Easy Low Carb Roasted Beetroot, Feta and Walnut Salad

Hey you!

I figured it was about time I actually post something, and what better way to start again than with a (mostly) low carb salad that’s dead simple to make and won’t fail to impress?

I say “mostly” as it does contain beetroot, which is on the orange list and therefore needs to be limited especially if you’re aiming for ketosis and avoiding carbs at all costs. Beets are 7g carbohydrates to 100g, so not overly high at least 🙂

Ingredients
Raw beetroot
Baby salad leaves (my aversion to iceburg lettuce know no bounds)
Walnuts
Plain Greek Feta
Coconut Oil
Granulated Xylitol (you can sugar if you aren’t avoiding carbs)

Boil your beetroots for roughly 20 minutes – this makes getting the skin off easier and less messy than peeling them. Tip: I put the hot beets in a large bowl of ice cold water and rubbed the skin off in the water itself – this way you avoid pink hands for the next three days 😛
Preheat oven to 220 C
Quarter your beets and place in a roasting tray with a generous spoonful of cocount oil, and sprinkle with xylitol. Place in oven just long enough to melt the coconut oil, remove and mix well to ensure all of your pieces are nicely coated with coconut oil and xylitol. You’ll want them in the oven for a minimum of half an hour to get that nice roasted finish – I had mine in for 45 – check on them every 15 minutes and remove when you’re happy with them.

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Throw your salad leaves in a bowl, spoon in the roasted candied beets, top with roughly chopped / partially crumbled feta and your walnuts. That’s it, you’re done!!

The beets are so sweet you don’t require a dresing with this, but balsamic would probably be my first choice if you need some extra “oomph” in yours.

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Monday Moaning’s – How do YOU do it?

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I am the world’s WORST with sticking to things. I love starting projects, be they self improvement, exercise plans, new eating lifestyle’s, new craft projects or even new games. Completing any of the aforementioned though? Now that’s an entirely different story.

This year alone, these are the things I have started and not stuck with 100% / completed:
– Banting / LCHF lifestyle: I stick to it probably 70% of the time. The 30% of the time that I don’t, means that as of this morning, my weight app tells me I have to lose the equivalent of a ten year old to reach my goal weight.

– P90X. Yeah, that lasted for a grand total of a week and a half for me.

– Running. I started with great intentions and even got the better half and I doing it together. My knee gave me hassles after 3 jog / walk sessions and we haven’t done it since.

– Games. SO MANY UNFINISHED GAMES.

So, help me here interwebs. I do have a very sporadic topsy turvy lifestyle, with what seems like very little time to do things. I also always seem to be tired, though I suspect the main culprit of that is my non constant eating ways. With me renewing studies shortly too, this is only going to get worse. How do YOU keep focused and on track with your goals? What secret “tricks” do you have / mantra’s you use to inspire you? Schedule tricks and tips to get the most of of your limited hours in the day?

Monday Moanings – Keep Calm and Try Again

I have failed this past week. DISMALLY. Weigh in for the #Fat2Fab challenge is tomorrow and I know for certain I’ll be up. It’s been a week of no exercise (work and evening events got in the way) followed by a birthday weekend spent over eating and drinking OMG ALL THE CARBS!!!

As it is, this morning the scale yelled at me that I’m 3kg’s heavier than this time last week. THREE. F**ING. KILO’S. Yes I can argue water retention until I’m blue in the face, but I sincerely doubt that’s all it is. I brought the remaining 1 litre plus Ultra Mel custard (much to my other half’s disgust) and the left over hot dog rolls in to work for our very sweet, mouse quiet, diminutive tea lady today. She is smiling from ear to ear. Almost as much as I was smiling when I ate a cheese and onion chip roll for breakfast yesterday. And took the fact that the kettle wouldn’t switch on as a sign that I should fill my beautiful newly acquired Le Cruesset coffee mug (part of my gorgeous birthday gift from my better half) with Ultra Mel. AND then I proceeded to have pasta for dinner last night. And lots of chocolate through the day. LOTS.

I didn’t fall off the wagon so much as hop off, run ahead, dig an abyss for it to fall into, and lay touch explosive dynamite at the bottom for it when it hit.

So, today is yet another day one for me.

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PS. That chip roll was the BEST.

Monday Moaning’s – Just gotta KEEP MOVING

Yes, yes, I know; I missed last week’s post for Monday Moaning’s. I apologise, but ’twas a public holiday here, which generally means no posts from me (I tend to do posts on week days only).

