Uncategorized|Weight loss

Discussing Faith, Food & Weight Loss with Dil Pillay

When I entered the Woolworths #startswith challenge, little did I realise that I would find inspiration, motivation and best of all … friendship.  The #startswith challenge brought the most amazing and inspirational women into my life and for that I am truly grateful.  One of those inspirational and remarkable women is Dil Pillay.  She is a woman of love and sheer strength.  She has overcome so many obstacles in her life and that’s what makes her a real life superhero.  She is humble and probably one of the kindest people I have ever met.  We recently met up for a picnic in the park and got to chatting.

img_20180224_165953_361.jpg


Who is Dil Pillay?

I am extremely passionate and diligent about everything that has been laid on my heart. I thoroughly enjoy sharing what positively impacts my life. My world pretty much revolves around the love of my life, my little four-legged boy- Chow. I have developed a passion for creating new and delicious healthy foods. I especially love surrounding myself with people who love to eat, laugh, pray and who unconditionally give of themselves.

You have a rather impressive story to share in terms of your weight loss, would your care to elaborate?

My weight fluctuated on an ongoing basis from 2011.  I weighed in at an impressive 110kg at the end of 2015.  I couldn’t bear to come face to face with the harsh truth of the scale so I avoided it at all costs and didn’t weigh myself.  For some unknown reason I lost the weight and when I finally mustered up the courage to hop onto the scale I discovered that I had lost 20.1kg.  At the time I was living with depression,  PCOS and type 2 diabetes which put a huge strain on my life and my weight, so in Feb 2017 I made the decision to commit to a lifestyle change.  It was time to stop making excuses and commit to myself.

img_20180307_1913491953652943.jpg
During our picnic we discovered that Dil has lost a whopping 53.1kg.  Guys that is the equivalent of my 14-year-old.

Tell us more about your change in diet as a result of your food allergies.

My body and skin were reacting badly to the types of food I was eating, so I had no choice but to make several huge changes to the way I was eating.  The fact that I was diagnosed with PCOS compounded the situation further, so I made the decision to become a Pescatarian.  I hear you ask, “Pesca what?”  A Pescatarian is someone who does not eat red meat at all but does eat fish.  Therefore my diet is just plant-based foods and seafood. In addition to being Pescatarian, I also do not eat gluten, dairy, refined sugar and certain nuts due to allergies.  This change in diet has transformed me into an absolute foodie who spends an insane amount of time whipping up healthy dishes for myself.

What is your approach to exercise?

I initially had a gym contract but due to being uncomfortable about my weight, I cancelled it. So the workout aspect of my journey started with me walking my little boy.  I gradually increased the distance and began walking him every morning and afternoon. Walking him around the park several times progressed to jogging, which in turn progressed to running. Eventually I felt ready to do more than just walk or run, so I used the internet to research exercises that would best suit my needs.  I bought a yoga mat, just one 10kg weight and a skipping rope.  These items became part of my work out routine. My current routine involves me running on the spot mixing it with high intensity training 3 times a week for 45 mins.  I also mix things up by adding some yoga, squats and lunges  to my routine.

Did you try losing weight prior to this?

Oh yes I did!  In the past I attempted losing weight by just trying to eat healthy without proper information about my body type and what my body needed.  I jumped into diets and failed within a week.  I now know that my mindset wasn’t ready for this journey.

What was different this time around?

This time around I realised I needed to make it a lifestyle change, but before that I needed to educate myself about my condition.  I spent hours on the net researching exercises and healthy eating alternatives.  I was in the right frame of mind and I was ready to commit to myself, my health and my life.  I started cooking more from home, creating healthy dishes rather than buying take-out.  I learnt to make healthier choices when I ate out and before I knew it, those changes had become a lifestyle for me.

What does faith mean to you?

Faith is what keeps my mind at peace in the midst of many life situations as it reaffirms that there is always hope. Faith gives me reassurance that as long as I keep my faith I will certainly overcome all obstacles.  During my journey having being diagnosed with depression at one stage in my life and having gone through a divorce I have been challenged emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Faith has helped me stay at peace and motivated me to move forward. My faith in God is what led me into getting my body right, knowing I was created not to have these health barriers and that healing was for me which is evident in my life right now .

How do people react to your transformation?

It has been an amazing journey and more people are inspired and curious as to what it is to be a Pescatarian.  People want to know what my secret is and want to know what diet i’m on.  I’m blessed with the support and love of so many people, many of whom are people I have never met in person but who make up my support system.

Has there been a downside to losing weight?

There definitely are downsides.  I now suffer with low blood pressure and the main downside is the excess skin.  Losing 50 odd kilograms is an unbelievable amount of weight and unfortunately or maybe fortunately, I have all this excess skin around my tummy area.   I say fortunately as it is a constant reminder of a place I never want to find myself at ever again.

