Monday, 17 June 2013

Delicious and Delectable Dahl!

Yummmmmmmmo!  I've just discovered the wonderful Indian dish Dahl.  It's hard to come up with something that is wrong with this dish.  It's cheap to make, it's filling, it's satisfying, it's flavourful, it's hearty.....what more could you ask for in a dish. 
Yes, you read right, I'm not kidding!  And if you put on a lovely dollop of Black Swan Fat Free Greek Youghurt, it still comes in under 300 calories.  Anyone with extra calories could easily add a piece of mountain bread to eat with it. 
I wish that I could say, I'd come up with this recipe myself, but no.  I wouldn't have gone near anything like this, because I've always been a bit scared of lentils.  In a moment of boldness - boosted by the inspiration of watching Janella Purcell make it on Good Chef, Bad Chef, I gave it a go.  There's no turning back now - I'm a lentil lover!  Full of protein and fibre - a fantastic meatless Monday dish.  Plenty of spices, which are wonderful for stimulating the digestive system and promoting weight loss.
Do you feel like cooking yet?  Alright - here's the recipe:
1tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped (I included these in my recipe, but don't think you  would notice if they were left out)
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 tbsp each of ground cumin, turmeric and garam masala
1 carrot, diced
1 cup pumpkin, diced
1 cup whole lentils (or split lentils or mung dahl) cooked
500ml vegetable stock
1 kaffir lime leaf (I didn't have this)
sea salt to taste
lemon, quartered, to serve
In a large pot, saute the onions in the oil until soft and translucent.  Next add the garlic, ginger, carrot and celery and cook gently for a minute.  If using whole lentils, blend until slightly mushy.  Add the spices and stir together.  Now add the pumpkin.  The spices may start to stick to the pot, this is good.  You may need a little water to prevent them burning however.  Now mis the lentils throught the spices then fill the pot with the stock and the lime leaf.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-30 min or until the lentils are soft.  Finally season with the salt if needed.  Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon wedges.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A Body's Story

Can you remember how old you were the first time you can remember thinking something negative about your body?  The first time you felt let down by your body.  I was seven, in gymnastics class.  The coaches were picking girls to represent our club at a regional competition.  Everyone wanted to be a part of that, because then you got to wear a beautiful shiny royal blue leotard with a gold strip around the neckline.  Even at that age, I could sense the extra currency you had in gymnastics class if you were one of the girls wearing one of those leotards.  The coach had to choose between myself and one other girl.  I'm guessing you can figure out how things panned out.  She was picked.  I wasn't.  The message I took from this - I'm not good enough.  My body doesn't work well enough, I'm not as tall and slender as she is.  I wasn't even fat!  I was seven!  I was just a regular kid.

I'm not sure exactly when food became connected in this war which had begun with my body.  I do remember hiding tins of condensed milk from Mum's pantry under my bed and eating them in high school.  The shame was well and truly entrenched by then.  I still wasn't overweight - but the messages that had been reinforced repeatedly were that my body isn't good enough.

What happens, when you no longer have a little girls body, but that of one that belongs to a woman?  Total confusion.  Suddenly the sexual side of your nature is swithched on (I'm talking about in a completely normal developmental way), you begin to notice boys, boys begin to notice you - just the way its meant to be, right?  No, what actually happens is that your parents go into panic mode - because now you could get pregnant.  You know this panic is connected with your changing body.  As for the boys that notice you - its comments about the size of your boobs, whether or not you're on your 'rags' yet and how far are you willing to go with a boy.  For me, all of these conflicting messages resulted in me thinking the changes happening weren't good or to be celebrated or welcomed - they made people freak out; and that still, my body wasn't good enough. 

This story is nothing particularly dramatic.  But a book called 'A Course in Weight Loss - 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering your Weight Forever' by Marianne Williamson has got me taking a really close look at my history with my body.  Although I've lost most of the weight I'd like to - my struggle with my weight isn't over.  Anyone who thinks everything will be sorted once they see a magic number on a scale is dreaming!  In some ways the hard work is just beginning - the work in my head.  Its this that keeps me coming back for another round and another round.  I know if I don't get my head sorted, more than likely, I'll regain all the weight I lost.  I've worked too hard to lose it, I don't want to have to start over again.

I guess my reasons for sharing this are to show that the journey to self loathing often starts early.  The pathways for those messages in your brain are deep.  It makes sense then that the journey out of a relationship of rejection for your body and into a relationship of self-love, self-care and respect for your body, is going to be a hard one.  It is going to take conscious effort and diligence to make new pathways.  I have learnt so much about nourishing my physical self through this 12wbt journey with exercise and good food.  The journey continues as I learn to nourish my mind also.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Numbers - naughty or nice?

Don't stress, I'm not about to embark on a maths refresher course (yes, you can wipe the nervous beads of sweat from your brow!).  I'm talking weight loss numbers.  Let me set the scene a little.  For seven consecutive days, I have busted my butt in every training session.  I've given all I had to give, every time.  I've tracked every single morsel of food that passed my lips, and kept to my allotted calorie count for the entire week - not one calorie over.  I'm feeling so pleased with my efforts, and as I go to sleep on Tuesday night, I know that when I hop on the scales on Wednesday morning, I'm going to see at least a 1 kilo loss for the week.  Right?

Being as smart a cookie as you are, you can probably see where I might be about to go with this, so I'll get right to it.  I'm naked, I've weed, I'm standing expectantly on my scales and the number that pops up..........drum roll please, is a GAIN!  What?!  Heres where it gets hairy.  Have you been here before? Do you visit this place daily (I confess - I have had a habit of jumping on the scales every day)?  What thoughts are instantly in your head when you see that gain?  Just pause here for a moment.  Is it - 'OK, well that's not quite what I was hoping for, but I know, that I've been consistent each and every day and made choices with my exercise and my nutrition that support my health and fitness goals, and although the scales aren't registering those choices today - I know I'm making changes to my insides every day, that improve my life for the long term.  And besides - I feel like a damn hot rock star for all the hard work I've put in, and I know the scales will catch up."  Or perhaps the converstation in your head is a little more like this, 'What the hell?  I've busted my butt, I've eaten all that healthy food and its all been for nothing!  This is ridiculous, I'm never going to succeed at this, I knew I wouldn't be able to lose this weight, why did I let myself think that I could?'  How far is it from that sort of thinking to a bag of chips or a block of chocolate?  Probably not too far.

Why is it that all the hard work we've put in, suddenly means nothing because of a number?  That work wasn't wasted, its freaking awesome that we worked hard, pushed our bodies, nourished them well.  The number is just that - a number.  We sure give them a lot of power sometimes.  Now, the maths is - it takes a 7000calorie deficit, per week to lose 1 kilo of body weight.  Sure, that is the maths.  But last time I checked - my body is not a calculator, and for all sorts of reasons - you might put all the right things into the equation, but not get the answer you were looking for.  Its that time of the month; you've been training with weights for a while now, and you've built some lean muscle(which weighs heavier than fat); you ate something really salty yesterday, and you're holding onto a bit more water than usual.  See what I mean?  All kinds of things can effect what we see on the scales.  If only we could peer inside ourselves, and see the changes we'd made on the insides that week - our hearts that pump blood more effectively because of all that cardio we're doing; our organs that work more freely now because they aren't covered in a layer of fat; the muscle fibres that are growing little by little every day that increase our metabolic rate because it takes more energy to feed muscle than it does fat. 

If you hop on your scales, tomorrow, anytime - and you've rocked your week - feel like the rockstar that you are - the number is just a number.  You're a superstar for making choices that care, nourish and support you - the scales will catch up.