The Mind Switch That Makes Any Eating Change Easier

So, last week was different…….I went to hospital and had a camera shoved down my throat to try and see why it’s been driving me bonkers since September.

The good news is there’s nothing seriously wrong with me that a heap of medication can’t hide – but, now that I know that I have decided that rather than just take that medicine to mask my symptoms, I’d prefer to try and tackle what’s causing them. As such, I am attempting a pretty radical diet makeover for a couple of weeks to give my gut some time off. I am limiting – note I’m not saying quitting, just not consuming 90% of the time – gluten, dairy and sugar. While still attempting to limit starchy carbs to 2-3 meals a week (which adds a new dimension of fun).

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Now normally this would be impossible for me – my brain would immediately go into some kind of tantrum of the first order and start screaming for all of the above louder than a tween at a One Direction gig. Demonic like possession would ensue that would see me buying foods like crumpets that I haven’t eaten since I was about 10.

However, one thing I have learned doing the High Fat diet is the absolute best way to go on any kind of restrictive eating plan is to live by this  simple rule

Forget about the things you can’t have and just focus on everything you can.

 

In the last few days following this rule has seen me doing things like….

Eating my own body weight in beans and pulses – I never normally eat them because there doesn’t seem like there’s room on the plate if you have meat, veg and carbs – but I absolutely love them. Dinner twice this week has been beans, chorizo, veggies and passata eaten with a spoon from a bowl. Note: eating things with a spoon from a bowl, has also become a theme – I’m not sure why, but it just seems easier to eat ‘unconventional’ meals, in an unconventional way.

I have pureed frozen bananas to make ‘ice cream’. I have also learned that frozen bananas take half an episode of Man Men to defrost and you should take them out at least 20 minutes before you want to eat them.

Cauliflower rice is actually amazing – I didn’t want to believe it but it is

I have made hummus – and it made me stupidly happy. I have been skipping round the house like I found the meaning of life via the blender. Along with the rest of the world I bought the Deliciously Ella book (I had to see what the fuss was about) and used her hummus recipe. It was really creamy and tasted pretty much like my M&S fave. I didn’t feel like dipping though so I’ve been eating a bowl of hummus with chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber and chopped red pepper mixed in it – and crispy bacon on top. Who needs crudites?

I admit I haven’t got through it without any cravings. I’d pretty much quit carbs while on High Fat anyway so I’m not missing them, but I am desperate for cheese, milk and sweet stuff (I normally soothe my sweet cravings with milk). The ironic thing about this is that the fridge is full of ALL the cheese because The Boyfriend, has taken to the High Fat diet like a duck to water, but instead of staring at the shelf drooling and cursing that it’s denied to me, I think about the fact that I can have cashew nuts instead! Thankfully I’m not trying to do this to lose weight!

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So, what can I eat? Well here’s 40 odd answers to that question that I’ve found so far…….

Instead of pasta/cereals
Courgetti, c-oodles – and a billion other veggie noodles
Rice, quinoa, buckwheat – if I do want a starchy carb
Cauliflower rice
Sweet potatoes
Squash
Black beans
Butter beans
Soba noodles
Lentils – red, green and Puy
Chia seeds
Chickpeas

Instead of bread
(these work as wraps or sandwich bases)
Cucumber strips
Half a bell pepper
Lettuce leaves
Seaweed
Flat mushrooms
Celery sticks

These are a bit more out there but trust me….
Bacon, smoked salmon and ham….pile stuff on top like inside out sandwiches
Crushed nuts work like breadcrumbs
Omelettey eggs make a good base too, pile stuff on them

Instead of milk/cheese
Nutritional yeast
Soy milk
Almond milk
Coconut milk
Cashew cheese (another Ella creation, I havent tried it yet)

Instead of sugar when sweet cravings hit
Frozen pureed bananas
A teaspoon of coconut oil (I suck it off the spoon)
Cashew nuts – super sweet
Nut butter
Dates
Coconut Yogurt

Every day the list grows a little more. So do I feel any better? Possibly – I’ve noticed I’m not as mucusy before, my eyes are super white and my skin looks less sallow. The throat symptoms are more of a work in progress, it might take a bit longer to tackle those but at least I’ve got 40 odd foods to play with while I try…..so,, do you have got any more suggestions for me? What can I add to the list?

 

Images: freedigitalphotos.net

The Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. It’s happening

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Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee – that’s the noise I’m making right now as hot off the press comes the official news that Disney have decided to do a race in Disneyland Paris. In fact they just announced the date as Sept 23-25th 2016.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..oh, I already said that.

