Recovering

I am finally beginning to feel more energetic and as if I am getting better.  This has been a terrible illness as I thought I was getting better last weekend but then bham !  It knocks you out much worse than you were before and with such a sort throat you wonder if you will ever feel normal again.  Well, I am getting better, thank goodness.

I had my first desensitisation session at The Allergy Centre.  It will be my last too.  I don’t believe their methods will actually achieve anything, I was shocked I was told all my allergies had been cleared with no cautions or warnings and I was particularly disappointed by the nutrition advice I was given.  Maybe their technique does clear allergies but for now, I am not prepared to risk another rash so I will be avoiding the things I think I am allergic to.

I have eaten some ‘comfort foods’ I should have left on the shelf this week such as flapjacks and porridge with syrup but nothing too disasterous or in large quantities.  I have also eaten loads of nutrient filled foods to help me recover.

I made a smoothie with a star fruit, blueberries, 2 kiwis, 3 frozen bananas and a tsp of spirulina.smoothie ingredients 1 I have decided I don’t like star fruit.  This one was crisp like an apple but slightly sour with nothing pleasant about the flavour, so I put the whole thing in to a smoothie.star fruit in 3 bits Grey is not the best colour for a smoothie (I blame the blueberries and spirulina) but it tasted great and the cold smooth consistency was perfect for a sore throat.spirulina banana smoothie I have been reading about some oil and vinegar free salad dressings where the main ingredients are celery, which is salty, and juicey fruits.  I made a delicious dressing with 1 celery stalk, 3 clementines and 2 dates.  You put everything in a blender and blitz until smooth.clementine dressing For the salad I had a pile of mixed green leaves,mixed greens some mandolined courgette and beetroot, mandolin courgettes Finely chopped white cabbage and fennel,cabbage and fennel Tossed in the fruity dressing.fruit dressing 3 Garnished with cherry tomatoes and black pepper.fruit dressing 2 It made a huge bowlful and it was very tasty.fruit dressing 1 For breakfast today I was craving a citrus smoothie so I put all these clementines in the Vita Mix with one frozen banana and blitzed until it was all smooth.clementines for smoothie A glass of sunshine on this overcast day.clementines and banana smoothie It tasted amazing and I will definitely be making this again.clementine and banana Since I am feeling better, I managed to walk again this weekend.  Yesterday Annette showed us a route from our house up to Bumbles plant nursery.  I bought some seeds there and felt my ‘green’ credentials were given a boost as I walked to buy my seeds rather than drive and will use them to grow some food in my garden.

Today we repeated the walk with Lara who unexpectedly came home yesterday which was a wonderful and happy surprise.L and H on walk with Milton This is an unusual area of woodland with very twisty branches and unfortunately lots of trees which appear to have been blown down.wobbly woods There are lots of bluebells showing us their greenery and this should be spectaular in May.

bluebells growing in wood

The walk takes us around the perimeter of a huge chicken farm.  There must be thousands of chickens here.  On the plus side, they do have acres of space to strut about in.lots of chickens chickens in pen I spent some very happy time in the garden this afternoon,planting out the Mangetout and Broad beans.  The dwarf beans can wait another month.bean seeds I also planted out 5 packets of sweet peas.sweet pea packets Lunch was a simple salad made with spinach, little gem lettuce, fennel and tomato with a baked sweet potato.lunch 22-3-15 Topped with a celery, kiwi and date dressing which tasted much better then it looks.kiwi and celery dressing For supper I stir fried an onion with some turmeric, cumin and coriander and then added some lightly steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  Unfortunately that was not enough to eat so I had some coconut yogurt with cashew nuts and coconut sugar.  I would have been better off adding some rice or potato to the cauliflower and broccoli.cauli and brocc

Friday was weigh day and as I feared, I had put on some weight this week.  I was up 2 pounds which was disappointing but not unexpected because I hardly moved around last week and I over ate.  I must do better this week.

