Tag Archives: Healthy living

Can you help me with healthy eating?

12 Apr

I started this year with great intentions of eating more healthily. I was frustrated that I wasn’t really eating five fruit or veg a day when it’s really not hard if you plan your meals right.

For breakfast I would have some juice, and cereal or porridge with dried or fresh fruit and I was getting 3 or 4 of my five-a-day before I left for work. I replaced more unhealthy snacks with seeds and crackers and planned healthy meals packed full of vegetables.

Our new years resolution helped because without the option of nipping out for take-away food I had to plan what we would eat and I had to cook every night. We wasted less food and saved money.

Sounds great, right? Well life tends to get in the way sometimes. Getting ill seems to have knocked everything off balance for us at the moment. I haven’t been cooking, I haven’t been shopping, I haven’t really been cleaning and my new years resolution has gone down the drain. I’ve just been rushing around dreaming of the moment that I can walk through the door and collapse into bed.

More annoyingly I know that it is a catch 22 situation. If I don’t eat properly then I’ll have less energy to get better and actually enjoy life. Arrggh!

My sweet friend Gill is currently taking part in a project called Raw Food Rehab which intrigues me. It’s an 11 week programme called Go Fresh! where you have to try and eat as much raw, fresh food as you can. I won’t be taking part as hubby won’t really want to play along, but it’s a good principle to be thinking of when you plan meals.

Anyway, in order to try and get myself back on track I need your help {and I need to sleep for a 1000 years}. Please can you comment or link me to some quick, simple but nutritious meals or let me have your tips for healthy eating in a rush?

Thanks friends! 🙂

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Another Year, Another Post

17 Oct

A year of blogging with WordPress has slipped quietly by. I can’t quite believe it. This has been the first time that I have ever recorded what goes on in my life and it’s been really good to be able to record and remember.

 

It has been a big year for us…the infamous first year of marriage and a new job. It’s been tough at times, but awesome all the same.

It’s also good to remember those funny moments which are so easy to forget over time too, like the day Josh lost his wedding ring, or when we chased a prize cockerel around the church grounds for an entire afternoon. See, it’s brought a smile to my face already!

 

As for living green, that has been great fun too! This time last year we were just getting our veg box for the first time. Since then we have been through various stages of loving organic food, hating it, giving up and shopping in supermarkets, and finally coming full circle and ordering our veg box again.

We’ve gradually found a balance of simple living that isn’t necessarily text book, but it works for us.

 

I wonder what I will be able to look back on next October? By that time we will have left Aberystwyth and could be anywhere(!). I look forward to finding out!

Blackberry, Apple and Pear Crumble

13 Sep

I can’t really give you a very detailed recipe for this crumble, as it’s one of the dishes that I literally just chuck it all in and hope for the best. However, it’s so easy to make and long as you don’t burn it it nearly always turns out okay.

So go on, why not give it a go? Just chuck all the ingredients together and get your hands dirty!

 

Blackberry, Apple and Pear Crumble, Rachel Style!

 

  • Blackberries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Flour
  • Sugar (caster and brown)
  • Butter

1. To make the crumble topping you need to rub cubes of butter into flour with your fingers, just like you’re making pastry. I normally just estimate the flour and then keep rubbing in cubes of butter until I have a consistency of very fine breadcrumbs.

Then add some sugar to the mixture and work it through. I don’t like sharp, cooked fruit so I always put loads of caster sugar in. The amount you add is optional depending on taste.

 

2. Peel and cut up the apples and pears into smallish chunks. Boil a pan of water with sugar and put the cubes of apple into it for a few minutes (it may be worth adding the pears too depending on how ripe they are). When the fruit is soft drain the water.

 

3. Pop all of the fruit into your crumble dish. I tend to mash it up a bit with a fork so it’s nice and squishy when it comes out of the oven but it just depends on your taste. I also sprinkle some sugar over the fruit.

 

4. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the fruit (about half an inch thick) and then sprinkle some brown sugar over the top to help it brown.

Whack it in the oven at about 180° for about 30-40 minutes. But keep an eye on it because these instructions are just sketchy and it will depend on how big your crumble is!

 

Yum! Perfect to enjoy with Uno Stacko!

It’s 5.35pm, I want to go home but I can’t think of a witty title for this entry

16 Aug

The last three weeks in the life of Rachel has been pretty pants. I didn’t blog because a) I couldn’t be bothered and b) I didn’t want to bore you all with what would blatantly have been a rant about how rubbish everything was.

