Category Archives: Healthy eating

Living More Sustainably: Vegetarian one day a week

I fully admire those that can live a zero waste existence. It’s certainly something to aspire to. I am just not there yet. However, I really believe that if a whole bunch of us start with just some small changes it will have a massive environmental impact.

Starting over a year ago now we have been implementing changes in our home to try and live more sustainably. Interestingly, I started implementing a lot of these and didn’t mention it to Hubby to see if he noticed and commented on it or if the change bothered him. None of the changes we have made so far have phased him at all.

I thought I would share one of these every now and then. If you like the tip feel free to implement it. I know these are not new ideas. I am just sharing what small changes I have been able to easily incorporate into our lives to make our family more environmentally friendly.

Vegetarian one day per week.

This is a great example of something I started to implement without Hubby even noticing. I did this at the same time I started meal planning. This was a beautiful change to make hand in hand. Not only is eating meat free once a week good for the environment, but meal planning reduced our weekly food waste and grocery bill significantly!

I did this for over a month before asking Hubby if he’d noticed we were eating vegetarian at least one night every week. He hadn’t noticed that, but he’d been liking the meals and the organisation of meal planning. It actually saved us a lot of time over the week as we were not having that daily “what do you want for dinner?” discussion and then spending time rummaging through the pantry for options hahaha. He actually got into the process and is now much more involved in our food choices and also dinner and food preparation YAY!!!

Here’s the thing… this doesn’t have to be a complicated meal. Often this is my simplest dinner of the week. Very often I combine this with pasta night. At the moment we are both loving the Rana range of pastas particularly the Ricotta & Spinach Tortellini and the Pumpkin & Roasted Onion Ravioli. Even better when I score the family pack on sale as this gives us two nights of dinners. Especially when I chuck in some brocolli and mixed vegies. My 11 months old loves these pasta dishes as well, she doesn’t eat pasta in other forms apart from these and lasagne so that’s another bonus for us.

Honestly once you look at a couple of vegetarian meals it is a lot easier than the pressure that people put on themselves to create incredible dishes. Yes, you certainly can do that. OMG there are some amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes out there, but there are also some quick fixes.

Loving the Wildly Good range for a quick healthy vegetarian or vegan meal!
Wildly Good Falafel bites in a yum salad bowl with sweet potato waffle fries YUMMO!!!!!


Baby Frittatas

I have been experimenting with frittatas trying to make one using oat milk for kiddo who is lactose intolerant. Frittatas are great for baby led weaning and getting protein (eggs) and a variety of veggies into bubs. I made these in a muffin tin as it was easy to portion out that way. You can also freeze these.

I will say that I think because of the oat milk it seemed to take longer to cook that when I normally cook frittata.

This recipe made 11, but I feel I overfilled the cases so would probably make 12.

Ingredients

1 small carrot
1 small zuchhini
pumpkin (I like butternut, but whatever you like)
4 eggs
1 cup of oat milk (can use normal milk if not lactose intolerant)

Method

  1. Cube your pumpkin, place on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 160C (fan forced) for around 40 mins (turn half way). I would let it cool a little before using it. You will need 1 cup (I used the leftovers to mix with other veggies for meals).
  2. Grate carrot and zucchini.
  3. Heat around a tbsp of oil and cook zucchini, carrot and pumpkin for around 2 mins.
  4. Beat eggs and milk.
  5. Add vegetables to the milk mixture and pour the mixture into your muffin tin.
  6. Bake at 160C for around 20-25 mins.

Notes

  • When I use normal milk this is more like 15 mins.
  • If lactose is not an issue for you, you could also sprinkle some cheese on top before you bake.
  • As an adult these taste good, but I had to add salt and pepper haha.
  • I leave the skin on my zucchini, that is up to you 🙂


Banana Oat Pikelets

This is SUPER easy to make and it is quite possible you could make it without purchasing anything. I made this with stuff that was already in my pantry. Great for baby led weaning and they freeze well. Kiddo LOVES these! Honestly I kind of do too.

Makes around 16 decent sized pikelets.

