33 days Paleo done – what next? Salad with gravlax.

So my challenge is over. I was healthy for all 33 days. And you know, I enjoyed it. I haven’t felt so great a very long time – full of energy and  happy. My knees don’t hurt most of the time, but my elbow does 🙁 seems I got the tennis player elbow now 🙁

I don’t feel bloated, I don’t crave for chocolate and sweets. I don’t feel like falling asleep middle of the day at the office. So everything is better, but I know that it’s so easy to go back to your old ways. Some reason we forget so quickly about benefits of being healthy.

Easter

On Easter Friday we had grand dinner with leg of lamb and roast potatoes and my homemade cheesecake, but I don’t have any pictures as we were busy eating and enjoying ourselves.
Easter3

Now on I will try to continue Paleo way and occasionally treat myself with homemade cake and glass of wine. I will have some grains when testing new recipes, but generally I will try to stay off the bread, pasta and rice.

Easter2

I made this salad one evening, when I didn’t’ t have to cook for the rest of the family. Unfortunately my children are not very keen of big plates of salad and fish. My husband will eat a bit as he knows it is good for him, but I love it!

You need to make gravlax 2-3 days before you plan to eat it. And yes, this version includes some sugar, but it’s lovely and it’s my treat – I could eat this with one go – no problem.

For Gravlax:

  • Chop one big punch of dill finely and mix half of it with 4 tbsp. of sea salt and 4 tbsp. of sugar.
  • Take a half of the 1 kg salmon fillet and put skinside-down on the container (lined with big piece of  cling film and leave the cling film drop over the edges), which base is covered with another half of the chopped dill.
  • Take half of the salt-sugar mixture and rub into the salmon, sprinkle with freshly grinded pepper, little mustard seeds and allspice.
  • Do same with another half of the salmon and then fold it top of the another piece of salmon (leave skin-side out)
  • Wrap the cling film tightly around it and place to the fridge for next 3 days.
  • When ready slice salmon very finely and enjoy!
  • Don’t forget to lick your fingers 🙂

Gravalax

 For Salad:

1 tomato, quartered

1/2 celery stalk, chopped

thorn iceberg leaves

big red or black grapes, halved

1 slice of lemon, finely chopped

3 walnuts, chopped

homemade mayonnaise

dill

sea salt

black pepper

 

Sticking with plan – very proud of myself! Frozen fruit desserts.

Last weekend I had lovely day out with my girlfriends. It happens very rarely, when I take  some time out and just do something by ,without thinking about rest of the family. Children are actually getting to the age, where they don’t need my constant care 🙂

Spring2015So, any other time I would’ve really enjoyed some glass of wine in a really good company…but I managed to stay off any alcohol and I didn’t have any food I shouldn’t eat, even when  I was so hungry one point and there was impossible to find anywhere to have a sit down meal with 2 children and 2 dogs in Beckenham after 7pm on Saturday night 🙁

Suki

So my lovely outing finished at kebab shop, but I only ate meat and salad so no harm done 🙂

Samuel2 After being so “good” I thought I deserve some treat.

My favourite pudding is at the moment frozen banana. It’s so easy and tastes like a ice cream – honestly! I slice banana and put it in the freezer. When frozen, I put it in a blender and add some coconut milk or almond milk or hazelnut milk, whatever I have handy and blend it until smooth and creamy. Serve with roasted almonds, walnuts or any other nuts sprinkled over and berries. Mmmmm!

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You can mix banana with any other fruit or berries, if you like. I tried with strawberries and this tastes beautiful as well.

Frozen_banana_and strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

27 days of being good – and no pain in my knees!!

It has been nearly 4 weeks since I ditched sugar, alcohol, grains and most of the milk products – and I feel great. I don’t know about loosing weight as I don’t use my bathroom scale anymore (I might do it next week just out of interest) and I don’t really care what numbers it shows, but I feel so much better than month ago. I was actually skipping down to stairs today. It is improvement from staggering and swearing, isn’t it?

I’m always quite curious with new diet trends and look into them, but truth is I always try to stay sensible and I love my food. My house is full of cookbooks and I love cooking to other people. So it’s probably won’t be strict meals all the times but at least I will aim it.

