Thursday, 30 December 2010

Squeezing in a last 2010 post

After a two week break, I'm popping by for a quick update before the new year. It takes up so much time digging yourself out every morning, and now trying to organise getting water supplies between home time and nine in the evening. My kitchen bench is covered in bottles of water filled when the tap comes on, and the bathroom floor is the same, containers for hand washing and teeth brushing, and another for toilet flushing. Phew!
I haven't got back into working out, the weather's been odd and I daren't risk getting all sweaty in case there's not enough water for a shower before I go to work. Instead I've just been enjoying the holiday season, although I haven't overindulged to my usual degree(!)

I was off work today (and half day tomorrow, woohoo) and had my follow up appointment with the dietitian. I told her I was really very pleasantly surprised with how much better I have been feeling, and she said my tum probably just needed a break, and she says it's time to very slowly reintroduce my old favourites like brown rice, apples with skins on. To celebrate, I bought plenty of salad leaves and some of my favourite apples. I spent aaaages picking apples today!! I settled on little Empires and some delicious Egremont Russets.

Anyway, bed calls as I have an early start tomorrow.
So I will leave with my new year's resolutions:

Get back into regular working out- 2 runs and 2 swims a week seems reasonable, at least to start with.

Feed the birds. I went out and bought lots of bird seed and fat balls, and replaced some broken feeders

Get back into the way of baking my own (sourdough) bread, now that I'm eating it again

Make a delicious cake once a month on the date we (my boyfriend and I) got together (19th). We're together two years now, so cake will keep things sweet:) We're going to Edinburgh for a couple of days at the end of January to celebrate.

Work on my impatience.

Paint my nails and have a nice bath more often.

Enter and complete some sort of race

Try to keep a lid on the clutter in my house...

Until next year:)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Low fibre update

Here are some of my dinners from the last two nights to show that lower fibre doesn't mean no veggies at all- I just make sure I have white rice or pasta with them. The first is vegetables in rice with a little creamed coconut cream grated in and some thai spice mix, parsley and lime juice. I topped it off with a nut cutlet.
The second is the scraping off the tin of my leftover tofu, kabocha and chestnut pie with some pasta and rocket.
At the moment I pretty much eat no fruit and veg until my evening meal. I am hoping to gradually add some more back, but when I first did the low fibre thing I wasn't even eating whole vegetables for dinner.
If you haven't tried cutting down on whole grains and vegetables to help your IBS, I would definitely recommend giving it a go. It has worked wonders for me, although I do miss eating lots of salads and brown rice:(

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Winter festivities

I'm not a big Christmassy person, it takes me quite a while to get into the 'spirit'. Yesterday, however, I had my boyfriend's brother and his wife around for dinner in the evening so that was the incentive to put the Christmas decorations up and that got me in the mood. What I like about the time of year is indulging in the year's harvest after sprucing up the house to bed in for the cold spell. I decided to get a real tree this year and some new decorations. With the decorations sorted, I got the dinner made. First I made some bread dough and mixed in some black olives after the first knocking back. I cooked the bread first on a hot dry skillet and then into the oven for 15 minutes or so to cook through. I served the bread with dukka and olive oil and vegan cream cheese with chives (the 'Sheese' brand).
I served the bread and dips with hot spiced cider and hot berry cordial for the driver. I added Steenberg's mulled wine spice and a little vanilla extract to the cider before heating.
For the main course, I had been waiting to try out this tofu pot pie. I changed it about a lot, making an ordinary shortcrust with some turmeric in (no sweet potato). I baked a homegrown kabocha (cut in half, seeds scooped out, baked cut side down for an hour), then peeled off the skin and chopped into chunks, I filled the bottom of the pie crust with the kabocha and sprinkled over the nutritional yeast.
In went the filling, which was:
1 red onion
1/2 cup edamame
2 blocks flavoured Taifun tofu, cubed (1 smoked, 1 basil)
1/2 pint soya cream
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons herbes de provence
1 small tin cooked chestnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fry the onion in some oil, add in the tofu, edamame and chestnuts and heat though. Then stir through the paprika, nutritional yeast and herbs and lastly the soya cream. Let everything heat through and mingle for about 15 minutes, then let it cool off before piling on top of the kabocha and putting the top on the pie. I baked it for about an hour.

