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March 16th 2013 – The Fattest Day Ever.

This is the day I realised I weighed more than I ever had before and its also the day I (finally) decided to do something about it.  

Over the years I’ve tried every club going – Weight Watchers groups and online, same with Slimming World, Rosemary Connelly and Sainsburysdiets.com and I lost weight with them all but found it hard to feel satisfied, motivated and perhaps most importantly – really easy to just do.  I’d always loose around 10lbs, get bored and eventually stop going.  Then, the weight would go back on and more besides.

On March 16th 2013, I swore that by my 39th Birthday (June) I’d be thinner and feel better.  Sadly, I didnt really have a plan and on my 39th I felt as fat as I’d ever been and just ‘not-me’.  I was also pretty disappointed.

So I decided that instead of joining (yet another) club – I would read and teach myself about what my body really needs to function.  As an office worker with occasional exercise in the week, what does my body really need to function well?  The first answer was that my body needed to carry a lot less fat.  I also learned that I do need carbs, I just don’t need loads of them.  Carbs release energy into your body really quickly so are excellent if you are about to run, or have some major physical activity.  If you are about to sit on your arse and work on a computer for the next 4 hours, they are a bit of a shabby friend.  Your body can only use some of that energy and converts the rest to (very unhealthy around your middle) fat and saves it up for later.

I learned that what my body does need – is the chance to burn off the fat stored and get healthy in the process.  Intro lots and lots of green veggies in every meal and generally speaking a 50:50 visual split been your veggies and your protein.  Its not carb free, just carb reduction.

There are three steps:

1) Educate yourself properly on low-carb veggie foods.
  It doesn’t take long.
The Internet is a never ending resource, some of the best info I found came from these sites: 
http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/lowcarbeating
http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/4408/stocking-the-low-carb-vegetarian-kitchen
This blokes site is FAB for science stuff but if you just want a food list – scroll to the bottom of this link http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegetarian-protein/

2) Become a member of http://www.myfitnesspal.com and track what you eat.  Every single thing that you eat.
This is the only calorie counter I found that tracks everything including protein, sodium, carbs etc. so its super useful an …. its FREE.  Even better than that, make a few friends and you have a ready-made support network – for good days and bad.  I’ve found on average, if you ask a question you get an answer back within the hour or less.  Its a truly fantastic support network and the Before and After stories on there will not fail to inspire, humble and motivate.

3) Stop eating sugar.  Stop eating refined sugar in the form of processed stuff with high carb counts.  Take responsibility for knowing what sugar looks like.  Your body does not need this much sugar.  This is why your body takes it and stores it as fat.  Read this, yes its targeted at Diabetes but the principles are the same for us all. http://diabeteshealth.com/read/2007/04/24/5143/

There are pretty much NO plans out in the market atm that support this eating choice and yet I find I’m eating really well!  I’m having tasty filling food that has actually made my skin clearer and I have consistently lost an average lots of 3-4lbs every single week (including to sessions of TOM and that’s really saying something!).

I’m focusing on lots fresh colorful veg and plenty of protein.  I do limit the fruit and have ditched all refined sugars – pasta, bread, rice etc.  Having previously VERY much enjoyed my carbs, the first week was hard I wont lie.  But since then its actually been much easier!

Because I have a TERRIBLE memory, I often forget food I’ve had and really enjoyed so this blog is a diary to self of all the good stuff to be enjoyed!  I like tasty big flavours, robust hearty food that satisfies, fits in with the (meat-eating) husband and (fussy) kids and most importantly – 20 minutes is the maximum time I like to commit to cooking.  I’m hungry, damn it!

Some benefits so far, which I have noticed:

36lbs weight loss, 27 in 3 months.
Look in the mirror and notice a waist!
Compliments
Clothes look MUCH better on
Feel better
IBS has massively decreased
Skin is so much clearer

http://www.modelmydiet.com is a good tool, because you want to be the thin one!

The end.

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Quorn ‘Chicken’ Fillets in a Blue Cheese sauce

This ones a corker, I just noshed it down in about 30 seconds flat and then realised I hadn’t done the ol’ photograph, d’oh!!!  Serves 2 and take around 15 mins, enjoy xxx

Bag 6 Quorn Fillets (45 cals each)
80g blue cheese (I used Morrisons savers range and it was actually very nice, and vegetarian friendly)
250 Alpro Single cream (or just single cream)
80-100g Frozen sweetcorn ( or tinned, whatever!)
One small/medium onion
15g Rapeseed Oil
200g Broccoli florets 
Black pepper

OK, this is a really quick and easy make.  Here goes…

Boil the kettle.  

