Tag Archives: health

Organic, Locally Grown Veg

Organic, Locally Grown Veg

Burnley Crop Share

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This is connected with my blog post called ‘Hot Dogs and Horse Lasagne’ and my attempts to ensure my family eat in a healthier and more responsible way. This is my very first step!

I’ve registered with a local veg box scheme called Cropshare which is run by Burnley Food Links.  The aim is to buy less produce from supermarkets, invest more in the community rather than in huge corporations and to eat more healthily of course.  Here’s my experience so far.  This is not a sponsored post and I’ve forked out for this myself, they don’t know I’m running this review.  I think sometimes you get a fairer view of things if you experience a service as any other customer would.

veg pic

This is the picture from their website, I wondered if the veg would look like this once it was delivered….

Yesterday I went to their pick up point at my local town to pick up a standard size veg bag.  They don’t deliver to your door which I actually think is a great idea, it saves on their petrol costs and you can simply go into your pick up point (all very accessible) while you’re out shopping and get your supplies.  This means you get to choose when it’s most convenient to go and get it, you don’t have to wait in for a delivery which is a bonus.

The veg was all neatly packed up in brown paper bags in this tough, easy to carry recycleable bag - no plastic bags here!

The veg was all neatly packed up in brown paper bags in this tough, easy to carry reusable bag – no plastic bags or boxes here!

Every time I ask Tesco to supply my online order without plastic bags, I get a minimum of four of the things regardless of my request, if not more than that.  I got a bottle of wine in a plastic bag in my last order, this annoys the hell out of me.  Here everything is recycleable and reusable.  Even the tag on the side of this bag that had my name on it had a child’s wordsearch on the reverse of it, they’d recycled the paper.  I’m impressed at the attention to detail.   After you’ve picked up your order you simply return your bag to the pick up point so it can be re-used for your order the following week.

Here is the veg for this week, every veg bag contains basics such as potatoes, carrots and onions for example along with seasonal treats such as asparagus for example.

Here is the veg for this week, every veg bag contains basics such as potatoes, onions and carrots for example, along with seasonal treats such as asparagus.  This is a standard weekly bag, you can arrange for a smaller bag if you wish.

All of the veg was in good condition and I didn’t have to fish any manky mushrooms out or throw any bendy carrots in the bin.  There was a little bit of soil still on the produce, but it wasn’t excessive and from what I gather this helps to give your veg a longer shelf life.  I didn’t mind at all.  A quick rinse before food preparation and it’s all fine.

As I was a new customer this recipe book was included.  It contained practical soup recipes and other ways to use veg.  Each section featured a different month and recipes related to seasonal veg available at that time.

As I was a new customer this recipe book was included. It contained practical soup recipes and other ways to use veg. Each section featured a different month and recipes related to seasonal veg available at that time.

This recipe will be lovely for cold spring days when the wind chills our noses and toeses.

This recipe will be lovely for cold spring days when the wind chills our noses and toeses.

The veg is locally grown in allotments and schemes in this area and any profits made are reinvested, so I’m helping my local community by buying from Cropshare   I love that this is a not-for-profit organisation so I know I’m not lining the pockets of some rich bloke in america.  They say on their website that they have strong links with all of their growers and pay a fair price.

This scheme helps to provide resources, education and jobs for local people.

Cropshare keeps profits local and has a community base.

A standard bag containing 8-9 types of veg is £10 a week (paid monthly) and a small bag has 6-7 types of veg and is £6 a week.  All the food in the bags ‘is either certified organic or accredited by the Climate Friendly Food scheme’ too.  Can’t be bad!  They accept Healthy Start vouchers too which is a bonus.

My one main concern is been that I’m not a great cook and I’m not known for being inventive (in a good way at least) – so will I end up with a ton of veg rotting in the cupboard unused?  I hope not.  They do supply a sheet of paper with a recipe on it with each order which will help to inspire me, but I’m going to have to work a lot harder in the kitchen to come up with ways to use all of this.  I am a little disappointed that the newsletter appeared to be a list of where the food came from, what it is (for example a Tundra Cabbage), and just a recipe.  I’d love to have heard more about the different schemes that work with Burnley Cropshare and updates on progress within the organisation or maybe general food news, but I guess that would be an added expense for the organisation if they had to produce that every week.  Still, it would have been nice!  Maybe something done on a monthly basis would be an idea?  I hope they don’t mind me suggesting that.  Then again, there’s a lot of information online about their work already.

A few more recipes on the newsletter or a bit more information about food issues would be interesting, but an added cost I suppose.

A few more recipes on the newsletter or a bit more information about food issues would be interesting, but an added cost I suppose.

So does the food taste better?  Is it worth it?  I’ve noticed that the veg does seem crunchier so far, no mouldy produce and I’m pleased with the quality.  As for if it’s worth it, I’ve yet to find that out.  It depends if I can use it all, maybe I’ll get a smaller bag in future if there’s a lot left over or if it goes ‘funny’ before I’ve managed to cook it. I’m planning to use more of this delivery for our food for the week and am going to try and buy less meat and other odds and ends.  That should save me a little at least.  I would prefer to eat less meat anyway so this isn’t going to be too bad for me at least, although my family might feel differently.  All I can say is, if they don’t like it, they can either lump it or make their own meals.  Selfish eh!  Maybe.

If you’d like to read more about Burnley Food Links please click HERE. 

Today on the school run a wagon carrying a load of live pigs or maybe cows drove past us, destined for the abbatoir further down the road.  It stank to high heaven and the stench lingered long after it had passed.  All three of us held our noses and went ‘Poooh!’  It was horrible.  Who knows how long they’ve been in transit and what the conditions were like on the inside of that wagon?  I shudder to think.  It’s easier not to think about it, but probably not a very responsible thing to do.  My next plan is to buy from our local butchers, eat less meat in general and try to avoid the supermarket pre-packaged stuff when possible.

This is my plan.  I will fail sometimes I’m sure, but if I keep trying I can relieve my conscience a little and perhaps improve our diet and our health as a result.  Baby steps.

Has the horsemeat scandal changed your eating habits?  Would you consider buying from a community venture such as this?  Do you have anything like this scheme in your area?  What do you do to ensure your family eats healthily?  Suggestions and comments are always very welcome and I love to read them. :O)

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How it is.

How it is.

This week is Crohns and Colitis Awareness week, I wrote this as part of my contribution.

I read a post recently about how if you want to write passionately then write about things that mean something to you, about things that challenge you, about things you wouldn’t normally write about because they’re too close to you.  I suppose it basically means write with your heart on your sleeve.  Unfortunately, for me that means writing with my arse on my sleeve.  I’ve not posted much recently because my whole mindset and everything has been taken up with feeling  either in pain, worried sick or sleeping too much because I don’t want to be awake. Ulcerative Colitis is nasty and has kicked me quite hard recently.  Anyway. I will do toy posts and happy posts and pictures of craft things and wierd recipes again soon, I just need to make sure my head is in the right place.

The kids are fine, Darlek performed carols with the choir today at a local church along with kids from a load of other schools.  She smiled all the way through, knew all the words and looked so grown up amongst all the other children.  Sausage sat next to me smelling like a sewer (he had an accident just before we got there) and tried to cover my mouth with his hands because he didn’t want me to sing. I know I don’t have a great singing voice, but I was a teeny bit put out.   It was also a bit distracting when he mimed pulling my ears off mid ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful.’  That’s the nice bit.

This is the bit that makes me feel a bit wobbly.  Stop here if you don’t want to hear about how I’m coping with things below the surface.

Do you ever feel like it’s all just a bit much? Today for example, my ulcerative colitis is acting up, as it has done for months now.  Sat on the loo, blood drip, drip dripping like a tap just before it starts flowing properly. Sharp stabbing pain where the sun don’t shine. Nuzzling a nearby jumper because it eases the pain somehow. Spend ages waiting for the blood drips to slow down so I can run off and find a camera so I have actual proof of how bad this is so I can show it to my consultant. Bleed all down my legs, find a blood clot on the wall somehow which needs wiping off. Take a photo of a loo that looks like red paint has been poured down it. Listen to the kids downstairs and wonder how much blood you can lose before you become queasy or faint and hope that my 7 year old daughter knows how to dial 999 or what my parent’s phone number is at least. Flush the loo, and then flush it again because it’s still a nice shade of sunset and the kid’s will wonder why the loo is a funny colour. Stand up, make myself look presentable, wipe the blood off the loo seat. Go downstairs. Carry on as normal. Thank god this is only once a day.

Arse!

Arse!

I’m still here hanging around like a bad smell! For those of you who are Twitter addicts you might have noticed I’ve been a little absent recently, only a couple of days I know, but considering how much time I usually spend online it’s a noticeable change of behaviour for me.  Listening to someone winge is never fun and if I can’t say anything positive then it’s best I say nothing at all.  So I’ve saved it for here instead. This is my personal diary as well as my official ‘blog’ and I suppose if I record this now, I’m hoping I’ll look back on it later and think ‘there, I got over that and everything’s better now.’  I hope.

I don’t owe anyone an explanation, and I suppose most people won’t be interested really, but I’ve always felt blogging is therapy as well as fun, so I’m venting just a little today.  Feel free to skip to a more positive post I’ll no doubt post later in the week.

Had a lovely walk in the sunshine today, along the canal bank with the kids running around whacking each other with massive fronds of Rosebay Willowherb.  Sis and her two kids were fabulous company and we chatted about everything and anything and put the world to rights a little.

It was a reasonable sized walk and by the half way point one of my hips was hurting a little which made me limp slightly.  My Ulcerative Colitis means I get arthritis pains as well as tummy pains unfortunately you see. By the time we were within half an hour of getting back to the car both my hips were killing me and when Sausage started badgering me to run around I realised I didn’t want to chase him because it hurt too much.

I love walking and I love the outdoors, fresh air is something I crave and open skies are my solace when all else fails.  I can’t believe this stupid condition is even affecting my ability to walk.  I had a flare up like this before I was diagnosed and I can remember my doctor basically implying that it was all in my head, when I insisted it was all in my hips and my joints.  Idiot.  At least now I know what’s causing this, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.  I don’t drive, I walk everywhere, I have two active children, I just don’t want to have to deal with this.

I’m on a fairly high dose of steroids at the moment and have been on them for approximately half of this last year.  Every time I stop taking them I start bleeding horribly.  Recently I reduced my dose and started with the awful bleeding etc so couldn’t get off the steroids at all and had to go back to a high dose.  So I suppose I’m officially steroid dependent.   I’m also taking an immuno-suppressant drug which doesn’t seem to be working (despite the dose being upped already) so I need another colonsocopy and then most likely they’ll up the dose yet again.   So I have the double whammy of another tube up my arse episode to look forward to, even more meds and if I can’t get off these steroids my weight gain will continue (half a stone in the last two months) and I can look forward to a lovely MoonFace.  Pretty, on a moon – not on me.

I’ve even looked into surgery recently.  I’m on 140 tablets a week ranging from anti-inflammatories, enemas, immuno-suppressants, anti-depressants, calcium supplements, iron supplements (I’m anaemic due to blood loss and not being able to digest my food properly), steroids and I’m sick of living like this.  I feel constantly tired and my joints ache when I’m flaring.  I’m also scared shitless of what’s ahead.  I have the option of a higher dose of immuno- suppressants, and then a couple of other drugs to try – if the local NHS or whatever will fund the last one which is debatable.  I can’t stay on steroids and I can’t continue bleeding like I have been.  I feel very much like if having my colon out is at the end of the road, then I’d rather face it sooner than later, because the thought of all that hell in the meantime is quietly terrifying.

Call me a wimp and a pessimist, but I just feel like the next few years are going to be a constant round of visits to GP’s, consultants, the hospital, the loo and I don’t want this.  This is why I’ve been looking into surgery which basically means the old ‘crapping-in-a-bag’ scenario, putting it very bluntly. But if that meant I’d be well again, then why the hell not. The thing is, from what I’ve read, it’s major surgery and all hell can break loose with that too – so I guess I’ll just have to continue coping with my shitty colon.  So that makes me sad.  I’m not naturally an aggressive person, but it makes me want to punch pillows and smash plates – neither of which I will do because it’s all rather pointless (and expensive, I love my Denby plates).  There is no cowards way out of this.  Bugger.

Tons of people deal with terrible things on a day to day basis and I’m under no illusion as to how minor this is compared to some.  But it still drives me mad, especially when I literally can’t run after my 4 year old on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and play jumping on shadows because my fekking legs hurt due to some stupid misbehaving inflamed tummy.  Please note, if either of my kids or nephews had fallen in the canal, I’d happily (well, not that happily maybe)  have run and jumped in after them, hurty hips or no hurty hips. I’m not incapable, just uncomfortable.

So that’s why I’m rather quiet.  I’m taking stock of where I’m up to and evaluating what’s important at the moment.  I’ll be fine in a week I reckon, by that time I’ll have gathered together a bit more ‘oomph!’ and will be back on form. Promise.

Apart from anything else I’m just writing about this as part of my telling people about Ulcerative Colitis mission – not that anyone will have read past the first paragraph after my introduction, lol!    If you met me on the street you would never know anything was the matter with me you know, it’s a completely invisible disease.  And it’s not Irritable Bowel Syndrome and just a case of watching what I eat and farting too much, which is what so many people seem to think this disease is.  Irritable Bowel Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, is your own immune system attacking itself so badly that it causes ulcers and wounds on your insides that often refuse to heal causing cramps that can rival labour pains, terrible blood loss , loss of bowel control in some cases and countless trips to the loo (when I was admitted to hospital last time I was literally crapping mostly pure blood ten times a day) and had to have intravenous steroids to stop my bowel bursting in a worse case scenario.  It also causes inflammation in your joints such as arthritis.

I can’t just stop eating spicy food or fibre and everything will be fine because food isn’t the cause of this, although it can aggravate it – unfortunately I have no idea if anything I eat causes a flare because I’ve not spotted a pattern as yet. Stress can aggravate it too, although with a busy family life and a chaotic lifestyle there’s not much I can do to control that.  In many ways it’s just a case of my immune system just going bonkers, it’s not something I’m doing that is causing this, it’s in my genetics or something.  It’s a complete pain in the arse, but its my arse and my arse alone – so no-one else can deal with this apart from me, much as I wish I could run away from my own arse and leave someone else to cope with it. Not gonna happen.

‘An Arse! An Arse!  My kingdom for a New Arse!’  (made up Shakespeare quote, Richard III)  

Our Very First Harvest!

Our Very First Harvest!

We have owned the garden across the road for about a year now and I am proud to say, so far we have lopped a load of massively overgrown Christmas trees down and destroyed masses of bushes of unknown origin.  We are rocking the ‘Garden Thing!’ whatever that is.

As you can see our garden is beautifully manicured, well maintained and not at all rainforest like.

In addition to this, last year I had a load of peppers, cucumbers and other veggies in the polytunnel which Sweara (MIL) gave me.   I would love to say that they grew really well and we had a fantastic harvest and I spent many hours slaving over a hot stove making home made veggie curries etc ….but I can’t, because I didn’t, I murdered the plants instead.  In cold blood I’m afraid. I deprived them of human comfort and denied them water. I’m a plant killer.  Bad me.  Very bad me really.  My initial burst of enthusiasm was dampened by drizzle and laziness.  There I’ve admitted it.   I promise to try harder.

At least this year we’ve managed our first proper harvest!  It’s erm…potatoes.  Yes, I know!  Potatoes grow themselves really, and it’s not hard and it’s nothing to be really proud of, but goddamit I am proud anyway!  We grew something and now we get to eat it!  In yer face ASDA!

Sausage shouted ‘Potatoes-tatoes-tatoooes!’ hysterically quite a bit. He was very excited and sulked if no-one passed him any to put in the spud box.

I know a bag of spuds cost barely anything and the effort that goes into growing your own is hardly worth it really, but we get completely organic, home grown potatoes on our plates within hours of them coming out of the ground this way.  How cool is that!

Darlek shows off our very first harvest! Spuds, glorious spuds! *bursts into song*

I’ll admit finding finding potatoes with suspicious holes in and finding weird wiggly things in the spud box is a bit of a downer, but I’m willing to persevere with this regardless.  There’s something so rewarding about digging them out of the soil, I think it’s the remainder of the hunter / gatherer instinct.  I get the same satisfaction from picking berries and collecting eggs.

My parents used to keep hens until a fox massacred the lot of them one gory night.  I do like foxes, but I don’t like it when they mix with livestock very much.  I’ve toyed with the idea of chickens a lot recently, but I’m not sure if I could cope with Reservoir Foxes in my back yard if one of the blighters gets into the garden and has a feeding frenzy.  Maybe we will have feathered friends, maybe we won’t.

Apples of the earth! We have more Pomme de Terres than we know what to do with!

So what’s for tea then? Mashed spuds with a side order of chips? Or maybe wedges with boiled potatoes for pudding?

I do love that the kids got so excited about our very first harvest.  Sausage and Darlek both know exactly where potatoes come from, they’ve planted them, watered them and dug them up too. From what I can gather they really enjoyed the experience and I do hope that they continue to be enthusiastic about where their food comes from and pay attention to how it’s grown a little from now on.  If nothing else I’ll be happy if Sausage now knows potatoes don’t grow on trees and Darlek remembers that a single potato has the potential to grow and multiply itself many, many times.  It really is quite amazing that one single lonesome spud has the potential to reproduce itself so many times.  Nature is amazing, it’s easy to forget that sometimes I think.

Treasure! We found the spout of a tea-pot which I thought looked very much like a tiny brown leg. So it’s not a mahoosive slug, or a poo before you say as much.

After a lot of digging and muttering about mucky fingernails, we took a bag of them indoors and I washed them in the sink.  The colour of the water was disgusting, Sausage refused to put his hands in there although he did like plopping them in the water in the first place.  I decided to make boiled new potatoes to go with our erm…..supermarket bought pizza and beans out of a tin.  Classy meal eh!  Well, maybe not completely ‘In yer face ASDA!’, maybe just a quick ‘Ner-ner-ne-neer-ner!’ instead.

Tiny spuds! Some were the size of marbles and were actually cute. I’ve never seen ‘cute’ potatoes before.

Here’s the end result!  I know the meal itself wasn’t exactly nutritious and that Annabel Karmel would probably tut at it, but at least it included home grown, organic, freshly dug, cute potatoes!

I think the potatoes cancelled out the trashiness of the rest of the meal, or at least that’s what I told myself anyway.

So there you have it, our very first harvest.  From garden to plate!  I noticed the peas have grown too today, so we will be sitting in front of the TV snacking on crunchy pea-pods instead of popcorn very soon too.  I’m sure the kids will be overjoyed.  Maybe, maybe not.  Most likely I’ll resort to bartering, ‘If you eat three of those pea-pods, you can have some Coca-Cola.’  Well it’s a start isn’t it!

Organix

The Organix website shouts ‘Start a lifetime adventure with food!’ which I think makes a great opening line for this review.   We’re all good eaters at this house so we were all very pleased to be asked to try out some of their yummy grub.   My kids are definitely beyond weaning, which is really the target audience for Organix meals, but they’re not beyond appreciating decent food.   So we revved up our tastebuds and had a munch on some of these.  Here’s what we thought!

Nice packaging, convenient to store (doesn’t need refridgerating), looks wholesome. All good so far!

I think Organix meals are a great idea for parents who have limited time, but still want to make sure their kids are getting  ‘proper’ food.  When my two were younger I experimented with making my own baby food and toddler food, and although it is definitely a fun thing to try, if you’re surviving off a minimum of sleep due to teething and tantrums, it’s not always easy to get on with.  These meals, in my eyes anyway, are a guilt free short cut.  Check out the ingredients on the back, no strange sounding additives you can’t pronounce – all familiar sounding food stuffs which is reassuring.

If you made this meal yourself, I should imagine the ingredients would be almost identical.

Creamy chicken pasta! You can see all the meat and veg, no grey ‘mush’ here – nicely textured for a toddler to get their teeth into.

This looks like grown up food, but it’s just soft enough for kids to easily manage with their new grown teeth. It’s not cooked into soggy oblivion which helps get them used to eating ‘real’ food.

The above meals are for 1 – 3 year old children, they tasted nice, although a little bland for my two.  I suspect that’s a wise move though, my kids are older and have slightly more sophisticated tastes these days – younger kids need a while to adapt to strongly flavoured foods (I think so, but that’s just my opinion, if your child was raised on chicken curry, I take it all back!)

My question is, are these meals for chunky toddlers, or is it chunky food for toddlers? I think I’ve said ‘chunky’ too much. It’s one of those words that sounds daft after you’ve said it more than three times. Chunky-chunky-chunky!

Another question, were these crackers made from very small ‘mini’ cheeses, or is it because they’re mini and fit easily into a toddler’s hands?  Answers on a postcard please.

These were in the above packet, they reminded me of a well known brand of baked cheese mini biscuit things, but with far less salt and less strong cheese flavouring. They were very popular with the kids who ate a packet each in about 2 minutes.

Veg & Oat Bars, namely tomato and carrot. I’m so sorry, we all tried very hard to like these, they sounded so nutritious and looked moist and nommy. Unfortunately all the family found them a bit odd. It’s all a matter of taste though! Sorry Organix!

I don’t know why kids love this kind of bottle so much! Perhaps they remind them of baby bottles? My two merrily drank this stuff and said it was really nice. The ingredients again are nice and homely. No aspartame in evidence unlike other drinks I could mention.

These are very easy to eat, nice and crunchy, contain carrots of all things, and are very moreish. Ideal for packed lunches and devoured in seconds.  I can’t show you a picture of the snacks, because I got distracted for a minute and when I came back they’d all gone!

I saved the best for last. Personally I could live off this stuff, never mind the kids! It’s slightly gooey puree, that tastes of real fresh fruit. It’s naturally sweet without added sugar, and is a clever / sneaky way to get children to down one more of their portions of 5 fruit and veg a day. We all really, really loved this, brilliant squeezy packaging too which you can reseal if they don’t finish the lot in one go.

Organix have a ‘No Junk!’ policy, and I honestly did have a good look at everything we were sent, it seems they are doing a great job at keeping that promise.  (unless I’ve missed something, which I don’t think I have?).   I’ll admit not everything on here was to my taste or to my kids’ taste, but that’s just normal isn’t it.  I’ve slaved over a hot stove many an evening, only to have them turn their noses up at what I’d consider fantabulous food. Can’t win ’em all! At least you can be reassured that Organix consider and take your child’s nutrition seriously.

If you’d like to have a look around the Organix website, please click HERE.  Great for packed lunches, snacks, meals and weaning!

Organix sent me a selection of their products to review, no other financial reward was given.  I highly recommend the puree, we could have easily have got through bucketfulls of the stuff!

The Jenny Craig Diet – End of Week 2

The Jenny Craig Diet –

End of Week 2

I’ve just started week 3 of the Jenny Craig diet, and the above is my half way video blog.  I have lost half a stone!!!  Not bad eh?

It has not been easy though and I have missed my bars of chocolate and my stodgy puddings and cake and sweets …….*Kay drifts off into a food reverie*

Anyway, if you’re reading this I suppose you might be a little curious as to how this all works.  It’s basically a fairly strict calorie controlled diet.  Your Jenny Craig consultant calculates how many calories you need to function in your daily life, and you stick to that as far as you can – without the added extras which led to your weight gain in the first place.  This is how I understand it to be anyway!

This looks a lot until you think it has to last for 2 weeks...

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks are all sent in one big cardboard box every fortnight and you are also supplied with a meal plan and literature that helps you learn about portion control, how to understand your eating habits, how to monitor your own weight loss programme through graphs and goals.  It’s almost as simple as that.  In addition to this they recommend supplementary food you can buy yourself to complement the diet so you get your fresh foods too.  They do not supply will power in packets though, which is a great shame.

The enclosed Jenny Craig folder has a load of useful, supportive information about your diet and your food habits.

I'm definitely an 'emotional eater'. Cake is my solace when all else fails!

So, you may be wondering if the stuff tastes ok or not.  Is it all rice cakes and gloop?  Here’s a few pictures of the diet food delivered that Jenny Craig provides. None of the packaging is recyclable which is disappointing.  Sort it out Jenny!

Snacks for weak moments, and there have been many!

Soup with noodles, mashed potato with veg - you simply add boiling water to these. Posh Pot Noodles?

A selection of the meals. All of these simply need reheating. Very quick, but very processed food. 95% of the meals I've had have been really nice. It all comes down to your personal taste preferences really.

There is a vegetarian menu which I tried for the first two weeks, and a menu for people who eat meat too – so far I’ve enjoyed both menu choices.  The only thing I’m not keen on is that many of these include rice or pasta, which is  pre-cooked so just needs heating – this means it tends to lack texture sometimes.  It’s a shame these side elements to a meal don’t come separately.  I’d happily reheat a bag of rice alongside a main dish, it’s more of a hassle and probably more expensive, but I think it would taste a little nicer.  The meals are incredibly easy to prepare though, you just can’t get more convenient than one squeezy packet!

You are encouraged to add your own cooked vegetables or salad to their meals so that does counteract the processed food feel, so that helps at least.

I’ve found the consultations really helpful too.  As I’ve said in the video, a lady called Claire rings me every week and we discuss how the diet is working for me.  Honestly she’s an absolute sweetie!  I know it’s her job to be nice, but she does seem genuinely keen to help me, and others of course, to lose weight.  It must get tedious talking to people about calories and diets all day every day, but you’d never know it from speaking to her.  Claire’s positive attitude to weight loss, her helpful tips, her efficient but friendly manner is exemplary.  If they train all their staff like they seem to have trained Claire (although I’m sure it must come naturally to a great extent) then you are very likely to be chatting with your consultant like a friend before you know it.  I look forward to speaking to her, because it’s so nice to hear someone praising me for all my efforts.  It’s almost a shared victory.  A couple of pounds less, someone to share the success!  I think the consultations are a very important part of the healthy eating process.

Here’s a photo of the Jenny Craig Chicken Curry with vegetables I cooked and added myself.  It was a lovely meal and I didn’t feel cheated, even though the rest of my family were on ‘Bangers, Mash & Beans’, a meal I love.  That’s the hardest bit, cooking food for the family, but eating something different yourself.

Mmmmm.....

I’ll blog a few more of the dishes with my final post, so you can see what you’d be eating. Speaking of which, I’m hoping to lose another half stone by the end of my ‘Adventures in Dieting’, so I’ll be back down to 10 stone.  I’m even considering trying to work my way back to 9 1/2 stone which was my pre-pregnancy weight once I’ve finished my month trial and have learnt some healthy eating strategies.

On the other hand I might just sit and eat a whole chocolate cake to myself and pile it all back on.   Hmmm…. decisions, decisions!

If you are considering this diet Jenny Craig have just announced an exciting offer for new clients – a 50% discount on a two week programme, which works out at just £38.50 a week/£5.50 a day for all your food AND consultations.

Anyone who’s interested should just call 0800 088 2048.

Right, I’ve finished this blog, I’m off to drink a low calorie hot chocolate, and stare longingly at the Hotel Chocolat brochure that dropped through my letterbox this morning.  *sighs*

Tinned Asparagus with Fiery Mustard is Not Nice

Tinned Asparagus with Fiery Mustard is Not Nice.

Yep, I know I’ve gone on about this Jenny Craig diet loads, it’s because it’s the biggest blogging project I’ve ever done and it involves an actual lifestyle change.  And let me tell you, it’s not easy, not at all!

I have allocated meals, allocated snacks, allocated permitted side dishes I source myself, and no allocation of 100gram bars of chocolate.  None whatsoever *whimpers*.  I swear I may go into chocolate withdrawal and start shaking.

We had tea at 4.15pm today, we NEVER eat that early, and do you know why we did?  Because I was starving and had eaten my afternoon snack at 1.30pm in the afternoon.  After my tea I ate my allocated evening snack which was a  yoghurt, that was at about 5pm.  Then I began to daydream about pudding: Chocolate Cake, Coffee Cake, Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard, Blueberry Muffins, Flapjacks……  They shouldn’t have capital letters in front of them, but in my mind’s eye they were the portion size of small buildings so I thought they deserved capitalizing.  Then I ate some home-made popcorn which isn’t apparently so bad.  Still not enough.

I am officially not as cocky about this as I thought I was.  The evenings are torturous, there are ‘free’ foods (ie ones that don’t have calories really so don’t matter so much) but I don’t seem to have any of them in the cupboard because we need to do shopping.  I’m also quite short on iron because of my colitis, so I had the bright idea of eating asparagus.  I love asparagus normally, it’s also green so has the appropriate vitamins, but it is a bit bland and when you plan to eat a whole tin at once because you’re a greedy guts it’s easy to think, ‘I’ll just add a bit of something’.  I added mustard, it was absolutely dire.  I scraped the mustard off in an attempt to eat it anyway, but failed fairly miserably.

There is a bowl in the front room half filled with mauled asparagus, smeared in burny bright yellow mustard.  My mouth still tastes a bit like fiery pondweed.  (Not that I’ve eaten a lot of pondweed, but you catch my drift) and I still want cake.

Apart from that life is the same as ever, keeping on keeping on.  I’ve felt hassled to pieces recently, same as always.  We have had new doors put in and two new windows which is lovely – apart from that our builder has got gout and can’t come back to finish the job for a bit which is a shame.  So, the window looks rather scruffy without the window frames (it has that bright yellow custardy foam stuff holding it in place), and our doors aren’t edged properly.  Still!  Our house has a sort of faded, knackered glory to it, and the windows and doors now fit in nicely with that theme.   Whoop de doo!   I do actually think the poor bloke has gout so I don’t blame him really, and as long as the doors and windows close and keep out draughts and burglars I’m not so fussy. Just as long as it’s not left for months or I’ll be doing another Homebase rant and nobody wants one of them!

The kids are fine. Sausage spent today wandering around looking like a chimney sweep because Darlek used some random facepaints to make him look like Batman yesterday.  They won’t wash off properly!  His face was almost completely black last night, I got a fair bit off him, but his eyebrows look very big and dark, and his cheeks look very grey.  In fact, he could do quite a good impression of a zombie.

Darlek is fine too, she’s regularly getting herself ready for school in the mornings which is a great help and she’s started trying to get Sausage ready too because she says she wants to be helpful.  She’s such a love.  Mind you this morning I nearly had a fit because both of them were slipping around all over the place on the school run and she kept insisting on running.  I had visions of fractured kneecaps and carrying her back up the hill.  I yelled the old ‘If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice, in fact I think I’ve told you three or four times, DO NOT RUN!’ in an overly aggressive manner this morning, and felt like a proper cow, but I suppose it has to be done.  Normally I’m shouting at them to run or hurry up because we’re late, they can’t win, poor souls.

The Tooth Fairy visited the other day too, which was exciting for Darlek.  One of her front teeth fell out about a week ago, and today her other front tooth fell out too.  She is struggling with her ‘S’ sound at the moment which is kind of cute really.  I reckon she could eat spaghetti with her teeth clamped together now and I’m almost tempted to try an experiment to see if she can.  Maybe I’ll do spag bol tomorrow.

I’d write more, but I want a cup of tea and I need to dispose of that awful green mess of food in the other room.  I aim to update more of my ‘Fortnight in France’ shortly.  I’m sorry if I’m going on and on and on and on and on about it, it’s just it was such a leisurely holiday and I had the luxury of sitting and writing for as long as I wanted without the usual everyday pressures.  Heaven!  If anyone wants to pay for me to go on holiday and just write reams about stuff and nonsense I’ll happily oblige.  That’s not a hint.  (Yes it blummin well is!)

So, that’s goodnight from me and goodnight from the vilest mini-recipe you’ve ever heard off. Mind the bed bugs don’t bite and please do have a slice of cake for me will you, just because I can’t/shouldn’t/desperately want one.  *whimpers again*