Low carb lifestyle – day 1: The Keto Flu

Hello my lovelies,

As some of your may know I’ve dabbled with a low carb diet on and off for about a year.  I had some success on it which was short lived because I firstly, followed the concept too loosely and didn’t track what I was eating and secondly because having failed to get into ketosis, I gave into cravings and ate carbs again. I know that eating in a low car way will pay off in the long run it’s just getting over the initial hurdles.

For those who don’t know, ketosis is the state you body enters when you reduce your carbohydrates to 20g of carbs per day or less. It means that your body is using your fat stores as energy instead of the carbs and sugar that you are eating. Using fat as energy is a MUCH more efficient energy source than carbs.  As a result, your body enters into Ketosis, an optimum state for weight loss. Ketosis also keeps your blood sugar levels constant (making this a great diet for diabetics), suppresses your appetite to a certain degree and increases focus and energy.  Some people say that a low carb diet also helps to reduce anxiety.  I’m not 100% sure if that is true but I’m willing to give it a try.

The only downside about following a ketogenic diet is that for the first few days you get what’s know as the keto or low carb flu. It’s not an actual illness but rather a type of withdrawal that your body goes through as you rid it of sugar.  And it really sucks because it makes you feel like hell!

I started with dinner last night so today is essential day 1 for me. While I felt fine this morning, this afternoon I feel headachey, tired, moody and achy in my body.  I could really use a long hot bath and my bed but that’s not going to happen right now.  I know I will feel better in a few days but right now, I’m hating a ketogenic diet. Onwards and upwards though, right?  I’ll just drink enough water to sink a cruise ship, keep at or below 20g of carbs a day and stay busy.  Oh, and take a long hot bath and get into bed early.  I know that once I’m in ketosis, I will feel amazing so it will be worth it.  No, seriously, when I was in ketosis before I felt Wonder Woman amazing.

Besides feeling crappy, I’ve had some really yummy foods since last night. For dinner last night I had bacon and mushroom Meatza with mixed salad leaves and avocado

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This morning I had a chocolate and almond milk protein shake with bacon spinach stacks and garlic allioli

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For lunch I had a cheese and onion crustless quiche which was so lovely I ate it all before I could take a picture!

For dinner tonight, I have another slice of meatza with creamed spinach and steamed courgettes.  I can definitely get used to this!

I’ll check in tomorrow to let you know how it’s going,

bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

 

 

Bare Naked Noodles

Hey everyone,

I’m back on my low carb lifestyle for the last time, I might add and I’m excited to chat to you today about Bare Naked Noodles!

These babies are zero fat, low in calories and 0.1g carbohydrates making them a dream for those on a low carb eating plan.  I found them in Morrisons for around £2.50 so they are not cheap and not intended for the whole family to eat. Unless of course, they are also on a low carb diet in which case this is gonna cost you big bucks!

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I use regular noodles for the family and these bare naked noodles for myself.  There is a difference in texture compared to regular noodles.  They feel a little ‘squeeky’ on the teeth… kind of like halloumi feels once it’s been pan fried and you bite into it.  They don’t really taste of anything which is where a dinner like Thai chicken curry comes in.

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I separated a portion of the Thai chicken curry for myself and tossed it in a bag of drained bare naked noodles, then heated it through for around 3 minutes.

Please note I have not been paid to write this review but was so excited at the prospect of eating pasta, I needed to share this with you.

To make Low Carb Thai Chicken Curry:

3 chicken breasts, diced

1/2 a leek, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1/2 courgette, cut into battons

1 carrot, sliced into ribbons with the vegetable peeler

a handful of mange tout

1/2 jar of Waitrose Thai red curry paste (be aware this contains shellfish!)

1 chicken stock cube

1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk

Fry the diced chicken in a bit of coconut oil until lightly browned on both sides. Add the vegetables and stir fry until just starting to wilt.

Add the stock cube, Thai red curry paste and stir through.  Fry for another minute.  The smell at this point is INCREDIBLE!

Add the coconut milk, stir and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the sauce has heated through.

Serve with add to wok noodles which you can add to the sauce a couple of minutes before serving or with basmati rice.

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Bare naked also do their own version of rice which is also zero fat, low calories and practically zero carbs.  I’ve yet to try it but it’s on the list to buy soon.

 

As for my healthy eating plan, today I had:

Breakfast: Homemade cheese, sausage, mushroom and spinach fritatta

Lunch: Mixed green salad with red cabbage, pickled onions, feta cheese and salad dressing with some homemade chilli tomato soup

Dinner: thai red curry with bare naked noodles.

I doubt i’ll be hungry later but if I am, I will snack on celery sticks and hummus

As ever, if you try any of my recipes, please let me know if you enjoyed them. For those concerned, I intend to keep the slimming world recipes on my site in case anyone finds them useful.

Bright blessings to all,

Mrs R

x

 

Beating the dreaded Winter blues

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The Winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short) is a yearly depression that is triggered by the shorter days of Autumn and Winter and usually lasts until Spring. Experts say that SAD is caused by shorter, darker, colder days which lead to sugar, cravings, fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in usual activities and sleep problems.

