Curry in a Hurry

1 Comment

Contrary to popular belief, rustling up a Slimming World friendly feast needn’t be time consuming. In fact, you can even throw this one together during the X Factor ad breaks. That’s under five minutes. Zoom zoom!

You will need

2 Bachelor’s Noodle Pot Shots – Mild Curry
Half a large onion, cut into thin wedges
1 can of bamboo shoots
1 can of water chestnuts
A handful of frozen peas
1 packet of plain cooked chicken pieces
Chilli powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Put the kettle on. Whilst its boiling, grab a wok/pan and place on hob over a high heat. Spray with Frylight.

2. When the kettle has boiled, make up the Pot Shots as directed.

20120825-205854.jpg

3. Throw the onions, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots into the wok and toss quickly. Throw in the pack of chicken pieces and a little drop of water from the kettle – just enough to stop everything sticking. Add a little chilli powder and the handful of peas.

4. When the onions have softened, give the Pot Shots a final stir and throw them both into the wok. Stir everything around, ensuring the chicken and vegetables are well coated.

5. Take it off the heat and keep stirring. Have a wee taste! Add salt, pepper, soy, more chilli powder – whatever your palate fancies.

6. Get it into a bowl.
7. Get a Diet Coke.
8. Sit down.
9. Drool over your curry.
10. Drool over Gary Barlow.

20120825-210905.jpg

Advertisements

The Opposite of Progress

4 Comments

It would appear that the opposite of progress is regression, but that sounded much too high brow for this chicken-in-a-basket style blog. When I have my Negative Nancy hat on, I see regression in everything I do; but nothing haunts me more than when I see regression on the scales. In my last post, I was a trim and svelte 12 stone 2 pounds – my lightest since around April. Today, I sit before you as a hulking mass of pure lard, eight pounds heavier than I was a mere five days ago.

Bollocks anyway.

I knew this would be the case though, but it doesn’t mean I don’t follow that old familiar pattern of shame, guilt, and bad temper when I can shake my belly like a bowl full of jelly. What caused this spike in obesity? A weekend in Donegal. On holiday. For those of you in far flung lands, Donegal looks like this:

20120823-182532.jpg

And if you’re very lucky, you might come across a few of these:

20120823-182639.jpg

No drunken nuns for me though, mores the pity. So how the hell does someone gain over half a stone in such a short space of time? In an attempt to make the reader either feel better about their indulgences, or to serve as a warning to those thinking they can get away with unbridled scoffing, I shall attempt to enumerate my munchings to see if I can identify where I went wrong.

Saturday 18th August – Pre-holiday feasting

I did my ten mile long run on Saturday evening, so felt I deserved some German biscuits and Toblerone to recover. And Magners. Don’t judge me.

Sunday 19th August – Holiday Day One

I spent the morning packing, and then was informed that I would be driving my mother and granny to Donegal. I hate driving. To maximise productivity and minimise mess, I had three bowls of cereal as opposed to a SW fry up. En route to the hotel, we had to stop halfway for lunch. I played it safe by having a baked potato and beans! Aren’t I good? Upon arrival, where we met up with the rest of the family, I got changed into my running gear and went for a five miler. On holiday. How committed am I?! Quick shower, quick tin of Magners before dinner. Dinner – Chicken Escalope with Warm Goats Cheese and roasted vegetables. Utterly yum, but let’s face it, the veg were olive oil heavy and the plate was trembling with cheese! Not the healthiest option, even though I ordered a side salad instead of chips or mash. The salad came with coleslaw and potato salad. FML. Dessert? Of course. Homemade apple tart (I say tart, ‘pie’ is gay) with ice cream. Drinks? Many. One bottle of Pinot grigio was marked FAO McCooey, which I gratefully signed for and dispatched to my liver posthaste. A quick visit to the shop later, for a sneaky cigarette and some water, and I returned with a Dairy Milk Whole Nut in my pocket. Because I’m a tramp. I ate it in bed whilst reading Harry Potter. Because I’m a tramp.

Monday 20th August – Day Two, and still hungry.

Breakfast was a buffet affair. I had some Bran Flakes, followed by a pretend SW fry. Pretend, as in, it resembled my healthy breakfast favourite; but was most likely not prepared in the same way. Bacon, scrambled eggs, and inferior budget beans. I could cope with the unhealthyness of the meal if the beans had been Heinz. Beanz really does meanz Heinz in my opinion, all other brands taste like lies. Anyway, I put them away with the rest. And had some toast and marmalade for old times sake. A little later, on a quest for a decent cup of coffee, I put away a cherry scone with butter and jam too. After a day of shopping, dinner rolled around again. I had the same dish again, as I love goats cheese so much I could brush my teeth with it. Again, I had apple tart for dessert. Again, I drank over a bottle of white wine. And again, I read some Harry Potter with a Butterfinger! Sounds salacious, but perfectly innocent.

