When you want to be naughty…

Rotis, bakes, cakes, bread, pasta etc… it’s just life to me you know?

So in my opening blog I mentioned how I had undergone a transformation of sorts – I’d made a decision to make healthier choices with regards to my eating and started a regime of regular workouts. That’s still the case. I haven’t fallen off the wagon. However, I am still very much human, and sometimes that means I need to indulge.

Cue the Caribbean take away.

Yeh. I did it.

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So ok, this was not the healthiest of meals, but it also wasn’t the worst. It’s all about balance. This is a once in a while thing and I’m picky with what I get off the menu and how much of it I eat. I deliberately chose vegetarian options and I tried not to go too carby. Well, sorta.

Callaloo – a leafy green similar to spinach, also known as taro leaves (at least this version of callaloo is taro leaf – in other parts of the Caribbean different leaves are used, but also called callaloo).

Sweetcorn salad – a simple mix of sweetcorn and chopped lettuce with a vinegary dressing.

Channa – curried chickpeas.

Buss up shot – a paratha flatbread that’s been torn up – this is the ‘naughty’ part of the meal. I ate the whole thing. Yes I did. (There was more of it than what you see on the plate and I feel no shame).

So as you can see, most of my choices were relatively healthy and low in fat and carbs. But the buss up shot. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an unnatural obsession with flour. White flour in particular. I don’t know. Rotis, bakes, cakes, bread, pasta etc… it’s just life to me you know? But obviously, since my diagnosis regarding my blood sugar levels about 7 months ago, all that has had to stop. And I miss it so. More than miss. I yearn. With all my being.

For the most part, I’ve actually been quite impressed with my level of discipline, but maybe once a month or once every two months I allow myself the luxury of having something gorgeously floury and full of clarified butter (ghee) – usually in the form of a roti or a paratha or something. I just can’t cut it completely out – and that’s ok.

One thing I’ve learned on this journey is how to recalibrate my relationship with food. Before my relationship with eating was a pretty destructive one. I had no restraint and I didn’t really care.

It’s been a slow but steady process. To use the cliche, my default mode would be to eat my emotions – and that’s just not good. I’m still working on finding other ways to deal that don’t involve eating, because my physical well-being has to be a priority now. I don’t think I’m completely in the place I need to be when it comes to my eating habits and how certain choices make me feel, but I’m in a much better position than where I used to be. So yay for progress.

Now time for another sunlit shot of gorgeousness:

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Until later,

V

 

I think chocolate sweetened with stevia tastes better… a review

With this bar, I was in dangerous territory…

The downside to stevia (and which is a common complaint about it) is that it can have a rather interesting aftertaste when added to certain foods. In my opinion, I think different sweeteners suit different foods and with stevia, I also think the amount used affects how much of an aftertaste it has as well. Stevia when used right – can be very good. Especially in chocolate. So far in my search for alternative chocolatey goodness, I haven’t found a stevia-sweetened chocolate bar I haven’t enjoyed yet.

I discovered this brand called erm, ‘Discover’ which offers a range of milk chocolate bars in different flavours that have been sweetened with stevia.

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I was intrigued by the cinnamon flavour (I don’t think I’ve tried cinnamon flavoured chocolate before), and yeah it’s a pretty tasty bar of chocolate. I’ve been trying to exercise restraint with this one because while there’s no added sugar it still has the same amount of fat and dairy in it (which for me isn’t ideal what with my weight loss goals ‘n’all…).

With this bar, I was in dangerous territory.

It was creamy, dissolving into a silky smooth chocolatey butter on my tongue. The flavour was perfectly balanced in the level of sweetness with that hint of peppery cinnamon cutting through it. The intoxicating scent of it filled my head and gave me that serotonin hit I didn’t even know I was looking for. Gorgeousness. Bwah.

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I’m not sure it’s wise for me to purchase this one again.

Until next time,

V

de Bron lifestyle candy – a review of poker fruit

Consuming too many of these jellies could create a laxative effect. Lovely.

Being on a constant search for sugar free low carb treats I can enjoy involves an awful lot of Googling. Google is wonderful isn’t it? I mean it really is the fount of all knowledge, especially sellers and makers of sugar free sweets.

Introducing, de Bron lifestyle candy. This is a brand I don’t know too much about, but I discovered it on http://www.sweetswithout.com and more recently I’ve spotted some of their products in Holland & Barrett stores.

Generally speaking, I have a tentative sort of relationship with foods that contain alternative sweeteners to sugar. I try to pick things that contain more ‘natural’ sweeteners like stevia or xylitol and limit my intake of them because I’m not fully persuaded of how ‘good’ these things are for you. But I’ve gotta have my sweets… so I compromise on occasion.

