In my post yesterday I posted about what I’d got from the grocery store to keep body and soul together over the next few days. I never used to worry about what I ate really – until about six years ago I literally had no concept of how to eat healthily, I just ate whatever I fancied (interspersed with the odd three-day “cleanse” diet or Special K diet if I thought I wanted to lose weight). Even when I really focused on losing weight properly and permanently, I only really focused on the calorie count and paid absolutely no attention to the macros. It was only maybe two or three years ago that I began to understand food and its relationship with how I felt, what my performance was like and, most importantly, how happy and stable I felt.
Don’t get me wrong – there is no way I eat perfectly! I have the biggest sweet tooth and I love pastry (mmmm pastry) in any shape or form. Life is way way way too short to deny yourself what you want, as long as it’s in moderation. The only things that I really do stay away from as much as possible are trans-fats, which are unsaturated fatty acids which are predominantly man-made – that is, they only appear very rarely naturally but are produced commercially for the purposes of preserving food and lengthening its shelf life. They are variously identified on food packaging as trans-fats, trans-fatty acids or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils.
It’s is as a result of the addition of trans-fats that (for example) store-bought cakes, cookies, chocolate and pastries have such a long shelf-life. In the latter part of the 20th century when mass-production of food rose to prominence, trans-fats were considered a really really good idea. However, more recently it transpires, mainly through the Nurses Health Study, that they are linked to a myriad of health issues. These include coronary heart disease, alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, liver dysfunction, infertility (in women), major depressive disorder and other behavioural issues, and reduced memory. Don’t they sound just like what you want to eat?!
The best way to avoid trans-fats is to eat mainly natural foods. For me personally, that doesn’t mean everything has to be 100% natural because no-one should have to live without pasta and noodles, but it’s a general guideline. Plus natural whole foods are DELICIOUS!
So this is a super-typical weekend menu for me – the meals change of course, but this is representative of the types of ingredients that I use.
I absolutely LOVE weetbix (or weetabix as it’s called in the UK) and I eat it for most breakfasts. It does contain sugar, but its minimal comparative to other cereals. I know that the prevailing nutritional wisdom is to eat high-protein breakfasts to keep you full til lunchtime but actually I find that this is the most filling breakfast for me.
How I have my weetbix:
- two weetbix
- half a cup of HOT full-fat organic milk
- either 1 small banana or a cup of mixed berries
NOM NOM NOM!
I had a total craving for pad thai today and a separate but equally intense craving for seafood. I’ve never made pad thai before but I have eaten a lot of it in my time. I figured I could more or less work it out … vegetables, noodles, egg and peanut butter right?! With a bit of protein?! Happily this totally worked out for me – although I’m not sure any of my Thai friends would necessarily recognise it as a Thai dish, but still – and it was amAZing … it definitely exceeded my expectations and it only took about ten minutes. This was how I did it!
- Pad thai noodles
- Nam pla sauce
- Soy sauce
- Juice of some limes
- 5g peanut butter
- Cavolo nero
- Mange tout
- Clarence Court Burford Brown egg**
- Crayfish tail
** I’m sure a normal egg would be fine – the reason I use these is that I’m allergic and tolerate Burford Browns a lot better than normal eggs. Plus they’re organic and free-range!
- cut cavolo nero into thin strips and blanche for 2-3 minutes
- meanwhile cook the prawns and scallops and at the same time cut the remaining vegetables into strips
- pop the prawns and scallops in a warm oven once cooked
- stirfry the rest of the vegetables, including the cavolo nero
- add the noodles, nam pla, soy sauce, peanut butter and lime juice
- crack the egg into the pan and stir it round to coat everything
- add the seafood back in including the crayfish tails
As you can see I don’t really put in amounts; that’s because I just threw in as much as I thought might be about right … in the case of the soy sauce it was as much as I had left in the bottle as I was almost out!
This did not photograph so well(!), but it was super-nice. Basically it was panfried chicken thighs with roasted butternut squash and roasted cauliflower – yum!
When I thought I’d be hungry in about an hour, I pre-heated the oven to 175*C, cut up my butternut squash into pieces, sprayed some cooking oil on it and threw some dried thyme over it with a bit of salt and pepper and popped it in the oven to roast for an hour.
I melted 10g of butter in the microwave and mixed in some paprika, salt and pepper. I put that into a plastic bag with my cauliflower, which I’d cut into florets, and mixed it all up so that the cauliflower was totally coated. When the squash had been in for half an hour I added the cauliflower.
When I got back from the store at lunchtime, I marinated my chicken thighs in the juice of half a lemon, the juice of half an orange, the zest of a whole orange, about a thumb of grated ginger, a splash of soy sauce and a little bit of honey.
When the squash and cauliflower had about 15 minutes left to go, I heated up my frying pan to about a moderate heat and popped my chicken in (and the marinade which I just tipped in on top). I had to cut it up into pieces to make it cook evenly but I mostly just left it and turned it every four minutes or so. After about 15 minutes it was cooked through …
Again this did noooot photograph well, but I had stewed rhubarb and cream. Rhubarb is of course quite tart and I don’t love adding a lot of sugar, so instead I added two small granny smith apples and 1 orange to 400g of rhubarb to increase the sweetness. I also added some vanilla extract, cinnamon, all-spice and grated fresh ginger. Obviously I didn’t eat all of it(!) – I had about a quarter of it and I’ll have the rest tomorrow.
Normally I’m a big one for snacking but I wasn’t hungry between meals at all today. I did however have two cups of Twining’s green tea – one pineapple and grapefruit flavour and one orange and lotus flower. I loved the pineapple one but I’m not sure about the orange one!
According to MyFitnessPal – my favourite app for monitoring nutrition – today’s meals mean that I’ve eaten the following:
Carbohydrates: 172g (or 44% of my total calorie intake)
Fats: 41g (or 23% of my total calorie intake)
Protein: 131g (or 33% of my total calorie intake).
What kind of thing do you eat? How do you manage your nutrition? Let me know!