Tuesday, 4 December 2012

5-a-day challenge (Or: Getting back on track)

If anybody is keeping up with my little blog, you will know that I have been away for a glorious two weeks in the Mother City, Cape Town. It was marvellous and I shall post some photos just to make you all jealous. 

This even makes me a little jealous. Of myself.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Body image starts in your head (Or: Getting over a fat day)

I'm off to Cape Town tomorrow.

Poor, poor me.
[Image source: runawaynow.com]
This has made my life quite hectic recently: finalising work in the hospital, choosing wine farms to tour in Stellenbosch, planning beach outfits - I know, hellish days in Africa. And all this hustle and bustle has been interspersed with brief periods of absolute panic. Panic, dear reader, brought about by the sight of my thighs when exposed to raw sunlight. Over the last few weeks I have been feeling like a puffer fish under permanent attack, and its not going to do my mood, or my vacation, any favours.

A little puffer fish that won't deflate.
[Image source: mauicharters.com]
Let's be honest. Fat days happen. I don't like the word "fat", but to be frank, some days you wake up and there, in the mirror, is Meat Loaf. With your eyes. It's alarming to say the least.

The facial expression is just about right too.
[Image source: ordinary-gentlemen.com]

Now, of course it's in your head. You know this already, I don't need to tell you that it is physically impossible to go up a dress size overnight. So you throw on your breeziest kaftan, tell yourself firmly that you're imagining things, and roll waft out the door to start your day.

The problem with it being "in your head" is that... it's in your head. And sugar, there ain't no escaping that head of yours. The way I see it, at this stage, you have three options: (1). Gently remove your head and leave it on your nightstand at home, (2). Drag yourself around like Eeyore, trying to avoid reflective surfaces,or (3). Sort your head out.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Weight loss diets: How to separate the fad from the facts

There comes a time in every dietitian’s career (or, more accurately, several times) when he/ she feels ready to give someone a good old-fashioned strangle. This murderous urge is set off by the birth of Yet Another Fad Diet. I have just battled through such a time.

Sometimes being a dietitian can get to your head.
[Image source: examiner.com]
It all started when I had the bad luck of stumbling upon the Wheat Belly Diet, started and promoted vigorously by a certain cardiologist.

I don’t mean to be nasty, but I’m afraid I have to call quackery with this man. He misquotes journal articles to support his cause, makes things up, and ends it off with an enthusiastic recommendation that you buy his book (no ulterior motives there at all). If I have some time off over the next few days, I can address that diet specifically.

For now I want to talk about fad diets in general, and how we can figure out if it’s a load of rubbish, or if it is really a safe, healthy, effective way of losing weight – in the long term. Because if we cannot sift the bad from the good, we’re setting ourselves up for years of losing/gaining/losing/gaining weight, messing with our metabolism, and possibly even putting our health at risk.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Oat flapjacks with peanut butter cinnamon sauce and banana

Oatmeal flapjacks with peanut butter cinnamon sauce and sliced banana
I love flapjacks. American pancakes. Crumpets. Whatever you want to call them, they bring me back to the days when my mom would make mountains and mountains of different flavoured Brumpets on a Saturday morning and us three kids would just stuff ourselves silly.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How to row like a pro

For a larger infographic or download, click here
I am not a physically active person by nature. I would do everything I could to avoid Phys Ed at school. If hand-eye-ball coordination could be measured with numbers, with {10 = Roger Federer} and {0 = tries to throw a ball forwards and instead throws it backwards}, I would be {-1 = tries to throw a ball and instead pokes herself in the eye with a cucumber}. Even the way I jog brings uncontrollable fits of laughter amongst my peers.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

An unlikely dietitian hops aboard the Green Monster Movement

Green monster movement
Meet the green monster.
I have had the most awful week. I want to explain it, but it is such a litany of misery and woe that merely typing it makes me want a tub of Sally William's ice-cream. Actually, anything makes me want a tub of Sally William's ice-cream. But this week, I not only wanted to consume a tub, I wanted to dive into one and stay there until the week ended. Or until I drowned. Whichever came first.

Now, when the going gets tough, Amanda gets hungry. Hungry, and lazy. On Monday night, I ate a bowl of cornflakes for dinner. That's a lie: I ate two bowls. Actually, that's also a lie: I had two bowls of cornflakes with custard instead of milk. Then, inexplicably, I woke up at two in the morning, absolutely ravenous again, so I ate an enormous toasted cheese sandwich.

This sort of behaviour continued until Wednesday, when I realised that abstaining from my veggies and overdosing on refined carbohydrates wasn't doing my mood any favours. I was still lazy though. And hungry.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tuna and celeriac cakes

Tuna and celeriac cakes

One of the things I absolutely cannot cook is fresh fish. It is far too delicate for me to use the cooking style to which I have become accustomed (i.e. throwing a few things in a pot and hoping for the best).

One of the things I absolutely can do, however, is open a tin of tuna.

We should all be eating fish at two to three times a week, for protection from stroke, Alzheimer's, some cancers, childhood asthma, and coronary heart disease*. Seeing as I was getting tired of tuna mayo on

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The glycaemic index: Broken down (pun not intended)

I hope you have your learning pants on, because today we’re going to get scientific.

