Category Archives: Diary

Eating Well In 2013 turns 1

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started writing this blog.

2013 will be over soon and with it the longest lasting New Years resolutions ever! Yes! I made it! Twelve months later I’m still following my resolutions!

In January I decided to change part of my diet to become a healthier version of me, more precisely, that meant eating fewer carbohydrates, especially the refined ones (white bread, pasta, biscuits, sugar) and more vegetables. So, I’ve got two things to say about it:


1) Having written about my New Year’s resolutions and documented my journey on here made it very official. It helped me not to forget as the months went on and helped me stay focused.

 


2) Being focused and serious about it, I started to shop and cook differently. Gradually, this new eating plan became a habit.

I have had to try out all sorts of recipes; some didn’t turn out well, but some I still cook regularly. My taste buds have evolved, I have discovered new flavours and am now more open-minded when it comes to food. It also developed my creativity because you need to get creative when designing healthy recipes that you will love, or when adjusting old favourites to healthier versions. I learned how to bake with less sugar and managed to get my family involved in healthy cooking too, so that was fun!


In summer I started eating salads for breakfast, rather unorthodox I know, but a good way to get your five-a-day in! I also try to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables now, because if they are in season, chances are they are also locally produced, therefore, they should be fresher and contain more vitamins. Need I say it is rather eco-friendly and helps local producers?

 

Anyway, as a result, I feel better, lighter and I have more energy throughout the day. I don’t need to eat much but the better quality food keeps me fuller for longer. When I eat carbohydrates, I chose wholegrain, and have small quantities. Having all this energy motivated me to exercise more. I can honestly and happily say that this new lifestyle has improved my overall wellbeing.

 

There have been times, of course, when I felt like I had other things on my mind and eating healthy became the least of my preoccupations. But these times were temporary and didn’t last long. No one is perfect, but I never forgot about my resolutions because 2013 deep down was just the start of an adventure that will last much longer I hope.

 I’m already thinking about my resolutions for 2014. It will be along these lines: “keep up the healthier lifestyle and add one new challenge” (I haven’t decided what yet).

I believe that doing things one at a time will bring greater success. This way if I add one challenge each year, it will be a slow but steady progress towards a life lasting healthy me. One challenge per year gives me time to actually think about it: why I chose this challenge in particular, why it is important to me, and what this achievement will mean to me.

Stay tuned for the New Year’s resolutions 2014  to come soon!

IMG_8786IMG_9100photo(94)DSC03483IMG_8790photo(110)Simple Summer Fruit Salad + basilHummusphoto(146)pumpkin soup

Catching up on New Year’s resolutions: being busy and stressed means I forgot about them for a few weeks…

Stressed? How do you deal with it?

Stress? How do you deal with it?

Busy, stressed, how do you manage to focus on time management and meal planning?

I wrote this in May but got distracted doing other things and forgot to post it. This illustrates well what is written in this post. I also feel like I have abandoned the blog in the past couple of months. I’m back now though. I will try to cook some fun and tasty recipes and post them throughout the summer. For now, here’s what I wrote a month ago:

As much as I want my health to be a priority, and as much as I would like to have a great beach body this summer, I feel that I need to have more time and be a bit more relaxed to be able to focus on a healthy living.

Work, exams, and side projects seem to have taken over my life in April and May and old habits have come back. Because old habits, no matter how unhealthy they are, do not require any thinking or planning, when busy and tired, they inevitably come back.

However I have learned what makes me feel worse and what makes me feel better food-wise so I am not going back to a totally unhealthy lifestyle. But bread and butter (my favourite of all times, I mean, country style bread with butter and salt crystals) is an easy combination when I’m tired.

I am dreaming of a life where I take time to do an hour of gym in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, then get on with my day. But I must say when I’ve got too much going on, I can’t find the time or energy to organise it. I feel stressed and just want to get my jobs done and over with so that I can move on to the next task.

I am hoping the summer months will be quieter and that I will manage to get back into the healthy lifestyle that I’m dreaming of at the moment.

