Setting myself a challenge

As I was reading this week in ‘Healthy’ magazine, you don’t need to be religious to give something up for lent. So for 40 days before Easter, I have decided I am going to set myself a challenge. I need a kick up the backside in the area I am focusing on and I think doing it around this time, is just what I need to get myself started.

My issue is that I have been eating a lot of sweet stuff, since from around last October I think, when I started doing it.

I have eaten sweets I normally would not touch, which is the sugar coated kind, regardless I find it too sweet and sickly.

Biscuits, I am eating more of than usual and the packs are not lasting like they normally would.
When it has come to eating the biscuits, I have ate more than I normally would in a sitting and I have ate them just for the sake of it.
I say to myself I won’t buy another pack so soon. But I do and they are gone before the week is out as well.

It’s obvious to me and my counsellor why I am doing this and I know I don’t need to explain it here, as most of you will know. (For new readers, just read some of last years posts of events that affected me.)

I need to sort this and only I can do it. I thought I had it under control. But I haven’t, because I am having a lot of moments eating sweet stuff unnecessarily. So I think doing the above I mention will be a good kick start for me.
Cutting back and eating like I used to before, rather than how it currently will benefit me obviously health-wise. But also the certain things my body experiences after excess sugar will help to reduce that too, which will not help anxiety.
Writing it here, I am sharing it with you and verbally putting it to show that this is what I am going to do for the 40 days before Easter.

So here is what I am not having for the 40 days before Easter:

  • No cake
  • No biscuits
  • No sugar-coated sweets, or any other sweets with exception of Jakemans sweets. But I will only have some of these if I come down with a cold, or sore throat.
  • No dairy-free chocolate (even though I hardly have it)
  • No apple pie, or equivalent.
  • No dairy-free ice-cream

So there it is. It’s not going to be easy, but I am aiming to do this.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 5

So since last dairy-free journey post, this post is more a reflection on new things I have tried, as well as a reminder on something I had as a kid but forgot I could have now, as someone on a dairy-free journey.

Although I continue to write my posts as dairy-free, there have been times I allowed a bit of dairy in.
Those regular reading will know it might have been a pie, which the pastry contained milk. Another time was when I have had a chicken roast dinner, as it contained a scoop of mash and a Yorkshire pudding on my plate. At these times was when I was eating out, so allowing it in then is not often. But at home, I don’t allow. Having those items did not affect me. The only thing I don’t have when eating out with me finding it did, was when I was at a cafe and I had a chicken and mushroom pie. The creamy sauce making me feel like I needed to keep clearing my throat later.

I learnt that having Cadbury’s Original drinking chocolate that says “swirl into hot milk” and Tesco’s Coco Powder is ok for me. (Cadbury’s Original was what I drank as a kid.) There’re also ok for vegans, I read on a vegan website. They don’t label them vegan though, due to being handled on the same site where there are other products containing dairy are also produced. So I am now enjoying hot chocolate, using soya milk. There’s nothing like a comforting hot chocolate on a winters day. Although I like to drink it at other times too.
Although I had both a Tesco and Cadbury’s ones, I will stick with Tesco’s from now on, due to less sugar. I add honey to sweeten.
I also learnt that a supermarket brand Bourbon biscuits do not contain milk. In fact this particular brand I had was suitable for vegans. Now this surprised me because I expected them containing milk. I thought I picked up a pack once where some contained milk. But maybe I am wrong on this. So it’s nice to know. Although when younger, I wasn’t a complete fan on them. Now, I like them, but again, I am not crazy about them. So at least they will last in my biscuit tin. 😁

Discovered I like avocado, as I have blogged about in earlier posts, after accidentally having a feeling there was some on my plate, when eating out. I forgot to mention about leaving it off on this ocassion, because I once tried some at home and I did not like it. But I thought I had nothing to lose, so I tried it. I discovered I liked it and told a staff member who served me this, because they know from before I would usually request to leave that off. This inspired me to get my own avocado’s again and I looked up how to tell when ripe and ways to use one. I had my own first avocado on toast.
Lessons learnt after trying again, I now know when I tried the first time, that you always add something of flavour to it, because it’s bland on it’s own.
I also learnt that when I first would have tried one, that it wouldn’t have been ripe.
I’ve now had quite a few since.

