Monday, 30 May 2011

Oil cleansing method - week 1


Remember I wrote about the oil cleansing method? I had just given in to the supernatural powers of bleach in my struggle against mold and was hoping that this method would be better than all chemical-based soaps out there. 

Well, this time, nature is SMASHING chemicals.

I never had severe problems with acne, but I have had large, ugly blackheads ever since I was around 11-12 years old. These blackheads are real fighters because no matter how well I cleansed my skin – and I did this obsessively carefully both morning and evening – the blackheads stayed. I tried aggressive soaps for acne skin, mild soaps for sensitive skin, scrubs for daily and weekly use, facials, face treatments, both cheap and very expensive skin cleansing products. Some of these methods worked initially but the blackheads always came back after a while.

After 1 week of OCM it is still too early to say if this works long-term but up until now I am more than amazed. My pores are clear and the skin is less oily. It is already a huge difference. I still don't have perfect skin, but if this continues I might have some day soon!

I think this shows that fat is not a bad thing. Our bodies need fat - and that goes for both the skin as well as in your diet.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Coast hiking

Today's exercise: hiking along the north coast of Devon. The weather was not so great but who cares when the view is so stunning? I love the ocean. Best place to relax, no doubt.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday here in England. I must say, the English have A LOT of bank holidays. We just had one for the royal wedding and now there is the next one. And whenever there is a bank holiday on the weekend, like on 1 May this year, the following Monday is off. I don't care really. I usually work all days, work day or not. But then that's the way I like it :)

LCHF pancakes

Pancakes for breakfast on this sunny Sunday! I made these with ground almond, egg, and cream. I also added some psyllium seeds to make the dough thicker. The result was ok. They looked like real pancakes, but the taste can still be improved. Next time I'll skip the psyllium seeds and add some dessicated coconut instead.

Don't expect a non-low carber to give up his or her regular flour pancakes for these ones but it's definitely a good low carb alternative if you want to eat the same food as your company.


This is for 5 medium sized pancakes - 2 portions

0.5 dl ground almond (25 g)
0.5 tablespoon psyllium seeds
0.5 dl cream
2 eggs
Salt

Total of approx 4 g carbohydrates and 250 calories / portion
I haven't counted the psyllium as the body cannot extract any energy from the whole seeds (or something like that).

Saturday, 28 May 2011

I signed up for a marathon (help!)

Just to warn that this will most likely turn into a LCHF / running blog.

I just (pre-)registered for Edinburgh marathon. Almost exactly a year from now, I will be running 42.195 km. This has been a goal ever since I started running (jogging) but I never had the courage to sign up for a race. Now I am close to my worst running shape ever and to be honest I am not sure I can do this. Edinburgh is a fast race so I hope that means it is easy as well. But still. 42 km - there is no way I can get around without lots of exercise this year. I have some stressful work months ahead and will have little time for exercising but I am hoping this will keep me on track. I mean, it has to!

Have to start look for training plans. I am scared.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Unexpected

I didn't know Zuckerberg was interested in sustainable farming. Interesting initiative!

Intelligent decisions versus unknowing guesses

Coffee is a weird thing. Until 5 years ago, I didn't even like coffee. Now I drink several cups a day. I don't know what to think about this. On the one hand, I like it and I can't see it doing much harm. On the other hand, caffeine is bad and I have a number of friends who avoid caffeine completely.

I don't know enough to make an informed decision about coffee so I just carry on drinking it quite thoughtlessly, really. If I look for more information, there is a chance I might feel bad about caffeine and want to stop drink it even though I would miss the habit. I think it is true for many people. Not for coffee, but definitely for many other things where the real choice we make is to stay unknowing. There is a risk inherent with knowing more, you might change your mind, change your behavior, reassess your existing knowledge. Add to that the cost (time) of gathering information and you get a pretty poor risk-benefit analysis. If the benefits of doing this (mitigate potential harmful side effects of caffeine) seems low, the choice to stay unknowing is a logical choice to make.