As yet there are no other details as to what races are happening or when you can register, apparently they literally announced it at the start line of the Princess Half in Florida and the news is winging it’s way across social media now, but there is a webpage where you can sign up for details when they are announced. Me…..I’ve already put my name down. *endlessly repeats ‘please let me get a place, please let me get a place’ and hopes the run fairies are listening*

The New Health Rules – fave new book alert

I get a lot of books plop onto my desk each week but every so often one jumps up and down shouting, ‘read me I’m special .’ That’s what happened when the new book by New York holistic guru (and one of the many members of Team Gywneth) Dr Frank Lipman arrived. Why did I love it? Because it’s so simply done. It’s just a different rule on each page that aims to improve your health, there’s not reems of theories and information, just a simple ‘do this and you will feel better, live better, be better’ concept. It really is, as it says on the front ‘Simple Changes To Achieve Whole-Body Wellness.’ There’s over 100 tips within the book, but here’s five of my favourites. NB: they’re a bit longer in the book, not much, but a bit.

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Get your hands dirty – you body needs microbes from outdoors to keep your immune system strong. Dig in the garden or do cartwheels on the lawn (or beach!).

If you eat cows make sure they eat grass. Enough said. Grassfed meat is just plain healthier

Spend lots of time with people you love. Even if requires more effort than messaging them on Facebook make it happen.

Look up. Making eye contact and being present in your surroundings is something the age of smartphones has seriously messed with. Lift your head and be part of the world

Clutter is the junk food of the home. Clearing it out ungunks your gears and gets your energy flowing again.

I think it’s a great little book. Each tip is really simple and you get a real feeling that they can change your life, your health and your happiness. Check it out now on amazon, it’s published from today.

 

It’s nearly time for The Good Food Eat Well Show

What are you doing Feb 27th to March 1st? Got nothing planned? Fancy a day out learning about the newest launches and trends in healthy eating?Of course you do. Why don’t you purchase a ticket to the first ever BBC Good Food Eat Well Show which takes place at London Olympia that weekend?.

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There are heaps of exhibitors lined up to show their wares and some really big name speakers throughout the weekend. That list includes Davina McCall discussing how to quit sugar, Fast Diet guru Dr Michael Moseley is there. You can hear Dale Pinnock aka the Medicinal Chef (what this man doesn’t know about food and how it can heal isn’t worth knowing) and the king of anti-aging nutrition Rick Hay – and then there appearances from pretty much all the queens of eating well and loving it like Amelia Freer, Natasha Corrett and the Hemsley sisters.

Oh, and as an added bonus if you go on the Friday morning, you might get a chance to meet me (don’t all rush at once). How can this be Helen you ask? Because the lovely team over at Healthista.com have a stand there and they’re letting some of their favourite bloggers loose on the public – and it seems I’m one of them.  Personally, I’d rather meet Healthista ed Anna she’s far more sensible than I am – she’s around pretty much all weekend too.

If you do get the urge to say hi though, I’ll be around the Healthista stand at some point in the morning (can’t be more specific as there are trains involved, lots of trains!). After about 12.00 I’m off into the distance though whizzing around the stands myself. Here’s a few of the things I’m really keen to check out…

BelSeva birch water – it’s tipped as one of the health trends of the year but I haven’t tried it yet. Definitely going to be changing that on the day.

Two Chicks – egg white bites. I bought some egg white crisps last time I was in the States and they were interesting. Looking forward to trying this home grown version.

Heck – I’ve been after a sample of their super low cal new sausage for a while. This could be my chance to try it.

If you want tickets, you can buy them from the Good Food website – but I have a better idea. Click on this link and you can buy your ticket with a special 20 percent Healthista discount – just follow the instructions (you’ll also find heaps of info about the show there too).

 

 

Testing: The FlipBelt

Well the back seemed to enjoy its run last week – so much so that it’s now (touch wood) feeling normal so I’ve managed to run three times now – it’s a lot harder than I remember! Still this did give me a chance to test one of the things that appeared on my desk during my long absence – the FlipBelt

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They say the simplest ideas are the best and this kind of fits that remit. It’s basically a long stretchy tube that you wear around your waist/hips to stash your stuff while you run (or walk, cycle, swing a kettlebell etc – according to the pics on the website anyway). The belt contains slits in one side that you slide your items into, then you flip it over (see what they did with the name there) so the slits are covered adding a little layer of security that things won’t careen off down the High Street as you jog past.

Despite this though, worrywort here was still nervous. I decided to test it using the things I normally take during a race – my inhaler, my iphone and my keys. One of the slits has a little hook in it to attach your keys which did give me a level of reassurance. I put them all in, slipped on the belt which fitted nice and snugly round my hips and flipped it over. I decided to wear it under my running shirt thinking that would also give another layer if my phone did make a break for freedom.

For the first 10 minutes, I did spend a lot of time checking everything was still in place and other than shifting about a centimetre to the left that seemed to be the case. I couldn’t feel my inhaler at all and nothing was tinkling or jingling in the key department. After 10 minutes I realised nothing was moving and pretty much forgot about it. It didn’t chafe or ride up and all in all I was pretty impressed.