Paleo diet has been under the attack recently, accused to being like some cult or mad Palaeolithic meat eaters movement, whose diet is boring and unhealthy. I can’t say that my meal times are boring. My food is colourful, I’m never hungry, I just stay out of certain things. And if I want I have cream in my coffee I will have it. And after my 33 day challenge I might treat myself with peace of cake or my homemade rye bread. I do what I want and I’m not going to stress about it. But the truth is – cutting out certain things from my diet have made me feel so much better. You should’ve seen my “ace serves” in tennis – I was in fire 🙂

My favourite breakfast at the moment is:

 grated carrot

 garlic glove

2 eggs

Salt, pepper

Breakfast

Grate the carrot and fry on the pan in butter or olive oil, add chopped garlic glove and fry few more minutes, Break 2 eggs on to the top and mix lightly with carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Fry until you have your omelette ready. Serve with salad.

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I usually get it ready before I go to work and back it in the box with me. It fills me up until lunchtime and tastes lovely. And my friend said that in Singapore that is just about a national dish! They use Daikon (or Japanese Radish) instead of carrots, but it is called Carrot Cake. And if they add sweet soya sauce and garlic to the mix it is called Black Carrot Cake.

Another simple breakfast is

Bacon and Egg cups

Line muffin tins with the bacon and break into each cup one egg. Season with salt and pepper and add chopped pepper or onion pn to the top. Bake in the oven until just set.

Breakfast 2 egg muffins

Two weeks of Paleo – Oven Roast Chicken with Vegetables

It has been 2 weeks since I started following Paleo rules. So I thought it’s time to write down, what has changed for me so in future, when I feel like stuff my face mindlessly with sweets, alcohol and white bread, I might think again.

  • I feel energized, I don’t feel like falling to sleep 2pm at my desk.
  • Not eating sugar stopped me crave for sugars. I eat fruit, dried fruit and honey, which are sweet, but they don’t make me feel like I need chocolate or bag of sweets every other hour.
  • I don’t have this stuffed feeling after meals, maybe i’st because I don’t eat any grains or maybe I just eat as much I need as I know that I can have something as soon I feel hungry again. It’s not a diet, it’s lifestyle and suits me well as there is no limit how much you eat just what you eat.
  • I think I lost a bit of weight, I’m not sure, as I stopped weighing myself about 5 month ago. Weighing is bit pointless, as I know, when I put some weight on, my clothes get tighter. It’s so liberating not to worry about numbers on the scale. I rather look in a mirror and try to like, what I see.
  • Huge part of starting to be more healthy, was my troubles with my knees. That’s the price you pay if you do all your young life competitive sports and suddenly when you get older you are not able to choose, what you doing. I haven’t played volleyball quite a few years now. I’m scared that if I go and jump again, I end up with another injury and have to stop all physical exercise all together. At the moment I still have bit of a pain in my knees, but mostly I ignore it and still go my new found passion -tennis trainings. They are better, much better than they were few weeks ago, when walking downstairs made me shout swear words. So, fingers cross, after another few weeks I don’t need heat patch myself for trainings anymore.
  • No alcohol rule have given me early starts on weekends, more energy and no hangovers, simple. And probably stopped cravings – usually with wine I want something sweet.
  • Saves me money –  it’s difficult to get paleo stuff in our deli ( any deli really) so I take my lunch with me to the office.

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This recipe is simple and tastes delicious. I had some chicken thighs. I put different vegetables to the oiled roasting pan – quartered fennel, sliced courgettes, halved mushrooms, pak choi leaves, you can use any veg, which needs using up. Sprinkled with lemon juice, chopped chilli, sea salt and dried fenkol. I placed chicken thighs over the vegetables,  sprinkled some more sea salt and pepper over the meat and cooked in the oven about  an hour on Gas Mark 6. The beautiful green colour fades away after an hour in the oven, but taste is still good – chicken and fennel is pair made in heaven in my opinion.

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Healthy meatballs your children will like too.

One of the challenges, when you try to change your eating habits is to get dinner ready for your children. Some reason my deep love to vegetables haven’t transferred to my children. They still struggle to eat the 5 – a – day. They like tomato sauces with pasta and some salad stuff in wraps, but other than that, I’m the only one in a family, who really appreciates vegetables.

Those meatballs are good way to hide some vegetables from your children.

1 grated carrot

1 grated courgette

about 400 g minced beef

meatballs-paleo

Mix all ingredients together and season with sea salt and pepper. For fussier eaters mix everything in the food mixer, so the vegetables would be hardly noticeable. Form the meatballs and fry them in olive oil until nicely browned.

