eats report #11.

Been a mammoth amount of time right? I never really do these that much because my diet tends to get stuck in ruts and food isn’t that much of my life. Saying that though, I have been really trying to push myself out of the rut I’ve been in recently, trying lots of new things and getting some more excitement in my diet.

I think this partly works because I’m not actively counting calories. That doesn’t mean I have no idea how much I’m eating because I really do. It also doesn’t mean that calories play no part in my decisions because they do. It just means that without a running total of calories/fat/fibre/salt etc., I’m able to be a little bit more adventurous. I’m not going to bother with a load of catch up or anything because it wouldn’t be applicable to where I am now. Right now, I’m not trying to eat as many calories as possible in ways I don’t find hard and scary, right now I’m really just trying to normalise my eating. It’s a work in progress, but there are serious improvements.

To me, normalizing my eating doesn’t involve always eating new things, or cooking all the time. It’s not about eating really healthy or trying to eat less healthy. It involves thinking something looks or sounds nice, then making the effort to try it if time and money allow. Sometimes, its eating for convenience. Sometimes it’s taking a lot of time and effort to make something really special. I don’t want to be on a meal plan forever and I’d like to wake up some mornings and chose to eat something different from a bowl of cereal. Not every morning, but some mornings. Then I might be more hungry, or less hungry at snack or lunch time because it’s not my usual so it changes from my usual, predictable satiety levels, but that’d be fine because I can eat more or less. It just needs practice, and I have to start at some point. Some foods that I think look and sound really nice are further away from me right now than others, but as per usual, its little steps towards the ultimate goal. Sausage sandwiches might not happen all that soon, but croissants and jam could be a go-er in the not too distant if that makes sense. And don’t worry, sausage sandwiches will happen. Just give me time. And maybe a bad enough hangover.

So in general, a lot of my meals look like this –

Hummus, raw veggies and couscous.

Or this –

Pate, raw veggies and rice

(This is butternut squash pate from Marks & Spencer by the way. It’s actually quite nice. I would recommend I think. It’s more rich than I’d usually go for but I really like squash so can be easily tempted).

Basically, it’s a lot of cold food. Sometimes I just cannot be bothered, so I go to the fridge, pick three veggies I would like to eat raw, put them in a bowl with some left over grains and a bit dollop of hummus or something and it’s done. Simple. Much as it’s really tasty, it’s not exactly normal eating if I’m doing the same thing most days. The lack of protein and fat probably isn’t that good either. I know hummus is both protein and fat, but just on bit of hummus isn’t enough of either for a dinner.

So I decided if I’m going to have a more normal relationship with food, I’m going to have to start actually bothering a little bit again, getting back into foods I used to like and trying new recipes and meals that sound good in the hope that eventually, I can reach a sort of healthy balance for me, which doesn’t involve much conscious thought at all. Not giving it much thought right now isn’t helping me find this balance, but maybe if I give it more now, in the future there’ll be a thought time payoff if that makes sense.

So the first thing to start looking at for me was dinners. I know that this is so not an exciting meal, but this is actually a big step for me. I made bolognese with actual beef. Granted, extra lean beef which probably wasn’t so good, but it’s a start. It was really nice, but I could do better. A problem I have with using meat is that I tend to try to find ways to skip out on adding fat to my meals, so I just didn’t use any oil with this, which is stupid. Pasta is hard for me as well which doesn’t help. I think it’s because you get more calories for less volume than a lot of other carbs. Still, I didn’t measure it, I just used two handfuls. I don’t know if two handfuls is right, but the ex always used to tell me that was the exact right portion. He has really small hands though so maybe mine was still too much. Probably not though. I don’t think half a centimeter can make that much difference. Essentially, I should use oil. I did use a jar sauce though which is also a big step for me. I’m literally terrified of jar sauces because the idea of too much salt scares me. Too much salt leads to water retention which leads to increased weight and puffy joints, so I like to go for low sodium options when I can and that just isn’t processed sauces. I ended up chosing a Tesco Goodness one with hidden vegetables designed for children. Mostly because the portions were smaller and the calories less. Again, not perfect. Jar sauce, real meat and unmeasured pasta all good steps though

Sometimes I read paragraphs like that and think “Gosh. I’m such a crank when it comes to food.” The way I think is still pretty stupid.

