Wednesday, 27 February 2013

2 Litres of Water Each Day

It's recommended we drink 2 litres of water / fluids per day. It doesn't seem like a lot, but the discipline of it is something I'm finding really difficult.

When I was at home last week, I filled up a bottle each day and used to gauge my water intake. Even this wasn't as easy as it sounds. For example, for a cup of tea (caffeine free), I pour out a cup full of water, empty this down the drain, then re-fill the cup from the kettle.

Now I'm back at work, the system has gone to pot and I have no idea how much I'm drinking.

Does anyone have a solution for this?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tuna in Soy Sauce with Ginger Sweet Potato & Purple Top Brocoli

I let Kate cook again tonight.

Staying healthy with this awesome Tuna dish. I love tuna fish!

I don't have a recipe for this, it was as good as ready when I got home from work, I just sat down and ate.

The ginger in the sweet potato complimented the soy sauce on the tuna perfectly. And the tuna was perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed this. Another triumph.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Before I continue, I must confess, this is not our own recipe, it's something Kate found on Pinterest and the original source is Say Mmm

Nevertheless, after a hard days work (my first day back following detox last week) this was delicious.

Hearing the chicken sizzling in the pan and smelling all the sweet smells wafting through the kitchen really got my taste buds tingling. And it did not disappoint.

The chicken was pan fried in a lime and coriander marinade, served with avocado salsa, spinach and brown rice.

The chicken was cooked perfectly; almost crispy on the outside, tender and juicy in the middle.

The avocado salsa is easy to make (Kate informs me), simply chop avocado, tomato and onion and mix with olive oil and lime juice.

You know you're eating healthy when you're eating brown rice. I'm still adjusting to the taste and prefer white basmati, but I'm not complaining. The dish as a whole with the spinach (which I think Kate improvised) worked brilliantly and I loved every bit.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


I tried porridge today! For the first time ever! That's right, I have survived 37 years without this globby substance which everyone tells me is soooo good for me. That is, I don't think I've ever tried it before. If I have I certainly don't remember, so I thought it was about time I gave it a go.

First impressions, it's OK. It's certainly palatable. The best thing about it is I made it in a pan with water, which tasted a bit boring, so now I'm thinking of all the different ways I can liven it up without adding sugar.

There must be hundreds of different preferences of making porridge around the world. I'd be really interested in hearing your favourites.

I think I'll be enjoying porridge for breakfast from now on and I could kick myself for not giving it a fair go earlier, but it looks so horrible!

I have a question. Bearing in mind I bought the Tesco Value bag in case I didn't like it and this cost me 60p, what's the difference between this and the other stuff on the shelf which was 3 quid? Surely oats is oats!

Image source

The Last Supper

That's it. Our 1 week detox is over. We did it! A big pat on the back for Kate & me. Last Sunday, at dinner Kate joked it was our last supper. I went into this open eyed but not knowing what to expect. Now we've reached the end without giving in to temptation it's tonight that feels more like the last supper. Tomorrow is when the true safrice begins; I just hope we can keep it up.

Of course, the last supper is not the way to describe it at all. After all, it's not like we're suffering like Christ on the cross! It's not punishment being good to yourself, is it? Jesus would've been grateful for a detox! :-)

So, our 'last supper' (for want of a better phrase) was this lovely piece of cod -

The photo does it no justice, I assure you it was deliciously refreshing and simple enough to cook. All done in the steamer as follows:
  • Place cod in steamer and start on 20 minutes
  • chop spring onion, chilli, garlic and mix with lemon juice in a bowl
  • At 10 mins add spinach to steamer and drizzle dressing over fish
  • At 5 mins remove fish and spinach, and put samphire on to steam
  • Serve with sliced lemon
Unwittingly, I didn't season this with salt or pepper, as there was a bit of general chaos going on around me in the kitchen. So much so that during dinner Lily, our 3 year old, came careering backwards into the kitchen with her toy pushchair and crashed into the dining table, knocking over my glass of water which spilled all over my plate (hence it looking a bit 'untidy' in the pic). Perhaps a fitting way to bring the week to a close.