As the pie was quite substantial, I freshened it up with a festive salad- toasted pumpkin seeds and 100g pecans (dry fried and a little soy sauce at the end), the seeds of half a pomegranate, half a fennel bulb, very finely sliced, 2 grapefruits (supremed), lots of rocket and baby leaf spinach. I tossed the lot up with balsamic vinegarette.
Dessert was spiced pear and almond cake with a new blueberry ice-cream (Swedish Glace brand).
Cream 250g caster sugar and 250g vegan margarine.
Beat in 3 teaspoons of egg replacer, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or other mixed spice, 200g self-raising flour, 100g ground almonds. Use some non dairy milk to loosen the batter up a bit (I needed about 1/3-1/2 cup).
Line the tin and fill with preserved pear halves, or home poached pears if you're a domestic goddess. Pour over the cake batter, sprinkle with a little demerara (sucanat) and bake for an hour. I mad the cake by topping the batter with the cake, which made it sink a bit.
Try adding the pear first and then the batter, it should stop a sinky cake. It tasted great anyway, adding ground almonds in place of some of the flour makes a cake really luxurious:)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Homegrown kabocha recipe- lazy pumpkin laksa

After two months of curing, my homegrown kabochas are ready to eat. I decided the first way to eat it would be a good old fashioned roasting.
I cut it into big slices, which was not all that easy! Even with a very sharp knife it took some huffing and puffing.

I roasted the kabocha naked for about 50 minutes and served it with these delicious King Soba noodles.

That's dessert in the background (apple and blackberry strudel made with cheaty frozen pastry)

Instead of cooking the noodles just in water, I boiled up a tin of coconut milk with two teaspoons of Steenbergs laksa mix and some boiling water (maybe a cup). The noodles take about 5 minutes, and I added a little sea salt at the end. It was pretty much a cheat version of laksa, and since it's such a cold night (lots more snow meaning I had to stay late in work to let the traffic clear), some chilli heat was very welcome.

Yum. Then I went all crazy and mushed it all up. The kabocha was kind of crumbly!? Probably because I roasted an already dense vegetable with no oil.
I thought it was delicious though, it tasted very like roasted chestnuts, sweet and kind of like waxy potatoes. I have loads left over, I'm thinking it would make a good lunch tomorrow, maybe with mango chutney in a sandwich (or even brekkie with some vanilla soy yogurt).

Despite the snow, I took part in a 4 mile fun run on sunday with my brother. Unfortunately I have no pics:( My little bro found it really tough, and while I felt ok during the run (felt really unfit at the start mind you), I didn't feel it until later that evening, my right hip was really stiff and sore all day today and I was really wheazy on sunday (I have asthma but never bother to get my prescription). It maybe wasn't such a good idea to do something like that after not running for two months! I'm not that bothered, fitness just isn't a big priority for me in the deep winter. I used to get annoyed about it, but now I just embrace the season; I stay inside more, I eat more heartily. If I put a pound or two on, that's a good thing (although any more than that and it requires a little effort, read, dieting, to shift). I'm always freezing so a little extra insulation is welcome. Once the spring comes round it always drops off and I regain my fitness. It does mean I never get really great at running because I return to a fairly basic fitness. However, it's just not worth the achey lungs in the cold air, and I hate exercising inside, unless it's swimming. I have been going to the pool every once in a while, but most evenings after work, once I get into the house I just don't want to go back outside!

How do you feel about exercising through the winter, is a year round exercise regime of a fairly constant intensity important to you? Or do you struggle to crawl out from under the duvet when the days shorten?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snow Food

Almost two weeks since my last post and still I haven't been cooking a lot. I'm quite busy these days and when I get home it's about making something quick.
Typical lazy evening meal:

Baked mushrooms (chuck them in an oven tray and pour over olive oil, a little salt, herbes de provence and chopped garlic), toast and lemony hummus. The plate is an oily mess because I chopped the mushrooms up on it. I'm not a huge mushrooms fan, but my boyfriend is and they were on offer. I actually thought they were really nice this way. I was still hungry after that though, and had some cereal and soya yogurt a while later.

