Going low carb & sugar free

Going low carb & sugar free

Well for 2 weeks that is. These past few weeks, because life just got super busy, I wasn’t all that much into healthy eating. Add on numerous outings, birthdays and other occasions that warrant yummy food of the not so healthy variety and I got to a point where I felt bloated and tired again. Which means it’s time for a change! To kickstart that I decided to take my 2 week summer tenure as a good way to get back into the swing of things.

going low carb and sugar free

Going low carb and sugar free for two weeks

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Savory & sweet cheese salad

Savory & sweet cheese salad

Salads have been a go to meal for me for years now and I have come across some great combinations. My general rule of thumb is to add plenty of greens in the shape of lettuce and spinach and then pack with with more veggies with my basis usually being tomatoes and cucumbers. I like topping it up with some protein and where I sometimes go for meat, I very often opt for cheese as well. It not only provides some highly nutritious ingredients to any salad you make, but it also adds a yumminess factor.

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What’s in my fridge?

What’s in my fridge?

I went and got groceries, filled up my fridge and thought: hey! Let’s take pictures of this for the blog! And so here you are looking at what I store in my fridge. I figured some of you might like to see this, as I’m still on my no wheat/ gluten, less dairy, less sugar way of living. Instead of boring you with a 1000 word epistle on how I’m doing on all those areas, I thought I’d show you in pictures.

The entire contents of my fridge

Et voila: that is my fridge. It’s tiny, but it suffices just fine for me, myself and I. I generally get groceries once a week, on Saturday’s and I had just stuffed this baby after my weekly trip. I mainly keep perishables in my fridge. So that means all fruit and veg, even ones that I know you shouldn’t exactly keep in your fridge. My kitchen gets really warm either from the central heating (as the only heater for the kitchen, bathroom and hallway is in the kitchen) or from the sun. So I don’t keep any food out, because any fruit will ripen too fast for me to eat it. Now let’s have a closer look.

My first two shelves usually contain dairy and meat. The higher up you go up in my fridge the colder it gets due to it being close to my freezer. If I keep fruit too close it will go bad very quickly. Top shelf there are some olives, butter, cheese, Greek yoghurt, a pumpkin and some fresh parsley. Bottom shelf you will find grapes, baby tomatoes, apples (behind the grapes), a cucumber and eggs. I do still eat cheese and eggs and I have Greek yoghurt for breakfast almost every morning. I do try to go for goat’s cheese these days, but when my favorite cumin cheese was on sale, I just couldn’t pass that up.

On to the fresh produce! Lower in my fridge I keep most of my fruit and veg. There’s mushrooms, fresh spinach, alfalfa sprouts, and a pineapple on my bottom shelf. In the two drawers I keep bigger fruit and veg: bananas and underneath that there are some oranges. On the right there’s a bag of scraped baby carrots, a mango, an onion and below that half a head of cauliflower and half of a red cabbage. I love how my supermarket halves the bulkier veggies such as cabbages and cauliflower. It’s way too much if you’re by yourself. My half red cabbage will make me 4 servings.

On to the freezer. It’s tiny so I have to make most of my meals fresh. However I always keep a few meals and other bits and bobs for easy access when I run out of things. I always keep frozen spinach (great in smoothies, omelets or straight up with some cream cheese), as well as a type of frozen fruit for smoothies. Right now I also keep some kale (don’t know if it’s the right kind though, apparently there’s kale and then there’s kale), some hummus and frozen leftover veggie soup.

Last stop: my door, where I mostly keep sauces and liquids. Coconut milk has become a staple in my fridge since this summer. It’s a great substitute in smoothies and other recipes. I’m still trying out combinations though. A small jar of sharp mustard, garlic sauce, some more Greek yoghurt and capers round up the first shelf. The garlic sauce is wheat free (hooray!) but still bad as it has a bunch of sugar. I don’t use it often though: usually I throw these bottles out before I finish them. Bottom shelf there’s instant lemonade (which I only drink in summer really), a small bottle of Coke Light, almond milk, coconut water (have yet to try it!) and my new discovery: organic carrot juice. With some freshly squeezed orange juice, it makes a great pre-breakfast drink.

That’s what’s in my fridge. What’s in yours?

Back to work & update on me

Back to work & update on me

So today is a break from all the travel logs and my life will be back to it’s boring normal self as work is starting again. Since this vacation is now over, it’s time to get back on track and since I have quite a few things coming up, I thought it’d be fun to write a post about it.

