Progress, lunch recipe and why go low carb?

Progress

Yes, I’ve devised another recipe using canned lentils. Progress with my health and fitness plan has been good. About 3kg loss and 2kg is body fat, so I’m quite pleased with the progress.

As I’m going away to Maastricht for a few days soon, I’m trying to be very good. We are going away with the offspring and the other half’s and will probably consume many meals out. On the plus side, usually walk everywhere and a bike ride has also been suggested. Hopefully, this will help and it will be enormous fun.

Even on holiday, it will be possible to not go completely off the rails and to be honest, I feel so much better at the moment, and more energised too. Really hoping to keep this up.

Why low-carb?

While the food plan I’m implementing is low fat, it is not my main concern. Sugar is. Low fat products tend to have sugar in them so apart from a little low fat cheese, they are best avoided.
Studies now indicate natural fats are fine. With the low carb plan, you decrease sugar and starches so your blood sugar stabilizes and levels of fat storing hormone insulin drop. Also, find you are satiated, thus lessening the need to eat and causing weight loss.

Lentil Stew Recipe

The latest recipe is filling and healthy. The lentils are from a can and very quick to prepare. I dry fried an onion, paprika, herbs, ground pepper with a pint of vegetable stock and then poured in the lentils. Pop a lid on and let it simmer for half an hour (at least) to become fairly solid.

I prepared some roasted veggies including sweet potato chips and just for a change, cauliflower. When the veg is nearly cooked pop in some cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Makes a good, wholesome meal. You can freeze the leftover lentils.

Lentils,

Onion (half at most)

Paprika, herbs, ground pepper

Veg stock (1 pint)

Initially, I made the mistake of using a whole onion, but this recipe is better with just half an onion.

Also, I’m not nutritionally trained, but enjoy reading about health and am just blogging about my experiences. I’m thinking of doing a course on nutrition soon.

Thank you for reading my blog and I welcome any comments, likes and follows.

 

 

 

Source:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

Healthy eating plan, beans and cous cous…

I’ve started a fitness plan because of the expanding middle haha. The gym, I attend, is running a course and so I’m tracking what is eaten. The app to track food is called Fitness Pal and is very good for recording what you are eating, drinking and any exercise. I’ve decided to cut out bread, rice, pasta and potato so my diet is on the low carbohydrate side. This is to curb appetite, hopefully. All the obvious stuff, such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits, processed food, etc. are banned. When eating out, may have some of the above although will try to avoid where possible. I’m also trying to cut down on alcohol, which is really hard.

Low carb diets are controversial, but recent studies indicate weight loss and improved health. The best way, in my view, is to be sensible. Still eat sweet potatoes, swede, carrots and copious amounts of other healthy green veg. Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms are suitable for this sort of plan. When hungry, fruit and nuts are the best snacks, although it is hard if you want chocolate.

My dodgy time is around 4pm. By this, I mean it is the time I’m hankering after food. To help with this, lunch is consumed after 1.30pm and even later, if possible. Dinner is around 6.30pm and this does help stop the ol’ hunger pangs a little. Sometimes, fruit and or nuts are consumed in the evening, but not too often. I’m keeping to around 1400 calories a day. This is quite high for me, but feel is sensible and will stop some of the hunger. Will update on my progress and do join in if you want? My plan is at the end of this post.

I’ve been sorting out my kitchen cupboards and now see some foodstuff that I’d forgotten about. I know, exciting times! Anyway, I’ve recently discovered and devised a couple of lunch time meals. Admittedly, the first one isn’t low carb, but delicious for a quick lunch.

Cous Cous Bean Salad.

Make cous cous by adding the boiling water and mix. Then add basil green pesto, beans (your choice, I used mixed salad beans). Add a few pine nuts and or pumpkin seeds. Chop up some sundried tomatoes. Add lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and mixed herbs. This makes a great lunch which is filling and healthy. Afterwards, you can add what you like such as boiled egg, ham, advocado, etc.

Cous Cous

Basil green pesto

Beans

Pine nuts and or pumpkin seeds

Sundried tomatoes

Lemon juice, olive oil and mixed herbs

Bean Cous Cous…

The next revelation happened during the recent Cotswolds trip. We stopped in a B & B and the proprietor offered us homemade baked beans for breakfast and as they were so delicious, I decided upon my return, to copy and make my own. This is how I made them…

Chop carrot, onion and add tomatoes, onion, puree, stock, herbs, garlic, pepper and splash of treacle. Boil and blend, then add the beans. Cook in oven for about an hour in a casserole dish.

