A life of health and wellness…with kids!


Leave a comment

What I ate Wednesday

Food Diary 12wbt

 

I must admit that this isn’t exactly “What I ate Wednesday” – but more a selection of things I ate in the past few days….   I decided to sign up for the Michelle Bridges 12wbt again, mainly to get access to the menu plans – because the Exercise plans really haven’t changed all that much since I last did it a few years ago. They are OK (the exercise plans) but I find some of the exercises fussy and using too much equipment – so I switch them out for something that works the same muscle group.

About two months ago I commenced “Operation Get Andjxx fit again” and I was going really well for the first month and lost about 5kg – I was feeling great and really  on top of things. They I had a crash off my bike, shortly followed by another accident at  home that left me with a big gash on my leg (Which is really really ugly), and well I basically lost all momentum and just stopped exercising and eating well for the who second month. I kept telling myself I would get back on top of it and kept feeling like it was all too hard. But it was all in my head – just the simple act of telling myself it was all too hard was enough to stop me from starting. So after starting to read the book “If not dieting then what?” by Dr Rick Kausman, I talked some of my cognitions and am back on top of things again. The book is actually really good because it helps me to tackle some of my “black or white’ thinking behaviors – and also my tendency to become obsessive about every little morsel I eat.

The bottom line is I know that I feel better when I eat healthy foods the majority of the time… and I still need to lose about 7 kg to be at a good healthy weight for my body…and exercising helps with my Anxiety – all excellent reasons to get back on the wagon!

I have been pretty happy with the 12wbt food choices this week – I just changed up a couple of things to match more with things that we already had in the house. One of the things I dislike about the 12wbt food plan is that it often requires you to buy things that expensive just for one or two meals – so I will often substitute – because frankly I just can’t afford $200 a week on shopping!

This week I have been eating Banana Porridge and eggs (on separate days) for breakfasts; chicken and salad pita pockets for lunch and a variety of things for dinner – Lamb kebabs with Cous cous salad; Lemon and garlic marinate chicken and salad, Roast chicken with Asian vegetables and my favourite – Asian BBQ  cooker chicken with chinese broccoli. For snacks I have been alternating Chobani yoghurt (Coconut or banana) with Hummus and vegetable cruidites or an APple and about 10 almonds.

I will say up front that the food on the 1200 calorie MB plan does not keep me full…in fact I would wake up starving at 3am most nights (and it’s not head hunger – it is real stomach grumbling, anger causing hunger) – so I do actually consume around 1300 – 1400 calories per day on a typical day. I lost weight on this amount of calories and it basically means I have a snack after dinner – I know that if I don’t do this it is a sure fire way to a binge – so I see it as better to eat slightly more than what she recommends and reduce the risks of a binge session.

The other thing that I do to make it fit into our family lifestyle is I often will cook something different for my children – or provide them with an alternative side dish. I have fussy eaters and I would much rather they eat dinner than have the fight with them about eating at all. I will do a post about this next week actually!

Is anyone else who reads my blog following the MB program at the moment?

Andjxx


Leave a comment

School Canteens and the Food Giants

evil food giants

Many of you may recall the recent *ahem* disagreement between certain high profile chefs and nutrition experts over the marketing of ‘liquid breakfast supplements’ as a healthy alternative for kids who don’t like eating breakfast.

It could certainly be easy to think that these food products have been created with the best interests of those who consume them in mind – especially considering that  Kelloggs is marketing their products in particular, directly at parents who are short on time and need a fast solution. Kelloggs marketing director John Broom is quoted in FoodMagazine saying “The new breakfast drinks are made with 90 percent low fat milk are low GI and contain around 10 percent sugar. They also score green on the Schools Canteens approval rating system, which indicates the drinks are among the best commercial products available for young children”. Sounds good right?

It’s true – they are BUT – and there is a big but – does this mean they are healthy and that it is perfectly OK for your child to consume these on a daily basis?

My question is How does a highly refined product such as this, without a skerrik of whole food (other than sugar) as an ingredient – even get onto the Green rating in the school canteens approval rating system?

Lets take a look at the ingredients?

cocopops ingredients

The reason it is allowed under the green category is because it is a low fat milk product – and low fat milk products under 375ml are considered to be in the green category. See below:

Canteen guidelines

However, what is alarming is that plain old full fat milk – the type that was forced upon our parents and grandparents at primary school on a daily basis – falls into the Amber category – Why is this so? Because of the FAT content.

