lindt cough* has a little secret, for the 200gm size bunny – he packs a big 1086 calories, that is pretty much your whole daily intake of energy for the day, all sugar, all going straight to storage (also known as fat cells) Yikes! I couldn’t believe it, surely Dave was wrong,  But I looked it up, and if you don’t believe me I have added the calorie king link below.

Sure I know it is Easter, and the phrase Easter Scrooge was bandied about yesterday in relation to Dave, but these little treats add up friends… A bunny here, an elegant rabbit there, a chocolate creme egg or two, and then there are the hot cross buns, best I don’t get started on those; someone is likely to take a contract out on me…

Some might call me a kill joy – Yes I have eaten a few eggs this Easter (a big basket of free eggs at work didn’t help) but it is over – I have cut myself off… Most people will get their stashes of chocolate today – I dare you to add up the calories of your collection, remembering that you have to burn 7700 calories to lose a kilogram of fat…I think It is easier not to eat it in the first place… I burnt around 400 calories in a one hour cardio session yesterday… So Lindt you can keep your bunny, have him back – for around 3 hours of hard work – He’s just not worth it…

Enjoy your Easter, till next time – Lin xox

CalorieKing.com.au – Food Data. Nutrition information about your favourite food. fat, fibre, protein and more.

Gastric (Lap) Band – Part 1; What is it?

Gastric Lap Band Illustration (the port at the bottom right of pic is what is stitched to the muscle wall under the skin)

Part of understanding my journey is knowing that I had a Gastric (Lap) Band surgically implanted around 4 years ago. I realized that I haven’t written a lot about the Band, why I had it, what is does, and why I chose that path.

This first post (in this series) will look at what the lap band is, and how it works. I get a many questions about this and hopefully this post will be able to clarify some of the more popular queries.

A Gastric Band is a device that is placed around the top of your stomach. Looking at the picture to the right we can see that there is a plastic ring which on the inside has a silicone tube, this section is adjustable via saline solution being filled into the port.

The inner sections are adjustable with saline solution via the port and when filled contracts more around the opening of the stomach section is adjustable. From the band a tube runs down to a port, this is how the saline solution is injected into your band, essentially filling the silicone up and tightening it around the top of the stomach.

The lap band is inserted into you body via keyhole surgery.  The surgeon places the band around the top section of your stomach, where the stomach meets the esophagus. When adjusted the band creates a small opening into the stomach.

The band works in two ways;

  • It causes the brain to believe that you feel full, with a very small amount of food or sometimes even when you don’t eat. The band stimulates the nerves that sends these messages to the brain.
  • The band also physically creates a small pouch like stomach above your stomach. The food that you must chew well slowly enters the stomach. This makes you feel full and you don’t consume as many calories.

The port of the lap band is stitched to the muscle wall of the abdomen under the skin. After surgery your doctor / surgeon adjusts it with using a needle to inject saline which travels up tubing into the band tightening it. The adjustment is a simple procedure, seeing a doctor at their rooms like a normal consultation, I am usually in and out in 5 – 10 mins after a quick weigh in and chat about my progress.

The lap band can stay implanted indefinitely as long as are no issues. As it is adjustable all the fluid can be removed and you will have no restriction if required.

The Gastric Band is not an easy solution, you can cheat the band, eat all the chocolate, ice-cream, mushy food and anything liquid you like, they slide right on through and the calories on these add up quick. The band does have some issues however, sometimes I can’t keep food down, I can have days where I feel a bit more restriction than others and the band feels tighter and when happens food gets “stuck” and won’t go through the band – it can be painful and results in food coming up (not quite vomiting more like a painful swallow back up).

The Band is an aid in weight loss, it doesn’t do the work for you, I have worked hard to watch my portions, my food choices, and then there is exercise – a lot of exercise. For me the band was the tool I needed to get off the bulk of the weight to allow myself to begin to have success reprogramming my former failure mentality and be able to engage in physical activity.

In my next post I will discuss why the band worked for me, what I have struggled with, and would I recommend it, etc – If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comments section and I will do my very best to answer them…

Till next time, Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday; Asian Pork with Bean Shoot Salad

Asian Pork with Bean Shoot Salad...

I love a good piece of pork on my fork… Pork is a meat that I find tasty and with many of the new cuts today being very lean, makes this meat a winner. I brought a piece of Pork Loin and wanted to make something quick and easy and what cuisine is quicker than Asian. The good thing about this meal is the flavors are strong but not overpowering, the salad is fresh and crunchy from the bean shoots and the pork is warm and tasty.

