Sunday, December 23, 2012

FFF Final Check In

17-22 December

Managed to do four 45-minute sessions of swimming and daily foam rolling this week (although I had to miss out on some walks with Rob and TJ to get it all done since I also had a reasonably busy workload this week). I was dreading increasing my swimming time this week (as I find it so tiring) but I actually really enjoyed it. My fitness must be increasing.

So here are my final results

4th November 59.1

11th November 58.1

18th November 58.4 (period)

25th November 57.5

2nd December 57.3

8th December 57

16th December 57.2 (period)

23rd December 56.3

A total loss of 2.8kg over 7 weeks, or 400g per week.

I didn’t take an official ‘before’ photo – the most recent one is from when we were on holiday in late June, when I was about 58kg

24 June front

And here’s an ‘after’ from this morning

23 Dec 2012 2

Welcome back abs!

Here’s what I ate and how I exercised. My main goals were to lose a bit of weight, increase mobility in my spine and decrease my cholesterol.

On rising: Glisodin (antioxidant)

Foam rolling and dead bugs

Swimming and/or walk with Rob and TJ

Breakfast: fresh squeezed lemon juice with warm water; ‘muesli’ made with 1/3 cup oats, 1 Tbsp nuts/seeds, 1 Tbsp shredded coconut, 150g fresh fruit, cinnamon; 1 krill oil, 1 B complex

Snack: smoothie made with 1 cup Pura HeartActive milk, 200g (1 pottle) Jalna Proheart vanilla yoghurt, approx 75g banana, approx 75g frozen blueberries, large handful baby spinach, 4 tsp psyllium, 1 tsp probiotic powder

Lunch: sandwich made with 2 small slices grainy bread (80g total) spread with Flora pro-active Buttery (10g total), canned salmon (40g) or a boiled egg, and salad veg; carrot

Snack: 20g nuts

Dinner: 100g protein (measured raw) or 100g canned legumes, 1 tsp oil/spread, half a cup rice/pasta (measured cooked) or 150g potato/sweet potato, unlimited vegetables. Fish a couple of times a week and vegetarian meals a couple of times a week. Forty grams cheese (full fat) per week, usually spread over a couple of meals, eg parmesan cheese on spaghetti bolognese.

Indulgences: 4 indulgences (approx 450 kilojoules each) per week.  Usually wine or hot chocolate.

Other: If I had a particularly active day and I was hungrier than usual, I had a small snack after dinner. 

I haven’t had a chance to visit the doctor this week to arrange to get my cholesterol rechecked so no news there, but am happy with my weight loss and increase in mobility. Will keep on this path and see where it takes me…

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Double Update

2nd December to 15 December

Over the last two weeks I’ve gone from doing lengths with a flutterboard to actually swimming, and this past week I did four sessions of 30 minutes instead of three.

Have really been enjoying the swimming but it does increase my appetite, and so does all the painting I’ve been doing (am onto the lounge now), and it being that time of the month doesn’t help either. So I’ve been eating more when I’ve been extra hungry – I want to lose weight but not kill myself doing it!

Had a planned Xmas BBQ to go to on Saturday 8th December so instead of weighing myself on Sunday the 9th I weighed in on the 8th instead.

4th November 59.1

11th November 58.1

18th November 58.4 (period)

25th November 57.5

2nd December 57.3

8th December 57

16th December 57.2 (period)

For the last week of the FFF I’ll try doing four sessions of 45 minutes swimming, but I really need to focus on my foam rolling and dead bugs as I’ve slipped a bit on these recently and they’ve got to be my priority for my back health.

Have a good week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

F3 Update

25th November to 1st December
Most of my four indulgences this week have been of the chocolate variety: one of Rob’s students gave him some chocolate for a ‘Thank you’, so I had some of that on two nights, a hot chocolate on another night, plus a glass of wine. I also ate a bit extra on the days that I did sanding and painting. Progress so far:
4th November 59.1
11th November 58.1
18th November 58.4 (period)
25th November 57.5
2nd December 57.3
Just a 200g drop on the scales after this week’s efforts, so will increase my exercise sessions from three to four and see what effect that has.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

F3 Check In

18th November to 24th November

This week I upped my exercise intensity from three sessions of pool walking for 30 minutes to doing lengths with a kickboard (flutterboard) for 30 minutes. I also did a bit of extra physical activity in the form of sanding and painting our dining room.

My four indulgences this week were two glasses of wine, one hot chocolate and one homemade protein ball.  I also had a little extra for dinner on the two days I did the sanding and painting. 

