Entries in carbs (3)


Lessons from living on $2 a day

This was my seventh year doing Live Below the Line – a fundraising and awareness initiative run by Oaktree Foundation to help end extreme poverty.  You live on (food and drink) $2 a day for a week … the equivalent of the poverty line in developing countries.  Though that includes transport, accommodation … everything ... for those people. 

The challenge never gets easier, but each time I am reminded of important lessons, which is one of the key parts of doing it.  

The first and most obvious is that we have so much more than some people, and you really don’t need as much food as you think you do.  I come from a family who would pile dinner plates high with delicious food and we’d happily devour every last piece of whatever was served  … then maybe a little bit of dessert afterwards.  When you’re faced with a half filled bowl of bad bland pasta, it’s amazing how you can still fill up – and not be wanting more.  Note to self; stop over indulging.  (Have I done this since?  Sort of. I’ve certainly tried.)  

The week of LBL was also a reminder about how much free food we get at work.  Cake for birthdays.  Cheese Platters on Fridays.   With wine.  Catering from clients.  Home made treats from the people who like baking.  There’s always something tasty and free up for offer.  A few people suggested I could just eat the food because I didn’t have to pay for it, but I reminded them that there’s no free food in Cambodia or PNG, so unfortunately I’d need to wait a week to enjoy their to-die-for brownies.

My job is quite social, so I probably took it for granted that so many clients want to meet over a coffee.  In the five days of Live Below the Line I was invited to four coffee meetings.  And a breakfast.  In previous years I’ve met people in cafés and just drank water but sometimes it makes them feel awkward so this year I moved the meetings to another week – or told them what I was doing and we made it an office catch up.  Now I’m back and my barista is loving me again. 

Catching up with friends over dinner is a huge part of my life too.  We love going to our favourite restaurants, enjoying a wine or seven, and swapping stories on what’s happening in our lives.  My gorgeous friend Dani was a trooper, hanging out with me one night when we went to a movie preview, turning down the complimentary wine, popcorn and choc tops to drink water with me.  My stomach grumbled a little, and I went home straight after the movie to ‘enjoy’ a bowl of bland pasta, but she never once complained.  Our catch ups usually involve cool new restaurants or piles of funky gourmet pizza.  I’m sure we’ll get back there soon. 

The one thing that wasn’t a surprise – but continues to humble me – was the generosity of my friends, family and workmates.  So many of them donated to my fundraising page – some quite large donations, along with a whole lot of people who are suffering tough times but still dug deep to help me with my fundraising goals.  I was hoping to raise $1,200 but, with the generosity of so many people, hit $2,542.08.  My first year of Live Below the Line saw me raise $400.  A stack of amazing people in my life donated to the cause – and also sent me beautiful words of love and support.  I have some fantastic people in my life.  But I already knew that. 

The thing I didn’t know was that you can lose 3kgs by stuffing your face with white home brand wheat filled pasta and bread three times a day.  So carbs are actually good for you?  I knew it. 


Once a baker's grand daughter ...

I LOVE bread.  I can’t get enough of it.  I’d eat bread with every meal - and as a snack if I could. Pfft, who am I kidding. That’s what I do most days.  I just call it carbs loading.

I love all types of bread.  Rye – Multi grain – Sour Dough – Spelt – Fruit Loaf – Naan – Corn bread - good old plain, normal white bread.  There’s nothing like hot fresh white bread covered in butter – or with cheese.  Heaven.  Plus all the fancy types of rolls and wraps – Ciabatta – Turkish – Pita – Focaccia - Mountain Bread – Baguettes – Bagels.    And let’s not forget all the joyous butter filled stuff like croissants … roti bread … brioche … crumpets … does pizza count?  It’s made of dough.  Yes, let’s include that in my list of bread sins. 

Bread is my crack.  

In an effort to get to a better level of fitness – with a semi toned body – and that amazing feeling you get when you feel strong and lean - I’ve been re-reading The Four Hour Body.  The guy who wrote it also penned The Four Hour Work Week which is a great concept if you work for yourself or have a super flexible boss who doesn’t mind you’re not there for 36 hours each week.   The Four Hour Body is all about fueling your body with the right foods, eliminating stuff that creates an abundance of sugar and fat, and exercising with purpose so that you don’t have to run marathons. 

Obviously he has no idea how much fun running a marathon is.  

Mind you, he’s calling his book “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman” so he probably has better things to do than run marathons for fun.  Being Superhuman with so much incredible sex all the time.

