Sometimes means sometimes

I am currently on day four of trying to cross no. 11 “Go 1 week without a sometimes food” off this years list… and it’s actually been both easier and harder than I had imagined.  It was something that I had put on the list because I thought it was time to address another one of my bad food habits…. but what does it all mean… Well over the last couple of years there has been a push to shift the terminology around food to move from good foods and bad foods to everyday foods and sometimes foods…  in fact in the most recent update of the Australian Dietary Guidelines ‘sometimes foods’ are now referred to as ‘discretionary choices’… however the idea remains the same… it’s a pretty simple concept… you can eat what ever you want, but there some foods which you can have all the time and then others that are best left to occassionally… here enters my third bad food habit confession…

Em’s Bad Food Habit no. 3

I love sometimes foods, which is not that surprising to most… I love all the foods I shouldn’t and generally speaking the ‘sometimes food’ category has become and an everyday food.  Sure they might be different each day, but most days… oh who am I kidding… every day I have a sometimes food… in fact, if I am honest I probably have a few.  It might not be massive, it could be something simple like a couple of biscuits for afternoon tea, dessert after dinner, or some chocolate with a cuppa, but it’s always there… it’s not sometimes.  In fact most of the foods that I would associate with the word ‘treat’, aren’t really treats anymore, they have become staples.  It’s not special or exciting or sometimes even enjoyable when I have these foods because they are way too common.  If I am going to get better at this practicing what I preach business I need to make sometimes foods sometimes… not all the time.

So why can we only eat them sometimes? 

Well like all my other attempts at practicing what I preach there are a couple of reasons…

  1. I guess we should start with what exactly is a ‘sometimes food’… well according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines discretionary foods are those that are not directly necessary for a healthy body, that is they don’t contain enough nutrients that the body needs to justify their intake.  These foods are also often high in sugars, salt, saturated fat and at times alcohol and are best described as energy dense.  That is you get a lot of energy or kilojoules/calories, for not much else.

  2. ‘Sometimes foods’ or ‘Discretionary choices’ are put this in category for a reason.  The dietitians of the world aren’t food kill joys, we do actually want our and your diets to be the best choices for a long, happy and healthy life.  Having said that we know that these foods are things we are wired to like, its just the way it is… thats why they are ok sometimes… or with discretion… If we have them too often, we get too much of things we don’t need, or are detrimental to our health, and we are often displacing things we should be getting.  I know if given the choice I will always choice chocolate, whatever the other option is… but it doesn’t make it a good choice, in fact maybe I am choosing it instead of something I do need, like dairy, fruit or vegetables.

  3. They are easy to over consume, really easy… being so energy dense it doesn’t take a large volume to get lots of nutrients that our body just doesn’t need.  Foods high in fat and sugar are also high in calories and as I mentioned in my original dietitian rant ‘enough is enough’, the reality is if too many calories go in and not enough out, it causes weight gain, and excess weight leads to a whole other list of health concerns.  Also those high in saturated fat can also lead elevated cholesterol which increases risk of heart disease and stroke… not something that is conducive to a long, happy and healthy life.

When it really boils down to it… other than enjoyment they don’t offer enough of what we need to have then everyday, yes they are an important part of a healthy balanced diet, but they need to be a small part, not an everyday item.  They also can’t stop us from getting the things that we actually do need.

My goal…

Jelly SliceWell this week its to go without them all together,  which is probably a little extreme… and very unsustainable… in fact while I have found it quite easy to find alternative everyday snacks, I have been thinking about all the the sometimes foods I would prefer to be eating (I actually dreamt about gingerbread biscuits and chocolate last night)… this is why total deprivation and cold turkey tactics just don’t work, but that’s a whole different blog!  My longer term goal is to get some balance back, to make sure I get my fruit, veg and diary in by using healthier snacks rather than always picking things that I know just aren’t that good for me.  Again just like the salad goal… it’s pretty hard to measure, but here is a little list of alternative go to snacks that I can have instead of my regular sometimes go to.
– a piece of fruit or a small bowl of cut up fruit and salad
– a small tub of low fat yogurt
– some veggie sticks and low fat dip
– some air popped pop corn
– a handful of dried fruit
– a handful of nuts
– some low fat cheese on some vita weats

So I guess the rough plan is that more often I choose something from the list above or something similar… making sure I am more deliberate about getting both my pieces of fruit for the day, rather than substituting them for something best left for sometimes, practicing what I preach… sometimes means sometimes.

