Me Vs. The Clean Plate Club

If you had have asked me two weeks ago about my ‘intuition’ when it comes to eating, I’d have told you that my intuition was hungry. Hungry or maybe just…broken.

Just like a magician, I could make any food placed in the vicinity disappear in the blink of an eye. A chocolate bar straight after a filling lunch – gone. A packet of biscuits left next to me by a work colleague- going, going, going…gone. The second half of a baguette even though I was full up – gone. What can I say, I was brought up to be part of the clean plate club.

Even now as a fully grown adult I am too scared to leave food on my plate when I visit my parents for dinner. My hyper sensitive mother takes it as a huge insult if you do not finish every single morsel of food on the plate she serves you. Not hungry for dessert? Tough luck, turn it down at your peril! To make matters worse, my mother cuts a cake depending on how many people are in attendance. Ergo, if there are only 4 of you dining you can expect a QUARTER of a cake. No, really.

Of course now you are envisaging my parents to be huge, morbidly obese, unhealthy people who sit around eating all day long (you are, admit it!) Quite the contrary. Both of my parents are very slim and energetic. While they may eat big dinners and huge portions of dessert for special occasions, they generally don’t eat very much the rest of the time.

Back to me…

Despite moving out several years ago, I still have it in my head that I must eat everything that is in front of me. Sometimes, I can almost hear a ‘grown up’ encouraging me to finish. Say I had a delicious dinner of chicken, potatoes and vegetables on my plate at dinner time. I’ve eaten approximately two thirds and am beginning to feel a bit full. A voice chirps up and says, well you can’t waste good meat, so eat that chicken. Then another says, yes and make sure you eat those potatoes too – you need those for energy. Finally, another says, yes yes that’s all true, but you can’t leave the table until you’ve finished your greens…. Good girl, you’ve finished all your dinner. Now you can have dessert.

When you think about it, that doesn’t make any sense at all!! No wonder my intuition is messed up, I’ve taught myself that if I overeat, I get rewarded with yet more food! And not just any food, delicious, sweet, buttery food.

Two weeks ago I decided it was time to teach my intuition some new tricks.

For those of you who haven’t yet come across the concept of Intuitive Eating, here are the 10 principles in brief:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality

2. Honor Your Hunger

3. Make Peace with Food

4. Challenge the Food Police

5. Respect Your Fullness

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food

8. Respect Your Body

9. Exercise–Feel the Difference

10 Honor Your Health

Most of the guidelines were fairly easy to follow. I enjoyed deleting the calorie counting app. I embraced eating any thing I fancied without the guilt. I already enjoy exercising for the way it makes me feel, but by not linking it directly to how much I should eat in a given day, rest days felt more…restful!

The problem, of course, was Number 5 – Respect your fullness.

I have to admit that during the first few days I really struggled to quit the clean plate club. This overeating habit is ingrained deep. I even noticed that sometimes when I eat, I enter a sort of trance like state whereby I don’t even notice that I am eating until all the food is gone.

In this case though, practice makes perfect. The more I have consciously made an effort to focus completely on eating, the easier it has become to stop eating once I am full. Whether that means leaving just one mouthful or half a plate full. Respecting my fullness is the key to making this work for me.

So what’s the outcome? Well, I’ve lost 3 of the 5lbs (don’t judge me!!) I gained over Easter. (I said don’t judge me!!!!) Which wouldn’t seem that amazing except for the fact that I have had a lot of social eating occasions to attend. We’re talking wine, pizza, a burger, chips, cake and pancakes, to name a few. I have eaten all of those things, without guilt, without counting a single calorie and without worrying myself sick about ‘burning it off’ in the gym or ‘making up for it’ by cutting back at other meals.

That’s not to say that I haven’t exercised at all. The opposite in fact, the weather has been so lovely that I’ve been running like it’s going out of fashion. But its been for pleasure and fitness, not to ‘buy myself’ extra calories. If I’ve eaten more because I’ve been hungrier following my 9 mile run, then so be it.