Tuesday 21st August – Hometime, eventually.

Breakfast took the same form as the previous day, but with some mini Danishes on the side. Before we departed the hotel, I went in search of the same beautiful coffee and the same beautiful scone…after all, it was to be a long drive. I also picked up some more Dairy Milk bars, as Irish Dairy Milk is completely different to the UK version – and it is infinitely better. It’s the only sound reasoning for a united Ireland. To remind myself of how much better it is, I nabbed half a bar before getting into the drivers seat. Again, we had to stop halfway for another feed. I was getting fed up of rich food at this stage, but knew the end was nigh and I’d regret not indulging. I had a cheese and ham toastie (how rustic) with chips and salad. And a banoffee pie for dessert!! I arrived home at nearly ten o clock at night, and was starving. I had more cereal, more chocolate, and went to bed.

Wednesday 22nd August – post holiday blues

I got back on the horse immediately. Then I tried to eat the horse and realised I was firmly in the grip of HPFS – Holiday Pie Fest Syndrome. I ignored it valiantly for most of the day, but hunger capitulated me in the late evening and I had more cereal. I had a SW friendly dinner, but the damage had been done, so I hit the rest of the Toblerone before bed.

Today – Normal eating, but only just

I am back on the horse again. I won’t lie, it feels shitty. I am utterly raging that I have to eat fruit, lean meats, and cheese free vegetables again. I would much rather be eating a massive bowl of Fruit and Fibre (no, I don’t understand my Kellogg’s lust either). But look what happens when I eat what I want. I gain weight exponentially. If I did the same for two or three months, I regain everything it took me three years to lose.

It’s a sad and shitty fact of life that some people can eat what they want and stay slim, yet others just can’t. It’s also a fact of life that some people can continue to gain weight year after year after year, and simply not care what they look like – and honestly? I wish I was one of those people. Anyone who says that they genuinely prefer eating ‘healthy’ food as opposed to junk food is a total liar! If I had the choice, I would go for the junk. It’s cheaper, it tastes nicer, and it’s instant. But it kills people. That’s such a Brass Eye style comment, but it does! I don’t fear death though, I just fear being a fat bastard. So I shall eat my Ryvita and enjoy it. Hopefully on Saturday I will have reigned in the numbers on the scales back to acceptable levels. I will let you know how it goes! Then you can decide for yourselves whether or not the odd Foodgasm explosion of gluttony is worth it. I know it is, but it just doesn’t feel like it at the minute.

Sigh.

Progress

2 Comments

Just a quick update on the current state of affairs of late. All my talk of conspiracy theories and jalapeño soup has swayed me from my initial ramblings about training for a bloody marathon! Since we last talked about running, I have been plodding my way through a ‘conservative’ 16 week marathon training schedule. I came to the conclusion that my half assed approach to life in general wouldn’t cut it for the job at hand, so when the Other Half handed me this plan I figured it was time to nerd up and get on with it. I have to say, I’m being very well behaved in regards to it. I haven’t crapped out on the runs, and I’m just about to finish the fourth week. My longest long run to date has been a twelve miler, and I can honestly say I hated it! Just because I’m sticking to the plan doesn’t mean I’m enjoying it! I know they say practise makes perfect, but there is still a ridiculous sense of inconsistency with my running. Or should I say jogging? The only thing that has improved is my time spent not walking! I take fewer walk breaks now, and when I do, they are shorter than they used to be.

It’s amazing how quickly you adapt to the schedule though. When I get in from work in the evenings, I check the page and say to myself “sure it’s only a wee 4 miler today” – its only a few months ago that four miles would have been a longer run for me! So putting the miles up on a Sunday really gets things in perspective! I’m still ridiculously slow though. Even since I made the change from running fast/walking lots to running slow/walking less, I’m still only hovering around a twelve minute mile on the long runs. Not exactly Olympic standard. It’s particularly irritating when the Other Half is positively flying. Though I can still sprint faster. Ha! I know I need to work on my leg strength more, as it’s my legs that let me down all the time. They feel like two bags of coal sometimes, awkward and so so heavy. I rarely get out of breath, but my legs start to hurt and I end up walking. I can’t stress how annoying that is, so I reckon I need to build them up. I should do some squats and lunges but I’m simply too lazy!