The Most Beautiful Garden Party of All Time!

Now you may think the title for this blog is an exaggeration, but it’s not I assure you, in fact it’s probably an understatement if anything. And while I would like to take credit it for it all, unfortunately I can’t, while I contributed opinions and assisted in the set up the creative genius was not mine.

Last Saturday night my fellow bridesmaids and I put on a Hen’s evening for our bride to be.   The evening was designed to be all of the bride’s favourite things in one place, everything from a Mexican feast to an abundance of chocolate to an outdoor movie.  We spent the night outside and after an initial panic that Melbourne was going to continue to be the hottest place in the world, the cool change meant that the weather was perfect.  But the thing that made the evening even better than Mexican food and chocolate (which lets face it, is already a winning combination), was the detail and decoration in the garden it’s self… it was beautiful, and even a little bit magical.

One of my fellow bridesmaids is part of a new business called Petals and Pompoms (you can check out all the incredible things they do via instagram here).  Oh and just as a little side note… Petals and pPompoms are amazing… they just know what a space needs to make it incredible!  Anyway, this combined with another prep teaching bridesmaid (it appears that primary school teachers also seem to have been whacked with the creative stick), and the not so creative, but super practical and a little bit nerdy me were pretty pleased with our efforts.

It turns out the key is fairy lights, bunting and pompoms… who would have thought…  here are some pictures from the night… everything from our outdoor cinema, to the homemade pinata and the delicious feast setting… and I am pretty sure… no 100% sure that this is the most beautiful garden party I have ever been to.

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You Don’t Win Friends With Salad

It’s time for my first food confession of the year… and while my battle over breakfast continues – although I am glad to report that I am getting better, and so far this year I have been back at work for a week and I have had a good breakfast everyday… but summer has challenged me on another life long bad habit…

Em’s Bad Food Habit no. 2

I really don’t like eating salad…  I love vegetables – in fact I can’t think of a single cooked vegetable that I don’t enjoy… but when it comes to fresh salad… I just struggle… really really struggle… It’s always been like this… even in summer when I was younger, my brothers and I would always go for some cooked veg over salad… despite the fact that a salad would have been much more refreshing.  As I have gotten older there have been numerous occasions when I have eaten salad because I was being watched, or I was at someones house or I didn’t want to be a bad example, but at home… I still avoid it.

When it comes to getting my 5 veggies, not eating salad isn’t that big a deal, but I know that if I am going to practice what I preach… I am going to have to start eating my fresh greens.  (as a side note Dave loves salads, so learning to eat them would also make family meals over summer much more enjoyable for Davo.)

There is no reason I don’t eat them, they just don’t get me excited like roasted veggies do… the thought of sitting down to a salad makes me feel like I am missing out on something better, something more satisfying, something tasty.  But the truth is a salad can be all of those things… I just need to get creative.

So why is salad so important?

Well… it’s not really salad… it’s vegetables and if I am really honest over summer, while I would happily eat hot vegetables everyday, I often don’t want to cook them in the heat, especially in the weather we have had this week… I don’t want to be cooking anything… so I just skip them… which is not ideal… so salad needs to become the way I get my 5 veg in the warmer weather.  And why do we need to get our 5 veg? Well let me tell you…

  1. Veggies are nutrient dense – that is they are packed full of nutritious vitamins and minerals without all the extra calories.  They give us just what we need and very little of what we don’t.  Different veggies have different vitamins and minerals so the best way to make sure you are getting what you need is to eat a variety different types and colour veggies.

  2. Veggies are also high in fibre – they keep us regular and help our bodies get rid of waste as efficiently as possible.

Just like a regular breakfast, getting adequate amounts of vegetables has no downside… it helps maintain a healthy weight, assists with waste disposal and provides us with exactly what we need.   The key with vegetables is variety… lots of different colours and types, as they all offer slightly different things, but if you are including a little bit of all of them regularly you can’t go wrong.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be there.

