Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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I’m a cheater and I’m ok with that

As I write this I have a lollypop in my mouth. They were not on my list of what to eat when I set my latest (but not greatest) food challenge.

Yes, I’ve been cheating. Not great amounts, just small samples here and there. The thing is – I rarely do this. I am usually very diligent and reliable, especially when it comes to my health.

I set the 4-week challenge as a way to cut back on my over-indulgence and that has worked. My daily beer habit is gone but I did have about 6 beer over the past 3 weeks, which is nothing compared to the daily 3 I had become accustomed to.

I have had very little wheat, none to even speak of but I have had some gluten-free fruit toast over the past 3 days. And the only dairy I have is the probiotic yoghurt, which is a must for my gut. Oh…actually that’s a lie. Last week we had dinner at Dough Pizza in Perth (I had the chicken salad) and I sampled some chocolate gelato and tiramasu. YUM, they were both fantastic. And believe me, I needed the sweets badly. That was the day my Mac crashed. I was not in a good mood. And you know what? Eating that chocolate really boosted me up.

Halloween was the other night and Master T went trick or treating. I actually bought more treats to hand out at our door then he came home with but he had fun anyway. Yesterday I had a moment of weakness and consumed some potato chips. I didn’t even care. Sometimes I feel I’m too serious about this (and a lot of other things) so I just said, stuff it I’m going to have these and enjoy them! And I did until….

I then did my Thursday workout. I barely made it to the 20 minute mark. Gosh, it nearly killed me. I realised that I hadn’t eaten properly nor had I drank enough water during the day and then to eat potato chips just before hand??? Clearly, I wasn’t thinking!

So, the “cheating” consists of beer, lollies, dessert and 2 single serve bags of potato chips. It’s all good though. I’m not bothered by it because in general, I am sticking to healthy diet and (almost) daily exercise program. I’m coming close to balancing.

Plus, it’s November which means it’s NaNoWriMo month and I’m not sure restricting anything is advisable during this. So far I’m on target but it’s only day 2. I may have to call on chocolate again for mood enhancing later this month or tomorrow.

I have one more week left on this 4-week challenge then I can relax a bit and fall back into old habits….lol, no hopefully not. My in-laws are visiting next weekend.That was the reason for Nov 10th to be the cut-off. Really I’m still just trying to lay the foundation for permanent change and every stint helps me along.

On January 3, I will start Tracy Anderson’s 30-day method. I need the next 2 months to gear myself up for it. It won’t be easy – that I know. She’s full-on!! And there’ll be no cheating on Tracy!!!!

Have you ever cheated on anything?

 

 

 

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The Skydiver Diet

falling…..in love with life ©Morton

UPDATE:

My skydiving photos have been taken from this site many times over without my permission. Please note all images on Kai Chronicles are copyrighted and cannot be used without written permission. If you have used the image without my permission, please remove it from your site ASAP. 

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Listen to your body

 

I’ve just stuffed down a piece of homemade (by me) pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. I had to force it down because I am so full from dinner: 3/4 of a veggie pizza and 3 beer.

Yes, I’m on a binge.

No, I’m not happy with myself.

I’ve had a shithouse day full of disappointment and self-induced stress but nevermind that, the binge was premeditated.

See, tomorrow is the start of another health kick or health booster as I’m calling this latest stint.

I’ve fallen back into the habit of  drinking alcohol everyday, whether I really feel like it or not and my eating habits are getting slack as well.

I’ve been baking too.

Raspberry white chocolate muffins

Banana cake, chocolate chip cookies, muffins…and of course, I eat it! The muffins…yummy!

I’ve also had a hamburger and I don’t even eat RED MEAT!!! Damn, it was delicious!

 

Hamburger with homemade pesto and salad

 

I said it before. I love food. I like to have a beer or two on a hot day. I love homemade baked goods and I’m pretty good at making yummy things. But it’s now time to listen to my body.

I’ve had a few headaches lately and my respiratory system is becoming clogged up again. Thankfully, I still have my sense of smell and taste, which is great but also makes it hard for me to resist good food. And  when I hear the word resist, I think of Eckhart Tolle when he says:

“What you resist, persists”

 

I truly feel ill at the moment. I’ve eaten so much tonight that I feel sick but I am still thinking, ‘only 3 hours left of today, then it’s back on the wagon, what else can I eat?’