Ingredients

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 mashed overripe banana
1/2 cup oat milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Add dry ingredients to beaten egg and combine.
  2. Add oat milk, cinnamon and vanilla and combine.
  3. Add mashed banana and mix well.
  4. Heat a fry pan on medium heat, add a small amount of butter, or spray to prevent sticking then add spoonfuls of batter. When bubbles start to appear flip to cook the other side.

Notes

  • If you want a runnier consistency you can add more milk.
  • If you are not lactose intolerant then you can use normal milk rather than oat milk.
  • I served these strait up to kiddo. I also put them with strawberries and am planning to use them to introduce her to peanut butter.
  • These freeze well so in future I will likely make double batches (not going to lie I have stolen a few as well haha).

Healthy Oat Fruit Bars

I have been experimenting with Oat fruit bars/slice suitable for baby led weaning for my 8 month old who is lactose intolerant. We are trying to build up her tolerance a little by including very small amounts of lactose in her diet, but let’s be real, many of these types of things have dairy. So here’s one I have messed around with that made up a LOT of slice, she LOVES it!!! It also freezes great and I like it with a coffee or tea too, so bonus!

Ingredients

3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 1/4 cup A2 milk
1 1/4 cup oat milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of finely chopped dried prunes
3/4 cup of finely chopped dried apricots
1 mashed overripe banana
1 grated granny smith apple
2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (fan forced oven). Grease a slice tin – I use two medium sized ones as this is what I have.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pour into slice tins. Bake in oven for around 45mins. You can check it’s done when it is firm and springs back to touch.
  4. Once it has cooled you can cut and serve.

Notes

  • This makes a LOT. I wanted this so I could cut into baby sized pieces and freeze. If you want a more normal sized amount you could halve everything, but I also did not want to waste half an apple and banana.
  • I used prunes and apricots, but you could replace these with any dried fruit.

Where have I been?

Huge thank you to those of you who have contacted me to see if I am okay. This is why I love you guys!!! Thank you to everybody that has stuck in there with me! 🙂

I know I have been neglecting this space and not connecting with you all as much as I should have, or as much as I would like. I don’t really have much of an excuse, life has just been insane for many months now.

 

After we froze our embies we decided to have some time off from the fertility craziness. The docs didn’t really want to transfer the embies anyway as they felt I was too big.

I spent some time really soul searching and thinking about my life journey and how far I had come and what I wanted the next year (this year) and the rest of my life to hold. You know… nothing too heavy right?! Haha

I know I mentioned in a previous post that I had spent a lot of time researching weight loss surgery and what it could do for me with in regards to my insulin resistance, PCOS and snail thyroid. I also finally found out why sometimes my outer thighs goes numb, it is a condition where nerves get pinched randomly (can be cured or greatly improved through weightloss). So I bit the bullet, after 10 years and numerous diets and lifestyle changes I agreed to have sleeve surgery in April.

What?! I hear you say, but it is already May! Yep, that’s right, already done.

I didn’t tell many people. To be honest after so many years thinking about it and researching to come to the decision that I thought was best for me (even though I was petrified and didn’t really want to do it) I really didn’t want to hear any more opinions. So my parents knew (turns out they told a few people), obviously Hubby knew (turns out he told people too) and a couple of my friends knew.

Managed to not have a huge panic attack before surgery, mainly by trying not to think about it and just going through the motions of preparing. Afterwards I initially questioned all my so called wisdom and research because damn did I hurt. Being someone who is very independent though I was determined that even though I had just had major surgery a couple of hours before I was going to the toilet. So I did.

I pretty much had a dream recovery, slight allergic reaction to the dressings after a few days and slight infection on the surface of one of the wounds. Food wise I have had no issues. Was having issues getting enough protein, but I am getting much better at that now that I have added soft foods back in. Eventually I should be able to have all the foods I have before.

I hear people label this “the easy way”, boy is that far from the truth. For me this was (and continues to be) harder than quitting smoking. You still have to do all the work in regards to healthy food and exercise. It is just a tool, a very effective tool, but it is on me to make it work.