Each time I mess up now though, I’m writing it down to try to address it. So this meal ended up with “Normal jar sauce. Add some oil to fry your veggies in next times” aims. Next time I have pasta, I’ll at least scratch one of them off the list. It’s still a massive improvement. I’ve gone from less that half a normal pasta portion, no oil, measured out Quorn mince, fresh tomatoes instead of tinned or jar sauces etc. I’m levelling up slowly, but I haven’t had the final boss fight with pasta yet. I think that might include garlic bread. It is one of my ultimate all time favourite foods and I haven’t had any in so ridiculously long. I think I’d like it too much and eat too much. That’ll be a scary day I think.

At least it looks like normal food right?

Bolognese. With real meat!

I’ve also been trying to eat some other meats as well. Like lamb and chicken. Obvs. I had really nice jerk chicken the other day, but I’ve also recently had some sort of Moroccan-ish lamb leg steaks. I don’t know if it’s acceptable to be in recovery and use a George Forman but I do. I didn’t buy the George Forman, I acquired it as spoils of university life (seriously, who leaves behind something like that?) so I don’t feel bad that I have it. Plus it cooks things super quick and you can get all the char-y outside bits without any hassle. I still feel bad that I use it though because of the fat issue. I won’t lie, it does make meat easier for me to eat, but that’s probably because I have it if that makes sense. If I didn’t have it, just grilling meat would be fine, but seeing as I do, plain old grilling isn’t good enough. Sometimes I feel sorry for vegetarians because grilled meat is actually really tasty. In fact, most meat is tasty. Crap meat, processed meat, expensive cuts, grilled, baked, roasted, fried. Honestly. It’s really nice. I know I still find it too hard to eat meat that often, but I’m trying to because I really have a really low protein diet and I know that. Plus hating on cheese and never having really eaten an egg makes protein even harder to get without meat. So I’m aiming for red meat a couple of times a week for the iron (I’m pretty low on iron, and meat is a way better source than vegetable ones), fish twice, poultry once and two veggie days. Right now, I’m not hitting that target, but I intend to. I personally know I don’t feel that good if I eat lots of meat, but I do feel better if I eat some. So it’s a work in progress, especially because of the oil issue. Who knows, maybe I’ll even eat an egg one day. Stranger things have happened.

I’ve also been trying with my lunches. It’s been far to hot for my usual soup recently, so I’ve been having actual sandwiches! I find sandwiches hard for no reason whatsoever because I’ll eat two slices of bread with topping easy peasy, but put the two slices together and I struggle. There is absolutely no logic in this. I’ve been having some really nice falafel hummus sandwiches, with salad and crisps. I still have difficulties when it comes to actual potato crisps, so it’s mostly Sunbites and vegetable crisps for me. I really like Sunbites though, and vegetable crisps, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out, and I do occasionally have real crisps to make sure I’m able to if I really want them. This is a big step for me. Again, there are issues with added fat though. I find it really hard to even want butter because it’s been so long since I’ve used it really that it doesn’t even occur to me. The other day the Mother used butter with hummus on toast and I actually asked her why because I just didn’t get it. I know hummus and nut butters and things are sufficiently fatty, but I’m ok with them because they seem more nutrient-dense to me. However, butter is still pretty good for you actually. Even fully saturated, real cow butter. In fact, saturated fat is necessary for an actually healthy diet, but my diet is severely lacking it. I should probably eat more butter. I remember I used to really like peanut butter and butter cracker sandwiches (honestly, if you have never tried this, do because it’s lovely. Two cream crackers, one with butter, one with peanut butter, put together like a sandwich. It’s so nice), but I haven’t had anything like that in such a long while. Maybe I should put peanut butter cracker sandwiches on my fear foods list.

