A movie review :: “That Sugar Film”

A movie review of that sugar film

David Attenborough is my hero!

When I was a kid, if I got to watch one of his documentaries, I was in heaven! Don’t worry, I also liked the normal kid movies too but there was always something so majestic about David’s description of animals and I just wanted to be there with him, learning about the world that I live in. I also wanted to be a vet at the time and have a pet elephant!

 

Exploring the world around me. Mainly the ground because I fell over!
Exploring the world around me. Mainly the ground because I fell over! Hiking can be dangerous…

 

Fast forward 20 something years and I am still obsessed with learning about the world around me. I love a good documentary but lately, I have been avoiding any concerning food because they have all made me feel guilty for the way that I eat…until I came across “That Sugar Film

A little bit about me and sugar first…

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with candida by a naturopath and had recently just come off an intense round of antibiotics because I had Helicobacter pylori in my gut (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and is usually an issue for 50 year olds). I looked fit and healthy, but on the inside, I was battling constant stomach pain, nausea and feeling crappy all over.

My naturopath recommended that I go on an “elimination diet” which took out more than it allowed in, so I was pretty bummed…

No gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, meat products and most importantly, no SUGAR!

This was nearly 10 years ago, when gluten free was not widely available (especially in Darwin, Australia) and no one I knew was a vegetarian, let alone a vegan! The hardest thing out of everything for me was the sugar. I quickly realised that it was in EVERYTHING and although the first few weeks were tough, I slowly learnt how to live on this elimination diet, while enjoying food again. If it wasn’t for this book, “Cooking Without” by Barbara Cousins,  I wouldn’t have been able to do it!

 

On this elimination diet, I started to feel good, and then I started to feel great!

My stomach pain stopped, I wasn’t bloated all the time, my mind was so clear and I had waaaay too much energy if I didn’t exercise. My gut healed and eventually, I allowed different foods back into my diet. If you are wondering why I didn’t stay on the diet for the rest of my life, I will let you know right now, avoiding that many foods makes life pretty lonely. Going for dinner with friends is a nightmare and you have to remember, I was 19. I wanted to live, I wanted a peaceful relationship with food, not one consumed with fear!

 

When I was on the elimination diet... I was super fit and also a super pain in the butt to cook for!
When I was on the elimination diet… I was super fit and also a super pain in the butt to cook for!

 

Since then, I have always been conscious of which foods affect my body and one that stands out is sugar. Last year, I bought the book “I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook” and I tried Sarah Wilson’s method of ridding sugar from my life. What a great program! If I had that when I was 19, I would probably would have stayed off the sweet stuff forever! Now, I will eat foods with refined sugar in them, but only when eating out or at a friend’s house. When cooking for myself, the only sugar in my house is in my dark chocolate and I feel like I have a pretty good balance. I eat foods because they make me feel good, not because I fear that if I don’t eat them, I will get fat/cancer/diabetes ect.

 

If you have ever told someone that you have quit sugar, they will always give you a weird look and you can explain until you are blue in the face, the effects of it on your body but eventually, their eyes will glaze over and they will go back to their triple glazed donut without a second thought. Hence why I just don’t tell people or try to convert them.

 

Enter “That Sugar Film

 

It’s about a guy called Damon, who hasn’t eaten refined sugar in 2 years and because he is curious, he decides to adopt a “healthy” Australian diet. A diet, which consists of about 40 teaspoons of refined sugar (or 160g) a day!

Spoiler alert but his health goes downhill alarmingly quick and you know this because he has a team of health experts, monitoring him through his journey. He basically replaces all his “high fat” meals with “low fat” and although he is consuming the exact same amount of calories, and doing the same amount of exercise, Damon is putting on weight fast and feeling like a piece of poo!

So, this movie sounds like a downer but it is actually hilarious! I watched it with a friend and we were often in stitches, in between being in shock! Hands down, the most confronting thing for me was watching Damon eat cubes of sugar, instead of the added sugar in the foods. YUK YUK YUK! There is also a scene that involves a dentist, but that is all that I am going to say about that.

Another great thing about this film was that it didn’t make me feel guilty for how I eat. It just presented the facts and then left off with a happy ending for Daemon because he felt better when he got off the sugar. I didn’t feel fear, like many other documentaries, I just felt informed and empowered and that is how everyone should feel.