Rare ab shot. Not to be reproduced anywhere, anyhow!

Rare ab shot. Not to be reproduced anywhere, anyhow!

On the site they do recommend that if you’re putting money or small items in it that you secure them in a small bag to minimise the chance of them falling out. I think I’d secure that little bag to the hook too if I was carrying my emergency tenner that I take on long runs (if anyone asks it’s in case I need to buy an extra drink, in reality it’s for if I ever decide I can’t face going any further and call a cab!)

The only thing that I was wondering about was whether how well it would work if you used your headphones on your phone as you run. I use my shuffle so don’t normally have my phone connected but I did try plugging some headphones in when I got home (and was on the relatively safe softness of carpet) and did pull them about a bit and the phone seemed to stay put – in fact the headphones detached before the phone moved that far. Not that I’m any kind of engineer but I think you’d have to be fairly unlucky with your angles for the phone to fly out of the slits once it’s in place, especially if it’s turned over.

I did find my phone could fall out when you take the belt off though so be careful with that if you remove the belt to carry it (likely after a race when everything is a bit sweaty). My only other caveat might be what happens in a year’s time if the slits start to stretch, but I guess time will tell on that one.

So, my verdict – it’s a nice addition to your running wardrobe. It didn’t bounce as much as my fuel belt, nor was I as aware of it’s presence – although of course, it doesn’t have any spaces for water bottles so I’d still need to use my proper belt on long runs. It would be great for trips to the gym though if you just want to get in and out – I never quite know what to carry things in if I’m not showering, or not wearing a jacket, so end up taking a bag I don’t need. This would solve the problem. To see more visit theflipbelt.co.uk – it comes it heaps of colours and all the styles cost £25.00

 

 

 

Are you ready for Veggie Wrapping?

It’s that time in the month when I talk about what I’ve put on my healthista.com page and this month’s it’s chocful of new trends. You’ll find info on an amazing new exercise class that’s like working out in an Imax, get a heads up on M&S’s new 77 calorie snack. You’ll learn what what Pulsing is, about the new virtual running club for plus size women and there’s handbags. Handbags you can keep trainers in.

However despite the handbags, that’s not actually the trend I’m loving most this month – that goes to the idea of Veggie Wrapping. See last year was huge for veggie swapping – courgetti took over from spaghetti, we had broccoli rice and cauliflower pizza crusts – and this year I’m predicting the rise of more and more people using veggies instead of bread.

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@Kyes Santa Monica

 

The reason I say this is a new LA restaurant opening called Kye’s who wrap their burritos in lettuce and nori seaweed rather than tortilla wraps (that’s them above) – and if something starts there then it’s going to come here.There’s heaps of ways veggies can replace bread…

Grilled slices of aubergine make a brilliant replacement for toast topped with things like egg mayonnaise or tuna.

Grilled flat mushrooms work like buns around burgers or sandwich fillings.

Celery sticks fill brilliantly with things like cream cheese, peanut butter and egg mayonnaise.

And of course you can try serving all sorts of things in leaves of lettuce and cabbage or sheets of seaweed.

I’m becoming a huge wrapping convert, here’s a recipe for Pulled Pork in Lettuce Wraps from The High Fat Diet. We had it for dinner the other night and it was great. Oh before you head off to the kitchen, if you want to check out what else is on healthista.com – here’s where you need to click

 

Pulled Pork from The High Fat Diet by Zana Morris and Helen Foster

Pulled Pork from The High Fat Diet by Zana Morris and Helen Foster

 

Pulled pork parcels

Serves 3-4

600 g (24 oz) boneless pork shoulder

2 tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

2 lettuce leaves per person

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  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.
  • Crush the garlic and place it in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and then add to the garlic. Mix well and add the Cajun seasoning.
  • Place the pork in a large baking tray and rub with the butter mixture. Cover with foil, place in the middle of the oven for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Open the foil and check whether it’s ‘pullable’ – you should be able to flake a little off the edge with a fork prong and a sharp knife should easily go through the middle. If it’s not quite ‘flakeable’, remove the foil and cook for a further 30–40 minutes checking it once or twice. I know that’s vague but it’s not an exact science – everyone’s oven seems to cook it at a slightly different rate.
  • It’s now time to ‘pull’ the pork – simply use two forks and shred it so it creates thin strips. If any bits don’t pull, don’t worry, just chop them up and add them to the pile.

Divide into three or four portions and place half of each portion inside a lettuce leaf. If there are less than four of you, you can freeze the leftover pork.

OOPS. Sorry regular readers, gremlins got into this and sent it out earlier than scheduled. I didnt plan on appearing in your in box twice in one day.

