South Beach Diet ~ Here we go Again!

Good day, dear readers!

weight-loss-cartoonWell as we all know, a new year usually signals the time to get back to proper eating and for me, it’s no different.  As many of you know, I’m an avid follower of the South Beach Diet (SBD) and am the first one to promote its wonderful, healthy way of eating, but over the past few months several months year an a half, I’ve completely slipped off the wagon as if it were covered in grease.

When I was following it back in 2010, I managed to lose 28lbs.  I felt great, I dropped 3 sizes, I had more energy, my clothes weren’t tight and it wasn’t a struggle to bend over and tie my sneakers!  I hit a plateau in my weight…something I’m sure all of us who have ever dieted before knows all too well about.  After a while I slowly started to eat things I shouldn’t have and the weight has slowly crept back on to me and I managed to gain back 20 lbs….sigh.

DietscaleMost of last year I kept telling myself that I needed to get back to proper eating (I never refer to it as going on a ‘diet’) and would always say I would start on Monday.  Obviously, that never happened as Monday would roll around and I’d be repeating the same mantra again.  Each time I stepped on the scale; maybe once a month or so, my weight would increase by a pound or more.  Sometimes it would actually stay the same and I would be quite thankful.

As the recent holidays approached, I started psyching myself up that I was going back to SBD after the new year and I have kept that promise to myself.  I didn’t start exactly on Jan 1, but on Jan 5 as I wanted to make sure I had all the proper foods in the house and also to get rid of all the junk such as all the crackers, cheese, canapes and especially the chocolate.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost nearly 5lbs. and even though it’s a slow start, at least the numbers on the scale are going down and not up!

Many of us try to lose weight in the new year, and even though I’m sure you’ve heard most of the following before, it’s always good to get a refresher as it becomes engrained in our brains and hopefully stays there!  Breaking old eating habits can be tough, but here’s a few tips to help you on the way and hopefully keep your (and my) motivation high…

* Get rid of everything that will tempt you into unhealthy eating.  This includes cakes, cookies/biscuits, pies, chips/crisps, chocolates, candies, sweets and any other junk food you might have sitting around.

*Have some healthy snacks handy.  An apple with a small amount of sugar-free peanut butter or low-fat cheese, some wholegrain crackers with low-fat cheese, a few spoonfuls of fat-free Greek yogurt with some berries and artificial sweetener.  Celery sticks with a small amount of low fat cream cheese.  A small handful of nuts; almonds and walnuts are great choices.  You get the idea.

*Try to find a friend who also wants to lose weight and you can do it together.  Going along with a friend will help you achieve your goal as you are there to push each other along.

*Start an exercise program if you haven’t already.  You don’t need to spend hours (or money!) at the gym.  Put on a pair of walking shoes and head outside.  Start slow if you’re not used to doing a great deal of walking.  Even 10-15 minutes of walking is better than sitting down in front of the TV.  Get yourself a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day and work your way up to that.  A 10-minute walk is around 1,000 steps. Remember, the more you move, the more calories you burn.  You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight.

*Be realistic.  Keep your ultimate goal at the back of your mind, but focus on the small bites that will help you get there, such as a certain amount of weight to lose each week.

*Keep focused and motivated by reminding yourself why you want to lose weight.  Whether it’s for health reasons or to fit into your wedding gown or swim suit this Summer, it’s easier to do something when you’re clear about why you’re doing it.

sugar1*Lower your sugar intake.  Many foods have hidden sugar such as ketchup, peanut butter, canned soup, bread and salad dressings.  Try to avoid ‘light’ products such as mayonnaise as they compensate for the lower fat by adding more sugar. Too much sugar can play havoc with your blood glucose levels and increase your risk for diabetes. It may also cause obesity, and increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. It has even been linked to cancer.

*Avoid white foods: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  A sweet potato is actually better than a white potato, swap white rice for brown or wild rice and go for whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads.  They all provide more fiber which is digested more slowly and doesn’t give you that sharp spike in glucose levels which leaves you feeling hungry.  You can also replace rice with grains such as whole wheat couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa or barley.  Oats are a great way to start your day, but avoid the instant oats.

*Try to limit your eating of the starchy vegetables such as green peas, parsnips, beets, corn, pumpkin, turnips and carrots as these all contain a higher level of carbohydrates than other veggies.

*You should also limit yourself on the following fruit for the same reason as the starchy veggies: canned fruit, all fruit juice, raisins, pineapple and watermelon.

So there you go.  There are so many more ideas and thoughts that go along with all of this, but I figured this is enough for now.

Maybe it’s time to go build a snowman….

♥  Terri  ♥

Advertisements

Italian Chicken

Hello Boy and Girls!