All in all I must have got the balance about right as I had a pleasing drop in weight this week. Progress so far:

4th November 59.1

11th November 58.1

18th November 58.4 (period)

24th November 57.5

Will carry on the same this week and see how I get on.

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

FFF update

11th November to 17th November

Have been a bit hungry this week, as I usually am just before my period arrives. Made sure I had more carb-heavy dinners this week to stave off the carb-and-fat cravings I usually have at this time of the month.

Sun – Sweet potato and lentil cakes



Mon – Gluten-free beef lasagne



Tue – Lentil moussaka



Wed – Salmon, rice and salad with sweet chilli and ginger sauce



Thu – Baked beans on toast



Fri – Curried mince on rice



Sat – Salmon stir-fry


Indulgences this week were the same as last week: three glasses of wine and a hot chocolate.

In terms of exercise, I only did two of the three sessions of pool walking I planned for the week (too wiped out from my period to do the third) but did foam rolling and dog walking most days.

I’ve sorted out my not-filling-enough afternoon-snack issue by adding more psyllium and water to my morning smoothie, and having half for my morning snack and half for my afternoon snack (along with some nuts).

Having more carbs at dinner (and less protein) has helped reduce my snacking in the evenings as I feel more satisfied after dinner.

Briefly saw the 57s this week but weight this morning was up to 58.4 with period puffiness. So progress so far is

4th November 59.1

11th November 58.1

18th November 58.4 (period)

So far I’ve been doing low intensity pool walking, but will try moderate intensity this week and see what effect that has.

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

F3 Check In

4th November to 10 November

I've settled into a fairly good routine with my food this past week. Once I find a meal I like I'm happy to eat it every day until I get sick of it.

Breakfast has been a mixture of 1/3 cup oats, 1 grated apple, 6 chopped almonds and 1 Tbsp shredded coconut

I tried out the dairy products containing sterols and they seem to be OK on my tummy, so my morning snack has been a smoothie with 1 cup Pura Heart Active milk, a 200g tub of Jalna Heart Smart yoghurt, 1 smallish banana (around 75g) and some frozen blueberries (around 75g). I started adding in some greens too (we had a bit of silverbeet that needed using up), and some probiotic powder and psyllium when I remember.

Lunch is usually a sandwich, with sterol spread on the bread. This week the filling has mostly been pink salmon with capers, onion, cucumber, alfalfa and lettuce.

An afternoon snack usually consists of a handful of nuts (20g) and a carrot. Although this hasn't been keeping me full for that long...

Dinner has been getting earlier and earlier, since my afternoon snack hasn't been keeping me full for long. Dinner is the one meal that I vary each day. So we ate
Sunday: felafel wraps, wheat free tabouli
Monday: gluten-free lasagne, asparagus
Tuesday: lentil moussaka, salad
Wednesday: fish chowder, broccoli
Thursday: salmon and asparagus risotto, broccoli, salad
Friday: homemade baked beans on toast, salad
Saturday: stir-fried pork with green beans and mushrooms.

I snacked on extra fruit in the evenings a couple of times during the week. For my four 'indulgences' this week I had three glasses of wine and a hot chocolate.

In terms of exercise, I did the three sessions of pool walking I planned for the week, as well as the daily foam rolling and dog walking, so am pretty happy with that.

My start weight on the 4th was 59.1kg and after this week's efforts I am down to 58.1kg.

My aims for this week are to repeat the exercise, have a more filling afternoon snack and try and choose vegetable snacks rather than fruit snacks in the evenings.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Festive Fitness Focus

I’m joining in Sara’s Festive Fitness Focus for the seven weeks leading up to Christmas.

What I'm committing to:

On rising every day: foam rolling and dead bugs (for mobility and core strength). Three to four days a week I will do 30-60 minutes pool walking, focusing on bracing my core. No weight training as yet as my back still isn’t up to it. Daily walking with Rob and TJ.

My plan is to focus on including foods to help me reduce my total cholesterol (currently 6.4):

Sticky fibre such as oats, barley, psyllium, fruit, vegetables, legumes etc.


Foods containing plant sterols, or a supplement. (Undecided as yet  - I need to try the milk and yoghurt containing the plant sterols to see if my stomach is OK with the lactose content. Also, I like to eat a mostly organic diet, and these foods aren’t organic.)

Calorie goal: about 1400-1600 (guestimate). Plus four ‘indulgences’ per week, eg four small glasses wine.

Rob is doing ‘no junk food until Christmas’ so that helps me out a lot. The only time I really eat it is if he brings it home.

