Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reduce the overall GI of your diet

7 tips for reducing the GI of your diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner and those snacks in between.

from GI News

  1. Replace those high GI crunchy breakfast flakes that spike your blood glucose and insulin levels with smart carbs like natural muesli or traditional (not instant) porridge oats or one of the lower GI processed breakfast cereals that will trickle fuel into your engine.
  2. Swap your bread. Choose a really grainy bread where you can actually see the grains, granary bread, stone-ground wholemeal bread, real sourdough bread, soy and linseed bread, pumpernickel, fruit loaf or bread made from chickpea or other legume based flours.
  3. Make your starchy staples the low (or lower) GI ones. Look for the lower GI rices like Basmati, Doongara Clever Rice or Moolgiri medium grain rice, serve your pasta al dente, choose less processed foods and intact grains such as barley, buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, whole kernel rye, or whole wheat kernels and opt for lower GI starchy vegetables like lower GI potatoes (Nicola or Almera), parsnip, orange fleshed sweet potato, or butternut pumpkin.
  4. Learn to love legumes – home-cooked or canned. Add chickpeas to stir fries, red kidney beans to chilli, a 4-bean salad to that barbecue menu, and beans or lentils to a casserole or soup.
  5. Develop the art of combining. Combine high GI carbs with low GI tricklers to achieve a moderate overall GI. Lentils with rice, rice with beans and chilli, tabbouli tucked into pita bread, baked beans on toast or piled on a jacket-baked potato for classic comfort food.
  6. Tickle those tastebuds and slow stomach emptying – try vinaigrette (using vinegar or lemon juice) with salads, yoghurt with cereal, lemon juice on vegetables like asparagus, sourdough bread.
  7. Go low GI when snacking. Grab fresh fruit, dried fruit and nut mix, low fat milk and yoghurt (or soy alternatives), fruit bread etc.

Beautiful Blogger Awards

I'm honoured that the inspiring Steph nominated me to carry this post on.

Part 1 of the deal is I get to divulge 7 random facts about me:
1. I had an audition for Masterchef but didn't make it onto TV.
2. I drank so much coffee while we were on holiday that the thought of it makes me feel sick. I haven't had any since the 9th of December.
3. I'm not into shoes. I only own five pairs: 1 pair heels, 1 pair flats, 1 pair boots, 1 pair runners, 1 pair jandals. Oh, and my slippers and comp heels.
4. My favourite vegetable is asparagus
5. My favourite fruit is cherries
6. My favourite form of cardio is walking
7. My husband and I got married on our 10th anniversary. We've been together 15.5 years now.

Part 2 - I will nominate 7 more beautiful bloggers:
I nominate:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Deloading - I'm a fan

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would be incorporating a deload week in the week before my period, to see if it would help my fatigue around that time. I'm happy to report that my deload week last week worked a treat. I dropped my sets back and lowered the weight. This made workouts manageable around this time (no missed workouts), I didn't need the extra sleep I usually do, and my overall energy levels were better. The program I've just started incorporates a deload week in the fourth week, which should coincide well with my cycle again.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Lots of (unplanned) walking today. This morning's walk with TJ took twice as long as expected (an hour instead of 30 mins) as he met one of his 'friends' and we walked with her for a bit, then after we separated, he went racing back to find her. Then this afternoon, after a great upper body workout at the gym, I went to the supermarket to grab a couple of things for dinner. Filled up my basket, got to the checkout and realized I'd left my wallet at home. So had to walk home and get my wallet (15 mins), walk back to the supermarket (15 mins), then walk home again (15 mins). My postworkout meal barely touched the sides. Tomorrow is a day off the gym, but I will be doing a recovery activity - am booked in for a myotherapy treatment with Rob at 4pm.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where there's a will there's a way

I was all excited about starting my new program today, but arrived at the gym about 6pm to find it shut (I forgot about the Christmas timetable). After trying two other gyms in the area with no luck, I decided to use Rob's sandbag.

Ended up doing
- squats with 80lb sandbag draped over my neck and shoulders
- good mornings, holding onto a 20lb filler bag out of the sandbag
- single leg hip bridge
- Bulgarian split squats, using the 4kg DBs I have at home
- crunches

Looking forward to doing upper body at the gym tomorrow!

Happy New Year!

Apart from our holiday to New Zealand, both Rob and I had a pretty crappy 2009. So I've decided to start my 'new year' early.

Today I'm starting a new weights program, based on The Stair Step Approach to Muscle. So I will be weight training four days per week, plus I will be doing my walking meditation five mornings per week.

Foodwise, I'm going to eat around 2000 cals on weight training days, and about 1750 on non-training days. I won't be counting calories daily; instead I've set myself up a rough meal plan and will use that as a guide (with the exception of one 'treat meal' per week).

Rob's taking my measurements today, and hopefully weekly from now on, so I'll be able to see how my body reacts to this style of training and amount of food. I'm hoping for fat loss and muscle gain.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

I've just finished posting all my Christmas Day food pics here. It was a very relaxing day, spent with friends (had a Christmas lunch with family in New Zealand earlier in the month). I did all the food preparation and cooking for Christmas Day. Tomorrow (Boxing Day) is the boys' turn. Rob is making French toast for breakfast. Craig will be doing pickled pork at some stage during the day (a favourite from Christmas last year) and the rest of the day will probably be leftovers (with turkey featuring heavily). There will be cricket on the telly in the background, reading outside in the sun, and maybe a game of Risk.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here are today's food pics

breakfast stack (corn and sweet potato fritter, red onion, zucchini, red capsicum, mushrooms, tomato, bacon, spinach, egg, pesto)

12pm to 1pm
-cable rows
-incline DB bench press
-isometric chin-up holds
-close-grip bench press
-tall kneeling lift (core work)

rolled turkey breast fillet with brown rice and cranberry stuffing, pumpkin, steamed beans and asparagus

whole barbecued snapper (before)

after, on Asian coleslaw

walk TJ with Rob

garlic prawns on salad (mixed greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pawpaw, spring onions), dressed with lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, red chilli and xylitol, and garnished with coriander sprigs and chopped peanuts

Choc cherry trifle

(alcoholic) drinks today
1 vodka, lime and soda
3 sauvignon blancs
2 baileys on ice

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chemical cocktail anyone?