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Allergy Testing

I went to ‘In The Clear – Allergy Centre’ in Tunbridge Wells yesterday to see if I have any allergies that could be creating the rash that has flared up twice recently.  I was initially very sceptical because much as I embrace a holistic and alternative range of health therapies, I do like some science behind them.  I was expecting to give blood or have patches put on my skin to look for  sensitivities.  However, this clinic uses a technique of holding substances to your cheek and seeing if there is a muscle response.  Despite my initial scepticism, I walked out of there impressed.  I know I have some allergies and they were picked up (cats and grass pollen) even though I didn’t mention them.  Plus I was reminded of one I had forgotten about (feathers) and several new ones were identified: hazelnuts, macadamias, lemon and yeast.  I had guessed lemon and macadamia but was surprised by the others.  I was also advised to cut out dairy (done) and coffee (no way!).

I had been having a lot of lemon this year because I was squeezing it in to water first thing every morning and adding lemon to a jug of water I kept in the fridge.  Both new things in my effort to be healthier this year whereas I wouldn’t usually have eaten much lemon.  I had given up dairy so was looking for alternatives and one of them was macadamia nut mylk which I was really enjoying.  No longer though.  I was also adding nutritional yeast to dishes to add a cheesey flavour as recommended by vegan Instagram sites I follow. So I was consuming more of all 3 then I would usually.  In small quantities I had tolerated them but not in the increased quantities I was consuming them in this year.

I rarely eat hazelnuts so unless I have a ganache or Nutella, I wouldn’t eat them so hazelnuts should be easy to resist.

I also realised my duvet is a feather one and about a month ago I bought new pillows – feather ones!  So they are now all stored away and all my bed linen is washed and feather free.

I feel relieved that I know that I have allergies which explain the rash.  It is a relief to know what they are so I can avoid them.  I am grateful to all my friends who suggested various illnesses I may have and provided information but I really do think the food allergies and the feathers created the rash and I have suffered the double whammy of catching the appalling sore throat and cough that is doing the rounds at work.

I still feel far below par but slightly better today than recently and the rash is going but only slowly.  My sore throat is feeling a bit better so I think it is on its way out.  I at least feel confident that I can recover and if I avoid certain foods, avoid the rash coming back.

When I got back from the Allergy Centre I made a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  I really wanted some orange juice but because I was worried about citrus fruits triggering the rash, I had not made any but apparently I am ok with limes and oranges, just not lemons.

I really wanted to juice these !oranges for juicing I loved this and so did Harvey as I didn’t juice all those oranges just for me.orange juice freshly squeezed

For 2 days this week I have felt extremely ill with my cold so I have not eaten as well as I should have done.  It has not all been bad.

Food For Thought 19-3-15 On Tuesday I bought this delicious trio of salads from Food For Thought.FFT salad 17-3-15 I enjoyed the salad with a delicious vegetable goulash.FFT goulash Today I went out for lunch to an Indian restaurant called Imli Street on Wardour Street, Soho, London.  I liked the minimal industrial style decor.Inside Imli Street I went with my team from work – it was fun to go out together.team lunch The menu was very interesting.  They also did a set menu and a Thali menu.Imli Street restaurant I chose the tandoori roti (unleavened bread so no yeast), dal makhini (a slow cooked black lentil dish, delicious but it had dairy in it) and smoked aubergine (tandoor-smoked aubergine with ginger and burnt chilli).  It was all very tasty.lunch 19-3-15 Supper tonight was easy – I reheated a portion of the vegetable coconut curry we made on Sunday.coconut curry

I am worried about the scales this week.  I have not gone crazy but I have eaten too many calories each day and definitely too much fat.  I have also been very inactive as I have felt too ill to do much and I have spent far more time than usual on the sofa or in bed.  The scales will tell in the morning!

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Itchy and Scratchy

The rash is back and I am itchy and scratchy all over and feeling just a little bit sorry for myself.  So please excuse me for being brief today.

Breakfast was half of a Galia melon and a whole canteloupe melon.  377 calories.

