Thursday, 29 April 2010

FOOD: Very Lazy Girl-ic: Cauliflower Mash

The lovely boys and girls over at Very Lazy HQ recently sent me an ingenious jar of Very Lazy Garlic to help with my very lazy (but still completely healthy!) recipes. I always have a battle with cloves of garlic when cooking - they're a complete pain in the bum. I hate crushers and my chopping skills are dangerous, so Very Lazy Garlic is a godsend. It's less than £2 a jar in the supermarket and lasts for up to 10 weeks in the fridge. Plus, there's no faffy measurements - one teaspoon equals one clove, simple!

Recently, I've been trying to keep my refined carbohydrates low in attempt to keep my diet on track and drop a few more pounds. I also find that if I cut refined carbs completely I crave less rubbishy food. Refined carbs are white flour carbs with a high GI value (you'll be hungry pretty quickly after eating these sorts of foods). While white potatoes aren't classed as refined carbs, they are high on the Glycemic Index (GI) scale, so they'll spike your blood sugar and make you hungry very soon after as your blood sugar drops back down. Everyone loves a bit of mashed potato, so I've had a bash at a low carb cauliflower substitute with the help of my Very Lazy Garlic jar. It's also a really good way of getting one of your 5 a day, and it actually tastes surprisingly good!

How to do it...
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower
  • 1/3 pack of Philadelphia Extra Light
  • 3 teaspoons of Very Lazy Garlic (or 3 cloves)
  • Salt and black pepper to season
  1. Steam the Cauliflower and garlic until you can easily pop a fork through the florets, about 10mins.
  2. Place the steamed cauliflower and garlic in a bowl with the Philadelphia and blend with a hand blender, (you can do it with a potato masher if you like but it's quite lumpy!).
  3. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Now I was pretty sceptical about substituting my bezzies potatoes for a soggy vegetable, but the texture of the two is very similar. My brain was kind of tricked into thinking I was eating carbs - I'm amazed! I'm satisfied and not craving a slice of crusty bread and butter. Try it for yourself!

Love, LG x

P.S. Very Lazy have loads of exciting recipes over on their website, plus a Lazy Lounge where you can share your recipes with other very lazy people and pick up a few tips for yourself!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

DIARY: Boredom, Moods and Robert Pattinson: My Reasons For Over Eating

So it's as little as 10 weeks until my holiday. Ahhh! Like most people, I'm really struggling to stay on track, but after receiving so many lovely emails from my amazing followers and lots of kind tweets on Twitter I've given myself a kick up the bum and I'm getting right back into it!

I've been so so desperate to eat pretty much anything in my house today, so I've decided to sit down and write a post about the reasons why. Lighterlife really focus on these reasons within their counseling sessions and it really helped me at the time, so I shall readdress them in an effort to revive them!

I reckon this is my main reason for weight gain; I get bored very easily. Usually when I have too much to do I choose to do nothing and make myself unnecessarily bored (excellent time management skills I know, I blame my dad for that). I'll then stuff my face with anything I can get my hands on and before I know it, a whole tub of Ben and Jerry's has disappeared. Bring on the guilt!
I've been trying really hard to find alternative ways to cure my boredom in an attempt to stop eating unnecessarily. Firstly, I think its really important to understand the difference between actual hunger and fake hunger caused by boredom. I've been trying to reason with myself by using questions (yes, talking to myself - this dieting business has finally driven me MENTAL) like "how long ago did i last eat? Could I seriously be hungry yet?". At this point, I'll have a glass of water. Apparently hunger and thirst signals are easy to mix up, so by having a glass of water, you can elliminate any pesky thirst signals in disguise. Now it's time to find something to do. There's always some work that needs to be done, just make yourself do it. You'll feel miles better after, I promise. Then next time, try something a little different. Today I took my rather chunky dog Max, for an extra extra long walkies. The sun was shining and it was all very pleasant, plus lets face it, poor Maxi needs the exercise just as much as i do!

I am 100% guilty of using food as an emotional crutch. I eat when I'm happy, sad, angry, lonely, celebrating - you name it and I'll eat because of it. It really is a terrible habit and what makes it worse is that I know I do it. Emotional eating is such a huge issue and affects the majority of people who have foody problems. According to the people who know what they're talking about, the first step to breaking the nasty habit is to identify the triggers for your over eating. If you're stuffing your face because you've had an argument with your bezzie, think twice before you head to the biscuit tin. Is that really going to make it better? Wouldn't it be better to go and chill out in a bubble bath with a copy of Cosmo and calm yourself down rather than adding guilt to your list of reasons to be down? A vicious cycle I say.

I seriously think I over eat because I just love food. BUT recently I've discovered that real food can be just as tasty as crap food (I'm not going to say nicer - yet, but it's getting there). Since LighterLife, my taste buds have a new lease of life. I've learned to absolutely love nuts, salsa, pesto, wholegrain bread, porridge… I've even made a bezzie in salad. I'm finally not eating like a kid anymore!