Real life, full-blown sandwich!

Quite often I find myself wishing I’d never bothered learning as nutritional information. Regardless of any eating disorder stuff. I mean, I could have just ate less and lost weight and still been really sick, but nutritional information is something that makes it really difficult to let go and enjoy food. Even if your ok with the fact you’re eating it. Because you always know. You can’t unlearn it. My honest advice to anyone and everyone is to never learn anything about calories or fat or carbohydrates or sodium or whatever. If you want a healthier diet, you probably already know all you need to know. Anything else makes food a hell of a lot less nice. And once you know, you can’t undo it and just enjoy things.

Anyway, I’ve also been improving my lunches by actually fully following recipes and not working out the nutritional information for them. I’ve made some serious hummus recently. Generally, if I’m gonna make it, it’s a tin of chickpeas, couple of cloves of garlic, maybe two teaspoons maximum of tahini if I’m feeling brave, though sometimes none, some cumin and the chickpea cooking water in a blender. The other day though, I really went for it. I followed Felicity Cloake’s recipe for perfect hummus. It has a whopping six tablespoons of tahini, plus although there’s minimum effort, it takes an absolute age to make due to soaking and cooking dried chickpeas. It’s so tasty though. Plus it makes bare so I’ve got some in the freezer as well. It’ll last me ages and it really is one of the best hummuses (what is the plural of hummus?) I’ve had. Even if I do say so myself. Hummus of Kings. And I have no idea of the exact calories because I didn’t work it out and generally, I don’t use dried chickpeas so I can’t work out how it compares. Which is brilliant for me.

It really is perfect hummus though. Even if it’s in the dark.

I also made walnut butter with honey and cinnamon. I made it before ages ago, but had difficulty with it because it was maybe too tasty and ended up throwing it away. This time I’m going to give it my all. If you’re only used to standard peanut butters, homemade nut butters, and even the shop bought natural ones, are weird. They aren’t as smooth and spreadable and they aren’t as sweet or as salty (though this is sweeter due to the honey). However, homemade is a whole load cheaper than the natural ones in shops, plus you get so much more options. You can add whatever to it really and it tastes good. Like bananas, or chocolate, or spices, or dried fruit, or  anything really. And they are really, really easy. As easy as hummus. All you need is a blender or food processor and you’re away. And this is really great. I recommend to everyone.

Walnut butter on Ryvita om nom.

Breakfast are also getting a look in whilst I’m trying to eat more like a normal person. One thing I’ve recently tried is overnight oats. They’re kinda a standard thing in the healthy food blogger world, but back in the days when I used to stalk those blogs, I’d look at them and think they sounded and looked great, but the idea of yogurt and nut butter and banana and honey etc. was all too much and I wasn’t allowed. I’d occasionally do it with just a bit of milk and mostly water, but oats were for water in my head and that was it. It doesn’t work with water. You kinda have to heat them up if you do that. Otherwise it’s not nice. I actually think oats in water can be nice as well, but only if you pour cold milk over the hot gruel, but that’s another thing entirely. I had overnight oats the other day. Serious ones. With greek yogurt and banana and almond butter. It was so good. I’ve had it a couple of times now and topping it with blueberries and almond butter is my favorite way so far. It’s really refreshing in the heat, and really tasty, and deceptively filling. I actually think this is worth it entirely.

Overnight oats – Actually worth it. Especially in the heat!

Now I know that none of this is entirely normal eating for most people. It’s lots of whole, natural foods which are pretty healthy, homemade with no additives etc. But I am trying those things too. Like potato wedges. I ate potato wedges can you believe? McCain’s no less. And they were so hard to eat, but so worth it because they are really nice and I’m a fool for not eating them. I know it’s really easy to make your own from scratch, but I couldn’t be bothered and the McCain’s ones looked really appealing in the freezer aisle and I just though to myself “fuck it. I like McCain’s” and went with it. I don’t regret it for a second. I still haven’t dared check out the ingredients. For all I know, they’re really not that bad, but I’d ruin it for myself if they are. And you see that guacamole? Tesco made it. And they made the salsa too.