If you want to know more, watch the trailer for That Sugar Film, or even better, watch the whole movie.

 

Let me know what you think of removing the amount of processed sugar in your diet. Could you do it? Have you ever tried?

 

Let me know by leaving a comment below or on my facebook page.

 

Have a great day groovers, Olivia xx

Cooking For One Sucks!

How to cook for one

Note about the picture: My fridge currently has a giant tub of yoghurt, more condiments than food and a collection of jars at the back that may be a bit suspicious….

 

This always comes as a surprise to people but about a month ago, Alex decided that he wanted to go back to Tofino to live/work. He has been talking about this for some time so when the opportunity presented itself, I wouldn’t stand in his way to stop him from doing something that he had been longing for. He has always been supportive of me and my little endeavours and now it is my turn to support him.

 

Me on the other hand, I really like living in Victoria! I like that I can buy food after 8pm and I have an overwhelming choice of places to eat, drink coffee, bike etc.

 

We both still love each other so we are still very much a couple and make the long distance thing work with lots of texting, phone calls and when we can, a visit. In fact, I have just come back from Tofino, after spending 4 glorious days with him! I also get the added bonus that I have a very good reason to go to Tofino and I get free accommodation and a place to store my wetsuits.

 

The downside of Alex gone is that I am living by myself again. This means no cuddles and I am the only person to take out the trash, but the worst thing is having to cook for just one person.

 

I didn’t think it would be an issue at all! Since I normally cook for two and I do all the cooking in the house. I didn’t think it would be hard to halve my recipes to suit my new living situation. In fact, I was going to cook normal portions and then not cook as often. Brilliant thinking Liv! But there were a couple of important things that I forgot….

 

  1. It is no fun cooking an amazing meal and then not having anyone to share it with. Sure, I could call my friends to come over but I am used to that instant person being there all the time. (Alex come and try this… oh wait…Where did he go?)
  2. Even though I think that I do all the cooking in the house, I realise now that I don’t. Alex helps me a lot, especially when I am trying to shower while the rice is cooking or just need that extra person to help with the chopping of ingredient. So now, everything takes me so much longer and I hate that! This doesn’t just apply to cooking, but a lot of different chores in the house.
  3. The other person in the house reminds me not to make 4 dishes in one night because we will get sick of that food really quick. Let me explain… sometimes when I am in the kitchen, I start making one dish, which leads to two and eventually I have made 5 different things and now we have to eat them all. I did this the other day and the upside is that my freezer is now full of meals that I made while experimenting with black mung beans, so I will be eating those little suckers for a long time! I will also add that I have already eaten so many black mung beans that I cannot bear to eat another one… first world problems… I know!

 

So what am I going to do now?

Well I have devised a plan, which I will try to stick to, and see if it works for me. And if it does, well then I can share my successes and failures with you. I also want to hear from you? What do you do? Do you love or hate cooking for one? Do you cook for a family and wish that you could just cook for yourself?

 

ONE: Designate one day for cooking a couple of recipes, then package them into single serves and freeze them.

 

I honestly believe this is how I survived my university years! Every Monday, I would cook three different meals, divide them into those plastic take-away boxes (like the ones below) and freeze them. I could grab them at the end of a long day, nuke them in the microwave and tah-dah! Dinner was served! They were mainly pasta meals, like tuna mornay, spaghetti bolognaise and occasionally, a curry but now, I am a little more savi about cooking. Meals that are great to cook and freeze are: Roasted Vegetable PastiesLemon Pepper Baked Chicken, Quinoa for SaladsChicken Lasagne and so many more!

Please note: I am not a huge fan of using plastic containers but I also cannot afford to only use the practical alternatives (I reuse my glass jars but they do not fit in my freezer very well). If you also prefer stainless steel and glass over plastic, these containers would be the best option for you.


TWO: Organise a dinner arrangement with a friend so that you can alternate each week with cooking a meal.

 

I have other friends that live alone and also complain about not wanting to cook because it sucks when it is just for themselves. Since I don’t see them as much as I like, I want to propose a cooking swap. I cook one week and then I shall come over to their place and they can cook for me the next week. It’s a win-win because I also get to see my friends more 🙂 Now I just have to see if they think that it is a good idea?

 

THREE: Aim for five small meals a day.