Any words and advice for people wanting to lose weight?

Make a mindful choice that you want to change to be better, feel stronger and achieve your best health possible . Don’t be hard on yourself but at the same time I urge you not to give up. Get up and get moving. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to embrace yourself for who you are.  Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.  You can do this no matter what your struggle is . I am living proof it can be done.


Dil Pillay is indeed proof that we can step outside our comfort zones, tackle the obstacles life throws at us and still come out on top.  I’m extremely grateful and honored that Dil has allowed me to share her story with you and I’m extremely blessed to call her my friend.

Food|Healthy eating

Do you feel it in your gut?

One of the trending topics in terms of health and wellness at the moment is “Gut Health” but what exactly does this mean. Well basically it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract.

To find this achievable state you need to feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria.  In other words you would need to swap processed foods, breads and pastas for more plants, fruit, seeds and nuts.  You would also have to add fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir to your diet.  These items naturally contain probiotics and/or healthy bacteria.

There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term effects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can affect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc.  – The Huffington Post

Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

  • Anxiety
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea & gas
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Frequent Infections
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
  • Skin problems like eczema

What to Eat to Improve Your Gut  Health

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – helps your body create hydrochloric acid, which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • Kombucha – the most natural way to get a buzz, it’s probiotic-packed meaning it’s good for your gut.
  • Dairy or Lactose-free yoghurts – made from almond, soy, or rice milk are much easier for people to digest than their dairy counterparts.
  • Fermented Coffee – Drinking coffee can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance sports so you should drink it before your workouts for energy.
  • Sauerkraut – is a naturally fermented food that has micro-organisms which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish.
  • Kefir – is great for your gut as it usually contains at least 10 live and active strains of bacteria, compared to most yoghurts which usually have three.
  • Sprouted Grains – The process involved in making sprouted grain bread products makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat products, which in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
  • Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
  • Wild Salmon –  has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes.
  • Garlic – is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw.
  • Miso – aside from being a good source of protein and fibre, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
  • Chocolate -raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic enhanced chocolate bars the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix.
  • Collagen – is one of the largest proteins in our bodies—in fact, it’s what basically keeps our body together.
  • Bone broth –  is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours.
  • Onions – as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria. To make the most of these nutrient-rich foods you’ll want to avoid as many refined foods (think white flour and white sugar-based anything), which feed the bacteria in our gut that we don’t want.
  • Kvass – beverage commonly made from rye bread, meaning it’s filled with digestive health benefits.
  • High Fibre Foods – like artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds raspberries, and apples are a great addition to your diet.
  • Kimchi – is rich in probiotics and excellent at keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
  • Yoghurt – Grass-fed, full-fat and plain (no sugar added) yoghurt has a very high amount of beneficial probiotics.

Improved Gut Health Can Aid:

  • Allergies
  • Brain function
  • Immune function (80% of our immune system is located in the gut!)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Symptoms of anger, sadness and depression
  • Toxin levels in the body
  • Weight loss

In the past I never gave my gut a second thought, but with time and research I’ve come to learn otherwise.  It is important for us to acknowledge and understand the effects of gut health on our bodies both mentally and physically, in doing so we will need to optimise our gut health in more innovative ways.

Food|Healthy eating

How would you like your eggs darling?

Eggs glorious eggs!! The superfood of all superfoods (well as far as I am concerned). An egg only contains one ingredient – “eggs.” So there’s no sugar or carbs. Now that is bloody amazing is you ask me. Eggs are a source of high-quality protein and a number of other nutrients. The other thing about eggs is that they are easily accessible and egg-cellently versatile (and yes I just used an egg pun).

Nutritional Info

egg.jpg

Egg Facts

Here are some nutritional facts obtained from The Egg Nutrition Center.

Cardiometabolic Health More than 40 years of research has demonstrated that healthy adults can enjoy eggs without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.

Egg Allergies Although eggs are a common food allergy in children, research suggests most kids outgrow this allergy.

Eggs Across The Lifespan Essential nutrients within the egg can support a healthy pregnancy, growth and development of children, and muscle mass and function during aging.

Nutrients In Eggs One egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus 6 grams of high-quality protein.

Nutritious Dietary Patterns Eggs fit into the healthy dietary patterns recommended by public health organizations.

Physical Performance The high-quality protein in an egg is essential for building and maintaining lean body mass.

Weight Management & Satiety The high-quality protein in eggs can reduce hunger and facilitate weight loss as well as help with weight maintenance

101 Ways to Cook Eggs

As I have already mentioned, eggs are extremely versatile and can be cooked in 101 ways. Eggs are also the kind of food that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even as a snack. Here are some of my fav egg dishes.