In other news, it would appear the tendon issue was a phantom! I spent a very informative hour at The Newry Clinic on Wednesday, where I received some unexpected deep tissue massage on my left calf. Sweet Jesus. The CIA should use this instead of water boarding! Apparently the muscles were very tight; evidenced by my girlish squeal when she prodded them, so I was advised to stretch properly before and after running (which I never do to be honest). All my tendons checked out ok, so what’s the cause of this bony lump on my foot? A contusion on the bone, or an old stress fracture it would seem. Perhaps my foot was starting to give way under my previous bulk! Regardless, I’m just glad it has been explained. Hopefully it behaves itself until November. This was my first experience of physiotherapy and was much less scary than I anticipated, I think I’ll be back for more massage as the miles go up.

Weight wise, results have been unimpressive. Same old story, I get down to around 12st 5 and then I have a blowout and head up to 12st 10 or more! Yikes! I can’t say the first three weeks of consistent running have been a boost to my weightloss, something I had expected. However, I have been a good girl all week and weighed in at 12st 2lb this morning – its been a good while since I’ve been this light. I dont feel it though, in fact I feel fatter now than ever. My belly is a constant preoccupation, and it’s frankly exhausting, but I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from it. Anyway, I am heading away for the weekend with family, so it will probably be a while before I see this weight again – but life is for living etc etc, and a family holiday wouldn’t be the same without getting drunk and eating a fry in the mornings. So far, so Irish. At least I know that any gain does come off, but three years into my endeavours, I just wish I was content with how I look. Boo hoo!

Enough self indulgence! Thank you to all my new Twitter followers and everyone who reads my posts. The new WordPress update has been quite the revelation, I find it mental to think of someone in Thailand clicking on my blog; almost as mental as some of the search terms that throw my page up as a result.

Until next time

McCooey xxxx

20120818-132721.jpg

Conflict of Interests

1 Comment

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite a while now, but held back from actually writing it as I was afraid of going off on a paranoid tangent of conspiracy theories and illogical ranting about the food / supermarket industry. I still am! I will proceed carefully, and reign myself in if I get into ‘Grassy Knoll’ territory.

 

Way back when, I talked about about what caused me to be fat. The logical reason was – I ate too much. I took in more calories than I expended, therefore I stored the excess as fat. Simple. I didn’t go into why I ate too much though, because there are far too many reasons why; and to start listing them would turn this post into a self-serving pity party. Suffice to say, I used to EAT my FEELINGS. How dramatic! Well, it started out like that. A bit of casual comfort eating to get me through the stresses of puberty. Puberty doesn’t last forever though, and the imaginary stresses and emotional turmoil of it soon dissipate. So why was I still eating? By this time, I was fat because I was eating – and eating because I was fat. A very cliched vicious circle, but vicious nonetheless. Soon enough, my mood was irrelevant to my hunger. It occupied me entirely, an unquenchable gluttony that abated only very briefly after each binge. It got to the point where I felt tetchy and on edge if I didn’t have something in the house to eat if I so desired, even though I cooked very little at home. It always had to be the same ritual I showed you in Life Before Slimming World – sandwiches, crisps, chocolate; in that order. It’s fair to say I had formed a very unhealthy habit that was bordering on addiction.

 

Addiction is a strong word, more commonly associated with alcohol and drugs; but food? Seems a bit extreme. How can you be addicted to food? It’s food. Yes and no. The BBC documentary “The Men Who Made Us Fat” suggests otherwise. If you didn’t catch it, the most interesting theory posited was that high levels of fructose in the diet can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that signals the brain that we have had enough to eat. It tells us when to stop. Studies have shown than increased consumption of fructose means the brain finds it harder to know when to stop. During the early 80s, mass production of corn in the US led to mass production of high fructose corn syrup, which was used as a sweeter and cheaper alternative to sugar. Unsurprisingly, food manufacturers began using this cheap and plentiful ingredient in pretty much everything. Soft drinks, cereals, breads – the works. Soon enough, the UK followed suit. In the UK, this syrup is known as glucose syrup or glucose-fructose. Have a look – it’s everywhere. It’s in bags of sweets, bars of chocolates, soft drinks, cereal bars….the list goes on.