I love Asian food, usually I don’t bother cooking it too much as we eat it a lot for dinner at work. It is cheap, quick and very tasty – all keys when you only have a half hour dinner break and don’t want to spend all your hard earned coin on work dinners 7 nights a fortnight. (We don’t have the option of taking food to work in my job, you have to eat out)

Being off work for the past 6 weeks (one more week left) I felt like a twist on making my own style Asian salad. It is inspired by a Vietnamese dish called Bun – a type of cold rice noodle salad with warm lemongrass grilled pork on the top and dressed with a sugar chilli  sauce.

Meat (per person)

150- 200gm Pork Loin

I first marinated the pork in a mix of

1/2 tsp Chilli paste,

1 tsp minced garlic,

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp coriander paste and some extra fresh leaves picked

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 pinch of salt.

The marinade measures depend on you, how much you use depends on what heat level or garlic level you like. Combine to your own tastes (checking and rebalancing if needed)   I cover the pork in it and let this sit for around 15mins (or longer for a more intense flavor).

Pan fry pork on each side till sealed and brown then transfer to a oven safe dish to cook in the oven for 20mins at around 180C. Let rest for 5 mins then slice and serve on the bed of salad.

Salad (per person)

The salad is very simple, but very tasty.

One big handful of bean shoots

Coriander Leaves picked (this can be substituted if you don’t like the taste for parsley)

Half Lebanese cucumber deseeded and sliced thinly.

1/4 of a Red or Yellow Capsicum (Bell Pepper) (green doesn’t have the sweet flavor needed) cut into thin short batons.

Wash all the salad well in a bowl of water, drain and dress with the following and allow to sit to absorb dressing while meat is in the oven

Dressing

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp chilli paste

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

pinch of salt

Again this is to my tastes, once combined, rebalance to your liking, pour over salad.

Vegetarian Option – Use firm tofu instead of pork – simply slice down the centre cover in the same marinade and then pan fry in a little sesame oil till sealed on each side and warmed through.

That is it, simple quick dinner, with no carbs and very filling.

Hope you enjoy it, till next time…

Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday; Mouthwatering Mushrooms

Jamie Oliver is fun to watch and has simple recipes to follow! His food pops with flavour and is like a party for your taste buds. So when I was banged up in hospital recently I managed to catch an episode where he made steak sandwiches, crispy potatoes, a simple beetroot salad and what looked to me like the most mouth-watering mushrooms ever.

Seriously when I saw this episode of 30min dinners I was about a week into eating hospital food and my taste buds started tingling. I haven’t had a chance to make the sandwich, potatoes or salad yet. But I have cooked the mushrooms a few times. And I make it even simpler than Jamie – His recipe is here check it out.

Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals: Steak sarnie, crispy new potatoes, cheesy mushrooms and beetroot salad | Mail Online

I used some a little chilli (from the tube variety), garlic and 1 tsp of olive oil per mushroom and mixed together in a bowl. Spooned evenly into the mushrooms and topped with cheddar. Banged them in the oven for 30mins while everything else cooks and oh i just  I used flat BBQ mushrooms, but have also done it with bigger button mushrooms when they  didn’t have the BBQ ones.

Seriously get on this recipe, it is an easy side for dinner with a taste explosion or could even be served as a quick entrée or appetizer – Oh and remember that you could always make a couple of mushrooms per person and replace the meat in the meal!

Till next time, Lin   xox

Food Day Tuesday; You’ve Lost that Focused Feeling.

My Net Diary App - A great tool

This Food Day Tuesday is a bit about what I am struggling with at the moment – FOOD.        Having a Lap Band does not prevent you from consuming too many calories. With the lap band you can cheat it. You can eat ice-cream, chocolate and drink calories and eat mushy food. I feel am close to slipping into this arena…

I have lost that focused feeling… That feeling where I feel in control and the actions of tracking my food intake with my calorie app on my iphone.

That is over.. Starting now – not tomorrow – now… I will be tracking every last morsel that goes into my mouth again. I will re focus and use the tools that I know work… All this being said – I haven’t gone mental and completely lost the plot… I just feel that I am not being true to myself and my new lifestyle and goals. I have been eating a little too frequently things that I should not be.

