Monday, 30 December 2013

Fasting- Day 1, 2 and 3

I started fasting the day after Boxing Day, quite suitable after Christmas really. Like I said in my last post, I'm not sure how long I'll fast for but if I continue the entire time I'm away that would make it 20 days maximum. My last one was 26 days but I didn't feel fantastic so I'm going for a shorter time period and really focusing on regaining my health.

I know I said I'm trying to stay away from the scales, but when you're fasting they can be great motivation so I've been weighing myself twice a day... having said that, if it starts to get to me I'll stop.

Day 1 am: 86.7 kg
Day 1 pm: 85.2 (-1.5)
Day 2 am: 84.6 (-2.1) <--- 2 kgs in 1 day! Can you say BLOATED?! Salt is the devil.
Day 2 pm: 84.2 (-2.5)
Day 3 am: 83.5 (-3.2)
Day 3 pm: 83.4 (-3.3)
Day 4 am: 82.9 (-3.8)

Day 1 (27/12/13)
I felt shocking this morning. I slept from 11pm to 11 am and still feel absolutely shattered. My hayfever is horrid, I've gone through about 2 inches of tissues and breathing feels like such an effort. This has been the norm for a few weeks now and I've been resorting to antihistamines which I dislike. I know I just need to eat super clean but it's easier said than done. I've been lying low and taking naps today, I'm so exhausted. Generally I sleep badly, it takes me ages to get to sleep (sometimes I just don't) and when I do I dream a lot and kick and toss and turn. I found it even harder than usual to get to sleep... just feeling alert for some reason? Perhaps its detox ending :D

Day 2 (28/12/13)
Just keep drinking, just keep drinking, drinking, la la la la (bonus points if you can guess the tune, hint: dory) Water, tea, juice, mineral water, I've been sip sip sipping all day.
I'm feeling GREAT! Yay for no more detox symptoms. I've got more energy, my sinuses are amazingly clear! Talk about quick results. I'm alert and feeling so much better overall. My stomach doesn't ache, my dermatitis is healing and they hay fever symptoms are way less. Still not sleeping well though, lots of tossing and turning.

Day 3 (29/12/13)
I'm progressing well, the weight/water is leaving, slowing as expected now but I'm feeling so so much better than before. Today was the first day I exerted myself, walking and carrying heavy shopping home which may have been a bit much. Having said that I managed to watch my other half eat veggie dumplings and fried tofu for lunch, sit through a movie full of people eating popcorn, ice cream, lollies etc then watch while my husband ate a burger and chips for dinner... I sipped tea. Everything smells so much more intense now. I think this is what you can definitely call 'true hunger'. I'm really looking forward to a nice salad and some veggies when I start eating again.


I'm heading down to the beach (Torquay) today (day 4)- fingers crossed I'll have internet access so I can continue to update you but it was quite dodgy last trip. If all else fails I can always drive to maccas and use their internet (at least they're good for one thing!)

Hope you're all well and happy,
Love and Smiles,

Sunday, 29 December 2013

I'm Fasting again!

I'm fasting again! I don't know how long for... until I feel like I need to start filling my body with delicious raw fruit and vegetables again? I'll just take it a day at a time and use the period while I'm away at the beach to reflect on things and cleanse my mind and body.

The end of this year felt like one overindulgence after another... see my previous post if you have any doubts! Christmas was amazing but despite the fact that both sides of my family absolutely floored me by making delicious, healthy vegan food for us to enjoy I still feel like I overdid it. We did a double Christmas (on opposite sides of Melbourne) this year meaning my day started at 8 to get ready for church and we didn't get home until close to midnight, mark my words, next year we will be having a relaxed Christmas. Round 1 was with my family where I was treated to 3 salads: #1 Quinoa salad, #2 Braised beetroot, sweet potato and peas (warm and spicy), #3 Peas, beans and snow peas with hazel nuts.. even dessert was a vegan cake for my aunt's birthday! (I may or may not have caved and had some). Round 2 was with my husbands family where they surprised me by cooking 2 vegan dishes, one qunioa salad with orange, beetroot and walnuts and some yummy broccoli and mushrooms with sage and garlic. They even looked it up on my blog!!! my jaw nearly hit the ground, these are serious carnivores we're talking about so you can imagine how loved I felt!

I still want to keep a healthy positive attitude and I know fasting isn't for everyone (it's not even for me when I'm in the wrong head space!) but I really feel like this will help me as I have some alone time down at the beach to relax and meditate on life before my crazy new year starts! Speaking of which, why have I been neglecting this blog so shockingly? well, I finished my masters thesis and graduated! (cue cheesy grad shot)
Wrote just short of a million applications, went to lots of fun interviews and got myself a job for next year. Yep, I'm finally leaving uni! (for now). Next year I will officially be teaching secondary school visual art. I'm still planning on doing the phd sometime in the future but for now at least I'm going to teach and have some fun.

