Healthy Fast Food – Is it really the healthy option?

Fast food chains have started to capitalise on the healthy eating or healthy options movement which many people are more inclined towards these days as what we eat and how we eat has become more of a focus, of course they don’t want to miss out on a piece of the action so they have started to market and offer (and have done for some time) “healthier” fast food options on their menus.

At face value you would look at something like the Crispy chicken & Aioli McWrap® and think it would be a better option than a Big Mac® because all it contains is a wrap, Chicken, lettuce, Tomato and Aioli right?  There is definitely more than just 5 simple ingredients you can see in the picture which makes up this option from their Real Choices menu.  I’m not targeting this product for any particular reason other than I personally was drawn to it as an option for dinner one night when we have been busy and it was late – but instead I looked into the nutritional details of it before making that choice – we as consumers have every right to do this and all the data is readily available for us if we want to spend the time taking care about what we put in our mouth and eating to nourish our body from the inside out.

Just as a comparison on nutritional information the difference between one of these wraps and a Big Mac® isn’t all that much! In fact – there is more protein and less total fat per 100g in a Big Mac® than there is in a Crispy chicken & Aioli McWrap®.  Now of course the serving size of each of these items is different – but comparing apples with apples is why I am using the per 100g information for comparison.

Just on a side note – all the nutritional information I have used has come straight from the website and all the information I have used for clarification on some of the ingredients / additives and preservatives has come from

Chicken & Aioli McWrap

Big Mac® Chicken & Aioli McWrap®
Per 100g
Energy (KJ) 1020 974
Energy (Calories) 245 233
Protein (g) 13.1 9
Fat total (g) 12.8 13.5
Saturated (g) 4.9 1.5
Carbohydrate (g) 18.2 18.2
Sugars (g) 2.8 1.3
Sodium (g) 478 425


Below is the list of ingredients straight off the McDonalds™ website for the Crispy Chicken & Aioli McWrap®

CRISPY CHICKEN PATTY: Chicken, Water, Wheat Flour, Breadcrumb [Wheat Flour, Water, Canola Oil, Yeast, Salt, Dextrose, Acidity Regulator (263), Enzymes], Vegetable Oils (Canola, Palmolein), Spices & Spice Extract [Mustard, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Paprika, Capsicum], Mineral Salts (450, 451, 452), Raising Agent (500), Salt, Thickener (1422), Yeast Extract, Emulsifier (433), Flavours (Wheat, Soy), Wheat GlutenEgg Powder, Anticaking Agent (551), Starch (Rice, Potato), Soy Protein, Maltodextrin, Vegetable Powder (Onion).

TORTILLA: Wheat Flour, Water, Canola Oil, Salt, Preservatives (223, 282), Raising Agents (341, 500, 541), Cornstarch, Emulsifiers (471, 481), Soy Flour, Acidity Regulator (297), Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Flavour, Wheat Bran.

DICED LETTUCE MIX: Iceberg Lettuce, Cos Lettuce.

TOMATO: Tomato.

GARLIC MAYONNAISE: Canola Oil [Antioxidant (306-Soy)], Water, Glucose Syrup (Wheat Derived), Egg Yolk, Whey Protein, Minced Garlic (Acidity Regulator (260)), Vinegar, Dijon Mustard (Acidity Regulator (260)), Oat Fibre, Acidity Regulator (575), Mustard (Acidity Regulators (260, 330), Colours (150c, 160a)), Salt, Flavour Enhancer (635), Flavourings (Milk), Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, 435), Colour (171), Mineral Salt (508), Preservatives (202, 211), Thickener (1442), Vegetable Gum (415).

Contains gluten, milk, egg, soy and sulphites.

CHICKEN PATTIES are cooked in McDonald’s Vegetable Oil blend and may be cooked in the same vat as products containing milk.

Some of these ingredients above will be familiar – and some not so much – for example, what do all the numbers mean?  Using the trusted trolley website I will shed some further light on these mystery ingredients/additives (numbers) for you below.  It will be interesting to see if you would be interested in buying one of these after reading this and bearing in mind that what I have listed below is on top of the other ingredients already listed!  I urge you to look up these for yourself to read the full details on each additive here as I have only used part excerpts about them.


450 – Potassium Pyrophosphate

Sodium and potassium pyrophosphates are the salts of sodium and potassium with phosphates. These are all produced synthetically from their respective carbonates and phosphoric acid, to produce a mineral salt that is used as an emulsifier, bread enhancer and buffer in foods. Linked to kidney stones in susceptible people.

451 – Potassium Triphosphate

Trisphosphates are inorganic chemicals that are the sodium and potassium salts of phosphoric acid. These are prepared synthetically from their respective carbonates and phosphoric acid, to produce a mineral salt that is used as an emulsifier, stabiliser, and buffer in foods. It is also used as a water-retaining agent during processing. Has been linked to kidney stones in susceptible people.

452 – Polyphosphates

Polyphosphates are the salts of sodium, potassium, calcium, and ammonium with phosphate. These are all produced synthetically from their respective carbonates and phosphoric acid to produce a mineral salt that is used as a stabiliser, sequestrant, and emulsifier in food. It is also used to help retain water during processing and storage. Linked to kidney stones in susceptible people.

500 – Sodium Carbonate

Sodium carbonate is the sodium salt of carbonic acid, which is carbon dioxide dissolved in water. It is more commonly known as washing soda or soda ash. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from table salt, and produces a white powder that is used as an acidity regulator, anti-caking agent, raising agent, and a stabiliser in foods. Sodium bicarbonate is produced by the reaction of calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water. It produces a fine, white powder with the common name of baking soda, bicarb soda, and sodium bicarb. It is used as an acidity regulator, anti-caking agent, raising agent, and a stabiliser in foods. No adverse effects are known.

1422 – Acetylated Distarch Adipate

Acetylated distarch adipate is prepared by treating starch with adipic anhydride and acetic anhydride to form white or nearly white powder, granules, or flakes (if pregeatinised) that improve stability at high temperatures. It is used as a thickener, stabiliser, emulsifier, and binder in foods. Thickeners can be a problem for coeliacs and others who are very sensitive to gluten. Also called modified starches, thickeners 1400-1450 may contain trace amounts of gluten if they have been derived from wheat. Further research is needed on its long-term safety. Through our research our team cannot determine 100% its safety rating therefore we list it to be suspect. Please consider your specific needs and experiences when purchasing products that contains this ingredient.

433 – Polysorbate 80

In Europe and America people eat about 100 mg of polysorbate 80 in foods per day. Influenza vaccines contain 25 μg of polysorbate 80 per dose. In general, polysorbate 80 is well tolerated, although a small number of people may be sensitive to this substance and it may be harmful to people with Crohn’s disease. This additive varies greatly in the severity of the associated health concerns. Further research is needed on its long-term health effects. Through our research our team cannot determine 100% its rating therefore we list it to be suspect. Please consider your specific needs and experiences when purchasing products that contains this ingredient.

551 – Silicon Dioxide

Silicon dioxide more commonly known as silica, is an oxide of silicon (sand or quartz) and is the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust. It is formed by exposing silicon to air (oxygen), forming a thin crust of silicon which produces several different forms depending on the temperature and conditions used. It produces a white powder that is insoluble in water, and is used as an anti-caking agent, anti-foaming agent, as well as a filtering agent to remove protein and yeast in beer. It is also used as a vitamin supplement (for hair, nails and connective tissue and helps in reducing inflammation). No adverse effects are known in food use.



223- Sodium Metabisulphite

When sulphur dioxide is added to water, sulphurous acid is produced and it’s this acid that imparts its use as a preservative. Sodium metabisulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It’s anti-microbial, an anti-oxidant, and an anti-browning agent which prevents the enzymatic and bacterial spoilage of food, and improves the overall appearance of food, making it look fresher than it might be. It works best in acidic foods and is also used as a bleaching agent in flour. Sulphates and sulphites are banned from use in fresh fruit and vegetables. Asthmatics should avoid. May cause gastric irritation, nausea, nettle rash and swelling and may also cause behavioural problems. Through our own personal research and experience our team will not recommend this additive.

282 – Calcium Propionate

Calcium propionate is the calcium salt of propionic acid. It is used as an antimicrobial agent in bread to prevent germination of some types of bacteria which causes sticky yellow patches to occur. It is well known that very high levels of propionic acid are neurotoxic. Can cause behavioural and learning problems, skin irritation, headaches, and migraines and may trigger asthma. Reported symptoms also include: gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach aches, irritable bowel, diarrhoea; urinary urgency, bedwetting; eczema and other itchy skin rashes; nasal congestion (stuffy or runny nose) ; depression, unexplained tiredness, foggy brain; speech delay, impairment of memory and concentration; tachycardia (fast heart beat); arrhythmia; seizures; growing pains; loud voice (no volume control); adult acne.

