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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Losing weight

paleolifestyle-300x287I have battled with my weight since forever, losing pounds then putting them back on and more to boot – yo-yo dieting they call it, and I know all about it.  Eventually a few years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but even that didn’t phase me as it would a lot of other folk.  For long enough I ignored it, still eating all the wrong things, and the weight still crept on.  Then I had a bit of a breakthrough, giving up sweets, desserts, biscuits, cakes and scones, and through playing too much with my laptop, forgetting to eat (not good) I actually lost about a stone (14lbs) over a longish period of time, without really noticing it.

I have often thought I might have an intolerance to gluten, as pasta and pastry always made me feel bloated, and unwell,  and in looking that up on the internet I discovered Paleo!  Paleolithic, I thought to myself, and I was actually right!  This method of eating is very much based on the sort of foods cavemen (hunter gatherers) would have eaten!  You can have meat – red meat too -  fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, veggies and fruit, but no grains, no dairy, no legumes and definitely no sugar or anything processed.  Hmm!  This looked interesting. Real food!  I read some more about it, watched videos, gopaleolooked up websites and browsed recipes.  Mmm!  Very interesting!  Interesting enough for me to say I want some of that!  Wouldn’t you, if you saw all the delicious looking recipes.  Eating loads of real food and losing weight too!  Yes please!

In January, Morag and I decided to weigh ourselves every Sunday – before tea – she doing her choice of diet and me mine.  I loved the Paleo way of eating and discovered ways of substituting flour and dairy into delicious recipes.  I actually began to cook again (a slow cooker/crockpot is a boon here too), something some of you will remember I used to hate with a passion.83245cd9e510751298751bc159bd9f53 

I love to try out some of the sweet recipes as occasional treats - using almond flour ( finely ground almonds ), coconut and almond milk, honey or even maple syrup for sweetening, nuts – almonds, cashews, macadamias, brazils, etc. – almond buttercashew butterhazelnut butterand nut butters, everything unprocessed, without all the rubbish ingredients.  Going totally organic is often difficult but I go to the market or our local High Street butcher for meat, and our new greengrocer in town for fruit and veggies and eggs.  A trip to Galashiels is sometimes called for so I can peruse the shelves of Holland and Barrett, as it’s there I can pick up some of the more unusual ingredients, coconut oillike cold pressed coconut oil to cook in – (yes, among the allowed oils) it gives fried eggs and omelettes a delicious subtle flavour.  

I cook  bacon and eggs with fried tomatoes and mushrooms for breakfast some mornings , but usually a couple of eggs in an omelette or scrambled does me, and often I will whizz up a smoothie with veggies and fruit, coconut or almond milk.  Yummy.  I don’t miss dairy produce (except maybe cheese) or cereals,cc2aa66693a4596a469da32ec7ab7b7f as I can make Paleo bread if I really want some.  Believe it or not grated cauliflower is a great substitute for rice – do it in a food processor rather than by hand with the cheese grater – and you can even make a substitute pastry or pizza base with it too.  Veggie-Noodle-savorylotus.com_Noodles can be made with veggies such as carrots, courgettes, squashes etc. and basically just blanched in boiling water to heat up!  I use my old mincer, but a spiraliser looks like fun!

Anyway you can look up websites for yourself for recipes, and info on the diet (way of life), but here’s my good news….. After a week I had shed 6lbs, followed by losses of 2lbs each week for a bit.  Some weeks I have stayed the same or maybe lost just one pound but since we started on 6 January I have lost 21lbs – a stone and a half – and I am thrilled!  I feel better, no more bloating or stomach cramps, and have more energy.  My achy knees and hips are much better too.  It’s marvellous.  So you can guess I am going to continue with this eating pattern!

Here are some of the websites I have looked at, though it was http://paleoaholic.com/ that got me started, with its meal plans, short articles and recipes.   http://fatburningman.com/ is another site I follow regularly, along with http://www.youngandraw.com/  They do the raw thing but it all sounds lovely – says she who hated salads!  They have an iPad app for a 14 day juice challenge, but with loads of juicer recipes.  Enjoying that!



There are tons of websites you could investigate.  I hope I am not obsessing over this way of eating!  I do cheat from time to time but try to stick as close to it as possible when I go out, though it’s quite hard when everything includes potatoes (not allowed really, though sweet potatoes are!), focacchia, ciabatta and crusty bread, or the entire menu is paninis, sandwiches, toasted or not, baked potatoes, etc.  I would probably opt for a potato but then what to fill it with?  Not cheese, sadly!  I love Coronation chicken, and perhaps would opt for that.  I think it’s reasonably ok!  Chicken, mayo, spices…..?  Anyway the odd cheat is understandable, and what I like is that I find it dead easy to get back to Paleo afterwards!