That’s also not to say that I haven’t also enjoyed plenty of traditionally ‘healthy’ foods, like salads for lunch, fruit for snacks, and oats for breakfast. I enjoy eating those things and they make me feel good, so they are here to stay.

The difference is that I have stopped convincing myself that I need to eat every single bite of my salad for fear I might offend someone, or worse, get hungry before my next scheduled meal time.  So what if I do happen to get hungry before dinner? I can eat. In fact, I can eat whenever I like. So long as I am physically HUNGRY. (Not bored, lonely, tired, sad, happy, angry, frustrated or any other emotion at all!) And so long as I remember to focus so that I am able to stop eating when I am satisfied.

 

What’s in your fridge?

I’m super nosy by nature so when Alex at Try A Little Harder, Honey  posted an insight into what’s in  her fridge a couple of days ago, I was all over it.

Since we actually made it to the supermarket this week I thought I’d join in!

Before we get to the pictures, I’d better start with a disclaimer…

While I don’t 100% understand the rules of ‘clean’ eating, I’m pretty sure that I know enough to say that my fridge is dirty. The alcohol alone makes sure of that.

Let it be known that I am comfortable with this. 
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Photo 23-04-2013 19 20 20

Photo 23-04-2013 19 20 32

So, what have we got?

Top Shelf:  Bottle of white wine (left by a friend), Bottle of Champagne (a present from Christmas) & Bottle of Lemonade (god only knows how long that has been there!)

Second Shelf:  Low fat natural yoghurt, left-over halloumi cheese (in a ziplock bag), Strawberry and Vanilla Custard Mullerices and 3 cans of Stella (left by a friend.)

Third Shelf:  Strawberry and Raspberry Jam, Parmesan Cheese (in the Tupperware), Ready Cooked Chicken Tikka pieces, 2 left over rashes of bacon.

Fourth Shelf:  Jar of some sort of Heinz sauce (??), Low Fat Cream Cheese, Hoummous.

Bottom Shelf:  Flora Buttery, Left-over home made curry, Chicken Breasts.

Drawers:  Rocket, Spinach, Salad leaves, Broccoli, Peppers, New Potatoes, lemons, chillies.

In the door:  Wholegrain mustard, curry paste x 2, pesto, salad cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, semi-skimmed milk, mango chutney, branston pickle, mint sauce, sundried tomatoes and harissa paste.

Now, by way of apology for the poor photos of my boring fridge, here is a picture of the delicious dinner I had last night…

Baked Salmon with Spinach and Ricotta Pasta and Basil.

Baked Salmon with Spinach and Ricotta Pasta and Basil.

Indulge my nosiness and post some pictures of what’s in your fridge! 

Friday Fridge Raid

Tonight I got home from work a little earlier than usual and so fancied making something Fridayish. Which basically means something a) More time consuming and complicated than my mid week 30 minute meals and/or b) More indulgent than my usual repertoire.

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However, in our house, we usually do the food shopping on a Sunday, which means that come Friday the fridge is looking pretty bare. Anything that can be found in there, should be treated with suspicion.

From looking at this picture alone, you could be forgiven for thinking that I am an alcoholic who lives on yoghurt, jam and condiments alone. I assure you that is not true! I also have a fully stocked fruit bowl, honest.

 

After a little rummaging in the store cupboard, I discovered I had all the ingredients to make a Chicken Risotto. Perfect Friday night food!

Many years ago I learnt how to make Jamie Oliver’s Basic Risotto. Nowadays I pretty much know the recipe off by heart and simply adapt it to suit the contents of my fridge.

Tonight I made a garlic and rosemary risotto, with a dollop of half fat creme fraiche added at the end instead of the butter. Then I topped it with oven baked chicken breasts which had been seasoned with garlic, rosemary, the juice and zest of a lemon and black pepper. I served with a sprinkle more lemon zest, parmesan cheese, black pepper and an abundance of broccoli!

Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Risotto with Oven Baked Chicken.

Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary Risotto with Oven Baked Chicken.

Served with broccoli!

Served with broccoli.

The Man gave up a takeaway with the boys for this, so I was nervous to hear his verdict…

His exact words were “A strong 8.5 out of 10.”

High praise indeed for a man who is more steak and chips than lemon zest and broccoli.

Liebster Award: Embracing New Bloggers

Big thank you to Sam at Why Sam I Am for kindly nominating me for the Liebster Award!

First up, the boring, but essential bit…

The Rules of the Award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

Here are my nominations:

Fit Food Fun

Sweat.to.eat | fat.kid.tweets

Theongoingmakeover

Shescuttingthecrap

But Can I Still Drink Wine?

Old-fashioned English Girl

No More Lettuce

Built for Comfort, Not Speed

Here’s one I made earlier

<2k-a-day

Knitpurl83

My Questions to the nominees…

  1. Sweet or Savoury?
  2. Morning or Evening?
  3. Indoors or Outdoors?
  4. Chocolate or Strawberry?
  5. Night in or Night Out?
  6. Pizza or Pasta?
  7. Spring or Autumn?
  8. Wine or Beer?
  9. Strong or Skinny?
  10. Twitter or Facebook?
  11. Ying or Yang?

Here are my answers to Sam’s questions…

  1. Favourite holiday destination? Too many to choose, I love travel and hate going back to the same place twice.
  2. First memory? Helping my mum dust the house whilst wearing fairy wings!
  3. Your tv show addiction? The Wire
  4. Favourite comfort food? Cake
  5. Pet peeve? Rude people.
  6. What would you do if you won the lottery? Travel as much as possible!
  7. Are you enjoying blogging? Yes!
  8. Biggest regret in life? Going to university.
  9. Ideal Sunday activity? Baking then eating cake with The Man.
  10. Favourite book? The Help.
  11. What you want to achieve from your blog? I want it to encourage me to bake more regularly.

And here are 11 facts about Me…

  1. This week, I overheard someone describe me as ‘Ginger.’
  2. I hate shoe shopping.
  3. I’m always cold.
  4. I’ll always remain an alias.
  5. I cannot nail brownies.
  6. I think that chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are overrated.
  7. I have to change the bed sheets on a Sunday.
  8. I like my tea strong but milky.
  9. I talk too much.
  10. I never iron my clothes.
  11. I have to get up for a wee at least once a night!

Me Vs. Steak

As a belated birthday present for The Man, we had reservations at Hawksmoor this weekend.

If you live in or around London (or are visiting anytime soon!) and you like steak, then you need to know about this place.

I didn’t take any pictures at the time, but for those of you who are into a bit of food porn then you need only look at their facebook page. Vegetarians look away now!!!

What did we have you ask?

What didn’t we have?!

Starters

I had the half a native lobster with garlic butter, which was delicious, but, I got a massive case of food envy when The Man’s Tamworth Belly Ribs arrived. I’m not usually a fan of ribs, they can be a bit fatty and I don’t like eating off the bone (mostly because it slows me down!!) but these were superb!

Main Course

We shared a Chateaubriand (Rare of course!) as well as a portion of triple cooked chips, macaroni cheese and creamed spinach. And when you do something, you’ve got to do it right, so I had the Béarnaise  sauce whilst The Man enjoyed the Stilton Hollandaise. Mmmm buttery sauce all over my steak and chips.

Dessert

The Man wimped out and had a lemon sorbet!!! What the????

I on the other hand NEVER pass up a chance to have dessert. Alas, I couldn’t quite face the obvious choice of Peanut Butter Shortbread with Salted Caramel Ice-Cream (DAMN!!!!) and instead went for the Sticky Toffee Sundae. Thankfully it was mostly ice-cream otherwise I could have been in big trouble.

My only advice to you when visiting would be to wear your stretchiest garments. This is not the place for that lovely, but restrictive bodycon dress and skinny waist belt. You have been warned!