I have been doing well so far. Since 19 March (I am including pre op diet where I lost 6.8kgs) I have lost 13.9kgs. I am not ashamed to say that I am SUPER proud of myself for that 🙂

I know that for doctors the actual weight is what they focus on, but for me I am enjoying the non-scale victories just as much. The issue with the thigh numbness is already noticeably better which is amazing as I would get this multiple times a day previously – In the last 5 days I think I have had it once!!! I also fit into 2 blouses that I LOVED that no longer fit me. In fact they fit me better now than when I bought them! I am also much more comfortable in my car, not that I was uncomfortable before, but it just fits me better now.

It is a challenge everyday. You have to be super prepared food wise so you are not caught out. My father was suddenly taken to hospital last Friday (so a week today) and I was initially caught out a lot… loving coffee and quiches and veggie fritattas from a number of cafes at the moment for dinner as I am going straight from work to the hospital at the moment. Funny part is I can only eat about half, which then means either I get to make sure Mum has a decent meal or I get lunch the next day. Today I am stoked with my leftover pumpkin, spinach and ricotta quiche – you guys SOOO GOOD!

I find I am eating a lot more vegetarian meals. Not on purpose, just because I gravitate towards these meals as I enjoy them. I am glad though as I had been trying to move towards a more plant based diet prior to the surgery because it is supposed to be beneficial for the conditions I have. It does mean that sometimes I am not hitting the protein level I need to be so I have to be careful.

So now that I have bowled you all over with my crazy last few months tell me stories! I have missed you all 🙂

 

 

 


6 year anniversary of TTC is looming

So the IUI was a bust. Unfortunately as AF was 4 days late my hopes had grown super high. I didn’t POAS because I really wanted that hope to last for a little bit longer. I started bleeding the afternoon before my bloods were done. I let the nurse know and said I was confused because I was extremely regular and I it was very weird for me to be more than one day off. Only to be told that Pregnyl can make AF late. *SIGH* I really wish they would tell you this stuff when they give you the medications. So I thought I would share it with you all so you may avoid being caught unawares…

So far I have learned that Pregnyl and progesterone (anything) can/will delay AF. Obviously everyone’s body is different, we may not all react the same… yadda, yadda, yadda 🙂

As we come up to the 6 year anniversary of TTC in a couple of months I find myself questioning everything. Currently I have been TTC for 70 months, 70 failed cycles. That’s such a burden you guys. One of the most natural things my body should be doing and it won’t. I’ve never even had a BFP. I know people who have had 3 children in the time I have been trying to fall pregnant once!

Here are some of the things I am questioning:

Should I be looking at a different job which is less hours and stress so I can focus more on a health journey? Could I do a secondment at work or ask to go part time in my role for 6 months or longer? But all my pay goes towards an IVF fund which keeps us moving foward and I don’t really know if I could afford a pay cut.

I know in myself I could do amazingly well in this industry. I have been the library industry version of head hunted quite a few times and I am a hard worker who isn’t afraid of change or leaping outside the box. But any amount of success in this industry would not mean much to me if it meant foregoing the opportunity to be a Mum.

 

Recently I have asked myself a very important question…

Would I be willing to basically blow up my life if it meant we could have children?

The answer is yes.

 

Is this something I need to do? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know.

 

What could this look like?

  • I have had doctors talk to me before about weight reduction surgery. I have never really considered it because it just didn’t feel right and I have met quite a few people for whom this wasn’t really a long term solution and they have had to have it redone down the track. During this cycle a nurse who has had it done at the FS office chatted to me about it. I asked her about the fact that we would not be able to do IVF during this time and she said we would still be able to make embryos and bank them, but that generally they will not allow us to transfer them for a year post surgery. I am very much in two minds about this, but will raise it with my FS on Thursday when we see her.
  • Leave my job or ask for reduced hours to concentrate on a health journey. This is something I have thought about quite seriously. It makes me really sad because I really love a lot of the people I work with. I would really rather not leave, but I don’t know that my job could be done in less hours. Part of me feels that something drastic like this has to happen though. I have a very sedentary life in this job and there are not a lot of ways to fix that.
    If I get the surgery discussed above I will likely have to have quite some time off anyway so who knows.
  • Completely retrain for another industry. This is something I have also thought about quite seriously. In particular I have thought about going back to uni and becoming a nutritionist that specialises in PCOS, IR and Diabetes. I have looked and have found it very hard to find specialists anywhere near me. I have also thought about going back to uni and becoming an specialist in the area of Autism. My nephew has Autism and I know a few other children who are on the spectrum too and there is a lot of talk by specialists of all the restrictions children on the spectrum will have. I would love to be a specialist who works closely with children with Autism to help them work through their own individual difficulties and overcome obstacles as well as develop techniques to help them navigate everyday life. Every single person is different, having Autism doesn’t change that, everyone is a snowflake and you need to treat them as such.
    Both of these options would include more work, stress and sedentary behaviour whilst I become qualified and established so I don’t know how realistic these choices are.

