Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Food from December

Vegie Delight

Red Fettuccine Marinara with copious amounts of chilli.
My favourite.

How to curb a pasta craving
20-30 grams of pasta with 2 egg frittata and sauteed veg

Borscht as made my M's Grandmother
No meat, just for me!

Loads of rhubarb from M's Grandmother's garden
I dice it as above and stew it in a tiny bit of water, nothing added.

I'm about to disappear to the beach for a couple of weeks, so I'll catch ya on th' flip side, y'all. 

Enjoy your Summer break & have a very safe & extremely fun NYE!

Stay well, Nat x

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Baking!

Let's go crazy.... baking style!

Peanut Butter Cookies
Very yummy but incredibly crumble-y both pre-cook and post-cook. Recipe from current issue of Donna Hay mag. Boy ate these at work all week.


Started off a little too thick..

Cranberry & Pistachio biscotti, also from Donna Hay.
Surprisingly easy to make! Sooo hard not to eat it all after the first bake, though. And hey, for health people around the world, they are so skinny that a single serve won't wrack up nearly as many calories as any of the other biscuits featured.

 Bake bake bake.. bake bake bake...

Lemon & Almond biscuits (also Donna Hay!)

Also incredibly crumble-y at all stages, and they came out a little too moist for my liking (like there's too much butter in them), but they taste good - very lemon-y, bit of a weird crunchy texture with all the raw sugar, though. I didn't get a final photo of these which is silly.


 You can't catch me I'm a Gingerbread Man!
These are my first ever ginger bread men and I am so very proud! I made them extra gingery as I love ginger. The piping was trial and error, but after going out and buying a piping bag with a super fine nozzle, I used a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off instead. Recipe from http://www.taste.com.au

 My boys were very quiet through all that baking.. look how I found them;

Sleeping, cuddling on our bed. Naughty pussy cats aren't allowed on my nice white bed! But how could you yell at that image??

Merry, merry, merry Christmas to all my lovely followers & readers. May every one of your wishes and dreams come true. Have a happy, safe and above all - healthy! New Year.

Much love & Stay Well!
Natalie x

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Have Yourself A... Nutritious Christmas

Merry Christmas to all! 

I love this season, so so much, but despite the best of intentions I always eat a little more and a little sweeter and fattier than I usually would over the month of December (more champagne, anyone?). Who cares! It's the silly season! I never actually gain any weight, my body just tells me to stop now and then via sleepless nights or that feeling of alcohol and sugar seeping out of your pores, (ew). The key to not gaining weight over the silly season? Being educated and aware of what you're eating. Just knowing the ingredients, saturated fat, nutrients and even calorie content of what you're eating helps you to make sensible choices - even if sometimes the sensible choice is to have half a kg of pudding with a litre of custard, at least you'll know what's in it.

So here are a few of our favourite Christmas foods and a little info on what they contain....


The Cherry is a great source of vitamin C and even has (a little) Vitamin K, as well as dietary fibre which will help balance out some of the seriously lacking in fibre foods you will consume with them. Although a lot of the calories in cherries come from sugar, they're certainly a better option than another chocolate Santa. Also keep in mind that they're not as low in calories as other berries, like strawberries, which contain around 30 calories less per cup than cherries.



recommend eating Prawns (and other shellfish) at Christmas as their high protein content helps you to actually feel what you're eating, (unlike high sugar and starchy carb treats, which will leave you craving more and not feeling a fullness reflective of how much you ate). At around 160-180 calories for 10 large prawns (with no dressing or sauce), a serve of prawns is lower in calories and higher in protein per gram than chicken, beef, lamb or pork with a dose of omega 3's to boot. The best way to eat them is to skip the seafood sauces and just squeeze a fresh lemon over the top, yum! And despite what your 2nd cousin said last Christmas, if you stick to the recommended serving of prawns your cholesterol is not going to be affected by them. 



Turkey's a tough one, because although the meat itself will only give you, for a nice thick slice, around 100 calories and isn't particularly high in fat, it's the cranberry sauce, glazes and stuffing that we eat with it that pack the calories. Cranberry sauce is just sugar, and stuffing is often bread with dried fruits and probably butter or oil. The key with turkey is to stick to the turkey with a smear of sauce or stuffing. Turkey will also pack some vitamin B6, B12, magnesium and zinc.. so the bird isn't evil, it's plate mates are! 