Food is just like Johnny Depp or RPatz - you can't always get what you want. In fact, I've just had this conversation with my sister; why do we always want what we can't have? She said she got into bed last night and could only think about a Thornton's chocolate champagne bottle that was lurking in the fridge. She was willing to creep out from under her cosy duvet to dash downstairs and get it. A little bit mental? I think the idea of eating forbidden food makes it so much more alluring, but it never tastes as good as it was supposed to. Or is that just me?

If you are hungry (believe it or not, it does happen sometimes!) choose a sensible snack. Here's a list of sensible 100 calorie snacks for sin-free grazing:

  • One slice of brown toast with low-fat spread or jam
  • One Muller Light yogurt - check the calorie content, but most are 100 calories or less
  • A whole punnet of blueberries (a new love of mine) and a tablespoon of fat-free yogurt
  • One Special K bar
  • One meringue nest with 6 strawberries
  • One toasted crumpet with a teaspoon of low-fat grated cheese.
  • One pack of Walkers Baked crisps
There's loads of chocolate bars out there for less than 100 calories, but I try to stay away from them unless I really deserve a treat. They're just empty calories - you'll have a hunger pang 30 minutes after you've scoffed it and end up eating more. So I try to stop my cravings by cutting it out pretty much altogether.

There's also foods that are virtually calorie-less, like sugar free jelly. You could eat a bucketful and not put on an ounce. Some diets encourage you to eat these types of food, but don't you want to curb your mindless eating? I've fallen into that trap so many times. Mindless jelly eating turns into mindless crisps/chocolate/take-away eating once all the jelly's in your belly!

How does everyone else feel about their reasons for over eating? Do you know what they are? It would be lovely to hear from some of you! Feel free to keep it confidential or email me at

Lots of foodless love,
LG xx

Thursday, 15 April 2010

DIARY + REVIEW: The Dreaded Hair Loss

The very lovely people over at LighterLife HQ featured the Lady Gluttony blog on their Facebook page yesterday, how exciting! So hello to all the LighterLife fans who have made their way over to LG. I noticed a lot of people questioned the hair loss topic I raised earlier in my blog, so I thought I'd delve a little into the whats and whys of hair loss on very low calorie diets such as LighterLife.

My hair began falling out after I reintroduced conventional food into my diet after 19 weeks of full abstinence from food on LighterLife. It was very slight at first but continued to get worse until I was having to unblock the plug in the shower every day. I was devastated! I dug out a photo from September 09, 3 months after the LighterLife programme, along with a photo from March '10. I can definitely see the difference!

During a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD - less than 800cals per day) your body remains in a constant state of ketosis - this basically means your body is being fuelled via your fat stores (yippee!) as opposed to the energy stores you usually use from your liver which are known as glycogen. Whilst you are in ketosis your body uses what little energy you have available to power your vital organs. As there's not much energy going spare, it stops doing other less important tasks such as hair shedding, hair regrowth, nail growth and keeping you warm (I was forever freezing whilst on LighterLife).

This little holiday your body takes from completing these tasks has to be accounted for somewhere, meaning that when you reintroduce food and increase your calorie intake you begin to shed the hair you should have been regularly losing which is around 50 to 100 strands per day. Obviously the swift loss of 19 weeks worth of hair is going to be a considerable and alarming amount, but it doesn't mean you're going bald! The new hair grows back through just as quickly as you lose it which is brilliant, but meant I had a mini afro for several months following my abstinence from food, such a good look for me…not!

A nutrition deficiency could also account for the hair loss on some diets. Although I know LighterLife is 100% nutritionally complete, some diets lack vitamin B12 and Zinc which are essential for luscious locks so perhaps a deficiency in these nutrients could cause the hair to take a little break from growing.

I was so upset about losing my hair though. I had no one to reassure me, so I had no idea whether it was going to grow back! I did have slight bald patches around my hairline which of course in my head translated to "Oh my god, I'm actually bald, I need to invest in a toupee!". Always the drama queen. I was willing to try anything to speed the regrowth of my hair. I consulted my lovely hairdresser, Jolie, who recommended the L'Oreal product Aminexil. I purchased a 6 week course of the product costing around £90 (steep, I know - but I was desperate!). I had to apply the solution to my scalp daily for six weeks, massaging it into towel dried hair. Now, according to the boffins over at L'Oreal, Aminexil is a nutritional programme that has been scientifically proven to combat hair thinning using Omega-6 nutricomplex. Now who knows, this may have been a load of rubbish, but my hair did seem to grow back exceptionally quickly. It's not really a fair test as I've no way of knowing how quickly my hair would have grown back without the Aminexil, but it did make me feel like I was actively trying to encourage my hair growth. It's all in the psychology I say!

Overall, the amount of hair I lost was a teeny price to pay for the amount of weight and dress sizes I dropped. It's very easy to say but don't worry too much about hair loss - some people go through it and some people don't. As it happens, my hair is much thicker than it previously was which is a bonus. Its a small price to pay to be healthy and happier.