2 melon I had a 2 course lunch.  First I had a huge salad made from leftovers from yesterday’s lunch.  There was quite a lot of avocado in here, probably half an avocado plus courgettes, carrots, cucumbers and mixed leaves.  316 calories.salad 16-3-15 1 Followed by 2 nectarines and black grapes.  The nectarines are the perfectly ripe ones from M&S and they were very edible.  The grapes, also from M&S, were gorgeous.  Very sweet, juicey and a strong flavour.  I ended up eating the entire punnet as they tasted so good.  320 calories.nectrines and grapes This looks incredibly boring but I wasn’t in the mood for adding anything or making it look prettier.  It tasted wonderful and was perfect comfort food.  4 bananas, cocoa powder, 2 tbsp peanut butter and a splash of soya milk.  687 calories of comfort food bliss.chocolate bananas

I ate all that plus had a soya milk latte and a Medjool date.  226 calories.

Daily calories = 1,925

% daily calories
Carbohydrates = 69 %
Proteins = 11 %
Fats = 20%

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Mother’s Day 2015

I have had a really lovely day thanks to my gorgeous children.  I was served a cup of tea in bed and serenaded by the Little Fella on his guitar.  Lara had been up early and made granola and a huge fruit salad for breakfast and decorated the table with pretty Spring flowers.  I had both my children with me all day and felt very loved.  Thank you to you both.  As always I thought about my own lovely Mummy who passed away a long time ago now but I was lucky to have had her around for as long as I did.

I did think a lot about all those people who would have struggled and felt really sad all day.  People without a Mother to demonstrate their love to, people who couldn’t be with their own Mother or their children, people who haven’t been able to have children and be a Mother but want to be, people estranged from their Mother or children.  There are so many reasons to be sad and for all those who struggled today, I hope their day tomorrow is easier.  I am so thankful mine was lovely.

We started with freshly ground coffee.

coffee beans Jaques coffee beans Jaques coffee Enjoyed with my lovely breakfast.  Lara made the granola recipe that is on my blog.  It is really good!Breakfast table A delicious bowl of fruit salad made with pineapple, banana, mango, melon and pomegranate, topped with a little of the homemade granola and some coconut yogurt.  391 calories.Mother's Day breakfast Lara bought me this cute little tea strainer which I used to make some green tea with the tea she brought me from a recent trip to India.Indian green teaWe popped out in the morning to the Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst.

The Walled Nursery bicycle terracotta pots old tools at WN This is such a charming place to potter about in.WN 1 WN glasshouse plants at the WN plants in WN Lara and Harvey each chose a plant to put in the garden so I can enjoy watching the plants grow and think about them as they do.L and H at the WN

Lunch was simple and healthy.  A huge salad made with mixed leaves, noodled courgettes and carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and avocado.lunch 15-3-15 1 With sweet potato and a tbsp of tahini.  We all ate the same and everyone enjoyed it.  It is so great to see my children enjoying a huge plate of veggies.  They did add some ham and cheese but at least they had the nourishment from all the veggies.  486 calories.lunch 15-3-15 This was my Mother’s Day present to myself.  This cute little tray in my favourite colour with pots labelled for gardening bit and bobs.  I shall enjoy filling this up.new gardening pots

Supper was ….. more vegetables! Lara helped me cook a vegetable laksa with tofu.  We ate it as it was, with no noodles or rice.  440 calories.

red Thai vegetable and tofu curry

As well as my meals, I had a glass of red wine and picked at the granola in the afternoon which added another 413 calories.

Total daily calories = 1,731

% of total calories from
Carbohydrate = 59 %
Protein = 11 %
Fat = 30 %

So not the best day for calories or fat % but I did manage to refrain from going crazy and falling off the ‘no added sugar’ wagon.  Having told myself I could have what I wanted as it was a special day, I did !  On the whole, it was very healthy so I am pleased that my new way of eating really does seem to have curbed the sugar cravings I have suffered for most of my adult life.

 

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Planning Helps

To be able to succeed with a diet high in fruits and veggies, you do need to plan carefully so you don’t get too hungry and become tempted with foods you don’t really want to eat.  I am learning that and it is really helping.