 

The main reason for rubbishness is that I have been ill. Although I was still going to work I basically just did nothing except sleep when at home for two weeks, which isn’t great for life morale.

Other lowlights have included issues at work, upsetting news, awful weather, saying goodbye to two of our closest friends and oh yeah, did I already mention staring at my bedroom wall for two weeks?

 

Annnnyway, I’m feeling mostly better now, both physically and emotionally so you don’t need to worry about this being a rant (I hope).

Other positive things…It was our first wedding anniversary on the 4th and it’s my birthday next Tuesday (so very excited even though we don’t have much planned and it’s always an anticlimax – why do I build myself up to it?!).

 

Re. simple living – well things have been a bit up and down. Helping our friends move house inspired me to sort out our own house, so I spent one of the evenings I wasn’t feeling sick sorting out all the junk and mess that was left in our flat. We are now the proud owners of a clutter free abode!

 

On the down side, we have been having long chats about our future and what we want to do with our lives (this isn’t the downside!) and realised that many of the reasons we are often frustrated and unhappy are because of the ways we’re trying to go about simple living.

We’ve been to supermarkets quite a few times in the last fortnight, and bought products that are probably from naughty multinational companies because a) it was the only thing I felt like eating after being ill for so long and b) we just got so frustrated with not having any food in the house.

This really annoys me as it’s just a result of laziness, but there we go, things have been hectic lately. I don’t plan to shop in supermarkets every week, and neither of us wants to go back to eating non-organic/non-local fruit and veg, but I think we need to lighten up on ourselves in our buying for the sake of our sanity! Hopefully that way, we can get back into the rhythm of buying from local shops, and cooking inventive meals from local ingredients without feeling bound never to go to supermarkets, and then ending up not eating at all!

Caffeine Crazed

9 Jul

I can’t remember if I have already mentioned the fact that I don’t drink caffeinated drinks. I cut out caffeine around 4 years ago when I was doing my A Levels. I felt very ill and stressed over a long period of time, and my Mum suggested that I cut down my caffeine intake to see if it would help. I now occasionally drink hot chocolates, and I obviously eat chocolate, but I very rarely drink caffeinated tea or coffee.

 

So yesterday I got taken out by a work colleague to discuss an insurance issue, and he tells me that the “Mocha is to die for”, and I think, oh what is one shot of coffee going to do? Well, I can tell you, it can apparently do a lot! I felt sooo ill all day!

 

First came the buzzing brain, and lack of ability to concentrate on my work. Then after lunch I just felt unbelievably drained, with tired muscles like I hadn’t had enough sugar. Then came a slight headache and feeling of nausea along with a slightly ‘manic’ feeling. I was still feeling the effects 12 hours later as I tried (and failed) to sleep. My thoughts were just spinning round my mind, and I felt very anxious.

 

I looked up the effects on the internet and I matched many of the side effects that I felt, although they suggest you would feel these after 6 cups of coffee! I must have totally lost my tolerance and be particularly sensitive to its effects. It makes me glad that I have cut out caffeine when I can tell it obviously has a negative effect on my body. I was just glad to wake up this morning and realise I wasn’t going insane after all!

Breaded Quandaries

10 Jun

How much is a loaf of bread these days? £1.20, £1.30? It’s been so long since we’ve bought one I don’t know anymore, I just hear people complaining about the hike in its prices. It set me wondering if it’s actually cheaper for us to make our own, or if we would be better buying it from the bakery down the road. Ok, well I’m going to attempt to do the maths (which I must warn you may contain a glaring mistake, it really isn’t my strong point!)

 

Yeast (I can’t remember the price but I would guess around 5p per loaf)

Flour = 60p per loaf

Butter = 13p per loaf

Sugar and Salt = Around 5p or less per loaf

Milk Powder (although I don’t use this because we ran out and I’m too lazy to go searching for it around town) = around 10p per loaf

 

So this suggests that it is cheaper to make our own…I don’t really have a clue about how much electricity would cost to run the breadmaker, but I guess it’s costing us about £1.10 for a large loaf of bread?

 

The thing I love about making our own bread is that we know what’s in it. I’ve read horror stories about supermarket loaves which are just filled with fat and salt to make them stay risen because they haven’t been given the full amount of rising time due to production pressures. Even if we were paying the same price –or more- I think that knowledge makes it worth it. I guess that goes for all the extra prices we pay to get organic or local food.