This is such a stupid thing to do, though. It means decisions are based on guesses and perceptions rather than real facts and information. This can be applied to so many things and the obvious discussion that comes into mind is climate change and sustainability. People have very strong views about this, both pro's and con's. But how many people could actually say that they are informed about the state of the planet, for example? That is a whole different discussion and one that is just remotely related to LCHF so we'll leave it at there for now.

But think about it. Are your food choices based on intelligent decisions or unknowing guesses?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A chicken in the oven

When I came home today after a long and rough day, my partner was grilling a whole chicken in the oven just for the two of us! Now there will be chicken for the next days. Last year we celebrated Thanksgiving and bought a 5 kg turkey (smallest available). Unfortunately, I got sick so no friends could come for dinner and we both ended up having nothing but turkey for about a week or so. I haven't actually had turkey since then ;)

Chicken I like a lot - and it is good low carb food, too. I eat mine with beans and dijon mustard sauce. Ttotally obsessed about dijon these days.

Best lunch for a very long time!

A salad with asparagus, sunflower seeds and duck topped with a mustard sauce - mm, how delicious is that? Very!

I wish I had a camera but you just have to imagine how it looked like. Think green and mustard. Now I am enjoying my first cup of coffee today. Very late for me but nice!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Black coffee it is

I decided to try latte this afternoon and give eggmilk a try. I've done eggmilk once before but then I used too much water (I think) and it turned out uneatable. But my second attempt was actually even worse.

I don't have a mixer (I haven't lived in one place long enough to collect such household things) but I tried to use a normal eggbeater. When I poured the egg into the pot with the melted butter the egg got too warm and started coagulate (?). It looked bad and tasted even worse and was definitely not something I was going to put in my coffee. I'm going to give up my old latte habit, that's probably for the better anyway.

Today I'm eating this

The only things I have in the fridge are eggs, butter and mushrooms. The freezer is almost as empty - only some vegetables and fish. That's perfect for a low carb day!

Brunch - 2 eggs sunny side up and too much coffee
Lunch -  Don't know yet. Lunch time is approaching but I'm not very hungry. Maybe I'll try a low carb latte made with "eggmilk" later in the afternoon...?


Dinner - Salmon with mashed cauliflower (like mashed potatoes but so much better)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

LCHF goes global

LCHF has been around for a while in Sweden. I mean, Atkins is the father of low-carbing diets (right?) but since the Swedish doctor Annika Dahlquist started promoting LCHF in Sweden in 2005, the "movement" has become very popular in viking-land. Although Dahlquist was criticized at first (and she probably still is), she has continued to promote the diet and now LCHF is spreading around the world.

Most of my readers are from America, the UK and Australia but I thought most are expats like me who heard about the news from home. Now that super-blogger Jimmy Moore has started a new blog, I am not so sure it's all Swedes anymore.

I think this is really good news! It's not that I want to convert people to low-carbing, people can eat whatever they want, but I think it's great for people to know there might be an alternative way of eating out there that would suit them much better than the current fat-phobia.


My LCHF is about my choice of eating LCHF and how it works in practice. It's not always easy, sometimes I fall for cravings but this blog helps me to find the way back to a healthy life style and I hope it will help you, too!

Ultimate Body Press

Bodyrock.tv is a great resource for inspiration to work out at home. One of the things that can be used to work out at home is the Ultimate Body Press.

Picture from http://www.ultimatebodypress.com/

The Ultimate Body Press is a dip bar. It allows for a few variations but is really efficient. When it first arrived I wasn't able to do one single dip. One week later I can do three (poorly performed ;)) and I'm getting stronger and stronger. I can definitely recommend this one for someone who wants to increase strength but don't have access to a fitness studio.

Oil cleansing method

My skin has always been quite oily. I have tried most supermarket products out there, but nothing's really helped. Since I generally prefer natural food I was all ears when I heard the oil cleansing method (OCM) could solve my problem.

