Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And the point of that is?

My first years got set home at lunch time because of swine flu. The board of education has a system that once over a certain number of pupils have it, then the grade goes home.

Which doesn't make a lot of sense because one or two kids in the 2nd and 3rd grades have it too, but because they haven't met the numbers those grades stay at school. Which means they'll just be passing it to each other in class and club, thereby completely negating the idea that sending the first years home with help stop infection from spreading.

The three days they have off will have to be made up too. They'll have three days less in their Winter holiday. I don't think they realise that though, the vast majority of kids (that aren't sick) now officially think Swine Flu is the best thing ever.

Ah Japan, it's not so much with the logic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Staying the path

Well then, the weekend went well. I managed to keep up with my eating and get on my bike. I'm less than enthused about my bike still though, hopefully that will improve as I remember how good it makes me feel.

I made the nicest green smoothie this morning! My smoothies have ended up with an unfortunate brownish tinge recently, thanks to my habit of throwing a handful of frozen blueberries in to the mix. It tastes fine, but I tip in into a green glass so it looks more like it's supposed to. Today I changed my ingredients a little, and had nectarine, banana, spinach, and a few mangetout. Th result was a lovely bright, fresh green that I blended really well so it was smooth. It was great.

Swine flu has hit my school, and we're being told that if more than one student per class gets it then the class they're in will all get sent home. It never fails to amaze me, when swine flu first rolled around everyone was going 'OH THE HORROR, if anyone gets it we'll close all the schools in the area', but now that it's actually here? 'Oh, maybe we will cancel one class'. It makes sense on no level.

I think the overreaction to swine flu has been insane, but if you're going to cancel school cancel school, else what's the point? Canceling one class just screws up the schedule and leaves that class losing part of their Winter holiday to catch up the work they missed. It's especially back timing because the exams are coming up in two weeks. Also, the asks half the staff are wearing are driving me mad, as are their not so subtle attempts to suggest I put one on lest I accidentally brush against one of the first years.

Breath. Breath. Okay, I'm done. Back on topic.

I've been making a special effort to keep try out new recipes instead of falling into my 'meat, with veg on the side' rut I tend to get into during Phase one of SB, so far so good. Tonight I'm going to stuff some aubergines I have in the fridge and bake them, should be good!

All's well friends, let's hope it stays this way.

Friday, September 25, 2009

100 days

Well, technically 98, but round numbers sound better. Wow, how did we get to less that a hundred days before the year ends?
Chubrubb terrified me with this realization of time, but has a good post up right now about what she wants to achieve in the last 100 days of 2009, and it seemed like a good time to lay out some ideas of what I want to do too. 100 days isn't so long that I'll completely lose track of myself, so it's worth a try. It would be nice to begin next year by continuing with my goals rather than restarting.

So what do I want to do before we put a cap in the first decade of this century? I want to...

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get as close to (if not under) 100kg as I can in the time
  • Stop binging, and related to that:
  • Stay on plan solidly
  • Drink a green smoothie every day
I have been saying I want to exercise regularly for months and haven;t got my arse in gear. Rather than give myself a certain amount of km to cover (though I may switch to that i I feel it will be more motivating for me), I'm going to say 5 days a week no matter how big or small the ride. I think this will help me to get more in the habit again, I can always focus on distance later.

My second goal is something that will come as a result of achieving the others, so I don't have anything to put in place for that just yet.

Drinking a green smoothie in the morning (or starting and then finishing during the day, I have the one I started this morning in my cool thermos right now that I'm sipping from) should start me off well for the day and ensure I get my fruit and veg minimum. I will also mean that I always have at least a mouthful of something in the morning which will hopefully help me with my other two goals.

The only way I'm going to stop binging on stay on plan is to plan my time better. Make sure I eat breakfast every day before school, and make a lunch (either the night before or the morning of, but be honest with myself over whether I will really get up to make it). Plan out snacks, and make sure one of those snacks is around the end of school so I'm not climbing the walls looking for food by the end of work. The times I'm most prone to just buying food is school lunch and directly after school. These hungry times often lead to binges ('if I'm going to buy ready made food I may as well') and it doesn't need to.

Just keep repeating to myself: I don't want to make today (or tomorrow) the day, I want to make now the moment.

What are you going to do for you in the last hundred days?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Biggering

I'm biggering again. It's an issue. Such a large issue in fact that it has required me to go back to my old size clothes, which makes me kind of sad.

I got lazy. After my experience I intended to keep making stuff for myself but there were nights when I was tired and hungry, and wanted things now now now! So I'd go the store and buy something. 'Eat anything I want provided I make it' became 'Make most things but have a treat now and then' became 'Binge eat anything I want and promise I'll get back to other stuff soon'.

Obviously this can't continue, so I'm starting South Beach again. I was making the excuse that produce is SO EXPENSIVE here, but I'm willing to shell out the extra money for specialized ingredients and imported ingredients, so why not for this? No real reason other than the fact that I'm justifying it differently in my head.

I had a bit of a false start today; I overslept which meant that all my planning kind of went out the window. I did try my first ever green smoothie today which was better than I imagined, so that's a step in the right direction. My blender made an unfortunate grinding noise that I think was it's death rattle, so I'm going to have to get a new one.

Sigh, lather rinse repeat.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking for a healthy dinner?

I made a bean burger thing that was incredibly quick and simple, but OMG good! Check it out here if you'd like. I accidentally made it with soybeans instead of chickpeas, but it was delicious either way.

How is exercise so easy when you're doing it and so hard when you're not (shouldn't that be the other way around?)? A month went by with the only action my bike saw being side work as a clothes hanger, and yet I've done 95km in the last 4 days no problem? Life is funny sometimes.

