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.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Top 5 Cholesterol-lowering Foods

By Nikki Hart

1. Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, fresh tuna (not canned) and mackerel are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. These reduce levels of triglycerides in the blood, lower blood pressure and reducing blood clotting. It is recommended that approximately 170g of fish is eaten twice a week.

2. Soy protein
Consuming 25-50g a day of soy protein found in foods such as tofu and soy milk can lower ‘bad' cholesterol (low density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol) by four to eight per cent. Try to replace some animal products with soy. Make a stir-fry using tofu rather than meat or make smoothies using soy milk.

3. Oats/oat bran
Oats and oat bran contain soluble fibre, which reduces cholesterol absorption. Eating 1½ cups of cooked oatmeal or an oat-based cereal each day lowers cholesterol, and 5 to 10g of soluble fibre a day decreases LDL cholesterol by five per cent.

4. Plant sterols
Plant sterols help block the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. You can find these in margarines designed to help people reduce their high levels of ‘bad' LDL cholesterol.

5. Walnuts
These nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which help reduce blood cholesterol and keep blood vessels healthy and elastic. Eating 30g of nuts daily (or at least four to five times a week) is protective.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inherited Information Part 3

Slow Eating

The following list is from 'Slow Cooking, So Good For You', by Nikki Hart, in Essentially Food, June/July 2007.

I recommend eating a meal:
* only when seated in a designated place (the table)
* using eating utensils correctly (not using a fork as a 'shovel')
* removing distracting activities from the eating environment (TV)
* and pausing, placing eating utensils down for conversation etc slows down the rate of eating and allows the body to register 'satisfied' not 'stuffed'!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inherited Information Part 2, and how to give your scapulas a workout without trying

Inherited Information


I'm eating them again and so far so good (no rash, which leads me to suspect that wheat or dairy is the culprit).

Liz mentioned yesterday that oats are rich in beta glucan which can help control blood cholesterol, and that's also the topic of another article in my inherited food magazines.

'Oats', by Juliette Kellow, was originally published in Delicious, vol 2, issue 6. Here are the main points:

* Research shows that beta glucan can help lower blood cholesterol levels, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. This soluble fibre binds with cholesterol to prevent it being re-absorbed into the blood. On average, consuming just 3g of soluble oat fibre a day (the amount found in a typical bowl of porridge) is thought to lower cholesterol by eight to 23 percent.
* Animal studies have also shown that oats contain unique plant compounds called avenanthramides, which act as antioxidants to prevent harmful free-radical damage causing heart disease. Better still, when vitamin C is added, the body appears to be protected from free-radical damage for even longer.

How to give your scapulas a workout without trying
Do BB Romaninan deadlifts with 15kg plates on the bar. Keep shoulders back - no rounding!