29 May 2012

Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

My initial attempt was to make a Minestrone Soup which swiftly derailed once I wanted to add bok choy, quinoa seeds, leek and red bell pepper.  It turned out into a lovely and filling Quinoa & Vegetable Soup. 

I love making soups because they truly are food for the soul.  If you don't feel well, have a soup.  If you want a lightweight meal, indulge in soup.  If you have a bunch of vegies that need to be used, make a soup.

On this occasion I wanted to add some bok choy.  They are readily available in my downstairs mini-mart and they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The quinoa seeds I used are an alternative to rice, barley or couscous.  A native of South America it was once considered the 'Inca's gold'.  Cultivated in Peru, Chile and Bolivia for 5000 years, the quinoa was a staple food for the native Indians.  The Spanish Conquistadors destroyed all the quinoa fields as a way to control the natives.  It became illegal to cultivate quinoa and it was punishable by death.  As you can imagine the cultivation of quinoa all but disappeared until the 1980s when a couple of Americans discovered the concentrated health benefits of quinoa and began cultivating it in Colorado.  Not sure if they are available in supermarkets but I found mine in the health food store.

Are you wondering what is so great about the quinoa?  Firstly, it is high in protein as opposed to rice which is high in carbohydrates.  The quinoa includes all nine essential amino acids which play important roles in metabolism and serve as the building blocks for proteins.  

Whilst possibly thought of as a grain, the quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach and beets.

Following several research studies it was concluded that a regular intake of quinoa can aid with migraines, prevention of heart attacks, reduce the risk of childhood asthma and reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, to name a few.  For more detailed information: Quinoa Seeds Profile.

The best part about this soup is its cooking simplicity.

Quinoa & Vegetable Soup

1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 small leek, chopped
0.5 punnet red cherry tomatoes, halved
2 sticks celery, halved lengthways and sliced (I cut them smaller so my little girl can eat them easier)
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into small squares
3 frozen spinach nuggets (or a handful of fresh spinach thinly sliced)
1 small bok choy, sliced (leaves included)
0.5 red bell pepper, sliced and diced
0.25 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
0.5 C quinoa seeds
1.2L stock


Toss all the ingredients in a large soup pot.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 25 minutes.  Serve with a slice of toast.  Enjoy.

Toss it all in a pot...

...add the stock, boil, simmer and....


28 May 2012

Top 10 Juices

As we experimented with different juice combinations and largely relied on The Big Book of Juice and Smoothies by Natalie Savona for inspiration, here is a list of our top 10 juices that we found ourselves going back for again and again.  Toss them all in the juice extractor.  It usually makes for two sometimes three depending on preferred serving size.  Just add more or less to suit your needs.

The juices marked with an asterik are extracted from the abovementioned book.

An Oldie but a Goodie

2 apples
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery

Aids with detox, lower cholesterol, immune boost, skin improvement, digestion and diuretic properties that help dispose of excess water in the body.

An Oldie but a Goodie

Beet Basic*

2 beetroots
2 carrots
1 apple
1 orange, peeled
1 stick celery
1.5 cm ginger root

Aids with detoxing, immunity boost, energy lift and skin improvement.  A yummy and terrific all-rounder.

Beet Basic

Carrot Beet

3 carrots
1 beetroot
4 oranges

Load up on vitamin C, boost the immunity and detoxify.

Carrot Beet

Celery Delicacy*

0.5 bunch of celery
4 pears
1.5cm ginger root

A soothing juice that aids with digestion and detoxing.

Celery Delicacy

Grapefruit Zing

2 pink grapefruits
3 carrots
2 apples
1 nashi
1.5 cm ginger root

Packed with vitamin C, detoxifying and aids with digestion, along with lowering cholesterol.

Grapefruit Zing

Nashi Morning

2 large nashi pear
2 carrots
1 fuji apple
2 sticks celery
1.5 cm ginger root

A nice all rounder with extra energy boost and delicious sweet flavour to kick off anyone's morning.

Nashi morning

Nashi Sweetness

1 large nashi pear
2 oranges, peeled
2 fuji apples
2 sticks celery

Aids with detoxing, digestion, skin improvement, lower cholesterol, immunity boost and has diuretic properties that help dispose of excess water in the body.

Nashi Sweetness

Orange Zest

1 pineapples
2 oranges
1.5cm ginger root

Rich in vitamins and minerals the pineapple's alkaline nature is complimentary to the oranges more acidic form.