But I cannot eat or drink another thing tonight so for the next 4 weeks (minus Oct 27th when I have dinner plans in Perth), I will be on my health booster which will include the following guidelines:

 
On the menu

 

Protein: Chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, chickpeas, beans, nuts, seeds

 

Carbs/Starch: Brown rice, oats, gluten-free pasta

 

Oils: olive, sesame

 

Dairy: Greek yogurt, sheep’s feta

 

Veg: All except carrot, corn, potatoes

 

Fruit: ONLY berries, green apple, pear, lemon, lime

 

Drinks: Decaf tea/coffee, soy/rice milk, water – NO ALCOHOL or SUGAR Drinks

 

Limit sugar, fat, processed foods

 
Fitness (mind and body)

 

 

 

10 minutes meditation                                                  Daily

 

5 Healing Tibetans/yoga (15min)                             Daily

 

20 minutes (min) of cardio                                          4 times per week (M*, T, Th*, Sat)

 

1.5 hour yoga class                                                          Wednesday

 

* Training with Mr M

 

I do not need to lose weight, just tone and get rid of the beer bloat. I know for sure that I feel and look better when I cut out all the junk that my body doesn’t need. Gosh, I know I sound like a broken record and I truly hope that someday I will get to where I want to be. For now, I will get back up after I have fallen…again and again and again.

The thing is, I secretly look forward to these “restricted” periods. For some reason, I cannot go without unless I give myself a date and some rules. Control issues? Probably, but whatever works at the time.

October and November is a great time to get healthy before the Christmas season kicks off. Nobody in their right mind tries a health plan or restricted diet during that time!!

If you’re trying a new eating regime, remember this: it’s hard work and you really need to want it bad enough to be successful at it. (Yes, I’m talking to myself here…lol.)

 

 

 

 


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Bliss in Banff

Returning to Banff after an 11 year absence was not a mistake. Banff holds many beautiful memories for me and I was fortunate to call it home from April 1993 to January 1997. Returning was like a home coming.

The tourist town in Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, has certainly developed over the years but the essence is still the same. Sure, it’s full of damn tourists but its beauty must be shared with the masses. I am happy to be in the presence of others while I enjoy its mountainous embrace.

DAY ONE

I was not in a rush to get going on my first day. I had a nice sleep in and casual breakfast in the hostel kitchen. By the time I got off the bus on Banff Avenue, it was nearly 11:30am.

I meandered up the main shopping street, peeking in  windows and smiling at the towering mountains that surrounded me. My main mission was to find a coffee.

It didn’t take me long to stumble in to Evelyn’s – Banff’s main local cafe. It’s so popular, the town hosts 3 different Evelyn branches. I must say though, my decaf Americano was not the greatest. There are plenty of other cafes to experience.

From there, the shopping began. Yes, Banff is full of the tacky souvenir shops but some of them have really cool stuff. Like the onesie pjamas I got for Master T, my 6-year-old son.

At $30 plus tax, they were pricey for sleep wear but I couldn’t resist the one piece, bright red suit with the trap door!!! He’ll love the BEAR BUM print on the back.

Canadian Jammies

From there, I wondered up and down Banff Avenue stopping in shops, browsing and sometimes trying on clothing! I really had no intention of shopping but the shops and products are so enticing that I couldn’t help myself.

A typical shop on Banff Avenue

Besides some souvenirs, I bought myself a pair of Jessica Simpson red jeans. They were 40% off and they fit me nicely. When I did a couple of rounds in Cascade Plaza, I passed a bookstore that had a display of the popular book, Fifty Shades of Grey. I had heard about this book at the I CAN DO IT conference, of all places, and I was intrigued by the comments about it. I had never heard of it before. I stopped to have a read of the back and instantly took it to the counter and asked the staff if they had read it. Both had. The Aussie girl gave her no holds barred opinion saying it wasn’t great literature but it was a page turner and quite sexually charged and racy. SOLD. I love a good smutty book.