Last night I used my new book to learn a bit more about the potential effects of additives found in products around our house. Here's what's in caffeine-free diet coke (Rob has it with his rum):

150d Best avoided. Potential effects: gastrointestinal problems; asthma
338 Caution advised. Regarded as safe in food use at low levels; excess may lead to tooth erosion and calcium loss in bones
330 Safe for most people. Regarded as safe in food use; stomach cramp, diarrhoea, skin rash and bloating occur rarely.
951 Potentially hazardous to health. Potential effects: headache; asthma; seizures; insomnia; memory loss; causes malignant brain tumours, cancer and leukemia in rats
950 Best avoided. Apparently produced tumours, leukemia and chronic respiratory disease in animal studies; not adequately tested.
211 Best avoided (petroleum derived). Potential effects: skin irritation; headache; stomach upset; asthma; hyperactivity; avoid if aspirin sensitive

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Useful Reference

Today I picked up a copy of The Chemical Maze. It lists the potential health effects of food additives and ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, so you can choose safer products.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas menu

Here's what I've got planned so far:

M1: Breakfast stack (sweet potato and corn fritter topped with lean free-range bacon, chargrilled veges, a free-range poached egg and a drizzle of pesto)

train (our gym is open until 1pm on Christmas Day)

M2: Organic turkey breast fillet roll with cranberry and brown rice stuffing, served with steamed asparagus and green beans

M3: Whole barbecued snapper with Asian coleslaw

M4: Garlic prawn salad

M5: Choc-cherry trifle (made with ricotta)

Will fit in a walk at some stage as well.

Last year I posted pics throughout Christmas Day of what I ate. I am planning to do the same this year. You're welcome to join me!

Friday, December 11, 2009

What they don't tell you about Christmas pudding and friends

Some interesting facts and figures from an email newsletter I received recently...

2 Lindor balls contain 156 calories including 9g saturated fat. You would get the same amount of calories out of 3 whole punnets of fresh strawberries or the same amount of saturated fat out of about 1kg baked turkey breast. It would take about 35 minutes of very fast (7.6km/hr) walking to burn off 2 Lindor balls.

1 small serve Christmas pudding contains 297 calories and 2.5 tablespoons sugar. It would take about 65 minutes of very fast walking to burn it off. Instead of the pudding you could have a large serve of fresh king prawns or roast turkey breast, for the same or less calories, with zero sugar.

1 medium glass white wine or 1 can Coke will give you about 110 calories and will take about 25 min very fast walking to burn off. The wine contains about 15g alcohol or the Coke contains about 1.7 tablespoons sugar. For the same amount of calories you could have 54 cans of Diet Coke.

1 medium Darrell Lea chocolate Santa is equivalent in calories to about 2.5 hours very fast walking. It contains about 3.5 tablespoons pure sugar and 3 tablespoons pure fat.

A fairly restrained Christmas dinner (no second helpings) of: 1 serve plain roast turkey breast, 1 medium roast potato with garden salad. 1 small serve Christmas pudding with brandy custard. 2 chocolates and 2 glasses wine = 1,163 calories including 60g sugar and 30g alcohol. If you powerwalked at 7.6km/hr (as fast as you could possibly go) it would take you 4.9 hours to burn this off if you are a 60kg woman, or 3.5 hours if you are an 85kg man.

If you had fresh fruit salad instead of the pudding and custard, left out the chocolate and drank diet soft drink instead of wine you would cut the calories by more than half (down to 542), slash the sugar by two thirds and completely eliminate the alcohol. You could burn this off in just over two hours walking if you are a 60kg woman or 1.5 hours if you are an 85kg man.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saturday 28 November to Wednesday 2 December


Didn't get very far today.

This morning we left Queenstown and headed over the Crown Range Road. We stopped at the Cardrona Hotel for a Devonshire tea. This place has a great garden bar and a very friendly cat!

Then we drove into Wanaka, the next main town over from Queenstown.

The weather was lovely and after looking round town we sat on a park bench by the lake enjoying the view. It was so relaxing we decided to find some accommodation with a view and get a bottle of wine to share.


We drove to Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.

We walked up to look at Tasman Glacier and the icebergs in Tasman Lake.

After that we had a bit of driving to do as we wanted to get as close to Christchurch as we could. We ended up pulling into a camp gound in Geraldine (about an hour out of Christchurch) just as the camp office was closing at 9.30pm. We got a cute little cabin to stay in for the night.

Monday and Tuesday

We stayed in Christchurch at a family friend's house. This was the highlight of our stay in Christchurch.

This morning we left Christchurch and headed north to Kaikoura. We are lucky to have a friend's holiday home to stay at here. It's wet today so will probably be in front of the fire with a DVD tonight. Tomorrow we might go whale-watching.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friday 27 November

Queenstown is beautiful - a town beside a lake, surrounded by snow-topped mountains.

Since we hadn't done much exercise for the previous two days, we decided to do the one-hour uphill walk to reach the top of Bob's Peak, then catch the gondola back down. This is the view from the top:

After that big walk we enjoyed a gluten-free pizza for lunch.

In the afternoon we went jet boating at Skippers Canyon. It was a one-hour drive into the canyon with cliffs that dropped steeply away from the side of the road.

The jet-boat ride lasted 30 minutes and was exhilarating.

We were cold and damp by the time we got back to Queenstown so enjoyed some grilled fish and chips in the car by the waterfront for dinner.