Basically, OCM is about using natural oils to clean your skin instead of the chemicals used in soaps. It sounds contradicting to clean oily skin with oils, but I guess the theory behind it (extremely simplified) is that chemicals dry the skin and make it produce more oil, whereas OCM balances the oil production. And on top of that it is supposed to remove black heads. We would want that, right?

Tonight was my second night of OCM. The oils recommended to use are extra virgin olive oil, castor oil, almond oil, jojoba oil. Perhaps some other ones as well. The only one I could find was sweet almond oil so that's what I am using. So far I haven't seen any results, not even negative ones as you would normally expect in the beginning of a new treatment.

I'm giving this 2 weeks and will keep you updated on the progress. Hopefully, this one goes to nature!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Nature - Chemicals: 0 - 1

LCHF is about eating natural and avoid artificial foods. I'm trying to apply that natural thinking to more than food. After inspiration from Räkan's I am now trying OCM (Oil Cleansing Method). But that's not what this is about.

You know how mold sometimes grows on the bathtub sealant? It's gross so I was determined to remove those stains but all that anti-bacterial, chemical stuff is so bad for the environment. I decided to use environmental friendly methods so first I used vinegar. Nothing. I tried lemon. Nothing. I mixed vinegar and baking soda. Nothing. Finally I used everything together but still NOTHING. Filled with despair, I grabbed an old bottle of bleach and within a few minutes and no scrubbing what so ever the stains were all gone. That shows just how bad bleach really is but I am also glad the stains are gone. Today, nature was defeated.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Can you eat too little?

As I mentioned yesterday, I am barely hungry anymore.

This is what my work days have looked like for the last week:

07:00 Time to wake up
10:00 2 cups of black coffee (over the morning)
13:00 Lunch
15:00 Cafe latte
18:00 Starting to get hungry again
19:00 Dinner
21:00 Perhaps a cup of green or herbal tea

The weird thing is that the only time I am really hungry is before dinner. I guess that's why I need lots of vegetables to fill the stomach without adding too many calories. Should I get worried I don't eat enough? I don't want to eat just for the sake of eating and it's a nice feeling not having to go around hungry just because I want to lose weight. I think I'll keep listening to my body for some time but probably add some breakfast.

Tongue patch diet

Oh my god. Look at this



The doctors performing this are the biggest scam. Talk about taking advantage of people's weight issues. Short-term fix for loads of money - the doctors are getting rich while their patients will go back to gaining weight as soon as the patch is off. No thanks.

Read at the Diet Doctor

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Vitamin A

I've been eating a lot of spinach lately. I think it tastes good, easy to prepare and it goes with most meat. It also hardly contain any calories or carbs so I thought it was healthy.

But now I started using another diet planner tool called www.cronometer.com. I like it because you get a detailed overview of all vitamins, lipids, amino acids and minerals measured against RDA.

But look at this - yesterday my Vitamin A intake was 1,829% of RDA. And Vitamin K was 38,634%! Eating too much Vitamin K is not critical unless you are on some kind of blood thinning medicine. Vitamin A, on the other hand, could be toxic if intake is excessive over a longer period of time.


Guess that means I should eat less spinach :(

Natural food

Something that hasn't been highlighted on this blog yet is the importance of eating natural. To me this isn't specific to LCHF. You should always avoid additives and other chemicals, no matter how you eat. I really don't see the point of paying for chemicals and additives. Imagine there would be a jar of additives in the supermarket for you to buy and put on your chicken breast steak. Would you buy it? Maybe if you get a discount on the chicken? If so, how much discount do you need to get the additives? I would not want to destroy perfectly fine chicken by putting additives on it so why should I buy any additives that's already been injected into the meat?

It is so sad to hear people complain that natural, organic food is too expensive while spending loads on junk food, sweets, and soft drinks. Not to mention alcohol or tobacco. (I understand some people don't have a choice because of lack of money or sometimes addictions.) What's even worse are people complaining about how expensive food is, yet, they always have the newest high-tech garment there is on the market. It is a true mystery to me how some people can prioritize material things like that over good, quality food, not only for them selves but also for their children.