Orange Zest

Pineapple Basic*

0.5 pineapple, peeled
1 apple
3 carrots
1 stick celery

A full on booster in energy, detox, immunity and digestion. 

Pineapple Basic

Pineapple Yum

0.75 pineapple
2 apples
2 oranges

Aids with digestion, immunity boost, detox and lower cholesterol.

Pineapple Yum

27 May 2012

Wellbeing & Weight Loss Journey - End of Week 4

And the end of this journey has arrived.  Four weeks of juicing and souping.  Throughout this month I broke my diet once on Mother's Day to have a tuna salad and indulge in a coffee macaroon.

I kept up the water intake of 2-2.5L per day until last week when I started feeling water logged.  I cut it back to 1-1.4L per day.

Recovering from a bad flu this last week, I managed to exercise twice but with limited energy.

Knowing the end was near, for the last few days I've been hankering a meal that required chewing.  Looking forward to my breakfast and lunch outing today.

Was this month worth it?  Having dropped nearly 6kg in total, I think so.  My clothes fit better and I feel better.  I also sleep better since I am not loaded with my usual 3-4 cups of coffee per day.  However, this is only just over the half way mark and there's still another 5kg to go.

So here are the final stats:

Age - 42
Height - 170cm (5"7')
Weight - 65.3kg (lost 5.9kg)
Natural Waist - 74cm (lost 7cm)
Waist around navel - 77.5 (lost 8.5cm)
Hips - 103cm (lost 7cm)
Thighs - 58cm (lost 5cm)
Bust - 90cm (lost 5cm)
Calf Muscle - 37.5cm (lost 2.5cm)

Where to from here?  It's a good question indeed.  I have another week before I fly to Australia visiting for six weeks and I am not quite sure how I will manage this next phase of my weight loss regime.  Perhaps just be conscientious about what I eat and leave the next phase for when I get back home.

Am I concerned about falling back into bad habits?  Yes I am, but fingers crossed that I have learned enough about myself to know better.  Thankfully I am not into fast foods or fizzy drinks so that is one less problem to deal with.

Whilst blogging about this journey was meant to end here, I think a follow on blog of how I am faring may be worthwhile.  Stay tuned...

24 May 2012

Lentil and Vegetables Soup

I am a big fan of pulses such as lentils, chickpeas and beans.  Besides the fact that I enjoy their flavour they are packed with protein, nutrients and fibre, are low in fat, have no cholesterol and has a low glycemic index.  A terrific alternative to meat or for vegetarians to boost their meal.

With over 1800 species, the pulse crop has been sustaining humans for more than 5000 years.  It is an important source of protein in developing countries and an excellent food source for people wanting to manage their weight, diabetes, heart disease or coeliac disease.

The following soup recipe is one of many different versions I make but the best part is how easy it is to prepare.  Chop, toss in pot, boil & simmer and it's cooked in 25 minutes.

Lentil and Vegetables Soup

2 small leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 C green beans, cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 C brown lentils
0.5 C parsley, finely chopped
1.25L stock
Salt & pepper, to season


In a big pot add all the ingredients along with the stock, bring to boil and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  That's it.  Enjoy.

Toss in the ingredients...
...add the stock...

...and voila, time to indulge.

20 May 2012

Wellbeing & Weight Loss Journey - End of Week 3

As the third week rolled by I settled into my routine with juice in the morning and evening, soup at lunch and nuts for snacks.  Many of the juice recipes are now recirculating and we are narrowing down the favorites.  At the end of this month look out for the Top 10 Juices post, should you be interested in trying them.

My water intake is steady at around 2-2.5L per day.  Who would have ever thought I would replace my much beloved coffee for water.

The week began on a good note, with a 50 minute session at the bicycle station.  It hard to start with as I was overcoming stiff muscles from a treadmill session a couple of days prior but after 20 minutes of wincing and groaning, the muscles warmed up and the rest of a breeze.

Rather satisfied with my effort in working out every second day, I did not anticipate catching the flu and spending three days knocked off my feet.

As a result of my sedentation, it was reasonable to expect that not much movement would take place on my weight or measurements, however, it is not completely disappointing since I managed to remove another kilo from my body.

