Blood test results

March 25, 2009

Can anyone translate this for me?

Serum lipids: total cholesterol level 4.0 mmol/L
serum triglycerides 1.8 mmol/L
Glucose level: serum random glucose level 4.6 mol/L (3.5-5.6)
Doesn’t mean anything to me but apparently translates as ‘cholesterol is fine, glucose is within normal range’. I hope the NZIS MA is happy with it.

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For one day only – pigging out after the blood tests

March 19, 2009

I’ll have to go back to dieting after today because (a) I have to wait a week to see if my blood is ‘blood lite’ or ‘full fat, high sugar’ – till I have passed the the NZIS MA’s satisfaction, I can’t be too silly with food – I don’t want to be the cause of us not being allowed to emigrate.
(b) I still need to lose weight anyway.

Now that the plan is to go in September I could get down to a decent weight (just at the high end of okay) by then if I try really, really hard.

So what’s in the pictures?
Breakfast: Special K bar (in the car, after I no longer needed to fast) follwed by two hot cross buns in the office. No spread in them as I didn’t have any with me.

Mid morning: someone brought these in to the office – banana and malteser muffin. It was rather heavy and stodgy – not as tasty as the muffins I make!

Lunch: pasta with spinach and pinenuts (and oil – most of which Ileft at the bottom of the container – not a low-calorie lunch!)

Mid afternoon (really shouldn’t have needed it): hot cross bun and three sweets

Dinner: Jacket potato & mince (half with carrots, half as bolognaise)
I cooked the potatoes in the combi-oven – the fisrt time I’ve used that function in the three years or so I’ve owned it. They came out really well.

In the evening: the last of the choccies!

Special K day 4

March 12, 2009

If you think there is more food than usual in the ‘daytime’ shot that’s because there is. The plan was for me to go to the gym or swimming pool before work this morning. It didn’t happen that way (but that’s another story). I prepared ahead and packed some Nairn mixed berries oat biscuits to eat on the way there. I think exercising on an empty stomach would be stupid. I ate them almost as soon as I got to work. They were delicious.

Dinner may look unappetising but it was actually very tasty. My SO cooked this evening – although I had chosen and bought the meal. The sad, aneamic looking lump is a Marks & Spencer smoked haddock and bubble & squeak cake and was actually very tasty, with a good chunky texture. The instructions say fry or oven bake. Obviously I’m not going to fry it so in the oven it went. It looked undercooked to me when SO served it up, but it was hot inside so I guessed it was okay. I tasted really good.

I hadn’t planned on having potatoes but he’d bought some for himself so I asked for two small ones. I figure it’s what you put on them that does the harm. That, and wanting to eat way too many!

Oh, and I weighed myself this morning. I know conventional wisdom is that you shouldn’t weigh more often than once a week but I need to know that the regime is working. According to the scales I have lost three pounds since Monday. I doubt it. I don’t even feel one pound lighter. Waistbands certainly not looser yet. Still I’ll keep going for a bit and see what happens.

Special K Day 3 – shouldn’t it start getting easier now?

March 12, 2009

It’s certainly easy to pack my food bag for this diet. The same everyday. Adding an apple t my morning food – eaten on the way to work – has helped get me through the morning. Putting the blueberries and raspberries (taken out of the freezer the night before) on the luchtime cereal makes it more interesting and gives me a ‘sweet boost’.

I can’t go from lunch at 1pm to dinner at about 6.30pm with nothing in between so I’m having a small tin of pineapple rings in the afternoon. My choice of tinned fruit was governed by my having lots of small tins of pineapple in the house as I bought some at Costco. The small tin is enough to give me some extra food without being too much.

Dinner was a Marks & Spencer microwave meal. Not ideal but right now Ineed something that I can just throw in the oven or microwave and be eating very quickly. If I make my own food I will eat too much of it. It was nice enough. There was quite a bit of veg (25%) and the rice okay. The chicken tasted like chicken in all microwave meals – artificial. The sauce left a lingering chemical taste in my mouth later that evening. But I’ve had worse.

SO had been to Costco and bought, as well as a twin pack of Special K, some bananas, apples and a huge box of grapes. I can eat a standard box (400g?) of grapes in one sitting. Fortunately, this box was so big – 1.8kg (I just checked) – that I was able to just weigh out 200g to eat now as my brain, and even my tummy, knew that I could not eat them all at once so didn’t even think about trying to.

But now I have to start thinking about food for the weekend, and for Friday when we go to aqua aerobics straight from work and traditionally go the Chinese chip shop on the way home. I had toyed with the idea of making somekind of chicken and vegetable dish in the slow cooker, so it would be ready as soon as we got in on Friday. I’d asked the SO to get some carrots, and some mushrooms for the prawn stir-fry I’m planning for Saturday but he didn’t find any.