As you can see, I had sliced avocado, roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and low fat cream cheese with the beans and even though I say so myself, the meal was surprisingly delicious and filling.

Haricot beans

Onion

Garlic (clove)

Large carrot

Veg stock

Passata and some tomato puree with some boiling water (about 1/2 pint)

2 tins tomatoes

Paprika, salt, ground black pepper

Chili powder

Optional treacle

Bay leaf (optional)

Home made baked beans with sliced avocado and blob of soft cheese…

 

Sum up

  • Low carb – Cutting out bread, rice, pasta
  • Track what you are eating
  • Lunch is consumed after 1.30pm and even later, if possible. Dinner is around 6.30pm
  • 1400 calories per day
  • Prepare and cook healthy meals

 

 

Ref.

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb

Will this be the year of walking and photography?

Unfortunately, I’ve been poorly for much of January and only just getting back to normal. To be honest, it has made me feel low and lethargic. Hence, the lack of posts lately! However, one thing I have enjoyed is copious amounts of walking, as I’m recuperating.

This year seems to be the year for walking, as a form of exercise. The weather can be cold and grey, but it has also been sunny, cold with some beautiful sunsets. Walking is a great way to explore places and become fitter.

If you mix it up a bit, it becomes fun too. For example, you can go to local parks, countryside walks, town or city walks or go around a National Trust place.

Haysden Country Park, Tonbridge

 

London walks are enormous fun. You can discover squares, alleys, lanes, parks, heaths, gardens, palaces, rivers and so on. The variety of terrain is fantastic for the urban investigator and as well as historic areas you can view the visually spectacular as well. Certainly a different way of exercising and seeing the capital!

Another way of making walking even more interesting is to do them in conjunction with another hobby. I’ve recently participated in a photography course which although basic, provided a wonderful insight into the world of photography. So sometimes the camera 🎥 comes with me and I stop and take photos.

Yesterday, I went to Haysden Park and snapped away. The blue sky and sunshine was very uplifting and I was impressed with the improvements made to the paths and area. When we arrived, I was furious to see you had to pay to park which is ludicrous. Yes, I know it may go towards the upkeep, but can’t help feeling it’s a bit ‘brave new world’ when one day, we will only have a few green places left to go to, and will have to pay to enter and enjoy them. Sorry, 😐 got a little creative there, but paying to enter green spaces is the beginning of the end, isn’t it?

The park was busy, probably because of the glorious weather. The lake is beautiful and we loved seeing all the birds, particularly the graceful swans. Two swans had a noisy fight, literally a few feet away, which was captured with the Nikon (just).

The benefits of walking are tantamount to other exercise, especially if you do 10,000 steps per day. Rather a tall order to achieve daily, but a worthwhile challenge. If you are not used to exercise, it is the safest form of exercise, a way to lose weight and radically improve your health. 150 minutes per week of exercise, is the recommended amount we should all be doing and walking is something fairly easy to slot into life.

For me, I’ve been enjoying local parks, group countryside walks and solitary dog walks through local woodland and orchards. What I do fancy is some more city walks because it is great to explore new areas. Sometimes I just snap away on my phone rather than take a camera, but I’ve enjoyed wandering around the countryside and recommend to all. Take a good map so you don’t get lost and walk at a brisk pace. The speed you should be walking is 3 mph and be able to talk but not sing.

A great source of ideas is the internet because you can find some simple circular routes near where you live. To pass the time, I sometimes listen to a podcast or music, but this is rare, as I like to enjoy the surroundings in peace. All very tranquil and relaxing, particularly if you are having a stressful time.

My latest passion is putting a few of my photos on Instagram and a great way to learn from other professionals and decide what makes a good photo. Plus, it is somewhere to file your photos and receive opinions/comments from others.

 

Source: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx

Beating the January Blues – 8 Tips…

The January blues appear to be even more prevalent this year. I’ve read several articles and heard many people complain about feeling ill and or despondent this year. Does this resonate with you?

