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Back on board

14 Oct

You might recall that during my pregnancy I had undeniable cravings for meat. You can read more about my journey with meat eating here.

I had never really cooked much meat before this, so I was confronted with the reality of learning to cook it and, you know I love cooking right? So I’m sad to admit that I actually started to get creative with it and even enjoy it a little.

I had hoped that once giving birth that I could give up meat eating instantly but I found that early on the cravings got worse! Breastfeeding left me feeling dehydrated and hungry all the time and I was craving nutrient dense, high protein food, I was after all, making milk! I was eating around 6 meals in 24 hours and my body was going crazy for meat.

So now not only had I begun to feel used to the meat cravings I was actually enjoying cooking and eating it. It went from being a medicinal addition to my diet to a staple. So now that I’m no longer breastfeeding, my body has calmed down and as I’d hoped, my meat cravings have dissipated. The problem is now that I have an appreciation for meat in my life that I never had before. What’s a girl to do?

Thankfully after being a vego for so long it was impossible for me to eat meat unconsciously. I am very aware of what my choices support and had to make peace with that. I’ve recently been inspired by people who do the occasional-ethical-meat-eating thing and I think that for the time being, that’s what I’m going to do. In no way am I going to have it regularly but I have decided that every once in a while I might choose to have some. I am ok with this.

Still, please don’t offer me meat at your place or expect to be served any at my place. I’ll choose when and where I have it or if I have it at all. That being said, I’m SO glad to be rid of those damn cravings!

Intolerable

15 Jul

Some days I feel as though my yeast intolerance has completely destroyed my life and other days I believe it to be the greatest blessing imaginable. When I eat yeast my digestive system slows down and then it causes me all sorts of discomfort for up to 4 weeks, even when it’s just an additive or a flavouring.

There are so many normal and delicious foods that I can’t have because of it: bread, pizza and croissants to name a few… and because I also don’t have dairy, my options become very limited when I’m eating out.

Bob and I used to go out for breakfast every weekend, something which is virtually impossible for us now. Not only are most breakfasts based around or accompanied by bread, but all of the alternatives are usually high in dairy or cooked in butter. I can eat sourdough bread (thank my lucky stars) however most commercial “sourdough” is just sour flavoured yeast bread. Going out for breakfast is a thing of the past for me.

What about lunch? Thankfully there are a few reliable sources of nomi-friendly food on the Gold Coast but unfortunately most of them are the Southern end so we don’t get down there much. As far as traditional lunch options go, let’s face it – they are mostly based around putting things between two slice of bread. Sometimes I consider a soup or a curry but the problem here is that any prepackaged stock or sweet asian sauce is guaranteed to contain yeast extract (cry) and when you try to explain this to people, even chefs, they often fail to understand.

People associate yeast with bread and beer. It’s difficult to convince people that it is also found in other foods. Even sushi contains yeast!

Going out for dinner is about the same as lunch for me. There are a few safe options that are just a little bit too far away to be easy. Pasta is usually safe and thai style coconut based curries made with fresh spice pastes are usually ok too. Pretty much all indian food is made with ghee or yoghurt. Funnily enough I can often find some goodies at a pub of all places, chips and salad is easy providing that they have a non beer battered version.

Often though, I just reside myself to eating at home as explaining my needs to busy waiting staff is often more trouble than it’s worth. Many of you may be thinking, well that doesn’t sound so bad and you’re right, it’s not… but some days the craving for a pizza or a croissant is simply unbearable and the alternatives are just not even worth it.

So, what good could come from this terrible fate? Here’s just a few positives:

I learnt to cook. My cooking skills were very basic before I discovered my yeast intolerance 3 years ago. I used foods and flavourings out of packets and never attempted anything seemingly complex or adventurous. Once I wasn’t able to use stir-fry sauces I had to make my own. Once I wasn’t able to use vegie stock I had to make my own. Once I wasn’t able to have toast for breakfast, I had to find something else. I had no choice but to learn!

I turned to wholefoods. Considering that so many packaged food contain yeast derivatives or suspicious ingredients like “seasonings” or “vegetarian flavourings” I turned to a diet which is for the most part unprocessed. I absolutely LOVE eating foods in their natural form – it feels so right. I recently had white rice for the first time in months and it just left me feeling empty! I still use some packaged foods – far less than ever before – and mostly organic with as few ingredients as possible.

