Friday, 31 August 2012

Comfort Eating

How many of you believe you comfort eat?

Well, I'm not even sure that's a real thing.

It's been given the grand title 'Comfort Eating' but is that what it really is?

By calling it 'comfort eating', it sounds like everyone who overeats sugary or starchy carb foods has some deep emotional connection to food that is impossible to break from without expensive counselling, when the truth of the matter is so much easier!  It's not comfort eating at all.  It's an addiction to sugar!

Do you crave sugary, sweet foods, like cakes and chocolate and sweets?  Or do you crave savoury foods like toast, pastry goods, chips?

Either way, you are receiving a MASSIVE dose of blood glucose (or blood sugar) when you consume these foods.  So high in fact that your body over reacts with insulin and strips your body of that blood glucose really fast.

Now a bit of science: sugary foods and starchy carbs, like chips, bread, pastry, rice, pasta etc. turn to glucose as soon as you eat them - glucose is sugar.  An insulin release is triggered by glucose in your blood as too high blood glucose can be very bad for you, fatal even.  The insulin ensures that the glucose gets stored in your muscles and liver (by the way, this is why weight training is so good as the higher your muscle to fat ratio, the larger the scope for storing glucose before it is turned to fat).  Any excess glucose that cannot be stored in the muscles and liver is converted to fatty acids and stored in your fat cells.

Your brain can only use glucose as a fuel source.

So, once your body has dumped excess insulin into your system and stripped you of all that glucose you end up feeling just as hungry as had you not just consumed a plate of fish and chips or that pile of toast or chunk of cake!

As your brain is now starved of fuel, you can't think straight so you panic or comfort eat more of the same!

Your body is looking always for homeostasis - a feeling of balance and so every time you dump excess glucose into your system and your body overreacts with insulin stripping you of that glucose, you feel the need to do it all over again!

But this way of eating just swings the pendulum too far in either direction each time.

Do you also lack energy and sometimes get irritable and cranky when you are hungry?  This is your body's response the the roller coaster of a ride you force it on with these food choices.  But it doesn't have to be this way!

The solution?

Go cold turkey.  Give up sugar and refined processed carbohydrates - and anything with flour in it*! Make sure you eat regular snacks of healthy foods like nuts and raw veggies - don't trick your brain with low fat and reduced calorie, slimline foods and drinks.

I swear you will feel amazing!  You will have more energy and you will feel less irritable and that is a promise!

*That's bread, cakes, pasta, batter, chips, crisps, pastry - you know!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Paleo Recipes

So, I've added a load of recipes - there are more to come.  Click on the paleo recipes tab to see what's there so far.

If you have any requests for things you really love but cannot eat paleo, let me know and I'll experiment in the kitchen and see what I can come up with!

I'm pretty determined when it comes to treats!

I'll try to post the tropical fruit tart recipe (dairy and sugar-free creme patissiere and flour, sugar and dairy-free pastry) tomorrow.

Krish x

Paleo Update

Sugar-free, flour-
free, dairy-free,
blueberry muffins with fruit
So we have now been totally paleo for the last five weeks!

Going paleo isn't just about what we eat, it's a whole change of lifestyle.  It involves a lot of what we've already been doing for the past year or so but taken to a new level.

Being a paleo family means basically following the Junior Hero Club mantra - eat clean, move more, sleep well and get outside!

It means incorporating a little more cross fit-type exercise into our lives - interval training, weight training, fun training and functional training.

It also means only eating meat, fish, eggs, vegetables (except corn, potatoes, rice and legumes) salad, fruit, nuts and seeds.

No grains (which measn no wheat products - no bread, pasta, pastry, traditionally made cakes etc), no dairy, no starchy carbs and no processed food or sugar.

breakfast loaf - courgette,
banana & cherries
We have already given up starchy carbs, wheat and sugar for pretty much a year and I have been thinking about going paleo for some time but it was the breakfasts that were putting me off.  I just couldn't think of what to have for breakfast if it didn't involve oats or dairy!