In terms of goals, I would love to get into the 70's by the end of January (when I start work and when I need my clothes to fit by!). That's a nice do-able kilo a week at this point. I thought it might help to break down my long term goals. I'm trying not to dwell on numbers but having a rough idea is still a good thing, no?

My other goals are to minimise my life, possessions and obligations to enable more relaxing time and more time to spend with the people I love. I doubt it's just me but when I get stressed and busy I tend to become a hermit and neglect my friends and family (oops).

So stay tuned for some fasting update posts- and hopefully some good results! If there's anything you want me to include feel free to ask!

Love and Smiles,

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The ups and downs of dieting

You know the story, girl starts a diet blog to keep on track, girl gets busy, girl makes bad food choices, feels guilty, doesn't post regularly and gains weight.. but you all knew that was the reason it was quiet around here didn't you?

So the bad news is I went backwards a little bit but I'm moving on forward and keeping my end goal in sight. I've been through a couple of up and down cycles since my last post thanks to the stress of the end of the year. I got up to 85, down to 82, up to 87, down to 84 and hopefully it will just keep going down now. I just hate feeling bloated but then when you eat out and eat salt what do you expect? 

So, how did I gain? Eating out too much.. my downfall. I did manage to find some photographic evidence of this fun: 
Vegi Bar's amazing house salad with rice balls (aka the best salad EVER)
Stir fry rice noodles from Indochine, tofu and veggies,
Veggie Bento box from Chocolate Buddha = rice, salad with sesame soy dressing, pickled veggies and eggplant and zucchini stirfry veggies. Simply Perfect. 
Back to Vegi Bar with a fake chicken wrap full of raw veg 
and the raw platter with kale chips, raw pad thai with kelp noodles, pickled watermelon rind and pineapple, raw crackers, cashew cheeze and tomato soup... yeah, I was really really hungry that day and boy did it fill me up well.
It hasn't been all bad though, I managed to get in some scrummy homemade soups like my Quinoa Minestrone- with peas, spinach, carrot, quinoa, tomato, mushrooms and V8 soup with spinach, a super quick and easy (lazy dinner).
I quite obviously have not been getting enough of my usual big salads or stir fries in... I believe the above was a sunflower seed butter, soy, vinegar sauce.
I have been having my fair share of delicious fruit 'ice cream' though. 
1. Mango, pineapple, almond milk,
2. Mixed berry, pineapple, almond milk, 
3. Raspberry sorbet (with water instead of almond milk), in my massive tea cup of course
4. Banana, cacao and coconut butter.

The buffet at China bar was my last straw though. I felt so awful for eating too much and promptly had a panic attack over nothing more than food and feeling full...on reflection it wasn't really *that* bad for a whole days worth of food. I ate off the small dinner roll plates and had two of salad, 
one of seaweed salad and sushi, 
one of coconut rice and okra and eggplant stir fry, Buddhas delight and he evil food was the tempura veggies I couldn't resist.. I had about 5 and regretted it within about 5 mins.
and one plate of stir fried rice noodles and veggies
Lesson learned? I think not. I then decided it would be a good idea over the next few days (while beating myself up) to gluten myself with pasta and bloat myself up with chips and hummus. Why??? Finally Lesson learned: the all or nothing mindset is DANGEROUS! Consistency over perfection needs to be the goal.

So there you have it. My yummy craziness that has led to gaining weight instead of losing. Now the key is to get back to normality after the fun of Christmas! I hope you're all enjoying your food and making good choices :)

Love and Smiles,

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Exercise

My name is Claire and I used to gym a gym addict. I used to live at the gym... I could spend 6 hrs there easily... do my routine, take a class or two, go for a swim, relax in the spa/sauna etc. For the last year or so it has been in the process of being renovated, there didn't seem much point paying for the temporary gym so I quit. As you can imagine I've missed it terribly. I've been focusing on doing the things that make me happy and have developed a much healthier relationship with exercise. No more exercising calories 'off', no more pushing myself through pain to get in x hours a day.

Exercise that makes me smile:
Hula Hoop
Skipping
Yoga- some of my favourites are the triangle pose, warrior, downward dog, sun salutations etc.
Walking in the sun with music
Stationary bike on the balcony
Run- I did the couch to 5k running program but I think I'll need to do it again now!
Body weight exercises- push ups, sit ups, plank, squats, tricep dips etc.

Now the gym is about to reopen with all it's new renovations complete so I thought I'd take advantage of the no joining free period and get back into the swing of things!
I did the fitness test and it was shocking... well, the cardio was. It took me 18 mins to run/walk 2.5 kms. Deary me.. at least I could hold the plank for 1 min and that will only get better!