Oven Fooooood!!!!

I also managed a three course meal. I had a mezze platter thing (lots of chorizo and parma ham and hummus and bread and sun-dried tomatoes), followed by roast venison medallions, roasted new potatoes and cabbage, with a chocolate orange ganache torte topped with raspberry and ice-cream. That definitely isn’t the sort of food I usually go for. Processed meat with a whole ton of salt, meat and potatoes, probably cooked using lots more fat than I’d be ok to use myself, full-blown chocolate dessert with ice cream instead of just ice cream alone. All of these things are hard, but it actually wasn’t even that hard when I was out with the fam. We’d been out all day and went to a really tasty pub out in the sticks for Sunday lunch. After I’d had scones with jam and clotted cream for a snack as well. And it wasn’t bad and it didn’t plague me and I didn’t feel horrible. I felt happy because I’d had a nice day and joined in with fam activities (we went to the Royal Gunpowder Mills. Seriously good. Really interesting, really lame, and really fantastic buildings. If my camera hadn’t died I would have had really great pictures. Instead, I got there, got excited at some baby swans then my battery went dead. All I have is pictures of baby swans. They are cute though).

Swans and Swanlets.

So yer, I know my cooking isn’t the most normal. I have so many recipes bookmarked from healthy food blogs I can’t count them. It’ll take an age just to get through the healthy ones, and I have better things to do that troll through the internet looking for recipes. Plus a lot of them include a whole load of ingredients I wouldn’t go near a year ago so I still think it’s progress, even if it’s still a little weird. This is the food I longed for and couldn’t bring myself to eat. I think I’m getting there. Slowly. If I want it, I should endeavour to eat it. I honestly don’t care if it’s weird though. Everyone’s normal is different and I just want to find food I like and be comfortable eating without worrying about it anymore. If that’s lots of healthy looking food, so be it. If it’s mostly chips, that’d probably be ok too. I think I’ll probably eat lots of whole, homemade, healthy looking foods forever, but as long as it’s not hard, I’m ok with that. And as long as I can eat chocolate bars and fish fingers sometimes too.

And I’m adding this picture because I think food like this should be displayed.

:D

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12 Comments

Filed under eats, recipes, recovery

12 responses to “eats report #11.

  1. justwanttolivemylife

    I’m really glad you’ve done another of these posts- all your food looks and sounds amazing! I’m happy to hear that you are making these changes and I think taking it slowly but surely is the best approach! also, your meal out at munchtime sounds absoluitely amazing!!
    So have you stopped counting calories completely now then or do you know roughly how much you maintain on? Hannah xxx

    • Thank you! That meal was properly boom and I’m hoping making these changes will be good for me in the long run. I have to get better at eating the food I actually like at some point init.

      I’ve stopped counting calories yes. I do know what I maintain on and I have a vague meal plan I tend to follow, but I’m kinda relaxed with it. I know in my head that if I have a bigger dinner, I don’t have to have a dessert, but I do if I want. And if I do, I don’t have to have a snack, but again, I will if I want. I don’t measure anything but grains that need a certain amount of liquid (like risotto or couscous), so I can’t count accurately anyway. If i do, I always overestimate and then don’t eat enough and get hungry.

      I’m hoping that I’ll get to a point where I don’t know really anymore though. Not in a bad way, but just because I eat food that looks nice without knowing the calories of it all. Which is one of the reasons I’m introducing new things in the hope that eventually, I’ll get to the point where I just kinda eat and that’s ok. Slow and steady though obvs.