Being a weekend I didn’t have to plan breakfast.  I could choose spontaneously when I walked in to the kitchen first thing.  Mind you, I had plenty to choose from because there were so many fruits sitting in the early morning sunshine.

fruit in sunshine Unless I fancied something from the fridge.fridge 2 Nope, think I will go for something warmed by the sun.fridge 1 Such as this papaya.papaya cut in half Harvey declined the papaya today so I had the whole thing myself.  Nearly 1 kg of papaya and every mouthful was sweet, perfectly ripe and delicious.  390 calories.papaya seeds That kept me feeling full and comfortably sated for 4 – 5 hours when I made this very simple lunch of 3 apples, 1/4 of a pineapple and 5 Medjool dates.lunch 14-3-15I put it all in the blender and I ran it for a few minutes so it was quite smooth.  Very simple and easy to digest.  717 calories which is quite high.  The 3 apples were 285 and the dates 332 calories.pineapple, dates and apple I had a cinema trip in the evening with Lucy and Emily.  We were meeting just after 6 and I estimated I would be home at about 9 pm.   So even though 5 pm seemed too early to eat supper, I knew 9 pm would be too late so I prepared and enjoyed supper before I went.sweet potatoes baked I follow quite a few Instagram accounts and one I follow is THISRAWSOMEVEGANLIFE who has posted a few pictures of sweet potatoes drizzled with Tahini.  Well thanks for the idea because it was delicious.sweet potato supper I had 2 modest sized sweet potatoes which I baked for an hour, mashed with 1 tbsp olive oil based spread, salt and pepper, served with rocket, a large juicey sweet tomato and 1 tbsp white tahini drizzled over.  It really was FAB-U-LOUS.  Loved it all and will have it again.  434 calories.  I cant believe this was nearly half the calories of lunch as it was so much more substantial!sweet potato and salad

When I got home I enjoyed a glass of red wine. 172 calories.  But I felt no need to eat anything else so I made the right decision to eat early.

Daily stats.

Total calories = 1,744

% of daily calories from:
Carbohydrates = 83 %
Protein = 5 %
Fat = 11%

I am so amazed I ate all that today and feel so full and yet am within carb/protein/fat ratios so perfectly.  The calorie count is high today but not too high to have put weight on (hopefully!)

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A Happy Weight Loss Day

First thing every Friday morning I go to weigh myself at the local gymn.  I was really hoping for a good loss this week as I have been really good.  I have eaten so many fruits and veggies and I don’t think I have had any cheats at all so I really wanted a big loss.  There it was – 5 pounds off.  That makes a year to date loss of 23 pounds.  So I am delighted about that and it proves to me that if I eat well and follow the healthy eating principles I want to adopt, it does work.

I have recently been receiving organic fruit and veggie boxes from Abel & Cole who deliver to the door.Abel & Cole fruit boxes This is the deluxe fruit box and one of their little pamphlets which have really good recipes in them.medium fruit box Large fruit box.A&C large fruit box Medium gourmet box.Abel & Cole luxury box They take their old boxes away too which is handy – unless they happen to deliver very early when you are in the shower and you dont hear them so I now have 2 weeks worth outside the back door!Abel & Cole boxes My fruit corner has lots of goodies in it today, all sitting there ripening up.fruit cornerI had half a watermelon for breakfast.  180 calories.
half watermelon Probably one of my favourites fruits because it is so refreshing and has a sweet but gentle flavour.watermelon cubes 1 I have a terrible lurgey which has symptoms of a very sore throat, blocked cinuses and headache.  The sore throat is the worst part and I can not speak which is very frustrating.  I wanted something soothing and comforting at lunch time so I made a smoothie with 2 bananas, frozen raspberries, cashew nuts and a little almond milk.raspberry cashew bananas I added 2 large juicey strawberries – just what the Doctor ordered.  492 calories.raspberry cashew smoothie I snacked on some dates.  6 Medjool dates had 240 calories.dates in jar I used to dislike dates a lot but now I enjoy them and they do help keep me feeling full for ages.dates At supper time I made a kiwi fruit dressing from one of the Abel & Cole recipe books and served it over a noodled vegetable salad I made with lettuce, courgette, carrot and beetroot.noodled veggies It was OK but I want to tweak the recipe before I share it.  380 calories.noodled vegetables with kiwi dressing

I do hope I feel better tomorrow – it is so frustrating not being able to shout at anyone!

