Category Archives: sometimes food

Sugar, Caffeine And Gluten; Oh my! Detox Time.

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I’m doing ‘no sugar November” , a friend said as I visited her earlier this week. Apparently, for the fact that December is likely to become a sugar-fest for most, cutting it out in the month of November is a smart move. It will allow your body to have a break and get all that processed (but tasty) nonsense out of the body. I wrote about the foods that affect your mental health, including sugar earlier last year (post here), so I’m well aware of its impact on the body and mind.

After clearing a bottle of vino, eating all the gluten-y cake I could find and consuming coffee in order to prop me back up after all the sluggishness, I reflected on the whole situation. My skin had been going crazy for a while, I felt tired in spite of getting at least 8 hours sleep per night and as for my bank balance? Well, we won’t discuss that.

Considering the cost of hot water and lemon versus a cappuccino and the sustenance of a toblerone versus a banana, I said I’d take a few days rest from that which I felt was affecting me so greatly. No caffeine meant closing my eyes through most of Dublin city centre which is so overtaken by coffee shops and suffering the perceived tiredness on the way to work. Preparing all my lunches in advance so there was no temptation to cheat with snacks has gotten to the point where my fridge is a lunchbox factory and well, my withdrawals feel like I’m coming off some heavy drug which is the main reason why I continue to be good for at least two more days.

So, what’s the point? They say life is short and you should do what makes you happy. Moreover, those people that tend to live well into old age seem to enjoy some niceties for themselves pretty often and in fact, vouch for this fact in those awkward online interviews. Treats are great but actually, there are many reasons for making small changes to your diet and lifestyle.

For me the main one is to remind myself that I can do it. There is no need to depend on any specific foods, substances or stimulants. In fact, I read recently that the impact sugar can have on your mind has been seen to be as addictive (if not more) than cocaine. This is a scary thought to think and enough to keep the end in mind.

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Developing better health in general means taking a long hard look at diet. If we consume junk then we’re going to feel like junk. It’s undeniable that sugar and sweets affect our outsides as I’m sure we are aware of the impact on our skin when we’ve been eating lots of rubbish food. Of course, it has a huge impact on our insides. As we can’t always get a good look inside, it’s best to presume that we feed it the best we can anyway.

Feeling like some new healthy habits? Whether it’s short-term or otherwise, here’s what’s worked for me.

*Keeping a diary. I’ve got a habit diary so when I am working on making a change, I write in it. Currently I’m working on two separate goals – cutting down on sugar and caffeine. Each day, I write my goals down and before I go to bed, I jot down what I’ve done well and what I’d like to improve on. This keeps the end in mind and reminds myself why I’m doing it.

*Getting prepared when it comes to food is the key to staying on track. In my case, avoiding sugar means I’m extra hungry. When I’d usually snack on chocolate, I need to have some other satisfying snacks nearby. Moreover, packing decent and healthy lunches means I fill myself up for my three meals and can work through those cravings. Know your plan and you’ve got a higher chance of success.

*Celebrate your good habits! I’ve made a deal with myself, that if I go without sugar and caffeine until Wednesday then I can have a decaf coffee or a Chai latte. It’s super motivating for me personally to have that kind of reward in place. Be sure to put something in place that will entice you. For some, it’s the pleasure of saying you’ve achieved it which is fantastic. For others (like me), it’s nice to know a treat is waiting at the other end.

Keep posted on my social media and blog for updates of healthy habits over the coming weeks.

Cider, Sunshine And Serious Snacking: Taste Of Dublin 2015

Last week, as the sun came up and shone brightly upon Dublin city, the Taste Of Dublin food festival kicked off in Iveagh Gardens. Celebrating its tenth year, it was obvious it was going to be a spectacle, with unbelievable food, chef demonstrations and even the odd brightly-colored bean bag thrown on the grass as was the case when I attended on Sunday evening. Expectations were met, exceeded and packed to the brim with tasty treats as I headed home to get stuck into a chilled night accompanied by a food coma and pure satisfaction.

