Friday, March 25, 2011

Health and Fitness.

Health: We are starting to come out of our (partial) survival mode when it comes to food. For breakfast we either have cereal or fried eggs and bacon or sausage (don’t judge!). We have tried to make pancakes out of crumpet mix, but they are not the same. My parents used to make pancake mixes from scratch- do any of you have a home-made recipe we can use? Sandwiches are quick and easy for lunch, and often better than what P finds on campus. We are starting to make a few more creative dinner dishes at home and are experimenting with some different cuts of meat on the braai (barbeque). We have tried making our own white sauce for pasta; the first time we added a cheese that did not melt or integrate well, so we made sure that we had the right kind of cheese for our second time, was much better.

Unfortunately, we have also been choosing what is easy. Because our schedule keeps adjusting to new pressures, we don’t always have what we need to cook or the evening is fast approaching and time is of the essence. We have ordered pizza here more than we normally would in Tucson, and we have also baked some frozen ones as well. The pizzas here are smaller, thin crust, and have less cheese on them, so they are not as bad as they could be! Little saving graces, right?  

One interesting thing is that my cheese addiction has morphed into a Cheas Naks addiction, which is probably worse. Those of you who know of my cheese addiction would be surprised that I have only had it on the pizza and in sandwiches. For the uniformed, Cheas Naks are the closest approximation to Cheetos that I can find. Posers such as Nik Naks need to disappear because the texture and taste is all wrong.

And chocolate... We share a chocolate bar almost every day. Why? Because we need to know which are the best ones here in SA. The only brands that are familiar are Snickers, M and M’s, and Kit Kats. We really enjoy the Cadbury brand's chocolate bars: Fruit and Nut and Cashew and Coconut are the best. I have never been much of a chocolate eater, but I’m having fun finding an excuse to partake several times a week. If we don’t have chocolate for dessert, we will have some vanilla ice cream with fresh mango or frozen raspberries. Yummy!

Fitness: Because our Discovery Health insurance began at the start of the month, we were able to join the Virgin Active gym at a deeply discounted rate through their Vitality program. We paid the start-up fee and from now on, only have to pay 20% of the monthly fee that most members have to pay. This gym is amazing. It is not too far away and has an incredible view of Devil’s Peak (the background picture on P’s blog shows it nicely). The gym has an olympic-sized indoor pool and cool machines like the Power Plate and Kinesis, neither which I have tried. One of the things that I have enjoyed most over the last three weeks has been the fitness classes- they have the most of any gym I have ever seen! I have not always attended gym classes regularly in the past, but I’m liking the ones I have gone to. I have tried several times the yoga, Pilates, intermediate step, Zumba, and belly dancing classes and have had fairly good experiences at them. I now realize how important the instructor quality is to the success of a class. The step class I went to last Saturday sucked so much because the teacher (whom I will not name) would not do the routine with us and we would get lost without his visual cues; he then yelled at us and stopped the music half-way through to berate us! It was so unprofessional and I will never take a class from him again. However, my Zumba teacher, Elroy, is AMAZING. I was speaking with someone after class and they told me that he has a “following” and I’m guessing it’s not only because he is a good instructor…he is hot! His moves are effortless and smooth, he indicates when he is transitioning to a new move, and he smiles like he is having fun. I think that I am now part of his following...sigh. My belly dancing teacher, Natasha, is also very striking and I enjoyed the 90 minute class this week so much that I decided to go to hers every week! And I’m also contemplating a 55 minutes that she has tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. Me getting up to exercise before 9:00 a.m; is that not a testament to how fun it is?!

Conclusion: Overall, we have actually lost weight since being here, contrary to your conclusions after reading the Health section of this post. We are eating less food than we used to and are going to the gym more regularly than we have been for the last few months. I have sometimes gone twice a day! That’s what a housewife in my position does, you know.

Also, Virgin Active is piloting a new “big brother” type program, at our location only, that helps you track your fitness indicators. They have machines that weigh you, do your blood pressure, and calculate your body fat percentage. They also give you suggested nutrition plans and workout schedules for your goals (of losing weight, getting healthy, or building strength). It’s pretty cool to use, when the machine is working.

Finally, I have also started keeping track again on The Daily Plate through the Live Strong website. You can set a goal weight and it will use your current weight, height, and activity level to calculate how many calories you should ingest a day to reach that goal. It has a huge database of store-brand foods and restaurant foods and it will break down what you ate and show what percentage of it was calories, fat, and protein. You can also log your fitness activities and adjust how many calories you have left that day to eat to stay within your goal. It is time intensive, but really opens your eyes to some of the things you eat. I've started paying attention to portion sizes and asking myself, is it worth it? You should check it out.

Peace out!

Song of the Post: Ice Cream by Sarah McLachlan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like that. You know me...I never measure anything, but 1 cup of flour, half plain and halfwhole wheat, or plain with other grains, 1 egg, 1/8 tsp salt, about 1 heaping tsp of baking'll taste it if it is too much, then stir while adding milk to consistency desired. Once you get this part down, then start adding blueberries or other fruit into the batter, or just on top. If you are not careful, you will be making great apple pancakes before you know it.enjoy
The more you do what you said in your blog, and the more you do your own healthy cooking...phazing out fatty will be glad for all the superior tastes YOU create. Love you Antie Janet says "hi"