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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Low Carb: 6 months later + what I eat

Low Carb: 6 months later + what I eat

In November I first wrote about wanting to cut down carbs. Not because I needed to lose weight, but because I found out that eating starchy, high carb foods gave me stomachaches. Now, six months later, I’m still going strong. I have been slacking a bit when it comes to sugary things in the past month or so. Easter, birthdays and the fact that I was tired and felt a bit out of sorts for a few weeks didn’t help. When I’m stressed I simply crave sweet stuff so that added to my intake of bad food. However, that was mainly snacks. Meal wise I haven’t strayed once from the path I started. I am still the same weight I was when I wrote my last update, and I still feel great!

Instead of telling you yet again about how I’m feeling, I thought it would be much more interesting to show you what I have been eating the past couple of weeks. Not everything is low carb, but since I work out nearly 5 hours a week that simply wouldn’t be feasible. They are easy to prepare and require little to no skill. I will take you through the meals from breakfast to dinner.

Breakfast

I am not an adventurous breakfast eater. I do have breakfast every single day though. My standard breakfast is some non-fat yoghurt with some kiwi fruit, but I sometimes change it up by using Turkish, Greek or Bulgarian yoghurt and I may add banana (when I get up late) or skip the fruit and just add some walnuts and a bit of honey.

Non-fat yoghurt with kiwi fruit

Lunch

There are several things that I will eat for lunch and I will show you my options below. I occasionally eat sandwiches, but usually only on Saturdays when I had a 2 hour work out.

Fried eggs with ham and cheese

This meal I also have as a late, late breakfast, or as lunch and if I’m exceptionally lazy it also functions as dinner sometimes. The ham can easily be exchanged for bacon if you’d like and I usually add some mayonnaise too.

Carrots & celery with hummus dip

I had this a few times during last week’s vacation and I even took the left overs with me yesterday for lunch. It’s just some raw veggies and hummus. It’s delicious and healthy too. I will post the recipe for the hummus some time later this week or next week.

Salads

I have been eating a ton of salads over the past few months. It’s what I usually take with me to work as lunch. My salads usually consist of at least 3 types of veggie, meat and cheese, but I also mix in nuts, or fish. Whatever seems like a good combination really. I will show you 3 different salads that I have been eating recently.

Cajun chicken with cucumber, lettuce, red bell pepper and cashew nuts

Salad with mixed lettuce, sweet corn, cucumber, red bell pepper, feta cheese and pepperoni

Goat’s cheese, cucumber, apple, raisins and walnutsChorizo, gouda cheese, olives, cucumber and bell pepper

As you can see, I love my cucumber and bell pepper. I also add black or green olives quite a bit, as well as capers, tomatoes, different types of lettuce, carrots, different meats and different cheeses. When I make a salad with fish it’s usually tuna or salmon with pickles, avocado and olives.

Dinner

Dinner is quite possibly my most variable meal in the week. I tend to eat the same thing for lunch for an entire week, as I live by myself and have no one to share the food with. Dinner is a bit easier for me to change up because if I have too much after making something I simply chuck it in the freezer. It is super handy, saves time, but I am limited in what I can do as some foods (like spinach) are not very fond of being reheated. With a new job starting in August though I hope to have more time for cooking and thus even more variation.

Mushroom soup

This simply came from a can. But if you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I also like to make my own soup occasionally. You can find my recipes for pumpkin and veggie soup by clicking here and here.

Farfalle pasta with creme fraiche (cream sauce), leak, ham and mushrooms

Not very low carb, but very delicious. It’s quite possibly my favorite pasta.

Broccoli with fish stick

Broccoli is my favorite veggie hands down. I eat it a ton. In fact, it’s on the menu again for tonight, but this time with a chicken cordon blue.

Chili

The easiest of easy meals! Instead of adding rice, I opted for two types of beans instead. So this has both brown beans and kidney beans in it, as well as some corn, bell pepper, onion and of course ground beef.

Kofta

Now this is a bit of cheat meal as well, but again delicious. I made this using a meal package which includes the rice and spices. All you have to add is some meat and veggies. Simple and yummy, though probably not the best for you. If you don’t know what Kofta is, it’s rice with meat rolls, tomato sauce and zucchini/ courgette.

Steak of tartar with rhubarb

Now it looks like I don’t eat any other veggies, but I do. I also have some other meals waiting for me in the fridge, which include an over dish consisting of bacon, a bunch of left over veggies and cheese. But this is mainly what I’ve been eating in the past 2 – 3 weeks.

Snacks & Drinks

One thing not shown here are my snacks and drinks. Drinks wise I’m insanely boring. I only drink water and tea and change it up with the occasional cup of Starbucks (I go once or twice a month) and I’ll have a glass of wine or have one or two beers when I’m at a party. And that’s pretty much it. I think I had a soda only a hand full of times in the past 6 months.