Yesterday I had a half day in work and met my brother for lunch at the Christmas market in front of the city hall. He had paella and a burger, I got a spinach pastry thing from a Greek vegetarian food stall that helpfully listed all their ingredients. I also got dolmades, but I took them home. We warmed up with Glühwein as it was snowing, and then we got fed up standing in the cold and went for tea at a nearby bookshop. Anyway, I got home a lot earlier than usual so I decided to do a slow soup. I chucked a pile of chopped roots (turnip/rutabaga, new potatoes, carrots) with onion and a leek in my big cast iron pot with some olive oil, and then after a while some lovely wintery herbes de provence, veggie stock and pudding rice(!). Near the end I stirred in some tomato passata and some sea salt. It was delicious served with just out of the oven roasted chestnuts.
Just the right meal to warm up snow frozen toes!

That soup seemed to agree with me just fine, but about 2 weeks ago I had a pureed root veg soup and my tummy was upset for days. What I'm finding is that if stick with low fibre foods, my IBS is non-existent. I've only been doing this for a month, and I've been so much better except for a risotto full of broad beans and a root veg soup. I can't believe I have gone through a whole month without brown rice. I'm going to have some for Christmas dinner though. That's how weird it's become, that healthy stuff is now my naughty treat. It does seem to be that my guts are very sensitive to significant amounts of fibre, so I'm going to keep with a low fibre diet. When I do eat something high fibre, I'm going to make sure not to combine it with another high fibre foodstuff. I think I might need to try and sneak more vegetables into my diet again to make sure I'm getting enough vitamins. Protein and fat aren't a problem, I eat either tofu or soya yogurt every day and use olive oil in my cooking. And getting enough carbs is never a problem on a vegan diet...!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Pumpkins and spice and all things nice

Edit: I just realised this is my 100th post:)
After yesterday's post, I did actually make something I enjoyed!
First, though, here's some cake I made last week:
That's spiced banana cake. I used Steenberg's pumpkin pie mix. yum! I served it with vanilla soya yogurt.

Continuing the pumpkin theme, I steamed a huge butternut squash last night and made my squash pancake. It's Nigel Slater's recipe in Tender v.1 , doubled and veganised. Instead of adding thyme leaves, though, I used my Steenberg's laksa spice and used coconut oil on the pan instead of olive oil. It was so delicious!
Sorry for the awful photo...I keep meaning to do something about the terrible lighting in my dining room.
As there was some leftover steamed squash, I put it to use tonight. I lifted the bowl of squash out of the fridge and chucked in a handful of rolled oats, plus some nooch, salt and more Steenbergs loveliness- herbes de provence and smoked paprika. I didn't even shape them, just plopped lumps onto a hot skillet. The herbes de provence and smoked paprika combo gave the burgers a lovely deep savoury flavour but also brought out the sweetness of the squash. I had mine in a warmed pitta with tomato, cucumber and olive salad with a balsamic dressing.
I haven't had that much salad in a long time! My tummy was very happy to see the veggie goodness.
Oh, I should note, I don't work for Steenberg's or anything. I just love their products:)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Down Time

I've been struggling to find both time and inspiration for my foodie interests and therefore the blog. Not only that, but I'm also devoting more time to other interests of mine, and my job is taking up more of my time these days too.
While I don't intend to shut my blog down or anything, I think it's only fair to let any readers out there know what to expect from this tiny corner of the food blogging universe, and at the moment I can't promise I'm going to be updating with any regularity or degree of quality. While it would be lovely to have more time for all my interests, that's just not possible while holding down a full time job, and I have to pick out those interests that give me the best 'return' for the investment of my time. I'm being deliberately cryptic for now, by the way. Other interests have taken a hit too- I have given up my allotment (but keep a veg garden at my parent's house) and I haven't been hiking in ages:(
Anyway, when I have free time outside of the interests I'm getting a bit more serious about, I will do my best to blog about tasty vegan food, managing IBS and running/swimming/hiking/cycling. I also hope I'll be able to continue following some blogs and keep commenting on my favourites.