341 – Calcium Phosphate

Calcium phosphate is the calcium salt of phosphoric acid, a natural mineral inorganic acid, that is mined primarily in the USA. The pure extracted phosphoric acid is a white crystalline solid, which is melted to form a colourless, viscous liquid that is used in foods as an acidity regulator, antioxidant, anti-caking agent, and flour treatment agent. It is very inexpensive and often used as a substitute for other natural acids, as only a small amount of phosphoric acid is needed to get the same result as other organic acids.

500 – Sodium Carbonate

Sodium carbonate is the sodium salt of carbonic acid, which is carbon dioxide dissolved in water. It is more commonly known as washing soda or soda ash. It is synthetically produced in large quantities from table salt, and produces a white powder that is used as an acidity regulator, anti-caking agent, raising agent, and a stabiliser in foods. Sodium bicarbonate is produced by the reaction of calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water. It produces a fine, white powder with the common name of baking soda, bicarb soda, and sodium bicarb. It is used as an acidity regulator, anti-caking agent, raising agent, and a stabiliser in foods. No adverse effects are known.

541 – Sodium Aluminum Phosphate

Sodium aluminium phosphate (SALP) is a chemical used in food processing. It is synthetically produced from aluminium, phosphoric acid and sodium hydroxide. As a food additive is has the E number E541. SALP has two forms: an acid form used in baking powder, and an alkaline form used as an emulsifier in processed cheese. It is used in baking powder because most of its action takes place at baking temperatures, rather than when the dough or batter is mixed at room temperature. Aluminium impairs the calcium and phosphorous uptake by the body. Concerns about skeletal abnormalities. Possible links to osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Through our research our team cannot determine 100% its safety rating therefore we recommend to avoid this additive.

471 – Mono & Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids

Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryl distearate) are produced from glyceryl and natural fatty acids, primarily from hydrogenated soya bean oil. This additive produces a white or cream coloured waxy solid which is used as an emulsifier in food.

481 – Sodium Stearoyl lactylate

Sodium stearoyl lactate is an organic compound produced by combining stearic acid and lactic acid, with sodium hydroxide. The end result is a sodium salt which can be a white or slightly yellow powder, or a brittle solid with a characteristic odour, that is soluble in ethanol, but insoluble in water.

297 – Fumaric Acid

Fumaric acid is a natural acid widely found in plants (genus Fumaria officianalis) and in nature. It can be made by the catalytic oxidation of benzene or by bacterial fermentation on glucose. It produces a white odourless crystalline powder that is the strongest organic food acid in tartness and sourness. It acts as an acidity regulator, anti-oxidant, flavour, and a raising agent in flour based, baked goods. It is very inexpensive and often used as a substitute for other natural acids, as only a small amount of fumaric acid is needed to get the same result as other organic acids. No known side effects.


306 – Tocopherol Concentrate (natural)

Extracts obtained from soya bean oil, wheat germ, rice germ, cottonseed, maize and green leaves are rich in naturally occurring vitamin E and are used in food as antioxidants as well as sources of vitamin enrichment. These tocopherols include alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols. Vitamin E is an essential requirement for red blood cells and aids supply of oxygen to the heart and muscles. It also acts as an antioxidant in the body by reducing radical species e.g. oxygen radicals and breaking the propagation chain of lipid oxidation.

260 – Acetic Acid (Glacial)

Acetic acid is a natural acid produced by bacterial fermentation and oxidation of natural products or ethanol. Commercially it’s produced by the oxidation of acetaldehyde. It acts as a preservative, acidity regulator (acidulant), and anti-microbial agent, and is highly effective against bacteria and fungi. It is also used as a flavour enhancer to impart a biting, sour or tangy taste.

575 – Glucono Delta-Lactone

Glucono-delta-lactone is a natural ester of gluconic acid, which is formed by the fermentation of glucose. This process is done by evaporation, and produces a white, odourless, crystalline powder that is used in foods as an acidity regulator, sequestrant, and leavening agent. It can also be used to add a tangy tasted to foods, and as an artificial sweetener base. No known adverse effects in food.

330 – Citric Acid

Citric acid is an organic acid found in fruit, vegetables and household products. It is used commercially as a preservative. It is found naturally in many fruit juices and in a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits.

Citric acid does not cause allergic reactions in people who have a citrus allergy. This is because it is commercially produced from sugar, not fruit.

Citric acid intolerance is an uncommon condition. This is unrelated to a sensitivity to Aspergillus niger (A. niger), a type of fungus that is used in the commercial production of citric acid. Note: it is possible that A. Niger and sulphites are not completely filtered out during the citric acid production process, which may affect some people.

When a sufferer ingests or comes into contact with citric acid, symptoms similar to a food allergy can occur. Citric acid intolerance is triggered by ingesting or coming into contact with products that contain citric acid (E330) either naturally or introduced.

Potential symptoms may include abdominal pain (stomach cramps), anaphylaxis – rarer, aphthous (oral) ulcer, atopic dermatitis (eczema), bloating, diarrhoea / diarrhoea, nausea, pruritus (itch), skin crusting, skin dryness, skin rash – red, sore throat / mouth urticaria (hives) – rarer, vomiting.

150c – Colour – Caramel III

Caramel is derived from the caramelisation of sugar (by the controlled heat treatment with the presence of alkalis or acids) and yields colours ranging from beige to dark brown. It has been linked to gastro intestinal problems and hypersensitivity. Further research is needed on its long-term safety. Through our research our team cannot determine 100% its safety rating therefore we list it to be suspect. Please consider your specific needs and experiences when purchasing products that contains this ingredient.

160a – Colour – Carotene

Carotene is a natural colour which is commercially extracted from carrots, and can also be isolated from green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. It yields an orange-yellow colour. Carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body.

635 – Disodium 5 Ribonucleotides

Made from 627 and 631.  Check imported foods. May be associated with itchy skin rashes up to 30 hours after ingestion and rashes may vary from mild to dramatic. The reaction is dose-related and cumulative, some individuals are more sensitive than others. Gout sufferers, asthmatics and aspirin sensitive people should avoid it. A mixture of 98% Monosodium Glutamate (621) and 2% 635 has four times the flavour enhancing power of monosodium glutamate (MSG) alone. Can also cause hyperactivity, sleeplessness, and mood changes. It is banned in some countries but common in Australian foods.

435 – Polysorbate 60

Polysorbate 60 is a synthetic compound that is produced from ethylene oxide, sorbitol and stearic acid. It is used as an emulsifier, and thickener in foods. It is a suspected carcinogen. Further research is needed on its long-term safety. Through our own personal research and experience our team will not recommend this additive.

171 – Colour – Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral extracted from Ilmenite and yields a white colour. This additive varies greatly in the severity of the associated health concerns. This additive varies greatly in the severity of the associated health concerns. Further research is needed on its long-term safety. Through our research our team cannot determine 100% its safety rating therefore we list it to be suspect. Please consider your specific needs and experiences when purchasing products that contains this ingredient.

508 – Potassium Chloride

Is a natural mineral salt composed of chlorine and potassium. Commercially it is usually extracted from salt water. It is usually used as a salt replacer in foods, as it has the ability to help replace lost potassium in the human body, which is an essential mineral. Large quantities can cause gastric ulceration and circulatory collapse, nausea and liver toxicity. Not recommended for children.

202 – Potassium Sorbate

Sorbic acid and it’s mineral salts, Sodium sorbate (201), Potassium sorbate (202) and Calcium sorbate (203) are naturally derived from the berries of the Mountain-ash tree (Sorbus aucuparia). They are commercially produced in varying chemical pathways to produce a white crystalline powder that is used as a preservative to inhibit the growth of moulds, yeasts and fungi. It is not effective against bacteria. It’s optimal pH values are below 6.5. The main differences between the salts is their varying solubility in water, and they are preferred over Sorbic acid itself. This is why some salts are used in different products, especially Calcium sorbate used mainly in dairy products and rye bread. There are links to asthma and can cause possible liver damage, behavioural problems. Avoid if you have kidney or heart problems.

211 – Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is the sodium salt of benzoic acid. Benzoates are commonly found in natural foods (cinnamon, cloves, and mushrooms), but especially in fruit, largely berries (Cranberry). It is widely used as a preservative that inhibits the growth of yeast, fungi, and bacteria in acidic foods where the pH of the foods and beverages are below pH 3.6. Commercially it is synthetically made from toluene. Known to causes nettle rash and aggravate asthma. May cause hyperactivity and behavioural problems. Further research is needed on its long-term safety. Through our own personal research and experience our team will not recommend this additive.

1442 – Hydroxypropyl Distarch Phosphate

Prepared by treating starch with propyleneoxide and phosphoric acid. The resulting starch is more stable against acid, alkaline and starch degrading enzymes. It also provides better colour and shine to products and has very good freeze-thaw properties. It may slow down the degradation of food in the intestine.

415 – Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a natural polysaccharide that is produced by the process of fermenting glucose or sucrose with a micro-organism Xanthomonas Campestris. After fermentation, it is precipitated, dried and milled to produce a powder that is readily soluble in water. Xanthan gum is thick enough at rest to keep a product homogeneous, but with vigorous shaking thins to a pouring consistency, which will thickens again back at rest. This is especially seen in ready-made salad dressings. Xanthan gum is very soluble in a wide range of temperatures and pH.