Thai-style coconut, lime and ginger
chicken with veg, seed crackers and
nut cheese (sounds awful but it's great!)
I did a little research and we practised having pork chops and veggies for breakfast and the kids seemed to like it so we took the plunge!

I explained to the kids what was going to happen and when I told them they wouldn't be able to have potatoes any more, they cheered; I said, 'It means no cous cous.'  Again a cheer.  So far, so good!
parma ham and egg cups

The first week was tricky.  I found it really hard to make sure my kids weren't hungry all the time.  And after several particularly sweary, low blood-sugar melt-downs from my ten-year old, I was seriously considering adding back in some oats.

I had to make sure that they ate really regularly or they really seemed to suffer from low blood sugar.

However, I persevered and after a week or so they seem to have settled down and are fine.  In fact, things are way better than they were before.  Before we went paleo, my daughter and I had a pact that we wouldn't talk to each other in the mornings until we had eaten as we were both so short-tempered before we ate that it generally dissolved into a shouting match.  That has completely disappeared and we are both, if not quite delightful, then definitely less scary than we were pre-paleo!

Seed crackers
I probably found it the easiest to adapt to the totally paleo way as all I had left to give up was dairy (I don't miss it at all) oats and legumes.

My husband really misses dairy...

Breakfasts are so much fun and more exciting that they used to be, they take more preparation but for someone who doesn't really like cooking, this hasn't really been a hardship.  It was a good move staring this over the summer holidays when time wasn't an issue.  I am going to have to get up earlier than I used to to make sure we have a good breakfast and the kids are going to have to have packed lunches at school but, hey, it's a small price to pay for how good we all feel!

paleo chocolate truffle mix
sugar-free, dairy-free, flour-free
tropical fruit tart
Another of my worries with paleo was cake.  Cake and chocolate.  I really do like cake and chocolate.  Well, the really, really good news is I have spent a great deal of the summer holidays experimenting with cake and chocolate recipes - being able to make paleo chocolates is important to me!

paleo banana and blueberry upside-down
cake made by my eldest son in honour of
The Great british Bake Off
One of the things the kids and I like to do is watch the Great British Bake Off together and then recreate some of the recipes.  We have been doing this pretty successfully whilst still remaining faithful to paleo - no grains, no dairy, no sugar.  It's been fun experimenting!

I will be posting a load of recipes very soon!  Watch this space!

Anyway, the verdict is that paleo is brilliant.  I find it easy as it limits my options which, for an unimaginative cook like me is a good thing.  It's easy to sustain and the kids LOVE it.  Their proviso is they can eat what they choose to eat when they go to a friend's house or out for a meal.  This is interesting as so far, parties and meals out have left the kids either feeling sick or strange!

If you are embarking on a paleo experiment yourself, good luck, plan well and feel free to ask me anything about my experiences!

Krish x

Monday, 6 August 2012

Eat clean, move more, sleep well and get outside!

Since embarking on our quest to change our lives, my husband and I have made a number of small but significant changes to our nutrition, activity levels, lifestyle and exercise.  

As each change we have made has been relatively small and therefore pretty easy to implement, altogether, they add up to a massively different approach and attitude to everything!

I may not have learnt many things in 40 years but I have discovered a couple of things that apply to every area of my life: firstly, if I don't have a proper plan, I am doomed to failure.  Secondly, I know how much easier everything is if I have the support of my family.

To make success much more likely you need:

1 - To have a definite plan
2 - The support of those closest to you

Without wishing to get overly gushy and sycophantic, my husband genuinely has been a constant source of inspiration and support throughout my year of re-training and discover and so have my kids!  My kids have joined Junior Hero Academy and bigged it up to all their friends, they have come running with me, they have joined me in the gym for weight-lifting sessions and they have embraced all the new meals I offer them.  They have also wholeheartedly agreed to embrace the Paleo way!