Caution – reading further may stimulate your appetite

screenshot_20180116-1342371568572852.png
Poached egg on a bed of crispy bacon, kale and mushrooms

Poach one egg. I no longer eat fried eggs but you can use a fried egg if that’s your preference. While your egg is poaching, heat up 1 teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. Chop up some kale and throw into a pan on low heat. Allow to cook just for a few seconds so that’s it has a slight crunch. Add a handful of chopped mushrooms and sauté. Add salt and pepper to taste. I cooked my diced bacon in the airfryer but you can cook in the oven or in a plan. In a plate, layer the kale and mushrooms, then the bacon and the poached egg.

screenshot_20180116-1343211869534757-e1516106496307.png
Baked egg in avo

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cut an avocado in half. Remove the seed. Place the halved avos into an oven tray. Carefully crack an egg into each half. Place into the oven and cook. Remove according to how you like your eggs done. By the way, isn’t egg and avo just the perfect combo.

screenshot_20180116-1342231332396801.png
Bacon wrapped egg muffin on a protein pancake stack

Egg cups are my favourite and they are super easy to make. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Using a muffin baking tin, spray it with spray and cook. Line the side of each cup with a piece of streaky bacon. Then crack an egg into the center. Pop the muffin tin into the oven and allow to bake.

20180116_1743521515915077.jpg
Tinned fish curry with boiled eggs

We spoke about the versatility of eggs, and curries are no exception. This is a dish I grew up eating and I absolutely love it. “Tinned fish curry” aka Pilchards. I fry some onions, chillis, extra tomatoes to make a nice yummy base sauce then I add the pilchards. Don’t forget to remove the bones from the center of the fish. Boil the eggs, shell and add to the curry. This dish could definitely fall under healthy budget meals. You can also add eggs to veg curries to up the protein content.

20180116_1743471711920330.jpg
Egg chutney

There are many variations to this dish and many names for it. The Israeli’s for instance call it Shakshuka, it is basically poached eggs in a “tomato sauce”, but if you are Indian then it’s called Egg Chutney. Cook up a “tomato sauce” by frying some onions and chillis in a little coconut oil. Add your chopped tomatoes and spices as required. Allow to cook into a hearty sauce, then crack the eggs into it. Stir in the egg whites (I like to keep the yolks whole). Cover your pot and allow eggs to poach on a low heat. I make mine super spicy but that’s because I can’t get enough of hot and spicy food. With the cost of living ever-increasing, we want to get bang for our buck, and this is the epitome of that. Cheap, easy, quick and nutritionally amazing.

screenshot_20180116-13430916334555.png
Poached egg on kale and bacon, served with a sprinkling of micro leaves and seeds on avo. This meal is from Jackson’s Food Market

This is one of my favourite dishes when I eat out (this is not a sponsored post). Poached runny eggs on a bed of kale and crispy bacon. It’s served with an avo and sprinkled with seeds and micro leaves. Eating out can be tricky, but it’s all about making good food choices. Notice the omelette in the background. Now what makes you think this family loves their eggs?

Image result for egg muffins
Egg muffin / Crustless quiches

Just one final one, the humble egg muffin. Its super easy to make and one of the coolest ways to use up left overs (not that you will ever find leftovers in my home). Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a muffin baking tin by spraying with spray and cook. Chop up tomatoes, onions, chillis, mushrooms, chicken and bacon for example. Look, this is where you get creative and use whatever blows your hair back. Sprinkle a little of your ingredients into each cup. Then add some grated cheese. Beat your eggs, add some pepper and salt to taste (I add a touch of paprika to mine) then pour the egg mix into the muffin cups. I also add a touch of baking powder and cream to my mixture.

I seriously hope that I’ve given you some food for thought and I’m hoping that now you will be even more creative when cooking eggs.

An egg-ceptionally wonderful day for you Lovelies and happy cooking.

Fit Like Mummy xxx

Featured|Food|Healthy eating

Boss Lady of Meal Prep

Pretty much a self-proclaimed title, but I do meal prep like a boss and I’m damn proud of it.

img_20171203_202428614031815.jpg

A year ago, I pretty much sucked when it came to planning my meals and basically ate on the fly. The nature of my job didn’t help much as I was always travelling, constantly finding myself in a car or an aircraft. I ate whatever I could get my hands on, which was mostly unhealthy food. I also over ate because l had no plan and didn’t track what l ate. Six months into this journey, I had read about meal prepping and thought that I should give it a bash. Now I can honestly say that I love my Sunday afternoon meal preps. It’s my day to reassess, refocus and set new goals for the week ahead. By the end of my two hours of meal prepping, I’m left feeling focused and ready to smash out another week of goals.