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As a sort of newbie foodie, I had never been to the event before and I had certainly not attended a food fair of any description with SUCH a fussy diet. With a desire for fish, gluten-free everything and the best quality ingredients I could find, I certainly set my standards high. Upon arrival I saw that the food stands had prepared for random diets just as the staff of the festival had prepared for the craic and the talented singers had prepared for varied musical tastes. With two HUGE stages to choose from, several bars with a plethora of wines, beers, cocktails and even French cider (which was amazing), we were as spoilt for choice as we were sunburnt by the end.

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As with every part of my life, I had set goals for myself for the day. What’s a Sunday without a checklist, right? I aimed to try something from Pichet and earn bragging rights to having eaten at least one of their famous dishes. Pichet is a world-class restaurant as I suspected. And yes, I can say this in spite of their marquee-made kitchen and I’m guessing, inadequate cooking facilities. The thought, precision and care that went into their food was second to none so much so, that I had two courses there. A ravioli with veal as a main followed by snickers parfait satisfied me for about five minutes before further exploration and face-stuffing continued (I am a glutton and will admit that, hands down).

Ireland is known as “The Food Island” for a reason. We have top-quality produce, an unbelievable agricultural industry and talented food professionals to make all of that even tastier. In spite of a challenging recession, fantastic food brands and restaurants are popping up and making their mark. As consumers, we’re pushing this forward (go us!) and continue to do so at events like Taste.  Moreover, as diets are becoming fussier and people become more self-aware in terms of food and health in general, the market is responding with brands such as Keogh’s (gluten-free crisp extraordinaires), Propercorn healthy pop-corn (in unique flavors) and so many more.

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I’ve made it a sort-of mission to suss out more amazing Irish food brands, artisan products and restaurants. In the meantime, I’ll be heading to the gym loads to save my waistline from inevitable over-indulgence. Know of any foods or foodie-places I might enjoy? Be sure to share with me. 

On Mondays, We Do Fine Dining : Adventures And Seafood At Avenue, Dublin

I’m what you’d call a “foodie”. Generally speaking, that means I value high quality ingredients when cooking, make (and invent) funky and fresh dishes and sometimes, venture to the “fancy aisle” in the supermarket. It’s therefore no surprise that I’m often on the look-out for decent restaurants to eat in, both here in Ireland and when I head farther afield on my holidays and work trips.

In November of last year, I attended the first ever Irish Blogger Conference at the Spencer Hotel in Dublin. It was a sunny Saturday full of fabulous talks and inspiration. At the event, Nick Munier, famous chef and TV personality spoke about his new projects and his love and passion for food. His enthusiastic talk concluded with a brief description and introduction to his new restaurant ‘Avenue‘ which later opened on Crow Street, Dublin in February 2015. My ears pricked up at the sound of this and I was already looking forward to what sounded like a culinary adventure.

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On Monday night, my boyfriend, friends and I headed to Avenue for an unplanned three course meal. The reason I say it was unplanned was because I had said I’d have just two courses however I say, you only live once and I like food A LOT so, you know.

Before I went, I had already looked at the menu and had decided on the cod followed by a take on Eton Mess (entitled ‘Another Mess’). I had scallops as a starter, the second scallops experience of my life it turned out to be the most DIVINE. I’d recommend them to everyone and actually think they should become a big delicious main course option… in every restaurant (and in my house pretty regularly from now on).

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Fortunately, my boyfriend didn’t have a big Joey (from Friends) moment and actually allowed me to taste a corner of his fillet steak, fries and chocolate dessert. Other dishes included ceviche, crab, burger and the sweetest and most amazing dessert options. As a non-wheat tolerating person, the menu suited my fussy tastes and appeared to fit with a number of fussy diets. Variety is the spice of life and avenue certainly provided that.

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What’s tasty food without a bit of top-notch service? The staff were super friendly and Nick himself even popped out for a gander, a chat and endless compliments about the scallops :).