And looking forward, the intention is not to now gorge on chocolate and crisps and stop at the next McDs for a Quarter Pounder Meal (large) with full fat coke, but to uphold a healthy diet and lifestyle as best we can and know it's ok to treat ourselves once in a while.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

So, Exactly What Have I Given Up This Week?

 As a bit of insight I thought I'd list what I've given up this week and my usual intake:
  • Alcohol - my relationship with alcohol is probably worthy of its own blog, haha. I used to drink a lot. I decided to stop drinking altogether around September last year, had the odd glass of wine at Christmas and this year I'd say I've been drinking roughly 2 bottles of wine per week.
  • Nicotine - I smoke occasionally (if I've had a drink). I've never been a heavy smoker, but I've smoked on and off since I was about 17. I quit the same time I stopped drinking last year.
  • Caffeine - Fortunately, I took this week off. Next week will be tough when I return to work. At the office I have a cup of tea or coffee every 15 minutes (no joke). I'll be sure to take plenty of fruit tea bags! I take sugar in my tea & coffee, so I've also given up that 15 minute hit!
  • Sugar - I actually can't believe I've managed this. Previously, when I've given up drink, cigs, or both, chocolate has been a great substitute for the cravings and because I'm not fat I've never considered sugar a health risk or anything like that, just went ahead and ate as much as I liked chocolate, sweets, cakes, whatever. It's surprised me where you find sugar too. We were in M&S today and saw a pack of Vanilla Pumpkin Seeds. Sounded like a healthy snack to me but thought I'd better check the ingredients. Guess what? Sugar. Another thing, it's been a discipline to open a pack of sweets for the kids and resist taking a few for myself.
  • Dairy - I don't drink a great deal of milk, only in tea & coffee, so it's been no big deal giving it up. We've got too much milk in the fridge now though, haha. Cheese, however, is a different story. I loooove cheese! I include it in a lot of the food I make and it's left a big hole in my diet.
  • Wheat Products - It seems wheat is in everything! and stuff I thought I couldn't live without.  I think I've had a wheat based lunch every day of my life; sandwich, burger, fajita wrap, pasta pot. I think it's the wheat intake that makes me full and the absence of it at the start of the week made me feel constantly hungry.
  • Red Meat - I love a good steak! No further comment.
  • Junk Food - Ashamedly, I confess to eating too much McDonald's (2-3 times per week), and liking it :-) I've learned this week it's easier than I thought to create a tasty healthy lunch, I don't need to go for the convenience option.
  • Snacks - I snack a lot. I have a habit of opening a large bag of crisps while I'm cooking. This week I replaced crisps with nuts. Nuts are a great snack.
  • Chocolate - We all love chocolate. The kids love chocolate. They ask for it all day long, which doesn't help. It's got easier as the week's progressed. At first, the craving was horrendous!
So there you go. I think that's the 'not allowed' list. It's a lot to give up cold turkey, but what's amazing is I've got a much deeper appreciation now of naturally occurring sugars in fruit and naturally occurring salts (although I've been adding salt to meals).

Image source

How the other half is doing...

As you can see I have become quite the blog widow  over the last few days... if you can't beat them join them as they say.  So here we are both sat at opposite sides of the room on Saturday night, a little bit hungry, tapping away!

So how did I get to here?

I have an awards ceremony with work on the 6th March.  I've known about this since New Year - I thought that my massive health kick would get me into my size 14 dress.... It didn't go to plan!  I went through vicious circles of munching massive amounts of shite as I would be dieting on Monday.  I reckon I put a few lbs on!

So I saw the date last week and I panicked! One of my friends had done this Kate Troup detox she read on the Daily Mail website and had found it quite easy so I thought I'd try - I asked Matt to join me and was very surprised when he said yes!

Basically there's no dairy, no wheat, no refined sugars - no fun!!

