My lovely daughter asked for some tips for easy, tasty, fast and cheap packed lunches.
Tired of the, and by the, sandwiches, wraps, even more supposedly healthy options available within easy reach of where she works in Paris she needed to get back on top of this.
Everyone needs to enjoy a meal and function on all cylinders afterwards at lunch time no matter what we do. Lighter, brighter, cleaner food helps lift our mood rather than lower it (foods can do both), give us energy, keep us fresh and physically and mental bright and vibrant.
Even the best of us need motivation sometimes, she is a very healthy eater, amazing cook, experimental and enjoys the best of France too (think of those divine cheese stands at the market, the freshest fish, I won’t go on) so she came a-calling on Momma. Who, by the way, also goes to her and literally hundreds of recipe books both cooked and raw for inspiration.
First, of course I mentioned green smoothies, my go to lunch at least 4 out of 7 days a week but she wanted something ‘to eat!’ so I suggest making some wraps of sliced or even pulsed which is faster (unless you have a mandolin – which I have but dare not use, it looks lethal!) vegetables. Carrots, mushrooms, spring or red onion, radishes, avocado, whatever you have and like, even some cauliflower or broccoli.
Mix it all up with a few herbs if you have them, maybe a good sprinkle of ready to eat sea salad, a drop of olive oil or sesame oil would give a more oriental flavour and some balsamic or a drop of tamari or soy sauce some good combinations to mix in small quantities OR to put in a mini sealed pot to dip into:
- olive oil – balsamic – basil – salt n pepper
- sesame oil – soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy) – splash of maple – pepper
- Teriyaki sauce (I use the coconut version, because it has no soy)
- a blended avocado, drop of cider vinegar, pinch salt, italian herbs or chopped chives
- juice of one orange, splash of soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy), dash of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salad. I think this is one of my favourite dressings for salad too, I put lots on and happily drink what is left out of my bowl, if we don’t have visitors of course.
- blended plums (3 or 4), a sprinkle cider vinegar, chilli depending on taste and heat, tbsp olive oil, onion – match quantity to size of one plum, a small chunk of fresh ginger, a date or two and, depending on meetings, a clove of garlic.
You could make a raw wrapper, use a wholewheat pitta bread, corn tortilla or a great and light one is a rice wrapper that they sell for spring rolls.
As with all my recipes adjust to suit you. I am not a chef, I throw things together and make them work (and occasionally they don’t) and I have been doing this for many, many years so know what we like and work more on instinct – even when following a cooked recipe, it has to be said, much to Aimee’s dismay. And Robins on occasion, as you can see here .
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And we all know that is true don’t we?
So, we are doing our ‘especially lean and clean’ week and it is going, as MM would say, very well indeed. We are juicing first thing. Well, after our lemon water. Green smoothies around lunch time followed by more juice (one I made earlier with the first and put in the fridge). It’s hot here so we are also hydrating with cucumber and water melon juice, also juiced at the same time because washing the juicer is not my favourite pass time, with half a lemon squeezed into it and cut half and half with water; so refreshing.
But, yes, after a few days that can get boring, too sweet, too wet, too…..good!
So how to balance it? Sometimes it needs more time and preparation. Sometimes you can just add in a less ‘clean’ ingredient, as long as the balance is tipped more in the clean direction.
Here are a couple of examples:
For a really fast fix, say you are craving and leaning towards a cheese sandwich, burger, pizza or all three, or just getting really grumpy. Whatever, you need it NOW!
Get a few courgettes (which you will always have on standby as they are so versetile – courgette post needed) and spiralise them or use a vegetable peeler to peel them into ribbons. Splosh on some fruity olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of salt and pepper, a crushed clove of garlic and toss it all together. Put into individual bowls (easier with this one than a serving bowl otherwise one person will get all the topping and another almost none). Now for the really good and a bit naughty (if you are doing an especially lean n clean week) bit – top each serving with a generous grating of delicious parmesan cheese, torn basil leaves and a sprinkle of chilli flakes or ground black pepper. Et voila!