Age - 42
Height - 170cm (5"7')
Weight - 67kg (lost 4.2kg)
Natural Waist - 74cm (lost 7cm)
Waist around navel - 79.5 (lost 6.5cm)
Hips - 104cm (lost 6cm)
Thighs - 60cm (lost 3cm)
Breast - 91cm (lost 4cm)
Calf Muscle - 38cm (lost 2cm)

Grateful to have made it this far, I am already tasting my celebratory lunch next Sunday at a most divine organic salad bar.  It will be a nice way to ease back into solid foods without shocking my system.

16 May 2012

Pumpkin, Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

The power of pumpkin and sweet potato are in their anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, whilst the leek is a good source of potassium and iron aiding with arthritis, gout and bladder stones.

Stuffed with Vitamin A, carotenoids, complex carbs, fibre, folate, B1 & B3, calcium, iron and more, makes this soup not just tasty but nice and healthy.  The sweet potato "boosts resistance to infection and helps maintain optimum energy levels"; the pumpkin "helps prevent the formation of cancer cells and helps promote healthy skin"; and the leek "is a diuretic, laxative, antiseptic and excellent for a healthy digestive tract" (extracts from The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health).

There are several varieties of sweet potato worldwide but they can be easily classed into two types.  The white type which has a chestnut-caramel flavour and the yellow/orange type which is sweet and watery.  I used the white version in the soup to reduce the sweetness and give it that chestnutty flavour.

The sweet potato pre-dates the normal potato by nearly 500 years.  It was cultivated in prehistoric Peru and is a staple food in the Caribbean and southern US.  It reached Polynesia and NZ in the 14th century and thanks to Columbus' exploring he introduced it to Spain and finally made its way to England mid-16th century just in time for the infamous Henry VIII to indulge in it.

Making its first appearance in the 17th century, the pumpkin most likely inspired Perrault's "pumpkin turned into a golden coach" in his Cinderella story.  Originally from the US, the pumpkin is steeped in Thanksgiving and Halloween traditions.  A winter vegetable (but found all year round), the pumpkin stores well for long periods of time in a dark, cool place.

With a long history, the leek was once considered a sacred plant in ancient Egypt and highly enjoyed by the Romans and Greeks of that time.  It seems to have fallen out of favour during the 16th-18th century.  According to Wikipedia, "the leek is also a national emblem of Wales.  Legend says, Saint David ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field".

Pumpkin, Leek & Sweet Potato Soup

1 large leek, chopped
1 garlic, peeled and chopped
0.5 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped
600g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp minced ginger
3 tsp ground cumin
1.5L water or vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season (I used water instead of stock and hence added 1tsp of sea salt)
Natural yoghurt, optional


In a saucepan, saute the onion, garlic & parsley with 0.25C of water for 5 minutes (add a bit more water if it evaporated).

Add the pumpkin, sweet potato and coriander, stir well and cook for a further minute. Add the water or stock, bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Let it cool and blend until smooth. Add a tablespoon of yoghurt for a creamier flavour. Season with sea salt & freshly ground pepper.

15 May 2012

Wellbeing & Weight Loss Journey - End of Week 2

Day 8

Breakfast - 3/4 pineapple, 2 apples, 2 oranges & 1 tsp psyllium husk (absolutely delicious)
Lunch - cabbage, carrot & apple soup
Dinner - carrot, pineapple, cucumber, lemon & celery juice with LSA
Snack - half mango, small glass of 100% black cherries juice, mixed nuts and seeds
Exercise - nil

I struggled with my sleep last night.  My body temperature dropped and I was shivering under my sheets in 26 degrees heat.  Kept waking up to add more clothing till I had a nightie, T-shirt, pyjama bottoms and long-sleeve bolero jacket that goes with my nightie.  I kept waking up on and off with strange thoughts and dreams (not that I remember what they were).  Somewhere in the course of my sleep my body temperature changed and I started sweating, so off came the bolero jacket but I kept the rest.  In the end I woke up with a very stiff neck from rollerblading and mild headache but my body temperature was back to normal.

Spent most of the day on the couch due to lethargy.  John took charge as I ambled at an extremely slow pace and managed another unpleasant headache.  Nor did it help that each time I bent to pick something up my head would kick in worse than ever and I would be dizzy as well.  Back on the couch I fell.  Caught up with lots of TV series.