While I'm here, I'll update on my low fibre diet and how it's affecting my IBS. Generally, it has helped my symptoms. Bloating, cramps and wind were noticeably reduced right from the beginning of the trial, and eventually my constipation got better, even though I was eating not only less fibre but a fairly reduced volume of food (1. to help reduce the bloating and 2. to keep my weight stable as low fibre food means higher energy density). However, I look forward to my meals less eagerly, because I just don't enjoy food with fibre as much. I actually like the taste of fibre. I am also a little worried that my current diet, while much gentler on my tummy, is a lot lower in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. I'm not sure what to do about this at the moment. I am beginning to think that my diet may have been 'too healthy' for me (I know a lot of other people out there who eat much more fibre, even more wholefoods, more raw who actually find their diets help their tummy problems) and that while I do want to add some things back in to my diet, I think I'm going to adopt a more carefree attitude about what I eat, because it does seem to help my IBS. That said, I'm not going to compromise on veganism, and I do prefer to emphasis whole foods over refined, and to prefer organic, seasonal and local food.

I really hope I'll be around more often than I think. And I'll do my best to keep up with the more faithful bloggers whom I love to read:)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Tea Times and Training

I spent the weekend in Dublin with my mum, we booked it a while ago as an early winter pick-me-up; the right mix of chilling and shopping before the Christmas rush. We travelled down through the rain on saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in front of a log fire having our tea topped up. I got a rhubarb and vanilla infusion, I'm constantly trying out unusual tea flavours. After some vegging out, we headed down to the pool. I had a great swim, as it was a small pool with only two other swimmers in there at its busiest. That's what I love about hotel pools. I was able to put my head fully under the water a few times, although I hadn't taken my contacts out, so I didn't trust my goggles to hold them in place, and I had no spares with me.

After our pool session, we got dressed for dinner. We ate in the hotel's restaurant. The menu had no vegan options, but I ordered the poached fig, rocket and walnut salad without blue cheese, which was rather bland- the figs were pretty much flavourless but the walnuts were nice and so was the balsamic dressing. For a main, I got a pea and broad bean risotto minus the dairy. As I've been keeping my diet quite low fibre recently, the amount of legume in the risotto was rather hard on my tum. Dessert saved the night, my mum got a chocolate mousse served with poached pear and chantilly cream, I ordered the pear with blackberry sorbet and melted dark chocolate on the side. When it came, they had put fresh blackberries out too, and it was a fantastic combo, blackberry, pear and chocolate. Yum! We had Pouilly Fume and I had Tokaji as a night cap. Unfortunately there are no pics as the restaurant was VERY dark (it's called The Cellar).

The food upset both of us, I got really queasy earlier in the morning and had bad tummy cramps all the next day. My poor mum came off worse, and actually threw up in the early morning. While my mum lay on to recover, I went down for another swim. Despite my tummy being a bit off, I had a GREAT swim, I remembered to leave my contacts out and swam properly, putting my head under for the whole session for the first time ever. This has totally inspired me to get back into a regular swimming habit and get fit again.
I headed back to the room and mum was feeling better. We went down for breakfast, me armed with a mini soya milk so I could have some muesli, which was delicious with lots of dried strawberries, yum! I followed up with some grilled tomato and portabello mushroom on toast.
We checked out and left the hotel for the first time since arriving. It was a beautiful morning, so we walked around the park for a while before hitting the shops.

Foodwise, I picked up some treats- this unusual tea:

And some King Soba products: the tofu and ginger miso (dried) soup, the pumpkin, ginger and rice noodles, and the brown rice and wakame noodles. I've been trying to track down those noodles forever! I'm so excited about using them. I also picked up some hazelnut dark chocolate.

Back at work today, my order from Steenbergs arrived in the post. So tonight I tried out the laksa spice mix I got in a coconut sauce with tofu and greens, served with limey rice.
Oops, sorry about the shakey shot

A very good weekend for all things liquidy; tea and swimming. And with a whole new set of spices in the kitchen (including a beautiful Herbes de Provence mix and some smoked paprika), I should hopefully be churning out some more solid consumables. I am still keeping my diet pretty low fibre at the moment, it seems to help a lot with bloating, gas and cramps, and I definitely noticed how much worse it got with all the legumes, salad and muesli over the weekend.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tofu Fried Rice- Super quick and easy dinner

This is a great nutritious and tasty dinner made from mostly store cupboard/long shelf life and freezer ingredients for when you get home from work, want something nutritious but don't have much in the way of anything fresh. Unlike many store cupboard creations, it doesn't take too long to throw together. I promise this is quicker to make than running around the corner to a takeaway:)

Tofu Fried Rice
1 extra firm tofu ~8oz, pressed if you have time
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp hot spice/chilli of your choice, smoked paprika is nice
1 tbsp olive oil or oil of your choice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped into small cubes
Two handfuls frozen green beans/petit pois
1 cup white rice (for speediness, you can use brown if you have more time- it's my preference, but I'm doing a low fibre trial at the moment)