Limiting my food intake when I have to carry it away from the house is one thing; restricting my food intake when I’m at home with a full freezer, fridge and cupboards is a whole different story. I popped into M&S Food at lunchtime (there is one a couple of minutes walk from my office) and bought some spinach and three ‘Count On Us’ (ie diet version) beef lasagnes. Why three? they were three for £5 makeing the third one cost not a lot (I don’t remember the exact price of buying just one). I decided that we can have them when we get home from water aerobics on Friday. I’ll have to wait 40 minutes though (30 mins cooking plus time for the oven to heat up). I guess I could try setting the oven to come on so they are cooked when we get home. Then I realised that doing a 45 minute aqua aerobics class on about 400 calories is just not going to work. Should I have a meal at lunchtime and cereal after the class, I wondered? I decided that something hot to pop in the microwave at lunchtime was a must, and that I would still have a hot meal (the beef lasagne and spinach) after the class. I can still keep within the calorie limit. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Special K day 2

March 11, 2009

I remembered some fruit today (well last night, when I took the raspberries out of the freezer and the pineapple (not shown) out of the cupboard). I also put the cereal in a much smaller contain and it seemed to be more filling – it must be true that our eyes inform our tummies about how much food they think we are getting.

I was dismayed (probably too strong a word) to discover boxes of cakes in the office kitchen this morning, must be someone’s birthday. But I ignored them. They are not for me, I am dieting.

I had to get the bus to work as SO had an osteopath appointment at about 9ish. I knew that I woul dneed to eat before I got to work so put an apple in my bag. I then had the first lot of cereal once I got there.

I try to take my lunch break between 1pm and 2pm. That way the afternoon is shorter and home time seems to come more quickly. However, I was very busy today and barely had tome to stop. I too twenty minutes at 1.40 and had athe second lot of cereal with the berries that I have forgotten earlier.

During the afteroon I was quite hungry, but not as much as yesterday (well I had eaten more today – an apple and 60g of raspberries more) and kept drinking water.

This didn’t stop me from feeling hungry by home time (though not as badly as yesterday) and I had a can of four pineapple rings (which I forgot to photograph) just before I left the office for the 25 minute walk to SO’s office.

Dinner was more runner beans (I do like them) with a Marks & Spencer COU (Count On Us) sweet & sour chicken with vegetable rice microwave meal. I’d love to cook something instead but know that I will add too much oil or make too big a portion if I do. I’m sticking to prepared food for a couple of days and am looking forward to a home-cooked prawn stir-fry on Saturday.

Tuesday evenings is the pub quiz at our local and we go with our next door neighbour. I was going to have orange juice and diet lemondade but wondered ‘is there more calories in orange juice than lager?” So I had lager, but two halves instead of two pints.

When I got home SO asked me to cut him a piece of cake (left over from last week’s party). It smelled good but I resisted and had a tin of peach slices in juice instead.

Nutritional data:
Calories (kcal) 1351
Protein (g) 51.9
Carbohydrate (g) 222.6
Fat (g) 11.0
Fibre (g) 19.8
Fruit & Veg 10.5

I know it’s a marketing ploy, but maybe it’ll work for me ..

March 11, 2009

Dieting by eating (mostly) healthily for most of the time but eating too much and having ‘non-diet days’ far too often means that I have lost weight but very slowly. I need a quick fix.

I told my SO “I guess I’ll have to buy some Slimfast.”
“Or Special K” he said.

Well I don’t like milky drinks so cereal has to be better than slimfast.
The idea is that you have ‘a bowl of cereal for breakfast and another for either lunch or dinner with ‘a balanced meal’ for the remaining meal. I decided that I would have to add some fruit to that.

On Sunday I was in London visiting a friend and knew that I would not feel like, nor have much time to cook when I got back as it would be quite late. So, while waiting for my train at Euston I went into M&S and bought something for dinner (a delicious seafood curry and some parmienter potatoes with shallot butter). I also bought some fish cakes and a couple of calorie counted meals.

Diet started today. I took to work two separate 30g portions of Special K and a contianer with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk (125ml for each portion). I didn’t take anything else and forgot to take any fruit. 30g of Special K is not as filling as 30g of muesli and no where near as filling as 30g of porridge. Or maybe my scales were wrong and I had much less than 30g? I doubt it. Anyway, as usual when I’m in an office, I drank lots of water during the day – about two litres. I also had my usual two cups of tea (semi-skimmed milk, two sweeteners) – one when I woke up and one when I got home from work.

