5 reasons to cook from home

I am not the cook of the year, but I do have a taste for homemade recipes.

It reminds me of the moments I spent with my mom and siblings in the kitchen, preparing dishes and desserts for special occasions.

My actual struggle is to find a way to use wisely my time: I don’t have a lot of free hours to cook very sophisticated meals every week. But I like to cook because it has a lot of advantages.

Here are the 5 most important reasons to prepare home food:

  • You have more control on the amount of sugar, fat and extra chemicals that you put in. The biggest issue with industrial food is that despite what brands try to make us believe, we never really know what’s inside. Even if it looks fresh and clean, when you start looking at the labels and see the number of additional components it makes you dizzy. FYI, it’s always better to buy products that don’t have more than 3 or 4 ingredients, with industrial and organic food (we can be fooled by organic brands too, don’t forget their point is to sell).

  • You save money, a significant amount of money. Take a couple of minutes and write down in a piece of paper your weekly or monthly food expenses. You are going to quickly realize how much not cooking home can actually cost you. There are the food carts not really optimal (when you go to the supermarket without a list or a general idea of your meals), all the food deliveries you can get at night and during the weekends (thanks UberEATS), the restaurants or takes out at lunch time in the office… When we spend all that money little by little every day, we don’t realize how much it is. It’s a good time to re think your budget, spend more on quality food on your local supermarket and maybe choose 2 days in the week to eat out in a very good restaurant. This way, you gain quality on your food and your wallet.
  • You save time later on: I do my food prep of the week on Sunday, depending on the recipes it can take me between one and three hours. It allows me to then, save time every day, I only have to heat up my dish in the micro wave or the oven. It’s also a way to save energy: you know when you come home, you are hungry, and you scratch your head in front of the refrigerator and you end up ordering a delivery… That’s another benefit of meal prep.
  •  You explore and experiment new recipes! I have my classic recipes, the ones I do quickly because I know them by memory. But I can get bored, I need diversity, so I regularly try new recipes, or I try to change a few things on my classic ones. Sometimes just another vegetable or spice can change the taste. Because my budget is limited and I don’t want to spend 4 hours on the kitchen, I usually stick to recipes with between 3 and 5 ingredients.
  • You create a moment of sharing and making memories with your loved ones. As I said, when I was a kid and a young teenager, it was always an amazing time to be with my mom or grandmother, cut vegetables or having my hands on flour preparing some cakes. Now these moments are rarer as I live abroad but I get to spend time in the kitchen with my boyfriend and his family. It’s a super cool way to bond and learn new things about each other cultures.  

As for my experience, cooking at home it’s a saver of both time and money. Also, it allows you to enjoy quality food at home and when you eat out. 

Breakfast or not breakfast …

I think that our generation has heard so many different myths about food that we don’t really know how to eat anymore.

We have been told to never skip breakfast, have it big, eat less at lunch and then super light at dinner, not eat between meals and then yes you can have snacks, have various milk product every day and now no milk is evil, have bread have pasta have rice and now no have gluten free products only !

The food lobbies are doing an incredible job with their marketing. We go to demonize food and then have them too much. We eat all the time and then we fast. We go from industrial prepared meals to full organic products or vegan diet without seeing a doctor and having a check up to see what’s actually going on in our bodies.

People I am telling you, we are nuts.

I am not a dietician, nor a doctor so today I will speak only from my experience.

When I was a kid I could have easily a breakfast with no issue. Then when I was 10 years old, I started to get sick every morning, I would puke before leaving home or just arriving at school. I didn’t know what the problem could be and was so ashamed I didn’t tell my parents. There, I stopped having breakfast for more 12 years.

Turns out I found out recently it’s the milk in my hot chocolate that I wasn’t digesting well. I today have a glass of chocolate almond milk because I love it !

I started to have breakfast again when I was 23… recovering from anorexia so it was not possible to skip a meal, I had to gain weight again.

There, I have tried different options: cereals, granola, Greek yogurt, bread with jam, tea, orange juice, turkey, fruits, eggs, protein pancakes, smoothies…

It took me a while to adjust the quantity, the food my body liked in the morning and what was enough to help me hold on until lunch (but I still need a snack during the day).