Mash the tofu with the nutritional yeast, turmeric, oregano and chilli. Stir in the onion, garlic and pepper.
Get the rice on to boil.
Heat some olive oil, add the tofu mixture. Fry on a moderate heat, stirring it around.
When the rice is halfway done, throw in the frozen peas/beans. This adds a little green to te dish to lift it.
When the rice is done (it should take 10 minutes or so if it's white), drain and add to the frying pan, adding a little more oil if necessary. A few minutes will do it.
Serve up, season with salt if you like, but with oregano and chilli I find it doesn't need salt. If you have fresh parsley, that would make a nice garnish. Or even better, a generous squeeze of lemon. You could use cooked small beans or lentils for a soy free version.

And a speedy store cupboard dessert
1 tin pear quarters
Vanilla soya yogurt or custard (blended agar set rice or almond milk pudding if you avoid soy)
Dark chocolate, melted although you can just break it into chunks if using hot custard, it'll melt.

Easy. Put the yogurt or custard in a bowl, top with pears, pour over a little melted dark chocolate or put some chocolate drops or chunks into hot custard.

Neither dish is very fancy, but it's good food that's quick to throw together yet good enough to ease away a hard day's work.

As you can see, I'm finally eating more or less normal food again. But I am so behind with VeganMoFo! I hope to make up for it throughout the month with plenty of recipes:)

Friday, 5 November 2010

No Bake Survey from I Eat Trees

I'm being lazy today and doing the survey from I Eat Trees because I haven't cooked anything for a while. I'm still feeling a bit queasy but I hope to get back to eating beyond farley's rusks, tinned spag, mash and toast over the course of the weekend.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?

Artisan cheeses- the smell of cheese disgusts me now

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Olives, mushrooms, dried fruit, beans

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Hmm, apart from fake cheeses, mock meats and some vegan milk chocolate attempts, I'm not keen on some aubergine dishes (don't mind thin roasted slices, but big chunks are yucky)

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
Water, followed by black coffee, following by herbal tea

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
Spicy one pot things or dessert, either incredibly chocolately tarts or apple/pear tart

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

The only real rule I have is no compromise on veganism. I have a few guidelines like eating very little processed food, eating vaguely macrobiotic, eating only when I'm hungry etc, but I do break them in the name of pleasure every now and again.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Granola and other naughty breakfast cereals, non dairy ice-cream

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Bread- I don't eat a lot but prefer to make the no knead stuff in my Le Creuset when I fancy some. I never buy pre-made salad dressings either.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Wine, spices, chocolate, proper bread

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
I don't really graze at all, more of a 4-5 small meals throughout the day girl. Although I like peanuts, peanut butter and pumpkin seeds.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Roast veggies, homemade pesto, black olives

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Any brassica (espescially dark cabbage or cauliflower) and raspberries are my favourite fruit

What is the best salad dressing?
Homemade pesto or vegan tapenade thinned out with balsamic vinegar

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Crunchy peanut butter

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
I don't get the world's obsession with cupcakes, and get even less why vegan bakers have jumped on this short lived bandwagon. I hear we're on to whoopie pies now (wtf). I'm more a classic un-iced cake fan- like banana loaf cake, chocolate and nut cakes, fruit cake etc.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Not a big cookie lover either. PB and dried cherries would be good.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Coconut curry with rice noodles or quinoa and loads of spring greens/collards.

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Roast turnip is really the only thing my SO will not finish off his plate. We have differing tastes; he eats more stodgy carbs and I prefer creamy things like chocolate and ice-cream

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
An hour

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

First proper Mofo post

My examination was today and it went fine, although my tummy is still suffering the effects of strong laxatives and barium. Yucky! I'm also supposed to be following a low residue diet. I read potatoes were a good starch to help ease diarrhea, and peeling and mashing them makes the starch even more gluey, which is supposed to help.
Voila, first food since Monday afternoon's porridge:

I'm quite a fan of that tinned spaghetti. It's one of my favourite comfort foods although I don't eat it very often at all as I try to prepare the vast majority of my food from scratch. It's Sainbury's Organic brand, and it's the only tinned spag I like. I find the Heinz and other stuff much too sweet. The sauce in this one is much more tomatoey than normal tinned spaghetti. I figured if I have to eat low res and diarrhea proof, I may as well do my best to enjoy it!

