Monday, 17 June 2013

Two recipes for you to try this week...

My winning recipes of the week:

Tropical Inspired Pancakes

Serves: 1


  • Oat flour (grind/blend rolled oats in processor) - could use any flour/meal but oat is low GI
  • Mashed banana/crushed pineapple
  • 15g/1Tbsp low fat unsweetened Yogurt - or lite cottage cheese for more protein
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp Baking soda
  • Sweetener of your choice (optional - the fruit gives plenty)
  • Shredded coconut  - to taste: I put in about 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1 egg white/equivalent of egg replacer (I used Orgrans)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • Milk/water to get to the right consistency (Optional)
Blend all the ingredients in a processor or bullet blender and add the additional water/milk until the batter reaches the desired thickness.

To serve: 
I spread/drizzled my home-made coconut butter over them with sugar free maple syrup and some low fat yogurt. Some chopped tropical fruit like mango, pineapple etc. would be nice on top too.

Sun-dried Tomato and Red Lentil 'Hummus'

This is great to eat straight with carrot sticks or on whole-grain crackers etc. or in a wrap. I have used it as a pasta sauce - thinning it out with some left-over pasta water. I plan to use it in a vegetarian roasted vegetable lasagna this week too - yum!

Yield: 1 heaping cup

  • 1/2 cup uncooked red lentils + 1 & 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • water to thin out, if needed
  • Herbs & seasonings of choice, if desired

Nutritional info (without tomatoes): (per 2 tbsp) 45 cals, 1 gram fat, 7 grams carbs, 60 mg sodium, 1 gram fibre, 3 grams protein.

Read more:

Monday, 10 June 2013

Optimise Your Energy Consumption

My weight-loss secret: Volumetrics...

The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on a basic fact: people like to eat. And if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they'll take more almost every time.
Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics diet doesn't try to fight this natural preference. You'll just wind up hungry and unhappy and go back to your old ways.
Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods -- especially fats -- are very energy dense. If you eat foods with high energy density, you rack up calories quickly. If you go with less energy dense foods, you can eat more and get fewer calories.
Very low-density foods include:
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Nonfat milk
  • Soup broths
Very high-density foods include:
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate/Candies
  • Nuts
  • Butter
  • Oils
Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content -- such as many vegetables and fruits -- since they will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. 
Eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and some healthy fats from fish and other sources is the aim. Of course, energy-dense foods -- like lollies, fats, and alcohol -- are still allowed. You just have to eat them sparingly.
While the hook of Volumetrics is clever, it essentially boils down to the sensible diet that any nutritionist would recommend: lower-calories, lower-fat, with lots of vegetables and fruits.

The concept of energy density

For weight control, your best bets are healthy foods that provide low energy with high volume. By choosing foods that are low in calories, but high in volume, you can eat more and feel fuller on fewer calories. Certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, tend to be low in energy density — they're low-calorie foods.
So what about raisins? They actually have a high energy density — they pack a lot of calories into a small package. For example, 1/4 cup of raisins has about 100 calories.

Get more for your calories

For about the same number of calories as 1/4 cup of raisins, you could eat 1 cup of grapes. Grapes — and foods like them — are good for weight control because you get a relatively large amount of food for your calories.

High vs. low energy density

Foods high in energy density include fatty foods, such as many fast foods, and foods high in sugar, such as sodas and candies. Consider that a small order of fries from McDonald's has about 230 calories.

A more filling option

For about the same calorie count, you could replace that small order of fries with heaping helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables — such as 10 cups of spinach and a small apple and 1 1/2 cups of strawberries. And with fresh fruits and vegetables, you get a heap of valuable nutrients — not just empty calories. These foods also take longer to eat and are filling, which helps curb your hunger.

Breakfast: Do's and donuts

A single large glazed doughnut is about 315 calories. Will that keep you going all morning?

A better breakfast

For the same number of calories as that doughnut, you could have a bowl of bran flakes with skim milk, blueberries and a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.

Lunch on the run?

You could grab a chococlate bar for a lunch on the run. That's about 280 calories.

A lunch to keep you going

Or you could have a pita stuffed with low-fat chicken salad for about the same number of calories.

Dinner time

A cheeseburger for dinner? That's nearly 600 calories.

A real meal

For the same calories, wouldn't you rather have a meal — soup, sandwich, fresh fruits and veggies? By choosing healthy, low-calorie foods you can take in fewer calories while still squelching those hunger pangs.

Don't forget to pack snacks

Energy density is also important when you're snacking. If you're working on weight loss or maintenance, you want to keep your snacks at about 100 calories. One ounce of potato chips is about 150 calories.

A snack that packs a punch

Or for about 100 calories, you could snack on 3 1/2 cups of air-popped popcorn.

Practice with your plate

To make this way of eating work for you, let your plate be your guide. Fill half of your plate with veggies, one-quarter with whole grains and the other quarter with a small serving of lean protein. This is a simple way to ensure you have filling, healthy meals.
Need a sweet ending? Try fresh fruit and yogurt as a tasty low-calorie alternative to a slice of cake.
Resources: WebMD

Monday, 3 June 2013

Do I have an eating disorder?

"81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat"

After visiting the Eating Disorders Association of New Zealand website, I was not shocked at all when I read the statement above.

It seems that as humans, we socialise around food. Food is a necessity of life and we can't escape it. When you feel that your life is crazy and you feel lost, controlling food intake is something that can give people the feeling of control and order. 

The EDANZ outline personalities that are prone to these disorders:
  • Kind and caring
  • Self critical
  • Ethically aware and generous
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low mood or depression
  • Intelligent and a deep thinker
  • Very sensitive to other's opinions
  • Very self conscious
  • Perfectionist
  • Anxious
  • Fears about sexuality
  • Feeling unprepared for adulthood
  • Poor problem-solving skills
I remember as a young girl, worrying about my weight. Hearing adults talk about it and observing how fixated our society is on appearance and particularly size/shape. I tried starving myself (not even lasting a day may I add - I love food too much!) as early as 10 years old. I used to binge because I hated the way I looked and would use food to 'cover' those emotions.

My family have struggled with eating disorders and currently one of my family is battling an eating disorder. It is so scary as it seems to happen to the most kind and loving people (as you can see in the traits listed above). Furthermore, because it is prevalent in my family and as a society, we love to jump at the opportunity to throw around such diagnosis without the proper knowledge - I have been accused of having Anorexia after losing over 35 kilos (I was borderline obese - over 90 kilos). It may have been one of the most hurtful things my loved ones could do - shut me out or claim things when they didn't know enough to make such statements - but I have used this experience to make sure that I don't slip into this disease - which is so easily done.

I identify myself as having many of the traits listed above and I do control my diet and worry about gaining weight (because I remember how much life sucks as an overweight person)...and when I was overweight, I did binge and often lost self control when eating - hiding food and eating in private. To me this sounds a lot like someone with major issues concerning food and body image. So I did some research, turns out that it is very common for people feel this way and through these resources (below) and seeking professional  advice (dietician and doctors), we have concluded that I don't have a disorder... but I am one-hell-of-a control freak/perfectionist!

What is an eating disorder?

What is EDNOS?

What is Bulima?

What is Anorexia?

I hope by talking about my struggles, that if you are feeling concerned or obsessive about your weight or body image that you get the strength to ask for help. The more professional advice you gain, the better. It is important to monitor your self-talk and learn to identify destructive behaviour.

All the best,
Anna :)