For someone who eats at least 2 chocolate bars a day it has been a challenge to say the least! I have been very lucky this week as Matt was off work so I have actually prepared not one meal!  I must say they have been delicious! He's alright he is! He knows what works - I don't. A favourite has been the curry.

Snacking has been fruit - and hasn't been too bad!  Get what you like and pre-prepare so that you can munch when you feel like it.

Drink the water! It helps with the hunger - I haven't had the insatiable hunger Matt has!

I have struggled with the chocolate - I went the shops and came back with boxes and boxes of chocolate biscuits and cakes 'for the kids'. I have not had any!! I am very proud of me because on Wednesday I felt like I would sell my granny for a chocolate finger!!  I keep sniffing the chocolate frosting in the fridge. I was distraught when Matt's salsa masked the smell a bit. (worth it though the salsa was gorgeous).

So I have been weighing myself and it appears to be a lb a day-ish.  I'll let you know the actual total on Monday.

I am also doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

That's a completely different blog though... Oh and note to Matt - when I am sweating and grunting on the floor 'stretching' behind me is not great encouragement!!

So healthy eating - it wasn't as bad as I thought we've ate tasty and filling food.  I want to stick to it - with 1 day off a week.

I want to eat well - I want it to be an example to the kids!  I have noticed that they have eaten a lot more fruit this week - this is brilliant! I want us to be a healthier family, but lets take one step at a time!

Daily Mail Article source:

Jillian Michaels:

Image source

Free From Tomato and Black Olive Pasta

Kate saw a recipe on Pinterest she wanted to try for dinner tonight. I've used the image from the original post.

tomato and olive pasta

This isn't a detox dish and includes some ingredients on our 'not allowed' list, so I improvised.

The main ingredient of the dish is feta cheese, which is not allowed, so I simply did without. I was toying with the idea of using the soya cheese in the fridge. This was Kate's suggestion when she first mentioned it, but when I saw all the lovely ingredients in front of me ready to prep I decided against it, I just couldn't seeing t fitting in.

The original has capers, but Kate doesn't like them, so these were left out also.

And it's supposed to have flat leaf parsley, but we didn't have any in stock, so I used basil.

Finally, we used Free From pasta twists, instead of regular spaghetti.

You can refer to the original recipe how to make it properly, this is how I made it, it's really easy:
  • de-seed tomatoes, chop into eighths and add to wok
  • halve olives and add to wok
  • finely chop basil and add to wok
  • give it all a squeeze of lemon (lemon in everything!), grind of salt & black pepper
  • separately, crush garlic and heat in olive oil
  • cook pasta
  • When pasta is ready, drain, add to wok and pour over garlic oil
What could be simpler!

It tasted good. Yes, just good. On this occasion I would've liked the feta cheese. I think I over did the garlic as well, 3 cloves was 1 too many.

Still, a very healthy meal which filled us up after a long day.

Tomato Ryvita Take 3!

For lunch today we had Tomato Ryvita (yes, again, I know!) I had some left over salsa from yesterday, so rather than let it go to waste, I tried a variation on the dish.

So, just to recap on the salsa (link to yesterday's post), it's basically chopped tomatoes, finely chopped basil, lemon juice, dried garlic and dried chilli, all in a bowl and given a good mix.

I left the Soya Cheese out today (I've given it a chance and decided I don't like it), so the salsa went straight onto the Ryvita with a fresh twist of lemon to freshen it up and a simple basil leaf laid on top.

Celery sticks were a delicious compliment. I squeezed a little lemon juice over 2 sticks and a grind of salt.

How good does that look?

Simple Fruit Bowl Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was a fruit bowl with a glass of lemon water.

We had water melon, cantaloup melon, kiwi fruit and grapes - that's it. No additives, no sugar... Just as nature intended. Kate had hers with a Soya Yoghurt Pot.

I'm enjoying fruit this week and have eaten more in a week than my entire life I think! :-)

The best thing was watching Charlie (our 2 year old) share Kate's cantaloup melon. It seems our enthusiasm is starting to rub off on the kids.

