Saturday, 17 May 2014

Making use of leftovers - curry recipe!

One of the important things when eating a healthier diet is cooking meals from scratch. Restaurant meals are expensive and fast foods are generally high in fat, salt and kilo joules. The best way to know exactly what you are eating is to make it yourself. But how best to make this economical? One tip is to make the most of leftovers! 

A decent sized freezer and a range of containers are a godsend when you're busy. Pack away leftovers in single meal sized containers, label and date them clearly and stack them away. If you're busy, out late or don't feel like cooking it's great to be able to have easy quick reheatable meals, cheaper and better for you than any ready made packet meal!

With some imagination and planning you can really cut back on waste. Two nights ago we cooked a spectacular roast pork, but it was a large piece and we had half left over. We had been meaning to have it for lunch but hadn't, and I certainly wasn't going to throw it away! This sounds like a job for CURRY!!

I put the rice on first as the rice cooker does a great job but Is pretty slow. When it comes to rice, check the GI of the rice you are using. Basmati or doongarra rice are good options, as are some brands of low GI brown rice. I add turmeric and cardamom to the water for colour and flavour. Now, back to the curry! 

Start with diced onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, chopped coriander stalks and some spices. I use ground coriander, cumin, garam marsala, cardamom, paprika and dried chilli flakes. Add a slop of olive oil and start cooking the onions until translucent and making a paste of the spices. At this point you need to take a big sniff...mmmmmmm ;)

Then add your chopped leftover meat - I used the pork, but this would work well with rotisserie chicken, beef or lamb, even leftover sausages. Stir until browned.  Or if you don't eat meat, skip this step and move on to the sauce and veggies!

I then add a ready made sauce to simplify the process (if I have time I make the whole lot from scratch... And I'll share that recipe later LOL) and my sauce of choice is usually something by Taylor's or Patak's.  Read your labels, choose something with as few artificial ingredients as possible, check the fat sugar and salt content and once you find one that works for you, keep a jar in the pantry for curry emergencies!

Add the sauce, some tinned or fresh tomatoes, a handful of frozen peas or small tin of canned peas, a small can of chick peas. Add whatever veggies you have kicking around in the fridge - green beans, steamed sweet potato, carrots, spinach, cauliflower - you name it, the more the merrier! If the sauce is a bit thick add some coconut milk or yoghurt to thin it out a bit and simmer until the rice is done. 

Once your rice is ready you can serve as is, or to make it a bit more like a kashmiri pilau I added pepitas, fennel seeds and sultanas to the rice. If rice is too much of a carbohydrate load for you (I usually avoid it) then consider having your curry on a big bowl of spinach. Top with yoghurt, flaked almonds, chopped coriander and enjoy! Delicious!

The whole meal is quick, tasty and a great way to avoid throwing away perfectly good food. Enjoy!!

Lyndal @ Lean Green and Healthy

So what to eat for a healthier you?

Here is the simple explanation of my daily plan regarding food. I exercise too, but remember that for me, 90% of weight loss was about what I ate. Exercise makes you fitter, stronger and healthier, but if you are eating too many calories it is very difficult to run away from a bad diet with exercise alone. 

I eat whole foods - fruit and vegetables, nuts, fish, meat, eggs, whole grains, dairy, all that stuff - but I don't eat very much rice, pasta, white potatoes, bread or sugar or processed foods if I can help it. Part of the trick, for people with diabetes like me, (and it works the same for non-diabetic people) is watching the glycaemic index of the food - that is,  how fast your body breaks it down into sugar. If your food has a high GI (pure glucose has a GI of 100) then it goes straight into your bloodstream and pushes your blood sugar up, your body produces insulin to deal with it, your blood sugar goes down again and 1) you're hungry quickly and 2) your body stores the excess sugar as fat. Foods like white bread, white rice, pasta, and potatoes have GI that is high and very close to pure sugar. But lower GI things (say eating porridge for breakfast) takes a long time to break down - you don't get the sugar spike that causes fat gain and you don't get the insulin spike that makes you hungry - so you stay fuller longer and put on less fat. Over time if you also have a calorie deficit (simply you eat less calories than you burn) you will lose fat. The books my specialist recommended are by Prof Jenni Brand-Miller from Sydney University. Their website is the Glycemic Index Foundation and they are also on Facebook and I highly recommend any of her books, particularly the Low GI Diet Handbook. Their books recommends swapping high GI things (like white potatoes) for lower GI things (like sweet potato). White bread for grain bread. That kind of thing. That will certainly make a difference to your weight, appetite, energy and general well-being. Just to be clear, I am NOT talking about no carb diets, or low carb diets, I like to call it a SLOW carb diet :)

These are the pointers that work for me, they may not be right for you. Most of these are based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. If you need more specific advice, see an Accredited Practising Dietitian. 

