Saturday, 14 January 2012

Watermelon is an African Berry!

WATERMELON, a Fascinating Berry.

You would have thought that since I grew up in South Africa that I would have known that watermelon is technically in the berry family. It is considered by botanists to be a berry with a hard, thick rind (exocarp). It originates in the south of Africa where it is found growing wild, but it's high on the glycemic index. A watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 92% water by weight. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin C. So it is not included in my list of foods this week.

The first two weeks of my nutritional program I was required to have 1 teaspoon of High Potency Omega 3 Fish oil every day (three times a day). Igor told me that the Fish oil contains fatty acids, called "EPA" and "DHA" (if you're curious, they stand for eicosapenatenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). Most people are deficient in these fatty acids. Your cells have receptors to which these fatty acids attach. So after the receptors are saturated, there's no need to take the same quantities of fish oil.

Although rice, wheat and oats are grains, they also contain gluten, and are high on the glycemic index, so they're out for a little while. I am so excited to have Quinoa for breakfast tomorrow. It only took me 3 weeks to clue in to the fact that Quinoa is a seed and that I am allowed to eat it!

I have been very creative with meals this week:
I have had some delicious and satisfying breakfasts. Boiled eggs and broccoli with goat's cheddar cheese is one of them.
Green tea is the standard morning drink and then I switch to Rooibos or any other herbal tea.

It is winter after all so some comfort foods are in order and so I made some curried black beans over steamed cauliflower. It hit the spot well on a chilly night. 
I also made a Steak and Oregano soup which the kids liked too. I added pasta to their soup.

For lunch: Steak Spinach salad with strawberries and nuts and it was scrumptious. (Photo below)

One thing to remember when following a nutritional program is to allow yourself something special without breaking the rules. Such as Perrier water with your dinner or a nutritious berry smoothie when you feel like a treat. Here's a tip, to make smoothies really satisfying , add pure pumpkin puree to it and the kids or your husband will not even be able to taste it. Pumpkin puree is naturally sweet, filling and contains beta carotene. Don't forget to add ice- cubes instead of the ice cream. I used a little stevia to sweeten the smoothie a little.

There is no reason to cheat on your plan if you plan your meals ahead and think creatively. Break out of your mentality that says you have to have bread or rice with your meals. Particularly if you are trying to keep your blood sugar consistent and eat low glycemic foods.

In The Gym
I have completed week 3 of my training with Igor Klibanov of Fitness Solutions Plus. This week we had to do 3 sets of all of the exercises and it was challenging, but very rewarding to see results. I am getting stronger, my endurance and stamina is improving and I am loving it. I am a big lump of jello when I am done, but I make sure I have proper recovery nutrition after my work out and make sure that I drink a sufficient amount of water.

Igor has informed me that next week we change the program altogether in terms of what exercises we do and at which tempo we do them at. I guess I will have to see how that goes. One thing I know is that I really am getting my mental training in for the trip and I am practising it in the gym. When I have 3 more reps to do and my arm is about to fall off for instance, I really use my mental focus to squeeze out the last 3 reps. Focus is a big part of achievement in anything you do in life and you have to believe you can do it. You really can you know, you are stronger than you think. Your body has been wonderfully made. As soon as you doubt that and say to yourself, "I can't do this," you are done and you can almost feel your strength ebbing away.

Finally this week we have got some cold weather and I am happy about that. You know, besides dressing for the cold, a lot of handling the cold is mental too. When I go out on a -17C day, I don't think of it as "sooooo cold."  I say to myself, "Hey, this is like spring in Siberia, so I'll enjoy it !" and suddenly it doesn't seem so cold.
Funny that?

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