Glysodin (antioxidant) 1/day
Krill Oil 1/day
Activated B Complex 1/day
I’ve been having spirulina most days, so will continue that or a greens powder, and probably add in a probiotic (had antibiotics recently for my tonsil infection).

My goal is two-fold: reduce my cholesterol, and lose a little more weight. I’ve been sitting at 58kg for almost six months, so I should be OK to try and push a bit lower without a rebound effect. I’m aiming for 55-56kg. So that’s 2kg (minimum) to lose in seven weeks. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gluten drug could allow normal diet

Thanks to Dad who directed me to this article in the New Zealand Herald.

A new vaccine that could be the world's first cure for coeliac disease is being tested in New Zealand.

Clinical trials are under way in Christchurch to test the jab that stops the body reacting to a protein found in most breads.

Coeliac sufferers can't eat anything that contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is in in everyday products such as pasta, biscuits, beer and sausages.

Sufferers are at increased risk of osteoporosis, infertility and bowel cancer if they do not stick to a gluten-free diet.

But the experimental United States drug, which has had one clinical trial, could enable them to enjoy a normal diet.

Coeliac New Zealand development manager Sue Clay said a vaccine would change lives.

"We're very much keeping our members in the loop. It's a very credible, well-funded study that looks promising but it is only early days and there is a long way to go yet."

The vaccine is designed to "reprogramme" the body's immune system, restoring coeliac patients' tolerance to gluten and returning the intestine to a healthy state.

Coeliac disease

* An intolerance to gluten, which is found in wheat, oats, barley and rye.
* Mostly genetic. It affects 1 per cent of New Zealanders.
* Causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Little Visitor

Rob had the day off work today so we had a plumber over to give us some advice about the pool of water under our house. While we were outside a whippet came trotting down our driveway. It had a name tag (Jet) with the owner’s phone number so we left a message letting them know we had their dog. In the meantime we took Jet into the back yard and enjoyed watching him run around with TJ




He was a lovely little chap, very friendly and full of beans. I was sorry to see him go when he was picked up. Apparently it was the first time he had gotten out. He was due to be desexed later in the day. He must have had an inkling…

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Meal Plan 3 (Spring)

Friday – steak with asparagus (my first bunch of the season!), onion rings and baked potato

3 steak potato


Saturday – kangaroo burgers with gluten-free toast, lots of salad and homemade chips

3 burger spread 3 burger 

Sunday – roast chicken with roast carrots and sweet potato, sage-and-onion stuffing (made with gluten-free bread) and peas

3 roast chicken 

Monday – stir-fried chicken with onions, mushrooms and broccoli (on basmati rice)

3 chicken stir-fry


Tuesday – Chilli beans with capsicum and onion, topped with cheese, shredded lettuce and guacamole (on basmati rice)

3 chilli beans


Wednesday – Thai red curry salmon (on basmati rice)

3 salmon curry


Thursday – Thai-style salmon and noodles

3 salmon noodles

3 noodles

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gluten-Free Meal Plan 2 (Spring)

Spring veg and fruit:
14 Sep

Friday – Thai Red Curry Salmon with bok choy and carrots (basmati rice):
salmon curry
Sunday brunch – Silverbeet and Mushroom Squares
Sunday dinner – Roast chicken with roast beetroot, broccoli and potatoes
Monday - Leftover roast chicken taken off the bone and made into a stir-fry with broccoli and carrots (basmati rice)
Tuesday – Chilli beans with grated carrot and zucchini, topped with avocado and shredded cos lettuce (basmati rice):
chilli beans
Wednesday – Salmon and zucchini frittata with corn on the cob
Thursday – Chickpea and sweet potato curry (basmati rice)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gluten-Free Meal Plan 1 (Spring)

7 sep
Here’s what we got in the way of fruit and veg last Friday and what I ended up making with it:
Sat: Chilli beef mince with green capsicum and zucchini (basmati rice)
Sun: Roast chicken with corn on the cob, cauliflower and potatoes
Mon: Leftover roast chicken taken off the bone and made into a stir-fry with bok choy and carrots (brown rice)
Tue: Dal with broccoli and spinach (brown rice)
Wed: Frittata with silverbeet and mushrooms, sweet potato on side
Thu: Sardine and anchovy pasta (I used San Remo gluten-free spaghetti) with broccoli on side
I haven’t used the cos lettuce yet so that may go in a smoothie or three. The avocados have been going in chocolate mousse.