But for now, I need to get jobs done and there is only so much I can focus on at once. One thing I try to remember is that no one is perfect, no need to beat myself up about not managing to follow my resolutions these last couple of months. It’s not about perfection, it’s about keeping the good health in mind and if it has to be on hold at the moment, it doesn’t mean I failed. It means I am human, dealing with things as best as I can, and I haven’t forgotten about my resolutions. I always said it was a life change, not a short term thing. I’m still working on it, life changes don’t happen over night. Maybe in the future I will find a way to combine busy life, stress and healthy eating. I’m still learning.

Why not have salad for breakfast?

I’ve been watching documentaries about the health benefits of raw vegetables and fruits lately, and all I can say is, do it! Invite vegetables to your plate and you’ll do yourself a big favour. It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables need to be part of everyone’s diet. We have all heard for years now, about the 5-a-day. I don’t want to scare you but 5-a-day? It isn’t that much. Really, if you make a little effort you could make this 10-a-day and feed yourself with vitamins, minerals and fibre, so many things that our body needs for optimum functioning.

I found that, in this season particularly, it is easy to add more veg to my plate by having a salad for breakfast instead of toast. The other day I made a big salad with mixed green leaves, spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, walnuts and a mix of seeds (pumpkin, etc). Not only the salad was delicious, but I felt full and great after having it. It was 8am, and I had already had about 2 to 3 portions of fresh and raw vegetables! Of course, there were calories in this salad, especially coming from the avocado, nuts and olive oil, but you need calories to use as fuel for the day ahead. It’s just a matter of selecting the good ones. Since then, I have had salad for breakfast again, or just slices of organic juicy tomato and cucumber. It’s sweet, refreshing, hydrating and nourishing. Honestly, I don’t know anything else you could wish for… :-)

Have a lovely weekend fellow bloggers and friends xx

Food Revolution Day Success

FRD2013Hello hello!

Just a few photos here today to illustrate Food Revolution Day. I organised a food tasting with my friend Fede at our university and it went really well. No one had heard of FRD before but people tried our salads, it seems they liked them. They took the recipes we printed to try making them at home. Some people had never heard of quinoa before, some had never seen a real chilli pepper. But they were all curious and willing to have a taste. So for an event that is meant to promote healthy eating and keeping cooking skills alive, I think we did well! Really looking forward to next year’s Food Revolution Day!

Food Revolution DayFood tasting, pasta saladFood Revolution Day

What about you? Send me the links to your page if you celebrated FRD2013, I’d love to read what you did! :)

P.S: Might be worth mentioning the recipes: Summer Quinoa Salad and Mediterranean pasta salad (find them on the recipe page!)

FRD2013 FRD2013 18FRD2013 19FRD2013

Food Revolution Day, what will you be doing?

Hello my dear friends and followers who I feel I’ve let down lately. It’s been hectic here at Fitting-50-hours-in-24-hours headquarters! Exams, work, side projects… Poor abandoned blog. I must apologise.

A little while back I mentioned something about diet related diseases and how they have become near to the biggest killer of this century. This is why I am supporting Food Revolution Day, the day we will share our recipes and knowledge to keep cooking skills alive and promote healthy eating. It’s next Friday, May 17th, anyone can get involved, at home, by organising a cooking party with friends or neighbours; at school, teaching how to cook to children, showing how vegetables grow; in the park, organising a picnic with home made food only; at your local farmers market; where ever you feel enthusiastic about really. Hundreds of people have already registered their activity on the website here http://www.foodrevolutionday.com. It will be so big, the press will talk about us! Things are changing, and I want to be part of it.

How to get involved? Check out Jamie Oliver‘s special page (yes, him again) ‘Food Revolution Day’ http://www.foodrevolutionday.com to find ideas and download guides and posters to use as support for your event.

If you follow my blog, you must know by now about Jamie’s Food Revolution, but for the newcomers, here is a link to the Food Revolution website:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news

Check out my posts called ‘Celebrity Chefs and Food Politics’ and ‘New Year’s Resolutions: February update’ to find out what Jamie Oliver does to make this world a better place. I don’t know how to link things (IT and me = not friends) but click here, it should work:

https://eatingwellin2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/celebrity-chefs-and-food-politics/

https://eatingwellin2013.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/new-years-resolutions-feb/

I haven’t uploaded my event on the interactive map yet because I am still in the stages of hoping it will happen but I’m currently waiting for a few emails to find out if it will come to life. I have teamed up with a friend from my course at uni to have a stand on our campus offering food tasting. As the university is organising a 10K race that day, it will be buzzing with students and staff so we are hoping to give samples of our healthy recipes to at least 70 people! Scary! We are making two salads, both easy to make, rather cheap and so tasty! We will show the ingredients we used and give leaflets with the recipes and their nutritional information to take home. I’m so looking forward to it! Fingers crossed!