Get out your saucepan, ideally a heavy based one but any will do.  Put in the oil and gentle start to warm.

Dice your onion so its chopped up fairly fine and add to the pan, stir to coat the onions with oil and pop on the lid.

Defrost the Quorn fillets and chop diagonally into strips, add to onions.  Stir and cover.

Leave that cooking away for around 5 mins, stirring occasionally.  Next, pop the sweetcorn in a microwaveable container add a splash of boiling water, cover and microwave for a few minutes so that its thoroughly steamed through.  Do the same with the broccoli florets and just check they are both tender.  Of course, use a steamer if you have one (and can be bothered!).  Drain off any excess water.

Now its a case of bunging everything together – so add the cream, crumble in the cheese.  Add the veg and stir the whole lot together and season well with the pepper.  You probably wont need salt due to the cheese but see how it goes for you.

And, that’s it.  Super quick.  Super easy.  Supremely tasty – enjoy!

The nutritional value per serving is around 724 cals, 20g carbs, 48g fat, 15g protein 

No chopping, just pop-in ‘Steak’ Bake

This is my super lazy, no maintenance dish for days when I need to get home and burn off some stress with a little exercise, pre-eating.  So simple, you just put everything in an oven dish and cover with foil, let it cook whilst you feel the burn.  Or put the kids to bed.  Or put your feet up!!!  This makes enough for two and is delish topped off with a good handful of strong cheddar.
 
Quorn steak style strips (300g bag, frozen)
1x Bisto Stock Pot, Vegetable
200ml boiling water
60g Sainsburys Italian Chilli and Tomato paste
100g fine green beans
100g pepper (any colour)
100g Courgette
Lots of seasoning to your taste
 
Pop the oven on, around 190 degrees.  Boil the kettle!
Defrost the Quorn in your microwave for a few minutes.
Put the stockpot and tomato paste in a jug and add the boiling water, whisk and dissolve.  Add seasoning to your taste.
Put the Quorn and all the veg (raw is fine and you can use frozen veg if you like) in an oven proof dish big enough to contain it all, but not massive.  Pour over the sauce and cover with tin foil.
Chuck it in the oven and let the whole lot steam and infuse – takes 20 minutes.
 
Serve in a bowl and eat with a spoon, its got tasty gravy!
 
Oh and you could make this gravy and have it spooned over some Quorn Peppered Steaks for Sunday roast!
 
 
 

Massive Spicy ‘Sausage’ Salad, perfect for Lunchtime

OK so I normal post my dinners (and don’t photograph them cause largely, not much on presentation.  I wouldn’t get far on Mast Chef!!!).  But I just ate this and MAN it was really NICE!  So here goes:

4x Quorn Frozen Sausages
Small splash rapeseed oil
15-20g Sainsburys Italian Tomato and Chilli Paste (comes in a tube)
25g Mature cheddar in tiny little slices
Big ol’ handful of spinach
One red pepper, sliced
A little salad cream – or dressing of your choice

The night before (or on the morning), defrost and chop up your sausages, pop them in the frying pan with the oil an cook till crispy and browned.  Remove from the frying pan, allow to cool in a bowl and then add the Tommy paste and stir though.  Put in some of your finest tupperware and store in the fridge.

When its time to eat, wash your leaves and chop your pepper, scatter on a plate.  Add the dressing and top with your spicy sausage bites and finally, bung on the cheese.  Add a little pepper (black, freshly ground) if you wish and enjoy!

This is one good sized serving and will keep you going all afternoon!
Calories 548, Carbs 30g and Protein 28g.

 

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Creamy ‘chicken’ tomato & Chilli Onepot

Hello – yep, I’ve been away for a bit.  But I’m back (and around 9lbs lighter since I last put on a post so I must still be doing something right!!!).  I wont bore you with my reasons for being away, I’ll just crack on with another stupidly easy meal idea!

Creamy ‘chicken’ tomato & Chilli Onepot
This serves two people as a main meal and is very quick to make, less than 18 mins and there’s even a cheat taking it down to 13 ….