Day 9

Breakfast - beetroot, carrot, celery, apple, orange & ginger juice & 1 tsp psyllium husk
Lunch - spicy cauliflower soup
Dinner - freshly squeezed juice with LSA
Snack - spicy cauliflower soup after swimming
Exercise - 500 m swimming at moderate pace

Got out of bed feeling somewhat refreshed and felt as if I was on my way to my normal self again.  Very little headache through the course of the day but I was definitely on the way up.

Day 10

Breakfast - pineapple and nashi pears & 1 tsp psyllium husk
Lunch - spicy cauliflower soup
Dinner - beetroot, apples and celery
Snack - mango and orange juice at our local hawker's market after blading
Exercise - 60 minutes rollerblading with our daughter at slow to moderate pace

I know I am back to my normal self now.  Cleaned the apartment (which has suffered due to lethargy or jetlag), reorganised my working space (I now have my desk near the window and have a terrific view each time I am contemplating what I'm about to write), socialised and went out blading.  No more lethargy, no more headaches.  Woo-hoo.

Day 11

Breakfast - cherries and pineapple juice & 1 tsp psyllium husk
Lunch - broccoli, carrot & celery soup
Dinner -carrot, celery, red capsicum, cucumber, apple, orange & ginger
Snack - mixed nuts and seeds, prunes
Exercise -1km swim (60min)

The 1km swim was a feat for me since I am pretty much a self-taught swimmer with perhaps not the best techniques but I have seen worse here, so I'm okay with my capabilities.  There was a time some years ago when I couldn't even complete a 50m lap.  It was personally satisfying to know I can manage that.  It may be slow but I got there in the end.

The daily weigh is indicating a slow down on the weight loss with a shift every couple of days of approximately 500g.  Not much happening in the way of measurements either, except for my waistline around the navel area. 

Day 12

Breakfast - carrot, celery & apple juice & 1 tsp psyllium husk
Lunch - plain cooked corn on the cob, cooked mixed vegies with a bit of egg
Dinner - cucumber, carrots, red capsicum & tomatoes
Snack - mixed nuts & seeds, prunes
Exercise - nil

Lived through another birthday cake.  This was much tougher because the lovely Veronika made things that I would usually devour, returning for seconds.  The cake looked divine, light and spongy with cream in between.  I just stood aside and kept drinking my water.

Day 13

Breakfast - 2 carrots, 2 apples, 2 oranges & 1 nashi pear juice & 1 tsp psyllium husk (another super delish juice)
Lunch - broccoli, carrot & celery soup
Dinner - beetroot, carrot, celery, apple, orange & ginger juice
Snack - small handful of cooked unsalted red kidney beans
Exercise - rollerblading for 60 minutes

Day 14

Breakfast - watermelon, nashi pear, apple & half a lemon juice & 1 tsp psyllium husk
Lunch - tuna nicoise salad with boiled egg & potato, greens, seared tuna and dressing (early Mother's Day celebration)
Dinner - commercial 100% cherry juice, orange, celery, nashi pear & apple juice
Snack -coffee macaroon (indulging on Mother's Day), mixed nuts & seeds
Exercise - a combination of jogging and power walking for 40 minutes.

It must be the month of birthdays in my condo area, as I just barely managed to get through another birthday.  I did taste test Zuzana's delightful stuffed chicken and desperately wished I could have a serve. Never mind, John made sure he had two serves (one of them for me).

We also celebrated Mother's Day a day early to avoid the crowds and I indulged within reason.  The Tuna Nicoise Salad at our favorite cafe Coffee Beanstro at Marina Bay Sands is a regular order of mine.  Usually I get through it all but on this occasion I only managed half of it.  It looks like my stomach has shrunk plenty.

Here are my stats for end of week two.  The losses recorded are reduced from the original measurements not from last week's results.

Age - 42
Height - 170cm (5"7')
Weight - 68kg (lost 3.2kg)
Natural Waist - 75cm (lost 6cm)
Waist around navel - 81 (lost 5cm)
Hips - 105cm (lost 5cm)
Thighs - 60.5cm (lost 2.5cm)
Breast - 94cm (lost 1cm)
Calf Muscle - 38.5cm (lost 1.5cm)

I am happy with the progress as it is nice and steady and easily manageable beyond this month's program.  Along the way, I am learning about calorie intakes, good foods vs bad foods, steadily increasing my exercise routine and in general figuring out what I will need to do once I resume normal eating. 