Psychological research helps discover the reasons for this annual lack of vitality and is intensified by a perception of how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. The disparity between the two are highlighted during January after the excitement of December. This is not helped by the cultural activities which include spending so much condensed time with friends and family and in my opinion, now it is splashed across the internet, is exacerbated even more. Apparently, it is a time when people think about what they have achieved and this can lower their mood. The research at the University of Exeter explores what the mechanisms underpinning depression are and find the underlying factors which cause depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders. The research concentrates on three main areas which include underlying psychological mechanisms, psychological treatments plus trials and third, increase the accessibility of evidence-based treatments for as many people as possible.

The research determines how you can attempt to improve your mood and unsurprisingly include physical and mental exercise with an emphasis on socialising, hobbies but there is an interesting thought process that also helps according to Professor Ed Watkins, Director of the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre (MDC), :

“There is good evidence that being more active – physically and mentally – connecting with other people, getting absorbed in interesting activities, becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?) all help people to feel better.”

(Source: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/janblues/)

Ask yourself how rather than just why? This is making the thinking process more discernible, helpful and can change our perceptions.

The unit is working with Dutch colleagues processing controlled trials by providing internet treatment. Preliminary data shows this treatment reduces the risk of depression by a third. The unit is working with the charity Help for Heroes to support the mental health of veterans and their families. Also, a trial will be implemented by NHS Cornwall with a 1000 patients. Interesting times.

One thing we do know, is feeling low in January is common and so at least if you are feeling fed up, you know you are not alone.  Studies have shown that you can boost your mood by having Vitamin D. During the darker months we are not getting enough Vitamin D due to the lack of sunshine. This is another reason to go out for a walk!

Many foods help with this too and include:

Fortified breakfast cereals and dairy, eggs and fish such as sardines, herrings and salmon are all good sources. Plus, along with improving your mood, topping up on vitamin D can help strengthen the immune system and keep bones and teeth healthy.

(Souce: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/keep-momentum-how-beat-january-blues-0)

Another tip is to lay on the floor with your legs raised which helps boost energy and makes you feel calm. This is from the Chinese principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and relaxes the back and opens the stomach energy channel. Health expert Fiona Slatter suggests you do it when you wake up when your body needs the energy.

To sum up, there are many things you can do to help with the January blues but obviously if you feel really ill you should visit the good old GP. Personally, my favourite exercise at present is a countryside walk. I’ve done quite a bit of walking lately, some in a solitary way and some with others. Going with a local group is good because you hear some of the local news and about how others are coping with their lives. Exploring the local area by yourself is a fruitful way of doing something for your soul and is invigorating.

Something like checking out your outside space could be prudent. Wash your car, sweep the drive or tidy the garden. You may start chatting to the neighbours! Also, book a day trip, holiday or some sort of adventure. If you haven’t much dosh (it is January after all) go on an exploration adventure and take a picnic!

Hope you find some of the research and tips useful because it does seem to be a widely discussed issue. Think we all need some motivation to spark some life back into ourselves. As usual, I need to follow this advice too. Sometimes, you do have to just embrace the winter months and at least we can try to convince ourselves that spring is around the corner!

Top Tips…

Physical and mental exercise

Socialising

Hobbies

Becoming more concrete and specific in your thinking (eg, by asking how?) rather than thinking about meanings and implications (eg, asking why?)

Vitamin D

Diet (foods above)

Exploring new areas

Use your outside space

Book a holiday/adventure/day out

It’s all about the insta! https://www.instagram.com/mishmashmediablog/?hl=en 

Sources:

https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/janblues/

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/keep-momentum-how-beat-january-blues-0

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-154138/How-beat-January-blues.html

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-january-blues-what-is-it-and-how-can-you-beat-it

Photos – Andy’s

#Running again and some healthy tips… Update

Pleased to say, that I’m beginning to run on the treadmill again. It is rather exacting and the “random” level has been lowered so the hill climbing isn’t too ridiculous. Also, during the so called run (shuffle), I’m tending to walk a little too. It isn’t a good idea to overdo things.

The funny thing is, moving at a faster pace should be harder, but I find the process is advantageous and oddly relaxing. The same with fast walking. You feel you’ve achieved something and are re-energized afterwards.

Apparently, the best foods to eat after a run are eggs, bacon, toast, yoghurt and fruit. For lunch a chicken sandwich with a side salad or a burger with sweet potato fries. So a selection of healthy fats, lean protein, dairy and fruits are ideal. When over 50 years old, it is recommended to try ‘protein pacing’ and spread out your meals so you eat about every four hours and drink plenty of water. This is good for muscle repair so make sure you get plenty of healthy protein. To be honest, this is good advice because once you start getting really hungry, you start manically stuffing rubbish food and the diet falls apart. If that happens call it a PLUS DAY rather than a bad day, and start again the following day.