Other favourite comfort foods of mine:
Mashed potato (nice with stewed apple)
Chocolate rice cereal with rice milk (left to soak so it's nice and soft)
Soya custard and apple sauce/stewed apple
Veganised rice pudding

Anyone else got any favourite comfort foods for when you're feeling a bit delicate? When I was a child, I would always get flat cola and Jacob's cream crackers once I started recovering from a tummy upset. The cola was such a rarity in our house, the other kids would be jealous of the sick one because they'd be allowed coke! I can't say the charm stayed with me though. I detest fizzy sugary drinks these days, especially cola.

Anyway. That's enough sick talk. My plan with Vegan Mofo is to post more recipes, as it's not something I regularly do on the blog. That's usually because I'm not a big recipe person. I throw stuff together that I like, and I don't really do amounts. But cake is one of those things you have to be a bit more precise about! Here's my favourite cake-

Chocolate chip banana bread
200g golden caster sugar
200g vegan butter/spread/margarine- I used Sainsbury's Free From spread, you could use Pure or Earth Balance
4 small overripe bananas, mashed
250g wholemeal self-raising flour- I used Dove's Farm. It's really lovely stuff. You could use gluten free flour, but I've not tried it gluten free before
15g (3 teaspoons) egg replacer
100g dairy free chocolate chips or chopped up dark chocolate. I used Divine's Orange and Ginger chocolate and it was gorgeous!
A splash of non dairy milk if the mix is a little dry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line and grease a loaf tin.
Beat together the sugar and margarine. Stir in the mashed bananas, flour, egg replacer powder, flour and a little fake milk if the mix is very dry. Get everything thoroughly combined but don't go at it too long. Pour into the lined tin and bake for an hour.
And that's it!

It's not something I make very often, as there's a whole cup of sugar involved. But it's a great way to use up neglected bananas. You can freeze overripe bananas, thaw and mash to make this if you don't want to make it when your bananas are past it.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Still Hungry

At the moment I'm sitting here rather anxiously for the super strength laxative I took half an hour ago to work. Eep! I haven't eaten anything today and have been eating less over the last few days, so I'm hoping it won't be too nasty.
This morning I saw a dietitian- the GI doc referred me to investigate my IBS. Her conclusion was that since a high fibre diet doesn't seem to help my IBS, I should try low fibre. I understand that less fibre will probably ease bloating and wind, but I can't see it helping my constipation. And for a vegan, the allowed foods are pretty grim. White bread and pasta, limited fruit and veggies (no lentils or berries:( ), soya milk, most sauces and condiments, chocolate and yogurt. I'm supposed to avoid legumes, wholegrains, nuts (including peanut butter), seeds, a lot of types of fruit and veg and tofu(!). Apparently, I should take linseeds though. I find this really weird since I know linseeds irritate me, but tofu doesn't. Anyway, I only have to do it for four weeks, so I may as well use the opportunity to make lots of vegan mofo vegan cakes! Although I think I'm going to have to eat some tofu so I don't die of starvation. I will try to blog recipes for yummy vegan things to do with tofu.
Cake or tofu won't be my next meal though- on the way home from the dietitian I went shopping for flavoured water for today, and chocolate coated rice cereal, soya yogurt and baby's Farley's rusks for tomorrow afternoon, when the examination will be over and I can eat again.
Over and out until then! I promise a mofoing recipe next time x

Monday, 1 November 2010

A Hungry Start to Vegan Mofo

It can only get better from here on! Although today is World Vegan Day, I haven't been sampling many vegan delights. I had a slice of banana bread, some soya yogurt and a few raspberries. I then ate nothing until I had a kinda second breakfast, some very soft porridge. Tomorrow I'll be liquids only, then wednesday will be nothing until the examination is over. Once everything's over, THEN I'll be getting into the swing of Vegan Mofo. I'm excited because this will be my first:)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Intuitive eats

This was my birthday week, so I made sure to enjoy some favourite foods. I blogged recently about just eating what I want but only when I'm really hungry and to stop before I got full. The interesting thing I found was that I wasn't tempted to overeat even though I was much hungrier and it was food I loved. I've actually been eating mostly seasonally too.