I have not been looking at my portions and adding up the calories. I know that this can be dangerous. Nothing has really changed on the scale yet… But I know that being mindful and aware of the food that is going into my mouth is important. Saying NO to my own wants and desires where food is concerned is important. One thing that I can do now, that I couldn’t do years ago – is throw food out – so If I do succumb at the supermarket and buy something like a tub of ice-cream and then realize I will eat the whole bloody tub in one sitting, I can throw it out before I get too far into it. Better in the bin than on my butt 😉

I need to learn to say No again – like I just did to a glass of wine offered by my house mate Lynn (who is awesome). I need to remember that feeling of control. I need to plan, implement the plan, measure my actions, review what I am doing – adjust and continue. This also includes measuring my calories burnt from exercise.

So here is the plan of attack;

*Track all my calories on the My Net Diary App.

*Track all my exercise on same App.

*Meditate each day to focus my mind

*Tracking my sleeping patterns and trying to bring them back into some semblance of routine. (This is difficult with shift work)

*Be gentle to myself and not mentally berate myself.

*Eat out less and make better choices when I do.

So I thought that it was important to share my struggles at the moment, I have gotten a bit of feedback from people congratulating me on all my good work – this is always great and always welcome 😉 – but if i didn’t share the tough times this blog would be a sham and I would only be presenting a false front… So if you have any feedback or any other suggestions to improve my plan of attack they are always welcome..

Till next time

Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday – Mango Salsa with Pork

Mango Salsa & Pork (sorry for the bad iphone image)

In the Summer Time when the weather is Fine, you’ve got salad, you’ve got salad on your mind! Well Hey I have salad on my mind… and there is no salad like a salsa when it’s hot.

On Monday night I was cooking for a friend at her place, so I needed something quick, easy, and tasty.. I had made this a month or so ago and posted a photo on FB, Jules liked the photo so I thought I would cook it for her.

I love the idea of different types of Salsa’s. A good Salsa is fresh with a zing. In this case the mango and avocado work together with the crunch of corn, capsicum and sping onions, the Zing was proudly brought to you by the juice of  Lemon and Lime… All the players came together to form the prefect accompaniment to the oven baked (slightly spicy) pork.

I got my Pork from Woolworth’s – it is a ready to go vacum pack called –  Butterflied pieces of pork with herbs and spices. I set the oven to 180c and then pan fried the pork sealing each side, then popped it on an oven tray (with some baking paper on the bottom for easier cleaning) & wacked it in the oven for about 30mins (note if one piece is thicker than the other you may need to put it in for a little longer taking the thinner pieces out to rest.)

You could use other Pork, like a cutlet and marinate it yourself…                                     Don’t like Pork – You could also do the salsa with lamb or chicken.                                                                       If you are vegetarian or vegan – tofu would be nice (you could rub a little chilli and lemon on it and pan fry it quickly) add a few cashew nuts to the salsa too. Just make the salsa before quickly pan frying your tofu!

The alternative to cooking in the Oven is the BBQ. I like the Oven method it makes it juicy – the BBQ will do the same if you are a good BBQer – and the trick is again to seal it on the BBQ and then turn it down to cook slowly and not burn or dry it  out.

Now onto the Salsa – While this is cooking in the oven, I grab a big bowl and put the following in..

1 can of Corn Kernels (420g) drained

1/2  Large Red Capcium (or 1 smaller one) (diced into small pieces)

3 Sping Onions, finely sliced (into rounds)

1 Mango – slice off the cheeks, then cross hatch and scoop out of skin with a spoon, chop other bits off the mango as you can (before hitting the stone) into cubes.

1 Avocado – Halve lengthways and then take stone out (with a sharp knife hit the stone, twist and it will pop out) then cross hatch each half and scoop out with a teaspoon.

Juice of 1/2 lemon & 1/2 Lime (or a full lemon if you have no lime) this is important for zesty flavour and also to stop anything from browning.

Stir it all together gently, the avacado may breakdown a little but will add to the citrus dressing. I put a little crack of sea salt over it too. All ready to go!

So when the Pork is cooked I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it, plate the pork with some rocket leaves (for a peppery flavour) and the salsa – I use the salsa as a bit of a condiment with the pork… Very tasty and ready in around 35mins – Love Summer!        This is quick and If I can say so myself tastier than take away!

