Being under 90

Things have been going so well on the food front and exercise front that I have stopped obsessively weighing myself and obsessing about my weight.  I have been eating veggies, salad, fruit, legumes, dairy, eggs, nuts and some grains and very little else.  I find that by the time I have eaten all my allocated nutrition that I don’t really have any room for anything else.  I have also noticed a huge difference in my experience of hunger. Generally, I am not really hungry or if I am, my feeling of hunger is a lot less “painful” than before I started eating for nutrition.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when I jumped on the scales last night to discover I am under 90 kg for the first time in more than 15 years. Actually, I don’t really remember when I weighed less than 90 kg but it was a long time ago!

All of this has seemed very effortless. It has taken some organisation to arrange food in advance but apart from that I just have to eat my allocated nutrients for the day and that’s it. I don’t have cravings and I am eating food that tastes delicious and is very satisfying. I feel like I am eating like a king!

Quick update

Not really much to report. I’m continuing to eat mostly healthy and nutritious food. Some great of advantages of eating real food are that the food tastes amazing but I’m not hungry all the time! Pretty good.

I’ve been participating in #April1000 on twitter, a challenge to complete 1000 minutes of exercise in April. I have 459 minutes to go. I’ve been enjoying being back on the road, walking, running and cycling to work and back.

I’m not obsessively weighing myself anymore so I’m not quite sure what my weight is but I know that I can fit in my trousers that are a size smaller than the ones I used to wear, so that’s progress. I’m probably around 91 kg which is better than the 97 kg I started the year at. Definitely feeling less heavy, especially when I’m running.

I have a lot going on right now so I will try to do a big update on the 1st of May.

How are all of you going?

Third weigh in and measure up – April 1, 2012

Well, according to BMI, I’m not ‘overweight’ anymore. Now that my nutrition is on track I’m planning to ramp up my exercise this month. Time for a check in.

I first checked in on February 1, 2012. Here is a summary of the results.

February 1, 2012

Waist: 102 cm

Weight: 95 kg

BMI: 26.9 (overweight)

March 1, 2012

Waist: 101 cm -1 cm from February 1

Weight: 93 kg -2 kg from February 1

BMI: 26.3 (overweight)

April 1, 2012

Waist: 99 cm -2 cm from February 1

Weight: 91.5 kg -3.5kg from February 1

BMI: 25.9 (healthy weight range)

Remember, I am not on a diet, so any weight loss is as a result of meeting my goals of eating healthy food and exercising for fitness.

Categories: Uncategorized

Join me for the #April1000 exercise challenge

March 30, 2012 5 comments

Dr Joanna, the nutritionist from Excess Baggage has set an exercise challenge.

The #April1000 challenge is 35+ mins of exercise per day for the month of April.

The #April1000 challenge was annouced through @DrJoanna_News on Twitter.

I am planning to walk, run, cycle, skate and stair climb my way to 1000 minutes of exercise in April. How are you planning get your 1000 minutes?

Who’s in?

Categories: fitness Tags: , ,

Will quitting sugar make your diet healthy? Not necessarily!

March 26, 2012 24 comments

I have been reading a lot about quitting sugar on twitter (#IQS, #SugarFree & #SweetPoison) and on some blogs.  So, will quitting sugar make you healthy? Not necessarily.

I have seen reputable nutritionists focus on a healthy and nutritious balanced diet and not advocate quitting sugar.  Some nutritionists are advising to eat all foods (including sugar) in moderation.  What moderation means is not defined because it will depend on your activity level, fitness, weight, goals and current state of health.  You should talk to your nutritionist if you are not sure.

I read a lot of rubbish on the internet by untrained, unqualified people who have no idea what they are talking about. Here are a few examples:

1. Cooking food destroys its nutrition. Actually, your body can absorb more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw fruit.  Lycopene has a range of health benefits.

2. Don’t eat anything from the nightshade family (e.g. tomatoes, capsicums and potatoes) because they contain a protective toxin which is toxic to humans.  As discussed above, tomatoes have a demonstrated range of health benefits and capsicums contain carotenoids which also have a range of health benefits.

3. Don’t eat legumes because they contain a toxin. Actually, legumes are a great source of protein and contain fibre.  Just one benefit of fibre is that it helps regulate appetite.  Soaking legumes for 24 hours before cooking eliminates almost all of the toxins.

4. Don’t eat cashews because they are a legume.  Cashew nuts are not legumes and contain healthy fats, protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese.

5. Don’t eat whole grains because they are toxic.  Unless you are gluten intolerant there is not reason not to include whole grains in a healthy and nutritious balanced diet.  Even if you are gluten intolerant there are whole grains that have no gluten.  Whole grains contain protein and fibre and have a demonstrated range of health benefits.

6. Limit your fruit intake because fruit contains too much fructose.  The fructose in fruit is completely different to refined fructose added to processed food.  Apples, for example, contain fibre and pectin which help regulate blood sugar levels and control appetite.

If you believed everything you read about food on the internet you would be reduced a eating a limited range of organic vegetable and berries.  Hardly a healthy and nutritious balanced diet.

Should you quit sugar?

I know of several web sites encouraging people to quit sugar to be more healthy.  I don’t relate quitting sugar with a healthy and nutritious balanced diet.  To have a healthy and nutritious balanced diet you need to know quite a lot about food and the benefits of eating certain foods.  You could quit sugar and still have a diet lacking in nutrition and balance.  Quitting sugar won’t make you healthy by itself.  There are a lot of other changes you will need to make.