Friday, September 7, 2012

High Raw Meal Plan

Here’s how I’m eating at the moment. Four out of five meals are raw vegan. Dinner (with Rob) is not. All meals are gluten-free.
Meal: Mesquite Cacao Banana Shake
Snack: Mandarin Smoothie
Meal: Purple Protein Smoothie
Dinner: varies (aim for vegetarian twice a week, fish twice a week, meat twice a week)
Dessert: Ultimate chocolate mousse

Friday, August 31, 2012

Dinner Plan for week starting 1 September

OK, so I got a bit carried away yesterday doing a menu when I didn’t know what veges I’d have to work with. So I’ve deleted that and am starting again.

Here’s what’s left in the freezer/fridge


- steak

- kangaroo mince

- kangaroo fillet


- 1 leek

- 1 bunch parsley

- 1 bunch coriander

- 1/2 bunch celery

- 1/2 bunch spring onions

- ginger

And here’s what we got today

31 August

Vege selection

- carrots

- silverbeet

- baby spinach

- zucchini

- capsicum

- broccoli

- potato

- bok choy

- mushrooms

- sweet potato

- corn

- coriander



The leftover leek and celery and some of the new carrots will be used to make stock.

I’ll probably use the silverbeet and spinach in smoothies.

The rest of the veg will be used in the following dishes

Sat - Kangaroo chilli (zucchini, capsicum)

Sun – steak (broccoli, potato)

Mon – kangaroo stir-fry (bok choy, mushrooms)

Tue – roast veg salad with chickpeas (sweet potato, carrot)

Wed – salmon frittata (broccoli, corn)

Thu – hot lentil curry (coriander, canned tomatoes)

Fri- salmon and pea pilaf (frozen peas, spring onions)


Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mandarin Smoothie

We have an abundance of mandarins at the moment
mandarin tree
Unfortunately they’re a bit on the sour side this year. My favourite way to use them up at the moment is to disguise them in smoothies.  Here’s one example (adapted from Vegie Head’s Breakfast Smoothie)
Mandarin Breakfast Smoothie
(makes about 750ml)
2 cups leafy greens (eg kale or baby spinach)
1 cup peeled mandarins
half a cup alfalfa sprouts (optional)
2 dates, pitted
1 banana
2 cups water
juice of half a lemon

Place all ingredients in high-powered blender and blend until smooth
 mandarin smoothie 2
mandarin smoothie 3

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Parsnip Mash

When I was as a kid, I think Mum used to cook parsnip and carrots and mash them together for dinner sometimes. I never really ate parsnips much after leaving home, until Rob and I went to the Noosa Food & Wine Festival in May 2011. One of the dishes we ate had parsnip puree

May 15 0004

From left to right: braised pork belly ravioli, parsnip puree, caramelised black kingfish

Rob and I both loved the parsnip puree, and not long afterwards I found a recipe for 'buttery parsnip mash' (I think it was out of one of the foodie magazines, but I copied the recipe by hand so not sure which one), and ever since then I make that whenever we get parsnips.

Buttery Parsnip Mash

Cook 750g parsnips, trimmed, peeled, coarsely chopped, in a large saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to pan. Use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Gradually add 50g chilled butter, chopped, and mash until smooth. Stir in two tablespoons thickened cream [I usually leave this out]. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a roast or your favourite family stew.

I would say this makes four good-sized servings. I usually half the recipe and that's enough for the two of us. Last night we had it with roast chicken.

parsnip mash


Monday, August 20, 2012

Winter One Pot

winter one pot

Mum and Dad sent me this recipe about 10 years ago, so I’m not sure where it came from originally, but it’s just as the name says – a tasty winter meal that you can make in one pot. Gotta love that!

Winter One Pot

serves 4-6

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely sliced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 stick celery, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 Tbsp finely chopped coriander stalks

3 rashers rindless bacon, chopped

4 skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into quarters

1/2 cup whole kernel corn

500g peeled seeded pumpkin, cut into 3cm dice

2 large potatoes, cut into 3cm dice

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup dried pasta [not ribbon shape; I used gluten-free spirals]

coriander leaves for garnish

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil over moderate heat and add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, coriander stalks and bacon.

Fry gently until onion is soft and everything is lightly brown.

Turn up heat and add chicken. Mix well and cook until they have all coloured.

Add corn, pumpkin, potatoes and stock and bring to the boil.

Add the pasta, season well with salt and pepper, mix well and bring to the boil. Boil gently for about 15 minutes until everything is cooked.

Serve in bowls, with a sprinkling of coriander leaves.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fruit & Veg Friday

Here’s the mixed box of fruit and veg we received today.