By ten to five I was ravenous. On the 25 minute walk from my office to my SO’s office I was cold and I was hungry. Whenever I said (whined) to myself ‘I’m hungry’ I changed it to ‘I’m getting slimmer’, then realised that all I was doing was conditioning myself to equating ‘getting slimmer’ with ‘hungry’.

In the car on the way home I reached for a cereal bar (we keep a box of them in the car as my SO often forgets to eat before/after the gym or is too busy to eat at work). Ironically, it was a Special K bar. I savoured every mouthful.

Dinner didn’t take too long to cook (I’d planned it that way). About 25 minutes, in fact. I had some of the parmentier potatoes left in the oven from yesterday (the package said ‘serves 4’ but those four must have had small appetites) and I left them in while I cooked the Orkney crab cakes. I cooked myself some runner beans to go with this (yes I know they are out of season but I can’t feel guilty about everything) and did peas for SO.

It was delicious and almost enough to keep my tummy happy and not too full before going for a one hour pilates class.

However, once home, I was soon looking in the fridge again. There were two M&S ‘Count On Us’ lemon mousses which had a ‘die by’ date of a couple of days ago. At 80 calories per pot I figured I could have one, and pressed the other on SO so I didn’t eat both.

While getting tomorrow’s food ready, and putting a tin of pineapple into my bag, I decided I could have a tin of pineapple now. After all, 250g of beans is not ‘five a day’.

Total nutrition for the day:
Calories (kcal) 985
Protein (g) 43.4
Carbohydrate (g) 138.8
Fat (g) 29.3
Fibre (g) 14.2
Fruit & Veg 5.5
Water (litres) 2.0

What do you eat now that you didn’t have as a child?

February 1, 2009

or vice versa – are there things you used to eat that you don’t now? I got to thinking about this when writing my week two story for 52 stories. I never ate yoghurt till I fed it to my first child. Chinese and Indian, indeed any ethnic ‘take-away’ foods were unheard of in my childhood. We didn’t have gravy with our roast dinners – and I’m still useless at making gravy. I never had sweetcorn (either canned or frozen, or on the cob or mini), courgettes, aubergine, mange tout or sugar snaps. We seldom had rice or pasta – when we did they were considered exotic. We certainly never had curry.

Is there anything I ate then that I don’t now? Probably although nothing springs to mind. Jelly and blancmange, perhaps. But I suspect that is more to do with it being a children’s dish rather than it being ‘of it’s time’ (although it probably true too.

I certainly ate a lot more cakes in a greater variety then than I do now. My mother made wonderful cakes. As well as the chocolate eclairs mentioned in the story – with tinned cream inside and chocolate icing made with cocoa powder on the top – she made coconut pyramids and cream horns. She had special tins for these. The cream horns were made by wrapping a long thin strip of puff pastry around a cone-shaped tin, egg washing it and sprinkling with sugar. After it was cooked and cooled a spoonful of strawberry jam was put in the bottom and the rest of the cone was filled with (tinned) cream.

Mum also made something that didn’t have a name. We just called them ‘those round pineapple things’. This was a circle of shortcrust pastry – the size of the tin which pineapple rings came in – topped with a ring of canned pineapple. On top of that went another circle of pastry – this one had a hole cut out of the middle, to correspond with the hole in the pineapple. The hole was filled with a meringue mixture before baking it in the oven. Which reminds me, pineapple always came from a tin, never fresh. Avocados were also something I didn’t see until the late 1990s.

So what about you?

Bolognaise for the freezer

January 29, 2009

I bought some minced beef steak at Costco last week. I used 1kg to make a batch of mince & carrots and 1kg for the bolognaise pictured here (there’s another 600g raw in the freezer, to be cooked at a later date).

My bolognaise is a meaty dish, not a tomato sauce with a hint of meat in it. I always use a tin of plum tomatoes, some mushrooms, some onion, and usually some red pepper. However, I had no red pepper in the house.

Here’s what I used:
1000g lean steak mince
200g onions
2 cans chopped tomatoes
3 beef stock cubes (Oxo)
3-4 cloves of garlic
90g mushrooms
a large squeeze of Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs

Using a tip I read in a Rosemary Conley diet book, I dry-cooked the mince in a saucepan (ie, I put the meat in but no fat, no liquid) and then drained the fat off by putting the meat into a sieve and making sure all the fat had gone, I then washed the saucepan with soapy water, ensuring there was no fat left in it before rinsing, drying and putting the meat back in to continue the cooking.

I did put the chopped onion into the meat during the first part of the cooking as I wanted it to cook in the fat.

With the meat back in the pan I tipped in the tinned tomatoes (always a good thing to have in the cupboard and better in this kind of recipe than fresh), sprinkled in three Oxo beef stock cubes and some crushed garlic then let it come to a simmer before adding some chopped mushrooms and some herbs.