09 May 2012

Broccoli, Carrot & Celery Soup

Originating 2000+ years ago from the Northern Mediterranean, the broccoli is an Italian vegetable that was highly regarded by the Romans.  It spread into France in the 16th century, followed by England in the 18th century, then the US in the 19th to early 20th century.

Broccoli's health benefits abound which makes this very light and soothing soup a desirable recipe in a cook's collection.  Packed with vitamins, the good ole broccoli just like the yummy cauliflower is full of antioxidants. 

According to Healing Foods for Special Diets antioxidants neutralise free radical chemicals which are released in your body when "...oxygen is processed through the bloodstream and into the tissues".  Whilst the free radicals are in your body for only a couple of seconds it seems to be sufficient time for them to "...cause all kinds of damage in the body including taking hydrogen electrons from molecules in body tissues and damaging the tissues in the process". Top up with plenty of antioxidant inclined foods such as broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage and you can keep those free radicals on holidays. 

More reasons to indulge in broccoli are: aids with detoxing, energy and strength boosting, protects the health of the heart, skin, nerves & muscle tissue, and has anti-cancer and anti-stress qualities.

Broccoli, Carrot & Celery Soup

1 broccoli (about 400g)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1.2L water or stock


In a saucepan, saute the carrot, onion, celery, garlic & ginger with about a cup of water for 10 minutes on low.  Add the broccoli and saute a further 5 minutes (add a bit more water if the previous has evaporated).

Sauteing carrot, celery, onion, garlic and ginger.

Adding the broccoli and sauteing a further five minutes.

Add the water/stock and salt, then bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegies are cooked.  Blend till smooth and serve.  Add a dollop of live yoghurt, if desirable.

Finished soup before blending.

Served with cracked pepper.

08 May 2012

Spicy Cauliflower Soup

I found this soup recipe on the New York Times website and it looked more interesting than my more basic recipe. 

Just like cabbages, the cauliflower along with the broccoli are rich in antioxidants and apparently believed to reduce the risk of certain cancers, ie lung and colon cancer.

Here is what the book, The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health, says: "encourages antibody and haemoglobin production and protects against allergy, asthma, migraine and depression.  It improves the health of the skin and mucous membranes, helps maintain energy levels and regulate blood-fat concentration".

Off course once you cook the raw vegetable much of these benefits are either reduced or lost.  The soup below, I have reduced the recommended cooking time to 15 minutes, simply because I found that the cauliflower was sufficiently cooked for me to blend and still maintain some of the nutrients as opposed to cooking them into oblivion.

Spicy Cauliflower Soup (Serves 4)

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1tsp finely chopped ginger
1tsp curry powder
1tsp ground cumin
500g cauliflower, chopped
600ml water or vegie stock
Salt & Pepper to taste


In a saucepan add the onion and a bit of water and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly.  Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cumin and regularly stir for a further minute.

Add the cauliflower, water or stock, and salt to taste and bring to boil.  Cover the saucepan and simmer on low for 15 minutes. 

You can serve as is or blend the soup, grind some fresh pepper and serve.  Add a tablespoon of live yoghurt (optional).

Mummy's little helper.

07 May 2012

Cabbage, Carrot & Apple Soup

If you have been following my blog recently than you may be aware that I have started a detox diet using fruit juice in the morning and veggie juice for dinner.  For lunch I make soups and slightly alter them to remove oil and commercial stock from the recipes.

I have a terrific book called the Detox Diet Cookbook by Nicola Graimes which I have been using for about nine years because it has some beautiful soup recipes in them.  The cabbage soup is one them.  Given the wonderful health benefits derived from cabbage it was an ideal veggie to include in my current diet.

Nicola describes the health benefits as: "an excellent detoxifier and its reputed to aid digestion, detoxify the stomach and upper bowels and cleanse the liver and reduce the risk of certain cancers.  It is rich in folate, vitamins C and E, potassium, iron, betacarotene and thiamin, and is well known for its potent antiviral and antibacterial qualities."

Cabbage, Carrot & Apple Soup

1 small white cabbage shredded
2 carrots, peeled, cut lengthways and then sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1.2L water (I would normally use commercial vegie stock if I was not detoxing)
Half a lemon


In a saucepan add carrots, onion, celery and enough water to saute the vegies for about 10 minutes.