The night before last we had Mexican – Tortillas piled high! I was so excited about them and the football that I forgot to take a photo.
I made and dehydrated my tortillas, from vegetables and flax, but lets face it, bought corn tortillas softened or crisped up in the oven (no fat!) depending on how you like them would not be a bad choice.
I warmed halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red peppers and spring onions all sprinkled with spicy, smoked paprika outside in the sun; I put them on a tray and covered them in cling film, it worked a treat.
We put that mix on the tortillas and topped with the following:
Guacamole – I simply pulsed (you could chop and mix by hand, of course) an avocado, spring onion and tomatoe with the juice of a lime, a sprinkle of sea salt and scattered it with chopped coriander leaves.
Salsa – I blended a couple of tomatoes, 4 sundried tomatoes (my own from last year whoop, whoop!), 2 dates, a glug of apple cider vinegar, a dried chilli and a clove of garlic.
Sour cream – for this you could use natural yogurt or kefir (strain through a coffee filter resting in a sieve to make it nice and creamy). This time I made a cashew sour cream with-cheesy-on-top flavour by blending a handful (I have small hands so its cheaper 😉 of soaked natural cashews with some of their soak water (judge how much you need as you make it), a squirt of lemon juice (adjust to taste at the end), a tablespoon of lecithin (not necessary if unavailable) and the same of nutritional yeast (which gave it the cheesy flavour. It would have worked without as plain sour cream) plus a sprinkle of sea salt and a good few grinds of mixed pepper.
Yumaloo! It took about three hours for the bits in the sun though they would have been fine fresh or even warmed through and softened in the oven.
And it was still lean and clean and full of natural goodness. Perfect for watching the footy match.
Apart from my team lost. Oh, Wales, we love you!
Its extra clean ‘n’ lean time again (why don’t we just keep it up continuously?!).
Anyway, I’m not beating myself up about that I am embracing what IS.
My first thought, as usual, “oh, I’m so excited!” closely followed by “Oh, I’m so deprived….”. Especially when in the book I am reading they are sitting down to gin and tonics before dinner, delicious morsels followed by sumptuous meals with sauces and fine wines and all the things I LOVE and we meet friends and they are all going out to the bar that night and having pizzas and a very merry time and we, My Man (MM) and me, have ‘that’ conversation –
Me “How come everyone else just eats normally and drinks when they want and has lots of coffee and cake and they all look healthy and happy and are having SO MUCH FUN?!”
MM “Yes, it does seem that way, maybe we should give up giving things up?”
Me “Well, no we are lucky we can do this and have all the equipment and knowledge and its delicious anyway and we feel so much better…. Don’t we?”
MM “Yes, we do. Lets just get on with it” (he knows me so well)
Me “But, but, but, but, but”.
As MM always says, with his Master NLP head on, I am a miss matcher. I want what I can not have or the opposite of what I can have. I buy fish for dinner and by dinner time I do not want fish under any circumstances (of course I eat the fish, and enjoy it when I have it, I’m not spoilt just contrary ;).
So I had a little think.
When I eat clean, delicious (I am quite good at it even if I do say so myself, and so I should be, people pay me!!) food I feel lighter in mood and body. Within a day I feel this way so nothing to do with losing weight. Neither of us are over weight but we do get kinda flabby when we eat the bad stuff too often, as happens sometimes (yes, I admit it, even people who help others eat well and feel better are human, who knew? You can see another post on this here).
Today is the start of day three. I am less puffy, 3kg lighter, brighter and feeling great. We do eat pretty healthily 90% of the time. We drink wine (me) and beer or wine (MM) too frequently but rarely to excess.
After one beer/glass of wine we relax and stop thinking about work – that was always how it was anyway when we were working 12 + hour days at high pressure. Now life is more relaxed. Yes, loads needs doing, we live in a very old house and there is always a wall that needs re-pointing, a field to mow, loads of cleaning to do, the website to update (new one coming soon!!!) and jewellery orders to fulfil and designs to work on.
But old habits die hard.
