Monday, March 30, 2009

Easing back into it

Am feeling a bit better today. Had a relaxing weekend and a good sleep last night. I'm limiting myself to walking this week, and will introduce some bodyweight exercise next week if I feel up to it.

Food today:

Breakfast eggs with broccoli

Snack kangaroo sausage, almonds, Vital Greens (1/2 serve)

Lunch chicken stir-fry

Snack cottage cheese, walnuts, cinnamon, stevia, Vital Greens (1/2 serve).

Walk TJ to park

Dinner grilled barramundi, Rae's roast veges

My stomach doesn't quite know what to make of the cottage cheese. It was OK yesterday but today it gurgled and got a bit swollen and sore. Might try it with a lactase tablet (to help digest the lactose) tomorrow. Otherwise I will go back to non-dairy sources of protein.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alternative Sweeteners

For those of you who are trying to cut down artificial sweetener consumption, there are a couple of natural alternatives you might like to try.

My preference is Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol extracted from plant fibre. It comes in powder form. There's also Stevia, a herbal sweetener made from the Stevia plant. It can be bought in liquid or powder form. I find it has a slightly bitter after taste. I don't use a lot of these products, maybe once a day if I make a protein pudding, as the protein powders I buy don't contain any artificial sweetener (aspartame, sucralose etc give me wind).

I often use other methods to sweeten my foods. For example, if I make oats, I add half a ripe banana, thinly sliced, when the oats come to the boil. The banana disolves into the oats as they cook, making them quite sweet. And by not adding sweetener to your food all the time, your taste buds will adjust and you will find that foods actually start to taste quite sweet anyway, especially fruit.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sound Familiar?

• Feeling drained and exhausted
• Low blood pressure
• Hypoglycemia
• Food intolerances (things start bothering you that you never had problems with before)
• Only feeling energetic at night
• Postural hypotension (low blood pressure that falls further when standing, causing dizziness or fainting)
• Needing exercise to function (feeling exhausted prior to exercise, but normal after)
• Needing stimulants to function
• Slow metabolism
• Low body temperature
• Allergies and infections
• Chemical sensitivities
• Unexplained joint and muscle pain

Could you have adrenal fatigue?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pump up the volume

Didn't feel like having pea protein with brekky this morning, so instead I made some eggy oats, but I adapted the recipe a bit. I used 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water and 1/2 thinly sliced ripe banana, cooked on the stovetop, with 4 whites whisked in near the end of cooking, along with some vanilla essence and cinnamon (no whey protein). Might add an extra couple of egg whites next time. Blueberries might be nice too.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Planned meals this week

Meal 1 Vital Greens, pea protein, Pumpkin Oatmeal with Sunflower Seed Butter

Meal 2 Banana pancake (eggs, oats, banana, vanilla, cinnamon)

Meal 3 Beef stir-fry [basmati rice if a training day]

Meal 4 Wild salmon (canned), veggie sticks

Meal 5 Nicole's Thai Green Curry with Chicken

Meal 6 Cottage cheese, cacao powder, xylitol, nuts/seeds, veggie sticks
Have been OK with lactose-free milk. Am going to try reintroducing some other dairy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

After doing no training for three weeks I did some relatively high volume training on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, apart from being stiff and sore, I felt pooped. I took TJ for a walk to the newsagent and I felt like a rag doll at the end of his lead. Thursday morning I woke up with a slight tickle in my throat so decided to be sensible and not train. This morning I still felt a bit 'meh'. So I'm going to go for a slightly less aggressive approach for the next four weeks or so, get my energy levels back up, then start thinking about fat loss.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Puppy Dog Tails

Yesterday I trained legs in the morning and could feel stiffness start to set in before bed. Had sore hammies this morning, but nothing unbearable. Today was upper body and I wore my Skins top during and after, but by mid afternoon my upper back was getting stiff and I had to go and have a hot shower. Because I tire so quickly at the moment I definitely feel like I'm training at full intensity - I literally can't do another rep as I get to the end of a set. I am enjoying training again but am looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow.

On a brighter note, I got to spend some time with this little fella today. His name is Ollie and he's eight weeks old. I live next door to him and got to check in on him a couple of times today as his 'parents' couldn't be at home with him. His tail went mad when I walked in to see him. He is so tiny, about twice the size of my shoe!