This was a rather yummy autumn combo- roasted turnip, chestnuts and leeks and brussel sprouts with a little soya cream and chilli. I ate it with black rice noodles.

The rest of the soya cream was gently heated with a little vanilla and served with an Eve's pudding (apple topped with sponge).

My birthday was a bit weird foodwise, I got a bowl of granola and soya milk, then spent the day meeting up with family and friends and going to the hairdressers, so I didn't eat anything all day, except some jitter inducing coffee. When I got home, I was far too zonked to cook but I didn't want to go out, so I got takeaway spring rolls and noodles and some delicious South African Viognier! It's not something I do very often, because I do love cooking so much. But sometimes, especially on one's birthday, a day off doesn't go amiss:) I didn't photograph the yummy but unphotogenic noodles. Here's the lovely flowers the table was set with:

As I wasn't in the mood to cook, I didn't make a birthday cake until the next day. I didn't fancy a traditional sugary heavy cake. Instead I wanted some seasonal fruit. So I made a wholemeal cake topped with caramelized pear.

Delicious with some plain soya yogurt to balance the sweetness (although it was much less sweet than a 'traditional' cake)

To aid me in my quest to rediscover pleasurable eating, I bought this book with a book voucher my brother got me as a get well soon present. Thanks bro!

I really like Nigel Slater's approach to cooking and enjoyment of food. His books are always beautifully presented. I urge you to check him out if you haven't already.
I sat outside in the sun, although it was cold, so I wore a big warm coat so I could enjoy the last of summer in the garden.

As I'll be fasting half of next week for an examination, I had cake again this evening:

Yum. Banana bread with orange/ginger chocolate chunks, served with soya custard and frozen raspberries.
I've got a col, which sucks, but hopefully it won't be too miserable, my week is already going to be a bit unpleasant! I hope you all had a lovely weekend:)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Flirting with Macrobiotics

Over the last few days, I have experimented again with macrobiotics. The main change was that I waited until I was really hungry for breakfast and ate a cooked whole grain, steamed veggies and miso broth. I also chewed really well and ate less in general. One day my lunch took me nearly an hour to eat! I found really chewing my food helps with wind. But I also found my tummy behaves best when I eat so little that I'm hungry most of the time, but I'm also experiencing a real lack of desire to eat i the last few weeks, and when I am . Obviously, that's not ideal either, because I know if I kept that up, I'd lose weight. Also, it can be quite miserable to be hungry so often, even if your tummy is much improved. However, the spell broke today and I got really bloated again. I think I ate my lunch a bit quicker today, or it could just be . The other benefit, aside from the tummy, was that the relative lack of sugar in a macrobiotic diet left my energy levels stable and my mood very calm and content (although I do usually feel more upbeat at the full moon).
I haven't been strict about one aspect- nightshade veggies. I've had tomatoes, peppers and potatoes:

I baked new (small) potatoes for my boyfriend one evening, so I had one with steamfried greens. This was a really small dinner because I just wasn't hungry, even though I hadn't eaten much all day.

I had a better appetite the next evening, I went for a brisk 4 mile walk to wake it up. This was scrambled tofu (tofu mashed with nutritional yeast, turmeric and pesto), the leftover baked potatoes chopped up, collard greens, leek and red pepper. You could make this strictly macro with baked squash chunks instead of potato and leave out the pepper (I just chucked in all the veg that needed used up).

I don't have any photos of my more macrobiotics meals (because they were eaten while at work)- it was mostly cooked brown rice or cooked oat groats, miso broth and steamed leeks, brussel sprouts and dulse sprinkled with mirin. I sprinkled on some toasted pumpkin seeds. I basically cooked a grain and veggies in the morning and nibbled on some when I got hungry mid-morning, then had more of the same for lunch.

