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