After we'd dried off at our hostel we headed back into town for a few drinks. Found a great place with a roaring fire and stayed in front of that for a couple of hours while we planned some more of our trip.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday 26 November

This morning we left camp and drove the rest of the way into Milford Sound.

My mum and dad met here when they were working at the Milford Sound Hotel (which no longer exists) and I spent the first six months of my life here.

Today we took a cruise on the sound with Mitre Peak Cruises

It was beautiful. We saw waterfalls, penguins and seals. The weather was pretty fine but it was windy and after being out on the top of the boat for two hours my fingers were numb!

After the cruise we drove from Milford to Queenstown (stopped in Te Anau on the way to have a coffee and download photos from my camera onto a disc).

It was still sunny when we arrived in Queenstown so after putting our things in our hostel room we headed out for a drink. Found a place nearby to catch the last of the sun while having a glass of wine, and planned our activities for the next day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday 25 November

Today was the complete opposite to yesterday. We visited my Gran in the morning, then spent the rest of the day sitting in the car, driving from Dunedin to Hollyford Valley, near Milford Sound.

The most exciting part of our journey was a wild deer jumping out in front of our car as we were driving down an unsealed road to our accommodation for the night, Gunn's Camp.

The huts were once used by workers in the area. The huts are very basic, containing just a coal/wood-fired stove, a table and chairs, and a bed. But we could hear the nearby river rushing by as we lay in bed. Kind of like rain on the roof but without the pitter-patter sound.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday 24 November

Today we walked from my aunty and uncle's place into the city, had coffee then walked to the other side of the city to get to Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street.

We walked up the street. This is the view from the top

After we walked back down, Rob decided he wanted to try running up it. He made it, just. Wish I had recorded it.

We then walked back into town, did some shopping and walked back to my aunty and uncle's house. We were on our feet for a total of 7 hours. Was great putting our feet up afterwards! Weather has been lovely and sunny for us though think it will be wetter later in the week.

My Nephew

from today's Auckland Central Leader newspaper.

Little James Taylor-Keown could be forgiven for not liking needles.

The 18-month-old receives up to 12 insulin injections a day to control his type 1 diabetes.

James' mum Natasha Taylor-Keown says an insulin pump, which automatically administers daily doses of the drug, would provide an ideal solution for her energetic toddler.

But at a cost of more than $8000, which the family can't afford, and little public funding for the device, James is missing out.

"It's something that's been around for a good few years now and it's known that the pump controls diabetes a lot better than injections," she says.

"But there's still no funding out there for them at all. It's especially hard on little ones like James."

In Auckland the Starship Foundation provides a limited number of insulin pumps to children with diabetes, though it gives priority to patients who suffer from other conditions as well, like coeliac disease.

The Auckland District Health Board provides diabetes services for the region, including ongoing clinical care for patients and training on how to use the pump.

In contrast, the Canterbury board provides a limited amount of funding to purchase pumps for young people.

Even though mum-of-three Natasha is a registered nurse, she says it's hard to figure out how much insulin James needs during the day.

Exercise and the amount of food James eats alters how much of the drug he needs.

"His sensitivity to insulin changes throughout the day.

"It's hard to draw up in that tiny little syringe."

Diabetes Auckland NZ general manager John Denton agrees pumps are useful for regulating the amount of insulin children receive.

"It's difficult for any adult to be a diabetic let alone a child," he says.

"Children find the pumps really useful because the supply of insulin is regulated and much more flexible."

However he says the ongoing costs associated with a pump - like tubes that carry the insulin into the body, can be several thousand dollars a year.

ADHB chief planning and funding officer Denis Jury says it supports funding insulin pumps through the Starship Foundation, but has no plans to purchase pumps for individuals themselves.

If you can help James' family find the money for an insulin pump phone [in New Zealand] 027-520-120 or email

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday 23 November

Flew from Auckland to Dunedin

Picked up our hire car at the airport and drove into town. Had a coffee, then decided to drive north about an hour to Moeraki Boulders.

These perfectly spherical boulders are believed to be 60 million years old.

Drove back towards Dunedin, stopping at Carey's Bay Hotel (near Port Chalmers) and sat outside for a drink.

In the late afternoon we arrived at my aunty and uncle's place in Dunedin. We hadn't seen each other for about 16 years, so had a great evening catching up with them and my grandmother over dinner and drinks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

The "No-Diet" Diet

I read this great article in the Sunday paper and thought I'd share...

Why the Secret to Dieting is all in the Mind
by Rachel Anne Hill

THE "no-diet" diet, as featured in Esther Blum's latest book, Eat, Drink, And Be Gorgeous, has already earned the confidence of many celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Stone and Teri Hatcher, and is now becoming the hottest thing in the US. Instead of punishing eating and exercise regimes, the "no-diet" diet encourages women to eat and drink whatever they want. There are no diet plans to follow, no foods to avoid and no kilojoule counting. The "no-diet" diet is all about freeing you up to enjoy eating and drinking while still getting the results you want. Follow these five steps to find out how.


"It's time to stop the insanity," says Blum. "We've become so used to following strict diets that we've lost the ability to make our own eating and drinking decisions, so throw away your diet books and wipe the slate clean.

"Learn to trust your own judgment. We don't need other people to define our hungers and appetites. We know what our bodies need. We can create our own rules and we do not need others to tell us what to do. We simply need to allow ourselves the time and space when we do eat to acknowledge when we've had enough."


"A healthy lifestyle has to be as enjoyable as possible," says Blum.

"If you approach eating and exercise with passion and creative energy, you carry that enthusiasm across all realms of your life. So forget pounding the treadmill when what you'd really like to do is dance."

And on the "no-diet" diet the same rules apply to food. Blum believes food is one of life's greatest pleasures and is there to be enjoyed. "Try new things," she says.

"Eat a greater variety of different foods and give yourself permission to eat whatever you want. This may sound dangerous, but in doing so we empower ourselves to have control over what we eat rather then letting the food control us!

