Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Summer is near. Time to get freaky with it.

garden 1

 

It’s nearly summertime in the Southern Hemisphere and you know what that means: an abundance of fresh food.

It’s only November but I’m already inundated with tomatoes, chillies and the capsicums are really taking off. Don’t get me wrong, the garden continued to grow during winter. Winter was good for sweet potato,  silver-beet and the rosemary plant.

Fresh, homegrown food had been highlighted in the media recently.

Many health conscious Australians have already seen fitness guru Michelle Bridges’s marketing flop go viral. If you don’t know what I’m on about, take a look at it here.

What do you think?

Well, judging by the reaction to it here in Australia, Woolies and Michelle have made an massive error.

Imagine calling people who grow their own food freaks.  How can frozen, microwaved food be healthier than your own garden*?

Naturopath Jules Galloway posted a brilliant open letter to Michelle on her blog today. I certainly could not say it better than Jules did. Have a read of Jules’s open letter here.

I don’t really care if Michelle Bridges thinks I’m a freak. I’m happy to wear the FREAK label if it means I’m doing what I can to better my health and the health of my family. But I think it’s wrong for the message to be that frozen, microwaved, low in protein, high in sugar food is better for you because it’s more convenient than taking the time to grow and cook your own.

I just came in from the garden. I didn’t eat any dirt and I didn’t feel like a freak. And I will have delicious, juicy, sweet tomatoes for lunch today. I wonder what Michelle is having? Her foot?

garden 4 garden 3 garden 2

Do you grow your own fruits, veggies or herbs? 

*for the record, I don’t use any pesticides or chemicals on my gardens. They may not look perfect but at least my produce is free from poison.


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Would you give up chocolate, booze and coffee for your health?

“She turned to the sunlight    And shook

Okay, so I’m back on a restricted diet. Not by choice but by extreme necessity.

My sinuses and I assume, my nasal polyps have been quite bad for months now; 18 or so actually. I was  getting on with life but the past couple months, my health has declined to a point where I am having sinus headaches, my ears are blocking up and aching and I’m not sleeping well. And I need sleep.

So, as of July 23 I stopped eating sugar, wheat, dairy, most fruits, booze, coffee and most processed foods (when you give up sugar, wheat and dairy that cancels out processed foods anyway). Now, I will admit to having a couple beer and 2 cookies since but those were my only slips.

Although a miracle hasn’t happened (yet), I do feel better. I actually slept through the night once since *fist pump*

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Let’s talk about coffee and books

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Is there anything better than snuggling down with a coffee and a good book?

I love me a good book. Give me a coffee too and I’m in heaven. I’ve been reading a lot lately, so much so that I’m thinking about changing my career path to professional reader – is that even possible? I think that would be my dream job.

I keep track of my books on Goodreads.com and so far this year, I’ve read 12 good ones. For me, that’s a huge increase from previous years. Last year, I read 10. Although I have 15 as my goal for this year, I think I will aim for 25. I have at least 20 books on my shelf and probably another 6 on my tablet to read. Most of these are fiction of varying genres.

What’s your favourite genre? Mine at the moment is Crime Thriller.

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3 soups you can easily make at home

blog oct 4 spicy lentil soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

Ahhhh, soup. It’s a nourishing, easy winter meal. I’ve been working at the local supermarket, stocking shelves, for the past 3 months and “my” aisle is the one with all the soups: packaged, powdered, tinned, boxed, microwavable – all the convenient types. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with them, if you like to consume additives and preservatives. Hey, I ate Campbell’s Tomato and Cream of Mushroom at least weekly for the first 30 years of my life. They are actually really tasty! But, here’s the thing. Soup is incredibly easy to make from scratch. I don’t even use a recipe. I get inspired from recipes but I usually just toss stuff in a pot and boil it together. So, ditch the tins this week and try a home-made, from scratch soup. Enjoy!

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Learn how to make natural cold remedies at home

honeycomb

Winter has arrived Down Under and the cold & flu season is upon us. Although I have chronic sinus issues, I rarely take prescriptions or over-the-counter medications for relief (but stay tuned because I think I need surgery again). And I never take that stuff for a common cold, nor does Mr M or Master T. I do take paracetamol for extreme pain when needed (I am human after all). But I wish I didn’t and I’m always impressed when I speak to someone who NEVER takes medication, like Cyndi O’Meara.

Of course the key to not needing medications is to not get sick. And to not get sick, you need a kick-ass immune system. Which is all good in a perfect world. And we all know we don’t live in a perfect world. So, what do you do if you get sick and don’t want to take over-the-counter cold and flu meds?

Make your own.

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Got a fussy eater in the house? 5 ways to smuggle healthy options into their food

How to be a Smuggler

Making healthy choices is usually not a top priority for children ( or some adults either). People who refuse to see the faults of the white stuff really shit me but it’s their health, eh? And by white stuff, I mean refined foods like white flour, pasta, bread, rice and sugar.