I eat less crap. I don’t get tempted by shitty foods at the servo, I take healthy snacks with me everywhere I go. There is hardly any ready made snacks in my fridge and pantry. If I want biscuits, I need to make them myself and because I can control what goes into them, I’m eating so much better than ever before.

I feel amazing. Before I discovered my intolerance I used to have a tummy ache pretty much all the time. It caused me to feel nauseous and anxious as well as having uncontrollable gas and pain that struck at random. I was afraid of going out in case the pain or anxiety showed up. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this good! I am so thankful everyday that I don’t suffer with those symptoms anymore.

Whenever I’ve had yeast by accident I’ve been reminded of the discomfort that I used to suffer with and I’ve realised that although sometimes I believe I’m missing out, I’m actually doing what’s best for my body.  When I think of my intolerance, it’s a love/hate relationship!

100 Bad-ass Posts

6 Jun

So apparently this is my 100th post. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken 3 years to get this far but I suppose it’s a milestone worth celebrating, especially as it’s been 3 years almost to the day since I began the badlet blog adventure. I started this blog as a way for me to vent my “bad” side, share my journey and search for the truth. I intended it only for friends (and as a creative outlet for myself) initially but have since gained followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

Some days I feel as though I live two different lives, especially working as a counsellor, feeling the pressure to be a good role model etc. but the Badlet blog has kept the other half of me alive… the half that swears and has strong opinions, judgements, challenges and is a little bit weird.

I’ve complied a list of my favourite posts below with a little description. I enjoy looking back on where I’ve come from and how I’ve grown – I hope you do as well. Thanks to all the readers – I know you’re out there, the stats don’t lie, leave me a comment sometime! Much love, Badlet.

Adelaide July 2009 – Not funny at the time but hilarious later – If it will be funny later, it’s funny now.

Hobart Sept 2009 – Glass O Whine – Trying to understand why people ‘need’ to drink alcohol.

Hobart Sept 2009 – The world would be so much shitter without you Colin – My discovery of the life changing book “No Impact Man”

Hobart Nov 2009 – My favourite kind of people – The realisation that Tasmanians are mostly redneck bogans.

Hobart Dec 2009 – Use what you have instead of buying more crap – We survived for 2.5 months.

Hobart March 2010 – This post is for you – All of you.

Hobart August 2010 – Idiots – Talking about yourself is not the same as having a conversation.

Queensland Dec 2010 – I’ll miss you like a cold shower – The truth about living in Tasmania.

Queensland Feb 2011 – Pieces of paper – Is the receipt really necessary?

Queensland April 2011 – The smart state – First impressions of life in Qld.

Queensland May 2011 – Cast your vote – Voting with your dollars.

Queensland May 2011 – Chit chat – Confessions of an anti-socialite.

Queensland May 2011 – Zuck it up – My take on Mark Zuckerberg’s meat challenge.

Queensland Jun 2011 – I need a big loan from a girl zone – Surrounded by boys!

Queensland Aug 2011 – Love is natural – No matter who you’re attracted to.

Queensland Sep 2011 – 10 reasons why I don’t have a TV – For real!

Queensland Feb 2012 – Judge not – My struggle with eating meat while pregnant.

Queensland Mar 2012 – Bad ass for life – Despite having a baby on the way!

Queensland Apr 2012 – Ask a question – Instead of talking.

Thermomix

5 Jun

Well today I begin a new life as the proud owner of a Thermomix

 

There’s no need for me to harp on about how great they are. If you want to find out more, a quick google search will come up with endless reports on their power. Anyway, I’ll be including my thermomix creations/recipes/experiments as part of this blog from now on. You can use the new categories “thermomix” & “recipes” as a filter to search for tmx related posts.

Don’t worry, I may have bought a rather domesticated appliance and may be expecting a baby in 5 weeks but I’m still as bad-ass as ever. More real food – less processed shit! Experiments to follow…

Nomi Friendly

10 May

In case you find yourself in a situation where you will be making food for me, here’s some ideas and an updated version of my last post about what I can and can’t eat. I’ve had a few situations recently where people have suddenly freaked out about whether or not I can have this ingredient or that ingredient. Here’s the magic rule:

If it is an unprocessed plant food then I can eat it. Nuts, grains, vegies etc – ALL FINE. Gluten is FINE. People seem to think that yeast = gluten but I can eat gluten without any issues. Here’s the 3 foods that I avoid:

Meat  *  Dairy  *  Yeast

That’s it. Meat and dairy are fairly easy to spot and avoid but it doesn’t hurt to check labels for things like milks solids, butterfat, lactose, whey or fish sauce, shrimp paste etc. Yeast is where it can get tricky – it’s everywhere from breadcrumbs to tomato sauce. Avoiding yeast is not just a personal preference – I have an intolerance to it and experience up to a month of tummy pain and symptoms if I eat it by accident. I really want to avoid this!

