Category Archives: Diary

Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…

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… and the kitchen is already full of food!

(Thursday)

I arrived from the 11am Easyjet flight this morning. The pilot said it was raining in Lyon but when we landed the sun was shining and dad was waiting for me in the arrival area. We drove home to find mum in the middle of feeding lunch to her grandson, my lovely 2 year old nephew. After his afternoon nap, we all went grocery shopping for the weekend. You see, this weekend we are reuniting for the 1st time since a year ago: my parents, brother, sister and her two kids and me, all together at the same place at the same time. It’s a miracle!

There is a reason why we managed to get this organized: we are celebrating our birthdays. All of our birthdays! We were all born in February, March and April (except dad, but he will get his own special celebration later this year).

I am loving the atmosphere here today. I can feel there is something special in the air. My brother will land tonight from Vancouver and we are going to meet his girlfriend. My sister will arrive tomorrow with her eldest, who does miss his uncle Charles a lot. I can tell my parents are excited even though they are not making a fuss.

It is going to be a good weekend!

But – there is a but – I have been doing so well on my New Year’s resolutions (see the ‘About’ page) that I am getting a bit nervous about how it’s going to go here. Canapés, cheese, bread, cakes, wine, etc. It all looks so good and smells so deeeeelicious! We got the bread from a local traiteur that make the best country style bread in town. It smelled so good in the car on the way back!

Anyway, all I’m saying is I am a little concerned about this weekend going a bit overboard if not totally, but I just remembered: “When you have healthy habits, indulging every now and again won’t make a difference on your health”.

Therefore, I am now ready to enjoy this long waited for reunion, sharing good food and wine and our stories of the past year.

(Saturday)

Last night dad cooked! It’s a “once-a-year” event!! His favourite and very own recipe is stuffed tomatoes. He makes them with love and it’s always a success. Check out the recipe on my recipe page.

Stuffed tomato and rice

Stuffed tomato and rice

(Monday)

Oh dear! I just read that and I see all I was worried about was me eating too much. Well, I’m an optimist, what can I do?! Sure I ate and drank too much this weekend but honestly it’s no big deal.

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Pain au chocolat, croissant, baguette, brioche and bugnes

Kids and their mummy have just gone and the house is quiet again. It feels strange. As if something was missing. They are loud but it’s so much fun to have them around. However I must say, four days with brother, sister, nephews who fight and cry (not all the time, thank god!), and grand parents is a bit overwhelming. But hey, that’s family!

I will go back to London tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face revision period, yes, even immunology. I’m ready!

That’s what family does to me. I am glad we are a strong loving family and looking forward to seeing them again.

Family at work

Family working hard in the kitchen

The Simple Things

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It’s when you get home from the airport on a cold night and find your flatmate in the kitchen preparing a plate of orange slices with cinnamon, or “How Monique turned an orange into a warm welcome back”. As she offers to share her dessert, taking out a couple of forks, we sit in the kitchen for a quick chat and catch up.

Good times and healthy food :)

February Recap

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A new month has just begun and before I start getting excited about the activities that I have planned for March, I would like to do a little recap on February.

Regarding food choices, I must admit I haven’t always been healthy last month. Nothing to worry about though, because as I said before, my New Year’s resolutions were not to become a perfect eater, but to make some changes in my eating habits. Last month, when I ate junk food or drank too much, it impacted on my mood and energy for up to four days! Which made buying healthy food and cooking look a lot less fun! Thankfully it’s all back to normal in my kitchen, fridge and cupboards and I can now start telling you about all the good things that I have done last month!

  •  I cooked a little

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  • I froze a lot
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Green vegetable soup (see recipe page)

  • I ran a fair bit: twice a week for about an hour. Feeling good about that!
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Morning riverside runs are the best!