As you can see and based on the information I have taken word for word straight off The Trusted Trolley website – there is definitely a lot more to these foods than we would like to think.  A simple rule I like to follow is if it is a food that has a label or is mass produced in any kind of way – then it’s best to avoid if you’re wanting to adhere to a healthy / clean eating type of lifestyle. Its pleasing to see that at least the tomato and the lettuce don’t have anything else added to them.

It’s made me think twice about the fast and easy options out there that’s for sure!









What’s for breakfast?

I have never really been a consistent breakfast eater – I’ve struggled to eat anything before 10am for as long as I can remember! Mum used to send me to kindy with cold marmite toast in a little Tupperware container and I would eat it mid-morning, and even now as an adult and knowing the importance of having breakfast, it is something I struggle with on a regular basis.

I have never given myself enough time in the morning to sit down and eat a decent meal, partly because I am rather fond of my sleep (and as much of it as possible) and also because eating early actually makes me feel quite ill and nauseous.  On my journey I have learnt and discovered the importance of having something substantial in the morning,  something to give my body the kick start it needs and my brain the energy to carry me throughout the day.

I’m not fond of cooked breakfasts (unless it’s out at a café with friends or family on a weekend), or generic cereals which are full of sugars (listed and hidden), additives and fillers. Being paleo also limits what ready-made cereals are available as well because I don’t consume wheat, oats etc and obviously try to avoid heavily processed foods as much as possible.  I started experimenting with paleo muesli recipes (and every time I make it its always different to the previous batch) and have come up with one which is delicious!  My fiancé Mike has also become a big fan (and he was a big naysayer about the Paleo lifestyle when I first started).

It’s not cheap to make because nuts and some of the ingredients can be expensive, but I find it’s so filling that I would eat ¼ – ½ of the amount I would consume of a store bought muesli anyways.  In addition to the muesli, I went out and treated myself to a Nutri-Bullet.  After speaking to quite a few people about the different brands which are all quite similar I decided to go with the 900w one and all I can say is it was money very well spent!  On the mornings I don’t leave myself enough time to eat my muesli, I can whip up a delicious smoothie and take it on the go with me to work. I can pack in lots of goodies and fruits (I don’t eat fruit any other time of day), just sit at my desk and sip away on it. I don’t think I’ve had the same smoothie twice yet and I’m definitely a fan of experimenting with flavours and ingredients, some of the regular appearances I use (in addition to berries / fresh fruit) are:

Dried Kale Powder – Chantal 100% organic brand is great – you get in 1 tablespoon the same benefit of eating 12 cups of fresh kale)


Lucuma Powder – Matakana Superfoods – This stuff is great! Lucuma Powder is a delicious, 100% natural sweetener that is rich in vitamins and minerals, and it has a low GI.


Clean Paleo Native Vanilla protein powder – This stuff is great! I add two tablespoons to my smoothie and it is equivalent to eating a couple of eggs (it’s an egg protein powder instead of the normal whey versions).  It is dairy / gluten free / grain free / preservative and refined sugar free.  It contains only four ingredients, free range egg white powder (protein), ground vanilla beans, sweetened with a touch of certified organic dried coconut nectar and a touch of natural banana powder to aid in protein absorption.


Ceres Organics LSA – (ground Linseed a.k.a flaxseed, sunflower seeds and Almonds) – taken directly from their website “Combined, they represent a nutrition powerhouse providing invaluable health benefits. A good source of dietary fibre, LSA also provides protein and a balanced combination of essential fatty acids”


Cocofuel Coconut Water – I chose this brand because out of all the ones available in the super markets, this one is the most natural, unprocessed / refined one I can find. It has no additives at all, 100% natural, no preservatives and what is even better is it contains natural electrolytes so is great for morning smoothies or after exercise smoothies as well.


Doctors Choice Coconut yoghurt – I prefer this brand over a few others I have tried, the consistency of it is better and has a better flavour in my opinion.  I add two tablespoons of it every day into my smoothie. Its Vegan, has no added sugars, dairy free and has all the benefits of the probiotic cultures which are good for gut flora like acidophilus and bifidobacterium.

Doctors Choice

Almond Milk (unsweetened) – I buy the “So Good” brand – I have found it hard to find a brand that has minimal additives (if anyone knows of an easy to purchase better brand please let me know) so this is the brand I currently purchase. (This one contains Filtered water, almonds (2.5%), mineral salts (tricalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), emulsifier (lecithin), natural flavours, salt, vegetable gum (gellan).

Almond Milk

When it comes to fruits which I have in my smoothies, every day I have a banana with a mixture of some of the ingredients I have listed above. My favourites are fresh berries (I buy in bulk at the berry farm and freeze them), kiwifruit, apple, fresh pineapple and or mango but I also change it up with seasonal fruits like nectarine, apricots etc.  I don’t have fruit at any other time during the day so not to over consume on them (fruit contains fructose which is sugar so although fruit is good for you, eating too much of it can mean you are having a high sugar intake).

I’m always interested in to know what my readers and followers use in their smoothies as well – I love to experiment with my food and change it up so it’s not the same old same old every day so please feel free to share what you add into your morning smoothies with me as well!


Time …

Time ….. It’s the one thing we never have enough of and the one thing we can never get back once it’s gone.  It’s the thing we use as an excuse not having enough of to get out of doing stuff we either don’t want to do or lack the motivation to start or even as a general excuse for avoiding lots of things in life. It can be so much easier to say “I just don’t have time” than to do something productive, it’s one thing in life we can’t stop and it’s also the one thing we should all be making the most of whilst we have it for the simple fact that you never know how much of it you are going to have.  Some of us will be lucky enough to have lots of time ie: long lives, some of us won’t be so fortunate – fate can deal some cruel hands.

Time or the perceived lack of it has always been a factor in my life, for all of the above reasons and more. I’ve used it as an excuse for good reasons and for some not so much.  I’ve used it as a reason to not attend social gatherings, to get out of bed in the morning when I should, to do what needs to be done at work in order of priority to make the most of my working day, and mostly to get my health and wellbeing in check. As it is it has taken me about two weeks to write the draft for this blog in amongst everything going on at the moment with work / home / overseas travel etc – but I have had to make the time available to do it and to get it done because sharing my journey is important to me and is an important part of my progress and also keeps me accountable.  The one thing I have come to realise is that time doesn’t make itself, we are all given the same amount – 24 hours in a day, and it’s what we do with that time that really counts!

The last couple of months I could liken to rough seas – there have been plenty of up’s and a few downs, my journey is still on the right path though so I haven’t beat myself up too badly about it but there is definitely huge room for improvement still, it’s that time of year now also where it feels like we have even less time for things than usual.  Prioritising what is important and ‘MUST include’ have become a major factor in my day to day life.  Prioritising what I HAVE to include and allow time for ie: exercise and healthy eating and letting some of the not so important stuff fall by the wayside which is a complete 180 degree to my previous mind-set.

With a new year almost upon us and the years seem to be getting shorter (well at least it feels that way) it’s more important now than ever to assess where we are at, set some goals and look at the new year as a fresh start and the perfect opportunity to start putting things into practice (otherwise known as new year’s resolutions – BUT – instead of them being the ones we find ourselves repeating at the end of each year, make this year different.)  I have set myself some goals for 2016 and will do everything in my power to make sure I continue to allocate the time required so I can achieve them, make an action plan around what you need to do to achieve your goals and those things become not negotiable.  Some of the goals I have set myself are:

1:  Lose a further 20kg by next summer – BIKINI BODY

2:  Increase my overall fitness & Tone

3:  Try new things – new exercises / swimming in the ocean (an irrational fear of sharks / stingrays and crabs – basically anything that can bite me has prevented me from this since I was young)

4:  Be the absolute best possible me I can be before my wedding in April (I don’t want to have photos to look back on an regret not having done more)

5:  Start trying for a family – this was my main driver behind wanting to get my body and mind in shape at the start of 2015 to prepare for this next stage in my life.

6:  Become a support person for others who are not quite on their journey yet / aren’t sure how to start or have lost their way

7:  Add extra exercise into my weekly routine ie: 3 – 4 walks outside of my scheduled PT sessions a week.

8:  Climb the Hakrimata’s to the top for the first time (and do so regularly)

Making sure I have set time aside for regular exercise has become key to my progress to date – otherwise I allow things become “busy” and I will fall back into old habits. I try to plan my meals ahead or even pre-prepare them so when my available time to make dinner is limited I still have healthy options to turn to rather than good old McD’s down the road – this is still a work in progress but any progress is good progress as long as I keep working at it and improving.

Making time for friends and family is also hugely important to me, they are the medicine of life, your support network, your conscience and your guides, it is important to treasure and nourish those relationships as well because when things become difficult or overwhelming they are the ones who will keep you on track.