When we eat more lightly, drink juices and smoothies and no alcohol, the day is longer. We are not chasing the party feeling. We are calmer. We do more like going for a walk late evening, just sitting outside instead of in front of the TV, and so feel more satisfied.
So I flipped the thought that I am deprived and thought “I feel so good, imagine depriving myself of this light, calm, peaceful, productive-in-a-good-way feeling” – It worked. I know it sounds simple and I really, really had to feel it, it wasn’t just a throw away thought. And I have to keep reminding myself that I love feeling like this. I have a divine perfumed bath at the end of the day, my indulgent reward, with my book and stay there for hours tumbling into bed afterwards and feeling good about my day. What is not to like?
Flip that thought, it takes a bit of work but so does staying awake in front of the TV with a pizza and bottle of wine inside you or thinking over and over “I’m so tired/fat/spotty/grumpy/stressed/down/joyless/unhappy/angry/anxious/add your word here”.
If you need help don’t hesitate to ask – flip phrases free for you XX
Next time you wash and condition your hair in the bath, especially using deep conditioner, remember the bath gets slippery!
How many times have I thought that? Quite a few. This time I didn’t.
Bruised ribs, bruised boob.
Words of wisdom and experience.
Be safe, be happy, don’t worry, sing, dance, don’t burn in the sun and don’t use conditioner in the bath.
I have had lots of conversations about my last post with people who related to various points. I am so glad we have had the many experiences we have had and can use them to help others!
I did wonder for a moment or two if was a good idea to post about dealing with anxiety.
Firstly on a personal basis, because it is ingrained in us almost from birth not to tell other people if we have problems and the post wasn’t only about me, it was about my husband too. ( To allay any fears, I would never betray a confidence to anybody, we follow a strict confidentiality code and that applies to each other too, so of course we were both in perfect harmony and agreement about my post).
Secondly from a professional perspective: “could it affect our business if people know ….” well, I had to get over that one quickly – we believe that having lived through various situations, problems, conflicts etc etc in our lives makes us very much more aware of how they effect people. Also, having overcome different things, we have the experience – the proof if you like, that it is possible.
Lets not perpetuate the belief that emotional problems are something to be ashamed of!
And lets face it, most good diet councillors have run the gauntlet of losing weight and are still working to keep it off. Drug and drink rehabilitation sponsors are themselves in recovery and so they know exactly what one is going through.
You wouldn’t expect your driving instructor not to be able to drive.
A person who has experienced and achieved what they are teaching is often a much better bet than a person who has just learnt through theory.
We believe that we are more credible because of what we have experienced, what we manage and what we have overcome and therefore have a greater understanding of the things our clients experience, need to deal with, manage and/or overcome.
We have seen people open up and well up with relief because, on hearing an experience of ours, they suddenly realise that someone really does understand. How often do people think they are the only ones who feel the way they do, or that nobody will understand them. You can bet your bottom dollar that if you are in a room full of people there will be someone else who feels just like you do. Who would totally get it if they only knew how you felt and who would be grateful to know you understand them too. People think they are in a little bubble all alone and can’t tell or ask for help – they often think there IS no help – but they can and there is!
We are proud of our life experiences, good and bad, they have helped make us who we are and are an added qualification from the great university of life. Whilst we don’t need to talk about them all the time none of us should need or want to hide them.
We are all human after all and that’s something to celebrate.
I say again PLEASE lets not perpetuate the belief that emotional problems, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, eating disorders and all the long list – often seen as the great unmentionables – are something to be ashamed of!
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There it’s out. That is how I feel right now.
Frustrated, angry, guilty, shouty, sad, tired, tired, tired and too mad to even sleep a moment.
When that anxiety raises its very ugly head the day hits a fast downward spiral. Its clear in a look, a posture, a smell, a tone that oh ho, its coming, doesn’t matter how fast we run its going to catch us.
That knot in the stomach, that sinking feeling, that whispered ‘Oh nooooooo’.
That twist when your day turns from what it was to what it is going to be, ruled by anxiety.
Its like walking down a corridor bumping into one side, recorrecting, bumping into the other side, recorrecting, never getting it right.