I do try to eat less sugar but that doesn’t mean I never have it or  the other whiteys (and sometimes that shits me but nobody’s perfect). Thankfully, I raised my son on wholemeal bread so when he gets white bread he knows it’s a “treat”, kind of like a chocolate bar. He also readily eats brown rice, wholemeal baking and pasta sauce with vegetables. But aside from the bread, he didn’t  always accept the healthier options (wholemeal or vegetables either). At first, I had to be a bit sneaky about it. My advice is to ease into a change and don’t ban the white stuff for good. I used to think moderation was unachievable but my choices seem to sway towards that notion these days.

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How to eat less sugar

Do you feel hyper, on edge, scattered, moody and hungry for most of the day? You may want to consider eating less sugar.

photo from Kraft Canada

photo from Kraft Canada

On April 9th, I made a 3-week commitment to eat less sugar  because I was feeling too addicted to it. I wanted to eat cookies for breakfast.

I was meant to have NO sugar but I failed last night when I ate a large piece of chocolate cake that my son made. It was his first cake and I wanted to be supportive. See what I did there? I came up with a great excuse why I had to eat that cake.

Never mind the cake. It was rich and delicious but it’s gone.

Now, I want to share some of my strategies for eating less sugar. Not NO sugar but LESS. We all know that our foods are too sweet but there are ways to get away from refined sugar – yes, I’m talking about refined sugar, the white stuff. Having less or no sugar does not mean you can’t have anything sweet. I think some people get confused by that. If you replace refined sugar with other sweet foods, like fruit or honey, the ride will be much smoother. But remember, they both have fructose in them so don’t over do it.

Start the day right

Eat a decent protein-based breakfast. I love to have free range scrambled or poached eggs on one piece of grain or wholewheat toast for breakfast. Trying spreading the bread with avocado instead of butter for a nutritious and delicious change. If I’m pressed for time, just a thick piece (or 2) of toast with sugar & salt-free peanut butter will do the job. Winter is fast upon us here in Australia so I’ll soon be having oatmeal or quinoa porridge with dates, nuts, seeds and banana.

Get fruity

Eat low sugar fruits like green apple and berries. But don’t be afraid to eat other fruits too. Don’t listen to people who turn their banana upside down (into a frown). A banana a day won’t kill you, in fact quite the contrary. Bananas have many benefits.  A banana packs a punch with potassium, energy, ability to regulate blood sugar, fills you up, low in salt, high in fibre and contains high amounts of tryptophan, which coverts to serotonin. *high 5*

Hydrate

Drinking water not only hydrates your body, aids bowel movements and gives you an internal wash, it keeps you full. Aim for at least 3 litres a day. Add lemon or apple cider vinegar for an added boost.

Tea Time

As well as water, I find drinking more tea (unsweetened) helps curb my cravings for sugar. For me, sugar consumption is linked to emotional eating, procrastination and boredom. Stick to herbal teas like: rooibos, peppermint, ginger, chamomile or any caffeine-free teas. You don’t want to replace your sugar addiction with a caffeine one or insomnia.

Replace it

There are myriad forms of sweeteners today. I use coconut sugar, raw honey or rapadura sugar if I have to have it. Be careful of alternatives like commercial honey, agave or stevia. Stevia has a chemical taste to it (in my opinion) so try it before you spend lots of money on  the powdered version. Agave goes through a process that basically turns it to something similar to high fructose corn syrup and store-bought honey gets heated to high temperatures that renders it toxic. Please stay away from artificial sweeteners. They are poison to your body.

Think ahead

Be prepared. Avoiding refined sugar means eating less processed foods and to do that, you must plan your meals and snacks. If you don’t, it’s much easier to sway towards to boxed dinner or a high-sugar snack for afternoon tea. Have a prepared salad, cut-up veggies, nuts & seeds; hummus & guacamole dips; crackers (check the ingredients for sugar) and cheese on hand to snack throughout the day. When planning your meals, keep it simple: protein, vegetables and a starch like potatoes or rice if you must. Pasta is a quick and easy meal, just be wary of store-bought sauces – they almost ALL have added sugar.

Bye bye booze

Sorry, but if you want to make a real change to your sugar intake, you will have to give booze a miss. Not forever, if you don’t want to. I go through cycles of drinking and not drinking. When I want to make conscious decisions about my health and diet, I always get on the wagon. Like I said, it’s not about forever. It’s more about changing your mind-set and taking a break. If you must have a drink, say at an event or party, go for spirits like vodka or gin. Try it with sparkling mineral water and lemon or lime. This makes a good low sugar alternative to beer or wine.

Think like a caveman

By now, everyone out there has heard of the paleo or caveman diet. I’m not a subscriber but I understand some of the benefits. They eat more animal products (great source of protein), more fresh produce like vegetables and fruit, honey, nuts and seeds and they eat little to no processed foods. If you stuck to this eating regime, there is virtually no option to have refined sugar in your diet. This article on Harvard Health Publications says protein is an important part of our diet. It’s used for building and repairing cells, muscles, and skin. I’m not one for eating huge amounts of meat, especially red meat, but eating nuts, free range chicken, eggs, legumes, fish and sometimes dairy products are a good way to get your daily intake (which is recommended to be %15 of your food). Click here for paleo recipes.

Are you trying to reduce your sugar intake? Do you have any other suggestions to add? Please share!