 

…although I must admit that we had Subway last week, which I know if all very uneco-friendly and probably full of gunk, but I had never had one before and they are SO YUMMY!

Organic Experiments – a review

8 Apr

According to my blog stats I get a fair amount people viewing my blog (particularly the organic experiments post) because they have been referred by search engines after asking questions along the lines of “do organic toiletries work”, “are organic shampoos worth it?” or “no aluminium deodorant”. 

Well, as people are obviously wondering about these things I thought I would give you an update on my organic toiletries as it’s coming up to a year since I first started using them. Here goes…

 

Organic Hair Care

I use Greenpeople’s Organic Base No Scent shampoo and conditioner. It has a SLS and preservative free formula and contains no parabens or perfumes. I started off using the Aloe Vera shampoo but changed to this type because (a) it was 50p cheaper and (b) I figured fewer additives couldn’t be a bad thing.

I don’t really think that these products leave your hair feeling any better than conventional shampoos in the short term, but I’m almost sure that the build up of residue on your hair is reduced – meaning that in the long run your hair ends up feeling softer and lighter. They certainly don’t have a negative effect, so the fact that you’re not rubbing lots of harmful chemicals onto your scalp and down the plug has to be a huge plus point.

Yes, it is expensive at £8 a bottle, but it also is more concentrated and lasts for a lot longer. I think I have bought 3 new bottles of shampoo in 9 months and I’m still on my first bottle of conditioner (that’s between two people, and I shampoo my hair everyday and condition once a week). I would recommend these products.

 

Organic Deodrant

I use Ice Guard Crystal Deodrant. It is a mineral stick which you wet and rub on and it works by suppressing the growth of skin bacteria.

I would recommend this to anyone, and already have to most people I know! Although it is not an antiperspirant (so doesn’t stop you sweating) I have not found it a problem at all. I have used it nearly everyday for 8 months and have never felt embarrassed or let down by it. In fact it means that we have to wash our clothes less because there is no stale smell left on our clothes from deodorant at the end of the day.

It is completely natural and doesn’t contain aluminium or other additives known to be linked with Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

 

We also use…

Greenpeople’s Organic Toothpaste and Olivia Soap

 

The main thing I have found is that all the products that the ‘industry’ sells as necessary really aren’t. Perhaps that’s just me being slow and most people know it already but I used to spend so much on junk to make my skin amazing and my hair shiny and now I only use these few products and if anything, my skin and hair are in better condition! Funny that, considering I’m not smothering them in chemicals anymore…hmm…

 

Anyway, if you are interested in living a more ethical/organic lifestyle but are not too keen on trawling your way through scientific based books I would recommend ‘A life stripped bare’ by Leo Hickman. It’s an entertaining but informative read on pretty much everything you need to start off living a greener life.

Bottled Up

22 Feb

You may have heard all the recent hype and argument about drinking bottled water and wondered what is the world coming to?! Surely we have better things to argue about than bottled water. Well, I agree, but I’m still going to blog about it! 

Now, I have never been one to buy bottled water, except when I’m out and have got nothing else to drink.
There is currently a campaign to try and get people to order tap water in restaurants instead of buying bottled. Perhaps it’s just the fact I never go to fancy city restaurants where they turn up their nose at tap water, but the thought of paying £1 plus (£52 per litre for some brands!!) for a glass of water is ludicrous to me! Especially when a team of wine tasters couldn’t tell the difference between tap and bottled in a recent Panorama documentary!
 

Apparently bottled water causes 600 times more carbon emissions, costs 1000 times the price of tap water and less than 25% of plastic bottles are recycled so I can see why they are promoting it. 

However is it just me or is anyone else uncomfortable with the recent ideas of adding fluoride to water? I understand the potential health benefits (from better dental health to reducing the risk of fractures of the hip and vertebrae in older women) but the fact that some are suggesting links to cancer, Downs Syndrome and osteoarthritis scares me a little.
It’s just seems like another prime example of people going ahead with things without fully understanding the outcomes.
At least I have been able to choose not to use cosmetics and products that combine cocktails of chemicals, the effects of which we just don’t know yet.
But if they change our water, what choice have we got but to expose ourselves to it? I guess this is when having your own water supply comes in useful!