Thursday, 31 March 2011

inspirations 31♥03♥11

cashew cream with strawberries and a quick lunch

hi everyone! hope your week is going wonderfully, and you are looking forward to the weekend already...

i'm still doing well with the low-carb/primal/raw/wholefoods 'diet/lifestyle' that i'm exploring. i went out to pizza express last night, and had one of their salads minus the breadsticks that come with it (even though the smell of them is amazing, i actually didn't want to eat them - i just saw high sugar levels and days of feeling horrible sat on the plate, perhaps that's a form of self-hypnosis?!)

here's my latest eats:

♥  yogurt and fresh mint chopped vegetable salad with mixed green leaves and chorizo, and a mug of peppermint tea!

cashew cream with fresh strawberries! this was my first time making cashew 'cream' and it was suprisingly good and i will definitely be making it more often...

cashew cream recipe:

all i did was to soak a handful of cashews in some fresh water overnight. then in the morning i rinsed them off, put them in my blender cup, topped it off with a little water (to start) and then used the hand blender to smooth it into perfection - keep going until it is thoroughly pureed with no bits. i added water as i went, and a little drop of agave and vanilla extract - until it was just the right consistency and taste i was looking for! easy peasy and delicious.

things are super duper busy in our house at the moment - i'm sorting out plans for Australia this year, as well as writing my first book!! it's a little crazy, especially with the wet weather (great for our allotment, but not so fantastic when you need to walk the dog) - and i've also just released a new series on my YT channel about my journey with acne, and how i got rid of it (yippee!!) in a natural, holistic way.

i've also been watching a lot of the renegade health show for inspiration - they have SO much information and lots of great recipes (mostly raw or vegan, or both) - so if you've never caught an episode it's worth a watch.

currently listening to: gold forever by the wanted

ps. the grain free chocolate hazelnut biscuit recipe is still being edited to perfection, so hold on tight for that one!

low carb diet & forcing ketosis

hi all!

today i wanted to talk about something really controversial - forcing a ketotic state through living a very low carb lifestyle.

i received a comment on my recent NJA post about the primal diet. it was an anonymous comment, but it was so good a question i felt it needed answering! here it is:

i am also a type 1 diabetic. were you advised to follow a low carb diet, or was it a personal choice?  diabetes today shouldn't hinder your ability to eat nearly anything! the advice is to eat as you would regularly and match your insulin to that.

i know for myself i rely on carbohydrates, be they low GI, and do not forbid myself from having a few squares of chocolate or a apple crumble made with sugar or some icecream, etc.

i just wonder whether low carb is really good for anyone? ESPECIALLY a diabetic?

this comment left me annoyed that i hadn't fully explained where i stand on low carb, and what the phrase 'low carb' really means to me in a practical way. so here is my best attempt at an answer...

it has been a personal choice for me to go low carb. when i've seen a nutrionist throughout my years of diabetes care i've only ever been advised to follow a 'balanced' diet, with a good proportion of everything, including wholegrain carbs. i've generally been praised for looking after myself well, all the while maintaining a high hbA1c of 7.6 + (normal is less than 5.5%).

i used to think that i could eat anything, and i didn't let my diabetes stop me from eating whatever i liked, although it was always within reason (minus a few Ben & Jerry's sessions at uni when i ate a whole tub). i was frequently eating about 40-60g carbs at a meal, and then more if i was out, at someone else's house or celebrating a special occasion.

i reached a cracking point this february 2011 - i had a severe hypoglycaemic attack in the night, i had my retinal screening test when they found more burst capillaries, i was taking several days a month off from work from high sugar levels, i had some very expensive dental work done (and i'm only 23!) and i became an auntie for the first time!

i went on the tudiabetes forums for answers - and i found lots of people talking about how going 'low carb' was helping them manage their diabetes better and acheive better hbA1c's. my mum bought me the diabetes solution by dr bernstein, which i promptly read, and was very impressed with (review to come soon). so i thought i'd give it a go, it wasn't a drastic difference to my eating habits then - so it wasn't going to be too difficult, and if after two weeks i noticed a positive difference to my blood glucose control, then i told myself i would stick with it....

and of course, after two weeks i noticed a massive improvement in my control and sensitivity to insulin. so, there has been no turning back since then ♥

so how low carb is 'low carb'?
i guess that the thing with a low-carb diet is just how low carb you go... do you go as low carb as bernstein suggests (the 6, 12, 12 principle?) or do you just reduce the carbs you eat to way below the average, to something your own body can handle and use efficiently?

i think the danger with low carb, and the reason we don't associate that phrase with anything healthy, has to do with forced ketosis. there's a theory that people like Atkin's have concluded, celebrated and advocated through a low carb lifestyle - that by going on this diet you'll force your body into ketosis, where it burns fat for energy, instead of carbs.

atkins seems to think that going into a ketotic state is a good thing, because it shows that you are losing weight. but if you don't need to lose weight then what then? and aren't ketones really bad for your system?