In conclusion, eating macro-style does seem to agree with my tum and energy levels, but I find it very restrictive, and for my dry skin I find the fat content of the diet a little too low. However, I'm going to loosely follow the main principles, as eating no sugar (including fruit) in the morning and during the working day is good for keeping energy on an even keel.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Healthy Mondays

After yesterday's chocolate indulgence, I was a little off kilter today. Weird appetites- I woke up ravenous, which only happens when I eat something sugary, and I didn't want coffee AT ALL- I made peppermint tea and had some granola. Then my tummy was upset most of the day, I knew it would be awful if I ate anything much, so I just nibbled on fruit and a scoop of hummus at lunchtime to keep me from gnawing my monitor. I drank plenty of water to try to calm my tum down. I was craving something simple when I got home, so I had made some brown rice, mmm! I had it with steamed collards and onions and a nut patty. I really enjoyed I did have chocolate brownie again tonight, without the soy ice-cream though. It was too sugary for me, and I just feel weird after. I am craving savoury things, like greens and brown rice. I'm tempted to give macrobiotics another shot, but more emphasis on adding macro food to my diet rather than take away i.e. I'm not going to make a conscious effort to eat less nightshade veggies or fruit, however I am going to do my very best to cut out caffeine and sugar.
For that reason, Maggie's article on cutting out sugar today was very timely. She also is a macro flirt and has some good ideas for healthy food that doesn't play havoc with tummies or metabolism.

Although the temperature has dropped a fair bit here, when I got home from work, I threw on my warm running gear (including my No Meat Athlete t-shirt!) and headed out the moment I got home. It was windy and started raining heavily, but I felt great! I didn't try to run to any tempo or for any distance or length of time, my only aim was to meet my boyfriend coming out of work. After running for about half an hour, we met and started walking. About ten minutes from home, I ran again to get in and out of the shower before he got home and then put the rice on for dinner. It felt so good running again, especially just for the pure enjoyment of it. I was bouncing along grinning like an idiot! I don't feel like I've lost any fitness and while I had no aims for speed or distance, I did as well as when I'd be pushing myself. I'm thinking I'll probably run this way through the winter- just set out to get my blood pumping and be outdoors. Although I really need to get back in the pool! That's this week challenge...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Indulgent Sunday

After such a nutritious evening meal, I woke up to coffee (after a big glass of water had made its way down). Oh well, it's sunday. I added a little naughty to this, a teaspoon of drinking chocolate mix (basically sugar and cocoa powder). I sipped on it and while bashing up some pre-soaked brown rice for porridge.

I stirred in a sliced banana and cinnamon sugar, and topped it with plain soya yogurt. I thought apples and raisins would have been healthier, but I was craving the creamy sweetness of banana and some cinnamon set it off wonderfully.

After a nice walk this afternoon, I called into the offlicense (liquor store) at the top of my street, The Vineyard. A colleague in work gets me to pick up Sierra Navada. Unfortunately, they were out, it's very popular because they're the only stockists in Northern Ireland. While there, I couldn't help picking up these:

I'm keeping the spiced cider for my birthday, but I had the banana bread beer tonight. It wasn't bananey at all, but it was nice beer anyway. It was a barley based beer.

After such low fat and relatively low protein meals (miso soup and rice), I was in the mood for some fat. I made some tofu scramble with a big scoop of homemade pesto to fatten it up. I added in some mixed spice seasoning, turmeric and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast to a block of silken tofu, mashed it up in a bowl, and added to the pan.

Mmm. I was naughty and had more bread. This is quite nice bread, it's choc full of flax seeds. I think gluten twice a week shouldn't do me much harm, but I can take it or leave it. It's nice to have the freedom though.

While my super hot dinner was cooling, a did a little cheaty gluten free baking. I'm still a bit unsure about gluten free flours, as vegan baking is a minefield big enough, so I tried out this Hale & Hearty brownie mix. There are instructions on the back for a vegan version, but I veganised the ordinary recipe with Orgran No Egg, sunflower margarine and soya milk. I added frozen black cherries in to the mix.

These turned out so good! Very light, no funkiness from the gluten free flours. There were little flakes of chocolate in the mix that melted completely. I topped it off with vanilla Swedish Glace and some chocolate sauce (syrup and cocoa powder and a little soya milk heated up)

I really enjoyed my food this weekend, for the first time in ages! My tummy is a bit bubbly after all that food and beer this evening, compared to after the soup last night that sat with me perfectly. But I think the pleasure of the richer food is worth the little bit of bloat it causes, as long as it's an occasional treat. Sensory/mental stimulation isn't the main point of food (that's the problem with emotional eating) but getting enjoyment out of food is deeply human, it affirms we're beings with more than just a physical experience.
All in all, it's been a very relaxing, enjoyable weekend, leaving me ready to face the week ahead!