I like just a few little things when it comes to coconut. But I am not a fan.

I do not like coconut, which I have been like this since a child. Bounty was my first memory of not liking. But I could eat Nice biscuits.

I tried Koko dairy-free yogurt last year, which does have coconut milk in it. So with liking this and one time liking a Costa iced type drink that also contained coconut, I thought maybe my tastebuds had changed. So I tried a dairy-free milk that contained coconut on my cereals. I discovered I did not like it. So I am not a 100% fan when it comes to coconut. I won’t be trying anything else containing coconut, than having what I already know that I like. So I have found where my limits lie.

I have tried Polenta. I made as instructions on packet, until I had the consistency of how I wanted it. I mixed some dry mixed herbs into it, at the start of cooking.
Once cooked, I added a small knob of dairy-free butter to it, before serving it on my plate, adding mushrooms and sweetcorn on top. I also grated a bit of dairy-free cheese on top, but I felt that was a bit too much, which afterwards, when reading online about it, I was reading how it can be too rich having it like that: butter and cheese. It made a quick meal though. But once my pack has gone whether I will buy anymore, I don’t know.
Have you ever tried Polenta? If so, how did you have yours?

So as you can see and as I found, just by going dairy-free, it encouraged me to try new foods again. 

I will carry on doing what I am doing, cutting out a majority of dairy-free products and using alternatives in their place, like soya.
When I am eating out and the aim will be to cut out dairy, but at times like say having a chicken roast dinner, I am not going to worry about a scoop of mash on my plate and a yorkshire pudding, because this isn’t going to be a regular weekly event anyway.

I am going to make this my last dairy-free post, but I hope what I have shared in today’s and past posts, that it has helped you in some way.
If I ever chat about dairy-free again, it will more likely be mentioned in a chit-chat post, with it just being a chat, than a long post on the subject. 

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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Avocado: How do you eat yours?

So towards end of last year I talked about how I discovered I do like avocado’s after all, after trying some when eating breakfast out. After reading up how to tell when an avocado is ripe and, ways to eat it, whether cold, or cooked, I took the plunge and bought my own avocado’s. I chose to have avocado on toast. I added a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of garlic granules and mixed it in the mashed up avocado. I had this on toast, with some baby tomatoes and I enjoyed it.

What I learnt now, from before some years ago when I thought I did not like, is that avocado has to have other foods, herbs, spices etc… added to it, because otherwise, it is just bland.

I also learnt from a guide I printed off and laminated was how to tell it is ripe. I did not know about this, or the above, so through trying an avocado all those years ago, to giving it a go now, it was quite possible all those years ago it wasn’t ripe either.

I also added half an avocado to a banana and strawberry smoothie once. It’s true what I read, that it makes it silky smooth.

Do you eat avocado? How do you have yours?

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 4

November time, because of how I have been feeling, I wasn’t thinking when I chose a chicken roast dinner, whether anything on it would contain milk products, until the plate arrived in front of me. But I thought bugger this, I was looking forward to a roast dinner and I was just going to eat it. So the things I ate, that contained milk to some degree, was a small amount of mash potato and a Yorkshire pudding. I enjoyed it and it didn’t upset me.

Another time in November, I called into a cafe for a mid snack, so I asked for a fried egg on toast. The toast had butter on. I was fine with that. But having butter on, is not something I want to keep on regular doing.

And another occasion in the same month, I had a chicken and mushroom pie. That, I think did upset me a little, because as well as the pie containing a little milk, the sauce of the filling would have too. It would have been more likely the filling, than the pastry, I think to have upset me.

At home, I continued to have dairy-free. It was just when I was out, that I allowed it.