Reacting, or trying to, to just what comes next, no looking at the big picture, no peripheral vision, the world blinkered…. Need to do this, whoops, did that wrong, need to do that, oh need to do this, didn’t finish that……bobbing about in a tiny boat on a vast ocean of pits and troughs and huge waves just smashing right down over you.
Well, that’s my take on it. I’m not the one suffering from it, though it makes me very anxious when it happens. I am the partner, co-driver, crutch or contributor.
I watch, I get mad, I shout, I talk him down, I talk him up, I care, I cry with frustration that yet another day, event, moment has been lost or ruined. I feel guilty for my bad reactions. I take many deep breaths and push through the good reactions, only to fall into the bad again.
We work through it together, we are a team. When this happens I’m the grown up, the parent, the rock. And no it is not easy. It is doable.
This is the first time in all these years I have spoken out about this. Less than a handful of people know.
When it happens, which is very rare now, I don’t socialise, we don’t socialise; I am not good at smiling and pretending.
Sometimes I want to, and often I do when we are in the midst of ‘it’, cry my eyes out. Sometimes I feel really sorry for myself.
But its not my anxiety, it’s just something I share.
I once said “Why don’t you just let that anxiety sit right there with you? Let it be there, don’t fight it just accept it”. It soon got bored and it really did go away much more quietly and quickly than usual. I thought, “that’s it, a cure!” then the next time, maybe we were both more tired or depleted but we often forgot that trick.
I also remember, and this a big confession. Oh the shame, saying in the midst of a very deep, long, dark and particularly desperate period about 18 years ago – there were seriously mitigating circumstances, another post about dealing with what life, and people throw at you will show up one day – anyway, I actually said “You conned me! I thought you were strong. I thought you would be there for me. I didn’t know I would have to be your Mother!”. I am sure I have said worse too. I didn’t understand how it felt, how there was no control, how he didn’t understand, how he went blank to hide behind it.
But he is incredibly strong, totally there for me, we share our care. Just not on those days.
And now I see him change people lives in a few hours, literally. He’s a rock to so many, he’s a wave of calm when you are in the middle of turbulence. He’s a voice of reason, full of quiet wisdom and even in the midst of dire personal loss he has turned someones life from wretched to full of hope!
There is hope, so much hope!
For us, now (after so much work and perseverance and tears and talking) this happens once every few months, if that, and probably only lasts a day. As it used to be there would have been one good day every few months! I showed my frustration today, however much i know and help others deal with things I still react in a human way. I do have the tools to help now though and the practice to remember to use them, usually.
If you are the co-rider of anxiety try to remember:
1 They are not doing this on purpose.
2 Anxiety is strong and tricky – try to find some tricks to use against it (tricky post coming up).
3 Breath, remove yourself and regroup when you start feeling yourself slip into despair.
4 Remind the anxious person to breath, take time out, regroup. Often.
5 Find them something soothing and/or distracting,- walk, bath, hot and cold showers, running or other exercise, watch something really funny to belly laugh. Its hard at a time like that I know, it’s worth it.
6 Suggest they choose tasks that don’t need thought or real responsibility whilst they ride it out. Understand you need to direct. I am sorry, this is tough if you are working for other people. There is no easy way.
7 Acknowledge what is happening. Verbalise that it is happening now but is not permanent (even if you have one good day every few months).
8 Work on a plan together of things you can do to take control.
9 Discuss how it feels for you both. Especially the anxious person, they probably never thing about how it feels they are just stuck in this dreadful engulfing feeling!
10 If you have kids explain, maybe get some advice about how best to do it. Don’t leave them being anxious because they are picking up on anxiety and have no idea why or what because you can’t see or touch it and it isn’t spoken about.
11 Really remember that anxiety does not define a person.
12 When improvement happens try not to blip back to how it was at its worst as I did today!
Sometimes the trigger can be obvious and sometimes not so. Try to trace it back because there is often some clue.
For us today there was a migraine, a type that causes dream flashes, a bit like déjà vu, that is very frightening.
Usually I smell a chemical smell up to about 12 hours before these migraines but this time there was nothing I noticed so I could give no warning and it is very frightening. There were disturbing dreams last night.
