Men Having Babies?

Before I begin, I must say that I have absolute respect for mums that go through the birth of one child and are still willing to have another, and another, and then perhaps another. After seeing this Dutch television show where two men put on electro stimulation devices that simulate childbirth contractions and film the results, I must admit I’m not exactly embracing the idea with excitement.  I know it’s a beautiful thing to have children but to be able to face the pain and accept that the only way to feel better again is to go through an excruciating amount of pain has got me really nervous.

As much as I laughed (more out of discomfort than entertainment) when I saw this, I commend these two young men for going through with the simulation.  I’m sure it’s not nearly as bad as an actual birth (there are no fluids gushing out of their bodies and no flesh is being torn open) but it all does look quite painful. Perhaps all hubbies should be required to experience this before their wives give birth to fully appreciate what a woman must endure to bring a child into the world.  The video below is in Dutch with English subtitles.

Why You Should Try A Juice Cleanse

Life is about enjoying, experiencing and best of all, eating.  But once in a while, I think it’s important to recharge and reboot and give our tummies a little rest, while allowing our minds to refocus. And so came my desire to do a juice cleanse. I brought the idea up with my trainer, who was very excited that I was keen on trying it.  But whoever suggested I do this for 10 days must’ve been insane! Oh wait, that was me…

Reality hit around lunchtime. And I kept thinking, I could murder a curry right now. Instead, this is what I got for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The good thing is I could drink as much of it (along with water, and any other fresh veggie juice) as I wanted.

Cucumber, spinach, celery, green apple, lemon and ginger juice–shot in toy camera mode to get this lovely bright green colour.

Everyone around me kept commenting on how awful my green juice looked (it’s not that green in real life) and how they couldn’t believe I was ‘starving’ myself. They came up with all these reasons for how bad it was for my body. Fresh vegetable juice bad for me? You’ve got to be joking! I started to fade a little during my normal meal times but overall, I stayed focused and energised throughout the day and am keen to try it again, perhaps make it a weekly thing.

I assure you, it’s really not as bad as it seems and the juice was actually quite lovely. Tasty, really.  Next time I will add kale.  And this is all coming from someone whose mantra is “I don’t eat to live, I live to eat”.  Not to mention, I feel great! I woke up this morning feeling refreshed instead of groggy. Just to be clear, I ate a normal dinner the previous night and my cleanse officially began when I woke up the next morning and ran through this morning (essentially 36 hours without solid food).

If you decide to give this a shot, here are a few first-timer tips:

  1. Make all of your fresh green juice and veggie juice blends the night before.
  2. Use vegetables that contain a lot of water, like cucumber and celery (but don’t overdo the celery as it contains a fair amount of sodium). Don’t worry too about not getting enough ‘nutrition’ for a one day cleanse.  It is, after all, just one day.
  3. Choose a day that you have a lot to do. Work days are ideal, as you will be busy and less tempted by weekend activities that usually involve a lot of dining out.
  4. Drink lots of water in addition to the juice. A good measurement would be half your body weight (pounds) in ounces. Often times when we think we’re hungry it’s our bodies telling us that we’re dehydrated.
  5. If you do feel faint, you can ‘cheat’ with a handful of unsalted nuts.

If I managed to get through an entire day of rest from eating, so can you! Do let me know how you get on!

Gluten Free Cookie #Fail

I would give anything to eat a hot pasty right now. VAT or no VAT, so long as it’s fresh from the oven I could not care less. I’d quite like some fresh baked bread as well. Again, piping hot out of the oven with a nice slab of butter smothered all over it. It’s all heaven to me so long as it’s not gluten free!

After reading Wheat Belly, we’ve been trying to stick to a ‘gluten free’ diet to see if we can eliminate some of our chronic health issues. It’s done wonders for hubby, so I plan to stick with him on it, but it’s utter torture for me as I love my cakes and crumpets. Not to mention, our lovely red Dualit toaster (which I can’t thank Ginger enough for) has been sitting on our kitchen counter completely unused.

In an attempt to satisfy my cravings for a baked treat, we decided to try and make some gluten free chocolate chip cookies out of a packet. One that claimed we wouldn’t believe it wasn’t a ‘real’ cookie.  I tried to keep an open mind but in the end I could not have been more disappointed.  It wasn’t so much the mealy texture but the strange aftertaste that put me off.

Perhaps we need to try a different packet or recipe but this one certainly did nothing to satiate me. If you’ve got any suggestions for a good gluten free recipe or packet, please let us know! Sadly, even my cute Moomin tray couldn’t help soften the blow.

Woe, is eye!

I cycle to work every day and quite enjoy my morning rides.  I’ve got a cute little red foldy-bike (though I’d quite like a Brompton one day). As I was pedaling along this morning something hit me right in the eye.  It kind of just went *splat* and then I realised it was a bug!

I thought I’d got rid of it, but my eye was bugging me all day.  And yet I somehow managed to convince myself it was something else. I was still rubbing and blinking away when the hubs got home, so he flushed my eye out with eye drops for good measure. And to my utter shock and horror, the little bugger came oozing out of the corner of my eye, wings still in tact!