Back on Banff Avenue I found a shop I had actually planned to shop at, Rocky Mountain Soap Company. What can I say, it’s the usual handmade soaps, bath salts, body butters, moisturizers etc. It was lovely and the “product adviser” was excellent. I even got a free mini pumpkin soap. I also spent $45. oops.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

All that pacing and deciding made me hungry. My friend, Yui recommended I have a souvlaki wrap from Barpa Bill’s on Bear Street. When I arrived there at 1:30pm, it was not busy so I decided to eat in. I ordered the chicken and perused my new book as I waited. Ordering a wheat-based wrap that contains a dairy-based sauce would normally not be my first choice but I adore Greek food and since it came highly recommended, I had to have it. SO glad I did. Although I have no sense of taste or smell, the strong flavours of lemony marinated meat and the raw onions grooved all over my dulled taste buds like there was a dance contest in my mouth.

The humble kitchen of Barpa Bill’s

The delicious souvlaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfied and thoroughly spent (haha, pun intended!!!), I made my way to the Upper Hot Pools. I was stunned at the measly fee that was charged, only $6.20 with my HI/YHA membership. This is super cheap compared to the $23.50 NZD in Franz Josef, New Zealand where I just spent 7 months. The pool was a heavenly 39 degrees celsius. It was moderately busy with other tourists from around the globe. I spent a good hour or so soaking in the calm waters while the sun played peek-a-boo with clouds and at one point, it even hailed! Oh yes, it was apparent that I was in Canada.

Photo by a stranger…..thank you!

Next, I walked for 5 minutes to the gondola station. I had every intention of walking up Sulphur Mountain and saving myself $17 (it’s only $15 if you buy a one-way ticket) but it was already going on 5pm and frankly, I couldn’t be assed. I was far too relaxed after my hour-long hot tub session too. I grabbed a decaf coffee from Starbucks (yes, they are bloody everywhere) and had the entire car to myself. Of course, the camera came out and I took photos of the ride up, even though I knew once at the top the views would be spectacular!!

And they were. I nabbed the first available person to do a photographer swap. He took 3 of me and I took 3 of him, with his own camera, of course. It was cold and windy so I did the run around the circumference of the building, stood in the blowing snow for a few minutes (yes, it’s MAY and it snowed) then went to the cafe for a beer. For the $32 (after 4pm) fare, it was worth every penny. You just will not get the same visual effect from ground level.

The best view of Banff.

A self-portrait in the gondola

On my way back through town, I considered going back to Barpa Bill’s for dinner and that’s actually where I was headed when I strolled by the Magpie and Stump. This Mexican/Southwest pub and restaurant has been around for yonks and I’d certainly eaten here when Banff was my stomping ground. I glanced at the menu posted outside the entrance and made my decision: Mexican it would be – cheese, sour cream and all!!

I was promptly seated and ordered a traditional margarita. Why not, I thought? It came to me in a mason jar with a salted rim,,,yummy. I chose the bean and vegetable quesadilla to eat. I pulled out the BOOK and by the time my meal came, I was hooked. I read in between bites and sips of drink and with the John Butler Trio playing in the background, felt as though I could have stayed there forever. My waitress, Vanessa was friendly and attentive, so she got a nice tip…something that now erks me about North America. In the South Pacific, tipping is optional.

It may have been this sign that sealed my stomach’s fate!!! Too funny.

A classic Margarita

I did so much on my first day back in Banff. There is  still more to do in this town, like a visit to the Banff Springs Hotel…another day. If I can pull myself away from Fifty Shades of Grey that is……LOL!!


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Pancake Tuesday

Perfect Pancakes

Today is pancake day. Growing up in Canada, I took part in this traditional day of overindulgence; a day to feast upon pancakes or donuts. As a kid, I wasn’t sure why and I didn’t question it. Especially when Mum would put coins in the hot cakes. Not very hygienic but we survived. I knew it had something to do with religion but you don’t have to be Christian be partake.

Catholics call it Shrove Tuesday. It is the day before Ash Wednesday and the last chance for Christians to feast and celebrate before shriving their sins to receive absolution and giving up luxury foods and festivities until Easter.