 

I am a comfort eater. If I have had a bad day, if I am tired, if I am bored, I can always find a reason to eat. This is one thing that I have really noticed with Alex being away, I am snacking a LOT! because I am looking for something to substitute my cuddles.  They are good, healthy snacks but then I am eating full sized meals as well and in the long run, it’s going to make my butt big! When I originally wrote this, I was going to aim for 3 meals and an afternoon snack but after I thought about it, I thought that I would try for 5 small meals instead. I shall be interested to see how this shapes up for me (pun not intended) as I am imagining myself grazing constantly like a cow but it will probably be a nice break for my digestive system as I am not overloading it.

My go-to meals at the moment are: hummus and corn chips, yogurt and chia seed parfaits, medjool dates and the Immune Boosting Lassi from Green Kitchen Stories. These are quick to make and also quite portable so they are perfect for my lifestyle at the moment.

I also want to make a bar or muffin that I can carry easily with me, that doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge and is a savoury flavour… I’ll keep you posted on how my experiments for this go.

 

FOUR: Try a new recipe each week.

 

I kind of do this already, since I am trying to have a food blog and all… but again, it is easy to get stuck in a rut. The upside of cooking for yourself is that you can make whatever you want! You could eat noodles everyday of the week if you really wanted because you are the only person that you have to please. I really enjoy new recipes as long as they meet some of my guidelines (not too long to cook, not too many ingredients, no deep frying etc.) so this is the perfect time to try some new things and spread my cooking utensil clad wings and fly into the kitchen. It also gives me an excuse to spend time on the internet, looking at other food blogs… hello food porn!

 

These are the little steps that I am taking to (hopefully) make cooking for one less crappy and I hope that you find them helpful. If you have any additional ideas, leave them in the comments section below or post them to my facebook page.

Have a great week, Olivia xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I do everything wrong

How I always do things wrong

Doing something wrong has such a negative connotation.

If it is wrong, then it is bad, ugly, unwanted and therefore my dear friends, something that you wouldn’t want to do. So, what if I tell you that I do wrong things all the time? How would you react?

 

Even as I am writing this, I am perceiving you of thinking that I have something terrible, unspeakable almost! but don’t worry I’m not doing any of those things, I am just living and learning about the world around me.

 

You see, for 2016 I wanted to be the best that I could be!

 

I wanted to be awesome at yoga, write blog posts every day and have a super clean diet where I craved salad each day!

I started off great, I did a juice cleanse for 5 days, ending it on New Year’s Day and I was getting right into my yoga and I couldn’t write because I didn’t have my computer but I had all these great ideas and man-oh-man! I was going to be on fire this year!!

 

But then I started getting tired all the time, I lost my appetite for all foods and the thought of going to yoga was comparable to someone sticking bamboo under my toenails. (sorry if I made you cringe, I needed to set the mood) I became withdrawn and I honestly hated this blog because it was sitting still, reminding me that I had already failed 2016. “I am useless!” I would constantly think to myself.

And then today, I realised that I had started this year all wrong. I had put so much pressure onto myself (typical Capricorn) that I forgot what mattered most… me! I am actually having a good giggle at myself for thinking that I would eat salad everyday, mainly because I get really cold when I eat lots of salad… not the best idea when in the middle of winter in Canada.

 

So what is the point of this post?

 

It’s ok to get things wrong, in fact, you should get it wrong all the time! Because if you didn’t, you  won’t be able to learn and better yourself!

And if I do have a massive f@#K up, here are a few steps that I use to pick myself back up again and dust myself off:

1. Laugh

I swore quite loudly in front of the president of the company that I work for today. He didn’t say anything to me but I am old enough to know that I shouldn’t be dropping f-bombs because the printer ran out of paper. All I could do was laugh with the other co-worker that heard me and take note, that I should probably curb my potty mouth a bit.

2. Take Note

As Einstein famously said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” It’s all well and good to make mistakes but the whole lesson is lost if you do not learn from them. When I screw up, I take a moment to reflect on what has happened and how I could have changed the situation. If I am at work, I will also add a note to the manual for my position, in hope that my predecessor doesn’t have to experience the same mistakes.

3. Ask Questions

I am so lucky to have plenty of people around me that I can ask for guidance. If I am really grappling with an issue, I can talk to them and they shine a new light on the situation. In fact, just talking about it and voicing my thoughts out loud sometimes gives me the greatest clarity.