I know I haven’t been around for a bit, but we’ve been under a lot of water here in this part of the world and by that I mean we’ve had enough rain over the past couple of weeks to float Noah’s Ark!  Now you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘Self, if it’s been raining, why would that stop her from being on the computer?’  Well you know what, that’s a really good question and I guess I’m just using it as a good starter subject for today’s post!

Even though it’s been a deluge here, I still have been keeping myself busy; I do have a house to keep clean you know!  One day I had to go to the dentist to get a chipped tooth fixed and another day I had a mechanic here to fix the washing machine.  Chef P took off on Friday so we just had a three-day weekend and tried to get things done that needed be, but the rain did put a bit of a ‘damper’ on things!

Amazingly today, it stopped raining about 9:30 this morning and it’s been dry ever since (it’s now after 4:00), but we’re supposed to get a little more rain later.

I made a nice chicken dish the other night that I haven’t made in some time and thought I’d post it here.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures again (another brain fart!) so you’ll just have to imagine what it looks like!

It uses chicken legs and thighs with the skin removed, so would be OK for SBD Phase 3 or an occasional meal for Phase 2.  You could probably use boneless, skinless breasts too.  This is also a NO FAT ADDED recipe.

~~ITALIAN CHICKEN~~

Serves 2 ** Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F

SAUCE

1 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp each basil and parsley

1/2 tsp each oregano and salt

black pepper

1/4 C white wine

VEGETABLES

1 each red and green bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 red onion, chopped

6 mushrooms, roughly chopped

4 chicken legs or thighs, or combination, skin removed

METHOD

Mix the first eight items (sauce ingredients) in a medium bowl.

Combine the vegetables in the roasting pan and pour the sauce over and stir to mix well.

Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove foil.  Give the mixture a stir and lay chicken pieces on top.  Cover again with foil and return to oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, remove foil.  Turn chicken over and return to oven, uncovered.  Cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.

Serve with brown rice.

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Chicken w/Roast Peppers & Olives for South Beach Diet

Good Day Dearest Blog Readers!

Boy, has this seemed like a long week.  I feel like today should be Friday instead of Thursday…wishful thinking.  Maybe I’m just hoping that we would have been having pizza tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow night.

Tonight I’m going to make something with shrimp/prawns; don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but I’ll come up with something.

A couple of nights ago, I made another recipe from the 101 Fantastic GI Recipes book.  As I said in a previous post, I’ve really enjoyed all the recipes I’ve made so far and this one is no different.

I actually made it as printed (for a change!) with the exception that I halved some of the ingredients in the recipe as this serves four and we’re only two. I used the same measurements on the onion and garlic and puree…oh yeah, and I added some sliced mushrooms.  OK, so maybe I didn’t quite make it as printed…you can’t blame a girl for trying!  Besides, veggies are good for you!

(I must apologise again as I forgot to take pictures…doh!)

~~CHICKEN WITH ROASTED PEPPERS AND OLIVES~~

4 red bell peppers (or any other color you might have will also work)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 X 400g (14oz) cans chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato puree/paste

4 Tbsp white wine

10 black olives, sliced in half

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into strips

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Preheat your grill/broiler.  Cut the peppers in half, deseed them, cut out the white membrane and cut the halves into 2 or 3 strips each.  Place the strips skin side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet and put under the grill for about 20-30 minutes, until blackened all over.  You may have to move them around once in awhile to get them black all over.  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap/cling film and leave to cool.  Once cooled, peel the blackened skin off the strips and cut into large chunks. (this step can be done early in the day or even the day before and left in the fridge until ready to use)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add the garlic and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, wine and olives and simmer gently (uncovered) for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in a bit of water.

Stir the roasted pepper chunks into the sauce and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Add the chicken breast strips, submerging them into the sauce, then cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Scatter with the fresh basil and serve with brown rice.

Enjoy!

Lather, Rinse, Repeat ~ Foods for Healthy Hair

When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your mane, but what you put inside your body, too!  Using just shampoo and conditioner alone is not going to give you the truly healthy hair your crave.

For the most terrific tresses, you’ll need to step out of the shower and into the kitchen.

Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair growth is the nutrients we eat.

If you were born with fine, thin hair, you’ll never have rope-thick tresses — no matter what you eat — but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutrition and hair experts.

Try to get the nutrients you need from foods whenever possible, even though there are many beauty supplements out there.

When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it’s hard to beat salmon.  Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron. A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and  hair, giving it a dull look.

Popeye the Sailor Man didn’t eat all that spinach for healthy hair, but he could have. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner.

Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.

Legumes like kidney beans and lentils are not only good for your digestive system, they’re also good for your hair and should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.  It’s recommended that you should eat 3 cups or more per week.

Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.

Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.

Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color.

When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn’t matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they’re served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find.

They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.

Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

A whole-grain snack can also be a great go-to food when your energy is zapped halfway through the afternoon, and you’ve still got hours to go before dinner.

Oysters may be better known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair — and who doesn’t love that?

The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc — a powerful antioxidant.

If oysters don’t make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don’t despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.

Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.

For some healthy hair foods “to-go,” try throwing a yogurt or cottage cheese cup in your bag when you head out in the morning to snack on later in the day. You can even boost their hair benefits by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds or walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp.

So to avoid having bad hair days, an overall balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish like salmon and low-fat dairy will help keep hair healthy.

♥♥ Terri  ♥♥

Grocery Shopping Habits

So what are your grocery shopping habits?  We all have them and I’m sure that we all (mostly) stick to them, probably without realizing it.

What do you buy when you grocery shop?  If you were to look at our receipts, you would see lots of veggies, fresh and frozen, meat, chicken and fish, whole grain products like bagels, wraps, brown rice, millet, bulgar wheat and whole wheat flour, canned tomatoes, honey, dark chocolate, dried fruit and nuts, herbs and spices, low fat dairy products such as sour cream, cottage cheese, milk and yogurt, olive oil, dried beans, condiments and of course paper products and toiletries.

Did you notice anything odd about our list?  Anything missing?  To some of you, items that may be missing are cookies, cakes, ice cream, soda, candy, ready-made foods and meals, processed foods, snack foods and anything full-fat.

Now I’m not saying that I never buy any of these items, but it’s far and few between.  I don’t buy cookies or cakes as I make my own and only ones that I should be eating (holidays don’t count!)  Ice cream I get only if on sale, usually Ben & Jerry’s and it has to be a really good sale price.  It normally goes for about £4.45 so sometimes it’s on sale for £2.00 and even then I only buy one and get the frozen yogurt.  I haven’t drank soda except for maybe a handful of times since I moved over here in 2005.  The extent of my ‘candy’ is buying a bar of dark (75% cocoa) chocolate each week.  I don’t eat the whole bar at once, just break off a piece to satisfy my sweet craving.

Ready meals? We cook from scratch every night.  Much tastier, healthier and there’s nothing in our food that we can’t pronounce!  The only processed foods we’re guilty of buying is a package of deli sliced ham.  And no snack foods either; no chips/crisps or pretzels, nacho chips, etc.  I have gotten vegetable chips, but even those are a rarity.  If I want a snack of sorts, I’ll have a piece of chocolate or a half of a banana with some of my homemade peanut butter, a handful of nuts or a cookie that I’ve made.

I’ll be the first to admit that I need to lose a few pounds, but it does amaze me how much junk other people buy.  Do you ever look in the carts of other people?  I hate when I see a bunch of cakes, cookies, ready meals…and the person doesn’t look like they should be eating that stuff…It’s probably why they do look like that.

Do you take a list with you and stick to it?  We ALWAYS take a list with us.  We jot down things on the list as they are running low or out so that by the time we shop on Saturday, we know exactly what is needed.  On occasion there are things we forgot to jot down and remember we need it when we see it at the store.

Coupons?  Unfortunately the UK isn’t as big on coupons as in the US so we really don’t use them.  Once in a while you may see one in a magazine or the newspaper.

How do you decide where you shop?  Convenience?  Prices?  Selection?  We shop at three different stores for the main groceries.  Lidl, a discount store, mainly for our fresh veg and paper products, Tesco and Asda, (which is the sister store of Wal-Mart).  We buy different things at the different stores either for price, selection or quality. We do have a Sainsbury’s (right across the road from Tesco) and go there only on occasion (they’re a bit pricier than the other stores) if we’re having trouble locating something.

We don’t impulse buy unless it’s an item we use and it’s at a great sale price.  The same theory goes for BOGOF (buy one get one free) offers.

We also shop at our local farm store.  It avoids the middle man and we know the food hasn’t traveled a long distance to get to us and the prices can usually be better than the stores.  Where else can you buy four cauliflowers for only £1.00 (or 30p each)?  This is an even better deal especially since last week, in the reduced to clear section at Tesco, we saw a cauliflower for £1.87…and that was the reduced price!

We always take our own bags with us instead of using the plastic bags provided by the stores.

So how do you shop?

Try Something Healthy Tonight

Swap white rice for brown rice to benefit from the protective layer on the wholegrain which helps to prevent furring of the arteries. Soak the rice in cold water before cooking and you’ll activate a compound that protects nerves and the nervous system, then cook as normal.  Brown rice also has a wonderful, nutty flavor.