My goal…

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The reality is I need to embrace salads, not the creamy ones filled with pasta, potato and rice, but the salad salads, filled with salad greens and what not.  I need to practice what I preach and if I can’t have cooked veg, or I can’t be bothered cooking veg, then I have to go with salad… it’s not a meal if it doesn’t have vegetables.  (In fact a good rule of thumb is to make sure half the plate at lunch and dinner is non-starchy vegetables, that is… everything except potato and corn).  I need to take some of my own advice and give it a go, try a few different salads, play around with different combos and maybe even through some fruit and cheese in there to spice it up, but not too much or it’ll be missing the whole point.

I am not really sure how I will measure this… but it is something that needs to be done… I have to be committed and give it a go… in fact the picture above is dinner from Monday night… my first attempt at a friends dressed Greek Salad recipe… maybe I can post some more pictures and some salad recipes of the favourites I find along the way… but most importantly I need to practice what I preach… walk the talk… eat my salad… and be better for it…

Fake Tan and Green Juice

It’s been long time since I have been on a girls weekend away, in fact I think the last time I did something similar was for my own bridesmaid get away and I had forgotten how refreshing it is to do something different and how much fun these girls are! We just headed down to the beach for a quick trip before my best friend Kirsten gets married, and while what happens on a girls weekend should probably stay on a girls weekend, there are a few things that need to be made public… mostly because the weekend away also seemed like the perfect opportunity to cross some things off the list… and they can’t really be crossed off in secret. Over the weekend I crossed a whole stack of things off my list, but actually the whole past week has been a list frenzy… let me take you through what’s was crossed off before we went away…

No. 38 Cook Fish
On Tuesday night I cooked fish – I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is. It’s something that I had never done before.  if I was put on the spot I wouldn’t know what fish to get, what to do with it, how to cook it or what to eat with it… cooking fish is a big hole in my cooking knowledge (it’s actually one of many large holes in my cooking skills knowledge but that’s another story). The idea of cooking fish, even just touching fish makes me nervous, even though I know I need to be eating a lot more of it. But now the first one is done… and while it wasn’t the healthiest meal in the world, these little fish burgers from one of my Donna Hay cook books turned out pretty good.

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No. 19 Help someone set up a blog
Thursday morning I helped a friend start a blog and actually later that night I got asked to help someone else as well.  I am really excited about these new blogs because I think they are both going to be winners… but I’ll blog more about the blogs later when they are a little more ready.

No. 51 Get a fake tan
I was super nervous about this… like super super duper nervous, the last fake tan I tried was just before my wedding, I had asked for a super light tan as because I am super pale I didn’t want to look ridiculous… but it was dark… really dark, and awful… just the wrong color and a bad experience all added to the stress of my pending nuptials. So this time round, I was trialing a tan for Kirsten’s wedding, and I wanted to make sure it was right (no one wants an oompa lompa in their bridal party).  So Friday afternoon I went to a friend who has her own beautician business (Donvale Beauty Therapy… check it), and once again asked for a light tan… rather than what I got last time… and it has turned out really nicely… so much better than I could have imagined, and it was perfect to have on the beach! Thanks Hollie.

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So still drying and ‘activating’ my new tan I headed down to the beach where the list fun continued…

No. 69. Walk across Kilcunda bridge
Every time I go down to the beach house I drive past this bridge and for a number of years I have been thinking about stopping and checking it out. It’s an old rail bridge that runs between the beach and the highway and while it doesn’t hold trains any more it does make for a pretty picture…

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No. 6 Try a green juice
If you read my blog regularly you may remember a blog I wrote entitled “The truth about green juice”, in the blog I didn’t rate them very highly. Nothing has really changed in my opinion of the green juice, but I felt a little bit bad as I had never actually tried a green juice… but now I have… and I still don’t rate the. The Green juice I tried had kale, parsley, chia seeds and pear… which was not a winning combination… I can see how with a little more fruit it might be tasty… but I just don’t think they are for me… which is fine, as I also don’t think they are as awesome as they are made out to be…

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No. 70. Go to a cemetery
Morbid I know, but I find them really interesting, I like to read the tombstones and wonder what people were like, work out how old they were and think about who they left behind… I know it’s weird… but it’s true.

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No. 86. See the movie ‘Frozen’
After I got home last night, Dave and I went to the movies to see Frozen and it was nice, not as awesome as I had hoped, but I did have pretty high expectations. It was a nice story, with nice music and it made for a nice night.

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So there you go, we are 13 days into January and I have already crossed 9 things off the list… I feel like I am going to get pretty close to the full 100 this year!