Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 43 - Try Something New Tuesday!

No, I don't exactly intend to "try something new" every Tuesday but I guess the last two weeks have had me feeling particularly curious on Tuesdays. I've been meaning to try this baked grapefruit from A Beautiful Mess for a while now, and decided that today was the day. It's super simple - just cut your grapefruit in half, sprinkle some brown sugar on each half, rub it in, and bake for 15 minutes at 200C. I guess I was hoping that this would be the secret to enjoying grapefruit for me... I'm not a lover of grapefruit, it's just too bitter for me (though I love grapefruit juice!) and even baked with brown sugar it was just overwhelmingly bitter. Maybe some people are just genetically inclined to find grapefruit too bitter, as others are with celery and spinach? Hmmm! So I won't be making it again, but if you're a lover of the grapefruit, well, you may just enjoy it!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 42 - Pickle Goodness

Do you have any food fetishes that your friends and family judge you for? I do. Soda water, tinned mackerel fillets and pickles (specifically polski ogorki) spring to mind for me. They were all part of my childhood and I can't help but love them! I love pickles because they are 0 Weight Watchers points and they're crisp and yummy - perfect when I'm looking for a salty hit! I always have a jar in my fridge and I raid it pretty constantly. Tonight we're having dinner with Chris's family and I grabbed a pickle as a snack to tide me over until dinner time. Yum!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Days 38-41 - Oops...

I've been AWOL for the last few days, and though my 365 has been on my mind A LOT, I just haven't been able to think of things to take photos of. Why? Because I've kind of stumbled. The last couple of weeks have been difficult for some reason, and it will continue to be until my new healthy changes become habits, but for some reason my will power has just not been as strong. This weekend I've also been feeling under the weather which doesn't help with the motivation. So now I'm crawling back with lots of fresh ideas and ready for a new week to start tomorrow. I did consider scrounging together a few days worth of ideas and pretend that things were on track, but a very lovely friend convinced me to be honest with you all even if it sounds totally lame. As my support team you definitely deserve to know that I'm not always the pillar of strength I try to come across as! It's easy to blog about making healthy changes, it's another thing entirely to follow through all day, every day. Anyway, onward and upward!

I mentioned in my start-of-February post that I would be giving up soft drink this month and well, that day has come! I have been very much in the habit of cracking a can with dinner, buying fast food meal combos with 600mL bottles, stopping by the vending machine at work for a Diet Coke, ordering two soft drinks when I go out for dinner... and soft drinks can be pretty nasty! I know, it's not exactly breaking news that soft drinks are super high in sugar and have zero nutritional value, but studies are constantly coming out linking soft drink consumption with heart attack and stroke risk, obesity (duh), cancer, kidney damage, elevated blood pressure, tooth decay, increased risk of diabetes... the list goes on, depending on which study you're reading up on. Just google it! I found this article great as a starting point. And I'm sure we've all heard bits and pieces on the dangers of aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet soft drinks. So, these are my reasons behind my decision. I think I will probably still have a glass of soft drink on very rare occasions, but certainly not on a daily, weekly, or hopefully even monthly basis going forward.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 37 - Sweet Treat!

Last night we had our lovely home group over for Bible Study and I got all house-wifey and yearned to bake something. A couple of other girls in the group are working on healthier lifestyles too, so I wanted something that wouldn't screw us all completely. I ended up making a Mixed Berry Friand Slice. I'll put out the disclaimer right now that there's a difference between something being healthy, and something being not bad for you. This slice falls under the latter category - something to eat when you want a treat that won't throw your whole day off, but not something you should eat four pieces of in one sitting. So we're on the same page? Cool. I got the recipe from a Super Food Ideas magazine a couple of years ago, so it's not my own invention but heck, I'll share it with you anyway...

Mixed Berry Friand Slice
(Makes 16 pieces)
1 piece = 4 Weight Watchers Pro-Points

1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond meal
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
150g low fat margarine spread, melted and cooled
4 egg whites, lightly whisked
150g frozen mixed berries
Icing sugar, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Grease a square baking tin and line with baking paper.
2. Sift sugar, flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in almond meal and lemon rind.
3. Make a well in centre. Add spread and egg white. Stir until just combined. Pour into prepared tin. Sprinkle with berries.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in tin for 10 mins. Lift out onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into pieces. Dust with icing sugar. Serve.

Healthy Girl 365, Day 36 - Try Something New Tuesday

Yes, I'm aware that it's not actually a Tuesday but because I keep falling behind, this blog post is all about Tuesday, a day on which I tried something new - chickpeas, or garbanzo beans (who knew they were the same thing!?) I mean, I've tried chickpeas before; maybe twice in my life. But lately I've been really curious about incorporating them, as well as trendy things like quinoa and polenta, into my diet. So on Tuesday night I cracked my very first can and made Jerk Chicken with Chickpea and Carrot Slaw from Master Chef Magazine (and apparently, Taste!). Guys. Why have I believed for all these years that I don't like chickpeas?! Before cooking the meal, I shook the can of chickpeas in Chris's face and declared "I'm sorry, but I'm giving chickpeas a go". And he said "Why are you sorry? I love chickpeas!" So apparently I'm the last in the family to catch onto the greatness. Call me a slow learner.
As for the recipe I linked to, it was super delicious and perfect for Summer - but I would recommend skipping the 1/4 cup olive oil in the slaw - there's already quite a bit of oil in the jerk sauce/dressing and you don't need to add more than maybe a tablespoon. Yes, a tip. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 35 - 'Ave An Av!