Here's my circuit style routine to whip me back into shape, regain some muscle tone and lose weight.

What do you think?
What kind of exercise makes you smile?

Love and Smiles,

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Weight loss Update (the week of noodles) + Cherry and Coconut Oatmeal

Clearly updating regularly clearly isn't my forte so today you're getting a long one! Regardless, I'm eating well (most of the time) and shrinking nicely as my weight loss ticker down the bottom of the blog will show you. But just in case you're into the figure here's my progress (I try not to weigh myself too much)

Pre juice fast- 89 kg
Post juice fast- 81.5 kg
Eating again after juice fast- 83.1 kg
9/10- 82.4 kg
10/10- 82.1 kg - down 1 kg in a week. Nice. Slow and steady wins the race.
12/10- 81.5 kg- back to my end of juice fast weight in 9 days, very happy with that.
20/10/13- 80.8 kg- down another 700g I'm loving that things are keeping on moving down. 

I'm so excited at the prospect of being in the 70's again! And I'm officially half way in my weight loss journey! wheeeee 18.2 kg down from highest weight, 16.8 kg to go till I'm at a healthy dr suggested weight (granted my perfectionist self still wishes to be 15 kg down from that but we're drowning her out with yummy food and smiles)

I've been eating foods that nourish me and enjoying it. I've been eating until I'm full and having desserts and savouring the treats I love. Having said that the week before last I did overdo the rice noodles. I enjoyed many noodle stir fries, noodle soups with nut or seed butter based sauces and lots of veggies. To the majority of the world this would look like a 'healthy' diet... to me I seem to get stuck on the fact they have very little nutritional value and I find them addictive... still, working on the positive mindset here- I'm getting in lots of veggies and fruit and not going hungry yet losing weight and that my friends, is the grand plan. 

I've been trying to remember to photograph things on my phone but when I'm hungry my mind is on food and often I forget. I made a batch of mixed grains (brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth) and used them for many dishes over the week like this one with zucchini, mushrooms, peas and an asian vinegar/tom yum paste sauce. I also made a version with Indian curry paste which was divine too. Not very inventive or pretty but it's the kind of thing I eat on a regular basis. 
I also made a delicious green smoothie packed full off spinach, banana, blueberries, cinnamon and brown rice protein powder which lasted me three meals.
And made some kale chips with mixed herbs... yeah, I ate about 3 big bowls of them- it's just kale!
I'm not usually a breakfast person, I favour juices but there are times when something more substantial is needed. I made some scrummy cherry and coconut oatmeal the other day and it's good enough to share. I hope you enjoy it too!


 Cherry and Coconut Oatmeal
Makes 3 serves
1 cup steel cut oats
1 jar/ 2 cups drained sour cherries 
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1.5 cups coconut water
1.5 cups sour cherry juice
  • Add all ingredients to a pot
  • Bring to boil
  • Reduce heat and continue to cook until all the liquid is gone and oatmeal is soft
  • Enjoy!

I made a mexican-ish salad for lunch today, raw corn, avocado, coriander, lettuce, carrot, celery. Needed a squeeze of lime but I didn't have one. Still great. I've been going well with my veggies but I've been leaning towards lots of raw veg sticks with hummus rather than my usual salads. I've been making hummus regularly to keep in the fridge for when the nibbles hit- I made a batch with smoked paprika today, yum!

As far as treats go I've had the week of rice noodles and eaten out a few times. I shared a small serve of sweet potato fries with a friend because I've been wanting to try them forever. I'm not sure if I prefer them but they're comparable to the regular ones... and still deep fried. I had some Singapore noodles at Indochine, a local asian place, which tasted amazing but I could feel the salt and oil... still as far as treats go it could be worse.
We also went out to Kunis in the city after my gallery opening which was lovely. I got some greens and mushrooms in broth and the yummy tower of walnuts, miso and greens.. and some rice to go with them because there was no way they were filling me up!
In other news I've been happily distracted by the fact I got a bunny! His name is Tux and is too cute for words so enjoy some photos :) (apologies for phone quality)
And then there's the panda...yep, I finally cracked and bought a little white and black suzuki swift.
I've been applying for lots of jobs trying to get one for next year which will make the car a necessity. I've done pretty well staying away until now, this is my first car at 25 yrs old...I chose a little one and won't be using it much so I'm trying not to feel guilty about killing the world. 

There's my update! If you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer as always other than that I hope you're all well and happy :)

Love and Smiles,

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Transitioning from a juice fast to eating food

And the results are in! .... After 1 week of eating again I'm up + 1.4 kg. 
That means I've got 19 kgs to go until I hit the highest Dr recommended weight (17 until I have a healthy BMI) which seems very far away right now so I'm focusing on the baby steps, one kilo at a time, one dress size at a time, one health food or lifestyle choice at a time.