I'm back to my old problem of finding stuff to watch though, luckily amazon.co.uk stepped in to help me. They're doing a sale right now, 'Will & Grace' season box-sets are only £7.98 (about $13) so, um, I bought 7 of them. Looks like I won't have a problem with TV choices for a while.

My food order arrives tomorrow: excitement! Now to figure out what I'm going to make with it...

Monday, September 7, 2009

I swear I'm not getting paid for this

I was sorting through my bookmarks last night when I came across a link to Tengu Natural Foods that I'd bookmarked ages ago and meant to explore, then forgotten about. Man, have been missing out!

I think I've mentioned how Japan tends to be all white, all the time, when it comes to most carbohydrates. With me cooking more now I really miss the variety that I used to take for granted back in the UK. Imagine my delight when I finally check out this site and realise it's an organic/health and vegetarian alternative food supplier. It has wholewheat versions of flour, rice, pasta, as well as completely different versions for people with wheat allergies. It also has a choice of grains and other things that I would have a really hard time finding in any non-specialist store. I put an order through last night for:

Quinoa
Whole Wheat Couscous
Bulgur Wheat
Kamut Fusill
Spelt Penne
Whole Wheat Spaghetti

This is going to be awesome! I can still make whatever I want and just replace parts of the recipes with healthier versions. I was getting really frustrated with the unrelenting 'sameness' of many ingredients, and now I can change it up a bit. I was seriously considering buying it internationally and shipping it here, but the shipping costs would have been so high, I'd been putting of off. As this site is based in Japan it's really cheap to ship!

I made a big order of cookbooks from amazon.co.jp on Friday and they arrived yesterday, so I'm trying them out. I made pita bread dough before bed last night, and put dried chickpeas in a bowl to soak (canned beans would make my life so. much. more. convenient. right now) so when I get home I'm going to try out a falafel burger recipe from my new 101 Healthy Eats recipe book.

On a related note, I have been so impressed with the BBC GoodFood 101 cook-book range I cannot tell you. They're cheap, not overly fussy, a reasonable size so you don't need a crane to carry it around the way some of these mega-hardbacks can be, and have really nice recipes that won't intimidate the average home cook.

No seriously, I swear I'm not getting paid for this.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Facing Forward

Late last night I managed to convince myself no to go the supermarket 'to get ingredients for today's meals' because I knew that reason was just an excuse to get junk so I could have a 'last supper' before taking control of myself. I knew there was nothing stopping me from just going today (which I did), and I also knew that if had I binged last night I would have talked myself out of getting on my exercise bike today. I would have told myself to wait until Monday, and on Monday I would have moved the start line again.

But I didn't I went to bed instead, and today I got on my bike for the first time in a month and did 20km. I'm not logging food, I don't want to. Not because I'm eating badly, I'm not, but because I don't want it to overtake me again. I think I know enough about food that as long as I'm reasonably sensible, I can handle it without letting the numbers kill me. It was never a case of not knowing what I should eat, but ignoring them in favour of other things. I'm continuing with my cooking because I enjoy it, but easing off on the desserts and baking.

It's not a lot, but I've done more for myself today than I did yesterday, and I can live with that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So, how did it go?

The hardest thing about stopping for a while is starting again. This goes for blogs, exercise, and (I think) everything else too.

I think my experiment at making all my own food was a good idea. There are good and bad things about it (that's I'll go into in a sec), but overall I enjoyed it.

The bad: it takes time. This isn't usually a problem for me as I'm single with no children and work that (for the most part) stays within work hours, but it could be more difficult for someone with other commitments to take care of. One of the problems I had during this month was not planning well enough though. Often I'd wait until I was hungrier than I should have been to start cooking, and factoring in the extra time it took to make meals that would mean I was either starving by the time I had my meal, or looking around for snacks I could eat. I was also trying out lots of new recipes for my food blog, so I was spending a lot more on food than I usually do. My food is a lot more varied, which is both a good and a bad thing, because I don't want to keep repeating meals, but then means I'm trawling my books and the Internet for new recipes to try that can be adapted to use ingredients I can actually find here.

The good: It's harder to binge, because there aren't that many really unhealthy non-convenience foods. It's possible, I had dessert-for-dinner a few times this month because I love to bake, but it's definitely harder to eat mindlessly when you have to put some effort into making things yourself. I chose to have dessert for dinner, I didn't mechanically stuff it in my mouth and then wake up to a bin full of empty wrappers. Also, while I was spending much more on food, I ended up having equal or even more money than I was used to because of things (like binge food and ready made meals) that I wasn't buying. The fact that it evened out really made me face up honestly to how much ready cooked food I must realistically go through.

It's easier than you'd think to make everything. Things I'd just assumed would be hard (like bread) were incredibly simple. It just requires time management.

Overall I'm glad I did this, and want to continue with it (though perhaps with a little more flexibility when needed). I'm focusing more now on healthy meals if I can. This last month has taught me to enjoy food again, I purposely just ate what I felt like and didn't worry about it. For the most part this was good, and I'd go with what satisfied me, but I've noticed in the last week or two that I'm going past that, into the realm of eating until I'm uncomfortable again, and eating late at night. Which tells me it's time to focus a little more again, and choose meals I can enjoy making that are also good for me. I don't want to be trapped int he endless repeat of stir-fries, I want something that will stimulate me in the activity of cooking as well as supplying my nutritional needs.

I didn't exercise at all last month, and that was a waste. I think if I can start doing it again the things I eat will take care of themselves.

What's your favourite recipe? I'd love ideas, I'm always on the lookout for something new to try.