"Suddenly the fear of 'I'll never be satisfied' gets replaced with 'That's all I need for now and I can always have more'.

"Similarly, when we allow ourselves to have anything in moderation, food begins to lose its power over us and we find those foods we always craved are no longer as irresistible."


Years of strict diets and books listing all the "good" and "bad" foods have left many of us experiencing feelings of guilt around food. But Blum believes "guilty eating" is like carrying around a sack of bricks.

"It feels far better when you put it down! Lighten up on yourself because, as soon as you do, your body begins to lighten up, too.

"Eating a healthy diet isn't about perfection; it's about progress and fostering an empowered relationship with food and exercise."


"When you want to eat and you're not hungry, ask yourself, 'What's really going on here?' Keep a food diary for five to seven days.

Track your hunger levels before and after eating and write down how you were feeling when you ate. Soon you'll notice when you are eating to satisfy an emotional need rather than a physiological one.

"Address the real reasons for any emotional eating you may be doing and, if necessary, put other, non-food rewards in place, such as having a bubble bath, going for a walk or calling a friend."


While Blum doesn't advocate strict eating regimes, she does recommend making a few slight alterations to what is considered best nutritional practice at the moment.

Current healthy eating guidelines still advocate a diet based on carbohydrates; they don't, however, differentiate between processed and unprocessed carbs.

Blum believes this is a mistake and that to maximise our intake of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre we should focus on choosing unprocessed carbohydrates, such as beans, pulses, corn, brown rice and root vegetables, over processed ones such as pasta, white rice, cereals, noodles and breads.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pea Protein

We are going to New Zealand on Thursday so I'm using up all the stuff in our pantry before we go away. I've finished off all the flavoured rice protein and am now down to unflavoured pea protein. Let's just say it's not my favourite-tasting protein. But it does have other benefits. The following text is extracted from an article titled 'Pea Protein: Give peas a chance!' by Nicholas Thiedeman B.H.Sc

Pea protein and cholesterol
It has been shown that some dietary plant proteins beneficially influence lipid metabolism.

A recent animal study suggests that pea protein stimulates formation and excretion of bile acids, which leads to a reduced hepatic cholesterol concentration (Spielmann, Stangl, & Eder, 2008).

This may be useful especially with overweight individuals who also are at risk of cardiovascular complications due to existing hypercholesterolemia.

Whey vs Dairy vs Pea Protein
Whey protein may not be the best protein choice when trying to lose weight. This is due to whey having a positive influence on insulin secretion, which leads to decreased mobilisation of fatty acids and increased fatty tissue deposition.

Melnik et al suggests that milk protein consumption induces hyperinsulinaemia. Hyperinsulinemia can leads to insulin resistance and affect the body’s fat metabolism. (Melnik, 2009)

Whey protein has also been shown to shift the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis, which leads to increased IGF-1 serum levels.

High levels of IGF-1 signaling is thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of a number of conditions including acne, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, thus affecting most chronic diseases of Western societies. (Melnik, 2009)

Pea protein does not influence IGF and therefore may be a preferable protein choice for inclusion in weight management programs.


Theidman also mentions that pea protein induces a thermogenic response and if eaten before your CHO in a meal can prevent the glucose spike which occurs following CHO intake. This combination of blood sugar control and thermogenesis may help with weight loss.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beetroot, Spinach and Broccoli Salad

Apologies for the slightly blurry pic, but this is what we had for Wednesday night's dinner, along with some grilled organic chicken breast.

The recipe is from Stop the Clock: the anti aging cookbook, by Robyn Martin

Beetroot, Spinach and Broccoli Salad
1 head broccoli
2 medium beetroot
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Wash broccoli and cut into florets. Pour boiling water over broccoli and leave for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water and drain again. Peel beetroot and grate coarsley. Arrange washed spinach leaves over the base of a bowl or serving platter. Top with grated beetroot. Scatter with broccoli and pistachio nuts. Drizzle over avocado oil and vinegar. Grind over black pepper and serve.

Serves 6*

Per serve: 640kJ, 4.1g protein, 13.1g fat, 4.8g carb

*We (three adults) polished it off as a main.

One of my favourite parts of this recipe was the pistachios. I am now eyeing up a couple of pistachio muesli recipes to try.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Morning Walk

is not really exercise to me. If I go early in the morning, it's quiet and peaceful. I like to walk slowly, take deep breaths, and relax...

View from the top of the park

Near the start of the walk. TJ loves to sniff around all the bushes here

Walking up the gently sloping hill with the sunlight coming through the trees

Walking down the hill towards the lake

View from near the bottom of the hill

Near the turn-around point. You can see how strong the sun is even at 7am

Heading back up the hill

TJ enjoying a paddle near the end of the walk

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Storage of Fat

Since my post on combating obesity with folinic acid, I've been doing a bit more reading. Dr Peter Tunbridge, an integrative medicine expert, has this to say about the MTHFR gene polymorphism on his website:

How does it affect weight?
The gene defect prevents the body from getting rid of oestrogen (female hormone) down a pathway that ultimately affects how your body converts its food into energy.
In absolute terms it makes the body convert most of your glucose (which ALL your food other than oils is converted into), into Free Fatty Acids rather than Glycogen.
This means your body is converting the sugar into fat. This means you have less energy and feel tired all the time. This means you are making fat, and because most of this is occurring in the blood vessels around the bowel then the fat is deposited centrally. If the oestrogen levels are high, then this accelerates the process, and if you have the gene defect then this will also accelerate that process.
The Cell that lines all the microscopic blood tubes in your body is where this happens. If these cells fill with FFA’s (Free Fatty Acids) then its ability to take in more sugar is slowed. The body responds to this by making more insulin in an attempt to give you more energy. This will cause a sudden rapid loss of blood sugar - this is that profound weakness that overcomes your body occasionally when your legs feel like tree trunks and you just want to sleep. The oestrogen levels are making you store fat and so you do not get anymore energy when this happens – just fatter and fatter and craving more and more sweet things.

