Sat 19 Jan 2013
Resolutions – everyone has an opinion about them. Some friends of mine refuse to partake in this annual New Year tradition while others write entire lists of what they’d like to accomplish over the next year.
Me? Well I personally like to take advantage of that bright-eyed, optimistic feeling that comes with every new year. And I like to go big – I mean, why not? I think the last few years have taught me more than anything that aiming high and dreaming big can only lead to great things; less than three years ago I was a single gal living in LA, frustrated with dating and wondering where my life was going. Today I live in Dublin, an married to an amazing man and work in the digital creative agency business. I find myself smiling sometimes when I’m walking down the coast road, looking out at Howth from Bull Island and buttoning up my coat thinking, “Wow…this is my life.”
I guess my point is that if you aim for the stars, you might just reach them – and even if you don’t, you may reach the treetops, a mountaintop and maybe some low-level clouds, and that’s higher than you were before.
With that in mind, I’m starting the new year off by aiming to shed the extra weight I’ve been carrying for a number of years. I’m not seriously overweight or have any weight-related health issues, but if I’m being honest I’d say I could stand to lose 20 lbs. (about 9 kilograms) and moreover could do with some toning and strength training. I have some back issues and tennis elbow problems (not from playing tennis but from repetitive typing) and getting into better shape will help alleviate those issues. I also desperately need to finish a book proposal I’ve been working on for far too long and get back to blogging on a regular basis.
For the weight/get-in-shape goal, I’ve started the Eat to Live plan, which was recommended to me by my best friend back home. I’m doing the core program for six weeks, with a few minor exceptions, which involves eating nothing but plant-based foods. Basically no sugar, dairy and animal proteins and limited processed carbs.
What’s left on the “can eat” list is more than you’d think: All kinds of veggies & fruit, brown rice, corn tortillas, buckwheat groats, oatmeal (the latter four in limited amounts), legumes including beans & lentils, nuts in moderation and soy. I’m also drinking a Glowing Green Smoothie every day along with lots of water. Though the plan recommends no caffeine or alcohol, I’m allowing myself one cup of coffee with soy milk, and a couple of glasses of wine at the weekend. I’ve also set aside one “cheat” meal for Saturday nights, which means I can have one meal of my choosing – though I am not going to go overboard!
I’m also starting a new program at the gym and doing some stretching exercises at night to help with my back issues. I’ve just completed week one of the eating plan, and will now incorporate the gym starting tomorrow. Wish me luck (I will be sharing recipes and tips here, though I promise this won’t turn into a diet blog!).
As for the book proposal, I’m doing a regime where I have to write 10 minutes per day. I find it easier to do smaller bits when I feel inspired (which is at least once a day!) than forcing myself to sit for an entire afternoon. What keeps me going is the idea that perhaps one day, I can be a full-time writer/author for a living. I know it sounds ridiculous especially in this day and age, but it’s a dream and I find that focusing on it – silly as it may be – inspires me. And writing the blog – well, it’s just something I enjoy so I am making it a top priority this year.
Even if you think resolutions are cliché, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to consider what you might change or do better or do more (or less!) of in 2013. I think the key is to stay focused and don’t lose faith and beat yourself up if you get off track for a bit. Just grab your bootstraps and keep on keepin’ on!
Red Curry Lentil Dahl – Vegan
Last night I made a dinner of two curries for myself and Mountaineering Man that kept with the Eat to Live plan. As MM is not doing the plan (I mean, the guy runs 50KM a week!) I wanted to make something that didn’t screw up my plan but that he’d also enjoy. I made a veggie Jalfrezi, which was really easy as I had a Chicken Jalfrezi spice packet from Marks & Spencer (I just opted not to use chicken), which is mixed with a load of veggies (I used cauliflower, peppers & onions) and some tomato puree, ginger and garlic to create a lovely, spicy Jalfrezi. For our other dish, I made this dahl. I recommend making it the night before – the longer it sits, the better it tastes! (I had a few chickpeas leftover so I threw them in, as you can see in the pic!).
- 1½ cups lentils, cooked per directions & set aside (I used green puy lentils)
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- ½ tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- a few good shakes of cayenne pepper
- 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup coconut milk or cream
- chopped fresh coriander for garnishing
- brown rice for serving
Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and red pepper and sauté for about five minutes until soft. Add all the spices (curry paste, garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, sugar, garlic, ginger) and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce; stir and simmer until smooth. Add the lentils and the coconut milk and let simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes. Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Veggie Sushi w/Brown Rice – Vegan
We had this last weekend for dinner; not only does it comply with the Eat to Live plan but it tastes amazing! The sushi rolling can be a bit tricky but there are a lot of videos on YouTube that show you exactly how to do it – just watch a couple and you’ll be grand. I used this step-by-step guide and it was fantastic. I also chopped all my veggies that morning so that I wasn’t overwhelmed with prep once dinner time rolled around.
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice (you can get brown sushi rice at the Asia Market on Drury Street or get short-grain organic brown rice at most health food shops)
- 2 tablespoons mirin (rice vinegar, available at Asian shops)
- 5-6 sheets of nori (black seaweed sheets, available at Asian shops)
- Whatever veggies you like, cut into thin strips. I used roasted pumpkin, beetroot, avocado, yellow peppers & cucumbers
- Pickled ginger (Asian shop!)
Cook the rice according to instructions at least an hour before you need to roll sushi. As soon as the rice is finished, let it sit for 10 minutes with the lid on (off the heat). Then remove the lid and add in the mirin, stir with a fork and let the rice cool to room temperature. Now you are ready to roll your sushi – have a sushi station ready: Rice, nori, chopped veg and pickled ginger (I like to put some inside the roll- adds great flavour). Follow the instructions of whatever video you choose, believe me it’s hard to explain it in words so you are better off watching someone do it.