Archive for August, 2008

Food Shopping

August 30, 2008

{If you click on the photo it will take you to the original on flickr wehre you will find notes on each item telling you what it is.}

There’s a group on flickr called The Food Shopping Project. It appears to be dead. Nothing posted for the last seven months. Twenty-one members but only two have ever posted and there are only seven photos in the pool.

But I like the idea and, rather than start a new group duplicating this one, I’ve joined it. Maybe it will wake up, maybe it wont.

The idea is that every time you go shopping you lay out your purchases and photograph the lot (one picture). You add a note to each item to identify it and then put a note at the bottom corner of the picture giving the total cost.

The group rules ask that you give the currency conversion into US$ and € (euros).

I’m hoping to be living in New Zealand next year and one of the reasons I am doing this is to see the difference between food and prices here and there. So I converted it to NZ$ as well.

This lot came to £62.53 which is US$113.89, €77.60 and NZ$162.56

I often buy lots of fruit and veg. I would like to buy it from a market but the food from the markets around here goes off very quickly. The only exception is the once-a-month farmers market.


Reassessment results

August 26, 2008

Today was my penultimate session with my personal trainer, Estella. I will be having more sessions in the gym, but with someone different. Anyway, she did my reassessment today as it was my ninth session. My weight is the same (it is up on my scales over the weekend) but I’m not surprised as I have just come back from the Friday to Monday party that is the annual Team Waste Summer Camp (about which more later).

However, I have lost one and a half inches from my chest, one inch from my hips, nothing from my waist (must be the weekend party because my waistbands are definitely looser) and half an inch from each upper arm. So not too bad but, for myself, ‘must do better’. Still, as Estella said, I am ‘going in
the right direction’.

She worked me hard and I was absolutely shattered in the afternoon and I had a few hours sleep.

Tuesday already

August 19, 2008

A week ago I joined Scale Junkie’s Healthy You Challenge and I am suddenly reminded that it is Tuesday again and I need to go and ‘sign in’.

So how has the last week been for me?
I’ve been continuing with my ‘M&S diet’ – not an official M&S thing, nor even an ‘official diet’ whatever that may be. But eating ready meals in the evening rather than cooking. It rather goes agains the grain for me to do this as I love to cook but it does free us my time for studying etc, leaves the kitchen clean, and makes it impossible to ‘extra’ – just what’s in the packet.

Breakfast has continued to be muesli and fresh fruit with semi skimmed milk, and lunch has been something light, with salad veggies and some more fruit.

The week has seen another leak in the roof, several roofers at the house and an expensive repair; my getting stressed about the mess in the house; the submission of the Expression of Interest (EoI) to emigrate to New Zealand; and Monday.

I had another gym sesion with my personal trainer on Thursday and attended her aqua aerobics class on Friday. I can feel the difference this is making and people at aqua are starting to notice and comment as well.

Monday was not a good day and I had my SO collect me from work as I did not feel well enough to stay. That afternoon he took me to the pool so I could try to relieve some of the stress and tension I was feeling. I swam 30 lengths of the pool and spent some time in the bubble pool after that. Then I went into town and browsed the shops for a bit before being taken home. Unfortunately, I went into Thorntons and bought six chocolates. And ate them.

Never mind, I’m not going to let other people make me feel bad or make me undo all the good I’ve been doing with my food and exercise. I’ve got a bright new future to look forward to.

Aromatic Duck & Jasmine Rice (M&S)

August 19, 2008


Marks & Spencer Nutritionally Balanced Eat Well range

About £4.69 but I bought it on a two for £6 ffer

Number of servings: One

Cooked Thai Jasmine Rice (34%)
Cooked marinated duck breast (20%)
Coconut milk
Pack Choi (5%)
Chargrilled red peppers (4%)
Pineapple (4%)
Thai Red Curry Paste
Palm sugar
Thai shallots
Vegetable oil
Fish sauce
Red chilli

Five a day?
13% fruit & veg

Nutritional Info

Nutrition Data
  Per 100 g Per 400g
Calories (kcal) 150 600
Carbohydrate (g) 17.5 70
Sugars (g) 2.9 11.6
Protein (g) 8.8 35.2
Fat (g) 4.7 18.8
Saturates (g) 1.4 5.6
Fibre (g) 1.8 7.2
Sodium (g) 0.06 0.24
Alcohol (g) 0 0
Fruit & Veg 0 0

Ease of Use
Two minutes in microwave (recommended) or 20 in the oven

Freezable? For one month

Taste test
Nice flavours, lots of thick slices of duck, sauce a little thick.