Will this folinic acid pill make me lose weight if i just take that and do nothing else?
No! It must be used to full advantage as an additive to a proper diet (in my opinion this should be a low carbohydrate diet) and a gradual increase in excercise as you begin to get more energy.

How does folinic acid stop this?
Giving folinic when you have this gene defect essentially provides the body with what it cant make. It thereby “bypasses the biochemical deficit. It therefore allows a better metabolism of oestrogen and stops the body from converting too much of the food into fat. It essentially negates having the gene defect anymore relative to what it stops from happening in the biochemistry of the body.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wild Venison Sausages

This is what we had for dinner last night. Well, not raw, but they look the same as any other sausage once cooked, so thought you might like to see what the packaging looks like in case you want to look out for them at your supermarket (I got these at Coles).

They don't have a very strong meat flavour. In fact, I'd say the strongest flavour is garlic, with touch of aniseed/fennel. They aren't as salty as the kanga bangas made by the same company. The macros for 100g are actually quite similar to a scoop of protein powder (18.6g protein, 2.6g fat, 1.6g carbs), so they might make a nice portable snack.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A typical day for me at the moment

walk TJ

Option 1
high-fibre cereal, lactose-free milk, medium fruit or a snack pack of organic dried fruit; fish oil, vitamin B

Option 2
organic egg OR baked beans on sprouted grain bread, medium fruit; fish oil, vitamin B

protein shake with lactose-free milk and low GI fruit; Vital Greens
(sometimes I have the milk in an organic coffee and make the shake with water instead)

sprouted grain bread
with lean meat, chicken, salmon or sardines OR baked beans or bean salad
and large salad
and small fruit

protein shake with lactose-free milk and low GI fruit; Vital Greens
(sometimes I save the milk to make a cocoa before bed, and
make the shake with water instead)

go to gym

Lean meat, chicken, fish or beans/lentils
and potato/sweet potato/rice/pasta/bread
and vegetables/salad
and small fruit
fish oil

(optional) Snack

I'm breaking some 'rules' during my day: I don't always eat protein with every meal; I eat meals with starchy carbs outside of the workout period; and I drink 'calorie-containing beverages' like milky coffee and cocoa. But, eating this way is keeping me sane (it's flexible and enjoyable, and pretty healthy), and it's sustainable (I'm less likely to eat a whole heap of crap in one go if I can eat a little bit of whatever I like whenever I want). And my abs are coming back. So there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gone Crazy About Food

'A large amount of work I do is with women who are recovering or dealing with eating disorders. Time and time again this issue was coming up. "I can't eat these foods, they are fat gaining foods." "I was told my thyroid stopped working because of these chemicals so now I only eat xxxx."
All of a sudden the health problems my girls were having were because of a type of carb, or chemical, or a combination of "fat gaining foods." All of a sudden the reason they were so tired and dealing with massive exasperation was because they weren't eating organic. It couldn't possibly be because they were doing 5-6 day a week extreme training programs (HIIT, supersetting, high volume, heavy weights, etc) on no calories leading to the inevitable binge fests. No, apparently it was the type of spinach they were eating.'
Source: Leigh Peele, in her interview with Tom Venuto

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Small things amuse small minds...

Had to pop into my local Coles at lunchtime to pick up a couple of things and noticed they are now selling venison and goat (sausages, fillets, mini roasts etc, along the same lines as the Macro Meats kangaroo products). Think some of them will be finding their way into my trolley on Saturday...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Training update

I seem to spend so much time here talking about food, so thought I'd say something about my training, particularly in regards to my monthly cycle. My last comp was October last year, and my periods started again in January. I've had them every month since, although the timing has varied slightly, ranging from 18 to 33 days. What I have noticed, though, is that for the few days before my period starts I am absolutely pooped, like my body is putting all of its energy into that. I need much more sleep and I really struggle to get out of bed. Once I'm up, I don't feel like doing much, including working out. I think I've skipped the workout prior to my period arriving for the last 3 months running. I thought it would be great to have a program that I could fit around my monthly cycle, structured so that I'm training less vigorously leading up to my period and more at other times.

And then I read Danny McLarty's Deload Week: The Missing Link. In it there is a Four-Week Strategy for Women that suggests a deloading week around the time frame that I typically have lower training tolerance (days 22 to 28 of cycle).

Here is what he suggests for a 28-day cycle:

Week 1 — Days 1-5 of menstrual cycle: Medium Volume Week

Because you should still be on the "cautious" side here, I suggest leaving a little in the tank on each set by staying a rep or two from failure. Volume-wise, aiming for 16 sets per training session would be a good guideline.

Week 2 — Days 6-13 of menstrual cycle: High Volume Week

Time to get after it and really push it! Aiming for 20 sets per training session would be a good idea over this time period.

Week 3 — Days 15-21 of menstrual cycle: Very High Volume Week

Time to crush it again, just like in week two, but now we'll increase the volume even more because we know that we'll be backing off next week, as that's when the deload time begins. Shoot for 24 sets per training session here.

Week 4 — Days 22-28 of menstrual cycle: Deload Week

Once again, you have the option of reducing either volume, intensity, or both. You can either reduce your volume by 50% from the very high week, or reduce the intensity by 10-20%. Since this is the time of the month where injury risk is at its highest, I suggest taking a break from plyometrics and any other high impact or high injury-risk movements during this week.

I am in week 1 at the moment and have adjusted my training schedule so that I am using it as the first week of a new program. The following two weeks will increase in volume, then my 'deload' week will essentially be my first full week in New Zealand, when I'm not expecting to get as much exercise done. Am looking forward to seeing how this approach works for me. Am feeling pretty good so far, deliberately being a bit more cautious this week than usual.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Compare Yourself to Others

"I just detest comparing! Don’t. Compare yourself to YOU. YOU and nobody else is the important person in your life. So keep your focus where it should be; on YOU." (Pauline Nordin)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Combating Obesity with Folinic Acid

Dr Peter Tunbridge recently appeared on Today Tonight to discuss the benefits of using folinic acid as part of an effective weight management program to combat obesity.