Debron jellies packet

I saw a selection of de Bron candies on the sweetswithout site,  and I thought I’d give the jellies a try. They’re called Poker Fruit, and they’re jelly sweets shaped like playing card symbols like hearts, diamonds, clubs etc.

Sugar free debron jellies poker fruit edited

To begin with I was very sceptical of these. I’ve never tried sugar free jelly sweets before. I wasn’t sure how the texture would be, and I was concerned just how artificial they’d taste because of the sweeteners. The jellies are sweetened with malitol syrup and isomalt. These are actually rather nice! They are squidgy and soft and chewy, but they don’t get stuck in your teeth. The granules dusted on the outside makes a very convincing ‘sugary’ coating, and the flavour is reasonably fruity and not sickly sweet and there’s no unpleasant aftertaste. Result!

One thing to bear in mind, (and I imagine this is because of the sweeteners), the back of the packet warns that consuming too many of these jellies could create a laxative effect. Lovely.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something to satiate that craving for something sweet, but without the effects of real sugar – look no further. Try these.

Until next time…

V

 

 

Perfect World: A review of a dairy free, no sugar added ice cream

it’s definitely recognisable as carrot cake, but I would’ve liked a little more of a peppery oomph from the cinnamon and the nutmeg…

So given my dietary requirements, I’ve had to give up on a lot of sugar-laden and carb-heavy foods in order to get and keep my blood sugar levels under control . It’s a change to my lifestyle that will have to be permanent, which in the beginning made me sad because I love carbs and sugar! But then I thought surely there must be some sweet treats that are still relatively healthy/low in sugar and can be had on the odd occasion when that craving hits. I’ve tried out a number of different treats over the past few months, and I’ll be reviewing them from time to time for you.

In this post, we’ll be looking at ‘a taste of carrot cake’ by Perfect World. This is a dairy free ice-cream made with no added sugar.

Ice cream in tub

I saw it on the Ocado website while doing an online grocery shop and had to give it a try.

You can find more information including the ingredients and nutritional values here: http://www.perfectworldicecream.co.uk/delicious-desserts/carrot

This is a relatively soft ice cream. It takes a few minutes to soften but can be scooped right out of the freezer if you’re not able to wait .. haha

Ice cream in cup

The flavour definitely is reminiscent of a carrot cake. I will say that despite it containing three different sweeteners, this wasn’t an overly sweet/sickly tasting ice cream. The sweetness was quite subtle and not too fake tasting as sweeteners can be. As for the spiced carrot cakey-ness, like I said, it’s definitely recognisable as carrot cake, but I would’ve liked a little more of a peppery oomph from the cinnamon and the nutmeg. There were enough juicy sultanas and crunchy nuts that were well distributed and added a nice variety of textures with each mouthful.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and will definitely re-purchase when I want to have dessert after a meal. If you’ve tried the other flavours by this brand, or any other dairy free/sugar free/low sugar ice-creams and other desserts, please share in the comments.

Until next time 🙂

 

simple all in one veggie roast

So one day I was swanning about the house in my PJs after coming home from work, and I knew I needed to make myself a good lunch for the next couple of days but I was feeling rather tired. I didn’t want to end up buying lunch while at the office so I thought up something simple but very healthy, low carb and tasty with the vegetables I already had in the fridge. I also had some Quorn sausages in the freezer so I thought I’d throw them in too. Behold, the birth of my all in one veggie roast.

Having looked in the fridge to see what was what, I saw that I had:

Cherry tomatoes

Mini Portobello mushrooms

Cucumber

Radishes

Shallots

Red onions

Garlic

From the freezer:

Quorn Premium Sausages – wild garlic flavour

From the cupboard:

Cayenne pepper powder

Powdered garlic

Black pepper

Mixed dried Italian herbs

Himalayan pink salt (optional)

Olive oil

You don’t have to use the same veggies or seasonings as I did, it’s really up to you and about using what you have, but the essential thing to help with the cooking of this dish is the olive oil and a decent array of herbs/spices for flavour. I also have purposely not specified amounts because again, it depends on what you want and what you have available. This is a very free and easy dish and it could come out differently every time!

Before you start prepping the vegetables, ensure you preheat your oven to around gas mark 5 or 6 (that’s 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius).

Now for the prep:

Get a chopping board and a big sharp knife, and peel, wash and slice all of the vegetables (except for the garlic cloves). When I was making it, I cut the radish and the cucumber into strips because I wanted them to caramelise and brown while in the oven. The onion, shallot and mushrooms I sliced into chunky rings and I quartered the tomatoes. You can cut the vegetables however which way you prefer and depending on what they are and how they’ll cook.