17 August

Fruit: bananas, apples, pears, oranges, mandarins, lemons and a grapefruit

Veg: parsnips, carrots, zucchini, celery, leek, bok choy, silverbeet, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, alfalfa, sweet potato, potatoes and corn

I’ve also got some pumpkin, corn, beetroot  and silverbeet stalks leftover from this week.

I’ll probably use the alfalfa and silverbeet in smoothies, and the rest of the veg as follows

pumpkin, corn –> winter one pot

silverbeet stalks, broccoli –> baked swiss chard stems with olive oil and parmesan, warm broccoli salad

sweet potato, cauliflower, parsnip –> roast chicken, sweet potato and cauliflower, parsnip puree

beetroot –> lentil salad with beets and feta 

bok choy –> coriander and chilli kangaroo

zucchini, carrots, celery –> chilli con carne

potatoes –> Old English Fish Pie


Back next week with pics and recipes!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chocolate Muesli

We’ve been enjoying this simple snack for supper the last few nights.

choc muesli 1

Mix together equal amounts of ‘trail mix’ type foods. In the mix above there is a dessert spoon each of cacao nibs, goji berries, sunflower seeds and almonds. I’ve been adding pumpkin seeds too, but we’ve run out.

choc muesli 2

Pour over a small amount of whatever kind of milk you like. Allow to sit for a minute or two, to allow the chocolate flavour to infuse, then enjoy.

To borrow a jingle, ‘Tastes like chocolate milkshake, only crunchy!’

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Favourite Frittata

favourite frittata 1

This has been our go-to egg recipe of late. I’ve been able to easily adapt it to the ingredients we have at hand. For example, the recipe calls for salmon, but ham works well too. It also calls for asparagus, which is great, but I’ve successfully used zucchini on one occasion and broccoli this time. I also used leek in place of the onion this time.

favourite frittata 2

The original recipe (below) is from Australian Good Food, May 2010.

Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Frittata

Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 1hr | gluten free

2 tsp olive oil

1 onion, thickly sliced

3 small potatoes, peeled

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

200g smoked salmon slices, halved [I use Smoked Salmon for Cooking; it’s cheaper but still tastes good]

60g goat’s milk fetta, crumbled

6 eggs

¼ cup (60ml) skim milk

3 cups salad greens, to serve


1 Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Heat oil in a small frying pan on medium-low. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins, or until caramelised.

2  Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 mins, until par-cooked. Drain. To blanch asparagus, cook in a separate pan of boiling water for 1 min, until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

3 Slice potato and arrange over base of a [sprayed] 6 cup-capacity baking dish. Top with layers of caramelised onion, smoked salmon, blanched asparagus and fetta.

4 Lightly whisk eggs and milk until just combined. Season with pepper. Carefully pour egg mixture into baking dish, taking care not to disturb layers. Bake for 45 mins, until frittata is golden and just set. Spoon onto serving plates and serve with salad greens. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

South African Bean Curry

To use up last week’s leftover tomatoes, I tried out a new recipe: South African Bean Curry. The recipe is from an Australian Women’s Weekly magazine and it has been sitting in my ‘recipes to make’ folder for a while. I really enjoyed it - for a vegetarian recipe, it had a surprisingly bacon-y flavour.

south african bean curry

South African Bean Curry

Serves 4*

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

15 fresh curry leaves

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1-2 fresh long green chillies, seeded, chopped finely

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons sugar

1½ teaspoons salt

4 medium (600g) fresh tomatoes, chopped finely

1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock

400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup (150g) frozen broad beans, thawed and peeled

yogurt and fresh mint leaves for serving (optional)


1 Heat oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat; add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, green chillies, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until the seeds begin to pop. Add sugar, salt, tomatoes and the stock. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

2 Add kidney beans and broad beans; simmer, partially covered, for about 5 minutes or until the beans are heated through and tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

3 Serve with yogurt and mint, if desired.

* In my opinion these would be 4 fairly small servings. I nixed the yoghurt and mint and had it with rice instead.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Purple Protein Smoothie

This is my favourite smoothie at the moment.

red cabbage smoothie 1

The recipe calls for red cabbage, spinach, blueberries, cherries, coconut or almond milk, ice, bananas, chia seeds and protein powder, but it’s easy to make substitutions depending on what you have at hand (kale instead of spinach, mixed berries instead of blueberries and cherries, soy or rice milk instead of coconut or almond milk etc).

red cabbage smoothie 2


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lower Back Treatment

This is what the treatment for my lower back consists of at the moment


Needles to the trigger points of my erector spinae area two to three times a week.

The needles are very thin and flexible, but my back is so tight Rob had trouble getting these ones in today.