I let it simmer away happily on its own for about 40 minutes. It probably doesn’t need that long but I feel that it improves, tht the flavours mingle more, if it is cooked long and slow. I left it to mature overnight before batching it up for the freezer but it can be frozen as soon as it is cool.

I fed the data into weight loss resourceswhich told me that a 175g portion (that’s how much is shown here) is 177 calories. I served it with 100g (cooked weight) of spaghetti for another 119 calories and added some broccoli just because I like to see a vegetable on my plate.

The food on the plate comes to 315 calories and it was plenty.

There are five more 2-people portions in the freezer.

DIY Splashy

January 27, 2009

After a healthy breakfast of Quaker Oats and grapes (because I like to have fruit with my breakfast and I’d forgotten to defrost any blueberries) we set off to the pool for an aqua aerobics class (known as splashy in my house).

As I walked into the changing rooms I recognised the black and silver zipped back swimming costume of a woman I had seen here before. I remembered that it was the last (and first) time I had come to the Monday morning aqua class. I remembered that this class seems to be full of ladies who like to get into the water and gossip rather than being there for the exercise. I remember being annoyed by them and wondered whether my enjoyment of the class would be spoiled again.

The pool was very full – about 25 ‘women of a certain age’ (and older). Very quickly word went round that Estella – my favourite aqua instructor an the reason for us choosing this classs – had phoned in sick and there was nobody available to replace her at such short notice.

Silver swimsuit woman said that she would take the class. Having been to the class a zillion times before she knew what the moves were (as did most of us there, although there were a number of first timers there today). She did brilliantly. Given that she had to try to remember what exercises there were, shout loud enough for us to hear – she was in the pool doing the class herself – and try to make sure that we didn’t all run into the walls of the pool before she told us to turn. At the end of the class we gave her three cheers. Then I swam ten lengths before going home.

Back home, lunch was yesterday’s leftovers – not very healthy – and I forgot to eat any more fruit.

After spending the afternoon cooking up two large batches of mince (one as a bolognaise sauce and one with onions and carrots) for freezing in calorie controlled portions I cooked a prawn stir-fry.

The figures
Breakfast: Quaker Oats and grapes
Lunch: roast pork, roast potatoes and kumara
Dinner: 100g cooked weight Jasmine rice with 50g king prawns stir-fried with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, baby corn, sugar snaps, broccoli and spinach
Dessert: 158g tinned peaches with 90g elmlea single light

The figures:
Calories (kcal) 1208
Protein (g) 56.8
Carbohydrate (g) 176.2
Fat (g) 30.2
Fibre (g) 13.2
Fruit & Veg 8.7

I spent the a

I’d had breakfast before I realised that it is Monday and I had not weighed myself. Hey-ho, I’ll do it tomorrow.

Sunday, 25th January

January 25, 2009

today’s numbers:
Calories 1507
Protein 95.8
Carbs 150.7
Fat 40.1g
Fibre 18.9g
Fruit & Veg 4.6
I need to blog my food, exercise and mood if I am to do this properly.
So this is today’s food.

Breakfast was brought to my by my SO. I didn’t fancy ‘dippy negg’ (soft boiled eggs) and his attempts at porridge shows that he needs more practice and I wasn’t in the mood for ‘pratice porridge’. So I had a think about what was int he fridge and remembered there was some cheese in the fridge that I wanted to try. A hardish, browny-yellow cheese that looked rather like a ‘breakfast cheese’ I had eaten on one of my holidays recently. There was also an unopened packet of digestive biscuits.
‘Cheese and digestive biscuits and some grapes’ was my request.
Instead of the cheese I ws thinking of he brought me the forgotten roule with herbs, Yum! He also brought me SIX digestives. Now I know that I didn’t have to eat them all, and I did initially spread cheese on just four. But I wasn’t full and it was delicious. So I ate the rest.

There was some of the chicken and mushroom curry that I made the other day left in the fridge so that was lunch.

I had planned to go to aqua aerobics this afternoon but my arm was rather painful The doctor thinks it may be carpal tunnel syndrome, which is worrying me rather. The wrist joint seemed to be clicking. Ibuprofen helped with the pain but I really wasn’t in the mood for the pool. I have just realised that I have not been out of the house since Friday evening.

I had a banana in the afternoon while I was clearing out the airing cupboard and then the SO cooked the roast pork for me. He actually made quite a good job of it.

I’ve been looking at photos in my 2009 Photo Diet Project pool on flickr. The newest member has been telling me that she has a file with recipes and menu plans for the week(s) ahead. I must stop telling myself that this is too time consuming and get on with doing it.