Friday Salmon Supreme!

Last night we had a lovely Salmon dinner.

The reason we're eating so much salmon this week is that we bought a bulk pack of 8 fillets in our big shop on Sunday :-)

The salmon was cooked in the oven with a garlic, ginger, chilli & lemon juice dressing. It was accompanied by carrots, green beans and peas, all simply steamed. The leaves are pea shoots.

Such as easy plate of food to prepare and very satisfying to eat.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Tomatoes On Ryvita Take 2

Yesterday, we had a Tomato Ryvita lunch and in my blog post about it I mentioned replacing rocket with basil, which I felt would make it more Mediterranean, so today I had another go at it.

I used the same Ryvita (Mediterranean Herb) and Kate came home from Tesco with Soya Cheese, so we introduced this into the mix.

I opted for the salsa version again, rather than sliced tomatoes. To make the salsa I roughly chopped 4 tomatoes and drained off as much of the juice as I could in a colander. Then I transferred to a mixing bowl and added: a squeeze of lemon, 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli, a handful of fresh finely chopped basil, a good grind of salt and a sprinkling of black pepper, then gave it a good mix.

There's 2 cheese options in the pic; Soya Cheese, and Soya Cheese Spread (Cheddar flavour). I've never tried soya cheese before and I found it a bit weird. It's got a rubbery texture and doesn't taste of cheese. I'm a cheese lover so I found this to be quite a sacrifice.

I tried the cheese first, which was palatable, but the spread afterwards was pungent in comparison and I didn't like it. Kate didn't try the cheese, just the spread and liked it, so there you go.

It's the salsa that makes the dish and I'd happily have this alone on Ryvita.

Oh, and if it's of interest, this is what the kids had, Pizza, Chips & Crisps (Mmmm, junk food!)...

Oh the temptation! hahahahaha.

Healthy Breakfast

It's Friday!

This morning I've had tomato omelette, followed by a melon & strawberry medley, washed down with a cup of hot water with lemon and ginger.

To cook the omelette I heated a little soya butter in a small frying pan, cracked in 2 eggs and mixed it up with a wooden spoon. While it was cooking I thinly sliced a tomato and laid 4 slices over the top of the omelette, then left for a few more minutes for the egg to cook through and the tomato to warm. I finished this off with a little salt & black pepper.

The melon and strawberry was simply that, no extras.

For the hot water drink I squeezed a wedge of lemon into a cup and thinly sliced fresh ginger. Apparently both ingredients are great for detox.

I ate the omelette before the thought of taking a photo occurred to me, but I got a pic of the leftovers, haha...

You may notice a few pieces of Belgian Waffle on the plate. NB: Belgian Waffles are not part of the detox diet, the kids like them! There's also a grape vine too. I didn't have grapes this morning, Kate did. Grapes are a good source of fruit and are included in the detox diet :-)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

1 Week Detox

It was last week when Kate said she wanted to do a 1 week detox. I agreed to show my support and do it too. She's read more about it than me, my understanding of it is this:
  • No Dairy
  • No Wheat
  • No Sugar
  • No Caffeine


 We're now 4 days in. We started on Monday. We started preparations on Sunday, with a trip to the supermarket and filled up on fruit and veg. We picked up a steamer while we were there. Oh, and a garlic crusher. We were 100% committed to doing this!

Monday and Tuesday we had Salmon, Wednesday Chicken.

Monday's Salmon was grilled (topped with lemon juice and garlic), served on a bed of spinach with asparagus and avocado.

Tuesday's Salmon was steamed, topped with dill and a squeeze of lemon, served with brown basmati rice.

Wednesday's Chicken was a pasta dish, with 'free from' pasta. 

We're allowed white meat and fish, but apparently it's good practice to go totally vegetarian for 1 day of the week. So, today was the day. I wasn't ready sooner, haha. I made a vegetable curry.