 

So. If it can be shown that consumption of this syrup via the foods above is messing with our minds, why would any reputable company use it? Such companies includes Cadburys, Mars, Coca Cola, Nestle, Kelloggs – the big label brands in every supermarket. Simple answer is – it’s cheap. Cheap ingredients equal a higher profit. Not only for the producers might I add. Bigfatmarathon herself (me) works in the convenience/grocery sector! I buy and sell the very things that make people fat. The very things that made me fat! I am surrounded by ‘impulse’ items, goodies, treats, whatever you like to call them. It’s in my interest to surround my customers with them, as they yield significant profits. A perfect example being Haribo. A standard bag of Haribo with a big yellow £1 sticker on it costs me 70p, including the VAT. So out of your pound, I get thirty pence. The slightly smaller bags with no £1 sticker cost even less, sometimes I can buy them for 50p. I still charge a pound, which the customers sees as being good value, and I have a clear fifty pence of profit. A can of Coke costs me 30p – I sell it for 65p. I can buy a packet of McVities Chocolate Digestives for around 80p, but the pack has £1.69 stamped on it. That leaves me with 89p profit, more than the price I actually paid. You can see why selling these types of products is attractive to me! I will always actively encourage my customers to buy this stuff, even though I know it’s bad for them. Hence – conflict of interests. When I see someone who is very overweight buying lots of these items on a regular basis, I do feel bad. My instinct is to tell them to put them down and join Slimming World, but it’s really none of my business. If someone had said that to me when I was waddling my way round the aisles, I think I would have died of shame and embarrassment. So I am torn between two lovers! Promoting healthy eating vs revelling in the profitability of junk food. It’s a tricky one. Let us also remember that VAT plays a significant role in all this too. 20% of what the consumer pays for an item such as chocolate, sweets etc goes to the government by way of VAT. I would love to know how much VAT is generated from the sale of the junk foods the government is trying so hard to discourage us from eating. Like I say, it’s not just the manufacturers who benefit. Junk food is a cash cow that is milked by the very top, right down to people like me – at the bottom.

 

I’m going to wrap up, as I’m beginning to bore myself. My end point is: The Men Who Made Us Fat did so by making stuff that tastes better than fruit and vegetables, and by selling it to us cheaply. We have kept ourselves fat with poor decision making and lack of education. Now that we have been educated, we allow ourselves to be fat because we think it’s someone elses fault. We are victims of big business. Ultimately, we can all make the choice to stop. It’s hard, and it can’t happen overnight, but how do you know if you don’t try? Don’t be Cadbury’s bitch – ignore the £1 stickers, and either walk away or just go for a smaller bag. Or try some fruit! It’s just as sweet!

 

Thoughts, views, opinions, disagreements welcome.

 

 

Sweet Potato & Jalapeño Soup

Leave a comment

Hadn’t really intended doing another ‘recipe’ post, but a wee flash of inspiration during this evenings munchfest meant I had to share! That, and @lost_girl_found subtly requested! Happy to oblige, as this was actually the nicest soup I’ve enjoyed in ages – needless to say, it is syn free.

You will need:

4 medium sized carrots
4 large sweet potatoes
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic

1 vegetable stock cube
1 chicken stock cube

Ground cumin
Cracked black pepper

A hand blender

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into cubes – this doesn’t need to be perfect, but keep the pieces roughly the same size. Chop the carrots into similar sized pieces, I didn’t bother peeling them. THUG LIFE.

2. Peel and roughly chop the onion, then squish the garlic clove and discard the skin.

3. Throw everything into a large saucepan, then barely cover the ingredients with freshly boiled water and heel in both the stock cubes.

4. Cover, then allow to bubble over a gentle heat until everything is pretty mushy looking. Doesn’t matter how long for, you can’t overcook this! Just don’t leave it uncovered and forget about it. I did this once, and I ended up with mushy veg and a burnt crust on the bottom of the pan. Ming.

5. When it’s time to dish up, get the blender out! Whizz the soup until its smooth – you’ll probably need to add more water at this stage to loosen it up. I like it quite thick, but if you don’t, just keep adding water bit by bit until you find your level. When the soup is totally smooth, add a touch of cumin and a good dash of the cracked black pepper. Remember, you can always add more; but you can’t take away! The best way to ruin a good soup is to overseason.

You should have something that resembles this:

20120809-233211.jpg

I told you I like it thick!

6. Now for the magic. You may have noticed there was no mention of jalapeño in the ingredients list…. That’s because no jalapeños were hurt in the making of this post. I was going to throw some chilli powder into my bowl for a bit of excitement, but then I saw this:

20120809-233815.jpg

This is jalapeño hot sauce! It’s exactly what it says – its made from jalapeños and it’s hot! Not incapacitating, but packs a great punch. I swirled a bit in. BOOM. It was a match made in heaven. The slightly salty tang of the sauce evened out the sweetness of the sweet potato, and the little bit of cilantro (coriander) in the sauce gave a wee Mexican hint, without making it too Old El Paso. So that’s the last step! As you’re about to dive in, swirl a bit of this bad boy in to the soup and you’ll be in El Chile heaven. Im taking the rest to work tomorrow!