Maybe it's me being fooled and one day additives prove to be the best thing that's ever happened to mankind. Until then I think I'm gonna stick to natural food.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Soupy

I love soups! Soups must be the most underestimated type of dish. So easy to make and really quick too. You can just use whatever ingredients you have at home and it will taste delicious every time.

Today I am having lentils (!) soup. Lentils are not very low in carbohydrates, but I mix them with canned tomatoes, spinach, cream and water so one portion only contains about 20 g of lentils. Add to that garlic, curry, chili or whatever spices you prefer. So good!

Challenge time!

New week, new challenges!

This week I will try to:
- only make wise food choices
- go running 3 times
- work out on the ultimate body press a little bit every day
- publish My LCHF posts daily :)
- keep a detailed food journal - everything will be noted and published by the end of the week. Don't want to bore you with daily food journal posts.

What does HF in LCHF stand for?

LCHF - low carb high fat.

But what is high fat? Does it mean you can eat unlimited amounts of fat? Off course not. Quite frankly, I don't know what it means, just that it's more than low fat.

I've thought quite a lot about the best way to eat lately. I really do like LCHF because I feel so much better not eating bread, pasta, rice or other types of starchy food but the HF - high fat - is concerning me. People say you need the fat to stay full, which I guess makes sense if carbohydrates are almost entirely excluded from the diet. The energy has to come from somewhere and if it's not from carbs or protein, it has to be fat. But I haven't felt full at all.

I'm probably still fat-scared. After 2 months of low carbing, it's still weird eating excessive amounts of fat while carrots, tomatoes and mushrooms have to be weighed and tracked. I am really struggling eating 75E% fat because I feel so bad about eating fat.

All these thoughts have made me experiment with the diet. My new thinking is to eat more, much more, vegetables, allowing carbohydrates from these sources while keeping a closer eye on the fat. No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, chocolate. You get it. I still eat full-fat versions of cream and cheese. But I prefer my side dish to be broccoli rather than butter so I am not eating as much fat as before. 

And I am no longer hungry!

200 g of spinach or broccoli is nothing in terms of calories (60 kcal). Not very much in terms of carbohydrates either (but more than most LCHF-people would eat). But it sure is a lot on the plate and it fills your stomach. This is how I need to eat to achieve and maintain my goal weight. It means that I am getting a bit more liberal on the carb count. I am not going to binge eat sugar but I also won't go crazy about 50 g carbohydrates from a healthy meal based on vegetables. We are all different and while some people have to / want to exclude all carbs, other people will be like me and feel sick from the fat and miss the vegetables. This is what a sustainable low carb diet looks like for me, personally.

I don't really know how to label this, though. I think this is more normal fat than high fat. I don't need to label my diet, so that doesn't bother me in the slightest. But if there was a name for it, it would be My LCHF :-)

Breakfast around the globe

I read about these cereals loaded with sugar and bad breakfast habits. It made me think about breakfast habits across the globe. Breakfast is interesting because it is so different across cultures. Where I come from, lunch and dinner are often inspired by other cuisines, but most people could never think of eating a Thai, Indian, Lebanese, or even Italian inspired breakfast.

I think one of the best things of going on a trip is the hotel breakfast - I love breakfast! But I'm not very experimental. My favorites used to be oatmeal, cheese sandwich, yoghurt and muesli or other cereals. Very typical where I come from. No sweet flavors at all, not even sweetened muesli.

But it doesn't look like that in other countries. I like to travel and since I moved around quite a bit I have friends from most parts of the world. I'd like to think this gives you an indicator of how profound this analysis is ;)

Let's start with the French "breakfast" - croissant with jam, at the most. And coffee, off course. Simple and light.