Pancakes (and donuts in some countries) were made to use up all the rich foods like eggs, butter and sugar in the house before Lent. The custom stuck through the years with feasting and parties developing into well-known traditions around the world.

In England, not only do they eat pancakes, they race them too. Long ago, an English woman was making pancakes when she heard the shriving bell ring. She was so concerned  that she would be late that she ran to the church with her  fry pan and pancakes. Apparently, that is how the pancake races began and continue to this day. The race is also now popular in parts of the USA where Shrove Tuesday has influenced other festivities.

Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, has grown into week-long plus parties and celebrations in New Orleans, USA and Sydney, Australia throughout the month of February. On the island country of Madeira, sugar-coated donuts called malasadas are served from  streets vendors. People love an excuse to eat, drink and be festive whether you are Christian or not.

So tonight, eat and enjoy pancakes for dinner. Here’s my own family recipe (always serve with Canadian maple syrup.

Canadian Pancakes * can be made dairy-free

1.5 cups of plain flour

3 tsps baking powder

Cooking the pancakes

pinch of salt

2 TBSP sugar (optional)

1 egg

2 TBSP vegetable oil* or melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup + milk (*rice milk makes them lighter)

 

Combine all the ingredients together. Add more milk as you see fit, the thicker the batter, the heavier the pancake. They should hold their shape in the pan (not thin like a crepe). No need to use beaters, just mix by hand. If time permits, let the mix sit for up to 30 minutes to activate the raising agents.

The key the perfect pancakes is the correct temperature of the pan. Use a non-stick or heavy cast iron pan. You can use a bit of oil or oil spray to prevent sticking. I always test the temperature with a very small amount of mix before creating large pancakes. I call this the tester and my son usually is the recipient.

Allow bubbles to form and most of them burst before flipping over. One flip is enough.  The colour should be even brown or golden. Practice makes perfect. Enjoy!!

 


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Rainy Day Happiness

kaichronicles gluten free chocolate pudding cake recipe

Today has been one of those cold and extremely wet days, the kind that makes you want to stay inside and curl up with a hot cuppa and a good book.

Once again, I use these days as an excuse to eat warm, comforting food. Home made stew or soup with freshly baked bread or scones are excellent remedies for a stormy day. So is a hot, saucy chocolate pudding cake!!!

I whipped this up in no time and enjoyed it as a treat after dinner. It’s easy, yummy, gluten and dairy free and has little sugar compared to other desserts.

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Eat to live or live to eat?

Welcome to kai chronicles!!

Kai is a common word and its meaning varies depending on your culture. I have connections to New Zealand and Japan and that is why I have chosen to call this blog kai chronicles.

According to Wikipedia:

In Māori, Kai means “food” (this one is absolutely true and used by many kiwis).

In Japanese, Kai may mean “change” or “the action to correct” or “concerning oneself with” (I will check this with Japanese mates). Notice how Wikipedia uses the word “may”.

So now I ask the age old question: Do you live to eat or eat to live?

I seem to be living to eat lately but I go through stages.

I have been attempting to be dairy, gluten, red meat, alcohol, fruit, sugar, yeast, caffeine,  fermented food FREE off and on for nearly 18 months now. Actually since 2005, I have experimented with many forms of food restrictions due to health issues.

It’s extremely hard to do but I have been successful, for short periods of time.

AND, the thing is this: When on the ‘restricted’ diet, I feel better!!! But after 4-6 weeks, I crack and cannot cope unless I eat a whole cake and once I do that, it’s all off until I have the will power to start all over again.

This I  know for sure: I’m an emotional eater.

My latest attempt, which was successful for 2 weeks then I introduced apples, potatoes and some other ‘sweet’ vegetables and all was well for anther 2 weeks before I started to cave, was smack in the middle of some emotional turbulance so it was probably not the best time to give it a go.

I am now enjoying most of the restrictions except: alcohol, dairy(except pro-biotic yogurt which is good for tummy health), caffeine and mostly staying away from yeast. If I crave a peanut butter sandwich, I’ll eat it.

I’ve been practicing ‘presence’ for nearly four years now. I rationalise my food intake with the NOW.

If this moment is all we have, I say, “EAT CAKE AND LOVE IT”.