Yes I understand that our current Australian Dietary Guidelines place an emphasis on the consumption of low fat food but in doing this, the green light has been given to food companies to change the composition (read increase the amount of added sugar) of their foods to ensure that the flavours, taste and textures remain unchanged. What alarms me most is that the same serving of full fat milk contains less calories than the example given above.  Remembering that it is consuming more calories than our bodies expend that causes excess weight gain – when food companies are telling us that it is OK too feed this manufactured ‘food’ to our children on a daily basis – it is not surprising that we have an obesity epidemic.  I haven’t even mentioned how the conversion of unnecessary (added) sugar in our diet actually contributes to fat gain metabolically – because others have done it far more eloquently than I. While I am not generally an advocate of Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar tirade I do agree with her on the topic of ‘quitting  added sugar. If you are feeling scientific and would like to watch a video on the topic go and have a look at this talk by Dr Kieron Rooney from the University of Sydney speaking on the topic – it is truly fascinating.

Back to the milk.

milknutr

You will see that a 250ml serving of Full Cream milk contains 703kj, 12.3g Carbohydrate (which is all Lactose – no added sugar) and 9.5g Fat. In comparison, the product above contains 740kj, 24.3g of Sugar (of which 13.8g is Lactose) and 3.3g of Fat. Yes the full cream milk has more fat, however it also has approximately half the sugar – and none of it is added sugar – assuming you are not lactose intolerant – our bodies can metabolise Lactose very well. So in the flavoured liquid breakfast you get extra sugar  AND extra calories – not to mention extra chemicals in all those stabiliser and enhancer numbers.

I know that I would much rather my children to have plain old full cream milk with half the sugar (and I don’t know about your children but mine go a bit cray cray when they have extra sugar) and a little bit extra fat than the chemical laden liquid breakfast substitute.

We as parent have to wise up to the evil marketing that the big food giants use to appeal to parents and children if we are to win the battle against childhood obesity. If you think – who am I to be able to do something about this? Actually, you can!

Sarah Wilson has teamed up with Kieron Rooney to lobby the NSW government to make changes to the NSW School Canteen guidelines – and they need 10 000 in person signatures to make it happen. If you live in NSW and the food your children have access to in school is something that you feel passionate about then do your best to try and sign this petition. Every little bit of effort from an individual helps.

What else could you do? If you see a food item in your school canteen that you are unhappy with – let your P&C know, have a look at the healthy school canteen strategy (Other states have similar guidelines/strategies) – to back up your lobbying efforts. Many small efforts add up to results and your opinion can make a difference!

As a disclaimer to this post – I am not in any way affiliated with Sarah Wilson or her petition – it is simply a topic that I feel passionate about. Real food is more important than processed food and it is only though people power that we will get any government to take on multinational corporations. Additionally, I attended the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society 2014 conference last week and saw Dr Kieron Rooney’s key note presentation on this very topic – but it is the type on information that all parents should know – so if it enrages you too – please share!!

Andjxx


1 Comment

Food Labelling – How well can you interpret a food label?

ImageIt has been some time since I have posted any content on my blog that is actually related to the title – however I do hope that in the next 12 months I will be able to progressively begin to produce content related to healthy kids once more. One such topic caught my attention on the radio recently and really managed to impact me to a point where I felt compelled to speak out – because if we as parents don’t know about how government decisions make an impact on the health of our children then how do we have any hope of raising our healthy happy kids ?

Food Labelling has been something that has been on my mind lately because my youngest child has been having some digestive issues that we are trying to get to the bottom of. We were giving littleB a restricted diet to assess for FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) intolerance. Basically that meant restricting him from many fruits, lactose, wheat, legumes, the onion family and sugar alcohols.  Throughout this process I tried to find alternatives to some of the food choices that he and his brother would normally eat  – so that he didn’t feel as though he was missing out. As you can imagine this was quite a challenging task as when a 3 year old is used to being able to eat whatever he wants (within reason), to suddenly be told he can’t have a chocolate milk as a treat is a little bit difficult for him to understand. Some of the options for foods that he could eat (or so I thought) – included those in the ‘health food aisle’  marketed as gluten free  (ie. Wheat free) products. It wasn’t until I read the ingredients list on the label of some of the food items that I realised that most of these we made with either Apple or Pear juice concentrate. What’s the significance of that you may wonder?