4. Forgive Yourself

I am still working on this one. I am so prone to feeling guilty and wanting to take the full blame for anything that isn’t 100% perfect. But in five years from now, will any of it matter and the answer is always no. No, it won’t matter in five years! So I give myself a hug (with my mind) and get on with it because life is too short for feeling sad and guilty for something that won’t matter in the future.

 

I leave you with one of my newest recipes, which is the exact opposite of the clean eating that I had envisioned for myself this year. It is a creamy, cheesy chicken lasagna and it is so delicious that my mouth is watering at the thought of it….

 

Please let me know how you make mistakes and how you cope with them in the comments section below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Love Olivia xx 

P.s. The picture for this post is from 2014, when I still owned a camper van. I was merrily driving down the road and suddenly I was in a ditch! Luckily, a passerby with a massive truck pulled me out and I got a smaller car a couple of months later. And yes, I still miss the van that I affectionately named “Cookie.”

 

 

Don’t try and make green juice with your bodum!

Being out in nature

Wow! This year has been hectic! I wrote in my calendar at the beginning of November that I was going to write Christmas cards to my family…. well it’s January and it still isn’t done….. Meh! At least the thought is there.

If you haven’t gathered from the title, this post is about some of the valuable things that I have learnt in 2015. Like the letters to my family, I intended this post for New Years Day so that you could have a chuckle while laying hungover on the couch, but like all good intentions (and a lack of a computer), it came late.

So, here it goes… what did I learn in 2015?

1. Sometimes, when you try new things, it hurts!

This year was filled with new things, which I mainly discovered while on various camping trips this summer. I had a blast! I ended in some beautiful places, especially while trying to find other places and then getting lost….

I also went skiing for the first time with Alex and in an attempt to “keep up with the boys,” I fell pretty hard while attempting a jump and it hurt…ALOT! But I’m glad that I did it because now I can say that I tried it and it’s not for me.

And that goes for a lot of other things that I did this year, I moved to a new city, got a new job, had to make new friends and generally, had to leave my comfort zone a lot but I am glad that I have done all these things because I have a great job, I love Victoria (it’s so pretty!) and the friends that I have are second to none and I feel so blessed that they are in my life.

 

2. Always triple check your paperwork.

I could have gotten deported this year. Say what!?! Yep that’s right, we had a pretty big scare, thanks to the new laws for Australians in Canada.

Obviously it all worked out because I am still here but it wouldn’t have happened if Alex and I didn’t scan nearly ever page of the Canadian Immigration website and find that permanent residency was my only option to stay and work. I would have gone home if I couldn’t work because I couldn’t afford to stay otherwise.

It was a pretty scary time and there was a tonne of paperwork to do and I swear, I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t triple check every page of our application.

And my immigration application isn’t the only piece of paperwork that I need to triple check.. Emails, basic applications for memberships and credit cards ect. I am terrible at doing the final scan and it’s something that I really need to do! Maybe something to work on for 2016……

 

3. Always make time for friends.

I got a bit hermitty (It’s a word!) at the start of winter this year and didn’t want to see anyone. I also would turn down excuses to meet friends because I wanted to stay home and just chill because I was tired.

Admittedly, I was very tired but I have since learnt that having my friends around lifts me up and makes me feel good after a hard day or when I don’t feel like socializing. I will say it again, I am so lucky to have found the friends that I have and everytime we hang out, we always wonder why we haven’t done it sooner so it’s also my goal to have them in my life more for 2016!

 

4. Don’t try and make green juice with your bodum!

And finally, why did I even try to make green juice in a contraption that is intended for coffee? Because at the time, it seemed like a great idea and I was feeling quite proud of myself that I had even thought of such a “clever idea!”

 

Reality is …… it doesn’t work.

 

If you do want to make green juice  but don’t have a juicer, use your high speed blender!

Just strain the fibrous “smoothie” to remove the pulp with a cheese cloth or nut bag. They work great! And when you are straining the juice, do it in a large bowl that you can easily pour from. Reason being that it sucks to strain green juice into a jar or pour it from your bowl after painstakingly squeezing it from your cheesecloth to see it spill everywhere and part of your hard work is wasted!

Aren’t you glad that I do the stupid things so that you don’t have to?

 

So I hope that you enjoyed learning about the silly things that I have done this year and maybe, you can learn from them too. If you enjoyed this blog post, leave me a comment below and let me know the silly things that you did in 2015!