Gobsmacked and bemused, my poor hubby just stood there looking at me.  I wonder what he was thinking.  Perhaps, ‘you imbecile’!  I must admit it was a good thing this happened today and not earlier in the week when he was away on business, or else it might still have been stuck in my eye! Oh, what would I do without my dear hubby?

Moral of the story: flush your eye out immediately when it’s been attacked by a bug!

Slow Masticating Juicers vs. Centrifugal Juicers

We’ve been dreaming of getting a masticating juicer ever since we realised how much was going to waste with our Breville JE4 Juicer.  As much as we appreciated having the Breville for the past 8 months, we finally caved and replaced it with the Hurom Slow Juicer.

The Hurom utilises a low-speed mechanism to process fresh fruit and vegetables into juice, yielding a slightly more pulpier juice than the Breville, but richer in colour and flavour. The preparation time goes up with this juicer, but you retain so much more of the nutrients that are lost with the Breville or any other high speed dual-disc juicer.

We used our old green juice recipe to compare the results of the Hurom with the Breville and were surprised by how much less produce we used to produce the same amount of juice.  So if you’re looking to buy a juicer and would like to get the maximum benefits from your juicing, I would highly recommend getting a slow masticating juicer over a centrifugal one.

The Attack of the Latest Health Food Trends

As a reaction piece to her post, I’m dedicating this to one of my favourite bloggers, the lovely F.Scribbles.   As sorry as I was to read of her allergic reactions, I couldn’t help but laugh because her story hit so close to home and I just loved her humour!  Luckily for me, I’m not allergic to either goji or açaí berries.  But F.Scribbles’ story reminded me of the constant bombardment that we, as consumers, undergo from the health food marketing industry and how challenging it can be to stay on top of the latest health food trends.

Growing up, I had goji berries as an occasional snack (my mum swears by them).  That was long before any of us knew about antioxidants–in my family, we simply took my mum’s word for its health benefits (if I’m not mistaken, goji berries are also good for your eyes) as it had always been a part of her culture’s diet.  These days I have goji berries in the stylish form of a raw bar, which is basically a raw granola bar with goji berries.

It’s funny how goji berries have only recently become the new health food trend, as açaí once was, and before that pomegranate juice.  Oh, and let’s not forget coconut water, which supposedly contains “the highest sources of electrolytes known to man”.   I suppose the health food industry has to give each food a chance to make a profit, but Chinese and Tibetans have been consuming goji berries for centuries! And it’s not until under the careful scrutiny of a Western scientist, who ‘discovers’ (and can prove) the health benefits of such super foods, that the food can officially be deemed beneficial to one’s health.  Until then, it’s simply ‘voodoo’ food, as my hubby would say.

Now I’ll admit that I’m naturally inclined to want to try ‘new’ health foods, but just because someone attacks me with a new advert about the healthful benefits of any food doesn’t mean I’ll immediately go out and try it.  Take for example, coconut water, which I knew would taste like a combination of sweat and a hint of piss.   Although I was completely opposed to trying it, even in the form of flavoured water, I eventually gave in because I wanted to feel those electrolytes pumping through my veins.  Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, right? Well it was bloody awful, just as I thought it’d be.

I like pomegranate juice, but pomegranate flavoured coconut water? You’ve got to be joking! I mean, why do we have to flavour everything? Why can’t we have food in its pure, unadulterated form, which is usually the tastiest (with the exception of coconut water–it’s minging either way)?

So…what’s a girl to do if she’s allergic to or can’t stand the taste of the latest health food trend? I say, try everything once and if it doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it.  There’s plenty of other ways to consume antioxidants and electrolytes!

G is for…

G is for ‘green’ juice.  There seems to be a juice craze spreading from Australia to the UK and US.  It’s nothing new, but juicing seems to have finally caught on.  And just in time, as the average person in the UK eats less than 3 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, instead of the recommended 5!  In Australia, the recommendation is to go for 2 fruit and 5 vegetables per day.

If you love fruit and vegetables but don’t always have time to eat them, here is an easy way to get your full daily fruit and veggie count.  And if you aren’t so keen on all the green stuff, I assure you this is a lot tastier than it might seem.  The green apples and lemon add a lot of fruity flavour!

We’ve played around with various recipes and I think we’ve got it down.  Simply stick all the ingredients into a juicer and voila! We like to blend our spinach in a mixer with the existing juice of all the other ingredients to get more fiber.  And remember, you can pretty much throw anything you have into the juicer (Swiss chard, cabbage, courgette, etc.).  Happy juicing!

Green Juice Recipe

8-10 leaves of kale
4 green apples
1 cucumber
2 stalks of celery
1 stub of ginger, peeled
1 lemon, peeled
4 cups of baby spinach

The Fear of Being Healthy

Like many young people, I used to think that I could eat whatever I wanted and still be ‘healthy’.  So long as I didn’t gain any weight, I was okay.  I had youth on my side and an insanely fast metabolism.  Then one day, I woke up and suddenly I was 2 stone overweight–even my fat pants were getting too small!  Gutted, I’ve decided it is finally time to do something about it.

