Sunday, March 27, 2011

This is how I Detox

Last week was a seedy one for me - way too much food, alcohol too frequently and a serious lack of exercise. By Saturday I was feeling really slow and, after having friends over for a 3 course meal Saturday night, I felt properly sick on Sunday.

We all have these weeks/months/seasons, so I want to share with you how I eat to eradicate this feeling. I'm not big on the word 'detox', I just find that, today, it's the one most people will understand when I am trying to describe what I'm doing (stopping putting crap in my body, basically). I'm usually a healthy eater anyway, but the difference between me 'detoxing' and my normal eating habits is a big cut back on sugar, salt, packaged foods and an increase in exercise. I also put more work into my food so it doesn't need rubbish to flavour it up.

A week eating like this usually gets my body back to happy, but I prefer a few weeks, (which isn't scheduled, I just usually feel like a nice glass of wine by then!), as after a few weeks my body starts to feel more energised, lighter and happier. I think it's really important not to try and schedule your eating or force yourself to be healthier, eating shouldn't be a chore on any level and your body will tell you when it needs a change (ever felt like 'just a salad' for dinner in Summer? Yeah, like that).

I'm breaking down this post into 2 or 3 parts, as large bodies of diary-like text make blogs boring.

Here's Day 1 & 2:

(lazy day at home)
(45 minute slow walk)

Glass of water with a big squeeze of lemon
1 piece Rye toast with honey & tahini
Mug of green tea

1 mashed sweet potato with Greek yogurt, flaked almonds and pepitas
1 fresh fig

Afternoon Snack
1 piece Rye Mountain Bread with hommus

Minestrone soup with beans & wholemeal pasta

(exhausted and no interest in going to work)
(did 45 minutes of cardio & 15 minutes of free weights)

Bircher muesli made with milk, stewed apples (no added anything), Greek yogurt, sultanas and Cinnamon all warmed up.

Morning Snack
6 pretzels (offered by a colleague) and a cup of coffee (decaf, no sugar, low fat milk)

Big bowl of vegetable minestrone with wholemeal penne
1 plum

Afternoon Snack
10 plain Sakata rice crackers with 2 tablespoons hommus

Home made vegie burger with sauteed vegetables & 1 piece Rye Mountain Bread
Fruit Salad of fresh pineapple & strawberries with a sprinkle of coconut
(I need sweet after dinner, always).

What do you do after way too much seediness?

Stay well,
Nat x

Friday, March 25, 2011

Addicted to; Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is not only super tasty and creamy, but 100% sugar free, (read your labels, but, for the most part). It's higher in protein which, with it's rich texture, means it's more satisfying and filling. It doesn't need gelatine or other thickeners because it gets that way naturally through the process used to make it. For carb-haters, it's also lower in carbohydrates.

Down side?
It is lower in calcium than the usual breakfast yogurt suspects, so be sure to make up for that elsewhere.
The full-fat version is also higher in calories (circa 130 calories per 100grams compared to low-fat Vaalia having circa 110 calories), but it is available in a low-fat version which is just as beneficial, and still very yummy.

How do I eat it?
With muesli dotted with honey or maple syrup, (keep it to a minimum, but it's pretty hard to reach the 15% sugar level of many yogurts we usually eat for breakfast)
With fresh or frozen berries mixed through
With chopped up bananas
With grated apple & cinnamon
On baked sweet potatoes with cheese and beans
With potato wedges and sweet chilli sauce
On nachos instead of sour cream
As a topper to pumpkin soup
Make a cheesecake..

The list goes on - it is one of the most used items in my fridge.

Give it a go, I promise you'll find a way you like it. It's especially good for yogurt lovers trying to cut down on their sugar intake and it's popular in a lot of weight loss groups.

How do you have your Greek yogurt?

Stay well,
Nat x

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunday Brunch

This past Sunday I decided that ridiculous amounts of food for breakfast need not be exclusive to guests or special ocassions, and so I got-a-cookin' for M & I after being inspired by a muesli scone recipe in a recent recipe magazine, (not sure which one).

Muesli Scone

2 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup caster sugar (I use a lot less)
50g cold butter, finely chopped
(plus extra to serve)
3/4 cup toasted fruit muesli (I used untoasted and it was fine)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan forced
Grease baking tray
Place flour and 2 tbps sugar in a medium bowl
Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs
Stir through 1/3 cup muesli
Add milk and flour
Use a round bladed knife and mix until soft dough forms
Using hands, bring dough together to form a ball
Turn dough onto prepared tray and press out into a 20cm disc
Top with remaining sugar and muesli (this is where I only used 2 or so more tbps of sugar, I also added cinnamon as my muesli was apple)
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.