I’m pleased to say that it is ok to run before breakfast if you don’t run for more than an hour. This is great because it is the best time to exercise, in my opinion. Going to the gym in the morning is far more successful than in the evening. It’s easy not to bother after work and the energy levels are so much better in the morning.

Anyway, it has been a slow process for me, but the aches and pains have gone, at least for now. As running was on the after Christmas agenda, it is a good result. Well goodish. Still feel that fitness should take a higher priority, but you have to have fun as well, don’t you?

Apparently, a beer or two is OK because it offers fluids, sodium, potassium and carbs although you shouldn’t choose a beer over four per cent alcohol. Well, that’s me in the dog house then. I  drink the craft beers (American IPA) and they are usually high in alcohol. Oh well, I am improving and it is a tricky time of year…

Tonight, I’ve had a lovely salmon stew with spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, fresh basil and it was rather good, even if I say so myself.

So I’m trying to retain some sort of sensible diet but it is challenging isn’t it? Taking small steps is a good way to get going so I’ve managed to cut out rubbish food, particular processed sugar. It is all about having the right frame of mind and when you are poorly, it is hard. It is great to feel better and hopefully I will stay healthy. Anyway, hope you are all well and looking forward to having some time off at the end of this month for the festivities.

To sum up:

  • Take exercise and build up slowly
  • Morning exercise is best for motivation (in my opinion)
  • Eggs, bacon, toast, yoghurt and fruit are best after exercise. For lunch chicken, beef with salad
  • Have a treat!
  • Check out my previous foody blogs for inspiration
  • If you have a bad day just call it a PLUS DAY and start again, the following day.

Thank you for reading my blog,it is appreciated and don’t forget to follow. 🙂

,  Salmon Stew

 

 

Source: https://www.runnersworld.co.uk/nutrition/10-running-nutrition-questions-get-answered

Are you feeling SAD?

With the onset of winter, it is easy to feel tired and fed up. The clocks change and make the mornings glaringly light for a few days but the evenings darken immediately.

When I went to Iceland, a young chap told me they only have about three hours of daylight in November and everything tends to get done during that time. During the summer, they party into the early hours as it barely gets dark at all.

In the UK, around 6% suffer from seasonal affective disorder or Sad and in countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that people cannot function properly.

The condition can cause disruption of sleep, weight gain and depression. Apparently, women are much more likely to suffer from SAD and this is thought to be because of evolution…

Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto says,

“Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance.”

Many people get the “winter blues” and this is characterised by feeling uninterested in your surroundings, unmotivated and fatigued. Around 15% suffer these symptons although my humble opinion would put it higher than this.

Light therapy is recognised as helpful for people suffering badly. Many people suffer from low spirits during the cold, dark months. However, sometimes you can embrace it, as I have done and explore other places in the world, such a Norway, Rome or warmer climes like the Canary Islands during the winter months. Or just have a jolly day out or a long walk preferably with a lunch break in the pub! Curling up with a cup of tea and a good book is another favourite of mine too. A break and change of routine, during the winter months is helpful and refreshing. Too much emphasis on summer holidays can become tedious and it is interesting to explore different areas and participate in a variety of activities.

So what is the solution? The main thing that will cheer you up is socialising. Sometimes I will invite someone for a meal and take time planning and preparing it. Having a good natter is fun and enlightening. But as for December, it does go on a bit, doesn’t it?

Of course, the most obvious thing that may help is going outside to exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day. Nothing more boring that being stuck in an office. Put on your brightest clothes, (we all wear too much black and grey) and wander out for some fresh air. You will catch some light somewhere among the grey clouds and feel better moving your body.

So what do you do to get through the winter? Do share!

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

Walking at night? Really? Here is why you should!

It is irritating when you come home from work and it is too dark to  venture out. Or is it? Not according to this article on night time walking.

When I spotted the article, in The Telegraph, I initially ignored it and then went back to find the article because it is, well, something a bit different. Then I decided to go out for a walk around the village even though the sun was setting. The fresh cold air was invigorating and as I increased my pace, I soon warmed up. Time to wear the old leather gloves though.

