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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Meal Planning

Why meal plan? I used to ask that question. However, there are quite a few good reasons to plan meals in advance. 1) It helps you to budget. 2) It helps you to get through the week, without running out of something for dinner. 3) It really does save time. Dinnertime can often get boring. I can remember as a child, always having liver casserole, and mash on a Wednesday. Saturday was our roast day, but I loved that. What I didn't love, was Wednesdays! To avoid boredom with meals, I rotate around 30 different meals. I follow a process each week, which ensures only a few real favourites are repeated. I also like to make sure red meat is not more than 4 times, and at least one meat free meal per week. Here's how it works: 1) We always have at least one minced beef meal. (for this I use lean minced steak, as it has not got the extra fat, and yukky taste) This is done in rotation of lasagne, bolognaise, tortillas, cottage pie, and chilli. 2)We usually always have chicken, and the second day I pick bones off the chickens, boil up and make a stew. Now, every stew I cook is different. I sometimes add Indian, sometimes Mexican, Chinese, or just traditional. I don't always add the same veg either. I do add lentils, or beans for extra protein, but use whatever veg I have, or whatever is in season. 3) On Sunday, it is either a roast, casserole, lamb chops, or cottage pie. Again, in rotation. 4) Once a week, the non meat meal will be pizza, (home made of course;) pasta bake, or quiche. 5) If you are counting, you will see I have 2 meals to fill, now this might be curry, sausages, fried beef, fish pie, salmon fillets, fish fingers and wedges, risotto, egg chips, and home made beans, or meat pie. To vary this, the pie may be beef, or just cornish pasties, the casserole might be beef, or lamb. Again, I always add different flavours. So, this makes it really easy to plan in advance, and if I see offers in the supermarket, I can tailor the menu to meet that. I make sure I always have a few emergency meals on hand in the cupboard. I can save money buy using pasatta, instead of sauces, and buying sauces on offer. These can be stored for long periods of time. Beef joints, can be bought when half price, and frozen. We are still eating the ones I froze before christmas! I also love to look at cookery books for inspiration, and often incorporate ideas into a meal I already use.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Keeping Fit

How many times have I been here? As in talking about keeping fit. Life always seems to get in the way, and yet I was very fit before I got married. Ten children can take quite a toll. However, I seem to at last be making progress, and the scales are going down, and my waist measurements have decreased 3 inches. So, what have I been doing this time? Here's the summary: 1) For 7 weeks, I have done 3-5 DVD workouts a week. My favourite ones are rosemary conley, and Davin Mcall. However, if you are new to this, I really would recommend starting with Rosemary, as Davina's ones can be pretty tough! 2) I have cut lunch down to 2 slices of wholegrain bread, sometimes rye, and sometimes sourdough. 3) No biscuits, except for the last week, I have had the odd digestive. 4) Desserts are not everyday, and have been sensible. Yes, I did even have some cake, but it was home made, and if you follow me regularly, you will know I always bake with much less sugar than the recipe suggests. 5) snacks have been fruit, or nuts. 6) Small dinner plate, with less starchy carbs, and more veg. So, basically I am sticking to a low GI diet, and eating lots of complex carbs, so I don't have to snack. So far so good. I haven't given up butter, or full fat cheese, or even bacon. I just have them in moderation, as I believe that moderation is the key where food is concerned. My metabolism is definitely increasing, and I feel sooo much fitter. The exercise is giving me lots more energy, stamina, and the ability to even burn calories why I am sitting here. So, what are you waiting for? If you haven't tried any of these things, and need to get fit/lose weight, give it a go. You are guaranteed to see a difference.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Trim Healthy Mama

I am sure many have heard of the new book, Trim Healthy Mama, by Pearl and Serene at Above Rubies. I was excited when my copy arrived, and even excited after reading it. A lot of it made sense, and I have been able to make some good changes to my eating. The first, is halving my carbs, at dinner, and lunch. The second, reducing cows milk, by switching to almond, which makes yummy hot chocolate. The third opting for lower carb grains, such as quinoa, and rye. A few of the recipes are quite good too. There is a recipe for pancakes using porridge oats, and egg whites. However, even though they say it isn't about a diet, it is. Just about everyone I know doing it, is expecting to lose weight, and I have my concerns about the long term effects of eating a high fat diet, and low carb. For example, the cake in a mug, may not have carbs in it, but it does have a whopping 20 grams of fat, and that is just one small serving. Yep, I am all for healthy fats, but if I were to consume this regularly, I am not so sure. I tried my best to follow the gist of the plan, but the last straw came when I developed a reaction to the truvia. It was awful, headaches, awful taste in mouth, and severely hydrated feeling. In fact, the side effects seemed to last for 24 hours or more. Even using the more pure form stevia is not recommended if you have had reactions. However, I googled, and found that side effects were not rare. So, a word of caution, especially if, like me, you have had reactions to sweeteners in the past. I don't believe there is any quick fix to losing weight, although I know it has been helpful to some, and many have lost a lot of weight. Personally, I believe as christians we should exercise self control. This book almost says you can have your cake AND eat it. I will use a few principles from the book, but I WON'T be giving up my potatoes and bread, just watching how much of it I eat, and sticking to my 3 workouts a week. I will let you know if I drop on the scales!