Total daily calories = 1,323

% of daily calories:
Carbohydrates = 70 %
Protein = 8 %
Fat = 2 %

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WFM and WFC

I took a fruity breakfast to work again today.  Mango, strawberries and kiwi.

mango, kiwis, strawberriesPlus a canteloupe melon.  This lot came in at a hefty 504 calories
canteloupe I woke up feeling very unwell; sore throat, blocked cinuses and a headache.  This was very bad timing as I had some important meetings I needed to be on form for.  I saw on one of the Instagram sites I follow that star fruit is particularly effective in healing a sore throat so I set off to get some.

Good morning Trafalgar Square.Trafalgar Sq in am I hadn’t seen the latest sculpture to adorn the 4th plinth before – I prefer this to the blue cockerel.dinosaur on 4th plinth Hello Picadilly.Picadilly in am Destination = WFMOutside WFM They had some so let’s hope they work.star fruitAll that fruit and a couple of decent coffees made me feel a bit better during the morning so I was able to stick with my lunch plans.  I went out with a colleague from the office and it was my turn to choose where we went.  Only one place for me today.

WFC.  I love this place.Outside WFC I chose ‘The Wild Burger’ and what a good choice it was.WFC menu We went early so it was quite empty to start with but it soon filled up.  All the action takes place behind the orange counter.  Everything is cooked/chopped/prepared there so you can see your food being made if you sit at the counter.bar at WFC It was sunny and warm enough to have the windows open.  What bliss after winter to be sitting in a sunny, light filled room.Inside WFC 1 This is The Wild Burger.  It is an olive and shitake mushroom burger in sprouted wheat bread.WFC burger 2 Every mouthful was a real pleasure.  I am definitely having this again.  I estimate 571 calories for this.WFC burger By the end of the day I was going downhill rapidly and I could barely speak.  So I made a large bowl of comfort food; frozen bananas (4) with some watermelon, almond milk, peanut butter and cocoa powder.  I topped it with some of my favourite toppings; desiccated coconut, cacao nibs and Goji berries.choc nana ice cream It had the consistency of a soft serve ice cream and was wonderful.  Banana ice-cream is perfect for a sore throat. 807 calories.banana sost serve

Total daily calories = 1,880 (ouch!)
% of daily calories:
Carbohydrate = 68
Protein = 9
Fat = 23

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Sunrise, Salads and Soup

Did any of you see that amazing sunrise this morning?  I missed the very best part as I was driving to the station and the side window was steamed up and I couldn’t clear it.  But there was plenty of beautiful sunrise to enjoy when I did get there.

sunrise SPU 3 It was incredible.sunrise SPU 2 Freezing cold though.sunrise at SPU 1 I took breakfast and lunch to work again today.  Breakfast was half a watermelon and a white nectarine.  240 calories.nectarine and watermelon Salad for lunch made with shredded white cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions, lettuce and 50 g houmous.  376 calories.salad 11-3-15 3 salad 11-3-15 2 lunch 11-3-15 1 I was tired this evening so I had a very easy supper of a pot of soup and I needed something with it because I was low on calories anyway and very hungry.Soupolgie soup So I added 6 falafels, half the packet.  I like these falafels.Biona falafel Not an obvious combination but it worked quite well actually. 487 calories.soup and falafels

The numbers were good for calories today at 1,119 for the day.  In addition to the meals listed above I had one cup of tea with some soya milk in it.  The rest of the day I drink various teas without any milk, black coffee and water.

The ratios were not.  I could have improved them by eating more carbs but I think I have eaten enough today and will have to mark this day down as a high fat day, even though it didn’t feel like one.  It is much too easy to eat too much fat, even when you think you are being careful

% of calories consumed as

carbohydrates = 52%
protein = 13%
fats = 35%

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Happy Raw Day

I ate very well today.  Everything was either fruits or veggies, it was all raw and it all tasted good.  I felt really good too.  Bright, alert and focused, even though I worked hard all day, had no time to go out at lunch time and worked until 7pm.  Over 10 hours today with no real break apart from a little bit of chit chat with the team.  And I still feel good hence having the energy to do a little blog.  I have forgotten to take my thyroid tablets too since last week so I can’t even thank the meds for my improved sense of well being.  It must be down to the food.