As I mentioned work starts back up today and this week will be the first full week of teaching classes, going to classes at uni as well as a bunch of meetings and course work that I still have to do. In other words: it will be busy and the same goes for next week. In fact, next week will even be busier as on March 10th the school I work for has another open day and since I help organize that these next two weeks will be mayhem if it’s anything like in November.

Uni work is also starting to become more intense now as our assignment is well under way. Today I will have to transcribe a one-hour interview and hand it in as soon as I can. I just hope I have enough time to do it else I might have to continue working on it on the train AND tomorrow morning. See the thing is: I don’t only have to write down what is being said word by word, but I also have to code the entire thing. And this is also something I’ve never done before so I’m praying that I can get it done on time.

I also have plenty of social engagements coming up: birthdays, visiting friends, my mom will drop in a few week time and my mom and I will be going to the ballet. Swam Lake to be exact. It’s the Dutch National Ballet’s anniversary and to celebrate it they are putting on a number of classic ballet performances. Swan Lake is one of them and my mom has always told me how much she would like to one day see Swan Lake and she decided to ask me to come along. Now, I’ve been to the ballet before, but I’ve never been to a famous one like Swan Lake. So I’m totally excited about that.

On another, more personal, note, I am actually doing really well. Since this time uni isn’t overly busy as I’m not taking too many classes, I want to get out more and be more social. I find I have more time to just chill and watch some TV without my mind working on overdrive. I have met up with friends who I hadn’t seen in ages and I have more plans in the weeks to come. It feels good to be hanging out with people again and I can now tell how much of a toll it has taken to combine work and my studies. Luckily for me this is the final semester where I’m actually taking classes so after summer I am hoping it will be less time consuming.

Health wise I’m also doing great. I found out a few weeks ago I do not have a gluten intolerance. Yet, after eating carbs for one week straight as it was vacay and I didn’t want to spend walking around all of London to find a suitable food place, I can feel the effect it has when I do eat them. Needless to say: I feel much better without them. So today I’m back to being a good girl and will be more careful about what I eat. My hayfever is not acting up as much yet, but I’m curious to see what the next few weeks will bring. Spring is almost here so now is the big test to finding out whether all those shots have actually helped.

All in all, I’m in a good place: the weather will soon turn nicer (hopefully). I had a great time in London. I have plenty of good things to look forward to and some of my applications for jobs have granulated into actual invitations for interviews. Next week I’m having my appraisal interview so then I hope to find out whether I can stay at my current job yes or no. All in all, the next couple of weeks will be busy, but good.

What are your plans for the next couple of weeks?

Low Carb: three months & counting

Low Carb: three months & counting

It’s been over 3 months since I first started cutting down carbs, I started in early November. I started because all foods with lots of carbs were giving me stomachaches. I already wrote two posts here and here about my ongoing progress. I found it quite easy to start and by now, 3 months later, I can say that it is also easy to keep up. Want to know how I do it and my experience till now? Then keep on reading!

So yes, 3 months and counting and still going strong! What I notice:

  • less stomachaches (which is what really mattered to me)
  • weightloss

Especially the latter is something I am pleasantly surprised about. I bought a new pair of pants the other week which I actually needed in a size smaller than I initially thought. The size I was expecting to need actually looked big on me and I am happy to say that I now fit into the same size clothes as when I was 16. I know, that was a shock for me too.

The best part of it all is that I feel great! I eat less, but still have all the energy to do all the things I like to do. The foods that I eat don’t bother me and I feel healthy & strong. On top of that I can now fit into a bunch of clothes I never deemed possible and that really motivates me to keep this up. And to me, it didn’t even cost me that much effort, which is another good thing.

Like I said before I still cheat: I haven’t fully cut out carbs and I won’t be able to because I work out. I still have fruit 3x a day and I have a really bad sweet tooth so I allow myself to cave during weekends. Also: I eat pasta/ rice or bread on the days I work out. If I don’t that’s when I do feel like passing out afterwards, so I have decided to just have something containing carbs as my body clearly tells me I need it. So strictly speaking it’s not as low carb as can be, but hey whatever works right?