Well it’s not always this sunny…

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But the ducks are always around

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and so are the rowers! (in the yellow boat)

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  • And the Award for Best Activity in February goes to: the live hangout with nutritionist Dr. Willett and two Food Revolution ambassadors Lindsey and Claire as part of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution foundation. It was my 1st live hangout and as much as I would like to pretend I’m not the kind of person who gets nervous, I am. So I was pretty nervous. But discussing subjects such as “a child’s health improving thanks to healthy eating” and “school children growing veg” turned out to be so interesting that I forgot about the nervousness. Good job girls! Thank you : )
Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley

Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley

Now, what’s coming up in March?

I see cooking classes are getting popular, judging by the amount of Groupon offers I receive every day for them. So, it gave me an idea. I am thinking of setting up a cooking club. It is only just a thought yet but I might write about it soon and if I do, you will be invited to join me for some kitchen fun! Yay!

Mother’s day is coming up. I will be with my mum in France when that happens, giving us a good reason for cooking with the family. That’s something to look forward to! Don’t worry I’ll take pictures!

And then, exam stress will start. That’s NOT something I’m looking forward to, at all! Might not take pictures of that.

That is all for today. Got to get ready to go to my 11am lecture. In this beautiful weather, I am definitely walking!!

See ya!

New Year’s Resolutions: February update

Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley

Hello there fellow bloggers ! How are you keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions?

I am sure you have all heard of Jamie Oliver and what he has been doing working hard for a healthier nation. One of his foundations if called Jamie Oliver Food Revolution. Its aim is to get people cooking more, pass it on, teach their kids, come up with healthy resolutions, etc. It works mainly on a community level and a lot of people are getting their children’s schools on board, some are getting in touch with their local farmers markets and other just want to share what they’ve been doing that they think is healthy. And I’m one of them. Back in January, I wrote a little article on my personal New Year’s resolutions, which they published on their website (http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/news-content/working-towards-healthier-nutritional-ha).

We’ve kept in touch and I feel very privileged that they invited me to take part, on Wednesday, in a Food Revolution Google hangout, with Dr. Willett, professor in nutrition from Harvard School of Public Health, and two other committed food revolutionaries, to talk about our resolutions and how we’ve managed to stick to it so far. Lindsey Shifley (http://themullies.blogspot.co.uk/) shared the story of her daughter’s sensory processing issues at school, that dramatically improved thanks to better nutrition. Next Claire O’Meara (The Lifestyle Kitchen and Little Lifestylers) introduced us to her resolutions to getting school children active in the veg garden and how it was so successful that she has been given a piece of land and kitchen facilities by her local council. I talked about my resolutions that are to cut down on carbohydrates and sugar and how it has positively impacted on my weight and energy. Dr. Willett gave us all, tips on how to cut down on calories, improve our lifestyle and how to stick to resolutions.

I learned a lot through this very inspiring hangout and am so happy to have met like minded people who believe in better nutrition for a better future.

Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/ZJgxea

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Alix x

Me looking nervous before the hangout

How to deal with a tough time

1. Not by sitting on the sofa all afternoon eating cheese and bread

2. Not by buying a chocolate bar on your way to a dinner party

3. Not by creating an argument with a friend. Definitely not.

Yesterday morning I felt great. Enthusiastic, cheerful, looking forward to a busy Sunday. Busy with projects that I care about, dinner with people who I care about and who care about me. T’was going to be a good day.

But somehow, throughout the day, things did not go the way they were meant to and suddenly, before I knew it, my whole world was falling apart. Oh it was all in my head. But I lost faith. I know, just like that. You guys must be thinking : “Whaaat?” … “Weirdo”. But the truth is, that happens to me sometimes. And I did all of the above.

Emotional eating is bad. A woman I met last week told me this:

“It starts during childhood, when people give food to their kids to keep them quiet. Or when parents go: “Here, have some ice cream (or chocolate) it will make you feel better.” But does it really? At that moment, sure. But later, when they develop a habit of comfort eating? And look at themselves in the mirror hating their reflection, do they really feel better?

And I said: I think that, to a lot of overweight and underweight people, there is an emotional link to their eating patterns. And she said she believed that all of weight management issues are linked to emotions.”

