First things first.
This post is the first of a few after the huge reaction I received to this Facebook post –
“If you are feeling tired, achy, demotivated, tense, cranky, ‘your age!!!’ Sleeping badly, looking and feeling bloated, sad, down, fat, floppy, grumpy, mentally fudgy, slow etc etc and would like to change that, pm me. Robin and I are doing a recharge, defrag, reboot and I’ll share what we are doing if you want to join in.
Lets peel back those layers, feel energized and find our shine!
What I am aiming for is to reduce inflammation ( a few flare-ups lately) calm my head, (can’t sleep properly as brain is whirling with ideas), calm stress (walls in wrong place, cracks appearing in ceiling of main house etc /:), reduce migraines ( Robin has been having lots of dream state and opthalmic ones lately) and in the process I’ll probably lose a few pounds.”
As this goes on I will get to the point of just journaling what I eat, drink, do plus share a recipe and maybe a bit of info. This post is word heavy just to get you going, sorry!
It is really easy to grab a piece of toast, a mug of coffee, a sandwich, a piece of cake from home, supermarket or motorway service station.
It is hard to travel or work healthily unless you are prepared either to just drink water and munch on fruit (which is a really good option if it is just for a day or so) or are prepared to be prepared.
Being prepared simply means having things with you that will taste good and do good.
FEELING STODGY Have you noticed that when you eat stodge you feel stodgy?
If I eat bread for example I feel heavy and bloated. If I weigh myself up to 24 hours after eating bread, and I am talking about a bread roll rather than a loaf, I will weigh 1 – 1 1/2 kilos more than if I hadn’t. We have been away this week and I have eaten bread each day. Almost all the food has been cooked which probably means a heavyish hand with the salt (and not the Himalayan good kind), and from the second day I have been around 59.5kg. I normally average 57-58kg. All the time we were away, between 9.30am and 7.30pm, I have only drunk water and eaten a couple of pieces of fruit. I have not eaten excessively in the evening. I’ve had a few glasses of wine, a piece of bread with a reasonably healthy meal by most people standards.
I not only feel heavy I am heavier. That is because my body is holding onto water; It actually is bloated. The bloat is all over, inside and on the outside so if you think my tummy cells are a bit bloated, so will be my brain cells and so on. Not a good thing I am sure you will agree.
Today I am 59kg. Tomorrow I expect to be about 58.5kg. All that is simply not eating processed food or bread.
So when I feel stodgy I AM stodgy. I feel bloated because I AM bloated.
That is just my reaction. If people are doing this every day it is building and growing, water retention leading to high blood pressure, fat cells filling up leading to extra padding, less movement, strain on joints and organs….
OBSESSING So, secondly, food can be obsessive.
You can eat obsessively and you can ‘not eat’ obsessively.
You can find yourself not eating because there isn’t anything healthy (so drink lots of water and have some fruit until your find something good or do your prep!) and so not eating too often or eating whatever there is and then feeling bad about it OR even saying “I’ve blown it I might as well continue eating badly, gimme another pie!”.
None of those things are healthy in any way.
1, Be prepared.
2, Eat before you are desperate and monster mind takes over rational mind.
3, If monster mind takes over and you have eaten the pie (whatever your pie might be – ice cream, chocolate, cornish pasty, stodwich …) spin round three times and put it in the past! Continue in your new, healthy way.
4, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!
5, Every mouthful of food or drink you take can heal or hurt. Make each one count.
Hold both hands up. Left hand good, right hand bad.
Raise a finger on each hand for relevant food –
I.E. I had two dates, 6 almonds, two crackers with butter and jam and a little coffee for breakfast.
Dates, almonds, crackers on left hand, topping and coffee on right hand. As long as the left hand is ahead we are doing OK. As we move ahead you will need to borrow your right hand for the good side 🙂
If you are dealing with an Auto immune disease, are simply out of energy, over weight, stressed, struggling to be enthusiastic, depressed, anxious, find you haven’t laughed or even smiled in a while, wake up all night long, feel bloated, get constipated, wind, acid reflux, have cellulite, beer belly, menstrual problems, hormone problems, spots, dull hair, brittle nails… then what you eat will effect all this!
Think of each morsel you eat as something that is going to cause change for the better. Flood yourself with nutrients! We are made up of nutrients, every process in our bodies is aided and abetted by how we nourish ourselves.