(just in case you missed it my juice fast updates are here, here, here and here)

While a gain is never the aim, I'm realistic- you're always going to gain a little after a fast so I'm pretty happy with that number. I've got the weight of the food inside me and I can feel I'm a little more bloated due to salt so I know some of it's water weight. All in all I'm very happy with my transition week (even if my stomach is not).

So how did I transition back to eating real food after my juice fast? well, slowly! I started eating small portions of blended raw fruit and veg then fresh raw fruit and veg moving onto adding more nuts and seeds then branching out into cooked veggies, finally adding grains then protein like tofu and tempeh. Over the week I have slowly increased my portion size naturally as my body desired more food. I could feel myself heat up and gain energy as I started increasing my intake but also, I could feel the energy drain some things have on your system so I've been much more aware of my bodily response and things I really should avoid.

As you know my juice feast/fast was not traditional seeing as I added protein powder and some good fats when I felt my body needed it so I started by introducing 1 tsp of almond butter while taking my supplements to help them stay down which worked a treat.

The next step was green smoothies. I switched from juicing only to juices and smoothies like this delicious concoction I grabbed at veggie bar which had a multitude of greens, banana and avocado in it.
Next came fruit 'ice creams' like the delicious watermelon sorbet I got at the same time. mmm that was a great meal. Really soothing as my mouth ulcers were still healing.
and scrummy versions at home like this raspberry passion fruit flavour
Next to reappear on my menus were salads. Simple, lots of green goodness and easy to digest as long as you remember to chew really well and I made a hugeee batch of kale chips to nibble on.
I added fruits back to my salads, they're so yummy, if you haven't tried it yet you really need to! My fave is grape and cucumber but my husband loves his apple and walnut salad or pear and rocket.
I started adding more nuts in the form of lovely creamy dressings. Don't be afraid of fat! and try to eat it with your greens to make the fat soluble vitamins more available to your body. I made some delicious raw nut/seed butters this week... walnut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed butters- so good for sauces and dressings.
And just as they are to boost to protein of a meal and keep you full up for longer
I started increasing the amount of spice and flavour in my meals too, I'm still quite sensitive to it (well my tongue loves it, my stomach doesn't) so ease yourself into this one. I went with a spicy soy cucumber salad
and my favourite seaweed salad (yes I know it isn't the best for you but I've tried making it at home and it's just not the same, if anyone has a good recipe I'd love to try it again!)
Then we moved onto cooked vegetables. I made stir-frys, soups, steamed veg etc.
And enjoyed some meals out like this dukka roast vegetable and quinoa salad from gril'ld (minus the feta). Really good, would definitely get it again. Tasted great, had a balsamic dressing on it which went surprisingly well with the dukka.
And I even took myself out to lunch- for the second time ever in my life! I got these jam packed vegetable dumplings (baby corn, carrot, mushrooms, corn, daikon, water chestnut, cabbage) oh man were they good.
and the very nice waiter at the Shark Fin Inn (in china town, Melbourne) recommended this Chinese broccoli and fresh rice noodle dish. No idea what it's called but the texture was AMAZING. I have never had such beautifully cooked silken tofu that just fell apart in your mouth like that...and the sauce! So good. I want to go back today it was so good. 
I know this looks like I eat out a lot but I really don't, once a week treat, twice max if I'm out with a friend so these phone photos have been piling up. My usual option when eating out is the veg stir-fry and when my body was feeling ok with veggies I added back in some grains like rice. Actually I made this mixed grain (brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa) combo in the pressure cooker and portioned it out which was awesome. I like my grains a tad overcooked, mushy but still with texture so cooking grains together that have diff cooking times works a treat!
Last but not least I've been adding in more protein like edamame, tempeh and tofu (but still keeping soy to an occasional treat seeing as it's processed and all)
I think I've covered almost everything- I'm yet to add beans/legumes back into my diet but I'm trying to give my digestive system a chance to catch up and the probiotics I'm taking a chance to work their magic before I venture into that territory and make my beloved hummus. 

So now I'm pretty much back to 'normal'. Making delicious nourishing meals at home and enjoying some mainly healthy treats out. That is my balance and I love it. Despite the perfectionist streak in the back of my head I'm doing much better these days enjoying 'treats'. There are a good many things I no longer have any desire for (sugary lollies, chips, fast food etc) but having a sauce that uses far too much salt and oil on my veggies every now and then isn't the end of the world. In fact, I'd say it's not too bad at all. What do you think?

Love and Smiles,
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