How I quit sugar by focusing on healthy and nutritious foods

I read a lot about health and nutrition so I already knew what kinds of foods to eat to benefit from a range of healthy outcomes.  The way I re-structured my eating was around fitting in as many healthy and nutritious foods as I could in one day.  I found that after that, I didn’t have any room for the sugar laden sweets that I used to eat four or five times a day.

Here are some of the foods I ate last week: eggs, milk, plain Greek Yoghurt, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, corn, sweet potato, beetroot, pumpkin, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sugar snap peas, garlic, onion, pinto beans, red kidney beans, adzuki beans, borlotti beans, chick peas, olives, cashew nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, curry, cayenne pepper, basil, wholemeal flour, rice, noodles, bananas, oranges, mandarins, watermelon, apples, grapes, pears, kiwi fruit, rockmelon, strawberries and rye bread.  Phew!  I seriously ate all that in one week! It was quite a week for food last week and even though I ate all of that delicious food, I still lost weight.  Portion control is the key here.  You will notice there are very few processed foods and no foods with added, refined sugar.  I don’t think you need to eat food with added refined sugar to have a balanced diet.

As you can see from my food list, I munch through a mountain of food every day and by the time I have eaten all that food I really don’t have room for sugary sweets and don’t want them either.  I really don’t feel like I have given anything up to eat like this and I focus on what I like and what I can eat rather than what I can’t eat.  I don’t feel that eating like this that I am deprived of anything, in fact, I feel enriched.  Given the choice of an apple and cinnamon muffin or an apple, I now choose the apple.

An easy hint towards eating a healthy and nutritious balanced diet is to eat as many colours as you can every day (and coloured M&Ms don’t count!).  Of course nutrition is a lot more complex than that so if you are concerned about your diet or nutrition, please talk to a qualified and reputable nutritionist and don’t just believe what you read on the internet.

I think your goal should be a healthy and nutritious balanced diet.  If an outcome of that is that you don’t eat refined sugar then great!  But I don’t think that quitting sugar should be your goal.

Give Pancakes a nutritional makeover

I love pancakes for brunch on the weekend.  I really don’t think a pasty white flour pancake is very nutritious even if it is filled with home made chilli beans.  For my nutritional makeover of pancakes, I started with a thick, wholemeal pancake batter and added grated sweet potato, frozen corn, herbs and spices.  I still top them with chilli beans but now serve with salad.  I can report that sweet potato and corn fritters with chilli bean topping and salad are much more delicious than boring ol’ pancakes and chilli bean filling.

Here are my old pancakes:

1 cup white flour, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups milk, pinch of salt.  Fill with home made chilli bean sauce. Serve with loads of sour cream.

Pancakes before

Sweet potato and corn fritters with chilli bean sauce:

1 cup wholemeal flour, 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt, 1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato, 1/2 cup frozen corn, 1/2 cup grated cheese, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon stock powder, a shake of cayenne pepper.  I fried mine in oil but you could use a non-stick pan and just spray with olive oil spray.  To serve I topped with chilli bean sauce with salad.

Pancakes after

I had some left over fritters, so for dinner I made some rye bread sandwich (burgers) with a heated fritter, fried egg, sauce, cheese, tomato, beetroot and lettuce. Because the pan was still hot, I lightly toasted my burger/sandwich on both sides… yummo!

Categories: food, nutrition Tags: , ,

Give Nachos a nutritional makeover

March 15, 2012 1 comment

Nachos are one of my favourite foods but the way I used to made them was not very nutritious and had too much added refined sugar.  Here is how they looked before:

Traditional Nachos

100 grams of Nacho Cheese Doritos

Chilli beans made from tinned red kidney beans, a bottle of pasta sauce and sweet chilli sauce

Grated cheese

About 100 ml of Sour Cream

The Doritos, pasta sauce and sweet chilli sauce all have added refined sugar.  I also used to pile on the cheese and sour cream.  The end result didn’t look too attractive and the portion size was way too much.  Here is a photo of a half serve of how my nachos looked before, minus the sour cream:

Nachos before

Nutritional makeover

Instead of tinned red kidney beans, I buy a mix of dried light and dark red kidney beans, pinto beans, borlotti beans, adzuki beans and chic peas, soak them overnight and then pressure cook them with onions, herbs, spices, chilli and curry powder.  I then make a chilli bean sauce by adding plain tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, roasted sweet potato, herbs and spices.  The tomato sauce and pureed tomatoes are just tomato and salt with no added sugar.  This makes quite a lot so I freeze some for later.

Nutritious Nachos

~ 25g traditional Doritos (I had guessed about 40 g but I just weighed a ‘serve’ on my new kitchen scales!)

chilli bean sauce (as above)

Grated cheese

Diced tomato

Grated carrot

Shredded lettuce

Plain Greek Yoghurt

I have cut the serving size of the Doritos right back and use less of the chilli bean sauce than I used to.  I’ve also added some extra flavour and nutrition with the pumpkin and sweet potato in the chilli bean sauce.  I like to pile my plate high with a load of salad to add more flavour, texture and nutrition.  I have replaced the sour cream with pain Greek yoghurt and actually prefer the taste of the yoghurt.  The final dish looks a lot more attractive and has no added refined sugar:

Nachos after

Cutting out sugar and making nutritious food choices doesn’t mean you have to eat weird food or give up some of your favourite savouries!