You know that if you eat a quiche made from pastry, bacon, eggs, cream and cheese served with chips it will not have the same effect as a quiche made with a crust of blended nuts and seeds, filled with organic eggs, spinach, sweet corn, peas and capers and served with a crispy, juicy salad (or to take it to another level a creamy filling of cashew nut cheese with tomatoes, wilted spinach, softened red onions and red peppers and sprinkled with capers) BUT I can assure you it will taste delicious.
The first will make you feel full, heavy and tired, the second will leave you feeling satisfied and the left hand will have all fingers up, the right will be close 🙂
I suggest that today you shop for fruit and vegetables with a few extras;
This is my shopping list, some will not be available or not good quality so I will use it as a guide (I get as much as I can organic, the benefits are multiple) as well as stuff I have in my cupboards that you would do well to stock. Buy enough but not too much that it goes off before you eat it or the quality is compromised. If you can shop every few days its better.
Apples, bananas, lemons, oranges, courgettes, aubergines, parsnip, garlic, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, red onions, avocados, tomatoes while they are still good, butternut squash (or any squash of pumpkin), mushrooms, capers (packs that salty punch!), any good salad leaves, actually I will be getting mine from the garden including dandelion leaves (and using self seeded herbs and roquette I discovered joyfully!), curly kale and/or spinach, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds/cashews/walnuts (not salted – raw) Quinoa, tin chick peas, tin red kidney beans, tahini, dried seaweeds, tamari and/or Braggs liquid amos and/or nam shoyu for flavouring, really good olive oil, maybe add in some avocado oil, sesame oil, Himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar with the mother – the cloudy bit in the bottom which means it is alive! Any herbs and spices you like – I use a lot of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon. Maybe some organic eggs, goats or sheeps cheese (feta is a good one), kefir or live sheeps of goats yogurt, raw honey and agave or coconut syrup.
The main thing here is fresh, non-processed, clean, easy to digest. Any fruits or veggies you like with enough variety to cover lots of colours (eat a rainbow). Be guided by what you like, can afford, is fresh.
Following on from this will be some recipes but for tonight use some of the your veg – carrots, parsnip, courgette an onion, a clove or two of garlic an apple or some blackberries (if you have access to figs I would use those, I freeze ours as well as blackberries to use all winter) – chop them up (wash and/or peel if not organic), toss in some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some spices, I would use cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and maybe a bit of cinnamon and pop them in the oven for half an hour. Add some shopped mushrooms and crumble some feta over the top. Leave another ten minutes in the oven until all is cooked through. You could plop an egg in for the last ten mins if you fancied and sprinkle some rinsed capers over the top for that extra bite!
Make extra to have for lunch tomorrow either just as it is or wrapped up in some kale or lettuce leaves with a dollop of yogurt on top and a sprinkle of cayenne for a bit of a kick.
NB Please have your doctor check out anything that is ongoing, seems strange, causes pain, where blood is evident – use common sense, I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose, I am a clinical nutritionist with 16 years of experience on myself and others who want to help themselves naturally and significantly. Also if you have had chemotherapy please take your doctors advice – if you go into a detox of any kind (this is clean eating and taken to an extreme could put you into detox) any chemo chemicals stored in your cells could flush out and your organs have to deal with that which could have a negative effect.Learn More
‘To go’ or not ‘to go’ that is the question.
Hi Mum, move, let me past, I need to go to the loooooo!
The cry of so many kids when they get home from school. “Why didn’t you go at school?” “No way, I can’t!”.
No. I do get it.
You would think the fact that we all need to ‘go’ would mean that ‘going’ was just a normal thing with no hang ups attached.
Imagine a world with no travel constipation, reduced bloating, discomfort, wind, gas, funny tummy, holiday tummy even reduced IBS.
I was with someone once and they seemed distracted and slightly uptight. They weren’t always like that. I asked what was wrong, they said nothing. But there so was.
I knew the atmosphere was uncomfortable and could feel it getting worse. I suddenly had a thought and decided the risk was worth it to save the day – “Do you think you might want to go to the loo?”.
They looked at me, I looked straight back like I’d just asked if they wanted a cup of tea. “Yes, I think I might” they said. We smiled, tension went, atmosphere adjusted, it was OK because it was said and nothing embarrassing happened.