Would I use it again?

Sweet Chilli Chicken (M&S Steam Cuisine)

August 14, 2008

Marks & Spencer Steam Cuisine

Price: About £4+ (far too much)

Number of servings: One

Cooked egg noodles (23%)
Cooked marinated chicken breast (20%)
Sweet chilli sauce (20%)
Red onions (11%)
Carrots and sugar snap peas (7%)
Baby corn (5%)
Red Peppers (3%)
Sunflower oil

Five a day?
26% veggies. Label says it is one of your ‘5-a-day’

Nutritional Info

per 100g per pack
Calories (kcal) 75 300
Carbohydrate (g) 9.6 38.4
Sugars (g) 3.2 12.8
Protein (g) 8.7 34.8
Fat (g) 0.3 1.2
Saturates (g) 0.1 0.4
Fibre (g) 1.6 6.4
Sodium (g) 0.16 0.64
Alcohol (g) 0 0
Fruit & Veg 0.3 1.1

Ease of Use
Less than four minutes in the microwave

Freezable? no

Taste test
Okay but nothing special. The chicken was so-so. The sugar snaps were nice and crunchy but had two ‘strings’ that I nearly choked on and there was too much onion. No real depth of flavour and a bit too sweet.

Would I use it again?
Maybe, but only if there was nothing better available.

Hoisin Duck & Noodles (M&S)

August 14, 2008


Marks & Spencer Eat Well Nutritionally Balanced


Usually £4.19, Ibought it on a two for £6 offer

Number of servings: One, generously

Weight: 380g

Cooked free-range egg noodles (36%)
Roasted marinated duck (15%)
Beansprouts (8%)
Hoisin Sauce (5%)
Carrots (3%)
Mangetout (3%)
Red peppers (3%)
Spring Onions
Red Chillies
Red wine vinegar
Dark soy sauce
Sesame Oil
Ginger puree
Garlic puree
Rapeseed oil
Sweet wheaten bean paste

17% veggies – pack says one of your five-a-day

Nutritional Info

per 100g per 380g pack
Calories (kcal) 120 456
Carbohydrate (g) 15.4 58.5
Sugars (g) 1.2 4.56
Protein (g) 7 26.6
Fat (g) 3.4 12.9
Saturates (g) 0.5 1.9
Fibre (g) 2.9 11
Sodium (g) 0.2 0.76
Alcohol (g) 0 0
Fruit & Veg 0 0

Ease of Use
Microwave: 2 minutes
Oven 15 minutes


Taste test
Good depth of flavour. Duck shredded and easy to eat – no cutting.

Would I use it again?

Chicken & Prawn Laksa (M&S)

August 14, 2008

Marks & Spencer’s Nutritionally Balanced Eat Well

Should be £4.19, bought on a two for £6 offer

Number of servings
One – generous portion (very filling)

Cooked chicken breast (13%)
Cooked king prawns (10%)
Baby sweetcorn (6%)
Coconut milk (5%)
Sugar snap peas (5%)
Chicken stock
Lime juice
Sunflower oil
Fish sauce
Red chilli
Chilli infused sunflower oil
Gelling agent: pork gelatine
Lime leaf
Paprika flakes

Nutritional Info

  Per 100 g Per 400g
Calories (kcal) 100 400
Carbohydrate (g) 10.4 41.6
Sugars (g) 3.5 14
Protein (g) 9.4 37.6
Fat (g) 2.9 11.6
Saturates (g) 1.2 4.8
Fibre (g) 1.6 6.4
Sodium (g) 0.2 0.8
Alcohol (g) 0 0
Fruit & Veg 0.2 0.8

Ease of Use
Two minutes in the microwave

Taste test
Tasted really good. Lots of different flavours, which all went well together and plenty of veg. Very interesting spicy taste but not hot.