Outlined below is a brief summary of the discussion.

Obesity is a multifactorial condition caused by a number of factors such as:

-Hormone imbalances
-Insulin resistance

Genetic influences can affect hormone balance, a large contributing factor to age-associated weight gain. It is believed that up to 50% of the population may have polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene. This leads to an inability to utilise and metabolise folic acid and ineffective methylation. In turn this may contribute to excess oestrogen levels, fluid retention, insulin resistance and weight gain.

Folinic acid is a metabolically active form of folic acid, and is able to be utilized by people with MTHFR polymorphisms. By promoting healthy methylation and metabolism of oestrogens, folinic acid has the potential to be highly effective in supporting weight management for conditions associated with hormone imbalances.

For more information on folinic acid, click this link

Source: Bio Concepts Pty Ltd.

The full transcript from the story can be found here

I have the MTHFR polymorphism and am currently taking Dr Vera's Activated B Complex, which contains folinic acid and other B vitamins

More Water

Last year I did the Excelgene GeneElite test to learn more about my physical make-up to help me with my training goals. While I had tried to apply as many of the recommendations in my report as possible, I felt like I hadn't got as much out of it as I could have. So yesterday I met with Paul Beaver and Matt Patti from Fit Genes. We concluded that I have been doing the right things with my diet (adding a supplement containing folic acid and B vitamins, ensuring my diet contains regular portions of cruciferous and allium veges, and eating antioxidant-rich foods). But there are a few areas where I could improve. One is my water consumption.

While I drink about 2 litres of water a day, apparently it's not enough for me (my skin isn't as hydrated as it could be). I need to drink more water to help my body flush out waste (my detoxification mechanisms are poor) and reduce body fat. Having diluted Gatorade will help me stay hydrated during training.

So my challenge now is to drink more water and tweak my workout drink (am currently having straight BCAAs). Am also going to build in a sauna recovery session to help sweat out toxins.

In other news, I'm currently editing a slow cooker recipe book (1001 recipes!), and I received Oscar's ashes today. He is sitting on my desk as I type.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Afternoon Delight

This afternoon the idea of a choc-dipped banana popped into my head. So I mixed up a scoop of choc protein powder with enough water to make a paste (I used Sun Warrior rice protein but I'm sure it would work with any choc protein powder), then spread it all over my banana (messy job but you get to lick your fingers afterwards!) then placed it on a sheet of foil sprayed with cooking oil spray. I very loosely wrapped the foil over the banana then placed it in the freezer for a couple of hours. The result - hard on the outside (like chocolate ice cream topping), soft on the inside. A yummy preworkout snack.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oscar has left the building

He was taken away today to be cremated. It's strange not having him around. I've worked from home for the last five years and I'm used to him coming in and interupting me all the time, wanting to be fed or to go outside or sit on my lap. It's very quiet now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RIP Oscar

Oscar, my 13-year-old cat, always sleeps by my stomach. When I went to bed last night he was still outside and when I woke up this morning he wasn't on the bed, so I went looking for him. I found him under one of the bushes in the back yard. He had been moving quite slowly the last day or two, but I thought it was due to the sudden increase in temperature we've had the last couple of days. Prior to that he was full of energy - he caught a mouse last week and brought it inside to play with. He had been deteriorating mentally over the last few months though. He'd try to get my attention, then when I got up after him he'd just wander aimlessly around. Or he'd stand by his food bowl meowing for food, but when you put it down for him he'd wander off. I will miss his warm little body sitting on my lap, and snuggling up to me at night. Even Rob, who never wanted a cat in the first place, had grown quite attached to him. I'm sure TJ will miss his furry little brother too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vegan Day

Long time no post. Over the last two weeks I've been really tired from TOM, daylight savings, being sick and coordinating an in-house job (which I had to travel an hour each way to). I've done very little exercise (poor TJ has missed his morning walks, and so have I) and while my eating has been good during the day, I've been eating a lot at night (some good, some not so good), and I'm up a kilo from where I was two weeks ago. I finally felt balanced again after having a vegan day yesterday. Had a decent amount of carbs in the first two meals of the day, and some nuts mid-afternoon, which set me up well so that I wasn't craving anything by the end of the day. I think being off the dairy was good for me too.

Friday's food (no animal products)

8am mug of warm water with juice from half a lemon

9am chocolate Sun Warrior protein mixed with Vital Greens in 2 cups water; one large slice fruit toast

12.15pm sweet potato and leek soup

4.30pm cashews, orange

8.30pm glass of champagne to celebrate finishing my project; tofu and vege stirfry

10.30pm mocha pudding made with coffee powder, chocolate Sun Warrior protein, LSA

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Weight 62.5 (down 0.6) Feeling great!

New goal is 60kg before we leave for New Zealand on 19 November.

See it. Be it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jump Rope

This is one of my favourite 'do at home' cardio workouts at the moment. My skipping fitness is gradually increasing, but I find the mountain climbers really tough!

Jump Rope: 30 minute duration, high intensity, long intervals

If you don't have a jump rope, simulate it. Jump for 3 min. at a shot, off the toes of both feet. Rest by continuing to jump shifting your weight from side to side, whole foot down for two minutes. Do this three times. Next cycle, decrease the time to 2 min. jumping, 2 min "mountain climbers" (no rope - hands on floor running in place in push up position), 1 min. recovery jumping. Repeat three times...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feeling Great!

High carb, low fat seems to be really agreeing with me. My energy levels have been a lot better this week, and so has my concentration. I had positive comments from three different people this week about the quality of my work. Rob also commented that I've been smiling more this week.

