Avocado is possibly my most favourite food ever. It beats chocolate at times (yes, that’s how much I love them). Apparently even when I was a tot I would eat anything, provided it was mashed up with avocado. We lived in Oregon at the time, and perfectly ripe avocados were easy to find. Unfortunately finding them in Dublin takes determination and patience. Finding that “just soft enough” but not “blackened and spotty on the inside” balance is a skill that has to be cultivated. I have been known to buy 5 or 6 at a time -which makes me feel like some sort of addict when I’m only cooking for one…and eat at work for breakfast and lunch. I do seem to use them up before they have gone off -quite an achievement if you have any experience with avocados.
Avocados have become more popular over the last few years (I no longer have to explain the green stuff in my lunchbox like I did when I was 6 years old) and even neared the realm of the ever increasing “super foods”. Avocados contain more fat than virtually any other fruit -and have classically been avoided by anyone trying to lose weight. However avocado is a nutrient dense food and and one of the “good fats” – high in monounsaturated fatty acids -and can actually help you lose weight, and is fantastic for moisturising your skin from the inside out. Continue reading
So you’ve tried the paleo diet, going gluten-free, cutting back on sugar and are munching on superfoods like it’s going out of fashion. You’re feeling much better than before, but maybe not quite as good as you would expect. Why? You are what you eat, right? Well kinda…you are what you eat -and your gut can absorb and digest. You can be eating all the super foods and green smoothies you like but if you can’t absorb the nutrients in them, you might be wasting you time. Continue reading
Gluten free is everywhere these days -it’s almost becoming a cult obsession. Although I wouldn’t have thought it would benefit anyone except coeliacs or those with a proven allergy, that may not actually be the case. Well known Australian journalist and blogger, Sarah Wilson, has advocated a gluten free diet for anyone with an autoimmune disorder for years now. She herself suffers from an autoimmune disorder that affects her thyroid, and attributes increased control of the disease and improved quality of life to quitting sugar and gluten. She helps explain the recent phenomenon of the world and it’s mother suddenly developing allergies to gluten.
I have also seen a friend of mine benefit hugely from cutting out gluten completely. Continue reading
So this dairy free experiment was recently tested by a trip home to see my parents. My family love good food. My mum is a great cook and my dad likes to bake. This makes for a reasonably healthy household, with very little store bought, processed foods. However…there is an abundance of milk, butter, cream and everything you can make or bake containing these ingredients. And we were going away for the weekend- so I wouldn’t have the back up of a fully stocked kitchen to make my own meals. Cue anxiety about what I was going to eat and a serious skin flare-up!!
Impossible to resist!
By Saturday morning, after a breakfast of rice flake muesli and almond milk, I had resorted to experimenting with whatever I could get my hands on…which was not a whole lot. Continue reading
I have been troubled by my skin for years now. It may not be the most obvious, as when my skin is good, it is great…but I have suffered from eczema, dry skin, red patches, acne, sensitivity and food-related flare ups. Most tend to be related to changing climate, hormone imbalance (I have PCOS) and most of all stress. During one study month in college I spent two weeks attempting to study at home instead of the library because a red rash appeared all over my face, due to drinking coffee – which was one thing I certainly couldn’t live without while studying. Another time, while on holiday in Spain, I got a rash of red spots all over my back and arms from using a chlorinated swimming pool and had to avoid the pool for the rest of the week. When I’m very stressed I also tend to get a weird type of eczema on my face that stings and only goes away with a prescription cream. Such fun. But through all of these trials and tribulations, I have learned to understand my skin, and deal with it to a certain extent. Continue reading
4 weeks ago I began an experiment. I finally peeked behind the mysterious curtain of personal training and the results have been impressive….
To be brutally honest, I was quite sceptical that a personal trainer could add a whole lot to my life. I eat quite healthily – I have been mainly vegetarian since the age of 11 and therefore quite conscious of eating enough protein etc – I run regularly and push myself if I ever step inside a gym. I wasn’t sure how much more someone else could do for me…I have been humbled. I have only begun to realise how little I know about weights, muscles and how my body works. Over the past 4 weeks I have discovered muscles I have never used (not once in my 26 years, judging by the pain anyway) and been put through trials I have never before encountered.
I’m currently trying to improve my nutritional intake, without resorting to a raw, vegan,paleo (and all the other fashionable regimes) and no fun diet. Smoothies have been a staple for me for a while. They are quick, easy and only require a blender (as opposed to a juicer – which can be ridiculously expensive, and a pain in the you know what to clean up after). Juices also seem to be a target in the raging “I quit sugar” battle. Freshly squeezed orange juice can contain 10 teaspoons of sugar…the same as a glass of coke. This is because the fibre is removed during juicing, concentrating the sugar into a much more manageable portion. When is the last time you ate 4 or 5 large oranges in one sitting? So despite my love of fresh orange juice (I will actually get up early on a weekday, just to squeeze a glass), I am trying to swap the sugary stuff for green fibre filled smoothies.
When making up a recipe for something, I tend to think about what I want from it first, then worry about “fixing” the taste after. I’ve been feeling a bit tired lately, and my skin has been dry with all the cold, damp weather and central heating, so I wanted to specifically target these problems. I raided the fridge, and even made a trip to the supermarket (very proactive of me) and came up with the following:
As part of my trial with a personal trainer, I had to do a food diary for a few days. This not only allowed my trainer to see what I eat normally, but gave him a baseline to work from to increase my protein, healthy fats intake etc. During these few days I realised that the diet rule of writing down everything you eat does indeed make you very conscious of what you are putting into your mouth…especially when you know someone else is going to be looking at it!
Instead of writing my food diary, I took photographs of everything with my phone – so much easier and a more effective way of showing quantities, sauces and sides. Looking over everything really gave me food for thought (sorry, I couldn’t help it!!). I’ve always been aware of my diet affecting my skin and weight but never really thought too much about any other aspect. How much does the food we eat impact on our energy levels, mood and general well-being?
I have always been somewhat curious about personal trainers. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Do they offer a lot more than a tough boot camp class? And can it really make a difference if you are a hard-working, disciplined individual who pushes themselves at the gym anyway? Is it such a luxury it should be restricted to the rich and famous that endlessly praise their work? Or is it all hype? I was lucky enough to be given a gift of a few sessions recently, and also happen to have a bit more time on my hands than usual, so I said I’d give it a try and find out once and for all.
I started this blog almost a year ago, with the intent of monitoring my progress as I trained for the Kokoda Challenge. I did manage to chart most of my journey, but missed posting about the final hurdle itself. At the time I thought the training would be the hardest part, and that the satisfaction and adrenaline of the real thing would make it that bit easier.
I could not have been more wrong, training was the easy part. Continue reading