Completed: First Run of 2015

That seems a very strange phrase to write – after all we are 38 days into 2015. And not only was it my first run – it was my first exercise, full stop, this year. I’ve never gone that long without doing something – even when I was banned from running for three months while we attempted to fix a nasty case of plantar fasciitis I started swimming five times a week. But the Indian bus did a serious number on my back – it’s not completely right even now, but I figured exercise would kill or cure (admittedly I probably should have started on something less impacty like a bike, but hey…..).

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Ah, Running Helen – I remember her

 

Still my time off has given me a few weeks to appreciate the benefits of exercise – these are all the things I’ve noticed on my time off

My skin looks awful – I look about 10 years older. It’s sallow, grey and has just lost its glow – and no amount of Sephora purchased magic is helping it. And I’ve currently got a tan – heaven knows how grey I’d look otherwise!

My digestive system hates me – normally, the word clockwork is used, now, not so much – I still remember a bowel expert saying ‘I’ve never met a constipated runner’ – I get his point!

I’m cranky – little things that normally don’t bother me bug me hugely.

My energy is down – the phrase ‘oh I can’t be arsed’ gets said quite a lot.

In fact the only bonus I’ve discovered is that not going to the gym or heading out for a run before it gets dark means I get time to work a 12 hour day – so I’m really productive. Hang on, is that really a benefit?

Anyway hopefully my brief 10 minute trip round the block won’t leave me unable to get up by tomorrow morning and is just the start of getting back to moving again – I do hope so, there’s loads of new fitnessy stuff I want to test.

Yummy Paleo snack alert

Well yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, the Mail Online article meant the book rocketed up the charts on amazon and first thing this morning was their No4 bestseller overall – and their No1 selling diet book, which is all a bit surreal.

Sadly this doesn’t mean I can retire on the profits so it’s nose to the grindstone still, and my first blog related plan of action was to try out the new flavour of Paleo bar that had plopped onto my desk.

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Made by The Primal Pantry it prides itself on only using 6 ‘real food’ ingredients, and, as one would expect in a Paleo related snack, grains, sugars and vegetable oils aren’t among them.

The bars have been around a while, but this is a new addition to the range – Apple and Pecan flavour – and it is actually, really, really good. Said six ingredients are dates, almonds, pecan, apples, cinnamon and almond oil and the bar is a a great mixture of gooey dates and crunchy nuts – the fact that it did have some crunch to it made it particularly appealing.

They’re not super low calorie – 199 per bar – but because they are quite dense, if you were trying to stick 100 calorie snacks, half a bar would work just fine. Obviously with dates as the first ingredient the sugar content is fairly high – 16.9g, but it’s fruit sugars rather than added sugar.

Personally I rather like them. If you want to give them a try you can order them in multipacks online via the Primal Pantry website (while you’re there, get me a couple of Brazil Nut and Cherry ones, they sound really yummy), or check out the local stockists on the site if you can’t be trusted not to nom the lot if you buy 18 of them – or is that just me?

The High Fat Diet is on the Mail Online – squeeee

Quick post – not least because I’m so excited I can barely type. But the High Fat Diet has appeared on the website of the Daily Mail newspaper today. Look….

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Follow The High Fat Diet and you’ll eat lots of these

 

I’ve just done the diet again (a month in Asia and India eating rice and curry will take a small toll) – and lost 8lb in 10 days (it would have been more but for my strict no exercise ban). The Boyfriend has also joined in and lost 11lb (I’m trying to get a guest post out of him over the weekend).

I’m not going to say anything else, but for those of you have already bought it thank  you, for those who might still be intrigued, check out the Mail Online for some more idea of what it’s all about.  Or, just look for this book in the shops this weekend and you’ll get EVERYTHING you need to know…

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Avocado image: freedigitalphotos

 

The Muddy Dog Obstacle Race

I need a dog – does anyone have a dog? Why…..because hot on the heels (probably literally if you got them in the same room) of Bunny Yoga, in Helen’s theme of ‘let’s just talk about animals until I can move/eat again’ – is the announcement of the 2015 Muddy Dog challenge.

Image @batterseadogshome

Image @batterseadogshome

This is a 2.5 and 5km obstacle race for humans – and their dogs!!! It’s taking place on May 10th in South London and the idea is you and your furry friend cover the course in leaps and bounds – while at least one of you gets wet and/or muddy. Not surprisingly it’s raising money for Battersea Dogs Home. The entry fee is £25.00 per human, £8.50 per dog and they’d like you to raise  £100 in sponsorship if possible.

With the news that Tough Mudder have now added what they are referring to as the Cry-Baby ‘tear gas tunnel’ to their obstacles, quite frankly washing the mud off an overexcited Labrador after trotting a field for 5km seems perfectly pleasurable.

Oh and every dog gets a special Muddy Dog bandana – which would sell it me – if I had a dog. To find out more, check out the link here