Prioritise your time for things that are productive, not counterproductive. Make sure you set time aside for yourself as well – even if it is half an hour somewhere quiet so you can read a book, recharge your batteries and be left with your internal monologue – now that it is summer time it is the perfect “time” to start putting this into practice – make a date day or night with yourself once every so often. For me this has become the one night a month my partner Mike has poker – I get the house to myself for an evening, not having to have conversations with anyone can be quite refreshing, also when I travel overseas for work I travel alone so I get a few days to myself – I’ve learnt to love my own company and it has become therapeutic.

Make time for your partner / husband or wife and spend quality time with your children should you be fortunate enough to have them.   Life can very easily become overwhelming, but that’s only if we let it.  Only you truly know what you want, where you are at and where you want to be – we are the one person we can be 100% honest with (ourselves).

Of course everyone’s story is different and what works for me isn’t necessarily practical (or in some cases possible) for others, it’s simply a matter of finding what works for you and making the most of the time you have.

I’m looking forward to what 2016 has in store for me – instead of the usual dread, this year I am excited, more determined and so much more positive.  I hope that each and every one of you who follow me on my journey have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Years and enjoy the gift of the time we are given to spend with the people we love and care about.

Take care and I look forward to ensuring I spend time sharing more about my journey with you in the New Year.




Motivation – what is it that keeps me going?

Hi everyone, well it’s been some time since I wrote a post about what I’ve been up to, my successes, and my struggles. I know I share posts on Facebook quite often but putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is something I take quite seriously and like to be particular about what I write for my blog posts so it has some depth and Importance, not just me rambling on. I wait for a subject to kind of jump out at me and give me the feeling of “Hey – you should write about this” which is usually triggered by something I have been dealing with myself and I think it’s important or beneficial for not only myself but maybe someone else as well.

The subject that is probably one of the single most important factors for me and something I am continually working on is ……… Motivation.  Motivation is what drives us as human beings, what keeps us going, what makes us get out of bed each and every day, we as individuals are all motivated towards something, we all have different goals and dreams …. But motivation is much more than just that. It’s really easy for people to give their two cents worth and say “just stay motivated or you need motivation” but those words are empty unless there are the fundamentals and personal commitment behind it, we are our own worst enemy 99% of the time, so how do we get around our own internal monologue to make sure we stay on track or even get started?

Like anything, change can take some getting used to, forming new habits, quitting old ones, trying new things (new exercises / new foods), pushing our limits and testing our abilities, doing something difficult is always going to require dedication, perseverance and determination …. The key driving force behind those factors is motivation …. Without motivation dedication, perseverance and determination are just words.

Ask yourself what is it that motivates you? Why are you wanting to make these changes in the first place, what was it that clicked in your head and made you want to go from being a couch potato to someone fit and healthy inside and out, how will you feel if you don’t stick at it?  I look at my journey like a car …… my car can only drive around as long as it has fuel, that fuel that goes into my car to enable me to keep moving is my motivation, my motivation to get to different places, to not sit idle, to get out and about and improve my life and hopefully elongate my life as well, if I don’t have motivation then my car is going nowhere, it will sit parked up, stop working properly and no longer run efficiently and will deteriorate over time.  If it helps, write your motivations on a piece of paper and stick it to your fridge, your mirror, your cell phone wallpaper, or that tempting bag of chips or bottle of coke …. Anywhere you can see it and have as a daily reminder of why you were fed up and no longer want to accept things as they are because the thought of doing anything about it is all too hard, talk to someone – get their support and create some accountability – that is why I started this blog and everyone who follows my journey helps me keep on track.

Everyone’s individual motivations will be different, no two people have the same goal / paths or ambitions in life – I get frustrated now when I see people continually comparing themselves to others, striving to be like someone else, or have what someone else has – why can’t we just be happy with who we are and what we have, channel that energy into focusing on who should be your number one priority and that is yourself.  I used to be the girl that would sit back and have the mind-set that “oh well, this is my life, my body and that’s the way it is, just accept it, I’ll just be the fat and happy girl” and feel ripped off that I drew the short stick and have the body that I do …… reality was, the only person stopping me from improving my life and my body was myself – it comes back to that fact that we are our own worst enemy 99% of the time and the only thing in our way is ourselves, our attitude and the limitations WE put in place, sometimes yes there are outside factors to take into consideration as well, but your motivation will determine whether you find a way around them to still succeed or use them as an excuse to not even try.

When I first started exercising, given how overweight I was (and still am) it was quite strenuous on my body, it’s tough – my body was carrying over 40 kg of excess weight so of course it was always going to be hard, instead of me using old injuries and new ones as an excuse to give up I just keep thinking to myself that it can only get better, the more weight I drop the easier things become, the more I exercise the fitter I will become and those things that were challenging are no longer as much of an issue and I am now mentally prepared for the next set of hurdles I face.

Already I have noticed a huge increase in my energy levels, ensuring I am eating the right foods has been the key factor, not fuelling my body with sugary, ready-made, easy to grab convenience foods, making sure I drink lots of water and having 3 meals a day (this is my biggest struggle).  Whenever I eat something now I have the mind set of “if I eat this, will it benefit me in a good way or put me back a step”.   Of course you have to also be realistic and success requires balance, if you make things too hard for yourself you will be setting yourself up to fail, I work on an 80/20 rule.  80% of the time I am really strict with what I eat, 20% of the time I allow a little leniency, after all I don’t want to end up not being able to socialise because I have restricted myself so much that going out becomes impossible.  I still have the odd wine or takeaways, when it comes to takeaways I just make smarter choices – we have a really good roast shop down the road, or Burger Fuel (their burgers don’t have such a heavily processed feel about them like other chains) …. But even then the amount of times I do this is very limited, maybe once or twice a month.

It took me a long time to come to the realisation that nothing was going to change unless I made it change.  The weight which had taken years to creep on was not going to magically fall off overnight by itself, no pill or potion was going to give me the results promised in the advertising and even gastric surgery would only have been a mask to the actual problem around my relationship with food and my attitude towards it.  Of course if you eat less or substitute meals with meal replacement shakes, you will lose weight, of course if your stomach is banded / surgically altered to ¼ of its size, you are going to lose weight because you have to eat less, of course if the foods you are eating are low in calories (i.e.: rabbit food) you will lose weight …. Problem is that none of it is ever sustainable and portion control also plays a huge part, just because its salad doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with it, you need a healthy balance of Meat (not processed), veggies, nuts & seeds, some fruit, small amount of starch (like kumara and potato) and NO REFINED SUGAR, this is simply all I have done, there is no magic secret that I have discovered – I’ve got off my ass and exercised and am now eating the right foods, no need to sign up to anything promising you the world, don’t pay a gazillion dollars for something that is only intended to make some people wealthy and leave us feeling like we have failed yet again.  To do things the right way it’s all about balance, eat smarter – eat to fuel your body not just to feel full, exercise to get your body moving, get the blood pumping and move oxygen around your body. Getting into a routine with my food and exercise has made my moods and my sleep drastically improve, I’m now having quality sleep not broken sleep, no longer do I wake up feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed in the first place, I don’t cringe at the thought of working my ass off and getting a sweat up – it’s a challenge, one I have set myself and am determined to stick with. One thing I have on my side is my stubbornness, it does have its advantages, I will not let myself get the better of myself.

It’s important to have goals – they are hand in hand with motivation, if you don’t have goals how do you know where you’re headed?  What is it you are actually trying to achieve and why?  For me losing weight is obviously a goal, but why do I want to lose weight?  Well I no longer want to feel uncomfortable in clothes, I want to be able to feel sexy again, I want to take pride in my appearance and walk with my head held high, not use clothes as a veil to hide behind, I want to ensure that I can spend as many days on this earth as possible, grow old with the man I love and see our future children grow into adults and have their own families, I want to be a motivator for other people to help them make the same decisions I have made to improve their lives and learn to love themselves.   We only get one life – why wouldn’t I want to enjoy it as much as possible?

My next goal is to kick the one filthy habit I still have – smoking!  The more I travel on my health journey the less it fits in with my lifestyle and my way of thinking is forever changing.  Giving up cold turkey is simply not an option for me, tried and failed many a time, to succeed this time I’m simply changing my tactic … weaning myself away from it until eventually it will have no place what so ever in my life.  It may be hypocritical of me to write about being healthy and get off your butt etc and meanwhile I am still a smoker, but I’m doing something about it and doing something is better than doing nothing.

This journey is not just about weight loss for me, it’s becoming about so much more, re-discovering who I am as a person, what I am capable of and what makes me tick, what I enjoy – and funnily enough exercise is right at the top of the list of things I enjoy.   I’m working on a new me, not because the old me Is bad, but because the old me can always improve.

Ill finish this post with a quote I found on-line and thought was a really good motivator ….. Never Quit, if you stumble get back up, what happened yesterday no longer matters because today is another day so get back on track and move closer to your dreams and goals, you CAN do it!




SALT & VINEGAR CHIPS – is that all you’re having?