So let’s catch you up on the P90X. It’s just as well I didn’t post last week; as I was convinced I would need to be put in traction to recover from the sheer brutality that is the P90X Plyometrics session. No sane human should ever embark on this routine. It’s inhumane, insane and probably breaches the Geneva convention or human rights laws somewhere on the planet. At least, that’s what I would have told you last week – when just going to the bathroom became an exercise (there’s that cursed word again!!) in pure torment – my thigh muscles were beyond sore; I was googling muscle transplants as I swore I broke mine. Okay, not literally, but you get my point 😉

I started off all gung ho as one does with all new and shiny endeavours. Breezed through the first class for Chest and Back, and gave it my best shot with the Plyometrics class on day 2, but had to actually stop 15 minutes before the end. It’s all lunges and jumps and things my joints and rapidly ageing and horrendously unfit body CANNOT DO. Day 3 saw me take a “rest day” because the pain was just too damn severe to do anything else. Note to self – COOL DOWN COOL DOWN COOL DOWN. I didn’t stretch after my abrupt end to the Plyo class, I just collapsed into a blubbering barely breathing sack of meat on the couch. Boy did I pay for that.

Almost 2 weeks in though and it’s a much rosier picture. I haven’t managed to do a class every single day and follow the routine by rote, but I have managed at least 3 classes a week in the program, and I managed the full Plyometrics class on my second attempt, but with my own adjustments to survive and preserve my fragile joints. They do 20 lunges, I do 15. They hop in the air like madmen; I jog on the spot. It dawned on me fairly early on that I am NOT at the same level of fitness as these seemingly superhuman bionic specimens in the videos. Expecting myself to be able to keep up and replicate their every move is lunacy. But what I can do, and indeed what the P90X instructor keeps insisting on, is KEEP MOVING.

It’s still one hell of a struggle to actually talk myself into starting that video and doing the class, but if I have the time and no valid excuses to avoid doing so, I get up and do it. And it amazes me how absolutely great I feel afterwards. If only they could bottle that in spray format as a “GET GOING” spray 😛 This is the scary face my better half woke up to on WhatsApp yesterday – I’ll share it with you for humour’s sake 🙂

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While I’m certainly sore today, I’m not in nearly as much agony as I was on day 3 of this exercise journey of mine; and the scale was at it’s lowest in probably 3 or more years this morning. The pain is there, but dammit is it worth it. And it will get better, and easier, and one day I’ll manage to match the superhuman bionic people in my TV. One day. Just gotta KEEP MOVING.

Monday Moaning’s – The dreaded “e” word….. and my solution to get going

So I’ve been following a LCHF eating plan (with many cheats along the way, it has to be admitted) since February this year, and I’m fairly okay with my results so far, especially in light of me not being as disciplined as my work bestie Sharon. Sharon’s journey on LCHF has been nothing short of inspiring; it has been an absolute wonder to watch her shape change and her clothes literally start falling off of her month on month. Though LCHF is certainly responsible for the bulk (hahahaha yeah, see what I did there?) of her dramatic and steady weight loss, she’s started adding the dreaded “e” word to her routine in the past month or two – EXERCISE. Sharon is now running 3km minimum pretty much every day, doing Park Runs and even Zoo Trots. So, my natural conclusion – its’ time I started exercising to get the results I am after; LCHF has meant I’ve lost a little over 6kg’s in 6 months and kept it off, but I’m after more, faster, and I want not just a thin body, but a toned one too. And being able to actually keep up with my dogs on a trot every now and then would be an added bonus.

I got as far as registering for the Park Run’s, even printed and laminated my barcode in preparation, alas, I have yet to actually drag my butt to one. Park Run, by the way, is a volunteer organisation that offer a range of weekly free to run (or walk) routes in various suburbs, mostly in parks or local nature reserves, you can check them out here for more info on your area.

I tried jogging way back when with my then dog, Yoshi, and after a week I could barely walk my ankles were so stuffed. I was told by my dietician at the time that because arthritis is in my family my joints cannot handle running and I should stick to fast paced walking and low impact joint exercises. So there’s that. Sure, I could walk it, but that takes away the entire point (for me) of the social get together that Park Run should be, as I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Sharon. And then you have the fact that I’d have to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning, get dressed, and drive somewhere in order to do a 5km walk. Assuming I don’t have a hangover from Friday festivities, that’s still my weekend morning of freedom that’s being buggered up by me having to be somewhere just for the sake of me walking 5km’s. I can do 4km’s on my usual area walk with my dogs, and with Basil being pretty much a nuclear reactor live wire on the end of the lead, I guarantee you I’d probably sweat more walking the dogs than doing any Park Run. So, that is out for me as a regular exercise option. I will still get to one; Sharon says the Woodmead route is quite beautiful and you run (walk, in my case) past bokkies etc, so I will do it with the other half who is also keen, but as an outing rather than my exercise routine.