Failure

Last night I failed quite spectacularly with my mission to only have a maximum of 3 drinks. I don’t know what to tell you, except I had a great night!

As a consequence, today is a battle. To make matters worse still, after a week of scraping meals together from the dregs at the back of the cupboard and the bottom drawer of the freezer (frozen peas and marmalade anyone?!) the food shopping could wait no longer. For those of you who don’t yet know my troubles with food shopping, you can feel my pain here.

Food shopping with a hangover is twice as dangerous.

Not only did it take me twice as long as usual and cost me twice as much, I somehow aged 30 years in an instant at the tills when I was suddenly unable to remember my pin number, much to the annoyance of the people queuing behind me. Sorry angry lady with screaming toddler!

There is however an upside to shopping with a hangover. When I peered into the cupboard looking for a rewarding snack, I found a pack of chocolate hobnobs looking back at me!

Since it is raining outside and The Man is at work, I’m now going to curl up with a cup of tea and work on my crochet project for the rest of the afternoon. And I’m not going to allow myself to feel even the tiniest bit guilty at all.

 

Is anyone else suffering from a hangover today?

Me Vs. Wine

Maybe I am just getting old, but these days, a few too many of the good stuff and I am a wreck for a minimum of 2 days.

Back when I was at university, a standard night out meant drinking an entire bottle of wine before even leaving the house! Sure, I got hangovers, but somehow they seemed…worth it?!

These days, I feel like I am over it.

You see, me hungover, goes something like this… (warning, it ain’t pretty!)

Wake up early and desperately thirsty!! Down a pint of water. Feel guilty at the mere thought of going back to bed, so instead, make an industrial strength coffee. In hindsight, this is my first mistake. Deep down I know I should go back to bed and get the extra sleep I so badly need. Instead, I battle on, drinking coffee throughout the morning. The Man, a nocturnal creature, wakes up late morning, by which time I am equal parts starving and exhausted. We get some food. When I say some food, I mean LOADS of food, because when I am hungover, I am like a deep cavernous pit, which can never, ever, be filled. Then I hit a carb/sugar coma and feel even more tired, but now also a bit grouchy too.

Then comes the guilt.

Swiftly followed by an exhausting battle inside my already painful brain.

“It’s a beautiful day outside, why waste it sitting on the sofa in your pj’s?”

“Get The Man to bring the duvet down here and get me some chocolate while he’s at it!”

“You’ll regret it tomorrow!”

“…And some biscuits too!”

And so it goes on and the angelic side of me rarely, if ever, wins the battle.

Recently I wrote about how great I felt after having a sin free weekend, so I am all too aware of how great I can feel if I just avoid the booze.

The problem, is putting it into practice. Left alone for an entire weekend without any plans, or any company, I wouldn’t touch a drop of the stuff. But that wouldn’t exactly be a great weekend now would it?

My friends are so used to me partaking in the normal social conventions, that if I turn a drink down (without a legit reason, like being the designated driver!) I’m met with a barrage of quizzical looks, questions, and a good dose of peer pressure. Admittedly, I am far too old now to be giving into peer pressure, but the truth is, I do enjoy having a drink…at the time.

Unfortunately, I tend towards the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. So I inevitably end up either home alone on the sofa with my pjs and a cup of tea, or polishing off a bottle of wine, a cocktail or two, a few jäger bombs and a late night chip kebab (classy one, aren’t I?!)

So what’s a twenty something girl like me to do?

Well, tonight Matthew I am going to attempt to be a grown up.

I’ve set myself a limit of 3 glasses of wine. I’m fully aware that this is still technically more than is recommended, but it’s a start. And what’s more, I think it’s achievable.

Watch this space…

Me Vs. Food Shopping

Me and food shopping have a love/hate relationship.

I love the idea of food shopping. I love the thought of slowly browsing all the different aisles and picking up new foods and inspiration. Most of all, I love having a full fridge and bountiful cupboards.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, that the reality is never quite the same.

I’ve always dreamed of doing my weekly shopping in M&S or Waitrose (whilst carrying my Mulberry bag with my perfectly manicured fingernails of course). Alas, my budget sends me to Tesco, or Sainsbury’s at a push. The harsh reality of such places is usually a mix of overcrowded isles, runaway trolleys, under stocked shelves, fleeting ‘use by’ dates, misleading offers and worst of all…. QUEUES.

Usually I end up running around the shop as fast as I possibly can (although you actually can’t go that fast when so many people insist on abandoning their trolleys in the middle of the aisles!!) throwing the same old stuff into my trolley, week in, week out. I queue for what seems like an eternity then hand over bundles of money, in return receiving a wad of totally useless vouchers for things I will never, ever, purchase. 3 for 2 Spam anyone??!!

It gets even better now,  because, summer or winter, day or night, it really doesn’t matter…As soon as I wheel my trolley out of that supermarket, you can bet your life that it will begin to rain. Now begins the dash to the car, dodging vehicles and desperately clinging on to a trolley that is determined to smash into the side of that beautiful, new, shiny, BMW (which also  just so happens to be parked diagonally across two spaces.)  Upon returning home, I can’t resist but try to carry all 20 bags of shopping at once from the car to the door (why?!) and then fail to find my keys. Frizzy hair we meet again!!  Once I have eventually got through the door and unpacked, I peer into the fridge expectantly, looking for a tasty snack to reward my efforts. What do I find?

A floret of broccoli, a bag of spinach, a pack of chillis, a couple of peppers, some lemons, a pot of plain yoghurt and a pint of milk.

Not exactly snacking heaven hey.

I try the cupboards instead…

A pack of wholemeal spaghetti, a tin of kidney beans,  a carton of passata, some soy sauce,  a variety of vinegars and a can of chickpeas.

Oh joy!

Not forgetting of course… 2 dozen eggs. Always too many eggs.

Me Vs. Chilli

Chilli con carne, basmati rice, guacamole, coriander and a wedge of lime.

Chilli con carne, basmati rice, guacamole, coriander and a wedge of lime.

I loooooove chilli. I add it to pretty much anything. In fact, when we were back packing a couple of years ago, I kept a pack of dried red chilli flakes in my bag so I could sprinkle away on every continent.

Last week, I wrote about my troubles with choosing recipes and making substitutions within recipes when baking (see here) When it comes cooking dinners however, it is a totally different story for me. Sure, I like to take inspiration from recipes, but generally I have a much more laid back approach. When cooking dinners that I regularly make (ie. Chilli Con Carne, Bolognese, Curries, Kedgeree etc.) I tend to use the same ingredients but I rarely measure them and instead I just keep tasting as I go. It usually works out!

Tonight I made Chilli Con Carne with home-made guacamole. I won’t bore you with the entire recipe, but I will tell you a few of my essential ingredients – ground cumin, chilli powder, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and cocoa powder. I also don’t mind telling you that it was delicious, even if I do say so myself. Winner!

On the exercise front, my gym buddy and I went for our first run together this morning in preparation for our upcoming 10k race on 14th April 2013. We completed 5.5 miles whilst nattering the entire time, which meant the miles flew by despite the miserable weather. If Spring ever arrives then I’m sure the morning runs will be even more enjoyable in the weeks to come!

It’s The Mans birthday this weekend, so what better excuse to try out all of the recipes I have been eyeing up for a while now. The plan is to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Icing from The Hummingbird Bakery and Melting Moments from the Great British Bake Off.

The tricky part though, is deciding on the  perfect Birthday Cake recipe.  I’m thinking something super chocolatey with salted caramel (drool!) would be right up my his street. So tonight I am going to gather my recipe books on the sofa for a couple of hours of food porn research…

What are your Chilli Con Carne essential ingredients? 

Have you found the perfect Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake Recipe? 

How do you decide on the perfect recipe for a special occasion?