According to my pharmacist, 90% of Brits are vitamin D deficient by mid November which contributes hugely to SAD.  Vitamin D is a vitamin that is naturally created by your body when you expose your skin to the sun so it’s little wonder that by November when the nights are drawing in earlier that we feel lackluster and grumpy. Fast forward to January, the darkest month by far and the SAD we feel can cause us to feel critically low.  You may feel that it is hopeless and that you are destined to suffer yearly but there are things you can do to ease the symptoms and help you to lead a more normal life during the winter.

1. First thing’s first, start taking a vitamin D supplement. From October to February I double my daily dose of vitamin D which I find really helps to lift my mood.  Last year, the SAD was the worst it has ever been and I broke down crying in a group setting. My pharmacist suggested a good course of vitamins and I started taking the following supplements on a daily basis:

  1. Gentle iron – helps with tiredness and breathlessness
  2. Vitamin C & zinc – helps the immune system and zinc reduced the duration of illness
  3. Vitamin B complex – helps the central nervous system
  4. Omega 3,6,9 – help reduce depression, help the central nervous system
  5. Co enzyme Q10- fights ageing, keeps the heart healthy and increases energy
  6. Vitamin D – helps reduce depression,  helps reduce the chances of getting osteoporosis and supports the immune system

The most important of these is definitely vitamin D.

2. Expose yourself to light.  Get as much natural sunlight as you can.  If possible, move your desk to one near the window and take a walk at lunch time even if it is cold.  Consider purchasing a dawn simulator which can help to make waking up a little easier and definitely consider buying a light box.  Melatonin (the sleep hormone) is activated by darkness so when it gets darker earlier in the day your body starts to literally tell itself that it’s time to sleep which is why you feel so tired during the Winter! Light boxes produce a different wavelength of light and the fact that they are 20 times brighter than a regular light bulb (10,000 LUX). This means that sitting near one for 30 minutes a day can help to reduce the melatonin levels in your body making your feel more upbeat and less fatigued.

3. Stick to a healthy diet. While is is very tempting to indulge in stodgy food during the colder months, the extra carbs and excess sugar will only make you feel worse.  Get your five-a-day, every day and wherever possible eat lots of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Eating a healthy balanced diet will help you feel less lethargic and help support your immune system too.

4.  Keep moving. It’s so important to stay active and keep doing the things you love during the Winter months.  It might feel like such a chore to visit the gym or continue with your Zumba class but it will definitely help to improve your mood.  Don’t turn down invitations and cut yourself off from friends and family no matter how much you feel like hibernating.

5. Plan things to look forward to. This is a huge help to me when what I call The February Funk hits.  Just knowing we have a day trip, a dinner out or even something as small as a couple of child free hours to do as I wish, really helps me to stay positive.

6. Hibernate. Hibernate if you must for short periods of time but don’t make it a winter long respite.

7. Talk to your doctor.  If you are concerned about how you are feeling or if your friends and family tell you they are concerned about your mental health do not delay. See your family doctor as soon as possible.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is not easy to live with but try to remember that it only lasts through the Winter.  Try the tips above to make things easier for yourself. Spring is on it’s way and we’ll all feel better soon.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Review: East Side, Caterham

When I heard that East Side and independent artisan delicatessen and organic coffee house was opening near us, I was excited.  Finally, a coffee house that was not part of an ever-growing chain.  I was also delighted to hear that it was being opened by one of the teaching assistants from my daughter’s school.  Isn’t it inspiring to hear that people are following their dreams?

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My daughter and I visited East Side on 31st of October and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  From following the progress of the shop fitting, I knew that East Side was a deli/coffee house inspired by a New York deli.  Having never been to New York I was delighted to find that it was just like the Big Apple Deli’s of my imagination.

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Decorated in what I would consider an industrial chic style with a mixture of vintage inspired and modern pieces it felt inviting and just a little bit posh.  Rather than pandering to a coffee shop chain, it felt as if each piece of furniture and decoration had been loving chosen with much consideration.   The brick wall look wallpaper and canvases depicting scenes of yellow taxi cabs and city views sparked the imagination and I felt as if I could indeed be in New York.   Add in old blue eye, Frank Sinatra himself crooning in the background and just walking in felt special.  I was also pleased to see that the Halloween decorations were carefully selected and fitted the scheme well.

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East Side is proud of its Ethos which includes providing good quality British produce and fairer than fair trade organic coffee, while being mindful of farm to fork miles and using recyclable packaging wherever possible.  It’s lovely to see so much thought go into an independent enterprise.

15049597_10154469442715659_544774393_nAlthough there were no menus on the tables, was so much on offer via the old-fashioned chalk board and at the counter.  Everything from slices of cake to caramelised onions and goats cheese pies.  Even a few homemade pork pies.   On offer were also a selection of American style sandwiches on bread of your choice.

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Since my daughter is on a dairy free diet, I asked about dairy free options and was delighted to find the owners were very knowledgeable about what was in their products.  They even offered vegan spread for the sandwich.  Gluten free bread options were also available, those with intolerances and allergies will be happy to know.

