As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting as much as I used to, and my Instagram has been barren of gratuitous gym selfies. I have a confession… I fell off the wagon…
No I haven’t started drinking or doing anything illegal, Mum, if you’re reading this (promise!). What I’m talking about is the fact that in the last two and a half months, while I have been focussed on my studies, I have managed to put on a significant amount of weight, and my previously near-perfect paleo track record has been somewhat tarnished. More on that later, onwards and upwards!
Let’s just set aside the incroyable irony that studying how to make other people healthy seems to make us students incredibly less-so. Getting back on the wagon is my mission du jour, so MyFitnessPal has been (begrudgingly) reinstated on the front of my apps screen, after some months popping up to tell me “You haven’t logged your breakfast for 82,379,872,346 days, would you like to log it now?” at every meal time. I have been using it since last week, and, well… I didn’t really like what it had to tell me.
At first, I was thinking, does this app want me to starve? Then thankfully, I had two important realisations.
1. MyFitnessPal (MyFitnessEnemy at that point) is an inanimate object, incapable of having any wants, desires, and feelings of sympathy for it’s users. The cold, harsh, metallic “ding”, reminding you that you are 675 calories over your calorie goal and you haven’t even had dinner yet, is but a figment of some fancy code and a bit of hardware. (Bet you’re all glad I figured that one out!).
2. It IS possible to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon without starving to death… it just takes a little planning and a little portion control.
As a society, it’s no new observation to say that we consume far too much. However, many of us, myself included, often make the mistake of cutting all the nasties out and thinking that our work is done. One glance at my recipe list on here and you can tell that I’m a sweet-toothed kind of gal, there’s no hiding from that. And I will totally put my hand up and admit that at least half of those paleo cheesecakes you see on here have been eaten by myself alone (albeit usually over the course of a week or so, thank goodness!). They’re just nuts and dates and bananas right? All that stuff is good for you! Right? What isn’t so good for you, are the portions…
Excuse me if I sound like your mother here, but yes, weight loss, and even just staying healthy without losing weight, is all about moderation. There, I said it. Sorrynotsorry. We all know it, we all hear about it all the time, every mother, doctor, nutritionist or any other health professional will tell you the same story. However, in a society of Packet foods, Ready-made-mixes, Sal’s Pizzas, BurgerFuel (I’m sorry BurgerFuel, I really love you, I do, but your burgers are enormous!), and basically any other not-haute-cuisine restaurant (in which case you’ll get the opposite, for triple the price!) it’s hard to tell what exactly moderation looks like. While all of these are (usually) fine in moderation, moderation probably doesn’t look the way you think…
To give an example, I adore Bircher Muesli. It is hands down my favourite breakfast, and I always thought I was doing really well having this with some good yoghurt and fresh fruit, especially coming from the girl that as a kid once managed thirteen Weetbix one Saturday morning before Soccer (Damn those ads, I can still hear the “Kiwi kids are Weetbix Kids” theme in my head). Anyway, point being, Bircher, I thought, was super Kosher. What I didn’t realise, was that I was probably eating four times the suggested portion. So when MyFitnessPal asked me to log it in the weekend, I sure got a surprise!
Carby food like muesli and bread are usually our go-to food to fill up, but they are probably one of the biggest sources of sugars and calories in our diets, even when we think we’re being “healthy” by taking wholemeal, gluten free and organic options. Carb-cutting diets tend to get a bad rep (for good reason!)- unless you have been advised by your doctor or nutritionist, a potato here and there is not going to kill you. Nor is some kumara, carrot, or other veg. In fact, those unglamorous tubers like potatoes contain lots of fantastic nutrients like antioxidants, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals that are essential for our health. (Click here for more info). What may, however, be counting towards the muffin tops, is probably the number of servings you are actually consuming. Carby veg, oats and the like are handy, delicious, nutritious, and there is usually no good reason for completely cutting them out of your diet. Just watch your portion sizes, and make sure you fill up on other vegetables (more on that next post!).
In the meantime, I thought I would share with you my breakfast this morning, because it is gorgeous, delicious, and I really, really like this bowl. I got this cutie from Flo’s Home (Don’t buy the store out yet, I want another!), initially thinking “What on earth am I going to be able to fit in that?”. Lo and behold, it turns out it is actually the perfect size for one proper serving of my favourite Bircher Muesli.
Mini Mango Bircher Bowl
Serves: You! Calories: 340
50g Ceres Organics Bircher Muesli
1/4-1/3 Cup Ceres Organics Apple & Pear Juice
2 Small Mango Slices (chopped finely)
2 heaped tablespoons Mango Yogurt
1 Freeze-Dried Strawberry
1. Chop up the mango and mix in bowl with the muesli.
2. Pour over the juice and mix to make sure all the oats are damp, but it should not be “under water”.
3. Leave to sit overnight if possible, otherwise if you’re in a rush like me, 30 mins while you shower does the trick.
4. Top with yoghurt, mandarin segments and sprinkle over a freeze dried strawberry (Yes, this was just the one in the photo, but MyFitnessPal said 1 cal is 3 of them… so I may have eaten the others along with the rest of the mandarin ;)).
5. Enjoy your easy and delicious breakfast!
*Note: This picture is a tiny bowl, that is a teaspoon next to it for size comparison. I ate mine with the teaspoon to make it feel a little larger, and putting it in a cute but tiny bowl makes it feel less like deprivation. I didn’t feel full when I ate it, and was seriously doubting it would get me through. However, it kept me satisfied for three hours, including about 25mins of running to the doctors and back, and I wasn’t actually hungry when I made and slurped up my veggie smoothie (coming next!)