Muesli I used

Very yummy with jam

The rest of brunch

Baked Egg, Ham & Mushroom Tarts
(with roasted tomato)

French Toast with Maple Syrup

Nothing like maple syrup glistening in the sun....

Of course, I included a fruit salad

Iced Green Tea with mint

Lemon Ice Tea

It was the most perfect weather for brunch outside

I really love cooking. Really. I can't express how relaxing I found it - it's almost silly.

Stay well,
Nat x

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Hate Running

There you go; I said it, and I refuse to believe I am the only one.

A few months ago, I could run maybe 2kms without stopping after trying to build up to a good distance through vigorous, regimented sessions almost daily. I'd run as far as I could, walk for 100 steps and then start running again. I've long admired people who can run long distances without stopping and often wished I was able to, but I'm tired of it. Running, unlike many others, does not relax me. I do not get the 'runners high' that I've heard people report, and I don't feel invigorated afterwards, (and not because I was unfit). Running did not leave me sore and I did not struggle through extreme breathlessness after the first 500 metres, it was just never fun. I love to dance, I enjoy boot camp style training, I could walk for hours and I feel great after a weights session, but running? Nope. Hate it! I truly feel my body was not made to run, it just doesn't feel natural, for me.

So there we go, I'm a woman who cares a lot about her fitness, but hates to run.
That being said, I do still sit there in awe of people who can, and enjoy, running kilometres on end several times a week.

Do you run? Do you love it?
Or do you hate it like me?
Do you hate it and keep doing it anyway to improve fitness?

Would love to hear your stories on running...

Stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How To; Rice Paper Rolls

Right now, rice paper rolls are my favourite food, but this was only the second time I'd made them. I didn't use a recipe but rather copied exactly what's in the ones I buy from my favourite take out supplier, and guessed the sauce. Of course, you could use any ingredients you like, but this works well as a vegetarian version.


Cook some rice/vermicelli noodles as per packet instructions.

Prepare your filling ingredients
(for me - cucumber, ice berg lettuce, carrot and mint (not shown)

Slice some tofu into strips and shallow fry until golden
(I use olive oil with a dash of peanut oil - do not over cook or you will have rice paper rolls with rubber).

Open a packet of rice paper wrappers.

Dip rice paper wrapper into bowl of warm water. Lay on a flat plate.

Lay 3-4 mint leaves on the centre of the wrapper.

Top with prepared noodles.

Place suitably cut vegetable ingredients on bed of noodles.

Lay strip of tofu on top.

By the time this is done, the rice paper wrapper will be pliable. Roll with care as you would a tortilla - i will stick to itself when you fold the ends.

Repeat until you have a full plate!


Roughly chop some roasted, unsalted peanuts.

Mix through equal parts hoi sin and sweet chilli suace (or anything you can think of that would be better/more to your taste).

Voila, too easy hey? Saves me $6 every time.


Get back in the kitchen and coook up lamb back strap & potatoes so your rice-paper-roll-hating boyfriend also has dinner that night.

Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, March 14, 2011

Carrot & Potato Soup

A friend of mine gave me this years ago over a chat conversation because she'd just cooked it and loved it. I made it within the week because it seemed relatively easy and now it is a regular in any household kitchen I am a part of. This soup is easy, healthy (if you still believe white potatoes are the devil, please stop), and really, really yummy. Good enough for a dinner party, easy enough to make after work - my kind of soup! I always serve it with crusty bread, usually with olives through it.

Carrot & Potato Soup

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin
3 cups stock (I use Campbell's salt reduced vegetable)
Fresh coriander to serve
Greek yoghurt to serve

Fry onion, garlic & ginger in a deep pot until onion is clear
Add cumin, potatoes and carrot, cook until golden
Add stock, simmer until vegetables are tender
Take off the heat to cool
Puree in a blender or with a stick blender
Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a few coriander leaves

I always make double the batch, and double does 5-6 large serves, so I'd put the above at 3 generous servings or 4 small ones. Trust me, you won't want a small one.

Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, March 7, 2011

Be Kind to Yourself

This is one line I have been living by for the past few weeks. At first, it riddled me with guilt about not exercising x amount, or using the big roll of fresh bread for my salad roll, but now I am truly enjoying it.

Life is much more fun without imposing rules on yourself, and I'm finding it's the best way to find balance.

(Not so) amazingly, not regimenting my life is resulting in me doing a good amount of exercise and eating well anyway, because I naturally want to.

So, before all else, please, be kind to yourself.

Stay well,
Nat x