My friend Super Girl lent me the book ages ago and I flipped through bits of it but there’s a lot of technical stuff in it – calculations – formulas – all the stuff that bores me.  I’m also not very good at it.   Ask my high school Maths teacher.  Or my current Financial Controller.

Looking for some inspiration, I found the chapter about eating in a different way to give your body what it needs, increase your energy levels and feel fitter and stronger than ever before.  That’s what I want.  That’s what I need.  What do I have to do? 

Give up carbs, he says. 

How’s ‘Get F*cked Sound?’ I reply. 

There’s no way someone with a bread addiction like mine can give up carbs.   It just won’t happen.  Bread gives me energy. It makes me feel good.  It’s my comfort food.  It makes me happy.  Really happy.

Bread is versatile.  I toast it and cover it in Vegemite and suddenly I’m awake – the perfect warm me up and make me a nice human breakfast. I put my favourite stuff in between it at lunch time and create sandwich utopia. It’s the perfect side dish at dinner – especially garlic bread – with all that butter and garlicky goodness dripping everywhere.  Oh God.  Get that into me now.

I’m motivated and ready to get fit in 2014.  Really I am. I even created the Lean Tan Plan with lots of exercise and things to make me feel good like yoga.  It’s just not going to work if I have to delete carbs from my life. I’d rather give up one of my internal organs and lose 3kgs instantly than give up bread.  

My late Grandfather was a baker.  It’s in my blood. I think that’s part of the reason I have such an intense bread addiction.  Just before he passed away he would tell the carers in the nursing home that he had to get up early to bake fresh rolls and bread for the other residents. They let him think he was still a baker - even though he was 90 and could barely get out of bed. He’d talk every day about cooking and owning a bakery in a small country town.  We don’t have the heart to tell him we all shop at Bakers Delight now, she told me.  Bless.

Baked goods are in my genes – and you know what they say.  You can’t fight genetics. I can’t fight my love affair with bread. It’s the ultimate romance – always there when I need it, hot, fresh and ready to make me feel good. It might leave crumbs in my bed, but that's as bad as it gets.  

Lean, mean bodies are over rated.  I’d rather be happy. Come here you hot Italian Ciabatta, let’s make out.   


Carbs overload 


I never thought I'd say this but I don't care if I don't eat pasta again for a very long time. Like ages. Months and months.

I have spent the past few days - okay I'll admit it - more like weeks in a huge lovefest of carbs loading. Let me point out, I havent just been doing it for fun, though God knows I could. It's been part of my running plan. Everyone knows that before you do a long run you need to eat a stack of food with lots of carbs. That's how you get your energy. My problem - or should I say awesomeness - comes from me eating copious amounts of pasta and bread before every run. Like 10kms or 15kms. Once I even ate a huge bowl of tuna pasta before an 8km run. Yes.

I have a carbs problem. 

I LOVE pasta so any excuse to eat it and I'll take it. Running is perfect as I get to have pasta and bread the night before a training session ... then burn it off. Well that's how it's meant to work IF you follow your running plan.

Unfortunately I've not been exercising as much as I'd like to ... or should be. There are lots of reasons for that. I've had running injuries. My PT Dani went overseas for a month then came back for a week and moved to the US. I was loving yoga and going at least once a week until The Sports Dr said it was stretching my body the wrong way for running so I gave that up too. Rather than a stack of cross training I've been doing just two or three runs a week . And eating like I own an Italian restaurant.

Needless to say I don't really feel or look my best right now. But I'm certainly happy. (Research says carbs release endorphins. I am testament to that.)

Sure I've considered going on a low carbs, high protein diet but something in me dies when I think about a life with no pasta, bread, rice or fun stuff.  I would rather give up alcohol and increase my exercise regime to lose weight than give up carbs. They're my crack.  Besides I've heard that people on high protein diets have bad breath and find it difficult to pooh. No thanks, I'll pass.

Not that I should technically be eating carbs anyway.  My body gets a bit antsy when it has too much wheat ' so I´m meant to try and avoid it if I can - or at least not eat too much of it.  Epic fail lately.

Also, I have no self control when it cones to ordering what goes on top of the pasta. Yes tomato based sauces with lots of veggies are great, however I want the ones filled with cream and cheese thanks very much. Oh and I can't eat pasta without bread. See what's going on here?

Carbs and pasta joy serve a purpose when I'm training for a marathon ... once a year ... but  I'm not sure it's that good for me.

I want to feel great again. Now that the Majorca half marathon is out the way I'm breaking up with pasta. It's time I hung out with some protein and veggies for a while .

Don't worry pasta, I'll be back. You never forget your first love.  We'll just have to find fun ways to burn you off.