I don’t know the stats on that, but eating comfort food when feeling sorry for yourself DOES NOT make you feel better. It really doesn’t.

New Year’s resolutions: a month later

It’s now been a month since I decided to eat better quality food and a little less carbs. Thinking about it today, I realised I cut down on wheat a lot. I have been eating rye bread, rice and oats, chick peas, and lentils as forms of carbohydrates but very little wheat. I wonder if the fact that I’m eating less gluten now is the reason why I have lost weight and am feeling more energetic in the afternoon…

I have to be honest though, I had a bad day where I gave in and had a lot of milk chocolate digestive biscuits. But I found them too sweet and had a sore stomach after eating them (probably cos I ate too many). Yes, them being too sweet didn’t stop me. It was a cold afternoon, I was tired and had been craving them for a while. Well, it’s done now, I don’t think I will be craving them again.

So what have I been eating instead of pasta, bread and biscuits?

Think “nutritious food”

I feel I should stretch the importance of eating a varied diet. Too often we focus on eating less carbs or less fat. It seems all we read in the paper is about evil saturated fats and cheap refined carbs. But instead of constantly worrying about that, why don’t we turn this around and think of all the healthy, colourful, tasty and nutrient-rich foods that are around?

This past month I have been eating delicious soups that contain more than 5 types of veg in them, salads rich in lots of nutrients coming from nuts, avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, salmon, chicken, green beans, green leaves, berries, seeds etc. I didn’t find any of what I ate boring or tasteless. It’s up to me to season it and make it interesting using spices.

My version of Jamie’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo soup

Tip: If you take a look at the vegetable area in the supermarket, it’s got so many different kinds of veg! But if you’re like me, you tend to always buy the same 3 or 4. So now when I go grocery shopping, I try to buy some veg I haven’t tried before. The other day I bought an “onion squash”. Had never heard of it before. But it looked like it would go well in the Jamie Oliver soup. The one I mentioned before, calling it “Butternut squash, chorizo and curry soup”. It’s actually called “Sweet potato and chorizo soup” if anyone was looking it up. But I make it with butternut squash instead of sweet potato because the carb content of butternut squash is lower. And it’s delicious. The recipe comes from his book: Jamie’s Ministry of Food. I like this book because it has easy-to-follow recipes, nutritious, and tasty. (I will post the recipe in the recipe page)

Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato per 100g

Butternut squash, cooked

  •  9.05 g carbs
  • 40 calories
  • 36.2 calories from carbs

 

Sweet potato, cooked, without skin

  •  17,72 g carbs
  • 76 calories
  • 60.88 calories from carbs

Two weeks in – Craving carbs

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It’s funny how awful sweets look when you think of all the sugar, oil and chemicals they contain. But how suddenly they all look sooooo good and you have to have them when you’re craving carbs. Don’t you agree? (these or bread, or pasta or pizza, etc)

I would be lying if I said this adjustment has been easy so far. Some days, yes, I feel good for eating well, I have lost a few kilos, I sleep really well and feel lighter. I eat as much as I want because I do not want to be hungry! I’m not “on a diet”, I am just making healthier choices. But let me tell you…

The first 2 days, I felt like a drug addict! I got a carb-craving headache both evenings! I promise you this is true. If anyone has experienced the same withdrawal symptoms, please let me know! I’m curious to know if it happens to other people than me. It’s weird, I could tell it was from the craving. Not really “craving”, because my mind didn’t really crave carbs, but my body certainly did! I do get headaches sometimes, and I can tell this wasn’t like the ones I usually get.

Anyway, past the headache stage, I have been enjoying it. I noticed I don’t feel sleepy in the afternoon after lunch, which is already a huge improvement!

Tip: for each recipe that I have cooked, except the salad of course, I cooked a large amount of it and froze the rest in portion size freezer bags. I now have 4 different home made frozen dishes in my freezer. That is very good for when I haven’t got time or simply don’t want to cook.
(4 dishes and an average of three bags of each: ratatouille, chilli con carne, green vegetable soup, and butternut squash, curry and chorizo soup)