In future, when eating out, which I don’t do often, I may allow some milk products into my diet, like when I end up with a chicken roast dinner for example. (The mash was only equivalent if a small scoop, but had it been more, I would have left it.) But I will still avoid the obvious when eating out, like cheese and cream products and that chicken and mushroom pie. And I am not going to start having puddings, or cakes etc… containing milk.

Also, both at home and when out, I am not going to start drinking dairy milk, have yogurt, dairy chocolate, or have dairy icecream products because I know if I introduced them back in, I would start to have phlegm problems. The reason I started cutting out dairy in the first place. So I continue to stick with my alternatives when at home, or out, or I drink black and I only have dairy-free cheese and ice cream.

So although at this point I have allowed milk into my diet, I have still cut a majority of it out and I will continue to do that, or go back to completly cutting it out. I will never add more back in than that.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 3

So I am now 11 weeks into my dairy free journey.

In my early journey of reading up more on dairy-free, I was a little stunned to discover how some people thought eggs were dairy, when they are not. I have known this from a young age, that eggs are not dairy. I can’t imagine, how this confusion came about.
Even my mum asked a few weeks into my dairy-free journey, am I ok with eggs?

I have learnt not to assume that every sandwich will have dairy in it, just because most sandwiches I have checked in the past have.
I now keep an open mind and just check the ingredients, because I nearly avoided having a sandwich in Costa, until I checked and seen it was ok.

I have lost weight

I can’t put this 100% in going dairy-free that this resulted in me losing weight. But I it’s a possibility that some of my weight lost, is partly to do with it. I know other people have said going dairy-free, resulted in some weight loss. Being dairy-free has meant less puddings, or something sweet when eating out with it being limited. It’s a good thing I guess, not being easily available, compared to if I went back to dairy.
The other to do with my weight loss will be the stress I have had, as I am known to lose weight when stressed as I have been.

I have lost half a stone, as I write this and after weighing myself recently. So I am now 10 and a half stone.
The last time I weighed me was 13th July of this year, when I was 11 stone and I have been this weight for many years.

I am happy to see I am at 10 and a half stone. I just now need to check now and again that I don’t lose anymore, as I don’t want to go under 10 stone.
In my 20’s I used to be 10 stone, until it went to 10 and a half. Then I creeped up to 11. But no more than 11 stone, I have been in weight.

So my goal is to stick to 10 and a half stone. But if I lose anymore, then to make sure I don’t go under 10 stone.

No bloated looking tummy

The one thing I noticed within the first month of going dairy free, was that my stomach no longer looked bloated.

Eating out, I am getting used to and I am finding places to cater near me, but I still feel limited.
Nottingham area seems to have more choice, from what I have been reading and from one place I had a vegan breakfast at.

Eating in is certainly easier and stress free. I feel in control, because I have access to my food labels. So I know what’s in the item.

Vegan food and chocolate

Vegan food is the best choice for me when not trusting the menu, to be sure I am having no dairy.

Local supermarkets and a local health shop sell dairy-free chocolate. But now I wanted a little bit more of a variety and so I googled vegan chocolate and I was surprised with the results.
The page I mostly refferred back to was this one: “Viva!’s Top 20 Vegan Chocolate Treats.” I felt very excited after reading it, knowing there was more interesting chocolate out there and especially, the equivalent of some of my favourites.
From there, I visited Viva!’s own shop, to look at more of their chocolate.
I ordered two chocolates.
One was called “Jokerz.” This bar was an equivalent to a Snickers bar and it so did taste like a Snickers bar. I wasn’t disappointed.
And the other chocolate, which I also enjoyed, was the “ichoc supernut chocolate bar.”

I will certainly order from Viva! again, sometime in the future.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 2

So in My dairy-free journey – Part 1, I talked about how I hit an area of confusion when it came to some labelling I noticed. I said I would talk about it further in my next post, so this post is just on that.

Just like in this link discussion, which will take you to Allergy Insight, it is shown how people cannot come to same agreement.
I doubt coming to the same  agreement will happen in my lifetime. But I would like to see it happen.