And then there was cycling. 2 years ago, I got talked into signing up for the 94.7 cycle race for charity. With the usual deranged, self delusional rose coloured glasses firmly in place, I set up a training routine, swore I’d quit smoking, and figured “I have 8 months to get myself in top shape and I CAN DO THIS”. With a month to the race, I’d done very little training, was still smoking, and needless to say on the day I barely made the 1st check point of the race (15km) before calling it quits. I still enjoy cycling and I’d love to give that race another bash and actually complete it, but herein lies my issue with this particular form of exercise. SAFETY. I am not in a boomed off area, most of the streets are newly developed housing complexes and don’t even have street lights, and the only times I’d be able to cycle in winter are pretty much guaranteed to be dark. Aside from the obvious dangers of the Midrandian drivers and their cars they wield as weapons (different breed of drivers all together.. I assure you!), there’s the plain and simple fact that I’m a female on my own and it just wouldn’t be safe for me to cycle around on my own on roads for multiple reasons I won’t bother getting into. Sure, I could go to Kyalami race track and pay my R15 or whatever it is these days to cycle in safety; but guess what? Aside from the fact that I have to take half hour out of my day to even get my bike into my car and to the track, that’s BORING. I loved cycling as a kid because it got me places. Because it meant I could explore a road / field / off road dirt track I hadn’t gone down before. NOT because I wanted to go around circles on a cement track with no bloody view nodding at the other, far fitter, people whizzing past me while I push my bicycle up the bloody steep incline battling to catch my breath. And they’re smiling and they’re cycling up a bloody 100 degree incline. BREATHING. For the birds, I tell ya.

In my most recent attempts at finding something “right for me”, I enquired about a boxing bootcamp I saw advertised on one of those wind-toy trailer advertising prints. Beat the crap out of inanimate objects, learn self defence and get fit? Sounds GREAT. Sadly, at R2.5k starting price for the one I enquired about, NOT so great. And time is always an issue for me – I cannot commit to specific classes on specific days with, especially with myself and the other half being in separate homes and having to juggle seeing each other with our own commitments from 60km apart abodes on the fly.

You see, I can come up with a myriad of excuses (valid, in my mind) to NOT exercise. It’s not safe. It’s too cold / too dark / I’m too tired to get out of bed this early. I feel guilty being outdoors and not taking my dogs along. It’s not fun and I get bored. It’s not social enough. Blah blah blah. I’ve long suspected I’m just prone to laziness – great ideas, huge energy and commitment in the beginning, but ultimately, no execution.

However, as I realise I need to get some exercise in, I’ve decided to give something else a bash. And I’m doing it as only I know how, all-in in the beginning, with the enthusiasm and determination of Basil once he’s caught a whiff of the biltong in your hand; I am doggedly determined to DO THIS! Of course, this is how it always starts. So I decided I’d best catalogue it. Make it public. Name and shame (potentially) myself in this endeavour. Maybe the potential shame will keep me on the path. Not let me make excuses. It’s in the public sphere now, so I have no choice but to keep going. And keep documenting it.

So what will I be updating you on? My P90X journey. Not content with easing into things or taking it easy, I (of course) found the most insane program for my obvious lack of fitness level, and I got started on it yesterday officially. Essentially, it’s a minimum 1 hour training video a day that you follow with people who look like they could all easily be cast in the next iteration of 300. Why this program you ask. Why not Zumba, or Hip Hop abs, or something more my level and with “fun” attached to it? I don’t have a definitive answer, other than an innate knowledge of myself – I work well on definitive schedules. While I’ll slap you upside the head in my normal day to day life for trying to tell me what to do, it seems I need exactly that in order to stick with an exercise routine, as well as keep the danger of repetitiveness and the ensuing boredom from what it is I’m doing, or I’ll find something else more valuable to do with my time. Like watch Game of Thrones. The P90X system does this by doing a different focus group of muscles each day, on a 7 day cycle for the first 3 weeks, and then switching all up again, and again, and yet again, for the balance of the full 3 month program. I certainly don’t expect to look like a 300 cast member at the end of the three months, but leaner and fitter is a good start. If you want to learn more about P90X, have a looksie here.

So, in an effort to force me into following through with my new 3 month journey of the dreaded “e” word, I’ll be updating you on a regular basis on my progress. So with this goal in mind, the Monday Moaning’s begin, where I detail the levels of agony that my various muscle groups are in.

Yesterday was chest and arms, and I can already tell that by this afternoon lifting a full coffee cup to my mouth for the required mid day slump reversal attempt will be painful.

Let the Monday Moaning’s begin!