My daughter enjoyed a malted bread ham sandwich and a blackcurrant cordial.  The ham was thankfully not one of those horrible reconstituted loaves but looked rather like a slice of ham cut straight from a ham joint. It was thick and meaty and tasted delicious.

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I didn’t fancy any of the options on the menu that day and asked if I could have a custom sandwich of bacon, brie and caramelised onion toasted on ciabatta bread and was happily accommodated. It was utterly delicious!  I also had the nicest latte I have possibly ever had.  The coffee had such a smooth flavour and left no bitter after taste like some large coffee chains. The owners informed me that they had tried this coffee blend two years ago and had been so impressed with it they knew they had to serve it in their deli.

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In the fridges, a large selection of local charcuterie and cheeses to buy all of which the owners were happy to talk about and recommend.  There was also local honey and jams.  The fridge by the counter had a large selection of pork pies, pasties, pastries and cakes as well as some gluten free options either to eat in or take away for later.  What a lovely idea to stop in for a coffee but take home a dinner of charcuterie and cheese.  Add a bottle of wine and some crackers and you’ve got a low fuss dinner.

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The only down side I could see is that East Side might not be the best place to take small children.  Being on the snug side, the tables that are perfect for adult dining would not be able to accommodate buggies and there is limited space on the floor for little ones to play.  But on the other hand, it’s not really a kiddie sort of place.

I am so happy to have such a gem in our little town and look forward to my next visit.

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Bright Blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

I’ve been featured!

I’m so thrilled!

I’ve been featured in an article over at The Conscious Goddess in an article on self love.  If you haven’t heard of The Conscious Goddess is the brain child of Tammra Broughton then you must check out their website on the link above but here’s a blurb from their website.

 

The Conscious Goddess is a co-creative events & production company that works with conscious visionaries who require support in making their online or offline events more visible, purposeful and conscious! 


The Conscious Goddess is a comprehensive resource for educating conscious entrepreneurs on how to make their events a big success with as little imprint on the earth as possible while at the same time, making a big impression about what they stand for.

How exciting!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

xxx

Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast

Hello my lovelies

I’ve been testing recipes again because I’ve been scouting around Pioneer Woman‘s website.  Oh my word, if you have not been to her website, you must run at turbo speed, do not walk!  There is sooooooooooooooo much to read and drool over!  Be prepared to linger…for quite some time.

Best take a cuppa.

And some cake.

While I was perusing the loveliness, I found a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast.

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I couldn’t resist!  Especially since I had everything I needed to make it without making a special trip to the shops.  Hooray!

Honestly, this was sooooooooo incredibly good.  We had it for breakfast but it was so heavenly, it could easily be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.

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We had ours for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast before more renovations started and it was scrumptious galumptious!

It was so incredibly easy because you make it all up the night before and pop it into the fridge to chuck in the oven for an hour the next morning.

Perfect, for if you’re like me and wake up like a grumpy badger until you’ve had your second cup of coffee.

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I would recommend tasting it before adding syrup though because I found it really quite sweet

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And there are leftovers to have with ice cream tonight for dessert.

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Does it get any better?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Princess unicorn marshmallow crispy treats

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back with another recipe. It seems like all I’ve been doing recently but I’m loving the domesticity.  You guys know I have a culinary crush on Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman, right?  Well I do, and I’ve been watching her series on the telly and practically drooling over her home cooking.  On the latest show I watched, Ree made these gorgeous pecan marshmallow crispy treats and I couldn’t wait to give them a go.

No really, I couldn’t even wait until I had been to Morrisons, so I made them up with what I had. Of course, I didn’t have any regular white marshmallows so the mixture came out pink and my daughter dubbed them Princess Unicorn marshmallow crispies.

Because they’re rainbow coloured and pink of course!

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Ree’s basic recipe ingredients are:

4 tablespoons of butter plus extra for greasing

300g marshmallows (I used pink and yellow ones)

1/4 t of salt

6 cups of rice crispies

First grease your dish well, I used a square one and it worked out perfectly.  Next add the butter to a large (I used my pressure cooker!) pot and once melted add the marshmallows. Melt on a low heat making sure to stir to prevent it catching.

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Add the salt and the 6 cups of rice crispies.

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Here you can add anything you have lying about to ‘flavour’ them.  I added white chocolate chunks, 1/2 a bag of mini pink and white marshmallows and 1/2 a bag of smarties.

Mix it all together and dump it out into the greased dish.  Working quickly, spread out in the dish to reach the sides and trying to make sure the layer is even.  I found that although I worked quickly, the mashmallow mixture started to get really sticky and I was getting more clinging to the wooden spoon than in the actual bowl.

On a spark of brilliance, I wet my hands a little and pressed the mixture into the pan in a nice even layer.

Again, working quickly, I poured over a slab of melted white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.

I refrigerated for 3 hours then cut into squares.

Mr R and dear daughter (DD) adores these!

I’m already considering some other interesting combinations…. stay tuned

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Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x