 

Has anyone out there blown up their life for this? Would love to hear your stories. Advise is also COMPLETELY welcome! I would love some!!!

 

 


Gözleme all the way

Have you tried gözleme? If not you should absolutely put it on your ‘must try before I die’ list. Technically I do not have one of these lists (yet!), but it rolls off the tongue beautifully so I think it should be a thing 🙂

I have an amazing group of friends at my work. They are brilliant people and truly without them my day to day life would not be half as shiny. We often like to have lunch together and one of my friends had been eyeing off a gözleme place that has been under construction for some time now. Finally it opened, so obviously we had to go on the first day.

gozleme-potato

Potato, spinach & feta – SO GOOD!!!

Looks great on the plate and even better when you taste it. It is served on a wooden board with a wedge of lemon. We all loved it and have already visited again a couple of times. It is promoted as Turkish street food and is made fresh, you can literally watch them make it for you from rolling out your dough to placing the finished product on your board. It is completely tasty and the people that run it are (from what I can gather) 1-2 families who are all Turkish, spanning across 3 generations, which I think is really cool.

Last week we went there and were offered Turkish tea (or Rize tea), it was a promotion and you got a free cup with every gözleme. I was a little hesitant because I had been warned off Turkish coffee, but I promised to try new things this year so I did… and I LOVED it. It was super yum. It is served in this elegant tiny little glass with a teeny teaspoon and a sugar cube. My friend and I were only disappointed that there wasn’t more.

turkish-tea

Turkish tea with spinach and feta gozleme

Such an interesting contrast to be eating street food with your hands and sipping on tea out of an elegant cup like a posh lady.

9/10 will eat and drink again – A LOT.
It is probably not good that this is such a short walk from my work, but honestly it is not that bad for you is it?


Losing my habit

Many moons ago I was studying for my higher school certificate (HSC for the Aussies, final school exams that give you your marks to get into University for everyone else 🙂 ), I had always had issues with exam anxiety. It wasn’t that I didn’t study or didn’t try, I just got in there and somehow convinced myself things were trick questions or they wanted more than what was on there or had blanks. It was a bad time. My grandmother was also very ill and going through cancer treatments.

One day I went to visit my grandmother with my Mum and the doctor chose that day to tell us that she would not be getting better. I blocked up all my reactions and when we left the hospital I kept striding towards the car until my Mum yelled for me to stop. I sat down on a short wall and started crying. My Mum had her cigarettes sitting next to her and I just took one and lit it. That was the day I first started smoking.

I was a pretty considerate smoker I believe. I stood away from people and crowds when smoking. I held the cigarette away from myself and blew the smoke away from myself to reduce the amount the smell stuck to me. I would also eat a mint, wash my hands and give a spritz of perfume after a smoke and like any decent person I binned my butts.

Because my hubby, siblings and mother smoke I have always found it very difficult to quit or cut down. I would also use smoking as an appetite suppressant and didn’t feel I could quit and lose weight at the same time and because I was always trying to lose weight I never really quit.

I always thought I would quit when I got pregnant. For many years of trying I didn’t think of quitting. Then when we found out how much IVF was going to cost us I decided I didn’t want anything risking it not working and I just completely quit on February 15 this year. One day I smoked the next day I just stopped, that evening I was sitting at a table whilst my Mum and Hubby enjoyed a smoke and a cuppa together and it was hard, but I didn’t smoke.

I have now not smoked for 155 days.