Fragments so small as to go unnoticed can piece together a bit of information. By discovering a few reasons you can rationalise a little bit and that gives a feeling of understanding and so control, or something akin to it.
As you talk it through, investigate (the time needs to be right for both parties!) the boil will reduce to a simmer, the sea will calm, that band of pressure around the head will slacken a bit. It really is anxio’us’ it effects all people close.
The amazing thing for us is that we have experience, stories, history, and we have learnt over many years and much study in a determination not to be beaten, how to deal with some of the rubbish life can deal out. That rubbish can taint everything else or you can start clearing it out.
I feel so much better now that I have talked.
Time to go back as support… I am sure tomorrow will be better, maybe even this evening.
Do not suffer anxiety alone. Here to support you whether you are the anxiety pilot or co-pilot.
Follow up, 4 hours later, I read this post to my person, he calmed, understanding helps, we went out shopping, we laughed at a few normal things, it dissipated. That sounds as though it was like a mild headache, it wasn’t for a short time. It never is. But these days it is just a reminder of what it was so, please, have hope!
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We had dinner with old friends at the weekend, nothing quite like that relationship where you are accepted just the way you are however long it’s been.
I was going to say ‘spots and all’ which reminded me of a snippet of conversation when I mentioned having been the spottiest girl in class.
I was actually, I am sure, the spottiest girl in the school; In fact, quite possibly the spottiest girl St Aiden’s school ever had!
It was totally mortifying. I distinctly remember, with shame, being dragged across the concrete garden between the art and science blocks towards Andrew Southgate, who was also being dragged kicking and screaming. Everyone chanting kiss, kiss, kiss. I had fancied him for ages. He said he wouldn’t go out with me because I was too spotty.
Well the greasy skin then means I may not have as many wrinkles as I would have had otherwise but I wish I knew then what I know today – that what we eat and drink and the way we live can change our skin (and our whole body) dramatically. Never so needed as during the various hormone changes of our lives.
We didn’t eat particularly badly then, we didn’t have processed food other than the odd tin of beans or spaghetti hoops on toast. Ate lots of fruit and vegetables (I worked on the fruit stall at the market at the weekends and in holidays), and as a family we had ‘pop’ and cakes rarely. BUT I was stressed, even as a child, life was a string of places to be with no time to get there amongst other things. I am sure that had a huge effect.
I was asked for some ideas to help someone with eczema at the weekend too. I would give the same advice for most skin complaints –
Up your clean water intake.
Add a tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar once or twice a day.
Reduce the whites – sugar, bread, flour, pasta, rice, cakes, pastries etc you know which they are!
Reduce dairy – cows milk cheese (try goats or sheeps, there are some that will sub for lots of cows cheeses), cream, milk – except milk kefir which, I believe, is worth using.
Reduce bread, when you do eat it choose wholemeal, granary or sourdough. I work much better with sourdough than ‘normal’ bread.
STOP eating all processed foods. Even fruit yogurts – they may sound good but are loaded with sugar.
STOP drinking fizzy drinks, unless its Kombucha, preferably homemade.
Sugar feeds disease. And you may think bread has very little sugar in it but IT TURNS INTO SUGAR AS SOON AS YOU SWALLOW IT!
Add in fermented foods and drinks such as:
Sourkraut (raw from the health food shop or homemade – easy peasy and cheap, Ill post instructions asap).
Kefir (as above – so easy to make and quick) nut milk kefir is totally dairy free but cows milk is so pre-digested I think its the dairy exception. And its fun watching those little grains go forth and multiply!
Kombucha (again easy and cheap to make at home, flavour it with bits of chopped ginger and its like ginger beer).
Fermented veggies – can be made using a starter from health food shops or, much cheaper and more fun, use some whey from your milk Kefir (strain the Kefir and you have the basis of Kefir cheese and some clear whey which is the bit you use for the vegetables).
So, any or all of this will help. The more you do the better results. It beats antibiotic creams that sting and drinking cabbage water and the results will speak for themselves – not only in the look and feel of your skin but also in your mood, mind clarity, digestion, energy levels, eye brightness and more!