 Roast Potatoes


When your Great Auntie Rose passes you the roast potatoes and tells you to eat more vegies - run!  OK not quite...  A roast potato sitting prettily next to your turkey slice is OK, but any more and it's just not worth the calories. 100grams of roast potatoes contains around 150 calories, depending on how much oil, or butter, was used through the roasting process. Although very high in carbs, it's not all bad news with some B6 and potassium packed in Mr. Spud. If you have any influence over the cooking process, make sure you keep the skins on and use a drizzle of olive oil with rosemary and other herbs, rather than relying on butter to get the flavour hit. 

 Fruit Cake


I won't tell you how many calories are in a piece of fruit cake as I fear I will ruin Christmas for somebody, but butter, dried fruit soaked in brandy, sugar and white flour? You know the deal. Consume in moderation!


Custard is often joked about at Christmas time as being 'just milk', but just milk certainly doesn't contain 160 odd calories per half cup. Although you will get a good dose of calcium from the milk used to prepare the custard, always choose low-fat milk and, if preparing yourself from a powder, try adding a little less sugar than the recommended amount - add a little extra vanilla and it will bring out further sweetness. If you're preparing a chocolate custard, use cocoa to flavour, not drinking chocolate. 

Also don't forget that alcohol is calories, a glass of water between each drink is always recommended to help you slow down!

Man I am hungry now.. 

In the end.. it's Christmas, and we certainly don't eat like we do on December 25th every day. If you watch what you eat a little surrounding and leading up to Christmas with the 14,001 gatherings we all attend, then you will be fine enjoying the actual day and forgetting about what's in everything. 

Stay well,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wedding Cheese Cake

This needed it's own post.

As seen on the Style Co Blog , if I ever get married, I am having a wedding cheese cake.

Oh yes, I am.

Nat x

Friday, November 25, 2011

Natalie Goes to University!

I'm going to uni to study Nutrition! Yay!

I could not be more happy & may have squealed at my desk when I read it.

Expect way too many posts about finding balance - full time work and part time on campus study will be tough.

I love tough, I can't wait.

Have a great weekend!


Stay well,
Nat x

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Slack Food Lover

I have been a terrible food lover lately. Between catching colds and losing my appetite, to waxing and waning a little with NoSugarVember (which, just quietly, I might have lapsed on 3 times so from here until my work knock-off for Christmas, Dec 22, I will be sticking to it. Mark my words), I've just stopped photographing and taking the time.

I guess it's a good thing in a way as I have lost my comfort eating bone, which is a huge deal for me. I'm actually considering giving away all of the 13 boxes of cereal I have (except the Vita Brits). They're only ever eaten when I'm down, (silly, hey?), and are glorified dessert for the most part. Bircher muesli, eggs and rye bread are currently taking the front seat in breakfast land, alongside fresh and frozen berries, rhubarb, greek yoghurt and green tea. You heard it here first - I'm losing the cereal.

Despite my recent lack of food-enthusiasm, I did still find a couple of photos on the old gold cam. Not all especially recent, but here we go.

Stir fry with tofu and a few rice noodles in the bottom
San Pellegrino with lemon in a tumbler (the way to do it when what you really want is something stupidly alcoholic)

Bircher Muesli with strawberries, rhubarb, greek yogurt & cinnamon.
This has been a staple brekky through NoSugarVember

I'm stupidly obsessed with Nori.
I eat it straight of the packet when I'm craving something salty.
I'm nuts but you know that.

I've posted a meal like this before - mashed sweet potatoes with chilli, and greens fried in garlic. This one packs in chickpeas for a little protein & substance, but I only really do this if I ate heavy the night before, or will the night after.

What are you eating at the moment?

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food From Port Douglas

Any excuse to reminisce.
& let's face it, holiday food is the best food.

Buffet Brekky, DIY.
Ricotta on Toast
Smoked Salmon

BBQ on our private roof top.

The best seafood platter either of us had ever seen.

Buffet brekky = Amazing.

Room service pizza and fries. Oh yes, we did.

Favourite place for food whilst on holiday? The Yarra Valley..


Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sugar & the Liver (Zoe Bingley-Pullin)

I swear I will talk about something other than the negative effects of sugar soon.

Just wanted to share this piece emailed out to all the newsletter subscribers of Zoe Bingley-Pullin today.

"When planning a diet or eating plan, we do not often associate the amount of calories and simple carbohydrates with affecting the fat levels within our liver. The truth is that it is the chemical process by which these are broken down during digestion that can have detrimental effects on liver health.

