Monday, 31 December 2012

Cooking Up A New Year Storm!

I have made it to the end of day 2 of my first Whole30! Yay me! To be honest, it hasn't been that hard so far. The food has been yummy and filling, and fairly easy to make. In fact, the hardest thing about the past two days was sitting in Starbucks! I work really well there and having my usual sugar free hazelnut latte pretty much makes my day. Alas, this drink is definitely NOT Whole30 compliant...dairy and artificial sweeteners are a big no no. Today I had my first black coffee. And it was gross. My brother was with me and said that I just have to power through, that eventually I will love black coffee. Hmm, this may take a while. For the next 30 days I will just have to be content with trying the various fruit teas that they offer, with the occasional caffeine fix that the black, gross tasting gloop will provide.

So what have I eaten in the past two days? Yesterday I roasted some chicken thighs and some carrots rubbed with cumin. Yum. Today has been a big cook-a-thon where I roasted some more veggies, made a Shepherd's Pie, and made some Scotch Eggs! These recipes came from 'Well Fed', the recipe book that I have been raving about! As I am British, I wanted to try out the 'traditional' recipes first.
The Shepherd's Pie was made with ground lamb and topped with mashed cauliflower instead of potato. It came out really well; the taste was lovely and full of depth. The presentation of it leaved much to be desired though! A bit sploggy, if that is a word. I feel that it works as a description for it! Next time I will use a food processor to puree the cauliflower, as opposed to just using a fork. It will hopefully make it much smoother and easier to dish out.

Now for the main event...the Scotch Eggs! These are beasts. Literally, the size of Mr T's fist. Instead of using breadcrumbs on the outside the recipe asked for ground up pork rinds. While I was in the supermarket, I looked at bags of pork scratchings but found that they were jammed packed with names of preservatives and other ingredients that I had trouble pronouncing; those were going no where near my mouth. Instead, I bought some pork rind and made my own!

For my first attempt I feel pretty proud of myself. They definitely look like Scotch Eggs at the very least! Next time though I will add in some more herbs to the sausage meat (homemade I might add!) and put more of the pork rind crumbs around the outside.

I hope everyone has a brilliant New Year! Remember to make some resolutions for 2013, but they need to be achievable. All goals have to be SMART:

S- Specific
M- Meaningful
A- Attainable
R- Relevant

There is no point setting yourself up for a failure; find something that you can reach and go get it.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Here's The Whole Deal...

Ok, so Christmas has come and gone. How do I know this? The Christmas cake was finally finished this afternoon. I find it really hard to get back on track after a blip in routine. Well, this blip was more of a gaping month of off and on Paleo eating! Now the time has come to get back on it, and I am jumping in head first with my first Whole30. Terrified.

'What is the Whole30?' I hear you cry! Let me tell you. Basically, it is 100% Paleo for 30 days. No dairy, no legumes, no grains, no sugars, no alcohol, just pure food. It comes from Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's book 'It Starts With Food', and from their website. I have this book and I have read it cover to cover and it is so easy to follow, so obviously healthy! I have wanted to try a Whole30 for a while now but I am terrified. Not because I am scared of the food; i'm good at that! I am terrified of failing. As a perfectionist I know I am going to spend the next 30 days stressing over it. The problems I see myself having are with the social side of it. Diet coke can't be drunk as it contains the evil aspartame (artificial sweetener), so at the pub I will be limited to sparkling water! Also, my beloved latte's are out the window. I am actually going to try black coffee uh oh. I may add some coconut milk in and see how that works. Gross I bet!

I am starting the Whole30 on 30th December. I don't want to start on the 1st January because that is pressure in itself! Also, my best friend and I have promised each other a massage and spa day on the 28th January and it would be great to have completed it before then!

It will take a lot of will power but I am going to give it my best shot. I need to remember that I am doing it for myself; that I am in control of my own body. I can be easily swayed at times, especially at that fatal 9pm time slot where it is so easy to reach for the chocolate! But you really do get out of your body what you put in it. Wish me luck!

What are your New Years resolutions?