The downside of losing weight?  Having to keep buying new clothes – I go to the charity shops – and having to get rid of old favourites.  down 21lbsI have this favourite pair of trousers that is now way too big, but I can’t pass them on to the charity shop!  I just can’t!  I think I’ll just have to do some alterations.  They’re pretty straightforward, so perhaps I could adjust the seams!  Maybe I’ll find a seamstress who would do it properly though!  I am also fitting into some tops that I bought “hopefully, without trying them on” last year, but found were too tight, so that’s another upside! The best upside of all though, is that I feel so much better – and thinner!

Talk again soon.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Read Scotland 2014

Scotland badgeNow then, what have I read for Peggy’s challenge since I last wrote about it?  To be honest I haven’t read anything very much at all for a while, Tom Steelhowever I have made a start on Tom Steel’s Life and Death of St Kilda, and am enjoying it very much, learning more about the islanders way of life over the centuries.




Before that I read a book I picked up at a Peebles book sale last year.  It is called Noost and was written by Frank Renwick, about the mythical Shetland isle of the title.  There isn’t really a story, though characters from one chapter  appear in others, yet there is a bit of a story or two running through the book.  It was very amusing – a bit silly - though I almost put it aside without reading it at first, as the pages seemed not to have paragraphs, and a whole page with no indentations struck me as very off-putting!!

scottlandI’ve also started reading Stuart Kelly’s book about Walter Scott, the novelist accused of inventing Scotland!  Tell you more anon!

So does that make 8 books read?  I’ve lost count!  I dare say if you wanted to take part in the challenge you could still visit Peggy Ann’s Post and sign yourself up.  You have a choice of how many books you aim to read.

Talk again soon.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Signs of spring

P1070291Although it hasn’t been a snowy winter it was pretty wet, cold and windy.  However, January and February flew by, and now it’s March and Spring is springing.  In my garden the snowdrops flowered and now the daffies are opening.  I brought a bunch of them indoors today so am now enjoying the beautiful scent that’s wafting around the living room.   Aren’t they beautiful!

woodland drift1A week or so ago, Morag, Mike and I paid a visit to Kailzie Gardens to see the snowdrops – drifts of them through the woodlands,P1070085 and by the









They were growing around the tree roots, and just everywhere really. and this is all thanks to Lady Angela, owner of the gardens, who plants more and more snowdrops, filling spaces where the bulbs haven’t naturalised and spread by themselves.P1070078  We came across one little area where plugs of earth had been removed in readiness for a few more snowdrops to be planted.  No doubt after the rain had stopped Lady Angela  would be back with some new plants to fill the holes.

lone crocusI wonder if this rogue crocus was in a pot of snowdrops recently planted.  It was the only one in the whole garden! 

and aconitesAlong the Major’s Walk another of the early flowers was blooming in profusion – the aconite – aconites in the raintheir yellow heads  closed up against the raindrops.  the major's walk



This is the Major’s Walk and the summer house where I imagine the Major came to read his newspaper on a warm summer morning, his two labrador dogs sitting patiently by his feet.  Not that I knew the Major of course.  The “big house” was demolished getting on for 60 years ago now as you may have read in previous posts I have written, and the Major is long gone.spring roddies

  Just in front of the summer house is a small rhododendron bush, surprisingly boasting some blooms already – in March?  I would expect to see these in flower about May or June!  Nice to see them all the same.


So the snowdrops gave way to the daffodils, as I discovered today on a visit to the Petanque piste for a practice.


They are not all out in bloom yet, but it won’t be long.daffs2P1070273

and they too will be a beautiful sight in due course.  So, the wind getting cooler, and rain again threatening, it seemed time to go home. blossom We finished our game, and


set off back to the carpark, passing the ornamental cherry tree in bloom alongside the burn.

pussy willowEven back at home, in the neighbours’ gardens there were more signs of Spring – the pussy willows in Duart and Carol’s garden – Heather's treeand buds well


swollen and ready to burst open in Heather’s.

P1070269It’s a lovely time of year when all the new growth starts, oh and on the way to Lanark on Sunday I saw some of the first lambs of the season, and these lovely catkins in the garden centre near Lanark.

Another week or two and things will be different again – probably white with snow!  Who knows!  but once the leaves start to open on the lime trees outside my windows I will feel Spring has really sprung!

Talk again soon.