Its been a while since I have posted anything and I have lots to report I promise!  However, on the verge of almost giving in to my old food nemesis – Salt & Vinegar chips I thought I would share this post with you to encourage you to STAY ON TRACK AND DON’T GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION, in the past I could easily sit down and demolish a bag without any help at all, and normally combined with some form of dip it was my go to comfort food.

I haven’t eaten any for such a long time, but I have been craving them again lately – so instead of indulging myself and feeling bad for doing so, I decided to research the ingredients on the back of the packet so If after reading I then felt like some, at least I knew what I was eating.  It tell you – it certainly put me off eating any ever again.  When you look at a bag of chips you think, potatoes and some flavouring and that’s all a chip is.  Well as you can read for yourself below – there is a lot more to it than that!  As I discovered – Salt & Vinegar chips don’t even have Vinegar listed in the ingredients!

In addition to the Potatoes, Canola Oil & Sunflower Oil (both of which are highly refined/processed oils low in saturated fat and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fat), Salt and Sugar these are the other ingredients which make an appearance in our beloved Salt & Vinegar chippies!

Beware of the crafty marketing on labelling of products as well. The chip brand I based this study on were branded as “NO GENETIC MODIFICATION – NO PALM OIL – NO HYDROGENATED FAT – NO TRANS FAT” which could lure someone into believing they are making a better choice by eating this brand of chip – however, that is a false pretence and you will see why below.


Citric acid (E 330) enhances the activity of many antioxidants, but is no antioxidant by itself. It is mainly used as an acidity regulator as well as aroma compound. In addition it increases gel consistency in marmalades and decreases enzymatic browning in fruits and fruit products.
Calcium acetate (E 263) has several functions. It is used in some foods as a thickening agent (cake mixtures, puddings, pie fillings), but can act as a buffer in controlling the pH of food during processing, as a preservative to prevent microbial growth, and as a calcium supplement in pet products.


Acidity regulator, Emulsifier, Flavour enhancer, Preservative, Sequestrant. Used in condiments, in the pickling of vegetables, bottled sauces, chutneys, snack foods, bread, cakes, cheese, crisps, dressings, mustards, seasonings, bakery items, ciders, wines (other than grape), mead, soups and broths, preserved eggs, pre-cooked pasta and noodle products. Sodium acetate is the sodium salt of acetic acid. It is a natural acid produced by bacterial fermentation and oxidation of natural products or ethanol. Commercially it’s produced by the oxidation of acetaldehyde. It acts as a preservative, acidity regulator (acidulant), and anti-microbial agent, and is highly effective against bacteria and fungi (a mould inhibitor in snack foods and bread). It is also used as a flavour enhancer.

Flavour Enhancer 621 – MONOSODIUM L-GLUTAMATE (MSG)

Used in processed cheese, fat spreads, fat-based desserts, processed fruit, dried vegetables, canned or bottled vegetables, cooked or fried vegetables, breakfast cereals, pre-cooked pastas, batters, bakery wares, processed meat and poultry, semi-preserved fish and fish products, egg-based desserts, seasonings and condiments, soups and broths. Monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt of glutamic acid, which is a natural essential amino acid. Glutamic acid is the most common excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and is present in all complete proteins. Monosodium glutamate has the ability to make bland and tasteless foods taste wonderful. It is very cheap and easy to produce and is present in a wide variety of foods. Adverse effects appear in some asthmatic people, should not be permitted in foods for infants and young children as it could damage the nervous system. It could kill nerve cells, resulting in diseases such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Pregnant women, children, hypoglycaemic, elderly and those with heart disease are at risk from reactions.

MSG wouldn’t be confusing if it was labelled in the ingredient as MSG. MSG occurs naturally in some products such as parmesan cheese, sardines and tomatoes. There are also other flavour enhancers that are not called MSG (such as 627 and 631) that can have the same adverse reactions as MSG. Please be aware that Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein or Yeast Extract is a less concentrated form of MSG (meaning that it contains free glutamates) and can be linked to the same adverse health effects.
Alternative names for MSG include: Acid Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Autolysed Yeast, Hydrolysed Corn Protein, HVP, Hydrolysed Casein, Hydrolysed Collagen, Hydrolysed Collagen Protein, Hydrolysed Corn, Hydrolysed Corn Cereal Solids, Hydrolysed Corn Gluten, Hydrolysed Corn Gluten Protein, Hydrolysed Corn Protein, Hydrolysed Corn Soy Wheat Gluten Protein, Hydrolysed Corn/Soy/Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Corn starch, Hydrolysed Gelatin, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, Hydrolysed Oat Flour, Hydrolysed Plant Protein, Hydrolysed Protein, Hydrolysed Soy, Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Hydrolysed Soy Wheat Gluten Protein, Hydrolysed Soy/Corn Protein, Partially Hydrolysed Beef Stock, Partially Hydrolysed Casein, Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum, Partially Hydrolysed Soybean, Partially Hydrolysed Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrolysed Whey Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Textured Protein, Yeast Extract Hydrolysed Soy / Corn / Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Soy / Wheat Gluten Protein, Hydrolysed Soya Protein, Hydrolysed Soybean Protein, Hydrolysed Torula And Brewer’s Yeast Protein, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein Powder, Hydrolysed Wheat, Hydrolysed Wheat Gluten, Hydrolysed Wheat Gluten Protein, Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Whey And Casein Protein, Hydrolysed Whey Peptides, Hydrolysed Whey Protein, Hydrolysed Whey Protein Concentrate, Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate, Hydrolysed Yeast / Hydrolysed Yeast Protein, MSG, 621


Maltodextrin is a group of complex sugars, rather than one carbohydrate. It ranges from more complex to less so and this depends on the method of production.

It is enzymatically produced from starch. The enzymes break the glucose chains in the starch molecules into shorter units, similar to the process of digestion in the human body.

Depending on how far this process is taken the product can vary from a non-sweet starch to a sweet sugar composed of glucose molecules in short chains. It is not really useful as a sweetener, as it not sweet enough. It has a high glycaemic index ranging from 85 to 105 so it should not be considered suitable for diabetics.


Used in beer, dried milk, confectionary, powdered sugars, processed cheese, fat spreads and salt. Silicon dioxide more commonly known as silica, is an oxide of silicon (sand or quartz) and is the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust. It is formed by exposing silicon to air (oxygen), forming a thin crust of silicon which produces several different forms depending on the temperature and conditions used. It produces a white powder that is insoluble in water, and is used as an anti-caking agent, anti-foaming agent, as well as a filtering agent to remove protein and yeast in beer. It is also used as a vitamin supplement (for hair, nails and connective tissue and helps in reducing inflammation). No adverse effects are known in food use.

A fantastic website to look up additives in your foods, what exactly they are and made up of is

Next time you think of picking up that bag of chips – hopefully this will make you give it a second thought or have a go at making your own! Check out my recipe for my Kumara Chips on my recipe page.


The Winter Blues

Hi everyone,

Well as I’m sure you’re all aware its pretty much winter here in NZ now, cold days filled with wind, rain and if you’re in the south then you also have snow! One thing I have been struggling with lately is first of all getting out of bed and secondly is staying motivated to do any exercise!

Long gone are the long sun filled days which gave me enough time to get in a decent walk after work, its pretty much dark by the time I get home from work now and the first thing I want to do is get the fire lit and stay indoors! I do two 45min PT sessions a week at Shapeshifter Personal Training and once a fortnight I also do an early morning half hour PT session. This is fantastic but simply not enough. I bought a treadmill a few months ago and I have been using it, not as often as I should be though. We are still renovating our house at the moment too so its still out in the shed which makes me less enthusiastic about using it because of how cold it is out there!

I know winter can be the time of year when we all hibernate and spend more time indoors than out, we turn to stodgy comfort foods and soups to warm our mind, body and soul and exercise is a dirty word.

In past winters I know I’ve pretty much turned into a movie watching, spend all weekend inside hermit. The new me knows that if I go back to old habits like that then other old habits will creep back in as well, I’ve come so far already In the past 3 months that it would be a failure on my part if I was to revert back to my old ways. Everyday I find I have to remind myself at least once a day why I started this journey in the first place, my clothes are finally starting to feel better and some are even falling off me now and I’ve even had to replace some. To be able to go shopping and buy clothes that actually fit and fit me properly is an experience I have not had for a very long time. I feel better on the inside – more alive than I have done in a long time so why would I want to backtrack all because its cold and wet outside? When any of us make the conscious decision to have a healthier lifestyle it can’t be a seasonal thing, you can’t give yourself winter off – we are not bears or hedgehogs who have the pleasure of locking ourselves away for 4 odd months. Each and every day is what we make of it, our goals we set ourselves are only achievable if we make it that way. Everything is within our reach no matter what obstacles or limitations we have in our way. As the old saying goes “where there is a will, there is a way”.

I’m lucky to have Noelle as my personal trainer, I am also very lucky to have the support of my amazing husband to be (in 10 months and counting) and in addition to this I am also very lucky to have two friends who I introduced to Paleo and are also having fantastic results inside and out who are a great support and motivation as well, each of them on their own journey for their own reasons.

It might not be possible to get some exercise in everyday but any change is good change. Changing what we eat and how we eat ultimately giving you more energy I find actually promotes wanting to do some exercise no matter the weather. It could be squats in the lounge, step ups or spending an hour on a treadmill, the one thing I have realised is any exercise is better than no exercise. I’m not spending days or hours in the gym, I don’t even have a gym membership nor do I have an interest in having one.

I guess the point of this post for anyone who reads it is don’t get disheartened. Stay positive, don’t be too hard on yourself but remember why you wanted to get healthier in the first place, sometimes we are our own worst enemy and the only thing standing in our way to success is ourselves.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend no matter the weather 🙂

Until next time




Feeling Empowered ….

Hi everyone, it’s been a while I know, sorry about that. My laptop screen has decided it no longer wants to function … So I’ve been avoiding making a blog post by having to type it out on my iPhone! It’s a long process …… BUT …… I haven’t posted in a while so thought it was about time I shared the latest with you, laptop screen or no laptop screen. 

The title of my post today is”Feeling empowered” … This is something that I am starting to feel more and more as I see and feel the results of my hard work – all the cravings / sweat and tears are starting to pay off. 

I knew that this journey would be a long one, that hasn’t changed. What I am feeling and finding is that because I am genuinely seeing and feeling the results of the clean eating and exercising its an encouragement in itself to keep going, there can be weeks when no weight is lost, but I’ve learnt not to focus on the scales and focus on my body and how I’m feeling as the indicator as to whether or not what I’m doing is working, also measurements speak volumes in comparison to the scales.

As at two weeks ago I had lost 14cm from my waist (that’s all that sugar induced visceral fat around my middle starting to disappear) …. I’m due to be measured again this coming week so will update on any further changes. Starting to see my tummy fat disappear is probably for me the most exciting body shape change im experiencing, no longer looking pregnant when I’m not is a big relief.  

Our tummy fat is what is known as visceral fat and when you see an obese person they usually have a rather large tummy or mid-section ….. Visceral fat is caused primarily by sugar or a high sugar diet.  Having cut out all refined sugars (apart from the odd wine) is why I’m now seeing my tummy shrink.  I went and saw That Sugar Film and it was such an eye opener and made so much sense! The food industry has a lot to answer for and it’s marketing tactics are very sneaky ….. It’s no wonder almost every westernised nation is noticing an increase in obesity and weight related health issues in not just adults but children as well.  I highly recommend going to see it … I’m going to buy the DVD so for those friends and family of mine who didn’t get to see it at the movies can come to my house and watch it! Just because something has the heart foundation tick or is branded  or marketed in a way to say hey I’m good for you, eat me … Doesn’t mean it is actually good for you. Fat is not the bad guy and doesn’t cause obesity …. Sugar and its little chemical (but are still sugars) buddies are. An example of this was last week when we went and did our groceries, I was looking at all the yoghurts, I picked up a Weight Watchers plain unsweetened yoghurt and an Anchor brand plain unsweetened Greek yoghurt to compare out of curiosity (I only eat coconut yoghurt) and guess which one had the most sugar and additives in it? Weight Watchers! Now someone who is looking at the yoghurts for face value not nutritional value would naturally chose the Weight Watchers one because the brand is associated with weight loss / being healthy and therefore must be good for us when in fact there are other non “healthy branded” products on the shelf which are, and this is where the problem lies.

The more research I do, seminars I go to, documentaries I watch (check out the tv series The Men who made us fat) the more I am learning and the more the whole clean eating mantra resonates with me. It has empowered me enormously, I’m passionate about this lifestyle choice because it genuinely works and is good for me, it’s not magic pill or potion, it’s healing and creating a happy body inside and out through proper nutrition without all the chemicals! There have been no long term side affect tests done with humans to see if the additives we get in our foods have long term implications on our health! The food industry selling these foods and us all buying and consuming them is the tests, and look at what it’s done to people’s overall wellbeing.

I urge anyone out there who reads my blog or follows my posts and is sitting there wanting to do something to improve their health and wellbeing and maybe lose some weight – there are four key things you can start immediately which will kick start a new you! 

Stop eating dairy products – have unsweetened almond milk / nut cheese instead 

Stop eating foods with any added and refined sugars (best way to know is read the ingredients – sugar has many names, if you don’t know what an ingredient is then put the food back on the shelf)

Stop eating wheat or any gluten containing products and starchy foods including white rice, potatoe and breads of all kinds.

Get moving – get off your A** and get moving – exercise is key to making you feel more energised and happy! 

I challenge anyone to make those four simple changes to their current diet for 90 days and email me with their findings ……. I know (because I’m living proof) that it works. The best part is that it’s sustainable. 

I’m 10kg down, still have a long way to go but for me its not about the destination it’s about the journey 🙂

Till next time – take care of yourselves and each other.


All good things come to those who work hard for it ….

Hi Everyone …………….

Well it’s been a while since I did my last blog post – I’ve been a bit slack in that regard!  I assure you I have been keeping busy though and progress is going well.  So far I have lost 5.8kg (that’s almost 12 blocks of butter!) thanks to the total upheaval of my diet and way I now approach food, and also a massive thanks to my personal trainer Noelle from Shapeshifter Personal Training who I see twice a week and she pushes me every single time.  I find I’m now beginning to be able to do things I never thought possible when it comes to exercise, and it will only get easier and better with time.  I’ve learnt to not focus so much on the numbers on the scales but more how I am feeling inside and out, people who haven’t seen me for a while and I have caught up with have commented on how good I’m looking, it’s true that we are what we eat and I’m starting to feel it, I look and feel much healthier inside and out and things are only going to get better.

I am lucky also to have Jade from Jade Thorby Photography documenting my changes by taking photos of me every 2 months over the next 12 months, she has been so kind to offer me an incentive for every kg I lose so that at the end, however much weight loss I have, I will have accumulated credit with her and it will go towards the cost of having some nice photos taken of myself ….. being in photos Is a big deal for me, I used to love having my picture taken but over the last 6 or so years I’ve found myself preferring to be the one behind the camera, not in front of it so I’m definitely up for the challenge.

The further along my journey I go I realise that dieting is one thing, but I don’t think anyone can get away without any exercise in their daily routine without it adversely affecting them – especially and including myself.  I used to think I could lose weight purely by changing what I was eating, to some degree that is true, naturally if you change the volume and what you put in your mouth some weight is bound to fall off, however exercise boosts the whole effort and definitely has helped me get to where I am so far, it gets my heart pounding and my forehead sweaty and I actually like the feeling I get after a hard workout now instead of dreading it.

As of Tuesday I had lost 2.5cm off around my hips, 2.5cm off around my bum, 2.5cm off around my boobs and thighs as well, 0.5m off around my arms and 0.5cm off my calves. I am totally over the moon with the results I have seen so far and it makes me excited for the road ahead.

I have been sticking to the paleo lifestyle, although there have been a few instances where I have fallen off the wagon and reverted to old habits, especially on nights when we get home late and I can’t be bothered cooking.  I have learnt to tackle this by being prepared and  the key to success following a paleo lifestyle is to plan ahead.  On Sunday I spent the entire day in the kitchen prepping meals and soups to freeze, so when I find myself in that time limited situation, instead of turning back to bad foods because it was quick and easy, we simply now get something healthy out of the freezer, the hard work is done and all that is required is some reheating. That might sound daunting – however, I now have 30+ meals on hand whenever we need,  It’s made life a lot easier and the guilt that comes with falling off the wagon is something I don’t even have to worry about anymore.  I’ve signed up to the Pete Evans “The Paleo Way” plan which runs for 10 weeks.  I’m in week 4 now, however I have to admit – it’s not for everyone, and I haven’t really stuck to the meal plans at all, I simply don’t have the time to spend making a full on cooked breakfast on weekday mornings before work.  In saying this – I am pretty pedantic about making sure everything I eat still works with the paleo plan so even if I’m not cooking or eating what the plan says I should, I’m still eating something that fits within the paleo lifestyle.

I can honestly say I can’t see myself reverting back to my old ways ever at all.  I enjoy the way food tastes now more than ever, being a foodie its taken quite some getting used to.  It has been almost 8 weeks since I had sugar / dairy or wheat in any large quantity (apart from the very few occasions I have had something non paleo).  I don’t miss these ingredients at all, and have found substitutes which are even better!  Everything in moderation of course, you have to be mindful that just because its “good for you” doesn’t mean you can eat endless amounts of it.

I’m still a big fan of my paleo muesli and even gave chia seed porridge a go this week, I even managed to get Mike to eat some – and he liked it!  Bread was probably the thing I thought  I was going to miss the most, admittedly there are still times when I think to myself about how nice it would be to have some warm buttery bread to go with my homemade soups – instead I’ve found a couple of alternatives like Pete Evans seed and nut bread (OMG YUM!!) …. And also another recipe which people on the Paleo Way group Facebook page have been raving about is Super Soft Grain Free Seed bread rolls  the recipe is for those who are lucky enough to have a Thermomix (next I my to save up for list) … however it can be easily adapted for those of us who don’t have a Thermomix and I will post my version of it on my recipes page after I have tested my version of the recipe this weekend.  These are great to use for lunches or to have with homemade soup lightly toasted.