Blimey. I love avocado. Avocado is proof that people change for the better. Two years ago I hated it. Now I can't get enough of it. My love of avocado seems to grow exponentially, to the point where I'm consuming it daily. Maybe it's replaced my coffee addiction?
On top of being ridiculous delicious, avocado is rather good for you too. Yes, it's pretty high in fat compared to other vegetables (or is it a fruit? Hmmm) but it's the good kind of fat - apparently, there's such a thing. Fat content aside, avocado helps prevent cancer and strokes, protects eye health, lowers cholesterol, is good for your heart, assists with nutrient absorption, and is the richest source of Vitamin E (which promotes general overall health). Also its antioxidants help prevent aging, which for someone who'll be turning 30 in less than 3 years is good news! Haha. I'm just kidding. I'm super young. I just don't feel it sometimes. This site basically says everything I've just said, but with a bit more info than I offered. There's lots of info out there, because avocados are great! Avocado power!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 34 - Meal In A Box

I never wanted to be one of 'those dieters' - you know the ones. They tell everyone within listening range "I'm being good", they won't eat your delightful home-baked cookies in the name of weight loss, they fill their freezer at home with frozen diet meals, they strap on their pedometers at the start of each day, they start running... you know the type. Well since starting this project, it's dawned on me. Guys. 'Those dieters' are the ones who are losing weight! No, it's not a recipe for success but I'll be damned if those things don't contribute to successful weight loss. I mean what's the alternative? Instead of "being good", you tell everyone "I'm being bad" and you eat McDonalds every day for lunch to prove it. Instead of avoiding cookies, you chow down on at least 3 before lunch in appreciation of the home-baked goodness, plus 2 more for afternoon tea. You fill your freezer with mini pizzas and pies and dim-sims, so on the days when you don't have the energy to cook, your meal choices are fatty, fatty and fatty. Instead of monitoring your exercise and trying to squeeze more of it into a day, you feel satisfied with yourself for taking so many trips down the hallway to speak to a co-worker, instead of emailing or phoning them. Yes, 'those dieters' are a cliche but it's for a reason. Now, technically I'm not keen to use the word 'diet' because I'm making permanent, sustainable lifestyle changes but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be implementing some of the tactics I mentioned above. This past weekend I was feeling pretty crappy. I hardly left the couch, except to celebrate a friend's birthday for a few hours. Cooking? Not a chance. I didn't even force myself out to the grocery store. Luckily for me, in a fleeting moment a week or so ago I'd made the brave decision to stock up on some Lean Cuisine for times like this. I haven't eaten a frozen meal since before I got married. This is some serious re-programming here people! This past weekend, instead of scrounging together whatever comfort food I could concoct into a meal, I ate a Lean Cuisine. Was it delicious? Heavens no. But it did save me from consuming way more fat and calories than I wanted to. And that's good enough for me!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 33 - Soda Star!

I'm a girl who is very accustomed to drinking a can of soft drink with main meals - mostly dinner, but I've also accompanied many a lunch with a can of Pepsi Max. Funnily enough, as I've mentioned before I'm also a bit rubbish at getting enough water in me day-to-day. Enter my buddy in the photo above. I know that soda water is an acquired taste for lots of people, but luckily for me I grew up drinking it as a treat at my grandparents' house... they had a few of those old-school soda syphons (exactly like this one I found on ebay just now) and I thought it was amazing fun pouring myself a nice big glass of it. Naturally, I therefore had to drink the nice big glassful so as not to be wasteful and so I came to love the stuff. The soda syphons disappeared (probably in the bin, because they were dangerous beasts with their little gas bulbs) when my Grandma moved into a nursing home and for years I mourned the ability to make fresh soda water when I wanted to. Store bought wasn't the same. When I discovered there was a device creeping into the market called a Soda Stream, and I got one for Christmas a couple of years ago, my life was changed! Free, delicious soda water at three pushes of a button. Lately I've been drinking a lot more soda water and a lot less soft drinks, so I'm thinking this device is going to be a pretty big part in both my attempts at drinking more water AND at giving up soft drink completely later this month. Refreshing!

Healthy Girl 365, Day 32 - One month down!

Is it just me, or was January a blur? I find it crazy that we're already one twelfth of the way through the year...! January was a month of learning curves for me. Some of the highlights for me:
- I experiment with green smoothies
- I found some friends to walk with on a weekly basis
- I tracked my food intake
- I gave up coffee. Sniff!
- I lost my first kilo!
- I shared a recipe for yummy mushroom mini-pizzas
- Due to some pretty slow progress, I did a re-focus
- I shared a bit of my story (how I came to be so unhealthy)
- I talked about how my faith plays into this journey to better health
- I tried green tea!
Overall this month I have lost 2.4kg - almost all of which was in the last week after doing my re-focus. Also, since giving up coffee I have noticed some differences, the main one being that I now sleep all the way through the night most nights, which never ever happened before. Here are some little goals for February:
- More intentional exercise
- More weight loss
- More salad
- Give up soft drink
- Start a skin care regimen (cringe. This is something I have never done, and I'm going to be so old and wrinkly soon).

To the people who have been checking in each day so far, thank you! I hope that February can be a month of fresh ideas and inspiration for anyone who pops by. And as always, I would love any suggestions of things that I can blog about - 365 is a lot of days to fill up!!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Healthy Girl 365, Day 31 - I Love Me Some English! (The muffin, not the accent)

How great are English Muffins? They are delicious! Last week I pretty much had them for breakfast every day, in fact on one of those days I enjoyed an english muffin at both breakfast and lunch time! I like them because they're kind of like toast, but a bit smaller than committing to two pieces of bread in the morning. English muffins are heaps versatile! Here are some ways that I like to enjoy them:
- With a smear of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and some fresh fruit
- With poached eggs and asparagus
- Homemade McMuffin-style!
- With lean shaved ham and avocado
- Mini pizza-style
You can make an english muffin into a low-fat healthy breakfast with ease! Now excuse me while I go add them to the shopping list...