6 Quorn fillets
125g Sainsburys Soft Cheese, Light in Garlic and Herb flavour
60g Whole milk
30g Sainsburys Italian Tomato and Chilli paste (comes in a tube)
Veg to act as a pasta substitute, either courgette or green beans cut in ribbons, pepper slices – whatever veg you prefer.
Lots of salt and pepper for seasoning
Tiny bit of rapeseed oil
Big green salad on the side

Defrost the Quorn fillets in your microwave (or take out and pop in fridge the night before) and then chop into whatever shaped chunks you fancy.  Me, I’m a diagonal strips kinda gal.  Pop them into a heavy based saucepan and drizzle with the oil.  On a mid heat, start to cook until the edges turn golden.  Then, bung in your veg***.

Right away, add everything else – the milk, cheese, paste and seasoning and give a good stir.  Pop on the lid, turn down the heat a little and stir every few minutes so it doesn’t stick.  Keep on the heat until the veg is cooked but still firm to the bite to keep the goodness.

Serve.  Eat.  Burp.

***If you are super pushed for time then just microwave the veg with a splash of water and add in at the end, saving around 8 mins, just think what you could do with that eh?!!).

Oh and I thought I should start adding the nutritional values…
Using 1/2 a courgette per person, each serving provides:

Cals per serving  282, Carbs 14g, Fat 10g, Protein 27g

Cheesy Creamy ‘Chicken’ Dinner

This ones so simple I’m actually embarrassed to post it but in the true sprit of my blog – recording the good eats so I never run out of inspiration for myself – I will.

4 Quorn Fillets (or real chicken breast)
1/2 carton Alpro Single
40 – 50gs Grated Mature Cheese
Knorr Aromat All Purpose Savoury Seasoning
Glug Rapeseed Oil (or similar)
Salt and pepper

Feeds one very hungry person or two with plenty of extra veg.  Max 15 mins start to finish.

Chop the fillets into biggish bite-sized bits.  Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high and bung them in.  Fry until golden and ready.  Sprinkle on plenty of the Knorr seasoning and cook for the last couple of minutes.

Take off the heat and immediately pour on the cream and throw in the cheese – stir well and season to taste (go easy on salt through, as Knorr stuff will give it that kick).

Serve with salad or loads of fresh steamed greens.  Yum.

My fav simple, super filling salad

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Get a 225g block of Light Halloumi, chop up and dry fry, turning regularly to stop it sticking.

Prep a plate with a MASSIVE handful of baby spinach,  Chop up a nice crispy red pepper and scatter over the top, same with a big ol’ chunk of cucumber.

Crack open some Crespo Green pitted olives with herbs and scatter about half the packet on.

I dont really like raw tomato but you could really boost the good by adding one!

10ish sprays of Fry Light Balsamic Salad Dressing.

Add the Halloumi and BANG.  Yumchops.  The halloumi fills you right the hell up and all the greens keep you young and healthy.  This is a brilliant low-carb high protein salad and a perennial fav of mine for quick and easy when you are hungry!

(Not too naughty) Roast Butternut, Garlic and Cream Cheese Soup

Has a massive Mmmmmmmmmm factor and super easy to make.  Delish as a soup, but also a fantastic sauce for Quorn (or chicken) fillets …

I good sized Butternut Squash
4 cloves of Garlic
Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and pint boiling water
Big tub cream cheese (I used Philly Light)
Salt and fresh black pepper
Some Sage, if you have it.
Oilseed Rape

Serves at least 2-4, more depending on the size of your Squash!

Peel, scoop out the seeds and chop the Squash into 1 inch cubes (thats not critical BTW, you don’t have to be perfect!).  Put the chunks in a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil.  Put in the oven for around 15 – 20 minutes, roast until soft.

Peel the garlic gloves and add to the butternut along with the sage when its about half way cooked.

In the meantime, boil the kettle, make the stock and sit down for a bit.

When the roasting is done and the veg is soft, tip the whole lot into the biggest saucepan you can find.  Add the cream cheese, salt and pepper.  Add about half the stock and blend with a hand blender (or food processor if you have one).  Add the remaining stock as you wish, to the consistency you like.  Heat through again and serve.

Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on the top.  Stupidly easy to make and very rewarding to eat.  But wont make your bum big.