When dealing with processed foods, these are the major culprits: bread products, anything crumbed, sauces, stock, gravy, potato & corn chips, flavourings, vegetarian meat alternatives, vegan cheese alternatives and tempeh.

Although it is worth checking the label on ALL packaged foods just to be sure.

The ingredients that are known to effect me are:

Yeast, yeast extract, nutritional yeast, yeast flakes, vegetarian seasonings, flavours, seasonings… you get the idea. Anything that is a nondescript ‘flavour’ most likely originated from yeast and is best to avoid.

I do not know of any commercially produced meat alternatives that I can eat! Vegie sausages are out! I do not know of any pre-packaged pizza bases that I can eat – I used to be able to eat the mission ones but they have now changed their ingredients to include both yeast and milk. Thankfully there are a number of things that are easy to find that are nomi-friendly…

Mountain Bread – These make great wraps for lunch with salad and a boiled egg.

Felafels – I can eat most pre-packaged felafels. They go great in wraps, with dips and as a main dish with vegies.

Tofu – I tend to get the unflavoured ones and add soy sauce, honey etc. I can also have dried TVP and soy sauce.

Rice – And all other grains/seeds like quinoa, polenta, millet and barley. I can also have rice noodles.

There are more tips and ideas in my make me dinner post. Thanks for making food for me!

Fat Defenders

20 Apr

So the other day I went to Target to have a look at underwear and maternity clothing. My pregnant body is growing rapidly and my clothing options have become somewhat limited. In the store, next to the pitiful singular maternity rack was a huge new section for plus size women’s clothing. And I don’t mean clothes for women who are unusually tall or broad these were clothes for obese people.

What the hell is wrong with the world?

Here’s what I think… If you are obese, your body is desperately trying to tell you that you are unhealthy. Your diet is wrong, you eat too much, you don’t exercise enough and perhaps you’re also unwilling to take responsibility for yourself and lack the courage to try something different. That is the truth.

So, department stores are going to reward you for ignoring your health by providing you with reasonably priced, stylish, accessible clothing to keep you trapped exactly where you are.

Did you see this Mama Mia article about how there isn’t enough plus size clothing to go around? WTF? Firstly, I am a short, petite, healthy woman and I have the same problem – I cannot find clothes that fit me. My options are normally limited to: supre, miss shop, teen sections or buying larger clothes and having them altered (which is what I normally end up doing). But when I do go to places that specialise in small sizes like supre, do you know what I find? The small sizes are the first to sell out. Small people are desperate!!

I used to be a size 8 but now I am a size 6 (or XXS). My body hasn’t changed, the clothing sizes have! Probably in an attempt not to offend women who are becoming increasingly fatter. And now obese women are complaining that they can’t find stylish clothing!

So this article reports that trendy brands want to associate their product lines with slim people – what is wrong with that? Everyone is capable of being healthy and losing weight. In fact the desire to be able to fit into stylish clothing could be a great incentive for someone to lose weight.

They go on to list 3 points

1. The cost and fear of changing patterns to suit a curvier figure. The grading between sizes 6 and 12 is quite uniform but when you get up to sizes 16 to 24 women put on weight in vastly different ways and the pattern needs to be adjusted to make the garment work.

That cost is a real one! It would cost more to make bigger clothes and have more options. Would obese women be willing to pay the extra? It’s crazy to expect that clothing using twice or three times the fabric should cost the same as a smaller item. Maybe the additional cost would get people motivated to lose weight.

2. The stigma attached to a plus size clothing. The cooler, edgier labels have a reputation that the customer wants to buy into. Plus sizes aren’t part of that.

I recognise the danger of using unusually tall and slender models and not having realistic clothing sizes available however I do believe that part of the image that those “cool” labels promote is in fact, health! This is not a bad thing. Plus sizes are not a part of that because they are (generally) for unhealthy people.

3. They simply don’t think plus size women want fashionable clothes. There is a mentality that if you really wanted to wear fashion, you would lose weight.

