There’s a Hippopotamus on the Roof Eating Chocolate*
Posted by kathryn in Easier eating
Today I’m very pleased to have a guest post for you, this time from the lovely Liz of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things. This post is part of an occasional series on Limes and Lycopene, around the theme of what makes it easier to eat well? I first “met” Liz on Twitter and I’ve come to love her blog for it’s combination of traditional recipes, seasonal ingredients, as well as Liz’s obvious enthusiasm and passion for local produce. Over to Liz . . .
It all adds up, you know.
Middle age, plus a seriously busy desk-bound job, plus not making time for ample exercise, plus, quite frankly, eating way too much chocolate (and cake and other snacks), equals unscheduled weight gain.
My reality check happened recently in a David Jones fitting room. Imagine the scenario, if you will. Mirrors at all angles, I’m in my undergarments mindlessly trying on a new skirt and blouse for work. I glance behind me and discover that a tutu-wearing hippopotamus has squeezed into the cubicle! Wait a second. Lordy, that’s not a hippo, it’s me! Gah!
Quite a while ago, Kathryn very kindly invited me to write a guest post for her series What Makes it Easier to Eat Well?. The weeks and months have flown past and over this time, to my great disappointment, the kilos have slowly crept on. I’m possibly exaggerating here, but my usually athletic frame now has womanly curves, a rounded belly, tuckshop arms, and thighs like a front row footballer! At least it feels that way. My clothes are tight and I don’t like it.
The truth is, I don’t eat badly for the most part. A quick look at my web site Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things will reveal that my focus is on fresh produce, home cooking and great-tasting food. I grow my own vegetables and rarely eat out. Unlike some colleagues who feast on burgers and pizza, I bring my lunch from home, usually a salad and fruit, but always seem to gobble it down while standing up or hunched over my desk glued to the computer screen. My other downfall is that I’m surrounded by lollies and chocolates at work, and have poor willpower and self-control when the adrenalin starts to pump. There are boxes of fundraising chocolates less than ten paces from my desk. What’s worse is that team members who are dieting bring in unwanted Easter eggs and boxes of chocolates and leave them on a centrally located table for all to help themselves! On top of this, deadlines and demands at work have seen the end of lunchtime walks to the lake and back.
The time has come for me to think and act strategically when it comes to eating well and getting back into shape. I haven’t been brave enough to weigh myself, so am using my clothes as a gauge. And rather than ‘dieting’, I am implementing the following:
Move more and eat less:
- I get out of my chair and walk brisk ‘laps’ of the (very long) floor of the building as frequently as possible.
Eat foods that nourish and satiate:
- I am now having a Weet Bix with sliced banana, low fat milk and a drizzle of honey for breakfast.
- I also take a bread roll, together with can of salmon and a tomato for lunch, instead of just a salad;
Beat the 3.00pm craving for sugar:
- I snack on sweet and tangy passionfruit rather than mini chocolate bars and have a stash of fresh passionfruit in my filing cabinet (this is working really well, in fact, I find if I have run out of passionfruit, I am more tempted by chocolate). According to Catherine Saxelby’s Food, What’s in It, passionfruit seeds ‘not only provide fibre, but also protein and niacin . . .[as well as] moderate amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium and zinc’. Wow!
Drink more water:
- I make sure there is always plenty of cold water in a jug on my desk and drink it regularly;
- My partner and I hibernated last Winter (it was so bitterly cold in Canberra). To try to counter the hibernation phase during what is shaping up to be another bone chilling season, we are cycling at every sunny opportunity on weekends.
Explore lighter options for the evening meal, such as Vietnamese:
- Vietnamese dishes are full of flavour and can be prepared with very little fat. The following recipe published recently on my web site is a great example and is a regular on our menu. We grow our own wombok, carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, coriander and mint. The freshness of the vegetables is key to a beautiful salad and it can be prepared sans chicken for vegetarians.
Goi Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)
For the salad:
500g chicken fillet (breast or tenderloin)
1/2 a small wombok, finely shredded
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup coriander leaves
a few Vietnamese mint leaves, torn (optional)
1/2 cup bean sprouts, tails removed, rinsed and drained well
1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small Lebanese cucumber, julienned
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
a few coriander leaves extra, for garnish
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1 small chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
First gently poach the chicken. Allow it to cool. Drain and chill it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine the prepared wombok, mint and coriander leaves, bean sprouts, julienned carrot and cucumber in a salad bowl. Shred the chicken and arrange it through the salad.
Make the dressing: combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. You can chill the dressing at this point for a really refreshing point of difference. Just before you are ready to serve the salad, add the finely chopped garlic, chilli and lime juice to the dressing. Taste and adjust the flavours to suit your palate.
To finish, sprinkle the dressing liberally over the salad immediately before serving. Garnish with the chopped roasted peanuts and additional mint and coriander leaves. Serves 2-4 as a light lunch or light main meal (dependent on your appetite). Cover and refrigerate any leftovers immediately and enjoy the next day.
So, how’s it all going? It’s all baby steps at the moment. I know what I have to do to get back into shape sensibly and without crash dieting, so here’s hoping I can stick to my plan and report back as a ‘slender hippopotamus’.
In closing, I would like to thank Kathryn for inviting me to submit this guest post. You are such an inspiration when it comes to eating well, Kathryn!
- With all due acknowledgement to Hazel Edwards.