Monthly Archives: April 2013

Papaya For Breakfast

Papaya

Papaya

I was feeling thirsty and found myself dreaming about fruits I eat in the south of France: apricots, white peaches, watermelon… They are so sweet and refreshing.

But well… I live in London, so I went to my local supermarket hoping to find something that would make a fresh and tasty alternative to my French fruit dream. And I bought a papaya.

I’m sure many of you have had papayas before but I didn’t and I had to look online how to prepare a papaya. And for those of you who, like me, didn’t know, it’s easy.

  1. I peeled the skin off and sliced the papaya in half
  2. I removed the seeds with a spoon
  3. Then sliced it
  4. And I squeezed the juice of half a lemon

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I tried it without the lemon but I think the lemon gives it a nice sharper flavour.

Trying new foods is now part of my goals and this one is a winner! I ate it in no time! Now to enjoy a sunny day of revision in the garden with a big jug of water with lemon and orange slices :)

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The confusion between being healthy and being on a diet

I used to find there was a thin line between being healthy and being on a diet, and I think there still is for a lot of people. So I have thought deeply about it and here are the differences to me:

               BEING ON A DIET BEING HEALTHY

So it appears there are more things to think about when trying to be healthy, but in my opinion it is worth it. You may have noticed these two lists I made don’t mention every food groups. I wanted to focus on the differences between dieting and being healthy. I haven’t directly mentioned protein, but it goes without saying that any meat eaten should be organic and grass fed for best quality. This way it shouldn’t have received hormones and other crap. Fish should be organic too or wild, but I know there are some wild fish that we shouldn’t be fishing for ecological reasons, however I don’t know much on that subject. I usually buy organic fish. Same goes for eggs and pretty much everything.

Nuts and seeds (brazilnuts, pecan, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.) should be an important part of a healthy diet too as they provide nutrients that other foods don’t. It’s easy to introduce them to your diet by adding them to porridge, yoghurt, and salads.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it is important to eat a wide variety of foods, it’s the best way to get all the nutrients we need for optimum health. I will never diet again because I’m worth better than that, and eating healthily won’t make me put on weight!

One last thing, I know buying fresh and organic is expensive. I spend a lot of money on food and I understand some people can’t afford it. But I need to say it, I don’t earn much money, but I made my health a priority and decided to be ok with spending more money on food than the average consumer. It’s my choice. I spend less on shopping.

P.s: If you’re wondering why I am focusing on eating healthy and natural food so much, it’s because diet related diseases are the new epidemic of this century. They are caused by eating too much sugar, the wrong fats and processed and unhealthy foods. I will write something about that later, probably this month, because it is really important that we try to improve our diets. Eating well can make a difference to our lifespan, and help avoiding diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and even some cancers. Food can be our fuel for long and healthy life, why not make the most of it?

Why Should I Try Coconut Oil?

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

That’s what I was asking myself the last time I was in Costco and passed one of their giant displays of 3+ pound jars of it. I could see the white substance inside that was solid at room temperature. Oil?

Coconut oil is a saturated fat and we need to avoid saturated fats, right? I can’t count the times I have written in negative terms about the saturated fat content of various food items.

Nonetheless, I found myself intrigued by the coconut oil. So, I bought some.

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When I got home, I learned some very positive things about coconut oil on the web.

Coconutoil.com says, “Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of…

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New Year’s resolutions: my tips to keep them up

Mixed salad - find it on the recipe page

Mixed salad – find it on the recipe page

Hey there!

If you are doubting your ability to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions, read my tips!

1. Going public! Writing a blog and telling people is a way to keep the pressure up. When other people know about your resolutions, it somehow makes you want to succeed more. Maybe it’s because you are setting a good example? I don’t know for sure. When I proudly write about how healthy I am and how happy that makes me, people start looking at me differently. I met up with a friend not long ago who told me they thought I was so healthy they looked up to me. I was shocked! I didn’t realise that writing about my healthy recipes made me appear like a health coach. I think my friend felt like they were not as good as me. I need to make things clear here, yes I post the healthy recipes I make on this blog, and I write about how happy I am to be healthier and to exercise, but it doesn’t mean in any way that it’s how I am every day of the week!! Some days I just have enough of the cold weather and working from home. I feel isolated or tired and that’s when chocolate and other comfort foods come into the picture. My eating habits are not perfect. I don’t spend my days cooking and singing in my kitchen a la Bree Van der Kamp! But knowing that I connect with other bloggers and that I have been read and watched through the Food Revolution website always reminds me of my resolutions. I want to be honest and true to people and to myself. Ultimately, I want to be healthy and feel well. I think, and I might be a little over excited by it, but I think I am inspiring other people who are also aiming to be healthier. Just the way they inspire me. It gives me wings and makes me want to carry on.