Apple and pear juice concentrate is extraordinarily high in fructose – remarkably similar to it’s evil cousin – High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)- but hey – it’s marketed as healthy right so it must be OK? Yes it is a natural alternative to HFCS but the sugar content – and sugar in a form that is not well processed in the body – is still very high. I won’t go into the details of how fructose is processed in the body in this post, that is a whole post on it’s own, the point I am trying to make is that the highly processed nature of the fructose present in these products that are marketed as ‘healthy’  is something that we as parents should know about and be aware or – so that we can make informed decisions about what we are feeding our children.

In Australia we often hear horror stories about the evils of HFCS but our fears are allayed by the comforting words of marketers that most convenience foods in Australia are not manufactured using HFCS – but with the processed food industry on the rise in Australia (see this recent report from Deloitte – number 11: Food Processing) – will this always be the case? I really think that we as parents need to voice our opinions loudly on this point – vote with our wallets and avoid processed food at all costs – much easier said than done I know! What we should be more concerned about is these highly processed food components that are sold to us as healthy and good choices for us to give to our children – when in reality they are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I have more to say on this topic – however I will save that for another post later in the week – I would love to hear you opinions on this topic though – please leave a comment telling me about your experiences with food labels.

Andjxx

 


Leave a comment

The Trials and Tribulations of Losing Weight

Willpower and weightloss

So it has been about a month since I started on this fitness kick and things were going really well. I had some ups and downs over the course of the month and things were going quite well – I had lost about 3.5 kg. Then…sometime last Thursday it all went to pot.  I can’t really pinpoint what was the trigger but  I do remember that it started with being tired. Extraordinarily tired. Perhaps I overdid it last week – or something along those lines. I have found that I find it difficult to fit in all the different bits of exercise that I want to do. I want to do strength training so as not to lose muscle mass through cardio. I want to do Cardio because thats what I enjoy. I need to play Hockey on a Sunday afternoon. I want to ride my bike on the weekends. Problem is – it’s all too much – and perhaps I was pushing a little too hard.

The food thing is also proving challenging to me – as it seems that I have developed an intolerance to wheat and dairy (at least Milk based things apart from Yoghurt – I seem to be able to tolerate Yoghurt). Now I have fallen into complete denial – I will not be denied these foods that are so good – binge eating – for the past 5 days.

I don’t even want to look at the scale. I had been weighing myself daily – but I am not going to do that anymore as I tend to obsess over the number – I feel as though it is a trigger for me. I have bought some Tanita body fat % scales because in reality I don’t care what the weight in kilos or pounds is – I care about seeing the BF% number go down.

The thing is – I have been seeing improvements in other areas – such as strength and endurance – going ahead in leaps and bounds. I have managed to get my Parkrun PB for 5km down to 29min 15sec – that means in six weeks I have knocked about 4 and a half minutes off my PB – an awesome improvement given that the only actual running that I have been doing is Parkrun – the rest of the Cardio I have been doing is on the bike or HIIT at the Gym. The other thing I noticed is how much easier it was to run that PB this past Saturday – when I was fully loaded with Carbohydrates and had relatively fresh legs from not training the previous two days.

Now I have a dilemma because I want to run – I want to commit myself to running a half marathon later in the year – but I also want to strength train – but for the specific purpose of building strength for running – I also still have about 10kg to lose – and running makes you hungry….Very hungry.

So I think the bottom line is that I was trying to do too much – especially when I add work into the mix – and if I want to make gains in speed and train for a half marathon then the extensive strength training has to go to the side and the running specific training has to take precedence.

I would also like to post here about my training more often – particularly about learning to manage these apparent food difficulties and balancing it all with two very demanding small children and my work. All I can do is try.

Andjxx


Leave a comment

So I have to do some work on myself now…

Time for me

Four and a half years is approximately how long I have been neglecting myself now.

Sure there was a time there in the middle of the two boys where I was doing pretty well and it has mostly been all downhill for the past two years in particular. But I have had a little health wake up call of late and it is time to heal and mend from all of the increased stress that has been the past two years. Gosh I am getting all teary just writing this. I don’t even know if my new job is actually going to be less stressful but in a way I think that it just has to be.