“Britain has a great tradition of literary nightwalkers. First Chaucer, in an age when darkness could be banished only by faltering, fallible candles; later the Elizabethans, then the flaming torch or cradled lantern passes to Wordsworth, De Quincey and Dickens.”

Well, I know we don’t have “fallible candles” anymore but if those literary nightwalkers can do it, so can I! Yes, some of them may have been high on opium, but all great writers.

Anyway, the photos I took, made the local ambiance look brighter than it was. Night had definitely arrived by the time I was home. The walk was peaceful, helped my annoying aches and pains and frankly gave me some time to think. This, maybe a habit I will repeat. In the past, I have been walking in Ashdown Forest before, to look at the shooting stars and planets and it is eerie but quite fascinating in a solitary sort of way.

Christopher Salisbury, a professional outdoorsman and storyteller says, “It’s a beautiful time; reflective and contemplative. The darkness forces you to come into the present moment.”

“The winter is a dark time – let’s celebrate it. Let’s capture some of that mystery and enchantment and bring it back,” says Christopher [Salisbury, outdoorsman]. “Culturally we’ve banished the night. We have light bulbs and street lamps. So, to particularly be in a natural environment, where we can experience true darkness, or even true silence, culturally we’re a little comforted by those things. There’s some excitement. Some little edge of, dare I say it, danger of the night-time.” 

Is this mad? No, my area is fairly safe and I am talking late afternoon/early evening. The pedestrian exploration is invigorating and gets you out of the house. I may not want to traipse around the countryside, but will consider some village/town walks. It is a good idea, isn’t it? The question is: Is this the weirdest idea I’ve ever posted about?

In the country | Five night walks to get you started…

Holnicote Estate, Exmoor

Exmoor National Park was designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe, and it’s one of the UK’s best spots for stargazing, thanks to low levels of light pollution. You can get closer to the stars at Dunkery Beacon on the Holnicote Estate, the highest point on Exmoor. The 1,700ft summit offers stunning 360-degree views of the skies above Somerset, so there’ll be plenty of stars and constellations to keep you occupied. You can also listen out for nightjars, and keep your eyes peeled for low-flying bats. nationaltrust.org.uk/holnicote-estate/trails/dunkery-and-horner-wood-circular-walk

Warrens, Girts and Ouzels, Dartmoor

Starting and finishing at the historic Warren House Inn, with its famous open fire that is said to have been burning since 1845, this route can either be walked or cycled and has a number of variations that make it more or less challenging. It is also accessible by bus, although at the present time these do not carry bikes. This route is almost entirely off road following unsurfaced bridleways, so expect rough going in places and some mud or lying water at times. visitdartmoor.co.uk/things-to-do/warrens-girts-and-ouzels-p2356713

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

Formerly a grand private estate, Stackpole provides access to some of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. It’s also home to Broadhaven South, one of four designated Dark Sky Discovery sites in Pembrokeshire. Run by the National Trust, this is the perfect spot for staring up at the Milky Way. Make an afternoon of it with a walk around the lily ponds, ending up at the beach just in time for the sun to go down. Remember to take warm clothes and a torch. NB: take particular care crossing the lake on the narrow causeway bridges. nationaltrust.org.uk/stackpole/trails/bosherston-lily-ponds-freshwater-magic-walk

Barbury Castle and the Ridgeway, Wiltshire

A delightful downland walk along the Ridgeway, said to be Europe’s oldest road. The Iron Age hill fort of Barbury Castle is believed to be the site at which Cynric, the King of Wessex, defeated the Britons in 556AD. Constructed in a double-earth bank design, the outer bank was reinforced with huge Sarsen Stones that can still be seen today. Barbury Castle can be a good spot to watch the sunrise. The car park closes at 7.30pm but there’s places to park on the track outside. visitwiltshire.co.uk/things-to-do/activities/walking

Keswick, Cumbria

An easy short walk from the centre of Keswick or Lakeside car park by the Theatre by the Lake to Friar’s Crag looking down Derwentwater. You will need a torch but most of the trail is fairly level. On the way, past the boat landings and through the trees, listen for the tawny owls. At the end of the trail there is a viewing point (with bench) that looks down the length of the lake into the dark of the Borrowdale Valley, making it an excellent spot for stargazing. visitcumbria.com/short-night-walk-keswick/

 

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/mind/night-walking-helps-see-things-new-light-ten-walks-get-started/