Would I use it again?

The M&S Diet?

August 13, 2008

I think I mentioned recently that I ws thinking of doing this. I’ve got so much studying to get through in the next few weeks that I don’t want to be cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Add to that the place is a mess anyway and now we’ve had a leak in the roof – with rainwater coming into the bedroom cupboard and down into the hall.

So for this week (in fact for the last several days as well) all dinners, at least on weekdays, are Marks & Spencer’s ready meals. Lunches are either M&S snack type stuff – butternut parcels, spicy prawns, or houmous and pitta. Breakfast continues to be muesli with fruit and semi-skimmed milk and I still take fruit and/or a yoghurt or Optifit dessert for snacks.

M&S do some rather good ‘eat well’ and ‘nutritionally balanced’ meals. I wouldn’t want to live on them forever (and I would miss cooking) but they are fine for a while. I’ve also bought some ‘treat food’ as well. One advantage is that they are, by their very nature, portion controlled.

So I can keep track of which ones I like and don’t like, I’m photographing them and adding info. There’s a new flcikr group for it as well. Feel free to take a look or, if you want to add a few yourself, join me.

M&S Lime & Chilli Prawns

August 6, 2008

Food review:

Where from: Marks & Spencer from the ‘eat well / nutritionally balanced’ range.

Weight: 400g

Price: Two for £6 – but this was a special offer

Number of servings: one good, filling dinner for one.

cooked jasmine rice (40%),
lime & chilli sauce* (20%)
cooked king prawns (20%)
broccoli (10%)
red peppers (9%)
spring onions

*Lime & Chilli sauce contains
soy sauce (water, sugar, soybeans, roasted wheat, sea salt)
lime juice
fish sauce (anchovies, salt, sugar)
red chilli puree
stabiliser: pectin
lime leaves


nutrition   per pack
kcal   400 kcals
protein   25.6g
carbs   57.6g
of which sugars:   17.2g
fat   7.2g
of which saturated:   1.2g
fibre   6.4g
sodium   0.84g

Ease of use
Three and a half minutes in the microwave

Taste test
Tasted good. The rice was nice. The broccoli was a little bland without salt, but I guess I should have made sure some of the sauce got onto it. Prawns were reasonably tasty and the sauce, mixed into the rice, was tasty without being overpowering. I could taste all the separate (main) ingredients – always a good thing.

Use again?

Food and exercise: Tuesday, 5th August

August 6, 2008

It doesn’t look like much for a whole day. I’ve brought dinner in to work because I will be going straight to the gym so need to eat first.

But I did eating some chocolate fudge cake that I brought in to work to share to celebrate my having got my degree yesterday.

I couldn’t eat this piece
celebratory cake
all in one go and had to leave some for the afternoon.

Personal Training at the Gym
When I got to the gym for my session with Estella, my personal trainer, she told me that she will not be doing PT sessions after 21st as she has started to do some other things, including chair exercises for the elderly and will be taking a movement to music qualification. She can’t fit everything in so something has to change. She is sad not to be seeing the people from the gym as often as she has been but is worried about getting stuck in a rut. The selfish part of me is sorry that she will not be training me but I am pleased for her that she is making the right decision for her future. She will be thirty at the end of the month and I guess, like all of us, a birthday with a zero on the end, might have made her stop and think about where she wants to be for the furture.

I’ve got four mmore sessions with her and she will still be taking the aqua aerobics class on Friday evenings. As that is my favourite ‘splashy’ (the name my SO and I use for aqua aerobics) and the only one he will go to, I am very pleased. She has suggested which of the other trainers she feels would best suit me.

I did:
Treadmill: ten minutes at 4.5 for a warm up.
Recumbent bike: ten minutes keeping ti at 70 (it was hard going, I had no gym last week)

Rowing Machine: ten minutes
Cross trainer: I still find this a weird one. two minutes, followed by a minutes rest followed by another two and a half minutes.
Weights (2.5kg) bicep curls, triceps and lateral

(I think I’ve forgotten something)