So what did Zoe eat today?

Well, thanks to a good nights sleep, I made some sensible choices with my meal planning today and prepared everything I needed to eat all day and took it to work with me.  It was quite liberating knowing everything I needed to eat was in my bag and all I had to do was eat it.  No decisions to make, no shopping, no temptation by walking through food shops. I must do that regularly.

lunch bag For breakfast I had about 1/3 of this lovely champagne mango.  I would have had more but my little fruit bat was soon circling and begging me for the mango.  How that boy of mine does love a mango – he can sniff one out from the other side of the house but how could I refuse him?champagne mangoSo I filled my bowl with a medium sized papaya.  I ate it all except about 1/8 which I gave Harvey.  It was so sweet and juicy.  It was quite perfect and I loved every mouthful.
papaya monomeal I also made a large salad with a whole and very large sweet pepper, about 10 cherry tomatoes, 2 spring onions and one large carrot.raw veg in bowl Plus half this head of lettuce.  Instead of a dressing I took a small and ripe Haas avocado which I mashed in to the leaves with some salt.  It was excellent and kept me going until 9 pm when I was home for supper.  It was the avocado that made my fat proportion high today but it was low yesterday and hopefully it will all balance out.lettuce in sink This was supper; a purple kale and banana smoothie, blended with a splash of water and some frozen raspberries.purple kale smoothieThe numbers are reasonable too.  Not excellent but pretty good.

Total calories consumed = 1,330

% of calories consumed as:
Carbohydrate = 69
Protein = 8
Fat = 23

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Tracking The Numbers

I have nearly finished reading ‘The 801010 Diet’ cover to cover.  I told myself to try the diet strictly for a week when I finished reading it so I am reading the last couple of chapters very slowly.  It is quite a tough diet as it’s basically all raw fruits and veggies.  However, I want to try it to see if it makes me feel as amazing as it claims.

The idea of the diet is to eat raw fruit for 2 meals and fruit plus green leafy veg for supper – all raw.  When I get home after a long day in the dark, I want something cooked.  I can happily eat sweet juicy fruit all day but it’s the evening I struggle with.  Mind you, I did well today as the numbers at the end will show.

I munched an apple on the train and at work feasted on a huge bowl full of pineapple,a kiwi, a passionfruit and 2 bananas.  I also snacked on 2 or 3 more apples through the morning.breakfast 9-3-15 At lunch time I walked a longer then necessary route (for the exercise) to Wholefoods Market to buy some fruit.  I bought some lovely fruits for at home and for lunch I had 500g of organic red grapes and 500 g of 2 types of melon. My colleagues are wondering if I am turning my desk in to a fruit stall!melon and grapes I felt really good all day.  I was alert, not tired and got lots done.  This was even more impressive as I had been woken up at 4:54 by whatever rodent (rat or squirrel most likely) that has taken up residence in the wall space or roof space immediately next to my bed !!!!  It has been waking me up for weeks and I ah getting very fed up.  But anyhow, on with the food ……

Supper was a pile of veggies.5 veg 2 Half a bag of spinach, a small head of cauliflower, 2 large chestnut mushrooms, one brown onion and lots of brussel sprouts.5 veg I bought a new pan today as I am going to try to massively reduce my fat consumption.Green Pan Instead of stir frying the veggies in coconut oil and adding soy sauce like I usually would, I “fried” them in water.  And added nothing!broccoli and water It did taste a bit bland but I wanted to try and have no added salt all day so I added some Sriracha, hot chilli sauce.  This would win no gourmet awards but it was ok.  Just.water fried vegetables

The numbers however are great.

Total calories = 1,368

80/10/10 ratio

Carbohydrates – 86%
Protein – 9%
Fat – 5%

I do hope those scales show a good result on Friday.

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