I am so very proud of myself. It was not easy. It was in fact very hard to break a habit I had for over a decade. I feel I am healthier for it. I used to always get bronchitis in winter, I have not (touch wood) had anything awful so far this winter (although I also had the flu vaccine for the first time this year). Whilst all my colleagues have been falling around me I have marched on with sometimes mild flu symptoms. I have been an asthma sufferer for years and since quitting I have not had one attack. Not one use of my inhaler. That is incredible to me.

Between quitting smoking and the IVF meds I did put on about 8kgs (my IVF doctor was not pleased) and my eating was just out of control because I was using food to fill the smoking hole. Last week I signed up with weight watchers to help get my eating back on track. In the first week I lost 2.4kgs so I feel like this was definitely a good move.

I knew going in that quitting smoking would be a long road. I was prepared to put on weight and wait for my body to get used to being without cigarettes before attempting to lose it and now I am ready to build a new lifestyle that does not include smoking.

It was a massive part of my life. My husband who generally succeeds at everything he does lasted half a day. I am not mad at him for this because I know how difficult it is. I believe in him and know he will get there.

I have had difficulty because I used to use a smoke as a time of stress relief. Suddenly removing that from my life I believe had a bigger impact than the cravings. To deal I replaced it with watching Netflix and eating chocolate basically everyday. As a chocoholic I must admit I loved this, but my fat jeans did not. They no longer fit 😦 It also did not solve the problem because I was avoiding de-stressing by submerging myself in another world. It was all still there when I turned the TV off at night.

After our fresh transfer for IVF failed I went into a dark hole. I knew I needed to make changes to help my mental health and help me heal from this devastating result. So we took a break from IVF to allow my body to balance out all the hormones and we vowed to stop having timed intercourse for a couple of months (anyone who has had to do this knows what it does to your relationship and we have been trying to conceive for 4.5 years now) and I decided to make some changes.

So what has this loss of habit brought me?:

I no longer have asthma symptoms, I can breathe easier, I don’t get sick as often and if I do I get over it pretty quickly.

My decision to change my lifestyle began 155 days ago when I quit smoking. I knew I was in for a long journey, but so far it has totally been worth it. I have been going to Pilates for 3 weeks and love it. Yesterday I added in some treadmill work before Pilates which my body was not used to, but was very good to me. Pilates has also helped my headspace. I plan to increase the number of times I do it a week because I feel that this could provide me with the de-stress I have been craving. Long soaks in the bath have also helped with this and finding ways to spoil myself a little that has nothing to do with food or smoking has helped with the de-stress too.

The combination of quitting smoking and having a break from IVF has hubby and I connecting like newlyweds, we are coming up on 9 years together and 5 years married and I can with confidence say that our relationship is everything  have always hoped for in a marriage.

Whilst I put on weight initially I am now losing it slowly in a healthy way and filling my body with awesome nutrition to support the beautiful embryo we have frozen just waiting for transfer.

Making the decision to lose this habit has had many positive impacts in my life. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced in life and I am proud of myself for overcoming it.

 

Response to the discover topic The Things We Leave Behind

 

 


A lull…

I know I have been absent. I abandoned you and I am sorry. The difficulties I discussed in my last post along with some not so good stuff going on at work that I am not aloud to talk about at the moment, but suffice to say that it is stressful stuff.

I have also just been really down and feeling quite lonely. I think whilst I love my new home moving there and not having the company of my parents has compounded the sadness of the IVF transfer failing. The place often feels rather empty and whilst I would like to do activities like unpacking and gardening and what not together, Hubby generally seems to like to get stuck into things separately which I guess is fine, but not grand for the whole lonely thing.

Just sad

We got the test results for our frozen emby and it is completely normal. HUGE sigh of relief!!! They sent me the report which I thought would list all the different tests they did on it, but it didn’t. We opened it and it simply had our names, when the testing was done, that it tested normal at the highest percentage, the GENDER and that it was fit for transfer. Yup that’s right, we were not going to find out the gender because I was worried I would get too emotionally invested in this life that might not come to be and we found out by accident. Meanwhile I was totally right, I tried not too, but all I can think about is this little life and what they might look like and how I would love to do the nursery. OMG SO BAD you guys, I have not had any of that too badly, but it is in high gear now.Hubby and I decided we are not going to tell anyone the sex (I reserve the right to change my mind about this) even if it works it is the one thing we feel that we would like to keep to ourselves.