Firstly, let’s take a look at why it is so important to maintain your liver and how its level of well-being can impact multiple body functions. The liver is an amazingly integral part of the human body and we cannot survive without it. There are only a few organs that do not rely on the liver in some form to function properly. The liver is a part of protein synthesis, processing the nutrients from your foods and is integral in the removal of toxins from your blood. In saying this, many of the facets of today’s society, such as stressful living and work conditions, processed foods and/or high alcohol consumption, can have a severe and damaging effect on the liver’s capacity for optimum functionality[1].

Glycogen storage is one of the primary functions of the liver and fat metabolism is so important to keep your energy levels high enough to face the daily grind, for both your digestive system as well as your energy output. This is where the sugars (refined) in your diet can impact your liver[2]. Sugar, once consumed through food, begins the process of insulin production and when the insulin reaches the liver, this stimulates triglyceride formation (a chemical form of fat). Even though triglycerides are used as a part of energy inducing processes for your body, any amount of them that are left over after this cycle are transferred to your fat cells to be stored for future use[3]. Scientists have found that over-stimulation of triglyceride production can lead to fatty liver disease. Ultimately this can lead to imbalances in the metabolism of fat, which in turn may cause weight gain and lead to complications associated with obesity such as heart disease or diabetes[4].

It is clear that one way to reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and generally maintain the health of your liver is to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates, in particular, refined sugar, as a part of your daily diet. The good news is that the liver has a high regenerative potential which means it can recover from damage that may have already been done by past activities. So start looking closely at the foods you consume each day and aim to make the sugars that you ingest come from natural sources and do not exceed the RDI of dietary energy intake which is approximately 10.8MJ (for sedentary lifestyle) to 13.8MJ (for moderately active lifestyle)[5]."

Just another reason to avoid!

Visit her web site to join up, and maybe ask her if this means she'll stop selling Vaalia's Activia yoghurt which, although I've never read the packaging of, I can only assume is pumped with sugar...

Stay well,

PS. I was asked if all of this means I will stop baking today.
No, it doesn't. I just won't ever eat a whole lot of it again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update; NoSugarVember

So it's been 12 days.. sort of, but I'll get to that in a bit. I have to admit I have not followed it as Nat Carter prescribed (I have had milk and sweet potatoes, and the occasional high-sugar fruit), but I now wish I had done exactly what she outlined. I feel, amazing, just with what I've done, so I imagine what Nat has advised is a whole other level of amazing-ness.

NoSugarVember is not Nuts

Some days it's hard, especially at the start or after a big meal and a glass of wine (which I am still having as I don't want or need to lose weight), when you want that something sweet, but it has gotten so much easier. The most amazing difference is the de-bloat of the belly, and the complete disappearance of the afternoon slump and cravings I usually get around 3pm at work - that alone has been enough to make me decide to never introduce the sugars I've eliminated back as daily part of my diet again. Yes you heard me, no more daily chocolate - I feel too good without it! Birthdays and special occasions, or out for dinner somewhere with amazing cakes, OK, but I no longer want. or need, that daily dose of Lindt or spoon full of honey. It's a good feeling! & for all those concerned mothers out there, no it doesn't mean I am trying to lose weight - it just means a bit more brown rice or an extra egg with dinner instead of the lump of chocolate after. BREAKING NEWS; Healthy food still contains calories!

Be Back Soon...

Another thing that confirms it comes back to my '12 days, sort of'' comment. Yesterday I went to a beautiful BBQ with amazingly tasty food for a good friends' birthday. There was white bread and there was delicious cake and because, although I know friends would be supportive etc, but I don't want to be the painful guest anymore than being a vegetarian by not eating bread or dessert, I had a slice of bread and a couple of spoonfuls of dessert (completely my decision and not forced upon me, and an interesting experiment). The dessert was incredibly tasty but for a girl who's come to find lemons and cinnamon extremely sweet over the past week, these cakes were sweet. Recognisably extremely tasty, but so so sweet. Not how I remember cakes tasting. Anyway, guess what? Today! Bloated belly, straight away! And slumpy-ness. I usually work out on Sunday mornings and I just can't get into it this morning. So never going back. Ever. Done... kaput!

So what am I eating? A lot of oats with berries, natural yoghurt and cinnamon. A lot of nuts and dried chick peas as afternoon snacks, (so yummy, but make sure they're dried and not fried or covered in salt), a lot of eggs, a lot of green vegies, a lot of legumes and a lot of roast vegies (addicted to roast beetroot, stop eating the canned stuff & try it!) and, now that I am not a real vegetarian, a lot of fish. Obviously not eating red meat or chicken it's a bit tougher to come up with dinners, but where there's a will, there's a way!