Foods to eat more of:
  • Fish – 2-3 a week fish will decrease your risk of heart disease and decrease calories. Tinned fish (salmon or tuna, sardines or herrings) are also great for lunches.
  • Vegetables – with the exception of potatoes you can eat almost all vegetables and know they are high fibre, low calorie and low GI – fill up on these! 
  • Fruit – some fruit are better than others, but most are fine and full of nutrients
  • Eggs, nuts and avocado – like fish, these contain good fats and in small servings are very good for you, eggs are fine 3-4 times a week, a handful of nuts for a snack or some avocado in a salad are excellent ideas
  • Dairy: yoghurt, milk, cottage cheese are all good sources of protein and calcium and low GI
  • Wholegrains: I can't eat gluten, but I add sorghum and buckwheat flakes to my breakfast, quinoa to my salads etc
  • Legumes- that’s beans, lentils, baked beans, chick peas, kidney beans - add them everywhere!
Foods to eat less of : 
  • Bread – if you love bread then the more visible grains the better (look for the GI symbol on the pack), or real sourdough is another good option, but treat the cakey white stuff as a treat
  • Rice –   Basmati or Doongarra rice is lower GI than white rice, but watch your portion sizes, most of us eat too much. Brown rice is more nutririous but the GI is not much better.
  • Pasta – by itself, pasta is relatively low GI but most of us eat much too much in a serving.
  • Potatoes – white potatoes can be an issue if you're diabetic like me.
  • Fried food, take away food, cakes or biscuits
  • Hard cheeses regularly (they are high in fat and are a great treat but watch portion sizes)
  • Sweets, chocolates etc
  • Refined sugar – I avoid sugar altogether or use honey, pure maple syrup or a little Stevia - I don't use artificial sweeteners but many people do ... I'm not convinced that they are unsafe as such, but I personally don't see the point.
  • “Diet foods” – most foods that are sold as “diet” foods have significant amounts of sugar or fat or processing and will actually make you fatter – don’t be fooled !
  • Alcohol – I’m a fan of red wine and there is good evidence that a small amount is good for your cardiovascular health (YAY!) so I have a small glass of merlot with dinner 4 or 5 nights a week. But watch the size of your servings and how often you drink…. Remember that it is easy to slip into hazardous drinking habits which can lead to all sorts of problems.
A few other pointers:

Eat more fruit and especially more vegetables
Eat more lean protein
Drink more water
Watch your alcohol intake
Eat smaller portions
Don't deny yourself completely- everything in moderation, life should be FLEXIBLE! 

I ask myself a fundamental question when I'm looking at  a food, meal or whatever - can I tell what this originally was? Has this food been so processed that it no longer resembles its original form?  Twinkies don't come from a twinkie tree. Gummy bears don't look like their component ingredients (whatever they are!) But an apple, a piece of fish, a glass of milk, a slice of coarse grainy bread, a plate of beans? I can see what they used to be and recognise them. Generally if I can recognise it, its usually a good thing - just a thought to consider. You don't have to be a puritan, but its a nice principle to think about.

Now the thing some people find challenging is that they want something to call it? Who's diet book is it? Which diet guru or celebrity is it from? Show me a meal plan?  It doesn't work that way. I  am a firm believer that there is no "one diet" that suits every person at every stage of their life, and the key to leaving our weight troubles behind us for good is learning the fundamental principles to eat HEALTHILY and HAPPILY to suit us and our current circumstances in life (I have a post you can read about my "one-size-doesn't-fit-all" philosophy here). So if you've joined my blog to get a 12 week bootcamp plan to tell you exactly what to eat to get skinny fast and fit into a bikini for summer and then ignore it until next smmer, then you may be in the wrong place. If, however, you want to learn to get healthy for life by making sustainable adaptable lifestyle changes that you can live with forever, then stick around, I might be able to help :)

On both the blog and the page I will share a lot of day to day things that help and also share information from others.  Following this kind of plan has helped me lose 55kg (121lbs) in about 2 years.  Slow and steady wins the race in weight loss, don't be impatient, just make small changes that you could live with forever. Hope this helps!