My point is that without this support, I would have been doing all this alone.  I might even have been fighting against them.  It's hard to give your kids a healthy diet if your partner constantly battles you overtly or covertly.  it's hard to make changes to your own lifestyle while the rest of your family continue on without you.

The thing is, that even with the support of those around me, this would have been a really difficult change to make in one go.  Bit by bit, little by little we have been edging towards this new lifestyle and now, we are ready!

This is how we got here:

Step One

Last year we cut began cutting starchy carbs from our evening meal and limited sugar and flour from our nutrition.  We did not include the kids in this.
We did make sure that processed food was limited for us all.
At the same time, my husband and I began walking for an hour every day that we could.
We also began lifting weights and doing simple exercises.

Step Two

We decided that we were enjoying this new way of life so much and that we were seeing such great results that we didn't want to go back.  I decided to retrain as a Personal Trainer so that I could incorporate the exercise into my daily life more easily.
We both upped the walking to running - no more than 3-5k once or twice a week.
We began making ure the kids were eating less flour and sugar - we cut bread from their nutrition and made our weekend banana pancakes with ground oats instead of flour.

Step Three

We became more serious about our nutrition, cutting all grains and starchy carbs except oats from our diet and cutting sugar virtually completely.
We worked harder at the weights - putting into practise what I was learning on my courses and making sure we upped the weights regularly and varied our routines.
We ran 5k and 10 k runs.  My husband still runs to and from the station every now and then but I don't really like cardio so do it as little as I can get away with.

Step Four

We decided to go completely paleo.
We cut the last vestiges of starchy carbs from our diets - it was just oats left.
We also cut the remaining starchy carbs from the kids' nutrition - no more potatoes, rice, pasta, or oats for the children.
We also cut dairy from all of our diets.

This was the final push and the hardest to get our heads around.  We have been brainwashed for so long into believing that breakfast has to be cereal that I was really unsure what to give us if it didn't involve oats or milk or yoghurt.

But I've got my head around breakfasts and the kids are on board.  Paleo isn't just about the nutrition, it's about moving more, lifting more, getting outside more and sleeping well - basically the Junior Hero Academy mantra!  Eat clean, move more, sleep well and get outside.

Welcome to our new paleo adventure!

I'll be blogging about this as well as the usual exercise routines and less extreme ways to healthy up!

Krish x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Paleo Chocolate Orange Cake

So, as a family, we have decided to finally go the last mile and go totally paleo.
The hardest thing for me was breakfasts but I've finally got my head round the fact that breakfasts need not be what we have been brainwashed into thinking they should be. 

The last thing we had left to cut from our nutrition (having already cut wheat, potatoes, rice and sugar) was dairy and oats.

Bizarrely, when I discussed the subject with the kids, they cheered at not having to have Alpen any more, they were delighted they wouldn't have to eat potatoes again and they really won't miss pasta or rice and it's been so long since they had bread that they've kind of forgotten what they are supposed to miss there too.

We have decided to follow this route after much research and thought on the matter and while it seems to us that the benefits are almost immediate, we also understand that it won't be for everyone.

Anyway, for those of you who like the idea of paleo, or who just want to cut wheat and sugar from their diet, or who are dairy or gluten intolerant, here is a recipe that any caveman would be proud of!

After all, I am a confectionary adventurer and if there is a need for cake, believe me, I will find a way!

So,  here is a fully paleo recipe for chocolate orange cake!  No sugar.  No flour.  No dairy.  Whoop, whoop!

Paleo Chocolate Orange Cake


300g ground almonds
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup of honey
zest of 4 oranges
6 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
A slug or two of coconut oil


Mix everything together and bake in a lined loaf tin until a skewer comes out nearly clean - it's kind of too cooked if the skewer comes out totally clean.  A bit squidgy in the middle is nice, I think.

Hope you like it,

Krish x