I go on a lot about glycaemic index (GI) and low GI meals. One might say I am obsessed with it. One might be right. So for the purposes of clarity and doing my job for generalised nutrition education, I’m going to do a short explanation of the concept, why it’s so important to me, and why it should be important to you.

For those of you too lazy to read my three pages of hard work, I made this:

Infographic on Glycaemic Index by An Unlikely Dietitian
For a larger image, or to download, click here.
You’re welcome.

For the wonderful nerds who are still here, let’s get started.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The fool-proof guide to a healthy weekend

I have a small mental block when it comes to weekends. I float through the week on a cloud of vegetarian dinners, gym classes and high fibre breakfasts, only to descend into a pit of takeaways and cocktails over the weekend. It's fun, but I inevitably end up dragging through Monday apologising to a grumpy liver and sluggish metabolism.

My mission for the last few weeks has been: Healthy weekends a-go-go! The "a-go-go" may be a bit over-enthusiastic for some, but I needed some serious motivation.

After several trial-and-error-filled weekends (involving, amongst others, deep fried polenta, three bottles of Van Loveren wine and half a tub of honey ice-cream), I came up with seven guidelines to prevent that Monday morning miff.  They arranged themselves into the acronym P.A.R.T.I.E.S., and if that isn't rather pleasing for a weekend, I don't know what is.

1. Plan ahead

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Creamy, rich, spicy, can't-get-enough-of hummus.

Yesterday I did a Very Dietitiany Thing. Having being obsessed with Angela's vegan recipes from Oh She Glows for the last week, I got an urgent, almost primal urge to own... Chia seeds.

What are chia seeds?

I didn't know. But I wanted them.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Where is your health on your list of priorities?

[Background image source: digital-photograpy-school.com]

A colleague and I were guest speakers at a school's health day today. Just as we were about to leave, one of the district health promoters  presented us each a big plate of food. Food that I would never have chosen for myself. There was an unspoken yet palpable expectation that we finish the meal.

It was a gesture of thanks, of hospitality, of generosity. It was lovely and I adore the intentions behind it. I wish I could thank her again, right now. However, one of the lingering remnants of my eating disorder is that I absolutely hate it when I am "forced" to eat food that I don't want. The mere expectation of having to eat food that I my body didn't ask for just about pushes me over the edge.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Chilled beetroot, berry and honey soup

Chilled beetroot, berry and honey soup

Summer is officially here in beautiful South Africa (you may recall my enthusiastic moaning about the Lowveld heat), and goodness but it's lovely. Skies are an impossible blue, trees lush with greenery, and my little potplant family is thriving in a delightful manner.

Meet the gang (clockwise from top left): Manuel, Miss Lavendar, Fawlty, The Piglets, Miss Bornstein and Big Hettie
Rooms spent the weekend up to her elbows in soil as she added some proper herbs to our patio.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Hot and humid in Nelspruit

Man alive but it is hot in Nelspruit. And humid. It is hot and humid, and friends, that is not as fun as it sounds. As soon as you turn your aircon off you feel the sweat start to eke out of your body, as soon as you step outside you feel an urgent need to lie down on the grass for a coma nap. Rooms and I have got all three fans on full blast; our hair is taking some strain but that doesn't matter right now.

The weather has messed up my weekend plans somewhat. I had a nice leisurely jog in mind, maybe taking a blanket and a book down to the river for some me-time, definitely fitting in some tanning. Now I'm fairly certain that if I tried any of those things, I would evaporate on the spot.

There was a man by the river, but he evaporated before I could take the photo.

Instead, I have dragged myself to... the mall. I agree that it is a laughable way to spend a beautiful day in the Lowveld, but the mall has air-conditioning and that is all I care about right now. So about R800 later, here I am:

Friday, 5 October 2012

It's time for honesty

Lack of honesty is one of the pillars supporting disordered eating.

Disordered eating, ranging from starving yourself to binging and purging to the simple guilt that accompanies an enormous piece of rich, gooey chocolate cake, is something I think most men and women have danced with at least once in their lives.

Accordingly, fostering honesty can slowly starve disordered eating habits until they shrink and wither into bittersweet nothingness.

I started this blog in an attempt to finally bring that honesty and clarity and integrity into my relationships, especially my relationship with my body and my food.
Be honest with yourself, your food and your body.
It's time to be honest.

Dishonesty, or simple ignoring of the truth, becomes a habit very quickly and can have overwhelming consequences for the way we eat and the way we see ourselves.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The body whisperer meditation

The title of this post is a bit embarrassing. It makes me feel like I should be wearing feathers in my hair and spending my nights listening to reed flute music while I dance in the woods. But bear with me. I have tried this out and it's quite a winner.

You don't always need a lake for meditation.
[Image source: toningtheom.com]

I am currently making my way through Martha Beck's 4-Day Win book. In general I am not a fan of weight loss or self-help books, but as I was about to throw this out of my bookshelf (I got it as a gift somewhere) I opened a page and it intrigued me. It looks at the psychological aspects of weight loss and why we struggle to lose weight healthily and permanently.