Then add the cabbage, carrot, parsley and water (or stock).  Bring to boil and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

At this point you can either serve as is or blend it.  Grind fresh sea salt and pepper and squeeze lemon juice to suit your tastebuds.  Usually I wouldn't blend this soup but I made it easier for my daughter since even when the cabbage is shredded, it is still a bit too bulky for my little girl.  I also dropped a tablespoon of live yoghurt in her bowl.

06 May 2012

Wellbeing & Weight Loss Journey - End of Week 1

Day 1

Started the day, which was at noon for me (recovering from jet lag), with a pineapple and apple juice.  A surprisingly delightful combination of flavours.  Abhorring food wastage, half hour later we finished off the bacon, eggs and hash browns. 

After some research for shopping items, we visited the local health food store and supermarket.  Between the two we added more vegies and fruits to our basket, along with:
  • psyllium husk and LSA mix (linseed, sunflowers and almond meal) both a source of dietary fibre;
  • quinoa (alternative to rice or cous cous) for its protein, digestibility and gluten-free characteristics;
  • nuts and seeds for their protein, vitamins B & E, calcium, iron, essential fatty-acids;
  • dried beans and chickpeas for low-fat protein, vitamins and minerals;
  • dried prunes to protect against osteoporosis, has vitamins A & K, it's a carbohydrate and antioxidant and has a low glycemic index (GI) rating;
  • ciabatta stick for John and Trini to finish off the ham and cheese.
Whilst at the mall we had a coffee each to stave off the headaches.

We all indulged in a vegie juice made up of cucumber, carrot, celery & psyllium husk (for the adults).  John and Trini also had their ciabatta with tomato, ham and cheese.

We've had 6 glasses of water, a mix of distilled and Perrier with lime.  Not quite the minimum requirement of 8 glasses per day but we are working our way towards it.

It is midnight and I am feeling peckish but it is to be expected as I am taking in less than my stomach size.  Ideally the intake will cover various aspects of protein, fibre, iron, calcium, sodium, carbs and natural sugar for my sweet tooth.

Finishing the night off with a cup of Rooibos Tea.  A South African herbal, it acts as an antioxidant, lowers blood pressure, cardiovascular protection, inhibits brain aging, prevents DNA damage to name a few.  Thanks Marc & Lindz for introducing us to it.

Day 2

The day started with a tall glass of distilled water each and lime slices.  Apparently this kickstarts the liver.  Fifteen minutes later we indulged in a watermelon, nashi pear & kiwis juice with 1 tsp of psyllium husk for fiber stirred in.

During the day we drank both distilled and carbonated water and had a cup of coffee to ward off headaches. 

Late afternoon John made a delicious mix of 2 beetroots, 2 celery, half a fresh ginger, 2 carrots, 1 orange and 1 apple juice.  It made a large jug with me having 700ml and John about 150ml.  I added 1tsp of LSA for protein.  The juice was my main meal, whereas John had his ciabatta roll with cheese, ham, hommus, tomato and pickles (he was good enough to move away from me so I don't drool).

Early evening snack we served ourselves a handful of mixed nuts and seeds.

Continued with the water intake which totalled about 1.5L each (helps starting with the big glass we have as it takes 700ml) and we are finishing off with a cup of Rooibos tea.

The shock to my system is when I prepare a sandwich for Trini and I automatically wanted to have a piece of cheese, slice of ham.  My fingers were itching but thankfully I abstained.  I also had Trini later shove a creamy Cornetto ice cream in my face telling me to try.  Managed to abstain again.

Physical symptoms are light headedness and just the desire to relax but that is also the remnants of my jetlag.

Day 3

As a way of using up leftover stuff we made a mix of tidbits of whatever was left in the fridge for brekky.

Whilst I am nearly over the jetlag, today's greater challenge was surviving a BBQ.  Imagine the smell of sausages, burgers and skewers tantalising our nostrils and tastebuds.  Thankfully we were saved by the delicious Quinoa salad with raisins, parsley, pinenuts and lemon juice for dressing.  We abstained from alcohol and drowned ourselves in mineral water.

The pretty pink chocolate birthday cake was very enticing so we let Trini indulge but managed to abstain yet again.  Phew.

By the time we got home, I was hanging out for food and so we cleaned up the veggie crisper some more followed by a handful of nuts and seeds.

Had one cup of coffee and tomorrow I will go for no coffee.  We are settling in for the evening with lime mineral water and will finish up with a Rooibos tea.