I became desperate to have the next transfer work I decided I HAD to lose weight somehow and signed up to Isagenix because it worked for my friend. I did it because I was desperate basically. Well I learned my lesson, I did not react well to this system, it tasted awful and I gagged my way through the shakes and the pills. By day two I was severely (and uncomfortably almost painfully) bloated and had added 5+cm to my waist line. They kept pushing me to continue it and go on a cleanse day and said it was normal. I had a big break down to my husband and talked to him about my/our diet and lifestyle and that I was desperate to lose weight to give this baby the best chance at latching on. We talked for hours. I made the decision to return the Isagenix and look at another way of getting fit. This all happened during the two weeks I took off of work because I needed some head space. Weight watchers has previously been amazing for me and teaches you good eating habits. We decided to do this instead, I just have to wait for my refund for Isagenix.

So yes I have been struggling with some seriously sad feelings. Hubby actually wanted me to see someone because he said in 9 years he had never seen me like this. I think I just really needed the two weeks off to veg out, sleep and work through some shit (I am a GREAT bottler of feelings). I feel a lot better for it. Now I just have to send off the stuff back to Isagenix, get my money back, join up to weight watchers (or rather rejoin) and go to the Pilate class I convinced my friends to attend with me once a week after work (don’t worry I intend to do more than one bout of exercise per week 🙂 )

sleep

All the sleep!!!

What crazy things have you guys tried when you were desperate to lose weight? Did it work?


What now?

Well I was right. This cycle didn’t work. It was a heartbreaking realisation. By the time we did our blood test on Saturday I was so positive that it didn’t work that I convinced Hubby to go to coffee after they had taken blood.

Meanwhile the woman who called me back to confirm the bad news probably shouldn’t be making bad news calls. It was completely awkward and if I had have been in a different place, i.e. no bad symptoms and still full of hope I don’t know how the phone call would have gone. I told them I wanted a month off for my body to recover. She even said weird things like ‘generally we find that younger women like yourself find more success with frozen cycles’ umm then why did we ever try a fresh transfer? Don’t say stupid crap like that to women hyped up on hormones who you have just told that a $10k IVF cycle resulted in nothing. Then she said some other stuff and ended with, ‘okay well we will hear from you when you want to proceed with treatment again, if you do want to contact us ever again’ err… what? What a weird ass thing to say. Sweetie, you people have my frosty babe… I am coming back for them.

If the FET transfer doesn’t work, or they come back and say that the testing showed it wasn’t a good quality embryo I think we will look at going somewhere else. I have done some research and it looks as though Primary IVF might be pretty decent, it is practically next to Genea and they bulk bill so the pricing is ridiculously cheaper. We could do more than 10 full IVF cycles on what it costs us to do one at Genea. I have talked to a few women who have gone there (IVF support group via Facebook) and they all love the place. If anyone reading this has been I would love to hear your feedback. Unfortunately they are apparently really strict on BMI so we might not be accepted by them.

The grieving process for this was really bad. It happened the first night I started bleeding. My husband had never seen me like that and had no idea what to do. I blame those freaking hormones. I literally had no control over my emotions and I completely lost the ability to rationalise anything. I was a CRAZY lady. I think it was quite therapeutic though. I am not a huge crier and don’t remember the last time I had a really good cry. Afterwards I was completely exhausted and in pieces, but I felt this wonderful calm and I slept like a baby.

It has made me realise I need to slow the hell down. Infertility is bullshit and as much as we march on with the grit and determination of an Amazon really a piece of us dies inside with every negative pregnancy test, every purchase of tampons and every pregnancy announcement from others who have seemingly blessed lives.

We are not stopping trying this month, but we are not doing a transfer. A month of no sex was torture and I am not going into another month of that straight up. No sex plus a tonne of crazy lady hormones made for a very challenging month and we just want to get back to chilling and being with each other. I have organised for two weeks off in June and Hubby is taking the whole month off. We have to/want to get our landscaping done. That will be a fantastic achievement!

There is a lot going on in my head at the moment. We are just so very busy.