Oh BTW  the Packet of Pork (approx 700gm) and the Salsa recipe will feed 4 people

Till next time

Lin xox

Food Day Tuesday – Taco Burger & Mashed Peas

Taco Burger with Mashed Peas

Carbs kill me, I love them – but they don’t love me. I don’t find eating bread, rice or pasta easy, it is a band thing – but that is not the full story. Carbs are a good fuel, but your body has to burn through them first and if they don’t get burnt, they get stored very quickly. There is also the role that Carbs play your blood sugar, insulin levels and the way our bodies store and use fat..

I am no an expert on this, I am still reading about it and learning more, but for the time being I am eating low carb and have found that the protein I eat fills me quicker and keeps me fuller for longer.  So today I felt like a burger – but did not want the bread or mash potato that I used to love with a burger due to the carbs… So I made some mashed peas with it.

The burger was easy –

mix 300g of good quality mince,

1/2 a diced onion

1/2 teaspoon of taco mix powder (more or less depending on your own tastes).

Mix it all together and form two patties (one for today, one for tomorrow) If they aren’t staying together you could pop them in the fridge for a bit or add a little almond meal to keep it carb free and not use breadcrumbs.                                                                  Spray a frypan and seal each side before lowering the heat and cooking through.

The mashed peas was simply popping your desired amount of peas 1/2 cup for me for one serve into salted boiling water, boil until soft (about 15 mins) then drain, and mash with a small knob of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

I like to pop a little BBQ sauce on top of the burger and use the peas as a bit of a sauce too! It was very tasty, although the photo above doesn’t really do it justice.  The taco seasoning just gives it a little extra flavor without being hot (as I only use a little).

There is a great blog that my friend put me onto The Stone Soup (link below) – It is a great site with heaps of simple recipes that are tasty easy and usually have 5 or less ingredients (GOLD)…

The girl that writes the blog (Jules) has a degree in food science  and has e-books that you can download… I can recommend the free one to start with and also the one called “reclaim your waist line” for low carb meals. I was a bit inspired by her for the burger today, and the mashed peas… I have made a few of her recipes and can highly recommend them for easy and tastiness. But i still love to experiment and make my own food too – Oh here is the link..  stonesoup — 5 ingredient recipes

Till next time

Lin xox


Food Day Tuesday; Choices

Which Path To Take? What Outcome Do You Want?

So today’s Food Day Tuesday is a Day Late and a recipe short!

Yes Christmas has come and gone, the hype and spending of too much money is over for yet another year! It was nice spending time with the family, seeing my little nieces, especially with the 2 1/2 year old talking about Santa and opening all the presents (the little poppet was a wee bit overwhelmed!) But back to the post.

As I said There is no recipe today – It is about choices… The hard ones too make   I found that I was still trying to make good choices at our Christmas Family Dinners… It was hard (and I did succumb to the pavalova) but overall I chose well, limited my intake and didn’t feel like I had spent the time mindlessly eating.

Tonight I went out with friends for dinner. Again I tried to make positive choices, low carb, high protein, but did indulge and enjoyed dessert at a friends place afterwards!…

Food choices are a funny thing, it is often a culmination of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make that add up to real and lasting outcomes for our lives. It is easy to justify the chocolate, wine, cheesecake, beer, cookie at the time, forgetting that it is the culmination of these choices, the everyday, every moment choices that make the difference… The small choice adds onto the choice from the day before and the day before that and it is easy to forget about the overall impact…

My mother saw a saying when we were children and would often quote it when we were growing up in relation to our education and making decisions for ourselves to have the best outcomes. The saying was this

“The Choices we make dictate the Life we Lead”

I got this saying when I was a teenager about the choices around education, drugs, obeying the law etc… What I did not understand (then) was that the food choices I was making was having a very real impact on my quality of life. It was easier to justify the choice each day and not see the overall picture.

Everyday the food choices I make dictate the type of life I can lead. If i fill myself with junk, I will feel sluggish, tired and not perform at my best. If I eat good, “Clean” veg and protein, limit the intake of sugar and carbs then I feel good, avoid the peaks and troughs and can ustilise my body to Live The life I Want to lead 

All that being said – I did eat carbs, sugar and enjoyed my Christmas… I now need to put Christmas behind me (and all the treats that it brings) and make sure my routines and food choices are on track into the new year !

It begins NOW not tomorrow, It begins with the next Choice and then the one after that – because I know that Tomorrow Never Comes..

So Keep making good Choices, till next time

Lin xox