So I guess what I'm saying is although at the start I thought the whole movement was a bit nuts and extreme, I am completely convinced that this is a better way to be.

What gets me thinking is memories of watching stories about lost tribes of people who are untouched by civilisation or the modern world on current affair programs. None of them are overweight, they are all toned and healthy and do not contract many, if any, of the modern diseases we all fear. Of course I recognise that evolution has enabled us to live longer, healthier lives, and that we no longer have to go out and catch our dinner and when we do get diseases, there is medicine to help us, which is great, but evolution is also used as an excuse for many of our bad choices. Just because we are able to make sugar taste like strawberries and wrap it in plastic, it doesn't mean we should eat it. Just because we can trap the work of 1000 bees in a jar and it's from nature, doesn't mean it's good for us to dig in every day. It's just not food.

Is anyone else doing NoSugarVember?
How do you feel?

I have to say I am genuinely surprised and impressed, I did not see myself writing a post like this 2 weeks ago. I am completely ready to be challenged on my new stance on this as I challenged many people before. But I have learnt to not dis it till you try it1

Stay well, and I'll let you know how I go for the next 17 days...
Nat x

all images from flickr

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I'm doing No Sugar in November

If you're on twitter and follow certain blogs or weight loss groups, you've probably come across the mini craze that is NoSugarVember (or #NoSugarVember as it's known in online circles). Although I still maintain that sugar is not poison, I agree that refined sugar is not something that our bodies need and certainly not something nature intended for us to eat (in fact, a lot of the things people are putting in their bodies is starting to deeply disturb me, but let's stay on topic). But, despite this belief and general nod in agreement, it may shock you to learn I too am human therefore recognise the extreme tastiness that is Lindt, Double Coated Tim Tams and Maggie Beer Ice Cream.

Taste buds aside, sugar is bad for me (and you). There is nothing good about refined sugar - no fats, no minerals, no nutrients, no protein - nothing! Just a whole heap of empty calories that give you an addictive spike-y high, followed by a low. If you don't feel the low of sugar, then you're probably already consuming too much. But that is, of course, only my opinion - it's your body.

So why did I join No Sugar Vember and not just stop eating sugar all together the second I realised sugar is terrible for you, when I was like, 2? (OK, probably more like 19). Pretty much for the same reason smokers keep smoking, drinkers keep drinking and massage receivers keep... getting massaged. Not because I am addicted! Because it feels good.

But you know what feels better than feeling good from sugar? Feeling good all the time, which is how I feel without the refined stuff and how I believe you'd feel.

So apart from my daily servings of fruit, sugar will be gone from The Natalie Diet for the next month, at least. I am excited because I know that in 30 days, like every other time I've decided to say no to sugar, I will feel amazing.

This isn't a craze, it is a choice. It is not a test, it is a task. It's not a diet, it's a healthful way of living. The No Sugar Vember title is just a gentle love-tap in the direction I've been meaning to go for the past month (dear Port Douglas, I love you and your ice cream shop).

If you are interested in reading more, have a look at Natalie Carter's Blog, or the tweets for #NoSugarVember on twitter.

Another great little read is Sarah Wilson's post on 10 Ways to Sweeten Food Without Sugar. My favourite is cinnamon - I use it on everything when I am cutting my sugar intake, and unlike sugar it does have benefits like, among others, helping to cut LDL cholesterol, helping to prevent blood clots and, ironically, regulating blood sugar.

It should be said that when I talk about sugar being bad for you, I mean the refined stuff and it's modified versions (like corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrate..). I do not believe that fruit is bad for us, nor do I believe milk or sweet vegetables, like onions or sweet potatoes are bad for us. Just the man-made stuff, it just ain't right.

As always, it's your (hopefully) informed choice. I want everyone to know what the effects of the things they put in their body are, but I will never judge you for the choices you make with the knowledge.

Will you try out No Sugar Vember? Or maybe just try not eating sugar tomorrow to see how it feels?

Stay well,
Nat x

all photos from flickr

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Summer Treats; Iced Coffee

Forgot the lashings of cream, ice cream and sugar!
Why would you when you can have 5 of these instead?

Get a tall glass, (it feels more special), stir some coffee powder in the bottom with a smidge of warm water until it forms a paste, add a hand full of ice cubes, and a cup (250mls) of low fat milk then top with cold water. Drink through a straw and voila! Iced coffee in 100 calories!
If you like your iced coffee a little sweeter, add 2 teaspoons of sugar when making the paste to bring it to 130ish calories. Not that I count calories, but plenty of people around me are at the moment.
You can try it with cocoa and sugar as well...
Who needs ice cream, cream & grated chocolate? Surely no one enjoys anything that heavy on a warm day?
Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things Not To Do;

Set rules on food, except for 'eat what feels right'. Just do it, and don't look back.