What is the one habit you want to break/want to incorporate this year?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I Have Definitely Been 'Well Fed'!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely day full of family, friends, presents, and of course food. I sure did. Too much chocolate. And turkey. It was all totally worth it though!
I wanted to share with you one of my presents that I received from my sister:
It's a copy of 'Well Fed', the amazing Paleo recipe book by Mel from The Clothes Make The Girl!! I have been wanting this for months and I finally got it! My sister lives in America so can get hold of it more easily than us over here in the UK. That is one annoying thing however, some of the recipes call for ingredients that we can't get. Grrr. I am going to have to improvise when she wants me to use jicama.
You should see some of the recipes in this book though. Chocolate Chili? Erm yes please. Especially as it is completely Paleo! Other things that I am looking forward to making: Italian Sausage and Eggplant (Aubegine) Strata, Paleo Scotch Eggs, the Best Stir-Fry Sauce Ever, and Velvety Butternut Squash. In fact, I can't wait to make them all.

Well, today is Boxing Day so we are off for a nice long walk to kid ourselves that we have burnt all the calories we consumed yesterday, so that we can do the same with all the leftovers today.

Did you get any new recipe books for Christmas?

What do you and your family eat over the holidays?

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Pearls

I came across this while trawling the world wide web, so i'm not 100% who made this or where it came from, but I love it.

Reminds me to look at the positives in life...the pearly lining if you will!

Have you found any funny/uplifting pictures about PCOS?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Perfect Paleo Pancakes

And you thought that eating Paleo only involved munching on a steak and some broccoli! Yes you read that right...pancakes. Usually these are associated with a whole myriad of sweet syrups, lashings of butter, and chocolate spread; a sugar hit so hard that even yo' grandma would feel a buzz! Not these babies though. These are 100% Paleo so completely grain and sugar free and even more delicious than the regular version. Natural sugars are in the fruit of course but none of this high fructose corn syrup crap where you may as well be ingesting toxic waste for the good it does.
Here is the recipe that I bundled together from a variety of sources across the web. Gotta love Google!

For the pancakes:
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter (I used almond...and remember peanut butter is a big NO NO)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond flour
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup of mixed, frozen berries
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes 
The most simplest method ever, especially if using a food processor or an electric whisk. Blend all the ingredients for the pancakes together until a batter has formed. Put some olive or coconut oil into a frying pan and heat up. Then spoon about a tablespoon and a half of batter into the pan so that a somewhat circular shape has formed (or any shape your heart desires) that is about 2 inches by 2 inches. Obviously you don't need to get the measuring tape out, it's just the smaller they are, the easier they are to flip! Wait until little bubbles appear on the topside and then flip!
Once all the batter had been used and you have a lovely stack of scrumptious pancakes, add the berries and coconut to the pan and gently heat them until they became nice and juicy. Pour over, and face plant into guilt-free heaven!

Friday, 21 December 2012

PCOS: What You Need To Know

So I thought that I would give you all a brief rundown of what PCOS actually is! 
PCOS is an acronym for Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome and while doctors aren't 100% sure what causes it, the most well thought reason is that it is genetic. Small cysts form on the  ovaries which lead to a wholllleee plethora of symptoms because of hormone imbalances, in particular testosterone. It is a pretty common syndrome; 5-10% of women are supposed to have it. However all women have a slightly different version and express different symptoms. One woman can find it impossible to conceive, but be as thin as a rake with no insulin resistance, while another can pop out a whole football team with no problems, but be overweight and have excess hair.

Some symptoms that are more annoying than anything include:
  • Insulin resistance
  • Irregular periods, or none at all
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Excess hair on the body and face
  • Difficulty losing weight and quick to gain weight
However there are more serious long term effects and symptoms:
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Cancer of the uterus
  • Obesity
If I were to ponder on these long term ones then I would go insane. I can't control the future, but I can control what I am doing about it now. If I lead a healthy lifestyle, through a Paleo plan, and keep my weight in a 'normal' range then I can rapidly decrease my chances of developing diabetes and liver and heart disease. Done. Infertility? Well, again, being healthy can help with this but I won't know until I try. I can't worry about that now! One thing at a time.

As I have mentioned previously, I am currently taking a drug called Metformin. This helps with the insulin resistance part of the syndrome and is used primarily for diabetes, but also for PCOS.Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which tells your body to control the blood sugar level. In PCOS, like in diabetes, the pancreas is either producing too little insulin, or the body is not listening to it. Metformin encourages your internal organs to be more sensitive to insulin and absorb the sugar from the blood. This is great news for your weight, and your health! However, I want to be able to control this naturally. By eating Paleo, I will be avoiding any spikes in blood sugar levels and so shouldn't need Metformin. We shall see about this....