I’ve already seen Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. , read Michael Pollan’s books In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, followed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution both in the UK and US, and was making what I thought were better food choices.   Not to mention, I have  my mum constantly reminding me  of what I ought to be eating.

But even though I was becoming more aware of nutrition and food, it wasn’t enough for me to make a strong commitment to drastically change my eating habits.  That is, until now.  If you can get your hands on Forks Over Knives and Food Matters, I highly recommend adding them to your food education library (both books and DVDs are available) .

Of course there is always the danger of going overboard with anything, even ‘healthy’ eating.  There are always new studies coming out about how something we thought was good for us in the past is now making us ill.  It can be frustrating and overwhelming.  So it’s important for everyone to find their own balance.  But when it comes down to it, the basis to healthy eating really is all quite simple.

Food matters.  It matters where it comes from, how we prepare it, and how much of it we eat. We’ve become programmed to want everything done instantly–fast, quick, and easy.  Most of us would prefer a pill for every ill instead of thinking about prevention.  So why are we so afraid of being healthy?  Why is there so much resistance to any sort of health movement?  Is it because maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking actions to prevent illness takes time and commitment? Are we really that lazy we can’t even take responsibility for our own health?

But imagine if we were all healthy.  We would have a health epidemic.  The vast majority of doctors in the world would have to retrain.  There simply isn’t money in health, but there is a bucket load of cash to be made from people that are sick.

I’m not denying the benefits of modern medicine–there are many.  But there are alternatives to medicine, such as nutritional therapy that have not been fully explored by the medical industry. It makes me wonder if my grandfather could have survived cancer had he been offered both modern medicine and nutritional therapy, with a strong emphasis on nutrition.

B is for…

B is for bacon! Dare I say, being a piggy lover, that bacon is one of my all time favourite meats.  I’ve given up bacon for several years before and now I’ve more or less given it up in the sense that I no longer purchase it to cook at home.  It’s not that I’ve suddenly grown a conscience, but the main reason for ‘giving up’ bacon is that it’s not the healthiest food to eat.  And I do also feel bad for eating one of my favourite animals.  That said, apparently these days the trend is combining savoury with sweet so I ought to break my bacon fast and try some chocolate covered bacon.  I suppose I haven’t solved A Fatso’s Dilemma after all!

Sugar In Disguise

Most of us get a sweet tooth every now and then, and savour the occasional sweet treat.  But how do we know if we’re going overboard with our sugar intake?  These days there are so many different names for sugar and new ones seem to keep popping up.

I’m not advocating for or against sugar.  However, I do believe that instead of trying to decipher names of ingredients that sound more like toxic chemicals rather than something we should be putting in our bodies, we might be better off sticking to whole foods.  After all, whole foods are natural and don’t contain things that will make us ill.

When I get a sugar craving, I tend to choose fresh fruit over cakes, ice-cream, or a sugary drink.  But it’s not just ‘sweets’ that contain sugar.  There’s hidden amounts of sugar in most processed foods, making it rather difficult to actually cut unnecessary sugar out of your diet.

For those that are trying to cut back it can be a bit tricky to recognise all the names associated with sugar, so I thought I’d share a list of different names/types of sugar.  There’s no doubt there are more out there but hopefully this will help you get started on becoming more aware of how much sugar you’re actually consuming.



  1. Agave Nectar
  2. Barbados Sugar (commonly known as muscovado sugar or merely raw sugar)
  3. Barley Malt
  4. Beet Sugar
  5. Blackstrap Molasses
  6. Brown Sugar
  7. Buttered Syrup
  8. Cane Crystals
  9. Cane Juice Crystals
  10. Cane Sugar
  11. Caramel
  12. Carob Syrup
  13. Castor Sugar
  14. Confectioner’s Sugar
  15. Corn Syrup
  16. Corn Sweetener
  17. Corn Syrup Solids
  18. Crystalline Fructose
  19. Date Sugar
  20. Demerara Sugar
  21. Dextrin
  22. Dextran
  23. Dextrose
  24. Diastatic Malt
  25. Diatase
  26. D-Mannose
  27. Evaporated Cane Juice
  28. Ethyl Maltol  (sounds like a lethal substance)
  29. Fructose
  30. Fruit Juice
  31. Fruit Juice Concentrate
  32. Galactose
  33. Glucose
  34. Glucose Solids
  35. Golden Sugar
  36. Golden Syrup
  37. Granulated Sugar
  38. Grape Sugar
  39. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  40. Honey
  41. Icing Sugar
  42. Invert Sugar
  43. Lactose (sometimes known as ‘milk sugar’)
  44. Malt Syrup
  45. Maltodextrin
  46. Maltose
  47. Mannitol
  48. Maple Syrup
  49. Molasses
  50. Muscovado Sugar
  51. Organic Raw Sugar
  52. Panocha
  53. Powdered Sugar
  54. Raw Sugar
  55. Refiner’s Syrup
  56. Rice Syrup
  57. Sorbitol
  58. Sorghum Syrup
  59. Sucrose
  60. Sugar
  61. Syrup
  62. Table sugar
  63. Treacle
  64. Turbinado sugar
  65. Yellow sugar