I eat bananas and apples as in-between-meals’ snacks (or any other fruit really). At night, if I still feel like having something I’ll have a slice of Dutch gingerbread. My only major snack moments are in the weekends. That’s when I allow myself to binge out and empty a bag of chips, M&Ms or whatever tickles my fancy. I also have the occasional craving for fries or pizza and I will give into that as well. I guess I have fast food once a month on average. That isn’t much of a change for me though as I rarely did take out or fastfood to begin with. I occasionally treat myself to a simple meal where I just buy some meat, cheese and olives and snack on that throughout the evening while lounging on my couch watching television.

I hope this gives you a general idea of what I eat throughout a week. Of course this is not all that I eat. I try to keep my diet as varied as possible. I change up my salads every week (this week it will be goat’s cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and walnuts) and dinner changes daily. This has really worked for me. I feel fit, healthy and energetic. It doesn’t even feel like a big change until I tell people that I simply don’t eat as much pasta/ rice/ potatoes/ bread anymore. I now look forward to Saturday afternoon when I allow myself to have 2 slices of bread with peanut butter, rather than just wolfing it down without thinking about it. And what’s even more: no more stomachaches, and when I do, I know that I ate the wrong thing.

What are you doing to feel good?

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?

Low Carb: One Month Later

Low Carb: One Month Later

A little over a month ago I wrote how I’ve decided to drastically cut down my intake of carbs. Not because I want to lose weight, but because I found that my stomach starts doing flip flops and aches and cramps that I really didn’t want to deal with. Now, one month later I’m still going strong, with a few ups and down. This blog is about my experiences so far.

Source: weheartit.com

First of all, click here, to read my earlier post about this. At the time I wrote, that after just one week I could tell it worked and it really does. When I’m not eating bread and pasta I feel much better overall than I did before. I’m still eating carbs though, mostly fruit and I have major sweettooth so I sometimes just cave, but none of that is giving me problems, oddly enough. Technically, I can eat a roll of cookies and be fine, but eating a plate of pasta is a complete no go.

I’ve had two spells where I couldn’t get away from eating carbs because I was at a place where not eating any carbs was simply not an option. Afterwards, I instantly felt less energetic and my nausea and stomach troubles returned. I also tried some pasta again and that gave me the worst spell so far. Another thing I tried was some paella, which was fine the first day, but after a second time in a row I woke up dizzy, with a headache and so tired I thought I was about to keel over any minute. Not good, if you ask me.

I have to admit I did eat the odd sandwich or two because I was craving one and that went just fine, it just seems like I can’t go with eating carbs every day. People I’ve talked to are all suggesting that I might have developed an intolerance for gluten but I honestly don’t think that can be it, as gluten are also found in the stuff I’ve been eating which goes down just fine, not just bread and pasta. I’m still thinking it’s the actual texture of the food that’s causing my problems, which makes me link it all to the overwhelming spell of stress I suffered from in October.

All in all, I’m not feeling any different. If anything, I’m only feeling better. As long as I keep my carb intake at a minimum, I eat less, feel full quicker and to top things off: I even lost a few pounds which I wanted to shed anyway. To me, it just seems a win-win situation. However, just because people are suggestion it might be something more, I will hit up a doctor some time soon to see what could be the problem and whether I’m right. The thing is: I really don’t mind this new way of eating. I feel healthy and energetic and the food that I can eat is delicious. Yes, you need carbs, but if you eat fruit you already get plenty of them. It’s only on the days I work out or go to dance class that I need a little extra, which is just what I do.

So there you have it: nothing but positive from this end of the stick. To give you an idea of what I’ve been eating I have listed some of the menus I’ve made or are planning to make.

1.) Breakfast: yoghurt with kiwi fruit

2.) Lunch: salad

I vary this as much as I can. I  always make sure to use 3 different types of veggie, 1 type of cheese/ dairy and 1 type of meat/ fish and if I can I also add some type of nut. Some combinations:

– Pesto chicken with feta cheese, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and pine nuts

– Bacon with goat’s cheese, bell pepper, tomato and walnuts

– Tuna with avocado, onion and some mayonaise

3.) Dinner: veggies with fish or meat

– Sprouts w/ meat ball

– Broccoli w/ chicken wing

– Green Beans w/ fish fingers

– Roasted pumpkin with egg plant, zucchini, bell pepper, bacon bits and pine nuts (I’m making this today!)

– Soup

4.) Snacks:

– banana (around 3 PM)

– apple (around 5 PM)

– Dutch gingerbread (only on the days I work out)

– cheese (just dice it and eat it)

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?