‘Dairy free’ is what I have known for years, as a label. I have known and trusted this term even before becoming dairy-free myself.

A new labelling I have come across is ‘milk free.’
I don’t know how long this has started being labelled on ‘Free From’ products, but I have only become recently aware of it, being dairy-free this time round. I am very cautious about this labelling and I have every reason to.

I wrote to two companies; one a well known supermarket and the other a manufacturer of a product I recently bought, but was hesitant to use, regardless it was suitable for vegans and because I just turned something else down at my mum’s that seamt ok looking at ingredients, but didn’t have faith in it, when it came to the pastry.

Supermarket’s reply to me was short. They did not answer all my questions because they did not answer a question I had on a particular product, in addition to their labelling. All they said was, “… products that are milk free are not always completely dairy free.

Our free from range is filled with dairy free and many other free from products, so always be sure to double check the ingredients.”

Where as the manufacturer of a couple of products I wanted to query, they were more helpful. They said “Milk-free and dairy-free do mean the same thing however this may differ on our packaging depending on what version is being used…

Whilst our chicken pies do not contain any dairy, they are produced at the same site as our quiche which does, which is why we do not make a dairy or milk free claim on them.

Our pastry is produced on a different line and as a result, is safe to be labelled milk free.

If any milk containing ingredients are used in our products then this will be clearly labelled in our ingredients deck…”

Now armed with the answers from both places I contacted, from this, for me, I know my choices. But you can see why there is still confusion about labelling on food products?
For me, as I don’t have an allergy with milk that it can harm me, I can relax. But can someone with a serious milk allergy relax with these replies?

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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Tomato and broccoli quiche (dairy-free)

Here’s the recipe I found I don’t know where from and I adapted to make it dairy-free, to suit me.
This is my first dairy-free baking.

Ingredients:

110g broccoli cut into florettes
2 tomatoes cut into 12 slices
110g of dairy-free cheese – cheddar flavour
4 large eggs (or 5 medium eggs as I had on hand)
100mls of unsweetened soya milk
1 tbsp grated onion
Salt and pepper
Ready shortcrust pastry (or make your own)

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Blanch the broccoli florettes in boiling water for 2 minutes then plunge into cold water and drain. (Sit florettes on kitchen paper, until being used.)

Grease a 20cm by 24cm dish, or 20cm round dish as I used. So you may find you will not need all the amount of ingredients, if using 20cm round dish.

Unroll pastry and place in your dish, pressing into the edges and trim off excess pastry with a knife.
Bake your pastry first using the ‘bake blind’ method.

After your pastry has been ‘baked blind’, put 3/4 of the cheese in the base of the pastry case.

Pat tomato slices dry and lay over the cheese, followed by the broccoli.
Top with cheese.

Whisk together the egg, soya milk, onion, salt and pepper and pour over the ingredients.

Bake on the middle shelf if the oven for 40-45 minutes, or 35-40 minutes if using a 20cm round dish.

Quiche will rise during cooking, but will settle down when out of the oven.

This was my quiche, in the two photos below.

 

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

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My dairy-free journey – Part 1

Since early June, I have reduced my dairy intake.
I started cutting out milk and yogurt, using soya alternatives instead.
I also cut out, butter/margarine, ice-cream and dairy chocolate. Again, I used dairy-free alternatives to these.

From 20th July I became totally dairy-free and my challenge is to keep it that way.

I decided to cut dairy out of my life, because from reducing it in the past before, I have found the phlegm problem I can get at times at the back of my throat, to be nil. So I am completely cutting out dairy, for curiosity. This is going to continue way into next year and it will be more likely when my hayfever symptoms have finished, before I re-evaluate what I am going to do by then; whether I continue dairy free, or reduce it.

I hope you enjoy following me on this journey and I know there are a few of you that are dairy-free and have been doing it for much longer than me. I will look forward to your advice, or just chat on the topic.