All in all, I was very impressed with our will to stick to our diet and not give into temptation.

Day 4

I was intending to do a mono diet today, which is basically 1-1.5kg of one type of fruit for the whole day.  Papaya being a little more substantial than some of the other suggestions was my fruit of choice.  I prepared it for 4 meals, interspersed with water.

Three out of four serves were eaten but when John made another awesome beetroot juice (see Day 2), I couldn't resist it and had to have it.  We mixed 1 tablespoon of LSA into the juice instead of 1 teaspoon.  Somewhere in the afternoon I also ingested 5 dried prunes and had no coffee (no headaches either so the approach worked very well for me - along with lots of water to keep flushing the body).

An evening walk down the pier just beckoned, so we took this opportunity to put Trini in her new rollerblades and get her outside with them.

We finished the evening with another handful of nuts and seeds.

The only difficulty I had today was the lack of energy.  Each time I lifted something a little heavier my heart would start racing as my body was working harder.  Tried to go to sleep earlier and then John recommended a new book for me for me to read in bed and well the hours just slipped away.

Day 5

Juice today was watermelon, kiwis and grapes.  An unusual combination but we still enjoyed it.

Lunch was my leftover serve of papaya fruit and afternoon snack was a sliced banana, sprinkled with LSA and small drizzle of honey (so yummy my daughter devoured her serve).

Dinner was a tomatoes, celery and carrot juice.  Found that the carrots overrode the tomato flavour but then unless the tomato is straight out of the garden you don't get much flavour in them anyway.

Finished off with a half hour rollerblade as a way to ease myself into it, followed by mixed nuts.

Let's just say my glutes worked more than they have in way too many years.

In overall it was a smooth day.  Dealt with hunger pangs but just poured more water into me (I can only begin to imagine what the food and water deprived people on our planet must go through everyday).  It's amazing how those hunger pangs pass.  Probably the unexpected came at midnight when I went to bed and I got one of those headaches across the crown of my head where I thought it would split in two.  After contending with it for an hour, I relieved the pain with Panadol.  Slept like a baby afterwards.

Day 6

Morning began with pineapple, carrots, celery and apple juice.  Not wanting a juice for lunch, I made a pumpkin and cumin soup.  An old recipe that I have used many times over the years (extracted from a detox diet cookbook), I altered slightly in order to keep it as natural as possible, meaning no oil or commercial stock.  The natural flavour of the pumpkin permeated into the water which was further enhanced with ground cumin, coriander, garlic and ginger.  Blend and serve (added a dollop of yoghurt for Trini since she is not detoxing).

Snacked on another banana, LSA & honey mix as yesterday in the afternoon and mixed nuts and seeds at night.

Finishing off with a Rooibos tea but I can feel the same headache coming on.

Whilst video chatting with my sister in Oz, she complimented me on my improved facial complexion.  I have noticed it as well in the last couple of days so it was good to have it verified by someone who didn't know till now that I was detoxing.

Day 7

Breakfast - 5 oranges, 1 lemon, 3 carrots and ginger
Lunch - White cabbage, carrots and apple soup (altered to remove commercial stock and oil from recipe)
Dinner - 2 nashi pears, 3 sticks of celery, 1 carrot, 0.5 ginger, stalks of parsley juiced.
Snack - mixed nuts
Water - averaging 2-2.5L per day
Exercise - rollerblading 90 minutes

First week is complete.  It went faster than anticipated and have had some pleasant results so far.  Largest feat was surviving the BBQ without breaking our resolve.  No alcohol, no burgers, no sausages, no pasta salads, no cake.

John has lost half a kilo but we figured that it is too hard to have weight loss for me and weight gain for him as concurrent objectives.  For now he keeps me company in my morning and dinner juices and he has a solid meal at lunchtimes.

When this detox is complete we will concentrate on John's desire to gain weight and undertake the relevant research in relation to this exercise.

Without further ado, here are my stats at the end of the first week:

Age - 42
Height - 170cm (5"7')
Weight - 69.3kg (lost 1.9kg)
Natural Waist - 76cm (lost 5cm)
Waist around navel - 84 (lost 2cm)
Hips - 107cm (lost 3cm)
Thighs - 62cm (lost 1cm)
Breast - 95cm (lost 1cm)
Calf Muscle - 39cm (lost 1cm)

I am enjoying the process simply because I find it fascinating how the body knows where to extract the stored fats and burn it.  I feel as if I am melting throughout the night and as I wake up in the morning I find another 300-500gms gone.