Today I am at a point of balance that works well for me: I have two whole eggs (I know not only whites), home-made bowl of chocolate granola and a green tea.

I have another green tea and an apple during the morning before my lunch, so I am not tempted by crap.

For years I repeated I was okay with the fact of not having breakfast. Truth I wasn’t: I was feeling exhausted all morning, it was extremely hard to concentrate at school and then at work, I was eating sugary snacks all morning and eating way too much at lunch to compensate.

So, in my opinion, in terms of energy yes, you need to have breakfast. If you don’t have appetite when you wake up well then have your food with you in your bag to have it in the bus or when you get to work.

Finally, in terms of fat loss I don’t fucking know. Some people say you have to eat it in the morning to lose weight, some others not. This is a debate that only trial can settle. I would suggest you give it a try for 3 weeks and see what happens: 3 weeks without it and 3 weeks with it. Check out your weight in the balance, the way you feel in your clothes, your look in the mirror, your digestion, your appetite and your mood!

Most of us are not nice persons when we are hungry. Before getting upset with your man/kid/coworker you might want to ask yourself if you should have a piece of food.

Quick reminder: skipping the breakfast doesn’t give you a pass to eat crap later during the day. If you do so, we need to start from the beginning and talk about caloric deficit, energy level and basic metabolism.

If you do need us to talk about these subjects let me know.

Dear bread

As any French person, back home I was a big bread consumer. Mostly because we have really good bakeries with good quality bread that stays crunchy or soft. And let’s not talk about the pastries we have or I am going to get nostalgic.
It’s been an interesting marketing campaign against bread and the evil: gluten !!

I will make another article about gluten but for now I just want to talk about how to choose a good bread, one sort that will help you get a lot of nutrients: cereal bread.

For starter, I just want to say that you don’t need to banish bread for your diet if you want to loose weight. It’s just about moderation. Also, the type of bread you choose is important.

The only way to loose weight is to control your energetic intake by spending more calories than the ones you are absorbing (especially with sports).
Cereals bread has a healthier impact in your health than usual white bread. But off course, i you eat an entire baguette every day, you will gain weight. A food can be healthy but it doesn’t mean that you can eat it without moderation.

First basic thing to do: not eat your bread during a meal with anoter carb like rice or pasta. It’s one carb or the other but not both.

If you choose your cereals bread to share with your meal you can enjoy its benefits because it’s rich in fibers (helping digestion and fight cravings), starch (provides energy), Vitamins E and B (antioxydants vertues), potassium, magnesium, phosphore and iron.

So there is no real reason to banish it from your diet, just keep the quantity reasonnable.

In terms of timeline, it’s better to have for breakfast and/or lunch but avoir having it at night for dinner. For brakfeast you can have it with a little bit of butter and jam. For lunch you can choose to eat it with a salad, or even as a snack during the day.

As it is with good things in this world, don’t overindulge.
Bon appétit !

The rice question

I always have been a huge pasta eater, I think it’s the ingredient I have been eating the most when I was a child and then a teenager. With my sport practice I have tried a lot of new recipes where I replaced pasta by rice and decided to dig up some informations about rice and actually understand the benefits.

Apparently there are more than 40 000 different sorts of rice.. we aren’t going to talk about all of them today !

Generally in our society we consume 3 kinds of rice :

– Brown rice : it doesn’t have anymore its outside enveloppe but still has the sprout and bran. There are the most important parts because it’s where the minerals are. The bran makes it harder to conserve so it has to be eaten quickly.

– White rice: it doesn’t have the sprout and bran so you can keep it longer in the kitchen but it has way less minerals on it.

– “Steamed” rice: it’s cooked with the bran and then, cut and dried with an industrial process . It gets the minerals and vitamins inside the rice seed. His natural nutritional properties are higher than the white rice but lower than the brown.

The healthiest one is the brown rice. A rice that isn’t going through a process of refining conserve all its B Vitamins, fibers, magnesium, phosphore and potassium. 60 % of them are lost for the white rice !

But the white rice has less phytic acid: its a molecule that prevent the assimiliation of some of the rice nutrients. So would be it the same result to eat bronwn or white rice ?