In Germany, breakfast is the complete opposite. It's a lot! It often equals muesli or a basket of bread and sweet spreads are common but also sausages. The muesli is sweetened with sugar, honey, or even chocolate and having jam on the bread is quite typical. Not to mention Nutella. Rich in calories, very sweet and it will keep you full for a whole day.

The Dutch breakfast is sweeter, but smaller. I know a few Dutch people who now get to represent the whole country, but according to them, everyone tops their bread with Nutella or chocolate flakes.

I'm not too familiar with southern European breakfast habits. I once lived with a Spanish family while attending a language course. I remember having chocolate milk for breakfast and my lunch bag was packed with sweets. Don't know if it's typical. In Italy, it's quite common to have cake or other sweet pastries for breakfast.

Here in the UK, a typical breakfast seems to be toast and jam. Oatmeal can be bought in portion-sized packages labeled "instant", which is ridiculous since that is essentially the exact same product as the big packages for baking. And all of is instant.

Well, Quaker made the Americans like their "instant" oatmeal as well. But not as much as they like donuts and muffins for breakfast. I used to live in New York, so this list would be incomplete without the BAGEL. And McDonald's, sadly enough.

Heading East, the Russians (women) I know don't eat breakfast at all. They are very petite and health conscious. A cup of tea and a piece of fruit is what they're having. Further East, Indians either don't eat breakfast or they eat any type of warm food. Dinner, lunch, breakfast - it's usually no difference the same for them. Lots of people only eat 2 meals per day, especially in Asia. Or simply any type of food for breakfast, like rice, meat, or vegetables. My Japanese friends eat rice or sushi in the morning, seems to be quite normal. 

From a low carb perspective, all these breakfasts are notoriously bad. In fact, the traditional UK breakfast minus toast and beans might be the one breakfast best suited for low carb diets. Bacon and egg is and will always be the no. 1 breakfast for all low carbers out there.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

WiFi Scale

Is anyone paying attention to the Withings gadget to the right? Withings is our new scale and it's connected to the WiFi. As soon as I step on that scale the results are published here. Pretty scary but out on the street everyone can take a guess on my weight anyway so what's a number on here?

As you can see, I had a bit of a negative development lately. I have quite a stressful life and sometimes things happen that will get me out of balance and make me lose focus. It's not a big deal for me as long as I get back on track. This is for life and I am getting more and more health conscious so what's a few days of backlash?

Low carb lasagna

Today I gave low carb lasagna a new try for dinner. Last time I had to go with cabbage instead of lasagna plates but that's nothing I want to try again. I planned to use sliced zucchini as plates but I couldn't get hold of any today either. Instead I had layers of spinach in between the ground beef. I added broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms to the beef, too and topped it with home-made cheese sauce to that. It ended up more of a gratin than a typical lasagna but it tasted very good and it was healthy!

I don't own a camera (don't care for taking pictures at all) but it looked a bit like this but with more tomatoes and less cream. Picture from http://www.whatwereeating.com/recipes/im-dreaming-of-some-creamed-spinach/

Friday, 13 May 2011

Paleo and raw food

Blogger has been down all day and my post from yesterday is gone? Let's see if this sticks...

I've been reading about other low carb diets and came across the Paleo diet. It sounds pretty interesting although for me personally it contains too many starches. From what I understand it is considered to be a low carb diet (might be wrong) but if I would eat according to Paleo I would eat 100 g of carbs per day. Sounds like a lot to me.

I also stumbled upon www.30bananasaday.com. I've heard about raw food and fruit diets but I never took it seriously. It's quite an interesting idea, though. You can tell that I am easily fascinated by new things - everything sounds interesting to me :) I don't think I could ever stick to raw food diet, though. Imagine never being able to eat warm food? And imagine eating buying all that fruit! Not to mention the shipping of fruit. Low carb diets are (rightly) criticized for being wasteful as they're based on protein and often includes lots of eggs and dairy products, which use much more resources than crops. But at least you can eat local food when low carbing. Sticking to local food on a fruit diet would be very, very boring here in the north, if at all possible.