I’ve recently also invested In a treadmill – so now during winter and the days are shorter, colder, wetter and generally more miserable, I can still get in some exercise in between my PT sessions.  I have also signed up for “Body Blitz” with my personal trainer for 12 weeks starting at the beginning of May ….. I’ll be working my A** off so hope to see some amazing results from that!   I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

In other news – I got engaged on Easter weekend … YAY!! I’m so excited and so unbelievably happy.  I am very blessed to have the most amazing, supportive and loving husband to be who is behind me every step of the way 100% – he has adapted to the paleo lifestyle as well and seems to be enjoying it …. In saying that, when it comes to the food in the house he doesn’t really have much say because I do all the cooking ha-ha!  He didn’t need to lose weight, but he has lost a little and is also looking great, he still indulges in Ice Cream and various other things I now turn my nose up at! We are getting married on 23rd April 2016 …. Cant wait!

Without becoming a preacher of paleo which I promised I wouldn’t be, I urge anyone who reads this (or any of my other blog posts) who finds themselves resonating with anything I write about to do their own research into the Paleo lifestyle, read peoples stories on success and health improvement and start making even the smallest of changes.  Some change is better than no change – and change won’t happen unless you make it happen – we all have to start somewhere!  No more feeling sorry for yourself, lost, hopeless, lazy, defeated, tired … you are worth making the effort for!  We only have one life so get out there and make the most of it.  I was always blaming other things for me being the way that I was.  Work, weather, health issues, time etc, there was always some excuse I had for a reason not to go for a walk, watch what I ate or do anything about my weight ….. We simply have to learn to take care of number #1 because no one else in this world can do it for you – only you can help yourself.

Until next time – take care everyone and have a lovely Anzac weekend – least we forget!

Stay positive xx


What is Paleo and what is in my food ….

What is Paleo and what is in my food? These two subjects go hand in hand, I have briefly described what Paleo is in previous posts but I haven’t really elaborated much so to give you all a clearer understanding of what it is and why I have chosen this path ………. I’m not preaching here, just sharing with you my views and thoughts on it so you can have a better understanding of where I am coming from and what I am talking about when I mention Paleo in my posts.

I have found the more you read about Paleo the more it makes complete sense. Paleo – What is it?  Paleo is a lifestyle choice, not a diet, it is about making the decision that one’s health and wellbeing is most important first and foremost. It is about creating balance within our bodies by consuming foods that have high nutrient density, bio-availability and are good for our bodies enriching us with natural vitamins and minerals, the stuff our bodies are designed to eat and digest.  Paleo is also known as the caveman diet because Paleo = Paleolithic, which in short describes our ancient ancestors some 3 million years ago and how they lived their lives, During the Paleolithic period, humans grouped together in small societies and subsisted by gathering plants and fishing, hunting or scavenging wild animals.  I’m not going to be going out and hunting down small animals in the local bush or anything extreme like that, Paleo is easily adapted to the modern lifestyle and is about making smarter choices at the super markets e.g.: Organic or free range chicken or grass fed beef from the supermarket instead of the normal cheap meat you would buy, which when it was alive, didn’t have an overly healthy and fantastic existence eg: a barn raised / grain fed chicken would not have as much nutritional benefit as a free range chicken raised in open paddocks eating bugs etc. like chickens are supposed to, therefore the free range or organic chicken Is better for us because it lived its life as natural as possible.  It’s choosing to eat raw unroasted almonds instead of high fat / high salt roasted peanuts (which are actually a legume and a big no no in the Paleo world). It’s basically making smarter choices every day about what you’re putting in your mouth and knowing what each of the ingredients in our foods are, and making from scratch ourselves as much as possible.

When it comes to Paleo, so many people have their own views, own success stories and failures. What works for some may not work for others because we are all different.  All I know is that I can vouch that in the past 3 – 4 weeks I have been eating this way I’ve never felt so “myself” if that makes any sense, I’m sleeping better, my moods are more stable, I’m not as hungry as I used to be (especially around 3pm every day), I have more energy and I just in general feel more human.  I don’t feel as lazy or lethargic as I used to, I feel satisfied after a meal not like I’m about to explode because I’ve eaten way too much of the wrong foods or am still hungry an hour after I’ve eaten,  the best thing about it is that it is a lifestyle I can continue with for the rest of my life and I can raise my kids to appreciate where food comes from and how it is made.  Paleo is not for people who are looking for quick short term weight loss; it requires long term commitment, support and determination to reap the benefits inside and out.  I now completely believe in feeding your body what it is designed to process and digest and nothing more, no harmful sugars / additives and preservatives / foods not meant for human consumption which cause inflammation in our bodies and can actually draw vitamins and nutrients out of our bodies instead of putting them in.

In a previous post I have referred to food like fuel we put into a car – you don’t put diesel into a car that is meant to run on petrol because we know the car won’t operate properly and will break down if we do.  Paleo is basically looking at our foods we consume ourselves in the same way. Without even realising it on a daily basis millions of people are willingly poisoning themselves from the inside out.

I was watching a programme on TV the other night called “The Men who made us Fat” which is focused around how much over the past 40 years alone the food industry has changed.  It has swung into a full blown large scale commercial enterprise where some people are making squillions of dollars for putting a food out in the market which does more harm to us than good, and false advertising etc.  We go to the super market these days and are spoilt for choice when it comes to pre-made everything, Low Fat this, Diet That and Sugar Free etc etc! This has taken us away from how food used to be prepared and eaten back in the old days, my great grandparents didn’t eat from packets and they grew their own veg In their back yard and Nanna made everything from scratch – especially the Gravy! Even in my own childhood very little if anything at all ever came from a packet, we were raised on meat, veg and fruit.  Having a muesli bar for us was a real treat. Everything these days has become about convenience, how quickly we can produce something, gets our hands on something or cook something, and if that’s still not quick enough we have a vast array of choices when it comes to Fast food. I was guilty of being a convenience eater and shopper and look where it got me!

Although some of the pre-packaged goodies we can get any time of day or night from our local super are extremely tasty, you’d be surprised at how little nutritional benefit is contained in them.  You will struggle to read the a back of a packet of cereal, sauce, muesli, muesli bar, yoghurt or even tinned fruit without seeing added sugar – and in large quantities.  Energy drinks are my bug bare, at my work I see young guys drinking 2 – 3 large energy drinks a day, as a pure curiosity I read the back of one of them the other day and just about fell over – in a 500ml can it contained 70g of sugar. When I got home that night as an experiment I wanted to see what 70g of sugar looked like, seeing is believing and all that.  It was a whopping 12.5 teaspoons of sugar according to my kitchen scales.  To show you what 12.5 teaspoons of sugar looks like next to 500ml of water – here is a picture!

Test 1 Test 3

Now every time you feel like picking up that 500ml energy drink I hope you think of this picture, in my opinion they are not energy drinks, they are purely a sugar hit and one that wears off!  I haven’t even discussed all the other things that are bad for you in those drinks.

When it comes to what foods are paleo and what aren’t – basically anything that has additives / preservatives / added sugar or some chemical name which you can’t pronounce and have no idea what it is – then it is most certainly not paleo. Basically you avoid all grains, legumes, conventional dairy products, conventionally raised meats, non-organic produce (although if not organic, try to buy NZ grown produce that hasn’t come in from overseas and been sprayed and irradiated), genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and processed foods.  You focus on organic foods as much as possible, non-processed foods and humanely raised and pasture fed meats.

I urge you to go to your pantry – chose 3 or 4 readymade items, have a look at the ingredients on the packet and google what they are.  Here are some examples and ones you may have heard about before. (Some of this information I have obtained from online sources and may relate to American food standards not NZ)

Maltodextrin – Made from starch which has come from corn or sometimes wheat, is used to thicken products or as sugar substitute filler. It is a quickly digested carbohydrate. High levels of carbohydrate are often associated with highly processed foods or refined foods made from plants, including sweets, cookies and candy, table sugar, honey, soft drinks, breads and crackers, jams and fruit products, pastas and breakfast cereals.

Aspartame – It is found in foods labelled as “Diet” or “Sugar Free”, it is a neurotoxin and carcinogen.  Found in diet or sugar free sodas, diet coke, coke zero, jelly, desserts, sugar free gum, drink mixes, baking goods, table top sweeteners, cereal, breath mints, pudding, Cordial, ice tea, chewable vitamins and toothpaste.

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) – highly-refined artificial sweetener which has become the number one source of calories in America. It is found in almost all processed foods. HFCS packs on the pounds faster than any other ingredient.

Monosodium Glutamate (otherwise known as MSG) – MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. MSG is known as an excitotoxin, a substance which overexcites cells to the point of damage or death. Studies show that regular consumption of MSG may result in adverse side effects which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the “I’m full” function which explains the effects of weight gain. Found in: Chinese food, many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, most Campbell Soup products, frozen dinners, lunch meats

Colours – 133 (Blue) Found in: candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods, Red (124) Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission. Found in: fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!, Yellow (110 and 102) – Found in: American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more!