I think that happens quite a lot. I wonder how many anxious or strained atmospheres could start because someone wants to go to the loo and can’t for whatever reason; I don’t want to go into all the possibilities but I am talking about simple embarrassment – work loos, schools loos, hotel loos etc.
Isn’t it about time hotels had bathrooms that were sound proofed rather than ones where the person in the room (and in the room next door) can hear someone cleaning their teeth in the bathroom never mind going to the loo. Where school and any public loos have complete doors rather than being open top and bottom?
Robin and I stayed at a very nice (translate expensive) place on Ile de Ré in France for a special occasion only to discover the lovely room and bathroom were open to each other. “Non” said the receptionist, “There is a wall, no?”. Yes, there was a partition wall but on one side and yes, two other sides had proper walls, but the fourth side is the monster in the room – or not because it wasn’t there, did not exist, at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to share, he likes to share, we just don’t, EVER, want to share that!
So we were moved, slightly disdainfully it has to be said (Les Anglaise, eye roll) to a room with a bathroom – with a glass door…
We had some friends over for lunch in the summer, all young, our kids friends actually. One was telling us about her wonderful new man, they sounded so happy. She giggled, we all looked expectantly, “Well,” she hesitated, thought a moment, shrugged her pretty French shoulders, ” The other night we were in bed and I farted (try reading with a French accent, it sounds so much nicer)”, more giggles, “‘e was so polite, ‘e pretended to be asleep”, we all giggled, “What did you do?” I asked, “I pretended to be asleep also”, we all laughed our heads off – no doubt as each of us remembered a time, a similar story – then the subject was changed.
I remember, no longer cringing with embarassment thankfully, being about 11 and sleeping in the same bed as my Mother one night, we were staying in the caravan with my brother and sister, sharing two beds. In the night I ‘made a rude noise’ as it was called in our house. The next day she said we needed a serious talk. She proceeded to tell me what had occured and how, when I went on my school trip the following week, nobody would like me at all if I did such a disgusting thing. Blimey, the sleepless nights started there!
At our first house in France we were shown to a wooden building in the garden that had a bench with two holes cut in it. One large hole, with a little v shape cut out of the front of the curve and a smaller one with no v shaped gap. His and hers! I just can’t imagine, no I’m not going to, moving swiftly on…
If you have a toilet issue just bear in mind everyone needs to go. If you don’t you get ill. If it’s a problem simply say so. No need for long explanations. Learn to laugh about normal stuff. Don’t cause your kids grief by passing on and inflating hang ups.
If you are going to be in a situation where you will be uncomfortable, shall we say, you can take aloe or ground flax for a smoother, easier experience, they are good to include in your diet anyway (read up on them or take advice on use and quantities first).
To generally reduce bloating and constipation and increase ease and comfort eat less white, sticky doughy food and more fruit and vegetable fibre, drink more water, chew properly, eat fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, live yogurt, drink kombucha, water kefir and/or take pre and probiotics. Move more. Ease up on yourself.
Smile and let go, haha, sorry.
So that’s the end of the Mom talk for today.
Had to include the naughty photo my kids took when they did a show for me….
A quickie and a little cry.
This is such a quick and satisfying meal, a bit like (a lot like actually) a creamy risotto.
I do adore risotto, full of butter and garlic, wine and parmesan. My favourite is with scallops and prawns. And that is a treat, occasionally.
This one is for any time, no guilt, delicious taste, lovely feel, satisfaction all round. And it is fast.
I made enough for two using 1/2 a medium sized cauliflower which I pulsed along with things I had in the fridge, these turned out to be (yes, that’s what it is like in our house 😉
hang on, the ‘I wasn’t expecting that’ song is on, about to have a weep, I need to turn it off….
…and I am back but I didn’t. There were not many tears but they were hot and heavy with sadness; sweet release of tears held in since the latest in a long line of parental rejection, even at my age it hurts and we learn – if we are lucky – to to put it in context rather than in a box waiting to burst open so that, for me these days, I only have a few hot fat tears rather than fountains from years gone by. We need to release!
Put a sad song on, let yourself go, weep it all away, it is not wallowing, it is cleansing -obviously it can be temporary if you don’t cleanse those emotions and back logs deeply but not everybody wants to or knows they can. But it is really, very beneficial. Just one song though otherwise it could turn into a wallow and who needs that? Not us. Then jump up, spin around, run up and down the stairs, think of something funny, change your posture, stand tall, smile, smile, smile and get on with your day.
