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)

Burglary, Photography by Külli Sparre, butternut squash, apple, stilton soup and hot buttered rum

I’m back writing here over a long time. I have never been a “proper” blogger, but when I tried to take off beginning of this year, we were burgled, all our tech was taken. It was unpleasant experience, a very inconvenient situation. Most of our past 5 year history was in my laptop.

Yes, I’m one of those careless people, who can’t be bothered with the back ups and saving copies of the photos and other important documents somewhere else. I’m just pure lazy- see, I just said it.

We lived quite a few month without laptops and IPads. There was no point to replace them as we didn’t have any insurance that it wouldn’t happen again. You get used to not having the computer at home and it leaves more time for the housework. I could still spend time in social media on my phone and send few important e-mails from the work.

Having our stuff stolen, wasn’t worse part of the burglary. It made me feel unsecure. Someone just walked in to our house, touched things, which belonged to us, talked to my dog, who thought that those people came to play with her and  probably greeted them very happily. I’m glad that nobody from my family came home, when they were at it, who knows, what could’ve happened. I’ll try to see the bright side  – nobody got hurt and you can always replace things. We have secured our house now. It’s all very sad as we live in a lovely village and you don’t expect this happen to you.

Since then so much have changed, but I write about it some another time.

***

I came across with Kulli Sparre photography few years ago. She was one of the winners of the Sony World Photography Awards in 2014.

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She used to be a professional ballet dancer until she discovered photography.

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Her photos are dream like and usually feature beautiful women in gracious poses, which is probably influenced by her past career as a dancer.

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See more of her work in her webpage www.sparrek.org

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This summer I got some postcards from Estonia with her work and now those have a place in my wall (Please ignore dirty windows 🙂 )

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I do love autumn, especially if it’s not raining, but I hate the fact that days get shorter. To cheer myself up, I cooked lovely warming soup for a lunch. Recipe from Waitrose magazine.

Butternut squash, apple and stilton soup.

Serves 4-6 people

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into chunks, seeds reserved

2 cox apples, quartered and cored

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp. olive oil

20 g unsalted butter

2 leeks, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk, sliced

500 ml vegetable or chicken stock

200 ml crème fraiche

100 g stilton, crumbled

1-2 tbsp. milk

2 red chillies

butternutsquashsoup

 1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ gas mark 5. Prepare the butternut squash and apple and put on the baking tray with 1 tbsp. oil and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven about 1/2 hour, until tender

2. Meanwhile melt the butter in the saucepan with 1 tbsp of oil and add the leeks and celery. Cook on very low heat about 10 minutes, stirring often, until soft but not browned.

3. Add squash, apple and stock to the saucepan and simmer about 2-3 minutes.  Then blend until smooth adding water to get desired consistency. Season.

4. In a small bowl mix the crème fraiche and stilton, loosen with the milk until drizzling consistency.

6. Pour boiling water over the reserved seeds and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Drain and dry on the kitchen paper. Fry the seeds on the 1 tbsp olive oil. until golden, about 1 minute. Add sliced chilli and fry another 2 minutes.

7. Serve the hot soup with a spoonful of stilton sauce and sprinkle over the chilli and seeds topping.

This soup really warms you up and makes autumn more bearable. If this not enough try

Hot buttered Rum

 1.  Poor generous amount of rum to the glass, amount depends how much you need cheering up

 2. Add some Angostura Bitter

3. Add 1 tsp melted butter

4. Put star anise, few cloves and cinnamon stick in the glass and fill with hot water

5. Add lemon and sprinkle with little caster sugar

Wrap yourself up in the blanket and enjoy!
hotbutteredum