i asked myself this after my second week on the diet when i was feeling a bit groggy. i decided to use a ketostix to measure where is was at, and found i had ketones in my system. then followed a frantic search for answers all over the net: to which i concluded that i'd eaten too much fat and not enough carbs in proportion to the amount of exercise i was having. and that although there were ketones, this was a sign of non-PWD's ketosis rather than a PWD's ketoacidosis (i had had perfect sugar levels that day, all under 7mmol's, so i was very confused). anyhow, with a little adjusting, i have not had one more positive ketone test, and i now check each evening - and will do until i am settled on this new lifestyle.

so, i would never recommend a ketogenic diet, because i don't think it's a positive thing to do to your body, and can give you permanent damage to your kidney/liver/gallbladder. something worth keeping in mind, especially when a PWD's body is more at risk of these things anyway.

i eat about 50-100gr carbs a day, and those are mostly at breakfast time and as snacks before and after exercise. i hardly eat any carbs at dinner, it's usually a big salad, and i eat a small amount at lunch with by large protein portion for the day. i found this post at marks daily apple very helpful in understanding how many carbs i ought to be eating. but i also think that it's different every day, and that you also need to listen to your own body's demands, and account for the amount of exercise your getting with your carb intake.

the other thing to mention is that, with my insulin pump, and having managed my diabetes for 12 years, i was able to take charge of lowering my basal insulin rates, and adjust for fewer carbs with my meal boluses. if you want to go lower carb, but aren't sure how then speak to your local GP or endocrinologist about it - my local practice have been very supportive of my change in diet, because they know i won't do anything TOO crazy, and they know it WILL help improve my health.

anyway, that's all for now. and in the meantime, tell me your experience with reducing your carb intake, or your thoughts on ketosis?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

my acne story: an introduction

so here's my introductory video to this acne mini series - in it i show you my acne scarring, detail my journey with acne, and talk about the types of acne that are common - possibly TMI for many people, but i think it's helpful  know the ins and outs...

mild hormonal acne on my chin and jawline plagued me for months. i kept thinking it was getting better, and it would improve over a week or so...and then it would just breakout again. which is why you read such enthusiasm in previous posts detailing a new discovery that i think is going to be the answer!

anyway, stay posted, and subscribe to my youtube channel, alissaevelyn, for more in this series...

ps. by the way, in case you are wondering, i don't have before and after acne photos because i didn't want to have a picture of it anywhere!

crunchy cranberry granola and boeuf bourguignon

howdy folks!

here are my latest eats:

calamari  - with chopped salad and mint garlic yogurt. i would eat this every day if i didn't believe in having a varied diet!

homemade granola - this happened by accident. i was supposed to be making soy flour cinnamon crisps, and they kind of crumbled totally, and so, instead of throwing it out i made granola my adding some cranberries, dessicated coconut, sesame seeds, linseeds, honey and sunflower oil. then i baked it again for about 10 minutes or so.

♥ this very tasty accident happened to be pretty low carb (yippee!), and i ate it with mashed banana for a post dog walk snack, and it was ridiculously good!

a working lunch. chicken mayonnaise with chopped salad, houmous and steaming redbush tea. oh and oatcakes for me, wholewheat roll for mum and butter for us both.

i've been craving boeuf bourguignon for a few days now - i basically wanted a tasty beef stew, and i figured the French probably had it sussed. boy, was i right! thanks to a recipe in Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, which i managed to decode - this was so, so good. and then of course we had to watch julie and julia whilst we ate. just because.

thanks all so much for reading my blog, it's wonderful to be a part of the online foodie community! if you are ever wondering if you should start a food blog, my advice would be not to hesitate. the thing is, it doesn't even matter if no one reads it, it's just amazing to have a place where i can keep all my recipes + experiments, and it's awesome to journal all the things i create.

currently reading: how i gave up my low-fat diet and lost 40 pounds by dana carpender (i thought it might help my understand the nutritional grounding a low carb diet has, and i was totally right, because this book is full of evidence, studies and guides, a very handy book to have on the shelf! - expect a review soon)

inspirations 29♥03♥11

Monday, 28 March 2011

writing, writing, writing

hi all! just thought i'd send you a little update on what i'm doing and where i'm at!

i've recently been writing my first book - how exciting is that? it will be a comprehensive book of natural beauty tips, everything from 'should you use vaseline?' to 'what's the best form of natural hair removal?' to talking about how i maintain my skin and live a healthy lifestyle. i've been putting lots of hours into research and so it's pretty stocked with information and some unusual (but practical) ideas!

i'm really looking forward to publishing it soon and being able to give you blog readers a sneak preview as well as the opportunity to win a copy!

this week i also hope to upload a video about my acne story - which i hope will help any of you out there that suffer from acne or regular breakouts. if you have any questions that you'd like answered, please don't hesitate to ask (either in the comments section, or anonymously on Formspring, or message me on Youtube) - i want it to be a really helpful resource for people...