Anyway, back we come – so I pulsed half a cauliflower with half a red pepper, a fat spring onion, a lone mushroom and a few sprigs of coriander.
I tipped it into a bowl and then (without washing the food processor bowl) I put in half an avocado, some cashew cream I had left over from something or other (yogurt would be good or the rest of the avocado), a drop (about 2 teaspoons) of cider vinegar and whizzed it up.
Then I stirred it into the grainy mix in the bowl and served!Learn More
Save me with savoury and when is a problem not a problem.
I just neeeeeed something savoury. I am so distracted by it I couldn’t even decide on my title.
I don’t want juice or smoothies or chocolate or ice cream or anything other than something mouth-wateringly savoury!
So that is salty, deeply flavoured, oily, maybe a hint of sweet to push those flavours even deeper.
I’m thinking Indian takeaway, Cantonese sizzling beef with all those bits and sweet and sour prawns, BBQ spare ribs, full English breakfast…
So what do I do about that then? Not only do I not want to have those because I am being ‘good’ and even if I wasn’t I never feel good after eating any of those things so I rarely do. Also I am in the middle of very rural France and the nearest place to find anything near something on that list is not local (lucky for us and one of the reasons why it is the perfect place for a retreat, no temptation!).
After a fast fridge rummage here’s what I have done about it –
I sliced up a couple of mushrooms and tossed them around in a mixture of olive oil, coconut amos, smoked paprika and maple syrup with some finely chopped rosemary (not sure that will add anything or not, it was a token green leaf though).
I had one mushroom left, which isn’t much use alone, so sliced and tossed that with oil, balsamic vinegar and fleur de sel for a good old salt and vinegar crisp flavour with a grown up twist.
After a while of tossing and leaving and tossing again I put them all in the dehydrater (if you don’t have one it doesn’t matter, see below) which is where they are now. I did eat a few on the way and they are so what I needed. It is amazing what will cut through a craving.
The sucre/salé flavour (the first marinade) was so divine I made some more and am waiting for sliced aubergines to absorb some of it whilst I write. Lets face it, I am really writing to keep me occupied so I don’t keep pinching the warm mushrooms from the dehydrator!
I need to address something here. If you don’t have the ingredients or equipment that are used in a raw food recipe it is usually easy to adapt to what you do have. It is very different from making a cake which needs three eggs and you only have one, that wouldn’t work (I know, I’ve tried it).
Also, if you are wanting to be healthy and clean you do not have to be raw! No, you don’t. You can be and you can eat a lot of raw foods and you can eat things cooked or prepared in the best way you have available to you. I do not eat an all raw diet all the time by any means. I do have blips into all raw (and have spent a lot of time being all raw for reasons I’ll one day share). Mainly we eat a lot of raw foods, high vegetarian, little dairy (love cheese, you should see the cheese stall at our local market, drool) unprocessed and using the best ingredients I can find and afford to use.
Here are some tips on adaptation using the recipes above as an example:
If you don’t have coconut amos, it is the first time I have actually – I only discovered them last time I was in the UK, you could use Brags liquid amos, or light soy sauce, or plain old soy sauce.
No Maple syrup? Use Agave or date syrup or blend up some dates or dried figs would work. Really not a good idea to use general sugar or golden syrup obviously (I think that’s obvious given what we are doing here, if not let me know below ;). I think at a push you could blend some sweet fruit, I’ll give it a go and report back on that one.
Smoked paprika is quite yummy for giving that deeply savoury almost barbequed flavour. If you don’t have it try a bit of chili, mustard would probably give a good result, something a bit punchy. Garlic would be great.
And of course, the dehydrator… so yesterday was very hot and I put some soaked almonds and some fresh lemon balm out to dry in the sun. My Man has been promising for years to make me a hanging cage with shelves that I can dehydrate things in outside but he keeps having to do stuff like re-point the back wall, mow the field, design a product, help a client etc and so it continues to be on the list. The point being that you could dehydrate outside if the weather was being helpful. You could also put the oven on low and leave the door open though somehow, when ever I hear that theory, I just shudder at how expensive it is to leave your oven on and the door open.