In terms of calories, there are pretty similar :

– 200g of white rice = 270 calories

– 200g of brown rice = 312 calories

Where the brown rice “wins” again, is that it also has a lower glycemic index : 50; What does it means ? That it will help you better regulate your hunger and sleepiness after a meal, or limit a weight intake influenced by insulin secretions.

Finally it also has a lot of fibers and … we really need more of these babies these days !

Personnally, I eat it with almost all vegetables, fish, turkey, chicken, in salad cold or hot, with spices or not. There are so many ways to cook it I don’t where to start !

So know you have a better idea of what you can look for next time you are in your supermarket !

Women abdominal fat

One of my first goals when I started exercising was to have sculpted abs. For months I tried different kind of abs exercises and changing my food habits. But still, I am not happy with the results I have.

I am following a lot of fitness girls in Facebook or Pinterest with impressive abs. So I have been doing some research to find out why I can’t get the same results.

First, we have to clear some false ideas we have about our abdominal fat: it’s not only about or weight and calories. You can have a normal body mass index, eat properly and exercise regularly and still have abdominal fat.

It is a particular sensitive zone on women: the more we stress the more we will keep our abdominal fat. All our organs situated on this zone are related to stress so it’s important to learn how to relax to have a flat belly.

When you are stressed or nervous (and not only physically but also mentally) your body produces cortisone: it increases the level of sugar in your blood and provides to our brain a sufficient amount of energy to face stress. But if you have too much cortisone in your body, the glands producing it will be exhausted and you can face several health problems: your body will be more resistant to insulin (you can have diabetes problems), high blood pressure, depression and abdominal portliness.

Don’t think that exercise more and eat less is a good idea: a lot of cardio and a high caloric diet are particularly stressful.

You have to try to relax both your mind and your body. Physical stress has an impact on your mind. But your mental health is already suffering a lot of pressure: physical pressure to be healthy and beautiful, professional pressure to succeed in our careers, social difficulties, lack of goof sleep, extreme diets and over workouts, etc…

For women, it’s particularly difficult to lose the abdominal fat because we cqn suffer easily from water retention. This process is worst with unhealthy habits like eating too much salt or sugar. Also, we produce naturally more oestrogens than testosterone and it slow down the muscle growth (that’s why for men it’s easier to do fitness and bodybuilding in general).

To balance your testosterone and oestrogen levels (and reduce your cortisone level) you have to rest and relax several times in the week. What is great about it? You have plenty of choices to do so! You can read, listen to music, go to walk with your friends or spend time with your family, meditate, do yoga, get a massage or just simply take a nap. The important is to do something you like and relax you.

It is recommended to don’t do restrictive diets. It’s not efficient on the long run, you are just going to starve yourself for nothing, gain back your fat later and be disappointed. Eat properly, reasonable portions and train sufficiently. Something really effective is to walk slowly an hour per day to relax: your cortisone level will slow down naturally.

Of course you have to eat “clean” as much as you can: avoid foods rich in fat and sugar (principally industrial foods, they content a lot of additional substances, especially sugars). Eat more foods with flavonoids because they reduce the global activity of cortisone in your body: go for blueberries, red currants, peachs, nectarines and black chocolate (that’s a good new for us ladies).

Now let’s talk about all these girls we see in social medias. We can hate them or love them, the fact is that we are never indifferent to their bodies. We can quickly feel envy and jealousy when we can’t get the same. Personally when I passed these two steps I got pissed of because these girls don’t explain how they do, or they don’t say everything. Usually they just say “I eat healthy, drink a lot of water and here I will tell you my workout routine”. But that’s just a part of reality.

So I have been investigating on the web and also showing these pictures to different trainers and sport coachs that I use to work and train with. And here are some interesting facts you have to know:

  • The most important (I think): these girls don’t always have these results naturally. Not all of them but some o them use chemical drugs like steroids and have intenses workouts. They don’t have our daily normal lifes, their body is their source of revenue, their business. A lot can use chemical products but also get surgery. Or just maintain this physique for a couple of years and then just drop it because it’s a lot of sacrifices. 
  • The trainers also told me that to have great abs you have to let them rest and don’t work on them every day. Let one or two days of rest between your abs sessions. For example train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I hope after reading this article you will feel less guilty about your abs and motivated to work on them differently.