No, I'm fine with LCHF for now :)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Focus

I'm still low carbing, just need to concentrate on what is hopefully my last exam ever!!

Remember - focus, Focus, FOCUS!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Smoked salmon

I love fish and eat it at least a few times per week. And here in the UK there are so many types of fish to chose among and it's fairly cheap, too. I love salmon - great for LCHF too since it's a pretty fat fish. Salmon fillets are great - easy and fast to cook. But it gets a bit boring after a while. A new favorite is smoked salmon! Perfect with a salad, to the omelet, as a snack, with some vegetables... It's so tasty!

Another LCHF day

And it starts with boiled eggs and coffee. A good start!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Low carb and concentration

I wonder if it is true that low carb makes your brain slower. I am not sure I noticed any difference. I sometimes have difficulties concentrating when doing boring work, and I think it has changed for the worse in the last weeks. That's something that always bothered me though and now when the weather is getting better I just want to go outside so I don't think it's got anything to do with low carb.

Today I have no inspiration what soever for dinner. I'll probably just eat something quick and then go to bed and catch up on some sleep.

Stress

Tired, stress, and too many things going on. Not a good day for pep-talk (although I could need some). Struggling to stay focused, still need to finish work before deadline. I bet  running would be just about right for me right now, but it will have to wait until tonight. Anyway, thinking positively will only make things better, so I think it is worthwhile mentioning that it's absolutely beautiful outside! :)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Still working

No exercise today but tomorrow after submission I will be out running! That's what's motivating me right now :)

Busy day

Today I am really busy. I have a deadline tomorrow and lots of work to do. Yeah, love that! Working on full speed now so hopefully I can finish on time for some exercise tonight.

Not much time for cooking so I'll have some simple, fast snack for lunch and yesterday's leftovers for dinner. Not too exciting but it works for today :)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Burgers for dinner

Lean ground beef hamburgers served with lettuce and yellow bell pepper to get some vitamin C. Add to that some melting brie (10 g) and a creme fraiche dressing. That's what was served for dinner tonight. Very tasty. The burgers were home-made. Ready-to-fry burgers from the supermarket usually contain carbs from flour, sugar and other nasty additives I don't want to pay for so that's a no-go.

Meal count: 500 kcal and 6 carbs.
I only had 1000 kcal so far (but 18 g carbs - strawberries for breakfast - totally worth it). 1000 kcal isn't enough for me - this is not a starvation diet - so will get a snack later.

Satisfaction

Just came home from running. Great feeling!

LCHF and hunger

Eat when you hungry - that's what many on LCHF say. Is that true?

Not for me. I lost quite a lot in the first few weeks but then it suddenly stopped. What had happened? I guess I lost water weight in the beginning and just a tiny bit of fat, perhaps 1 kilo at the most. As soon as the body stopped losing water, my weight loss slowed down and in 2 weeks I only dropped 0.1 kg. Not very impressive.

I was told to limit the carbons, eat when I'm hungry so that's what I did. But eating when you're hungry is quite tricky. It assumes you actually know what hunger feels like.

I know weight gain can be caused by medical conditions, inactivity due to injuries, etc, but the majority of all dieters must be dieting because of previous overeating, right? Obviously if you overeat, you eat even though you're not hungry or when you shouldn't be hungry. People eat because they feel like it, because they're sad or because of habit. But we don't always eat because the body needs energy, which should be the original physical function of hunger (?).

My point is that hunger is a feeling most overweight people don't understand, that's why we struggle with weight problems in the first place. It is easy to confuse hunger (need to eat) with appetite (desire to eat) or food cravings (strong desire to eat).

The only thing I would recommend regarding hunger is NOT to eat when you are NOT HUNGRY. I don't trust my body to tell me when it needs food, I think it still tells me when food would be nice have. That's why I am sticking to food plans this week, which includes both carb count and calorie count.

Is that the right way to go? I don't know - next week's weigh-in will tell.