The first thing I have done is I have given up caffeine. What! I know …crazy right. But it has been almost a week now and the only time I have missed it was on Sunday morning with our cooked breakfast. A nice pot of plunger coffee was part of the ritual. I have replace it with peppermint tea mostly, with a few other herbals thrown in for good measure and the odd decaf cappuccino at the shops. The biggest thing was the diet coke. I was a can a day, had to have it, drove to the shops especially kind of addict. For the first few days I switched to Caffeine free Diet coke, but it gave me a really strange feeling in my chest, similar the the one I get from Coke Zero – it is such a strange feeling that drinking it isn’t worth it. So that’s gone too.

Why all this? Well I have a feeling that I may have a bit of adrenal fatigue going on  and along with a host of vitamin supplements, giving up the caffeine is strongly recommended.  I am giving it 6 months to see how my energy levels are and try to determine if it has made any difference at all.

The second thing I am doing is giving myself the next 6 months to get back down to my happy weight and back to running regularly. I have also started playing field hockey again for the first time in about 20 years. Having a sport to play every week gives me a bit more motivation to get some level of fitness back again – just so that I can run around for 50 minutes with out feeling exhausted and tired the next day.

So I have signed up to the Michelle Bridges 12wbt again…because I absolutely don’t have a choice but to lose weight. I am six kilos about my previous ‘happy’ point and my ideal weight is around 66kg – right now I am 10kg over that.

So I decided it is time and that this will be my focus for the next six months.

Wish me luck!

xxAndjxx


Leave a comment

A win in the kitchen: Chicken and Mango Salad (Wraps)

Part of the reason for my lack of blogging recently has been that my children decided to stop eating. The two who would normally eat anything that was placed in front of them suddenly refused anything that was put in front of them. Given that I wanted this blog to be about feeding kids in a way that enabled working mums to make just one meal at dinner time – this provided me with quite a challenge – as you might imagine.

The other reason is that my husband has been working away and I have been doing the single mum thing – it is incredibly hard just to get the everyday done in these circumstances so I haven’t worried too much and have just been feeding them ravioli and veggie laden pasta sauce, the ‘hidden veggie’ sausages that one of our local butchers does and toasted sandwiches.

However I was trawling through some of my old cooking magazine during the week which often has a cooking with kids section – and it got me thinking. I decided that I wanted to have this yum looking Mango Chicken Salad during the week – but I knew that telling them we were having salad would go down like a lead balloon.

Mango Chicken Salad

Mango Chicken Salad

How could I market it to them as something they might like to eat????

Then it came to me….. put it in a wrap.

H Boy just loves eating taco’s or anything that comes packaged in a wrap. I was bang on – it worked a treat. He ate two whole wraps filled with salad and mango. He didn’t want any chicken – but that was fine – he ate and there was no tears.

That is a win in my book!

Mango Chicken Salad (Wraps)

adapted from Australian Healthy Food Guide March 2010 edition. Serves 4

Ingredients

400g Canned Mango slices in Juice

1 tsp Tamari soy sauce

1 Tblsp sweet chilli sauce

cooking oil spray

300 gram Skinless chicken breast fillet, cut into small strips

Cajun seasoning

1 baby cos lettuce – shredded

1 punnet cherry tomato – halved/quartered

red capsicum – diced

Cucumber – sliced thinly

Shredded Cheese

Wholegrain wraps

Method

1. Dice 1/4 of the mangoes. Set aside. In a food processor, process the remaining mango, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.

2. Coat chicken in a dusting of the Cajun seasoning. Spray a pan with oil and cook chicken over medium – high heat  5 -6  mins or until cooked through.

3. Place all the salad ingredients on a platter.

4 Serve at the table as a  ‘serve yourself’ arrangement with the wraps, mango and sauce.

(For those 12wbt’s reading – this recipe is “Mish friendly” I didn’t have the wrap – I just had the meal as a Chicken and Mango salad with a small drizzle of the dressing and a very light sprinkle of the shredded cheese: Nutritional info, per serve: 270 Cal; 29g protein; 8g fat; 18g carbs)

Why I chose to have salad for dinner on the day it snowed in Canberra is beyond me!

Any tips for ‘marketing’ food to your kids?