I find eating in is much easier, than eating out. This is because:

  • I feel have more choice in what I want to eat.
  • I feel limited to food choices, or no choice when eating out.
  • I feel in control, knowing what is exactly in my food.

I only eat chicken for my meat, which is not often. Rest of the time, it’s either vegetarian, or vegan meals, or fish.
Now I am going dairy-free, I am aware that it has to be vegan food I concentrate on from now on, to make sure there are no traces of dairy in my diet, if I have any food from the supermarket ready-made, or if eating out. Otherwise, it’s cook my own meals from scratch.

Do you find eating in, is much better than eating out?

Although I generally have lots of foods I can trust, I did hit an area of confusion at one point. This involved with a new labelling I had not seen before, on the front of the box. I don’t know how long this labeling has been going on for, but it left me wondering if a couple of things I had from this section, possibly had dairy of some kind.
Emails to query on this, have been sent to a couple of places.
I will talk about that later in the next post.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Book review: “How to cook food for food allergies,” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

As you know from Chit-chat July, I discovered this book in my library, with choosing to further go dairy-free in my diet. The book in the photograph, is the one I had from the library, until I bought my own second-hand copy, from eBay.

Book cover of How to cook food for food allergies
Book cover of “How to cook food for food allergies,” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

Although I bought it for dairy-free advice, this book also covers for those who can’t eat eggs, soya, nuts and gluten.

I love how the book is presented, to help you cut out what you need to cut out in your food. In this case, dairy for me. It gives you alternatives to use instead.

There is very helpful advice, like how to avoid cross-contamination of foods that would cause a reaction in those that can’t have particular foods.
It also gives advice on how you can make cooking for a family easier for yourself.
It advises on other things like making sure nursery, or schools are happy and confident in catering for your child with a food allergy, and how you can make sure their parties remain safe, while still being fun and not making them feel excluded, or feel different.

As well as advice on cooking at home, there is advice when it comes to eating out.

For each food ingredient that would need to be left out, there is an alternative suggestion you can use in its place.

There is a handy table that shows what nutrients you may be missing out of, when cutting out either dairy, egg, wholegrain wheat, white wheat flour, soya, or nuts, with information on what those nutrients do and where else you could get those from.

In the last part of the book, there are recipes, which the author has kept as simple as possible.
Many recipes are suitable for all allergies mentioned, without adapting. But where a recipe will need adapting, it’s clearly marked with a flagging system for that allergy and an alternative is given.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Frugal Living – part 4

Food can be interesting when you are on a budget and you are just using up what you have already in the cupboard, or fridge-freezer. Food can be random to what you normally have, but this adds up interest I feel.

Some random meals I have been having, when it just comes to using what I have:

  • Mashed potato, some tuna out of tin, peas, Black Eye Beans and Haricot Beans.
  • Mash potato, broccoli, carrots and fish cake.
  • Brown rice, mixed veg, mixed beans, with drizzle of mint sauce over my veg.
  • Noodles and mixed veg.

Freezing bread

I started freezing bread, as mentioned in “Frugal Living – part 3.” I have found doing it this way much better for me. It’s certainly made an impact and I notice how much I don’t buy bread, to before, even though before I hardly wasted bread.

Selling old gadgets for new

In my post, “Challenging a need and a want,” I mentioned how I needed a new phone, that would cope with the internet and my needs. But as I mentioned in that post, I wasn’t just going to draw out money and buy it. So due to the way I access the internet now, which is just on my phone, meant I no longer needed my Macbook Air laptop.
If by chance I was to have internet at home again, I have my desktop computer anyway, that I also use to play DVD’s on.
Knowing I will stick with Apple when it comes to computers, should this break down and can’t be fixed, I will buy another second-hand like the one I already own, or a new one. So it was obvious to me I had to sell my laptop for cash. Selling my laptop, paid for my new phone, I also had lunch and I had change.
Being happy with my new phone, I sold the old one for cash and put it away towards holiday next year I hope to have.

Still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars

I’m still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars. But it won’t be long before I don’t need to save anymore glass jars.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated.