Sunday, 28 April 2013


We all go through stages where we consider our life, where we've been and where we're going, what is working for us and what isn't, what can we do to reach our goals and dreams... you know... the all important questions. The last month has been one of those times of concentrated contemplation for everyone in our household and there are changes afoot....

For me the major catalyst for contemplation and change has been a minor health scare. It all worked out fine, but it has prompted me to look at a my lifestyle and think about how I can change things to try and ensure a long, happy, healthy and fulfilling life. I have a huge list of things that I want/need to change so I'm going to start on the list with baby steps: set myself small achievable goals and work towards them rather than trying to do everything in one hit.

The first thing on my list of self-improvement is to change my eating habits. My diet up until now has never been really bad but its never been ideal either; its not so much the food that I was eating (although there's some room for improvement there too), but the way in which I was eating. I was routinely skipping breakfast entirely, having something light for lunch and eating the main meal of the day at dinner; I combined this with a high caffeine intake and a tendency to substitute iced-coffee for actual food and to snack between meals.

So the baby-steps plan for now to improve my diet is:
  • Make an effort to eat 4 small meals a day - no skipping breakfast!
  • Cut back on the caffeine - not eliminate entirely, but cut it right back
  • Drink more water
  • Make healthier snack choices (raw foods or home made snacks rather than packaged)
Its been a couple of weeks and so far I'm doing OK with the changes. I've had a few slip-up but that's OK, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet - there has to be some room for flexibility every now and then. I've drastically reduced the caffeine intake (wow - those caffeine withdrawal headaches for the first couple of days were a killer!), I'm now drinking at least 2 litres of water a day, and I'm eating smaller meals more frequently.

The one that I'm really struggling with is the breakfast thing. I just don't feel like eating within a few hours of getting out of bed in the morning.  I've tried toast and cereal before work and taking breakfast with me to eat once I get to work thinking that if I gave it a bit longer between getting up and eating it might be a bit easier but its still not really doing it for me.

One thing I did try, but it ended up being more a morning or afternoon tea snack than breakfast, was a  baked oatmeal casserole. Its possibly not the healthiest ever breakfast choice, but it was super yummy.

I made it as per the recipe this time but if I were to  make it again I'd probably make a few changes like reducing or omitting the sugar, omitting the chocolate, maybe add some dried apricot or peaches and some more/different nuts. It would probably also be a good idea to halve the recipe - Its supposed to be six servings but I think it should easily be 12 - we ended up throwing out more than half of the casserole because we just couldn't get through it all within a few days (although in a larger household it would probably be fine). So here's the recipe I used:


Baked Oatmeal Casserole

( from

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces (I also used some flaked almonds and coconut on top)
1 cup raspberries (any berries work - I used some fresh strawberries and frozen mixed berries)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, sliced

Preheat oven to 190Cand generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the walnuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of strawberries, walnuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal).
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.

Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar.

This is how mine turned out:

I'll try smoothies this week and see how I go with them - there's got to be something that I can handle first thing in the morning.

Until next time

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