Christmas Diet: The Results

I just want to get this post over with so I can move on. I mean what was I thinking declaring that I was going to lose weight over Christmas? Who does that? Although I guess it is timely to be discussing weight loss, given that it’s one of the top New Year’s resolutions. And I did promise I would share my results. Unfortunately I can’t actually say if I lost weight seeing as I don’t weigh myself, but I think I probably lost a very tiny amount which evidenced itself by my clothes feeling about half a centimetre more loose by the time I had to go back to work on January 6th. I don’t know if I can call that a victory, but I’m taking it!


Needless to say, I did not stick to the plan of having a “mouthful” of each treat. During the holiday season, my house was packed with mince pies, gateaux, chocolate log, three biscuit tins, Celebrations, Cadbury’s Heroes, icecream, crisps, fizzy drinks, and more besides (I have a large family, don’t judge me). By telling myself that I was only going to have a mouthful, it did help me to greatly moderate what I ate, and not over indulge in the way that I have done in years gone by.


Thankfully, I also didn’t stick to the plan not to exercise outdoors. I’ve been “enjoying” rigorous outdoor runs in my local park which has a handy flight of stairs ideal for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you live in the UK, you’ll know what horrendous weather we’ve had of late. Yet somehow, the howling wind and torrential rain did not stop me from the leaving the house, and I actually started to find it refreshing! I’m certain that I had I not stuck to the regular outdoor exercise, I would have piled on the pounds.



So lessons learned going forward? I’ve learned that my metabolism is slowing down as I age, that I can no longer eat so much cake, and that I must aim for at least one hour’s worth of exercise each week. Simple really! -_-


As I go forward, I also plan to keep adhering to a looser version of my anti-inflammatory diet which means that I cut down on, instead of completely cut out the refined foods. Therefore, I can still enjoy eating out, and writing reviews. (This is basically my disclaimer to explain why I’ll still be posting pictures of culinary delights throughout the year). Yay!

How I plan to LOSE weight this Christmas

It’s December! I can finally allow myself to feel all Christmassy! Usually at this time of year, I’m looking forward to feasting on festive food, but this year is different. I haven’t even touched a mince pie yet. That’s because I’m trying to continue my healthy(ish) eating right through the Christmas season.

First of all, let me update you on my almost-vegan-anti-inflammatory-diet (for my post on this topic, see here Well, I did well for two weeks straight, not eating white rice, white pasta, and any refined sugar. But then it got too hard, so I started to allow myself a little bit of this and that, which turned into a lot of this and that. Now, I’m just trying to eat everything in moderation, with my intake of cow’s milk to a minimum, and a careful record being kept of how much desert and sweet treats I’m ingesting each week. I hope that I will gradually get back into even better habits, such as sticking to brown rice or quinoa, and keeping refined sugar to an absolute minimal.

After a while, sweet potato and raw carrot became...tedious

After a while, sweet potato and raw carrot became…tedious

The big test will be whether I keep this up over the next month. I have tried to eat moderately over the holiday period before, and not done so well. It doesn’t help that at this time of year, it gets dark at 4pm, which makes me want to do nothing but sleep, and the cold outside puts me off going running. It’s also not great that my local gym is closed for refurbishment until the New Year. Whilst this all sounds like a recipe for disaster, I’m determined to not give in to gluttony this time around.

Here is my 5 point plan of action:

  1. Work out indoors. Seeing as my gym is closed, and it’s freezing outside, it’s time for me to make use of fitness DVDs. Even Youtube has a vast range of exercise videos for free! The Fitness Blender channel has some great routines, and I really like that there’s no distracting silly pop music playing in the background.
  2. Eat homemade soups. Winter vegetables are great for turning into soup. I need to make soup in bulk (simply because I have either the time or energy to make fresh soup everyday) and store in the freezer. This can be heated and put in a flask and taken to work, or I can heat some up in the evening for a healthy and light dinner. I love my butternut squash soup with fresh chilly (let me know if you want some recipes!). But this soup will have to be eaten on its own because I need to…
  3. Avoid bread. Bread is my absolute weakness. I could go without eating MEAT before I could completely give up bread. But it’s possible to cut down. I’ll be eating soup without bread, and choosing salads instead of sandwiches when I’m buying lunch.
  4. Drink more herbal tea. When it’s cold outside, I tend to visit the coffee shop more often and allow myself to be soothed by sipping a nice hot cup of gingerbread soya latte, or soya hot chocolate. But these drinks at the very least contain over 100 calories, and at worst up to 900 calories. Herbal tea is a better option because it’s still warming, but there are hardly any calories involved.
  5. Exercise self-control. This is the most important point, and will be needed most on Christmas day itself. Given what is usually on offer, my plan is to allow myself one mouthful of each desert, if it really looks tasty, and to just stop eating once I’m full. When it comes to mince pies, I have to be realistic. I’m not going to be able to have none, but I will limit myself to a total of 4 over the entire festive season. I know I’ve probably just exposed how greedy I am, by making it sound like 4 is very small number, but for me, it will be a challenge!

I really hope I stick to the plan, and if I do, I’ll let you know the results!


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My Top and Flop Pick of Places to Eat

Back to one of my favourite topics: Food!


One thing I really wanted to do with this blog is review places to eat around London. I will try to every month or so choose a restaurant that I’ve been quite impressed with, and also pick one, that you may wish to avoid! This of course will depend on how often I go out to eat, and as winter approaches, I may just find myself hibernating at home, with the number of a decent Indian takeaway saved in my Favourites list on my i phone.