And so there should be. Creating new lines of clothing for overweight people to stay as they are instead of encouraging them to lose weight to be able to fit into “normal” clothes is like taking out a loan to pay off your debt – it doesn’t make the problem go away. If overweight people needed to lose weight in order to fit into better looking clothes then they would realise that they can take responsibility for their own life! That is the biggest barrier to weight loss right there!

Another example in futility would be lap band surgery, I’ve known obese people who have seen this as their only option because they lack the self control to stick to a healthy lifestyle. I know that people can have amazing weight loss results from this surgery however it cannot be denied that the underlying issues are rarely addressed, not to mention the fact that the surgery is a huge expense and it pretty much entirely unnecessary.

I know I might be coming across a bit unsympathetic especially to those people who are naturally large or busty (as opposed to being obese) and require larger clothing. This is just the journey that some of us have to bear – I understand what it’s like! Of course I recognise that all people need clothing and I wouldn’t want to deny anyone of that right however I just think that a more realistic and sustainable approach is needed and that it would be so easy to promote normal sizes as healthy and provide overweight people with a real incentive to change and take ownership of their health.

Target on the other hand obviously caught on early and realised there was money to be made from the poor forgotten fatties.

Judge Not pt 3

12 Mar

I love to tell the truth. I love to share my stories and my journeys. However confessing to having eaten meat after 6 years without it was far more difficult than I had imagined.

Some of my fellow vegetarians judged me so harshly that they were bordering on cancelling the friendship with me altogether. To them I was just another failed vegetarian. Using pregnancy as an excuse to justify my disconnection from my food. And I must admit, if I was in their situation it’s likely that I might have had a sneaky judgement too.

I remember meeting a woman years ago in one of my classes who told me her story of surrendering her vegetarian ethics during pregnancy. Although I was outwardly compassionate, since then I have always thought to myself “I will never do that. It’s easy to have a balanced diet without meat whether you’re pregnant or not!”. When I finally allowed myself to eat some meat I judged myself for being “one of those people”. For a while I labelled myself as a cop out. And it turned out that my vego friends didn’t see me as much more than a cop out either. So I confessed to some meat eaters…

Remember part 1 of this post? Yep. Most meat eaters just welcomed me back to their side, content that I had finally “seen the light” and stopped being a protein deficient whinger. Thankfully I have a good understanding of the grips of the ego and how fiercely people will defend their truth so I was able to take these reactions lightheartedly. But still, I received very little appreciation for the huge emotional transformation that had taken place within me and the amazing power of my body to accurately tell me what it needs.

I found this appreciation of course in my spiritually aware friends, those who also listen to the needs of their body and make changes accordingly. At the end of the day I realised that all that matters is that I am comfortable with my own actions. I don’t really care whether or not people accept my choices or if they use my actions as a way of justifying their own actions. All of this is beyond my control.

It is my intention to continue having small amounts of meat during my pregnancy and I hope to revert to a vegetarian diet once the baby is born however I now know that I need to listen to the needs of my body first and foremost and I remain open to any changes that my inner voice may suggest.

Read part 2 of this post.

Judge Not pt 2

10 Mar

So I may have found peace with the eating habits of others but I’ve had a recent struggle accepting my own food journey. Since being pregnant I have been craving meat…. severely. I’ve been vego for about 6 years and I had the occasional meat craving in the beginning, but for the past 3 years, I’ve not found meat appealing at all.

So as you can imagine, I was completely baffled when my body started telling me that I needed desperately to eat meat. I know that my nutrient, vitamin and mineral levels are all good but just in case, I tried eating iron rich foods and ensuring my protein intake was abundant. I did this for a month while I dealt with daily cravings and nothing changed. During that month I went on an amazing emotional journey which began with a fierce attachment to my version of “right” and “wrong”. My values were being severely challenged by these cravings and some days I shocked myself when I realised that I was actually considering eating meat. What the hell was wrong with me?

I kept thinking about all the reasons that I don’t eat meat in the first place and it felt as if I had a war going on inside my head. Listen to my body or listen to my values… that was the choice I had to make. It’s not often that we’re torn between to two.

So the question I had to ask myself was, “Will I be able to cope emotionally with the impact of my actions if I do try some meat?”. This is not an easy question to answer. I thought of all the people who mindlessly eat meat at every meal and I thought of all the ways in which I am environmentally conscious in comparison to the general population. I could sense that I was trying to justify my desire to eat meat but the inner voice telling me to eat it was becoming too much to bear.