Breakfast so far this week has been omelette (we're allowed as many eggs as we like).

I've eaten more fruit than ever before!

It's recommended to snack on fruit or nuts in the event we get peckish (peckish? try famished!)

We must drink at least 2 litres of water each day. I haven't been measuring my intake so unsure if I've reached this quota daily, but have been drinking lots of hot water & lemon and a variety of herbal teas.

Considering what our diet was like before this week, we've surprised ourselves with our fidelity. A lots been learned and I'm hoping this is the start of a much healthier lifestyle for us.

The next challenge is getting the kids involved! haha (good luck with that!)

Image source

Tomatoes on Ryvita

So, we're past half way of our 1 week detox and it feels like we're kinda getting into the swing of it. I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would, despite the headaches, insatiable hunger and constant sweet tooth! For lunch today we had Tomatoes on Ryvita. Sounds dry & boring, right? Not at all. I recommend the Mediteranean Herb Ryvita fresh from the pack.

It's easy to make. For Kate I did it like this: spread the Ryvita with Soya Spread (yep, that's right, we're using a Soya substitute this week instead of butter or olive spread). Thinly slice a tomato and place over the Ryvita. Put rocket (love rocket!) on top and salt and black pepper to taste.

The next one I made (which was for me) I improvised by making a salsa of sorts. I chopped the tomato and mixed with rocket in a bowl with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Yum.

Next time, I might try basil instead of rocket for a more mediterranean compliment to the Ryvita. This occurred to me after the event. (see here)

By the way, you may notice in the background of the pic a box of Dandelion & Burdock tea. Have you tried this? It tastes exactly like the fizzy drink, but warm and flat. Weird!

Oh, and that's my favourite knife. I use it for almost everything.

Vegetable Curry

It's day 4 of our 1 week detox and I made a vegetable curry for dinner. I didn't get a photo (will next time). It didn't look all that pretty anyway, but it tasted pretty good. Here's the recipe, nice and simple:

Here's what I used

1 Large Onion (I actually used 1 and a half as I had a spare half in the fridge, ha)
1 Green Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic (crushed in our new garlic crusher)
1 Butternut Squash (I only used the top, so I've got the seedy bit left over for another day)
1 Red Chilli Pepper
1 Lime (I only used half in the end)
1 Tin Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon (approx) Fresh Ginger (Finely Chopped)
15g (approx) Fresh Coriander (Finely Chopped)
100g (approx) Organic Cashew Nuts
Olive Oil (just a little for frying)
1 Cup (approx) Brown Basmati Rice
100g (approx) Spinach Leaves

Here's what I did

I heated a little oil in the wok.
Chopped up the onion and threw it in.
Cut the butternut squash into bite-size pieces added this shortly afterwards, once the onions began to go translucent.
Cut the pepper into wedges, then this went in.
Waited a bit for this to cook a little.
Then I added chilli pepper and ginger, both finely chopped, and crushed in the garlic using the new garlic crusher :-)
I kept this moving so as not to burn the garlic and as soon as the sweet garlic smell came up out of the pan I poured over the coconut milk and gave the whole thing a squeeze of lime.

*At this point I started the rice. Brown rice because we're on detox! I just followed the instructions on the packet, which goes something like this: put rice in pan, add water, bring to boil and simmer for 25 minutes.*

Back to the curry, I left it on a fairly high heat to reduce it down, it was quite watery and I wanted it thicker. I stirred quite frequently so the bottom didn't burn. I added the cashew nuts about now. Yum!
As the curry began to thicken I put the spinach on to steam for 15 minutes. We bought a new steamer this week so I'm steaming everything!
10 minutes later (with just 5 minutes of cooking left) I added the finely chopped coriander.

To plate up I put the rice in a little pile and gave it a light squeeze of lime, spooned the curry beside the rice and the spinach in a little parcel (this is where a photo would've helped!)

Kate seemed to enjoy it and her sister came round for dinner tonight and cleared her plate, so I guess I did a pretty good job!