Sodium Nitrate – Sodium nitrate (or sodium nitrite) is used as a preservative, coloring and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish and other processed meats. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular. Sodium nitrite is widely regarded as a toxic ingredient, and the USDA actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970’s but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained they had no alternative for preserving packaged meat products. Why does the industry still use it? Simple: this chemical just happens to turn meats bright red. It’s actually a color fixer, and it makes old, dead meats appear fresh and vibrant.

When I started to look further into what some ingredients in the food I was eating was – it was enough to put me on the straight and narrow and this is why Paleo just makes so much sense to me.  Why wouldn’t I want to eat as natural as possible?

Ill leave you with a list of the first things to go from your diet when you commit to Paleo and what you can replace them with (information care of Pete Evans book “Going Paleo”).

Wheat Bread – replace with Paleo Bread

Soft Drinks & Juice – replace with water or kefir

Pasta & Rice – replace with Zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice

Vegetable & Seed Oils – replace with coconut oil

Pre-packed / Bottled Sauces – replace with homemade sauces

Chips, crackers & biscuits – replace with activated nuts and seeds

Cane sugar – replace with green stevia leaf

Grain flours – replace with coconut flour or almond meal

Peanut Butter – replace with pure nut butters

Cows Milk – replace with nut milk e.g.: unsweetened almond milk

Cream – replace with Coconut cream

Hummus – replace with Tahini

Coffee – replace with herbal tea

Oat & grain based cereals – replace with paleo muesli

Anyways – I think I’ve over loaded your brains with enough information for a Saturday morning ha-ha. I hope this gives anyone out there who is looking for an alternative option and needed even more of a reason to change their eating habits some food for thought (excuse the pun).  I urge you do to your own research and come to your own conclusions though because as I say, everyone has their own take on certain things.

Have a fantastic weekend! I’m off for a walk now.




Well ……… here I am – back again!

It’s been about a week and a half since my last blog post, I made a decision when I started this blog that I don’t want to be one of those people that just blog for the sake of it, I think it’s best for me to do it when I actually have some interesting things to share with you, that way you stay interested and aren’t reacting to the Facebook update saying I’ve made a new post with “ohhh not that bloody page again”.  I know I’ve certainly reacted a few times like that to pages on Facebook which seem to have endless posts to share with me; some are interesting, some tempt me to block them from our newsfeed which is exactly what I don’t want to happen!  I want to share my experience and learning curves with as many people as possible and in a positive way.

The last almost two weeks have certainly had their ups and downs.  The biggest “Up” would be that I have lost a total of 3kg so far since posting my weight and goals 2 weeks ago.  The biggest down was after having had a rather indulgent weekend and stepping on the scales on the Monday morning and thinking I had undone all my hard work in the previous weeks, only to be corrected some 24 hours later.

One thing I have pretty much given up on over the past few weeks is drinking, by drinking I don’t mean water … I mean alcohol.  You know, that stuff that we all love to indulge in (some more than others) on a fairly regular basis while summer is still hanging on for its dear life, I would consider myself to be a bit of a social butterfly so I am not against the odd sneaky wine with my girlfriends mid-week or at the end of a hard week at work.  This weekend just past was the first drink I’ve had in almost a month, a friend of ours had one of his “world famous in our group of friends” parties so a substantial amount of vodka and a bottle of soda water later, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  Even more so when I stepped on the scales on the Monday morning and it told me that I had gained weight and was only 1kg off my starting weight.

I was so disappointed in myself for that entire day, I got on the scales the next morning just to double check that my eyes weren’t failing me or the scales weren’t lying to me, and it reflected that no in fact I had lost more weight that week, I hadn’t gained any – my body had just finally expelled the last of my weekends indulgences and thus bringing me up to my total of 3kg weight loss so far.  As my partner’s brother said to me in the birthday card he gave me this week, everything in moderation – including moderation! I had put my body through the ringer for about 24 hours and it definitely was reflected in the way I felt and what the scales said. So from this point forward – I will be very mindful of over indulging with the booze and opt for the healthier option of being sober driver (much to my partner’s happiness as he normally draws this short card).

In the past 12 days I’ve clocked up just over 18km on my old feet pounding the pavement.  I am trying to go for a walk once a day, including weekends and I have found the more I am doing it, the more I am enjoying it. If it’s not every day it is at least every second day.  Also I think the enjoyment factor is that one of my besties joins me and it’s a good opportunity to have a girly catch up, bitch and a moan ha-ha, we both feel much more refreshed at the end of our walks and all of the days stress and worry has been left in our dust trail around Claudelands.

I also discovered during these 18km’s the importance of having really well fitted shoes!  When I first started out I went and bought a really nice pair (so I thought) of Asics running shoes which cost me $180!! I tried them on in the store, they fit, I walked around, and they felt comfy ….. Until I started walking 2km or more, then I’d start to get a really sore foot on the outside of my right foot, immediately followed with a sore knee the night following my walk.  We took my shoes into the Shoe Clinic with me thinking that there might be something like an orthotic available to put in my shoes to stop my foot from rolling out.  Turns out I had been sold the completely wrong shoes to begin with (the store who sold them to me will remain un named).  I have discovered that due to having really high arches in my feet this causes my feet to balance on the outside of them, I also have really broad feet, and coupled with this, due to a past injury to my left knee, my right leg compensates and carries most of my weight which was shown to me on their fan dangled scanning machine thing that scanned how I walk and showed all the pressure points in my feet.  After an hour in the store I left with another pair shoes which cost considerably more than the original ones, but I tell you what, the difference is absolutely amazing! I cannot reiterate enough how important it is if you are serious about exercise to have the right shoes, you’re comfortable, you aren’t doing any long term damage to your feet and it makes walking further much easier.

As well as the shoe drama and the dreaded scales coming back to haunt me, then be my friend again – I had my 33rd birthday this week.  It was yesterday actually on St Patricks Day.  This year being a Tuesday and my increasing age, I figured it would be a nice idea to get a bunch of friends together and go to Lonestar for dinner. The service was amazing and the food was just as delish as the last time I went about 6 months ago.  This time being different of course because I’m now mindful of what I put in my mouth.  Being paleo makes eating out at restaurants quite difficult because everything these days comes with a jus, butter, emulsion or foam of some sorts as well as various forms of carbs and proteins, some good, some bad.  I went for my fave, the tried and true Dixie Chicken – man it was good!  So was the Moro and Kahlua cheesecake I had for dessert which was totally NOT paleo but I figured it was my birthday so why not.  After clean eating for about 3 weeks now my body was NOT happy with me in the slightest.  As nice as dinner was, I could just about have rolled out the door I was that full, and I ate nowhere near as much as I would have 6 months ago.  I got home and climbed into my PJ’s and an hour later I found myself dashing to the toilet …… all that experience has done for me is reiterate that my body does not respond well to dairy / rich / creamy foods or anything deep fried and it has now totally put me off.  The discomfort and the resulting toilet visits are simply not worth it! (Sorry if that is a bit T.M.I for you – I warned you id be brutally honest ha-ha).

All in all it’s been a good couple of weeks – my weekly grocery shop now consists of going to Bin Inn, the super market, the butcher and also the Sunday Markets which are the perfect place to buy fresh seasonal produce direct from the grower. It takes quite a bit more time, much to my partner’s disappointment – he hates shopping even when it’s for food! The food bill hasn’t really changed from what we were spending fortnightly on groceries and takeaways combined, if anything it’s probably actually cheaper. I have been learning so much about ingredients I have never cooked with or used before like Organic Rice Malt Syrup, Chia seeds and Coconut Sugar……. I don’t think I have ever eaten so many nuts and different types of nuts in my life!  Almonds, Cashews, Macadamias, Hazelnuts, all raw and not roasted or tampered with in any way.  Seeds like Chia, Sesame, Pepita (pumpkin) and sunflower and multiple other nutty and seedy goodies.  I’ve been making our own homemade Gluten / Wheat free Muesli which has been AMAZING! (I have shared the recipe on my recipe page – I urge you to try and make it for yourself, you will never want store bought again).  I was very spoilt for my birthday and was lucky enough to be given not one but two of Pete Evans (you would recognise him as one of the judges on MKR Australia) cook books – one which is specifically about “Going Paleo” and I can’t wait to get stuck In and try some of the recipes.

We just harvested a whole lot more of our tomatoes which are currently in the freezer waiting for this weekend when I can whip up another batch of Passata and I’m also going to make some Paleo friendly tomato sauce. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!

I made an amazing Kumara & Bacon soup the other night – it was soooooooooo good!  I’ve posted the recipe on my recipe page, if you’re wanting something quick, easy, tasty and healthy then give it a crack!

I think I’ll leave this post at that for now otherwise I’m running the risk of turning it into a novel!  Until next time, stay safe, be happy and keep smiling!