With all of my medical struggles over the past year I have worked with some amazing professionals, all of whom have encouraged me to listen to and trust my body. As I developed this communication with my body I have become intuitively aware of what foods I need to include and what foods I need to avoid, so this whole meat thing was really testing my relationship with my body.

After weeks of emotional turmoil I finally concluded that I would not know for sure unless I allowed myself to try it and see. I knew that my body would tell me if if wasn’t right. Realising this allowed me to find peace with it all. I knew I couldn’t consume meat if I felt terrible about it so I had to reach a point of acceptance. What a transformative journey.

So, yes I tried some meat. (this is where staunch vegans unfollow me on twitter) I didn’t struggle with it. My body was fine with it. I gave thanks to the animal that had suffered and I approached the entire process with openness and peace. And the next day….. ALL OF MY RANDOM DIGESTIVE SYMPTOMS WERE GONE. Completely gone. All of the weird gas, burps, tummy aches and nausea had vanished without a trace. Until this point I was not consciously aware of how unpleasant those symptoms actually were and how much grief they had caused me.

After about a week the symptoms returned and I tried some meat again and once again, I felt instantly better. I don’t understand exactly how or why this was happening but it allowed me to see a potential weekly meat dish as something amazingly therapeutic, and I let go of any remaining concerns about whether or not I was doing the right thing. I have to trust my body on this one. It wasn’t until I started to tell people about my journey that I was struggling again, this time with the judgements and values of other people. More on this in part 3 of this post.

Read part one of this post here.

Judge Not pt 1

28 Feb

As you know I have come on an amazing journey to eating vego – vegan – and back again. At each stage as I discovered something new about the food I was eating I slipped into judgement mode towards everyone around me who continued to eat mindlessly. I started to use my own beliefs to decide right from wrong. But as much as I believed that the way humans raise animals for consumption is fundamentally “wrong” I found that dwelling on the oblivious actions of others served only to make myself miserable without actually achieving anything worthwhile…

When you say the word “vegan”, most people will roll their eyes and think of hippy activists, aggressively preaching their cause. (Closely followed by thoughts of a diet of tofu and lettuce). Why is this? Surely the average joe wouldn’t just assume that someone would stand on a soapbox about their dietary choices… it’s probably because they’ve had an experience with a preachy vegan. Sad but true. I don’t care what your cause, if you find yourself saying “My beliefs are right, your beliefs are wrong”, you’re preaching. Being preached to evokes in people the feeling of being under attack, and how do humans respond to attack? They defend.

If someone has a strong belief that meat is a better source of protein that plant foods, it doesn’t matter how much “right” information you shove down their throats, it’s unlikely that they’re going to see your point of view because of the emotion that defending oneself arouses. The truth is, no-one is going to accept anything you tell them until they are ready to hear it. I learnt this the hard way. But once I realised that telling people how wrong they are actually achieved nothing, I let it go. I realised that all that matters is being true to your own values.

Once I made peace with what everyone else was doing and just focused only on things within my control not only did I feel better but obviously my energy had changed because out of nowhere people were “ready” for the information I had to offer. This is the essence of leading by example. Do good for yourself, let everyone else be and you will inspire people. As it turns out, my initial approach was wrong… I thought I had to fix other people but actually all I needed to do was to fix myself!

Read part two of this post here.

UnAustralian

25 Jan

So it’s been a few years since the bombardment of ads from Meat and Livestock Australia telling us to eat more lamb. They have been very successful in their attempts to associate lamb with Australia Day and to bring lamb back as a popular option. The commercials have won people over with their humour, patriotism and jests at minorities and foreign countries – and as a result, thousands of people will be eating barbecued lamb today.

Their campaign has been very successful, and just as with the dairy industry advertising drinking milk for strong bones – people have begun to believe the message without realising that it’s a result of advertising. In this case the message being that it’s unaustralian not to eat lamb.

If “not being unaustralian” means being a drunk, racist, consumption-mad, shirtless meat-head then I’ll gladly choose unaustralianism any day. There will be no lamb (or meat) consumed at our place today not that I consider Australia Day much of a cause for celebration anyhow. Perhaps instead of eating lamb I’ll simply be grateful for the lifestyle and abundance made available to me as an Australian resident and enjoy eating plants, that grew without suffering.