This detox is certainly not for the faint hearted.  Up until now, I never had the will to engage in a weight loss program.  Now I just do it because it needs to be done.  It is made easier knowing each day is planned and when meal time arrives we just juice the daylights out of the fruit/vegies.  We have enough recipe books to help us out with ideas and the trial and error makes it fun as to what is nice and what is just okay.  Kind of like experimenting with cooking.

Stay tuned for next week's post and see how we go over the next seven days.

Carrot, celery, nashi pears & parsley.

LSA mix is visible at the bottom of the glass.

05 May 2012

A physical wellbeing journey

Inspired by our Aussie kickboxing and karate instructor, Bernard Schokman, my hubby and I started a journey towards body detoxification, cleansiness, weight loss/gain and overall improved physical being. 

Not quite sure how, but the will to discover as we go is good enough for us.  We have a basic idea about food and through ongoing research we will add to the knowledge bank.  We also purchased inline skates to use as a family way to exercise whilst having fun (it's been about 5 years since I've been on them).  Trini will have the option to join us either on her own skates, scooter or bike.  We have a gym and 50m lap pool as part of our condos facilities for further resistance and cardio training.

Target length of this journey is 33 days simply because I have to travel to Australia in June.  It seems long enough to break some bad habits and acquire some good ones.

Here are our stats as at 28 April 2012:


Basic Stats

Age - 42
Height - 170cm (5"7')
Weight - 71.2kgs
Waist - 81cm
Hips - 110cm
Thighs - 63cm
Breast - 95cm
Calf Muscle - 40cm


Basic Stats

Age - 40
Height - 185cm (6"1')
Weight - 68.8kgs
Waist - 75cm
Thighs - 53cm
Chest - 88cm
Biceps - 27.5
Calf Muscle - 35cm

Typical daily food/beverage intake

Breakfast - coffee (sometimes 2) and cereal with flavoured yoghurt and milk (sometimes only coffee) or bacon, fried eggs & hash browns on weekends.

Lunch - toast x 2 with margarine or 2 minute noodles (sometimes nothing at all).

Dinner - wokked Asian out at Hawker's market or Indian take-away or pizza (3 slices each) and occasional hot chips.

Good snacks - mixed nuts or apple or banana.

Bad snacks - ice cream every 2nd day, sporadic Ferrero Rocher chocolate intake (the box lasts a while), occasionally plain biscuits with coffee.  No cakes, it just doesn't work with Singapore's heat and humidity.

Non-alcoholic beverages - standard glass of water x 4approx, 1 glass of carton juice on weekend with brekky.  No fizzy drinks (never really took to them) other than the occasional Perrier lime mineral water.

Alcoholic beverages - alternating daily between 1 beer or 1 breezer (2 of either if we are socialising with neighbours) or sharing a bottle of wine with John.  3-4 times a week a straight scotch usually late at night.  We never drank so much till we moved to Singapore and found ourselves in a resort style lifestyle which just begged for too much overindulgence whilst socialising.

We don't have a short term target since we just want to figure it out, break some habits and see how well we manage it since we have never done this before.  Over the longer term though I want to lose approximately 10kg and John wants to gain 5kg.

What we'd probably like to accomplish initially is to wean off coffee (I get horrendous headaches if I go cold turkey) which should take less than a week.  First step is to go from three cups to one.

In terms of alcoholic beverages, it is simply cold turkey. 

John bought a juice extractor and made a terrific Balinese Lola juice which is a combo of 3 carrots, 2 apples, 2 oranges, 1 lemon, half ginger. 

As of Monday, I start a juice fast (combo of fruits and vegies) with psyllium husk, LSA (linseed, sunflower and almonds mix) and sea salt additives.  You may wonder why?  According to good ole Wiki, the salt aids with keeping headaches, irritations and nausea at bay, LSA provides the protein and the psyllium husk is used to aid with colon cleansing and are a source of soluble dietary fiber. 

For John the cleansing would be beneficial however the diet will need to be supplemented with protein and other intake that aids with weight gain rather than weight loss.  This one will be a bit trickier.

What we need to be aware of is any side effects as a result of detoxing such as tiredness, irritability, bad breath, constipation, dizziness and headaches.

My next post will be at the end of day 7 to share what has transpired.