 

Have a great day, Olivia xx

 

P.s. I am working from my iPad at the moment and it is a bit painful so if there are spelling or grammatical errors, that is why!

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving the Holiday Season!

Christmas Tree

This post shall give you tips and tricks to surviving the holiday season!

 

To be completely honest, this is my first really big holiday season! In past years, I have either worked during Christmas or haven’t worked for companies that have Christmas parties so I could never understand why people had to “survive.” Now I work for a great company that receives a lot of gift baskets for the employees, we are getting a breakfast catered for us (super excited about that!) and then there are all the Christmas parties as well!

I have never seen so much food in my life!!!

 

And by food, I mean: chocolate (so much chocolate!), chips, cheese, antipasto platters….. the list just keeps going!

So how am I going to survive all this? I thought that I had some pretty good will power but in the first couple of days of the gift baskets, I knew that I was going to have to devise a pretty good game plan to avoid all the temptations that (literally) sit on my desk!

 

So what is my game plan you ask? Well it simple, but so far it has worked so I am going to share it with all you fine fellows:

 

Olivia’s Game Plan For The Holidays

 

1. Start your day with a good breakfast and a strong cup of coffee

If you come to work hungry then by 10am you are going to be grabbing for the first thing that you see and guaranteed, you are not going to feel too great if your first meal of the day is chocolate caramels. Having a good, solid breakfast is going to leave you satisfied and a good strong coffee…. well everyone needs one of them in the morning 🙂 But  if you are feeling alert, you are not going to be craving a sweet treat so soon.

 

2. Drink lots of water

When you are thirsty, your body sometimes tells you that you are hungry. If you work in a climate controlled office, this is especially true as the air is so much drier so you become dehydrated faster. Have a large water bottle next to your desk and sip from it regularly. It jazz it up, add some lemon or orange slices, and you will find it easier to pass on that giant cheese platter that is calling your name.

 

3. Have a “sweet” tea to curb those cravings

I love tea!! My favourite at the moment is Earl Grey with some milk in it. Whenever I am at a dinner party and desserts are coming out, I have a cup of tea first. The proteins and fat from the milk fill me up and the warmness of the tea is like a hug from the inside (I love hugs) so if I do have some dessert, I don’t feel like I need as much.

 

4. Treat dessert like you could have it at ANY time

Talking about dessert, you can have some, totally do! If you don’t then you will feel like you are missing out and maybe even eat more at the next party. The human psychology can be so twisted so times…..  Anyway, what I mean by this statement is remember that dessert is everywhere, it’s at work, it’s at this party, it is at home as well. If you wanted dessert, you could literally have it at anytime. So if you can have it whenever, you only want a small amount now. No big deal, if you want some more later, there is going to be plenty around. I find this one helps me a lot as I hate missing out.

 

5. Choose your treats wisely

In addition to statement 4, you also want to choose which treats you are going to have. Personally, I love pumpkin pie and ferrero rochers, so I am going to hold out for them. If I have another chocolate, it just doesn’t taste as good so why eat it when I can have the ultimate chocolate!!

 

6. Don’t starve yourself before a big meal

You know how it goes, don’t eat all day because you are going to eat so much tonight. No, no, no!! Don’t do it to yourself! Have a good breakfast and a light lunch and then treat that dinner like any other dinner that you would have. If you starve yourself all day, a few things are going to happen but it’s mainly going to be lots of bloating after your big meal and no one likes that feeling!

 

7. Walk it off

If you do overindulge, it is so easy to sit down and not move because you are so full. Especially if someone puts on a movie, then it’s impossible! Before you settle into your little food coma, challenge yourself to a little walk. Just 5 minutes to get some fresh air, that’s all you need. Getting outside is the hardest part, so once you have done a 5 minute walk, you can probably handle being out there for a little bit longer. Get some family members to join in and you will all feel a little bit better.

 

8. Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important point of all! You are a human and you are wonderful and if you eat an extra slice of pumpkin pie (I know I am going to!) then it’s OK. The world won’t end, your jeans are still going to fit and when you have a positive attitude towards your food, it is easier to go back to eating how you would normally. Christmas is a time of celebration so celebrate! and enjoy those foods that only come around for this time of the year.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and if you have some questions or suggestions of how you “survive” the holiday season then leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Have a great week, Olivia xx