      • justwanttolivemylife

        Yeah I think it definitely will help!
        That is a great attitude- exactly what I am planning on working towards really! Is it a vague maintenance meal plan? (i’d be interested in seeing it if it is :P as I am struggling to know what is a reasonable and normal amount of food to eat if you know what I mean?! :P)
        Yeah, that’d be an amazing point to reach! I think (well hope) that it is attainable though! xxx

  2. Love it! That last picture made me laugh.

    Jacobs cream crackers, jam and peanut butter were my childhood night time snack! I loved it, and bought some about a month ago. Just as good as I remembered (I swap the butter for jam, so tasty).

    Your eats look really really good, and stepping out of your safety zone is aces. I’m proud of you for cooking your very own Spag Bol! Seriously, get on the Garlic Bread train, it’s really not scary and I promise you’ll not become obsessed and need to eat it 7 days a week (maybe…) Meat in general is super important and there are some really good lamb recipes out there (try a tagine or biryani). Chicken Currys are always good too (1/2 rice 1/2 chips). Really like the look of your walnut butter, we don’t have a food processor but think we may have a blender in the shed (obviously a useful place :/) so would that work? Do you just whack them in with honey and that’s it?

    I’ve seen overnight oats but have been unsure about having them cold, if they’re really good I might give them a go too. I’ve missed your eat reports because they give me ideas! Oh and your meal out sound lovely, Venison is so so good and I’m super impressed with your pud, that sounds right up my street! I always leave comments which are too long so I’ll shut up now xxx

    • You sent me that walnut butter recipe time ago. Seriously you should defos go for it. A blender is fine, but you might need to poke it about abit if it starts getting a bit caught up at the bottom. But yeh, in general, all you do is blend some nuts, add a little oil if they look too dry, and anything else that takes your fancy. Always tastier if you roast the nuts first though.

      With the oats, it you’re anything like me, they’re perfect. It’s like having a kinda sludgy, yogurty, frruity mess, but in a good way. It’s so creamy and so cooling and so filling. Yogurt makes the world of difference though, because it makes it much thicker. Just milk is still a bit watery in my eyes and not as rich or refreshing.

      I know I should just eat garlic bread. As a kid, I would sometimes go to restaurants and only eat garlic bread it’s that good. But it’s hard. Bread with butter next to another carb?!?! I’ll get there though. You watch.

      Oh my gosh I hadn’t thought of biriyani. I might make one this week. I have this stupid little meal chart thing at the moment so I plan to have the right food in rather than rely on cucumber and dips. I was planning a curry, but I might go for a biriyani. Hmm.

      I like long comments. I have no ability to be conscise so it makes me feel better about the comments I leave lolz x.

      • Did I? Weird, I’ve never made nut butter in my life! My laptop dies as well so I’ve lost all my book marked recipes. Rubbish.

        Check BBC GF for a lamb biryani, we have an adaptation on that every week, grab some naan bread and some bombay potatoes and you’ve got yourself a feast :)

        I know what you mean about the carb thing, Mums meals are always carb overload so it’s lucky I’m ok with them otherwise my meals would be non existent. We tend to have Spag Bol, GB & French bread, or Lasagne, Chips & GB, or Fish with potatoes, cous cous and bread. I don’t know why we have to have 3 carbs with each meal but meh, it’s habit I suppose! Sainsburys do a nice tomato garlic pizza bread we have sometimes, give that a go (could maybe be part of a meal you ARE going to let your Mum cook for you? It gives 4 slices so share between the fam then you’re not pressurised to eat it all at once!).

        1 question about the oats, is it literally just raw oats, yoghurt & fruit then fridge it? That it? Sounds simple enough for me to tackle! xx

      • For sure it was you. I just checked and everything lolz. You should make it though because it’s good.

        My gosh I wish I could eat that much carb variety. I remember the days of two carb dinner – my fam have every meal with bread. Oh my gosh chip sandwiches! Maybe I need to start upping my carb game. You’re right though, naans with rice, garlic bread with pasta. More carbs are always better.