Take a large-ish (depending on the amount of vegetable) pyrex oven dish (a deep metal baking tray will also work) and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil into it and swirl/rub it around inside the dish.

Arrange the vegetables in the dish. I enjoyed putting them into little ‘areas’ in the dish. I’m weird that way.

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Just before going in the oven…

Crush the garlic cloves (I used a crusher) and sprinkle them over the vegetables in the dish and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Then add the rest of the seasonings – the peppers and the garlic powder (just a little) and the herbs (or whatever seasonings you’ve chosen). You can definitely experiment with this. If I’d had some, I would have grated some raw ginger on top and sprinkled a little fresh lemon juice as well I maybe would’ve used some chilli instead of cayenne pepper. Just put whatever you fancy.

Put the Quorn sausages in one corner of the dish and rub them with a little olive oil. Sprinkle them with the crushed garlic and seasonings.

Put the dish in the oven and bake until the vegetables have softened and browned slightly. Check and turn them as well as the sausages (the sausages will take a little while to brown).

You should end up with slightly caramelised, sweet and very flavoursome vegetables with very juicy well-seasoned sausages. The vegetables will have produced a lot of liquid at the bottom of the dish which would be great as a base for a sauce or gravy :).

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The end result

Introducing…

This isn’t just a ‘diet’. This isn’t just a phase of fitness obsession. This is about having a better quality of life for the rest of my life.

My name is Vee.

I was recently told that I was borderline type 2 diabetic in connection with a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). To help reverse my pre-diabetic state and avoid diabetes altogether I was advised to lose weight (about 10kgs/22lbs/1 and a half stone) and change my diet. I was encouraged by my doctor to join a local diabetes prevention group where I would be coached on the lifestyle changes I’d have to make in order to become healthier and reverse my prediabetes. To be honest, I wasn’t keen on the idea given my lifestyle and schedule, and I felt a little apprehensive about attending a group with strangers … so I determined I would lose the weight and change my diet on my own.

Thus begins a journey of self-discovery where I had to reconfigure my relationship with food and force myself to review my weight gain over the last ten years or so (I’d been in a bit of denial about that). A lot of googling workouts for weight loss, gyms, and diets to reverse pre-diabetes went on. I looked up information on the glycemic index, glycemic loading, carbs and sugar intake etc…. and to be honest, I was in a bit of a panic with all that information coming in. I kind of felt a bit overwhelmed. But somehow, I managed to figure things out and a major overhaul of my eating habits took place, along with implementing a more active lifestyle.

I took up training with a personal trainer once a week and started working out at home the rest of the time. After six months of doing this, I discovered I’d managed to lose about a stone in weight. I had another blood test and was told that my pre-diabetes had successfully been reversed. Of course, I was very pleased about this and quite proud that I’d pretty much managed to do this on my own, however, given my PCOS, I’ll always be more prone to becoming diabetic if I allow my eating and weight gain to get out of control. I still have a way to go yet until I reach my goal weight. So I’ve had to understand and accept that this lifestyle change has to become a permanent one. This isn’t just a ‘diet’. This isn’t just a phase of fitness obsession. This is about having a better quality of life for the rest of my life.

With all that being said, and me being me, I know that I’m susceptible to falling off the wagon from time to time and being rather lazy. So, this blog is a way of me maintaining some accountability for the way that I eat and the amount I spend on food (I previously used to spend an obscene amount on food from places like Pret A Manger, Leon, Wasabi, Itsu etc and I do like eating out at restaurants). This new way of living means I have to take the time to cook for myself more often and be inventive with it (I’m extremely fussy about the enjoyment of what I eat – if it doesn’t taste good, I’m just not eating it). While I do still eat out a lot, I’m more mindful of the choices I make and I have definitely cut down on the frequency of visits to those places.

I hope to share with you some healthy, (and very tasty) meals that I’ve adapted from things I’ve seen online or made up in my own experimentation in the kitchen with whatever I find in the fridge and cupboards. I’m not a fancy or complicated cook, but I do take flavour very seriously. These meals are what have helped me to lose fat, and have a better handle on my blood sugar levels. I’d also like to share and review the food products I’ve discovered for good snacking and treats between meals, that won’t have too much of an impact on blood sugar levels or weight loss and that I really enjoy.

I’m by no means a nutritionist or dietician, and I have no medical or health related degrees/qualifications, but the changes I’ve made have brought me to where I am now with my health, so maybe if you give it a try, it might work for you 😊.

I won’t blog about my workouts here – that’s something I’m still working on becoming a more permanent fixture in my life – I’m not always as consistent as I ought to be.  I really don’t enjoy working out haha … maybe at a later date, I’d be more willing to share that part of my life so that I can encourage others.

My other interests will probably creep in as this blog develops… but for now, we’ll just see how this goes.