1st month of “Project 30”, thoughts about diets and Spicy Carrot Soup.

January is over and very soon February will be over too and I thought I write down few things from the first month of trying to lose some weight for the journey sake.

Overall good start: I was 3.4 kg lighter on 3/02/17, which makes it average loss 0.85kg/week. My plan is to loose 0.5kg a week so I can be pleased with myself. Actually I lost it all during 2 first weeks and next 2 weeks my weight was stationary, which annoyed me bit, but to look on the bright side I didn’t put any weight back on. I’m most pleased about 7cm loss on my waste line – that what really matters. I had few PB-s at CrossFit and couple of brilliant tennis sessions. I’m happy!

I came across following article about diets and science behind them  and I’m so glad that it backs up what conclusion I have come over the years trying out different diets. 

Few years ago I tried Paleo diet and I think it has great ideas and you can find lot’s of wonderful recipes. I lost weight, felt great but after few months I got really bored, not that there is shortage of ideas, but I didn’t really have any reasons do avoid milk and grains. I don’t use lot’s of milk products every day, but I love cheese, quark, cream, even I don’t eat them daily. Mentally I didn’t want to feel guilty, when having them occasionally.

I also found that I ended up eating huge amounts of nuts. Nothing wrong with eating nuts, but if you love baking and everything is replaced with nut flours, it’s bit limiting to your options and … whatever the peanuts done to anyone?? You can’t have peanut butter in Paleo diet, have to opt to more expensive nut butters!

Saying that, my meals are still quite paleo friendly without following any meal plans. I love veg and meats and fish and eggs. Saying that, I also like some rice, seeded bread, buckwheat, quinoa, potatoes and there is no real reason not to eat them times to times.

So, now I don’t really follow any diet or clean eating plan just trying to use knowledge what suits me best and what makes me feel happy.

I love cooking, I love process of the cooking, I love cookbooks (and I have 100s of them) and I always love to try new things.

  • I’m using the MyFitnessPal at the moment to keep my portions under the control as it’s too easy to overeat with snacking and extra helpings on mealtimes. It also helps me keep my macros on track, so I get right amount protein, carbs and fat. I use it on weekdays as I’m glued to the computer anyway. I try to use my common sense 🙂 on weekends. Tracking, what you eating over some periods of time is a good way to get your habits under the control again.
  • I try to stick with 3 meal times and 2 fruit snacks between. Breakfasts are simple usually including 2 eggs, sometimes avocado, with some seeded or rye toast, some salad and coffee with cream.( I only have one big cup of coffee a day)
  • I take lunch with me to work, either I have prepared it specially but more often it’s leftover from last night.
  • I haven’t forbidden anything to myself but if I had slice of bread for breakfast I won’t have it with my lunch or dinner. If I have some pasta at lunch I won’t have any with my dinner. When I have pasta or rice with my meal it’s just a little bit. I just don’t want to cut anything out totally and I found if it’s not off the limit, I quite often choose not to have it, when rest of the family have theirs. I just have meat or fish with veg.
  • I eat until I start to feel full, trying to take slowly and really listen my body. Even if it’s my favorite food I really try  not to stuff myself. 70% of time it is successful.
  • 2 pieces of fruit a day
  • I have a slice of cake if someone makes extra effort to bake it, but say no to bought sweets and biscuits if someone brings them in the office (ok, not always, but most of the time) and I forbid myself to buy any snacks from work vending machines or deli bar. I do bring some chocolate from home if I decide have any.
  • Some weekends I bake and then I have a slice of cake (who I’m kidding – quite few slices, but it doesn’t happen every weekend)
  • I have couple of glass of wine on the weekend but not always, depends how I feel and I won’t, if I train on Saturday morning – most Saturdays I do.
  • I try to get 7 hours a sleep everyday – it makes huge difference and really should be top of the list. I used to be night person and never go to bed before midnight, since starting the CrossFit I have really changed my habits. I try to get bed by 10pm (which is not easy if your children are not ready for bed by 10pm) , it’s especially important when I train at 6am
  • I also have been part of the LJL Coaching Facebook group, which my friend runs. She helps with healthy eating plan, fitness and personal training and it has been great motivator.

This soup is easy to make, seasonal and very tasty

Spicy Carrot Soup with Quinoa and Feta

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1kg carrots, grated coarsely

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 sp hot smoked paprika

1/4 tsp mild chilli powder

1 litre vegetable stock, fresh or made from cube

100 g quinoa

1-2tsp sherry vinegar

fresh mint

100 g crumbled feta cheese

  1. Heat the oil in the saucepan over the medium heat. Fry onion and garlic gently over the medium heat for few minutes. Add the grated carrots and spices and fry stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
  2.  add the stock and 500 ml boiling water, season well and simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Same time cook quinoa on the separate saucepan, drain and set aside.
  4.  Remove he soup from the heat and whizz in a blender with 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar, until smooth. Add a splash  of water if needed.
  5. Ladle into bowl, topping with the quinoa, mint and feta cheese. Drizzle with a splash more sherry vinegar before serving

 (Recipe from Waitrose calendar)

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