Want to change fast?
Learn to change and start the change with us at our Recombobulate retreat in rural France then go home feeling great and with the tools to LIVE the change.
Come on, lets get you sorted!
Wealth is having love, kindness, a shoulder when you need it.
It is silence with a friend, being comfortable in your own skin, sharing, caring, valuing and being valued just the way you are.
If you constantly criticise you will feel constantly criticised.
If you constantly judge you will feel constantly judged.
If you belittle, you will feel less.
If you are quick to attack you will be defensive.
If you cannot be trusted how can you trust?
If you are not honest you will never believe.
If you do not give love you will not receive.
If you constantly brag nobody will be impressed.
If you do those things to yourself you can’t walk away. You can’t feel true happiness.
If you only think me, me, me you will only have you, you, you.
If you are generous of nature you will feel kindness.
If you are generous of word you will hear kind words.
If you are generous of spirit your spirit will be light.
If you are trusting and just you will feel safer.
If you listen and hear you have more chance of being heard.
If you give without taking you will also gain.
If you give all this to yourself, you will feel secure.
And the ripple effect will be radiant and travel far.
Another week begins. Let’s renew our goals, write them down. Think about them, make them realistic and make them count – don’t have too many!
We are still on the same mission, losing some weight, gaining a lot of energy, clarity, sleep, motivation.
As we lose the ‘baddies’ (see earlier post) we will gain on all those levels and also enjoy mood change – apart from the obvious “grrrrr, I just want a drink/burger/cream tea/packet of salt n vinegar”, our mood will generally be elevated – food, especially sugar and added chemicals, really has a massive effect on our mood; here’s an experiment for you, feed a toddler a real food diet of fruit veggies, nuts, seeds, maybe some organic fish and chicken for a month (actually a week would probably work) then give it a thick milkshake from the place with a capital M and stand back, a long way – a better idea, don’t, just do the first part, for life!
I have a new all singing, all dancing (OK, just all juicing) juicer and it makes LOADS of juice and hardly any pulp, what there is is powder dry and the juice is delicious!!! I haven’t even been adding an apple. Here’s a photo of today’s juice, it’s a green juice but looks multicoloured (is that an oxymoron?) – kale, celery, cuc, carrots, beetroot and their leaves, ginger. Look…
And I have a big glass bottle full in the fridge ready for tomorrow morning!
So this week one of the meals we will be having, and I will be giving recipes for, is burgers – they are dehydrating now, don’t worry they can be made in a conventional oven and I’ll give alternatives – with homemade ketchup and creamy coleslaw. I’ll include optional chips.
The burgers will be topped with “ah hem”…’smoky bakern’ and pineapple (real) and drizzled with 1000 islands dressing, all for my old mate Diane. We used to serve them up and, usually, eat them. Hawian burgers, delicious and now we can have them again – not as we knew them but they’ll be good all the same 🙂
Oh and my goals are – lose the other 3kg, juice every day, no wine mid week, meditate each day, sleeeeeep, post every other day.
The war against the baddies begins by having the goodies abundantly available so I’ve compiled a shopping list. You will probably have some of it already.
You can swap things out (not like crisps in place of apples or wine in place of water though), you can religiously follow or just use what I write and eat as a guide. Up to you.
The main thing to remember is if you want to lose weight you need to change something.
If you move more (a lot more) and eat less AND/OR differently consistently you will lose weight, look better, feel better and depending how far you choose to go really make some massive changes to your health.
So here is a useful shopping list. A list of things that you can use for an instant snack, to throw together something quickly to eat, or to take your time to make a meal.
We need to have something easy and fast when we are hungry before we are tempted by fat, salt and sugar laden snacks and quick bites – stodge by any other name!
Packet of sea weed – Nori sheets work best.
The main meal recipes I suggest for the next few days are;
Im loving the Nike Training app (OK loving it is reaching – I love it AFTER I have done it!!) also the ‘7 min WC’ app – I can never find an excuse not to find 7 minutes for that one 🙂