Anyway the other option, and probably what I would do in real life, is just put them in the oven on low with the door shut. They would be ‘a bit’ cooked, yes, but they will still be very good nutritionaly, healthwise and taste amazing! You could just heat them until they have softened and warmed. There would be a difference in that the juices would run a bit which isn’t a problem, it is just a difference.
So remember if you don’t have something in one of my recipes, adapt. Then it is not a problem it is merely a difference and we all like to be different don’t we?
I can’t think of anything else useful to say, I am just going to check out those mushrooms in the dehydrator…
Paint ‘n’ onions…
OK so its not your usual combination, its not tripe n onions (yucky) or anything edible, but it is brilliant.
I have a really bad reaction to strong paints, to lots of chemicals really – I am sure most of us do but we get used to it, which is not good. Anyway, even having used ‘good’ paint the woodwork paints still smell strongly to me.
Onions are a treasure, did you know that if you put a cut one in a room with someone who has a bad cold/ flu/ bug, the onion absorbs the germs so you have less chance of being the next one with your nose in a hankie? Also if you put one next to your bed with the above, the duration of the illness will be reduced? Apparently so.
So, as you may know, we (with a little help) are working madly to finish off the renovations to our house to open our healthful, restful, rawful retreat. It’s been a long job but we are really getting there now.
The first day of painting I suddenly had that burning sensation (which I had forgotten about, it was a bit of a shock) and I rushed to put cut onions out …. hopefully.
I went out and when I returned, quelle surprise!, the smell had dramatically reduced and no burning sensation in my wind pipe!
So today with 6 doors and a long corridor painted I have onions in each door way and carefully placed up the stairs.
Eau de maison à la paint ‘n’ onions – lovely!
A little bit obsessed!
As long as I can remember I have been at least a little obsessed with food!
I do remember being hungry as a child and I was not deprived, just burning it off fast and hungry before each meal – how often are we really hungry before we eat? Not often, try it and see.
I had to go straight to dancing school after school. When I was younger I was delivered and I remember being given Rivetas that my mother was piling cream cheese and pineapple on, I think there could have been butter too – Riveta wasn’t really advertised as it is now as a be all to all people base for fine concoctions, way back then it was just about diets.
The topping sends a mixed message – but as the skinniest kid in class thank goodness for a Mother who was ‘on a diet but just couldn’t resist’. I still love the sucre/sale flavours!
As I grew older I had to get to dancing myself so the minute the bell rang I ran as fast as I could – a few miles across flat planes, across town, up hills, to get there in 15 minutes, about 3 or 4 miles I’d guess.
Usually I had taken nothing to eat. A couple of hours of dancing at least, then a trek back to town and the bus home, just waiting for fooooood!
Home was a funny place, not always happy, a lot of tension and conflict going on. I often spent sleepless nights working out how I could support my siblings and myself on the pocket money I saved every week (religiously I squirreled it away, just in case).
I always started with a base of a massive white sliced loaf because it was cheap and would fill our tummies; there were bags of apples and bananas too. ….
I still wake in the night and work out food for the next day, make up recipes, analyse the day before, NO sliced white loaf now but the bananas and apples figure, somewhere behind the green leaves and celery.
The other day Robin was watching me and asked what I was doing – “counting my portions” (I was counting on my fingers) I do it every day, smug when I hit ten or over, less so when 7-10 and fed up with myself (I’m working on that flagellation thing) if I don’t make 5.
That is a rare occasion these days but when staying away or travelling it can be REALLY hard to get those portions in! In the UK it is not so bad with the brilliant motorway service stations where they have M&S and Waitrose salads, washed fruits and peeled, chopped fruits but when we are going through France it is really tough.
You have to go off road and find a market or super market then find somewhere to wash the stuff – or eat bananas which is fine for the first one or two.
OR be organised and take stuff with you – even after all these years and hardly ever managing to sort myself out to take something for between school and dancing I still rarely get it together.
So that is something I will be working on “being prepared” and delicious recipes to travel with – that means they last in a very warm car or on a very cold ferry, are delicious, nutritious and easy to eat without setting up a picnic table/ getting it all over you, and without having a bag of slimy washing up to do in a hotel room – or worse, forgotten about and to be discovered weeks later, under the seat, when trying to find out “what that smell is”!Learn More