Lucy’s November Challenge – Week 1 summary

Week 1 of my health-kick challenge is over, and I honestly feel better than ever. It’s time for a few very appropriate and very true Memes.

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My 3-day detox start to the week was a winner – I felt brilliant and it definitely rebooted my brain into a healthier mind-set. Then I managed to get through the weekend, attending birthday buffets and hosting dinner parties, with restraint but also enjoyment. I am enormously proud of myself, and it just proves how we can all overcome habits we feel are impossible burdens. You just need to break the cycle, and break it now.

Also, following an exercise plan worked amazingly for me. Yesterday I was in agony, but it was a great agony! My muscles were aching like crazy, which just proves how much more I was pushing myself this week than ever before.

I cannot wait to see the results if I carry on like this. Follow along with me, and see the change in yourself!

3 Ways to Help Yourself Behave

I’ve recently been trying to slim down a tiny bit again. All the usual things: summer is round the corner, my birthday is next month, I’m going to a wedding on Saturday etc etc. Anyway, I’ve found a few things that have really helped me stay on track – steering me away from the chips and dips, and towards the home-made soups and kale!


 

1. Fit-spiration

Many of you may have heard of the evil twin sister to this motivational technique – “thin-spiration”. Thin-spiration is a hideous hideous thing. It’s a word generally used by people suffering from eating disorders to describe the reams of photographs they look at of un-naturally skinny other people, whether they be celebrities or just other fellow anorexics. It is a distinctly un-healthy idea, but the need for inspiration to achieve our goals is a common one. I recently heard someone talk about “fit-spiration” and thought that sounded wonderful. Find a picture of somebody who is in excellent shape – slim but healthy. Somebody who is fit and strong. Make that your goal. I stumbled across this picture when I was shopping online for a new sports bra, and it’s stayed on my laptop desktop ever since!

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2. Health food blogs

I’ve previously talked about my favourite food porn website: http://beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood.tumblr.com/

But I’ve now got a new favourite health-food blog, and it’s all vegan. Readers, meet Deliciously Ella. Deliciously Ella, meet my readers. Once you find a brilliant health food blog, it’s easy to stay healthy yourself, because you crave their recipes. You want to make what they make, you want to eat what they eat. Gone are the desires for a Dominos pizza with burgers in the crust, and here come the impulses to make a vat of quinoa every weekend, just to add to all my dishes during the week. I want to make this, and this… and most of all these. Get a healthy obsession, and suddenly being good isn’t a chore.

3. Fruit and Veg Challenge

Recent research has found that our ideas of 5-a-day are way under what we really should be consuming. Apparently it’s more like 7-a-day. But let’s be honest, we all knew that the more fruit and vegetables we ate, the healthier and happier we’d be; There isn’t a limit. I’ve recently set myself challenges – every now and then I say, “let’s eat solely fruit and veg today”. It’s easier than you think. I eat fruit all morning, have a salad dressed with lemon juice and plenty of herbs for lunch, more fruit in the afternoon and then a home-made soup for dinner, or a mound of all my favourite vegetables: Green beans, cauliflower, aspargaus, mushrooms. Challenge yourself to eat 7 portions of fruit and veg today, and just see how much the bad stuff you consume goes down.

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Naughty Break

I know this blog is about how to live a life of excess, abundance but also health…

But every now and then one just has to be a bit naughty. And I wanted to share my particular chosen naughty moment with you.

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Last week, I went to Paris for 24 hours with one of my best friends, Ellie. We had both been to Paris before so felt no need to rush around all the tourist hot-spots. Instead we went on a 24-hour tour to try and find the best Pain Au Chocolat in Paris. Here are some fine photographs of our experience:

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ImageAnd the winning pain au chocolats were the following. The first picture shows Ellie’s choice – a chocolate/raspberry variation from a bakery called Miss Manon – and the second picture shows my winner, from Des Gateaux et Du Pain:ImageImage

I’d like to end with this quote from a fellow Bikram Yogi, which sums up perfectly how one should aim to live their life in a healthy way:

“It’s not shameful to want to change you body and be in good shape – just don’t push yourself to extremes. Do yoga but don’t be stressed if you struggle. Eat great food and choose quality over quantity. If you can’t do 100% of something. 10% is better than 0% and if you try and fail – forgive, yourself, learn and try again. We can all achieve more with a little inspiration.”