20120809-234347.jpg

That’s it all done! I hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it like I did – with the raunchy abandon of a Mexican wench!

P.S. The sauce I used came from TK Maxx, randomly. It’s not to be confused with the habanero sauce of the same brand. It’s red, it’s angry, and it will explode you. You can get this sauce on eBay, and I’d imagine you can pick it up in larger Tesco/Asda stores. The sauce contains zero calories, fat, carbs and protein. Just to be a good girl, I entered these values into the Slimming World syn calculator and it came up as FREE on all plans. Imagine that! It’s a great alternative to ketchup, and it has become my new best syn free friend. I urge you to seek it out!

Super Saturday Pt 2

Leave a comment

20120805-092046.jpg

I did say I’d try and do another post during the games last night, but I spent all my time clapping and cheering – no time for blogging! It’s only now that I’ve woken up and read through my Twitter and Facebook timelines that I realise how immense last night was, and how incredibly lucky I was to be there. I’ve never been a big fan of athletics, but I have a new found respect for anyone who puts so much hard work and effort into their discipline. Maybe it’s because I too am an athlete now…….

That was clearly a joke. Anyway, I am now truly a sport spectator convert! The atmosphere in that park last night was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before; and it was impossible not to get involved. I have to say, the Brits really know how to support their own! The roars when Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah were even mentioned were enough to spur an army into battle, so you can imagine the sounds when they crossed the line. Two unstoppable runs from two beloved competitors. I never saw myself getting this excited about sport in my life, much less sport involving British athletes – remember its very un-Irish to support anything draped with a Union Jack!

20120805-093435.jpg

The sight of Jessica Ennis draped in a Union Jack inspired all sorts of support from me let me tell you! She really is a great looking girl, and that stomach is disgustingly fantastic. Im really glad she won, I dread to think how the press would have reacted if she hadn’t. Her face (and abs) are plastered everywhere around the city – she really is the poster girl for these Olympics.

From poster girl to poster boy, Mo Farah did the business in the 10000 metres too, with epic support from the stalls; especially for the last six laps. As he passed each side of the park, everyone took to their feet, clapping and yelling the guy to victory.

20120805-094156.jpg

It’s hard to believe the crowd had any energy left after Ennis and Rutherford, who was quietly annihilating the rest of the guys in the long jump final. But they found some from somewhere, and every last ounce went on celebrating Farah’s win. Stunning.

It must be difficult for the competitors in the ‘smaller’ events which exist as a sideshow to the likes of the 100m, 400m etc – I felt a bit sorry for the ladies doing the discus, and the long jump guys; as they sometimes were forgotten about and great efforts were going unnoticed. Though if the discus girls were that offended they could probably just throw some of the officials around, or break them in half. Fair play to Rutherford though, he pulled off some great jumps, even if he took the final one in his stride a little.

All in all, a fantastic experience. Words can’t really do it justice, so here’s a few more pics. Wish i had taken a proper camera – iPhone can only do so much.

Laters!

20120805-095418.jpg

20120805-095453.jpg

20120805-095602.jpg

Standout photo of the day however is this one: the queue for McDonalds. More about that later!

20120805-095725.jpg

Super Saturday

1 Comment

20120804-184514.jpg

Guess where Bigfatmarathon is today? That’s right! Sitting in the Olympic Park, all set to watch Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah lift Gold in a couple of hours. The sheer scale of the Park and Village is Olympic in itself – I’m incredibly awed by the whole thing. England takes a bashing from all corners of the world for being bumbling, shambolic and a poor cousin to the USA; Lord knows some of it is well deserved! Not on this occasion however.

Transportation has been efficient and well organised, and unbelievably clean. The Underground is practically shining. There are huge numbers of extra staff at Tube stations, and dotted around the City, who are there to help people with their journey. This is a pleasant change from previous visits to London! Despite being fairly well versed in London transport at this stage, there are some times where you need a point in the right direction; the staff on hand at the minute are all so genuinely friendly and sincere you really don’t feel like an idiot for asking them questions! Very approachable and well informed.

There’s an amazing vibe around Stratford and the Olympic Village. There are literally thousands upon thousands of people here, all shapes, sizes, colours, genders – its like a massive Benneton advert. Everyone’s in fantastic form and it’s a real pleasure to be here. I just watched the men’s 400m hurdles there – unbelievable roar around the park when the gun went off. Never experienced anything like that before. It’s like a hundred Take That concerts rolled into one!

I’m going to sign off for now, but might do another post later when Jessica Ennis is on. I really hope she wins – she deserves it. And she’s sexy.

Laters!

20120804-190715.jpg