I am no medical expert but this is my take on the syndrome I have. I am lucky that I do not have all of these symptoms. Very lucky.I can have some positive effect over my insulin resistance and my weight through a lot of hard work. Periods? Well, that is another matter, but those can be sorted medically and in fact I have noticed a massive improvement in them when eating Paleo! I don't have to shave my face, treat any acne, or deal with diabetes. For this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

'I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts' a jar!

Today I went into a health food shop and came out with this:

I feel like I have moved up the paleo ranks! This stuff is everywhere. It is in practically every paleo recipe I have come across as it is a perfect fat source instead of using butter or vegetable oils. Most recipes say to use this or olive oil, but you can just tell that coconut oil is preferred and me, a budding perfectionist, couldn't resist! Typing in a quick Google search, there are pages and pages of why it is such a good source of fat for not just Paleo nerds but PCOS sufferers too. Take a look: it supports a healthy metabolism, relieves diabetes symptoms, and helps with fat loss, all big ticks in my book! It even can be used like a lotion and rubbed into your skin to keep it healthy and happy! I won't be doing this. This is some expensive fat...I paid nearly £5 for this 200g jar so I think I will save it just for cooking some delicious dishes! That is a downside about living paleo in the UK....we haven't quite caught onto it yet so a lot of ingredients are either really expensive or just not available.

The word 'oil' is a bit misleading. I expected runny, slimy, greasy stuff. I did not expect it to be rock hard! Look at my spoon stuck in it like the sword in the stone.
After digging around and a few grunts of exertion, I managed to get a teaspoon out to drop in my pan. Tonight I decided that what I wanted to munch on was a curry so I browned my beef and some mushrooms and peppers in the coconut oil. I have to admit, I was a bit worried. There was definitely a coconut-y aroma going on. I love coconut but I don't want all my meals to taste like it! Thankfully the curry turned out lovely and there was no coconut taste at all! I have heard through the grapevine that virgin coconut oil will leave a bit of a taste, and that is the one I have but maybe I didn't use enough of it? Or the sauce masked it. Hmmm, I shall have to experiment.
As it is so expensive I think I will use it for special occasions and stick to olive oil most of the time! I am a poor, struggling student after all!

Have you tried coconut oil before?

Monday, 17 December 2012

A quick note on medication before we start...

Currently, I am taking 1500mg of Metformin a day to help with PCOS related stttuuffff. I was on 2000mg for the past year but since got it reduced. It still can make me sick, and long-term wise I don't really see where it is all leading. I have an appointment with a specialist PCOS clinic at the end of January and so I am hoping that I will get some answers, and maybe talk about coming off the Metformin altogether! I want to see how much my diet and lifestyle can have an affect on my symptoms when not medicated...but that is a scary thought! Having medication for something like this is a little like having a comfort blanket.

Anyone else taking Metformin?

What have you found makes you ill when you are on it?

Time to take charge!

Welcome to Munching and Moving! Perhaps I should welcome myself too, this is new to me!
Why  have I started this? Well I am fed up of half heartily trying to get fitter and healthier. I say I do OK around 65-70% of the time but I want more for my life.
A brief foodie/medical history of me:
  • I have PCOS. And it sucks. I find it extremely difficult to lose weight and being on medication for various symptoms is annoying. I'm into the self-medicating idea; controlling my body by what I put in it.  This leads onto:
  • I have been trying to follow a Paleo lifestyle and diet for a while now and have had some success. I've lost some weight, feeling better within myself, and my symptoms of PCOS have decreased! Ladies, if you have PCOS, I recommend this lifestyle! Find more about it in the Munch tab.
  • The heaviest I have been is 20lbs heavier than I am today. The lightest I have been (besides at birth duh) is 15lbs less than I am today. I am quite literally stuck in the middle. One GIANT plateau! I think everyone who has tried losing weight can sympathise with this stage! I want this to change. No, I need it to change, before I grab the nearest chocolate cake and face plant into it.
  • Exercise wise, I have some knee problems right now but that doesn't stop me from lifting weights and sweating like a beast (some of the time!) But now it is time to move baby move. 
So from now, I want to grab hold of the Paleo bull by it's big, meaty horns, and really go for it! No excuses, no justifications, just health and fitness. I follow so many Paleo blogs, in particular Nom Nom Paleo and the fabulous The Clothes Make the Girl, and now I want to jump on this bandwagon. The number of recipes that I have bookmarked from these websites is ridiculous so now I actually am going to try them!  My aim is to document what I eat/munch and how I exercise/move so overtime I can change and perfect my habits and say proudly that yes, I have PCOS but I'M controlling it, and that I am one pure Paleo-ist!