Weight today is 63.1 (down 0.1 from last week). Not much movement on the scales, but I've lost 2cm off my chest and 1cm off my waist, so there's still some fat loss happening.

This week I've been reading at night instead of spending time on the internet. Am currently reading The White Queen (historical novel by the author of The Other Boleyn Girl) and the Beck Diet Solution, a cognitive therapy approach to losing weight. Am not enjoying The White Queen as much as The Other Boleyn Girl, but the Beck Diet Solution is interesting. It's a 42-day program, and so far I've found the following days most useful:
Day 1 Record the advantages of losing weight
Day 2 Pick two reasonable diets
I chose higher carbohydrate weight loss for my primary diet, and I also created a card to remind myself that 'There is no one right diet. There's nothing magical about any diet. The only formula for weight loss is taking in fewer calories than your body expends'. Looking at this card whenever I start thinking about what other people are doing reassures me and stops me wasting time on the internet looking at other options.
Day 4 Give yourself credit for positive behaviour
Day 5 Eat slowly and mindfully

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Playing Games

Weight/fat loss has been going well but I've been feeling tired a lot. So am doing a little experiment. For the next couple of weeks I'm going to eat high carb/low fat and see how I feel, and what my results do.

B: egg whites, veges, oats, fruit, fish oil
S: protein powder, yoghurt, fruit, Vital Greens, fish oil
L: leftover protein and veg from dinner the night before, legumes, fish oil
S: protein powder, yoghurt, fruit, Vital Greens, fish oil
D: lean protein, veg, starch, fruit, fish oil

Although I'm really enjoying eating yoghurt again, I'm still not sure about my reaction to it: my feet have been a bit rashy, and I've been feeling a bit tired after eating it, so if there's any tweaking to be done, that will be the first thing to change.

In terms of head space, I'm feeling more relaxed than I have for a while. Am glad I got the meat delivery and am looking forward to seeing what I get in my fruit and vege box tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Am posting this a day early as we're going away for the weekend.

As it's a Friday (and I only weigh in on a Saturday), I don't know what my weight has done, but I finally pinned Rob down today to do my bodyfat measurements. Basing my calculations on the weight I was last Saturday, I worked out that in three months I have:
-lost 6kg of "fat mass"
-gained 2kg of "lean mass"
-for a total scale loss of 4kg

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Refried Beans recipe

From Meals without Meat by Simon and Alison Holst

- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 (400g) can kidney beans
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste

- Saute onion and garlic in the oil. When soft, add the choppped green pepper, and seasonings. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until pepper softens, then reduce the heat.
- Drain the can of beans, keeping the liquid, and add the beans and tomato paste to the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Heat through over moderate heat. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or process in a blender or food processor. Thin down with a litte bean liquid if required.

This was quite nice. A bit more time consuming than opening a can of refried beans, but at least you can make all the ingredients organic if you choose. I would say this recipe would make three serves.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meat is Here!

I ordered a Spring Selections meat pack plus some other bits and pieces from Belmore Biodynamic Meats, and it was delivered today. TJ was VERY interested in this box when it was delivered, LOL.

After opening the box

After lifting out the paperwork

After unpacking

The column on the left is the extra bits and pieces I got (500g organic pork loin chops, 500g organic pork mince, 500g turkey mince, 500g chicken mince, 500g beef mince, 500g eye fillet). The two columns on the right are the contents of the Spring Selections pack (500g Extra Lean Lamb Mince, 500g Lamb Backstraps, 500g Diced Lamb, 500g Loin Chops, 1.7kg Leg of Lamb, 1kg Organic Chicken Breast Fillets, 500g Organic Chicken Strips, 1.5kg Organic Chicken Whole, 500g Topside Mince Extra Lean).

It's not cheap BUT I'm only eating animal protein once a day now (instead of three or more times like I used to), and I break it up with some cheaper cuts like kangaroo. And fish too. So this should last us close to a month.

Oh, and here's a pic of my breakfast this morning: a white corn tortilla folded over kidney beans with chilli seasoning and topped with tomato and coriander, served with cooked onions, capsicum, mushrooms and spinach. Tasted pretty good but next time I'll use refried beans instead of kidney beans, and salsa instead of tomato and coriander.

Too much soluble fibre?

One of the books we inherited from Rob's dad was Healthy Eating for IBS, by Sophie Braimbridge and Erica Jankovich. One of the authors is a chef and the other is a dietician, so in addition to having some great recipes, there's also some interesting information on IBS.

On p28 there is a section called Too much soluble fibre:

'A high intake of soluble versus insoluble fibre can lead to excess amounts of food residues available for gut fermentation in the colon. Soluble fibre is metabolised by healthy gut bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids (bacteria) and gases. In certain people who harbour excessive amounts of sulphur-producing bacteria, extra gases such as hydrogen sulphide and methanethiol are also produced, which result in bad smelly wind. The short chain fatty acids feed the colonic bacteria, increasing their quantity and fermentation rate and so producing an increase in bowel gases.

It is a common error, when attempting to increase your fibre intake, to be over-enthusiastic and eat too great a quantity of fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds, which are the main sources of soluble fibre in our diet. In order to achieve the right balance, aim to maintain but not exceed the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day and ensure that all starch portions in your meals are those which contain insoluble fibre. Do not make the mistake of counting oats as an insoluble fibre when they are actually classified as a soluble fibre.'