WELCOME to Lean Green and Healthy

So... who can spot the difference??
Welcome to my page about my experience and ongoing progress towards a fitter healthier me. I've been working on my Facebook page for over a year now and, with over 25,000 followers there, I thought it might be time to have a crack as a blogger. So, who am I and what's it all about? 

I'm a family physician (GP) in Australia and a combination of busy life, poor choices and health problems meant that, like over 60% of the adult population, I was overweight. In fact, at my heaviest I was morbidly obese. I knew medically it was a problem and I knew I had to do something about it... but there was always higher priorities- family, life, work... it was something I would tackle later. Well, later caught up with me (as it does) and in 2012 at the age of 41 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. But I bit the bullet, took a stand and changed my life  - and you can too.

So far, since I was diagnosed in July 2012, I have lost 55 kg (121 lbs) with no gimicks, surgery or pills and potions - just healthy eating and a little bit of exercise. I keep getting asked if I'm doing "Atkins" or "paleo" or whatever. I guess it’s a bit more complex than that as none of the "labels' really fit... or perhaps even a bit easier! I am basically keeping my diet simple and focusing on nutritional foods and following the healthy eating guidelines  - cutting back on simple carbohydrates and sugars and processed food and eating more real unprocessed stuff. Some people would call this clean eating. I'm not a fan of strict labels so I  just call it my life now. I do have treats - like good cheese, red wine and coffee (mmmm) but I keep things in moderation.  I counted calories for the first few months which was a good educational experience, but to be honest it was a little overwhelming (and obsession inducing?) so I stopped that - I find it easier to make the healthiest choices I can each day and just let the calories take care of themselves. So, on this page I want to share things I've learned and things I find interesting, and answer questions people might have. Lean Green and Healthy is about healthy eating, exercise, motivation, inspiration, mindful eating, self care and managing chronic disease. Its also about sharing what I know and interesting information from friends and colleagues with nutritional knowledge and expertise.

In 2013 I discovered that I was getting severe gut symptoms and skin rashes from even the small amounts of bread products that I was eating and unfortunately I also have Coeliac disease, which I am at increased risk for as I have lupus (SLE) as well. Again, I am not convinced that gluten is the terrible toxin it is made out by some to be, but for me and others with coeliac, we need to avoid it. Many of you chose to do so also, for all sorts of reasons, so I'm just mentioning this as you may notice it in my posts that I mention GF foods. This is not some fad, sadly I don't have a choice about this, but maybe you do. I can't eat gluten containing grains, but I think wholegrains are good for you and I do try and eat other coeliac safe grains where I can. 

I am far from perfect, but all in all I am a work in progress and will share what I learn along the way.
While I am a health professional, I am not a nutritional expert so if you have any doubts about your own health remember to speak to your own GP and seek dietary advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice, just general concepts which have been useful to me and you m
ay consider applying to your situation. 

I’d encourage you to take the time to read down the page if you can as we will be adding quite a few posts talking about breakfasts, lunches, tips for travelling, recipes, exercise and research articles. Grab a cuppa and start from the beginning if you like. I follow a lot of pages, some of which I agree with immensely and others I pick and choose from their posts- but I will share lots of information for you when I can. Also feel free to check out our Facebook page here -->  Lean Green and Healthy on FB - it has been going for a year now and is full of information! You may wish to join our chat group on Facebook also  --> Lean Green and Healthy CHAT - it's a great group where you can gain support, ask questions, share photos (we love food pics and progress pics!) rant or vent. 
I hope all this information is useful to you and you enjoy it.  Post your ideas, thoughts or questions. Comment as much as you can! Please share with your friends and family. We are here to support you!

Here's some helpful links to get started:
So what to eat for a healthier you
What does a balanced meal look like?
When it comes to diets, one size doesn't fit all 
Stop dieting now PLEASE!!!
The beauty of breakfast
To snack or not to snack, that is the question! 
Weight loss cures and snake oil salesmen
Focus on the journey, not the destination

Lyndal @ Lean Green and Healthy