 

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Summer in the Hamptons

I must apologise for having not posted in such a long time, but I am living a somewhat different life at the moment.

 

At the end of July I flew out to New York to join a family I know very well. I first met them because I was hired to tutor one of their sons for a load of entrance exams, but since then I have wriggled my way into their lives for good. They invited me out to the Hamptons with them this summer, if I promised to make the boys do an hour or 2 of work each afternoon. This sounded like a perfect deal and I jumped at the chance. It is absolutely stunning out here and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

 

One of the most wonderful aspects for me, of course, is the food. There are 2 excellent live-in chefs who create delicious meals every day for us – and best of all, they are all fresh and relatively guilt-free! It’s only the ice-cream and cookies that I need to watch out for!

 

I have also been lucky enough to be taken out for dinner on numerous occasions by 2 of the tennis coaches out here – Siim and Clayton – my new best friends. They have taken me to some of the best eateries in the Hamptons, and for that they will always have a special place in my heart! I will leave you with a  shot from my lunch with Clayton the other day. We were on an island called Shelter Island, on a beach called Sunset Beach. I think he was hoping the weather would be a little better, but it was storming it down! Nonetheless, we drank wonderful caipirinias, I tried calamari for the first time and we ate delicious chicken and fish. Happy summer everyone.

 

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Food Porn

I’ve got a new obsession. A new addiction even. It’s online, and it stops me going to sleep at night. I find myself sat square-eyed, gawping at my computer screen, unable to pull myself away.

 

… Food Porn.

 

And I’m not talking about the delicious pictures of “Mac’n’cheese Burgers” (although they look yummy too); I’m talking about delicious beautiful healthy food. 

 

This tumblr is my new favourite thing ever:

http://beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood.tumblr.com/

 

Enjoy folks! And see my last post, “The Wimbledon Way”, for some beautiful pictures of healthy food of my own.

The Wimbledon Way

Wimbledon has now sadly been over for a few days, but let’s hear it one more time for our main man Murray and his spectacular win!

In the first week of Wimbledon my flatmate and I decided to go and queue for day tickets. For those of you who don’t live in London and have never experienced the Wimbledon Queue, it is quite a thing to behold, and on a nice day it can be a bit of entertainment in itself. If you plan your queue-day well, and prepare for the fact that you will probably be there for almost 8 hours, you can really make it quite good fun – make some friends, sit in the sun and have a perfect picnic!

On preparing for the day though, I was adamant that we were not going to slump for the classic “baguette, pate, crisps and sweets” picnic. We were going to do a picnic healthily and gourmet-style. I planned the whole day, and our menu was as follows:

Breakfast (9:30am)

  • Mango and Greek Yogurt (with Bran Flakes sprinkled on top)

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Midday Snack (12:00am)

  • Bottle of fizzy rose
  • Popcorn and wasabi peas to nibble on (instead of crisps)

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Lunch (2:00pm)

  • Green Brocolli and Bean Salad
  • Baked Aubergine
  • Curried Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
  • Houmous with carrots, cucumber and oatcakes
  • Salami and parma ham
  • Home-made Apple and Plum Chutneys (from my flatmate’s boyfriend’s mother… He’s a keeper!)Image
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Mid-afternoon Snack (on Henman Hill at about 5:00pm)

  • Can of Pimms
  • Strawberries and cherries.

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Tell me that doesn’t sound perfect! I absolutely gorged myself on delicious food all day, but never felt stodgy or unpleasant or bloated. It was pure proof that if you eat the right food, there is almost no such thing as “too much”. Here is how I made my salads.

GREEN BROCOLLI AND BEAN SALAD

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For this delicious concoction, I just steamed a few florets of brocolli and some green beans, then threw them in a bowl together with a tin of broad beans. I then chopped up a big handful of mint, a big handful of coriander and a big handful of basil (I need more hands), and I added the herbs and some Nigella Seeds (also known as Black Onion Seeds) to the mixture. Finally I drizzled some lemon juice over it all.

CURRIED CAULIFLOWER AND CHICKPEA SALAD

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This is one of my favourite things to make as a side-dish on a hot day. While you’re steaming (or boiling) a load of cauliflower florets, chop up a green apple and 3 or 4 spring onions. Then add about half a tin of chick-peas to the above ingredients. To make the dressing, mix curry paste and olive oil in the ratios 1:3. I replace some of the olive oil with coconut oil, to give the dressing that extra-tropical feel. Pour the dressing over and mix the ingredients until the dressing is covering everything. There shouldn’t be excess liquid, so change the amounts accordingly to ensure there is just the right amount of dressing to cover but not be sat at the bottom of the bowl.

BAKED AUBERGINE

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Easy peasy. I just set the oven to 200 degrees C, chopped an aubergine into fingers and then put them on a baking dish with 4 chopped up garlic cloves and a generous portion of black pitted olives. I drizzled some olive oil over the top and then just kept checking on the vegetable as it cooked, until it looked good to go.

Happy British Summer to you all. Long may the sunshine continue!

The Super-ified Classic Stirfry

Today a friend of mine came round for lunch with her beautiful 7-month-old baby daughter. I met Madeline while performing at the Old Vic last year, and shared a dressing room with her throughout the first trimester of her pregnancy. So it is always very emotional and delightful for me to see baby Bree. However, it is also brilliant for another reason – during her first trimester, Madeline was very distressed because she couldn’t get any fruit or veg into her body. Her cravings were only bad! Healthy food tasted disgusting to her. So, having seen this girl cry over the fact that she wants to have fruit but can only eat another chinese take-away, I now relish in cooking her delicious but highly nutritious meals one year on!

Here is what I cooked Madeline – a classic stirfry… but super-ified!

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The Super-ified Classic Stirfry

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Ingredients:

(Basically as many different vegetables of different colours as you can get. For example -)

1 red pepper

1 carrot

6 mushrooms

1 onion

handful of sweetcorn

green beans

Also –

1 large turkey breast (chopped up)

1/2 a pack of beansprouts

1 mango (sliced)

coconut oil

soy sauce

thai sweet chilli sauce

coriander (for garnish)

1 serving of egg noodles.

1. First put the carrots and green beans on to boil (or any other veg that might benefit from a little boiling first. If you can steam instead, steam them).

2. Then fry the onions and turkey breast in a large dollop of wonderful coconut oil (see last entry).

3. When the onions and turkey have browned a little, add the remaining raw chopped vegetables to fry for a while.

4. Add the carrot and green beans that have been boiling, and put the egg noodles on to boil instead (they should only take a couple of minutes).

5. Now add the mango, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of thai sweet chilli sauce.

6. Finally add the beansprouts and the now cooked noodles, and allow to simmer all together for a few mins.

7. Garnish with coriander. When I “garnish”, I usually cover the stirfry in it! It tastes delicious.

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To sum-up… it tastes bloody glorious, and it contains tons of brilliant things for you. The various coloured vegetables are pretty self-explanatory, giving you a hyge dose of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Turkey is considered one of the healthiest meats you can consume, some even call it a “superfood” – a term bandied around perhaps a little too much – but whatever you call it, it’s full of low-fat protein and cancer & heart disease-fighting vitamins. The coconut oil is a fantastic way of frying stuff as it is full of good fats, for  breaking down bad things in your body, and it tastes amazing. Finally, no need to feel guilty about the egg noodles, since with everything else filling up the stirfry, you only need 1 portion for 2 people.