and if you haven't already seen my new healthy food and diabetes channel, do check it out and subscribe!

inspirations 28♥03♥11

Sunday, 27 March 2011

coconut flour pancakes and lemon lavender cream

good morning, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight! i hope you are all feeling fabulous and looking forward to this coming week...

the last few days have been awesome. i went to see my brother and his family on thursday, he's just come back from 5 weeks in Norway on training, so it was great to see him again. then on friday we celebrated swedish waffle day with our good friends, the Plants - they have 3 little boys, so it was really fun to make waffles with them! we had loads of toppings on the table, from jams to compotes, greek yoghurt to dark chocolate. it was a waffle feast!

and if you are wondering what i had (given i don't eat loads of carbs any more, and certainly don't go near white flour or sugar), well, you'll just have to wait - i made a beautiful version of coconut flour waffles with banana and peanut butter in, which we've now had twice, and they are amazing - i can't wait to share the recipe with you all!

then on saturday we went to our local market and health food shop, just me and mum, to browse around what they had. we have never done this together, so it was such a pleasure to stroll around in the sunshine and decide on the perfect brussel sprouts and the best purple sprouting broccoli.

and most importantly, i've seen near perfect sugar levels over these past few days, which is a MAJOR accomplishment... yey for the primal lifestyle, dr bernstein and monsieur robbins for your sage advice!

so, now onto my latest eats and treats:

coconut flour pancakes - these are so amazing!  (recipe here - i make a half mix for 2 people)

the main ingredient - i am seriously so loving this at the moment. even though it costs £5.99 for this tiny bag, you use half the amount of any regular flour because it's twice as absorbent... so it's kind of a good deal. anyway, it enables me to eat pancakes and waffles, so i'm a happy girl!

lemon lavender cream - this is literally whipped cream with a tiny teaspoon of my friends homemade lemon and lavender jelly. this is such a joy to eat, although definitely a once in a while treat...

sardine burgers with swede fries, brussel sprout hash and broccoli. yummy! a beautiful dinner. to make the burgers blend up a tin of sardines, an egg, a spoonful of oats, fresh herbs and some pepper - but i'll hopefully experiment with making these again so i can get a better flavour, texture and appearance...

have a wonderful day! and if you haven't yet visited my type 1 diabetes blog, then please pop on over to say hello and learn some more about living with type 1 diabetes :)

currently listening to: steam heat from the pajama game - what a great movie!

inspirations 27♥03♥11

Friday, 25 March 2011

new favorite foodie: jessicalettucetomato.

so, in my never ending search for delicious inspiration and new recipes, i occasionally stumble across something tasty and beautiful. so today, i present to you: jessicalettucetomato.

the photography won me over, as well as the writing and general chit chat. she's really into good, wholesome food - and every dish looks like the perfect combination of restaurant chic and homely comfort.

here's some of her tastiest looking treats:

my fave recipes (ok, it was too difficult to decide, because they are all so tasty looking!):
smoked salmon and rosti eggs benedict with habanero dill cream
chickpea and grated carrot creamy salad
fig and prosciutto salad
pork belly with red lentils, radishes and edamame
black bean and sweet potato chili

hope you love it as much as i do! and if you want to check out my current favorite foodie blog reads, see my tasty blogs reel in the right sidebar.

ps. happy swedish waffle day!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

cinnamon peanut butter and prawn gherkin salad

well, hello! i hope each and every one of you is having a fabulous day so far - and that it will be and was as filled with glorious spring sunshine as mine.

today i met up with a friend for lunch; we indulged in a Waitrose salad bar tub (i'm certain they've got much smaller) whilst looking out over a river in the sunshine. the ducks were snoozing in the heat, and i'm sure i felt my freckles start rising to the surface...

anyway, thanks for the incredible response to my post about the primal lifestyle - i am loving eating this way, as it's totally tasty and i am never hungry, and although i don't prescribe to any one particular 'diet', i find this way of eating very beneficial to my health, and so an 80/20 principle will definitely be the way forward for me; at least for now...

so here are my latest eats:

egg scramble with mushrooms, bacon and brussel sprouts and a crispbread with swedish mustard (senap) 

prawn and gherkin salad with cream cheese and sesame seeds. this week i also hosted a 'jamie at home' party, which was really fun and i was able to pick up a few new bits for the kitchen - they're brilliant, and i will show you them soon, if you would like...

cinnamon peanut butter (literally just loads of cinnamon mixed in with peanut butter!) with some sliced apple - fantastic for a snack attack

roast chicken with salad and green leaves - the rest of the family also had crusty french bread with butter (thank goodness they eat it so fast so it wasn't lingering near me...)

is there anything as wonderful or more pleasurable than a hot chicken from a deli counter? i think not. they are always so succulent and juicy and full of flavour. plus, you can eat half, salve half and use the bones for stock... multipurpose too!

currently listening to: gold forever by the wanted

inspirations 23♥03♥11