By now I can safely say that cutting down on bread/ pasta and rice has been a great success for me. Making a salad takes me as much time as making sandwiches and I feel full for a longer amount of time. It has even caused me to drink more fluids throughout the day which was something I was not good at before as well. True you sometimes have to be a bit more inventive but since I like cooking and trying new foods that is no problem for me.

To top it off I have now decided to just keep going. I’m just going to stick to salads for lunch instead of bread and I’m only going to eat carbs when I have to go to dance class or the gym. I believe that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So yes, that’s right I want to keep eating the way I do now, because when I do eat ‘bad’ foods I sometimes still get the occasional stomachaches, especially if I eat a lot of it in a row. I just think it will be better for me overall and in the long run to just stick to this change of diet. Doesn’t mean I cannot or won’t eat carbs at all, but to just lessen it has worked wonders for me.

Have you ever changed or tried changing your eating patterns?

Cutting down carbs

Cutting down carbs

For almost a week now I’ve been cutting down my intake of carbs or carbohydrates. Carbs are sugar (fruits, candy etc), but it also part of products containing grain & fibers (bread, pasta, etc). I am making a conscious effort to lessen my carb intake. Not because I’m on a diet and am trying to lose weight, but because ever since I was sick a few weeks ago I’ve been getting stomachaches when eating foods that contain a lot of carbs. My main problems are eating bread and pasta and so I’ve decided to cut those out and replace them with other foods.

Like I said, I’m not on a diet, at least not in a classic sense of the word. I’m against diets per se and I’m not going completely low carb either. My main goal is to get rid of stomachaches, cramps and spasms that are a complete throwback to how I felt 3 years ago and that was nasty. I just want to feel good, be healthy and give my body a break. And guess what? So far… It’s working!

In fact, I’m puzzled by how this can be. Ever since Sunday I stopped eating bread and pasta. That’s it! To some extent I think it’s quite scary, because I am eating less than I used to, yet my body is responding better than I could ever have imagined. I don’t feel hungry,. I don’t get dizzy. I feel like how I always feel: energetic but without the 2-3 hour interferences of my body telling me I have to eat something. And only because I cut out pasta and bread and replaced it with more meat, more fish, more cheese and more veggies.

I already ate all those things, but less than I do now. I’m also still trying to eat 2 pieces of fruit a day (which are filled with carbs as they contain a lot of sugar), as I just love those too much and getting some carbs is necessary when you work out too, so I would never be able to go low carb as that would just be unhealthy combined with my work out schedule.

However, since Wednesday my new way of eating has led to my feeling fuller, for a longer time, and when I went home on Wednesday I realized that after a full day of work, I still hadn’t had my midmorning snack, apple or banana that I always bring. I just forgot all about it as I never got hungry during the day. How this works is completely beyond me, but hey if it works it works right?

Here’s what I’ve been eating the past week:

Sunday: fried egg with ham & cheese for breakfast, avocado & mackerel with a bit of mayo for lunch, pea soup for dinner

Monday: yoghurt with kiwi fruit for breakfast, salad with fresh spinach, bell pepper, fried chicken and cheese for lunch, banana in the afternoon, leftover avocado with mackerel for dinner

Tuesday: yoghurt with kiwi fruit for breakfast, same salad for lunch, banana in the afternoon, pumpkin soup for dinner

Wednesday: yoghurt with kiwi fruit for breakfast, same salad for lunch, green beans & meatball for dinner, banana as dessert

Thursday: 2 fried eggs with ham & cheese for (a late) breakfast, banana in the afternoon, sushi for dinner

The plan for today: 2 egg omelet with ham for breakfast, yoghurt with kiwi fruit before I go out the door, banana in the afternoon, salad for dinner.

I think I could use some more variation in my meals, but that is very difficult for me as I live by myself and feel bad having to throw anything out. I’d rather make full use of the ingredients I buy than buying tons and have variation, but having to throw it out in the end. That is why, I’ll just change the ingredients of my lunch salad next week (I’m thinking of going with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon bits, goat’s cheese and walnuts) and there is variation in what I eat for dinner so I guess I’ll be good.

I’m not keeping track of whether I’m losing weight or not, as that is not important to me. Like I said, my goal is to ban stomachaches, not kilos. So I couldn’t tell you about those effects. If you are interested in the effects of eating less carbs on weight loss, check out Noelle’s blog (in Dutch), she’s been going totally low carb to lose weight.

Q: Have you ever tried cutting down carbs? How did it go for you? Or are you interested in doing so?