DIARY

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 all have 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! Don’t get me wrong, 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, 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

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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!

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 that. 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 me 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 veg a day but that they could not set that 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

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Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…

photo(101)

… 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 a 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. I haven’t seen him for a year 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 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.

IMG_9242

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), 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 at work

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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,

DSC03231

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!

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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/ZJgxeaLooking forward to hearing from you all.Alix x

Me looking nervous before the hangout

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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.

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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.

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

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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)

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