Food cravings

We all have it in common in our lifes, no matter where we are from and the way we eat.

Food cravings appear because we don’t eat enough OR we don’t eat properly.

Yes, if you eat poorly nutrient foods, your body won’t have any fuel to function properly. That’s why it’s never a good idea to banish carbs from your plate. You can reduce them to lose fat and vary the way your cook your foods. But never banish them.

We have plenty of healthy options to cook for both our salty or sugary tastes.

Also, food cravings come a lot of times from stress. We feel pressure over something and start to snack compulsively. Usually we turn to sugary or salty products like chips, cereal bars, chocolate… They provoke a quick sugar high that will give us a boost but will go down so quickly too that we will feel really tired after. And wishing having another one to feel better. Vicious circle.

Of course you eat healthy 🙂 your have good portions 🙂 but you are human and have the right to snack. We just have to be careful because not to link too much our snacking to our emotional state. It’s dangerous because nowadays we have a lot of reasons to be stressed/sad/angry… and so abuse our snack ratio.

Here are some informations I think are interesting to understand how to manage our food cravings:

Food tqb

Now, it’s time to eat ! Bon appétit !!

Sugar alternatives

We all have our little weaknesses, I don’t know about you, but mine is every piece of food that is sweet. If it was healthy and possible to eat just chocolate it would be my case.

I think our tastes come from a place of habits.

I have never been a soda and chips girl. We never had sodas or any salted foods at my parent’s house, except for birthdays. My mom cooked very simple meals with natural ingredients. I remember we had ketchup on the table only on sundays to eat with our fries. She didn’t used much salt but spices and replace sugar with cannelle and other ingredients when cooking pastries.

She used to cook us home made cakes and I never got tired of it. I can’t talk about addiction but for sure I am a sweet-mouth girl. Whenever I am happy, sad, excited or stressed, I want to eat sugar.

I tried to suppress it completely of my food intake but it’s really hard because there is sugar … basically everywhere.

I am not eating white chemical sugar anymore but I need/like my sugar intake every week from different sources : chocolate, ice cream or cereal bars.

I am trying to suppress as much as I can because it’s a really toxic product to take. I have learned in different studies that’s even more addictive than cocaine. It also increase obesity tendancies, diabetese, mood and energy swings.

Like everything in life I think we can have it with moderation. To help you reduce your instake you can replace your white chemical sugar by :

  • Birch sugar : this natural sugar is found in vegetables lie cauliflower, plums and red fruits. It taste like chemical white sugar but it doesn’ t increase so much the sugar level in the blood after a meal. Careful with the quantity, if you eat too much of it you can get flatulences and diarrheas (not sexy but real).
  • Honey: this natural one has anti-inflammatories, antiseptics and anti-bacterials properties. You can put in your tea, yogurts, granola cereals and use with ginger it can help you to cure your cold sore.
  • Stevia : it’s been pretty famous the last couple of years. It comes from a South America plant Stevia Rebaundiana. It doesn’t contain calories and don’t attack the teeths. But it has a bitter taste so everybody doesn’t like it (hate it personnaly).
  • Agave syrup: it comes from a Mexican plant, taste like honey but it is more liquid. In addition of vitamins and minerals it also contains a lot of fructose sor careful with the amount you use.
  • Coconut sugar : it has the same sugary power as white chemical sugar but cost way more money because of it extraction process. It has also the same amount of magnesium, zinc and iron so keep your consumption reasonable.
  • Maple syrup: one of the best Canadian product I have ever eaten. You can use for pretty much everything with as pancakes, crepes, yogurts, tea…

A lot of sugar alternatives are not as healthy as we would think. A lot of these have a lot of fructose or are extracted with a chemical process.

The best advice I can give you is you try all of them with different recipes so you can feel what you like more and be reasonnable with the quantity.

Also keep in mind it’s a long process to reduce this consumption but it’s possible. I used to put 5 squares of sugar in my tea, I only put 1 spoon of honey on it now.