I served mine with cauliflower mash (and some beetroot/potato patties)- just boil cauliflower florets and 1 garlic clove in slightly salted water. Then mash with potato masher, add tiny bit of butter. Honestly, I didn’t miss mashed potato at all and it will be my favourite side dish instead of rice or pasta or potatoes.

meatballs2-paleo

“Healthy me” challenge will continue…

Paleo seed muffins – Day 2 of becoming healthy

There is one thing, what most of people will miss, when turning to paleo – bread. We don’t realise how dependent our diet is from bread. Especially in UK, where lunch usually contains sandwich and other food you shouldn’t consume daily basis.  Paleo diet excludes all grains so traditional breads are out of the question. But there are options, You can make bread like buns/muffins, which only contain ingredients, which have green light from Paleo.

Seed buns- paleo

2 large carrots greated

3 free range eggs

Seeds (as much you like) I used mixture of seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, golden linseed

sea salt

1tsp baking powder

1sp olive oil

almond flour or coconut flour (I added bit of both) just enough to make dough like mixture

Share the dough in to the 12 hole muffin tin and bake at Gas mark 5 about 30 minutes.

Seed buns2- paleo

I love them with butter. Kerrygold is my favourite! I haven’t used any spreads for quite a while, I think if you have butter have a real thing! Kerrygold is a only butter in UK market, which uses milk from grass fed cows so it’s suitable for Paleo and it’s bloody lovely! When I feel really lush, I buy Beurre D’Isigny – famous Normandy butter.

Even my husband had quite a few muffins. Either he likes them or he’s really hungry as I don’t cook as many carbs, he used to 🙂

 

 

33 day of Paleo and being good, I mean getting healthier again.

Today I started my 33 days of Paleo aka “being healthy and getting back on the track!” I did it last year. Main reason being, getting my scalp psoriasis under the control, but what happened was, my psoriasis got worse but my weight dropped and my knees felt like new. I have been struggling with my knees past month, not that I stop myself doing sport and moving around, but getting downstairs at the work is real pain and companied with lots of swearing. I hate it and I really have to do something about it and I definitely don’t want to stop my tennis trainings.

I have already stopped all sugary stuff and alcohol since 19th of March, when lent started, with few exception as we Estonians celebrate our independence day on 24th and this year it included 3 celebrations with free booze and food so I decided to not put too much pressure on myself. 🙂

So from today:

– no sugars (honey is aloud)

– no alcohol

– no bread, pasta, rice, or any other grains

– no milk based products (maybe occasional cream on my 1 cup of coffee / a day)

– no ready meals or anything what includes ingredients I don’t know or are not natural

– no potatoes, beans

– no vegetable oils or groundnut oil ( will have olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or any nuts oil)

I will eat lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, meat, fish and seafood, nut and olive oils, herbs and spices.

My healthy month started with this chicken roast and homemade mayonnaise.

Chicken-Paleo

For this dish you can use any vegetables you have left over at home or any your favourite ones. I had celeriac, parsnip, carrots, courgette, red onions, swede and lots of garlic. I brushed the roasting pan with olive oil and then placed all the veg on to the pan and mixed them, so they would be covered with bit of a oil. I cut one orange to slices and put it also on to the pan. I placed the medium roasting chicken stuffed with one whole lime, some garlic gloves and herbs ( I have rosemary and sage in my garden), top of the vegetables. All goes to the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes (depends of the size of the chicken) Gas mark 5. For rest of the family, I made some roast potatoes on the separate tray. The smell was divine, mixture of lime, garlic, rosemary and sage. Children were worried that it will taste lemony and they won’t like it, but they plates were cleared no time. Roast chicken is one meal, which gets finished to the last piece in our house. Children have legs, S has breast, I have wings and breast, cats get all leftover meat, dog gets skin and any soft bones and rest of it goes to making chicken stock. Everyone is happy.