What about you? What will you be doing?

Share the fun!

Cooking

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!

Celebrity Chefs and Food Politics

Last night I attended a talk at a renowned university in London about celebrity chefs and food politics. I had apprehensions as I knew it wasn’t going to be all praise and love, but I did not expect so much unfounded criticism. From the moment I got there to the end an hour later, I experienced excitement, anger and finally happiness. My god I was tired after that talk!

I did not understand why one of the speakers went on and on about how people like Jamie Oliver make money out of selling branded goods as well as fighting for a good cause and that somehow, it makes them bad people. Since when providing for your family has become a bad thing?

I did not get her point. Yes she had far too many cook books on her lounge shelves (as she showed us on her Power Point presentation) (compulsive shopper?) and yes you can find Jamie Oliver foods in the supermarket and Jamie Oliver saucepans and knives in the shops but does that make his actions less worthy? No one is forcing her to buy all these products. Or maybe the point she was trying to make was that people buy things they don’t need when presented them in shops? But what would that have to do with last night’s talk? Surely you can’t blame book writers and food makers for trying to sell their products!

In my opinion, if anything, having his products on shop shelves makes him more famous and that can only have a positive outcome. The more famous the better, as the greater the impact. I mean, remember back in 2006 when he campaigned for better school lunches? Being a celebrity – with great communication skills, lets not abstract that – helped getting results! How hard did he work on that? Then in 2009, he did Ministry of Food, a program in which he went across England to try teaching and empowering people. People who took part were then meant to share the recipe they had learned with 6 other people, and so on, spreading the knowledge throughout the whole country. Would it have worked half as well had it been conducted by a regular person? It takes time to see change but last night I found out that food education will be compulsory in schools for children aged 7-14 from September 2014. And it doesn’t stop there, the aim is to get parents involved too to make sure changes occur at home. That definitely was the highlight of my day! I can’t believe I did not know about it. Where have I been?? Ah that’s right I was in France last week.

I admire Jamie Oliver for his investment for a healthier nation. I wish more people were aware of the health consequences of unhealthy eating. Maybe they would invest more in food now in order to pay a smaller price in the future.

Anyway, some people argue that his food isn’t that healthy. Well here is my response to that:
1) in his last book “15 minute meals”, he got a nutritionist to help and each recipe has a calorie count now. Changes are being made on his side too.
2) his point was always to get people who feed themselves ready meals and takeaways to cook at home. Change occurs step by step. If you ask someone who only eats takeaways to make salads everyday from now on I doubt it will work. 1st you learn that cooking is possible and can be easy, fun and tasty. Then you improve to maybe using less fat or so. Or maybe buying more veg, one step at a time.

At uni we were told that the government recommendations should in fact be 10 fruits and vegetables a day but that they could not officially declare this, as most people struggle to match the 5-a-day recommendations already. They decided that giving an aim that is too hard to achieve leads to discouragement rather than progress. Same goes with running. Ask someone who doesn’t run, to go out run a marathon, it will not work! My point being, with eating habits, it goes back to how our mothers cooked for us, how their mothers cooked, etc. I think what’s happening at the moment is pretty amazing and we should look back on it in twenty years time to evaluate the changes.

Have a look at a couple of articles on the new National Curriculum and food education below. This is all very exciting! We can be proud of the people who got involved. Jamie is not the only one of course, but his media coverage is so gigantic that it definitely got things moving. And that is why, I support 100% celebrity chefs who get active for a good cause. Go Jamie!

School Food Plan:
http://www.education.gov.uk/schoolfoodplan/news/a00221479/school-food-plan-cook-curric

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution:
http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news-content/cookery-lessons-to-become-compulsory-in-

kids_cooking460

Children learning to cook at Hampstead Norreys School, Berkshire, in 2008. Photograph: Frank Baron

Photo found on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2008/sep/18/recipe.foodanddrink