Don't worry, no body performs at it's peek on high sugar, high fat, low nutrient diets.
You'll work it out.

Food guilt, begone.
Diets begone.
Calorie Counting, begone!

In other news, this lady & her new book is amazing;


Look out for related posts.

Eat well to stay well, and smile for your Monday..
Nat x

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Makes Me Angry!

On the radio on the way home I heard they were releasing something, (a document of some description?), to uncover all the bad foods that are making healthy claims on their labels. The examples they gave actually included marshmallows that are fat free and chips with 75% less salt, and said that people may not realise fat free marshmallows have sugar and low slt chips have saturated fat.

Are you kidding me?

How about investing money in health and food education. TEACH people how to read labels and to bother doing it. TEACH people that what goes into their body does matter. TEACH people that 400 different chemicals is not OK just because it's low in calories. TEACH people to look in the 'per 100g' column of the label for the %. TEACH TEACH TEACH!

So now they are proposing a traffic light system for foods. Green for healthy, amber for eat moderately and red for eat occasionally. I can see how this would be beneficial to Australian's who say, can't read, but apart from that, this just makes me insanely angry.

Yes, parent's may not have time to read the labels with their kids in t he trolley who no doubt hate supermarkets like I hate breakfast cereal marketing, but it takes one day to familiarise yourself with the healthiest products, and less than that to learn how to read a label in 15seconds (scan salt, sugar, fat, sat fat and ingredients, it takes nothing!). Do we really need to dumb our nation down to a traffic light system?

And what makes anyone think a one size fits all system is going to work? A box of cornflakes may have an amber light for the majority of the population, but what about diabetics? Do they know that it contains sugar? You might say a diabetic has to read the label as it's a part of their lives and managing their health, but why are we not all being taught to manage our health in this way?

Prevention and education are the two areas of Australian Health that I think need the most attention and somehow, they seem to keep avoiding dealing with either.

Makes me so mad!

Stay well (and read your labels! If you don't know how, I will teach you myself..)
Nat x

Friday, September 2, 2011

Random Food Pics

Made for my friend Mel & her partner a month or two ago

Mmm, choccy mousse...

First and last time I purchased this. Yummy if you like lollies, which I don't.

Mountain Bread Pizza.

Have you ever tried mountain bread? It's super light, very healthy and natural and only comes in at around 60 calories a wrap. You can use it for all sorts of stuff - as a base in a muffin tin for mini quiches, as layers in lasagna, for a pizza base, roll it like cannelloni - the list goes on. It fantastic for people sensitive to additives as well as people trying to reduce their calorie intake. Plus! It'll last in your pantry for around 2 months. Go get some!

Custard Apple Tea Cakes - they totally had custard in the middle and were amazing.

Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, August 29, 2011

Super Simple (Noodle) Soup

So we're familiar with the fact that I am all for inventing stuff, yes? I actually have commitment issues when it comes to recipes, (I have to tweak them, it's a problem). Anyway, this is another one of those ... stuffs. This is my current favourite thing to eat, especially as I have been under the weather and mostly lost my appetite, which of course results in me shoving copious amounts of vegetables in my body.

I invent these things, so please don't be fooled into thinking this is authentic to any cuisine, I just think it tastes good. If you need to brand it something, brand it as I do - 'Natty Food'.

Super Simple (Noodle) Soup

Take a clove of garlic and either a small knob of fresh ginger or a few shakes of dried and poach in a small amount of vigorously boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2tsp of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil.
Take some vegetables, (I like a mix of 1/2 a bunch of bok choy, 2 sliced button mushrooms and about 1/3 of a head of broccoli, but I have used diced carrot and fresh baby corn before), and a serving of cubed tofu. Place in the pot with the vegies. Just cover with water.

Boil for 2 minutes or so.

Add some noodles. I like Soba noodles (for their texture, flavour, B vitamins and minerals..), but have used a bed of rice vermicelli before.

Boil until noodles are tender.

Serve & eat!

I think the main thing that attracts me to this dish is it's really clean, simple flavour. I must admit I stick to 1tsp of soy because I like the flavour super light, especially when unwell. It also helps that it takes a whole (whopping!) 10 minutes to prepare & cook, which is nice when you didn't want to get off the couch in the first place.

Do you have a favourite dish that you rely on like my super simple soup?
Will you try this one?

Stay well,
Nat x