2. Be open to changes. Things don’t always go according to plan. Life brings ups and downs, so expect it, and don’t let it discourage you. You need to see the bigger picture! It’s not about being thinner next month, or running further next week. It’s about building a healthy routine with the long term in mind. If you look at the whole year, you can see your achievements better. You won’t become unfit just because you don’t exercise for two weeks. It’s the same for food.

3. Speaking of changes… I started running about a month after the resolutions. It just worked out well with eating well. I have now registered for a 10 km race. It encourages me to train and eat well in order to perform well on the day of the race. It’s almost as if the New Year’s resolutions have evolved throughout the year, and I’m okay with that. They might change again later in the year, I’m looking forward to see where it will take me.

4. The key word for me: ACHIEVABLE. Small achievable resolutions are more likely to be kept than big ones. Again, think in the long term. What matters to me is how healthy I will be for the next 20 years. This year, I eat less refined carbohydrates. By the end of the year, I should be used to this new lifestyle and find it just normal. Next year, I can focus on something else. It may take time but the aim is really to become healthier for good.

I see it like this:

One main goal = eating well and be healthy

Several small achievements will help reaching that goal. One at a time.

I hope my tips will help at least one person, please get in touch if you want to share your own experiences of keeping up your resolutions. Would love to hear them!

Spicy Tomato Soup

Hiding under the blanket with my cold, I found myself thinking about getting some chocolate, until I realised what I really wanted was to be warm and able to breathe through my nose again.

Enter Spicy Tomato Soup.

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Needless to say I am feeling energy-less and lazy, but the thought of feeling better gave me the motivation to get up from the sofa and cook! It doesn’t take long and is easy to make. Plus, if like me you always have some carrots in the fridge and tomato passata in the cupboard, then you don’t even have to go shopping. It’s all in the house already!

Ingredients:

  • 500ml of tomato passata
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 shallots or 1 onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • about a thumb wide of fresh red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli powder
  • half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • half a teaspoon of thyme and half a teaspoon of rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • half a glass of water (to make the soup more liquid if you prefer it that way)

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  1. Slice the shallots and carrots and fry in a saucepan in olive oil until shallots are soft.
  2. Add in the tomato passata, garlic, turmeric and finely chopped chilli.
  3. Give it a good stir and add in the thyme and rosemary.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add water if needed.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes for the flavours to develop.

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The chilli helped me breathe, it worked! Now, off to bed for some deep sleep. Hoping to feel better tomorrow.

Quinoa salad with feta cheese

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Yes, I finally bought quinoa! Everyone is talking about it these days. I felt like I was behind not knowing about it. For those of you who don’t know (like me last week), quinoa is a seed providing protein, carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is a good protein alternative for vegetarian and vegan people. It can be used in salads and other dishes, such as couscous, making it a nutrient-rich alternative for people with gluten intolerance as well. What a discovery, right?

So I made a quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.

Verdict: Wow! Maybe I’m just a huge cheese fan but honestly, feta cheese, quinoa, tomatoes and olive oil is an amazing combination! Interesting texture, a bit soft but light as well. The taste of the seed on its own is rather bland, which means it is good news for adapting recipes. I think you can make it any way you like. Next I’m going to try a couple of recipes I saw on others blogs. One was a quinoa version of chilli con carne and the other had roasted sweet potatoes and goat cheese. I like the sound of it. Meanwhile, starting with a salad as a first ever quinoa experience is good to get an idea of what quinoa is like, tastes like. I think if you know an ingredient well, you are more likely to cook it well and make tasty recipes out of it.

This salad makes a delicious healthy and light lunch. I can also picture it on a summer night, dinning in the garden or at a picnic.

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How to make the salad:

Simply boil the quinoa following the instructions on the packet, slice the tomatoes and cucumber. Add all the ingredients and serve.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of quinoa
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 slices of cucumber
  • 1cm wide slice of feta cheese
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper

Quinoa nutritional information: per cooked 100g

  • calories: 120
  • protein: 4.4
  • carbohydrate: 21.3
  • sugar: 0.6
  • fat: 1.9
  • fibre: 2.8
  • also contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, Folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (source: Wikipedia)