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Plan

I've had the last three weeks off weight training because I've had no energy. Didn't even do any dog walking. Just walking to the post box tired me out. Am feeling better now and started back at the gym this morning. My plan is to do four days per week of weight training (upper/lower split). For cardio I'll start with 10 minutes of low-intensity work at the end of each weights session (no, it's not much but my energy levels are still pretty low). Am aiming to slowly drop some bodyfat over the next 12 weeks then decide what to do next.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday = Cooking Day

Had a sleep-in until about 9am this morning. Rob went off to training, and since our Coles (supermarket) delivery was due between 9.30am and 1.30pm I got dressed so I wouldn't be in my PJs when it arrived. I had brekky and did housework until it turned up. Once the delivery was unpacked I had something else to eat then made meals 2, 3 and 4 in bulk for next week. I had some quinoa to use up, and eggplants were on special this week (delivered as part of my organic fruit and vege order on Friday) so I based my meals around those two things.

Planned food for next week:

M1 Vital Greens, pea protein, Banana Flax Oatmeal with Toasted Walnuts (am going to try reintroducing some lactose-free milk at breakfast after being off dairy for the last two weeks)

M2 Chicken and veges with quinoa, inspired by Raechelle's Spring Vege & Chicken Risotto

M3 Vegetable Lentil Pate (veges, lentils, eggs), a Gourmet Nutrition recipe

M4 Eggplant in a meat sauce, plus mashed garlic cauliflower (both Precision Nutrition recipes)

M5 carob protein, cacao powder, xylitol and nut butter made into a 'pudding', kale chips

Our kitchen has a bench that faces into the living area, so I had Sound Relief on Foxtel while I was cooking. The Melbourne line-up has been awesome, but being a Kiwi I really enjoyed seeing Liam Finn and Crowded House, and am looking forward to Split Enz later.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scrawny to Brawny

I found myself nodding my head at Katie's post on the different stages in a figure competitor's life. I usually like how I look best about four weeks before a comp. After that, I start to get the 'too skinny' comments too. Below I've posted pics from my first year of competition. I didn't have much muscle then and I really did look very scrawny from about three weeks out, but I loved my level of leanness on stage. My aim for my next comp is to get this lean but to retain the muscle I've developed over the last few years so I don't look so little.

Stage 1 "off season"
(6 weeks after my first show, 13 weeks before my second one)

Stage 2 "look good but not stageworthy"
(4.5 weeks out)

Stage 3 "look scrawny"
(2.5 weeks out)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wheat-free vs Gluten-free

Have just about finished a big job and I'm starting to feel better, both of which are a huge relief. Just wanted to post quickly about the difference between wheat-free products and gluten-free products as there is some talk about food intolerances at the moment, and not everyone knows the difference between these two. In our household we have a person who is wheat intolerant (me) and gluten intolerant (Rob) so I feel semi-qualified to talk about the subject :-)

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, rye, and substances made from those products. Something is wheat-free if it contains no wheat. But something is gluten-free only if it contains no wheat, oats, barley or rye. So oats, while they are wheat-free, are not gluten-free.

The difference in terms of effects can be quite marked. When I eat wheat products I find it quite hard to stop (see my previous Addict post) and wheat products (bread in particular) make me itchy. The roof of my mouth itches when I eat it (always has done, ever since I was a kid, although I didn't connect the two until recently), and my feet break out in an itchy rash a day or so after eating it. Rob's symptoms are more debilitating. After eating a product containing gluten, he goes straight to the bathroom (several times) and then spends the next few days in bed because it makes him feel so tired. So this means that I usually eat gluten-free too (no point cooking separate meals for both of us), although I have been having oats for breakfast lately.

This page provides some more detailed information on a gluten-free diet.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Checking in, and doing the opposite

Haven't had any energy to train or blog this week (not sure what's wrong but think my body has been trying to fight off a sinus infection - face sore and puffy the last few days). I'm so glad I did all that food prep last weekend as normally when I don't train my eating isn't great, but having almost everything prepared meant I had no excuse not to eat well.

I was planning on experimenting with a high-carb diet for a few months when I started my new program this week. Even though I didn't end up training I decided to change my diet anyway - thought my body would appreciate all the extra veggies and fruit while I wasn't feeling well. So I've been eating roughly 50% carbs (from veges, fruit, legumes and whole grains), at about 1800 calories per day, sometimes more if I've had a long day. I've also been having a lot of trouble with dairy lately (bloating, phlegm, wind, tiredness) so have taken this out for now. May try reintroducing some lactose-free or non-cow options in a few weeks.

Rough plan for next week is to do the same foodwise, and add in some exercise if/when I feel up to it:
M1: Vital Greens, steel-cut oats with banana and berries
M2: kangaroo mini roast, sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini
M3: balsamic chicken with four-bean salad
M4: lamb casserole, cauli, carrots
M5: pea protein, cocoa, xylitol, nut butter and water mixed into a 'pudding'; celery, capsicum, cucumber

Food prep is done, so just have to heat and eat.

PS, for anyone that has problems with food intolerances, my parents sent me this interesting article: My search for food that loves me