From p22
Soluble fibre
Food types which are predominantly high in soluble fibre are:
- fruits
- vegetables
- legumes
- oats
- barley
- seeds

Insoluble fibre
Foods predominantly high in insoluble fibre are:
- roughage foods with skins, husks and peels, eg spelt, buckwheat, millet, chickpeas
- some fruit and vegetables with their skins and pips, eg tomatoes, courgettes, grapes plus potatoes and other root vegetables
- wheat, rye and all other cereals
- nuts and some legumes, eg almonds, chestnuts, coconut, chickpeas
- rice

How much fibre do we need?
'There is no simple answer to this question. Each person's fibre intake needs to be individually assessed and the contribution of the different fibre sources in their diet ascertained. This information then serves as a basis for dietary manipulation. It should be noted that there is a very fine line to be drawn between having the correct amount and overdoing it in terms of fibre intake. Prudent guidelines (that is, the recommended average for the population) suggest a total fibre intake of 20-30g a day of which 6-10.5g needs to be soluble... It is important to remember that although these guidelines of 20-30g per day are prudent, they may not be appropriate for you. Your type of IBS and an assessment of your particular symptoms and present fibre intake will determine the amount of fibre that is right for you.'

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am an individual

'I am not in pursuit of a better body or a better life for anyone but myself, so therefore I must do what feels good to me' (from The Scale: Friend or Foe)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Week's Affirmation and Meal Plan

This Week's Affirmation
Food is a source of relaxation and joy

This Week's Meal Plan
If it gives you any indication of how my mind works, I've changed my mind three times about what I want to eat this coming week. I have my fruit and veg delivered on Friday, so on Wednesday I started thinking about what I wanted to make and so what to order. My delivery arrived on Friday morning, but on Saturday night I altered my plan (have been a bit low in energy with just a shake between walking and training in the mornings and thought that eggs and legumes might be better, and I also decided I wanted to try reintroducing some dairy, in the form of sheep products), then on Sunday afternoon I started thinking again about the order of my meals (I had planned to move my workouts to the afternoon as I often feel like having a sleep afterwards instead of working, but decided I really prefer to train in the mornings, when it's quieter). So you can see why sometimes I feel like food rules my life - I'm constantly thinking about it.

So, my plan for this week is to...
*get up and go for a walk
*come home and eat eggs, legumes and veges
*go to the gym
*come home and eat some protein, starch, veges and a little fruit
*have another meal like this if my body is still burning/I'm finding it hard to concentrate on my work
*rest of meals will be lean protein, veges, good fats
*one meal will contain some sheep yoghurt
*one meal will contain some sheep fetta

That's as planned as it's going to get for this week.

Next week I won't plan any meals in advance. From now on I am going to get a box of seasonal fruit and veges delivered, and the contents will be a surprise. That should eliminate the food thinking on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Then I just have to decide what to make with the contents once it arrives. But again, I'm not going to plan anything too far in advance. It'll just be a case of 'I've got x meat in the freezer. That would go nicely with the x in the vege bin'. And I've got a plan to deal with the meat too - I found an organic meat website that does seasonal hampers (more lamb in spring, etc). So I can have some nice meat in the freezer and nice veges in the fridge and I just have to decide the night before what I feel like eating the next day. Easy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Weight: 63.8 (down 0.3kg).

I'm happy with this small drop given that during the past week I:
- had 3 glasses of champagne and too much food at an engagement party
- missed a training session because I was really tired and felt like I was coming down with something (turns out it was just my period arriving)
- had 1.5 feijoa vodkas with L&P (NZ lemonade - the sugary kind!) to celebrate a friend's birthday

No celebrations to attend this coming week, so should be full steam ahead!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fish and Lizards

Some meals I've been enjoying lately...

Giant Salad (tastes like a california roll in a salad!)

(recipe on this page; I use white balsamic or brown rice vinegar instead of balsamic, and wasabi paste instead of dijon mustard and herbs, and mix canned tuna into the salad)

Marinated tuna steak and carrot slaw

Sesame crusted salmon on Vietnamese silverbeet salad

I wasn't keen on eating this though...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This Week's Affirmation and Meal Plan

This Week's Affirmation
I am responsible for my own actions

This Week's Meal Plan
on rising: Vital Greens, green tea, fish oil

walk TJ, 30 mins

snack: supershake (rice protein, kale, banana, date, walnuts)

train, 30-45 mins

breakfast: oats, Valerie's chocolate berrilicious sauce, flax seeds

lunch: broccoli, chilli bean, tomato and avocado stack, or Mexican salad

snack: tuna, wasabi and nori salad, fish oil

dinner (in no particular order):
braised beef with wine and herbs
tomato salmon scramble
salmon burgers on giant salad
sesame crusted salmon with sauteed peppers
creamy cauliflower and salmon soup
peppered sirloin with grilled onions

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Measurements and Meeting

Weight 64.1kg (down 0.7kg), with almost all tape measurements down. I think the change in schedule (walking the dog first thing in the morning instead of the afternoon), and the slight change to my food plan as a result, has worked really well. So I'll keep on doing what I'm doing.

Today I met up with Michelle Koen, who is visiting from Adelaide. We picked up lunch from Habib Wholefoods on Flinders St (I got a morrocan chickpea salad, Michelle got a vegetable frittata with pumpkin seeds) and took it down to South Bank and sat by the river in the sun to eat and chat. We talked food, comp prep, training, travel and work.

Michelle, it was great to meet you in person, and I found out where you can get those edamame beans in Australia: The Cruelty Free Shop

Friday, September 4, 2009

What I've Been Working on Lately

These are two books I proofread a few months ago. They are due out in November.

Mini Cupcake Creations
(Hinkler Books)
Everything you need to bake delicious mini cupcakes at home! Create mouth-watering bite-sized treats with this complete kit, containing a full-colour 64-page recipe book with over 50 exciting and delicious cupcake recipes, a 9-capacity silicone baking tray, and a piping bag with 5 different tips. The handy wiro-bound recipe book lies flat for easy reference and includes sections on quick & easy cupcakes, kids favourites, and fruit and nut concoctions, plus a whole section just on chocolate recipes! Also included is a comprehensive weights and measures reference, and a full recipe index.

Cookie Creations
(Hinkler Books)
Everything you need to bake delicious cookies at home. This delightful boxed set includes a 64-page full colour book with delicious step-by-step recipes, 6 coloured metal cookie cutters, and a set of four stainless steel heart-shaped measuring spoons.