I have tried a few places for the first time in recent weeks, and feel a couple of them are worthy of a mention. My “Top” pick is Wahaca, located on Waterloo Road. It’s a fresh and vibrant bar and restaurant specialising in Mexican street food. The first time I went in I was early in meeting with a friend. Before you head down a flight of stairs to the main restaurant, there is a cute reception area with an unusual basin where you can rid your hands of bacteria. This was a good sign because it implied that diners had permission to get messy and eat with their hands. (I still chuckle remembering my “Miranda” moment, when led by my curiosity I almost fell into the basin when trying to wash my hands).


wahaca stairs

Moving downstairs, the atmosphere has a cool trendy type of vibe to it. The waiters, who are nice and friendly, tell you their names and encourage you to yell at them when you want service. The menu is so vast, that it makes it almost impossible to choose just one thing (that was my excuse anyway). It also meant that I was already planning my next visit in anticipation of getting to try out some of the other beautiful sounding delights, such as some of the Tostadas and Quesadillas.


I ended up going for a grilled chicken main with black beans and rice. It fulfilled the criteria I always look out for – was it full of flavour? Did it leave me feeling like I’d just eaten a main course and not a starter? Was it like something I’d never had before anywhere else? I also had side of plantain and sweet potato fries, which were shared between my friend and I (I feel I must stress). The plantain came wrapped in a tortilla with salsa and guacamole dressing. It was an interesting way to serve plantain, although when it comes to plantain, my only requirement is that it is fried. That being said, it’s the interesting twist on Mexican food that makes this place special, and with all the style, there is no compromise with substance.


My “Flop” pick has to be Byron. I had heard such positive things about the place that when my partner and I were trying to decide which one of the Greenwich pier restaurants to stop off at, I convinced him to give it a try, which wasn’t easy as he was put off by the poster outside boasting of “Proper Burgers!”.


Why would anybody do this?

Why would anybody do this?


There are picturesque views of the river and skyline on the left hand side of the restaurant. And that I’m afraid is as far as my positive comments can go about this restaurant. There wasn’t much to choose from on the menu, which seemed to comprise of burger, cheeseburger, or burger with cheese and bacon. I went for the burger. For something as simple as a burger, it would be hard to go wrong. But they did. The gherkin was strangely on the side of the plate, laid delicately as though it were some kind of dressing. Why would I want my gherkin on the side? Another grievance was caused by waitress recommending courgette fries. “That’s what everyone comes here for” she said. We ended up trying them, (though regular fries as too, as I wasn’t convinced) and unsurprisingly, I preferred the regular fries. Some things were just not meant to be, and sliced courgettes disguised as fries, are one such thing. When it comes to food, I’ll try anything once. But I’ll be saying bye bye to Byron, for good, as I don’t plan on going back.

Nice Views. Shame about the food.

Nice Views. Shame about the food.

  • Wahaca (

Why I’m One Step Away From Becoming a Vegan

It’s day 3, and I am starving. I eat, but it’s as though the food enters my mouth, goes down my throat, then evaporates. My body has become so accustomed to the sludgy, stodgy, starchy foods that I recently decided to eliminate from my diet, that it seems that my body and brain cannot even function properly without them. I am wondering how long it will take for my body to adjust, because if I had a regular job, where I went to work every day from 9-5, instead of my flexible job that allows me to work from home some days, there’s a strong possibility that I would have been fired by now.

So why am I doing this to myself? Why have I decided to stop eating dairy, (no more milk, chocolate, cheese, cream, butter, buttercream… do all things good come from a cow?) and other “inflammatory” foods (refined sugar, white rice, white pasta, deep fried food)? The anticipated answer is that I must be trying to lose weight, and yes, whilst that is true, that is not my main objective.

English: A small dairy farm in western Maryland

English: A small dairy farm in western Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Endometriosis affects around 2 million women in the UK, and last year I discovered that I was amongst that happy number. It’s a condition that causes the small pieces of lining of the womb to to be found in outside the womb and often causing scar tissue. Following a laparoscopy, a common procedure to remove scar tissue, I researched diet and endometriosis online and found information about how avoiding, refined sugar, red meat, refined carbs, and dairy could help improve symptoms. I told myself I’d avoid such foods, but it was hard. It wasn’t long before I was back to bingeing on the cake, burgers, and cream cheese frosting.

I’d been feeling ok, albeit heavier, but almost a year after my procedure I’d forgotten all about trying to avoid certain foods. Then the “uh oh” moment came sometime last week when the familiar pains started to resurface. There was no way I was going to put myself through another medical procedure as a result of my gluttony. That’s when the anti-endometriosis diet came to mind again. With Google as my guide I navigated my way through various pages that provided similar information to that which I had obtained before, but this time two key themes stood out:

  1. Anybody suffering from any type of long term condition should avoid foods that are considered inflammatory, in that they tend to inflame the condition.
  1. Of all the inflammatory food groups, dairy was the most despicable

What moved me in particular, was a woman’s story of how when she gave up eating dairy, (making her a vegan as she was already vegetarian), she finally conceived aged 35, after believing that she was infertile due to years of severe endometriosis.

To anybody out there who is thinking about taking up what I will call the anti-inflammatory diet, I will share some of my recipe ideas in following posts. It’s only been 3 days so I am still trying to come up with meal ideas that do not contain refined carbs, or dairy. Quinoa has become my friend (my foreign friend whose name I am not sure I am pronouncing correctly). I’ve discovered that “the unbearable lightness of being” is more fitting as a way describing my hunger pangs, than the title of a book. But at least I can eat chicken and fish, which keep me going, and are by the way,  the final  “step” that separates me from being a vegan (in other words, it’s never going to happen).

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been eaten for 6000 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For more information about endometrisios click here:

Have you or somebody you know been diagnosed with endometriosis? Share your experiences in the comments