        The ones I make have like 1 part raw oats, 1 part yogurt, 2 parts milk and a chopped banana in, in the fridge overnight, but you could add cocoa and spices as well. You could use less milk if you have rolled or instant oats I think, but I have steel cut ones atm. Wake up to a creamy nice thing and top that with whatevz. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, honey, nut butters, biscuits, cereal, jam. Endless variations. If I knew it wouldn’t go with banana, I wouldn’t add it, but it’s nice with banana in because I assume that’d make it more banana-y if I leave that in overnight, though I don’t know if that’s fact or not. Whatever it’s nice. That is it though.

        x.

  3. Haha.. that last pic cracked me up! Good ending there lady :-)
    I have to say, the salt in jar sauces thing? is that for real… salt makes you hold water??? cos i literally put salt on EVERYTHING. i love the stuff. my whole fam is the same. my sis just dips her finger in and eats it neat!!! i dont think its made any difference to my weight, but do you reckon that has an effect on the stomach bloating?? hmm..
    So glad you are trying new things, thats fab. i can see that crisps are still a scary one. but if it helps, since we did that crisp challenge, ive been boshing the “real” walkers crisps for a while now. (i can nab them from the unit too, so i dont even have to buy my own! hazaaah!)
    Overnight oats are indeed a winner. but you have to go all out, none of the wishy washy ED-ified watery slop, good on you… they look yum :-)

    pasta SHUD be a big bowl. i always worry too and measure out a “safe” amount, but mum just grabs about 5 handfuls and bungs it in!!! she amazes me sometimes. keep at it, you are doing great :-p
    x

  4. I have just subscribed to your Blog from Roxy’s Blog. I can;t help but say that my favorite photo of those above is the swans :)

    • The swanlets are the cutest thing I know. Hello. Thanks for subscribing. Imma check out your blog in a sec, just doing some serious catch up work. :)
      x.

  5. Hummus – hummi? Haha! That would be the case if the Romans used to eat and write about it I guess?

    Im with Clmmy on the salt front. I live on salt. No good. Seriously. I can eat anything if I can ut salt and pepper on it. Plain bread with salt and pepper? Ill have it. Crackers? Ill have it. Bland soups? Ill have it. And Ill even love em all. Wroah.

    And your meals look…. Like what I would like my meals to look like. Which they dont, not even close. Your meals look like what my perfect-eating part wants. My healthy food blog following part. And…. I am unsure if thats good. But I think you know this because you’re trying to switch things up. And I guess ‘normal’ is hard in these contexts. It’s just also hard to not let the ; relativeness of normalness’ not be taken advantage of by our EDbrains? Okay, ramble over. Sorry

    LOVE your eatreports though, OVE how you consistently, consciously still tackle your food’thingies’. Big ol’ r.e.s.p.e.c.t for that babe!

    • I know what you mean by my meals being a little too healthy. And I am trying to switch it up a bit, but I think my meals would still be classed as too healthy anyway. I don’t do it on purpose and it feels kinda unhealthy to me, but I know in relation to what my fam eat and such that it’s not like how most people eat. I do try to address it though. Occasional chocolate bars and trying to add more meat and things. But it’s hard. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that pre-ED, I literally had the smallest selection of foods I’d eat. Fish fingers, spaghetti hoops, plain rice, bread, chicken nuggets, sausages, peanut butter, chocolate, crisps, apples, potatoes and mince essentially, plus toast and almost any cereal (as long as it had no nuts or fruit in). No vegetables. No unprocessed meat. No beans or pulses or grains. It was only during ED I found all these other foods because I had to in order to lose weight. It just means that most of the foods I like now are healthy because I actually don’t have a wide variety of less healthy foods I’ll eat. And now, I don’t really want to have the same diet as before because those foods are way more limiting and I can eat so much more. I just need to find new foods and combos, but it took time to find the ones I have and it’ll take time to find new ones. Plus you’re right, I am trying to.

      Than you though :) x.

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