For the mayonnaise I placed 1 fresh egg and salt and pepper and one garlic clove to the jug and whizzed it with blender. Then added slowly 200ml of oil. I used hazelnut oil. Olive oil gives bit too strong taste. I have tried also walnut oil, which was lovely. After 1 minute the mixture should thicken, and you have lovely homemade, no e-s or anything weird mayonnaise. Season with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice. I must say sometimes it bit of a mystery how you get the mayo thickened. Like today – I started as usual but after 3 minutes of vigorous whizzing the mixture was still runny. So I started new egg and beat it with salt and pepper for 1 minute and started to add avocado oil and it thickened almost immediately. I didn’t want to waste my first mixture so I poured it slowly in to the new mayonnaise and it all thickened nicely to the lovely creamy mayonnaise. So I have no idea what was going on. If anyone knows, what might have gone wrong, let me know, It has happened couple of times before, but most of the times I have no problem making beautiful mayonnaise at all.

Mayonnaise - paleo

Lent and Paleo

First time ever I decided to give up something for the lent. There wasn’t any religious reasons, but seem that in England it’s very popular to give up something, so I decided to join in. Even children do it and promise not to eat chocolate or sweets. If lucky, they last few weeks 🙂 I’m really proud of my daughter who managed to give up fruit juice for six weeks, she has been addicted to it since she was baby and unfortunately most juices you get nowadays have added sugar and lots of it. Now I buy only pressed fruit juice, it is more expensive so I don’t get it as often, but it’s so much nicer. As I said rather have real stuff!

I think I was at stage, where I needed some change in my life. I felt tired, always rushing somewhere, no time to myself. Wednesday 5th of March I gave up alcohol, coffee, sweets and everything else containing sugar (I kept fruit), white flour and TV.  It also helped that group of people in FB decided to go through with the detox, so it was interesting to follow people, who were in the same boat.

After few weeks I came across with Paleo diet. I’m very sceptical of all sorts of diets and I’m firm believer of balanced diet and eating real thing, not diet products and low fat rubbish, which are full of sugars and sweeteners. I have been going to WW meetings for the year now and I really like the system, it isn’t really diet but lifestyle. Even I don’t like their products and I don’t agree concentrating low fat menus, but I like their meetings and it helps me keep under the control. Especially, when you know that meeting coming up so you don’t want to be disappointed with the numbers on the scale display.

Anyway reading about Paleo I decided have a go on their 30 day challenge I found on their Estonian webpage http://paleo.ee/2013/01/paleo-30-paeva-valjakutse/ Basically you don’t eat any grains, no milk products, no beans (including soya beans), no sweets and sugars, but you can have organic honey, no processed meat. In English there is really good webpage, which helps you find out which food is Paleo http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/.

I truly enjoyed this 4 weeks, I felt so in control and I tried lots of new recipes. I didn’t count how much I ate just had foods which were aloud – lots of fruit and veg, meat, fish and nuts.

My favourites are home made mayonnaise, ice-cream from banana and mango and coconut milk, no oats porridge was absolute divine. I managed Ok with feeding my family – I just had meat and veg, when they had maybe pasta or rice as well.

By end of the week 4 I felt bit sorry that it was over. I’m definitely will try to follow it in the future maybe 70 % of the time. I can’t do it all the time -then all my cookbooks would go to waste and all those lovely food blogs I follow would be bit useless 🙂 What I like about Paleo, was I didn’t’ feel like snacking all the time and I wasn’t hungry at all.

I did get bit addicted to those:nakd-raw-chocolate-1

They only include nuts, dried fruit and bit of cocoa and they are LOVELY!!!!

Here is on typical Paleo side dish I had – beetroot with salt and pepper and olive oil, I couldn’t take picture of full plate as it disappears too quickly but look at the colours!

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Ad here is the recipe for the no grain porridge, I have to confess I had 2 portions and would’ve have 3rd one – not so good if you try to loose some weight 🙂

Paleo porridge

Handful walnuts

handful pecans

2sp linseed

0.5tsp cinnamon

ground nutmeg

ground ginger

1sp almond butter ( I used ordinary butter)

1 mashed banana

3 eggs

60 ml almond milk ( can be more, it depends how you like your porridge)

to serve: 2tsp pumpkin seeds, goji berries or any other berries, desiccated coconut or anything else you like, I had bit honey.

Put all nuts and seeds to  the food processor and grind ( not too fine).

Beat the eggs and almond milk add mashed banana and butter and blend all together. you can make those two mixes night before as mornings are rush anyway.

Add nuts to egg mixture in the saucepan and heat it slowly, mixing all the time until porridge is how you like it.

Serve with berries, seeds, almond milk and honey. Nammmm!!

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