Meal preparation, better known as meal prep can mean different things to different people, so it’s a matter of figuring out what best serves you and makes your life easier. I meal prep for four meals per day for five days. Dinners are spontaneous as I need some spontaneity in my life. Some people however, just prep snacks or lunches. Irrespective of your type of meal prep, you will find that its saves you money and time, keeps you motivated and helps you achieve those goals.

20171203_0801351445307215.png
My daily meal prep

Steps to Meal Prepping Like a Boss

  • Step 1 – Plan ahead

Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail,”. It’s a rather harsh adage, but there is some truth in it. Planning is a far easier way to achieve your goals. It gives you the edge and serves as a constant reminder of what you have set out to achieve. Set some time aside to plan your meals according to your dietary requirements. Thereafter, make a grocery list so that you are prepared when hitting the shops. Make a point to ensure your meals are balanced and healthy, so that you load your body with plenty of yummy and wholesome goodness.

  • Step 2 – Right Tool for the Job

So you have now created your meal plan and finalised your grocery list, so now its time to check if you have your storage game on. I went through my cupboard to check what containers I had, but opted to buy a new set. This made stacking in the fridge much easier. Make sure your containers are compact; of a good quality and are airtight to keep in the freshness. I prefer smaller containers as I eat small portions throughout the day. Mason jars are great for storing breakfast parfaits, salads and snacks like power balls or nuts. I also use the snack size zip-lock bags to portion out my almonds and biltong for instance. Glass Pyrex dishes with lids are a better option if you are prepping bigger meals.

I use different equipment when cooking to speed up and make my meal process a lot more efficient. My air-fryer is probably the most used item in my kitchen, but I also use a stick blender, spiralizer and julienne strip grater. A kitchen scale and measuring cups are a must if you are super serious about meal prepping. Slow cookers, pressure cookers, rice cookers, and steamers can also be helpful during a meal prep, but are not items I use. I prefer keeping things simple and aim to complete my full meal prep within 2 hours maximum. A large oven tray is also extremely handy.

  • Step 3 – Hit the shops

So now that you are organised and prepared, its time to hit the shops to get the groceries you need for your meal prep. Don’t leave home without your grocery list, as this will keep you on track and curb the impulsive and unnecessary shopping. Stock up on fresh and organic items where possible. Keep an eye out for healthy alternatives for carbs and sugar. Just a tip – don’t go shopping on an empty tummy.

  • Step 4 – Routine is Key

I’m a creature of habit and thrive on routine. It’s also the key to successful meal prepping and goal smashing. I personally spend my Sunday afternoons cooking up a storm to prep my meals and snacks for the week ahead. Choose a day that best suits your lifestyle, so that you can establish a routine.

Fitlikemummy’s Basic Meal Plan

Breakfast (I alternate between the below choices):

  • Yogurt, berries and chia seeds.
  • Eggs (add some mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or avo to create variety)

Lunch/Dinner:

  • Protein
  1. Chicken
  2. Beef
  3. Turkey
  4. Fish
  • Vegetable (low carb options)
  1. Cauliflower
  2. Broccoli
  3. Spinach
  4. Tomatoe
  5. Cucumber
  6. Lettuce
  7. Mushrooms
  8. Baby marrow
  9. Kale
  10. Peppers
  • Carbs (1 of the below only at lunch and no later than 2pm)
  1. Quinoa
  2. Brown basmati rice
  3. Sweet potato

Snacks:

  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Power balls
  • Nuts
  • Biltong
  • Olives
img_20171119_193945_3671822592901.jpg
4 day meal prep that didn’t break the bank

Benefits of a Meal Prep

1. Saves you money

Despite popular belief, healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan correctly. Buy things in bulk and peel, chop and store in the freezer. By planning ahead and being prepared you will know exactly what you need to buy. No more shopping for unnecessary things. No more spur of the moment trips to the canteen at work or the nearest garage shop. The best part is that you will no longer be throwing food away because it spoils before you get to use it. When you meal prep, you make use of your ingredients for the week, and it is highly unlikely that you will have any leftovers.

2. Saves you time

I can’t emphasise enough how much time is saved with meal prepping. Granted, I spend a few hours to plan and prep all my meals. I however, don’t spend time deciding what to cook or heading out to the shops on a daily basis. There’s no time spent cooking dinner after a busy day at the office. Instead your time will be your own is my own and I can hit the gym and spend quality time with my family.

3. Grocery shopping will become easier

Once you know what meals you will be eating for the week and have compiled that grocery list, shopping will be a walk in the park. No more shopping for unnecessary items. Definitely no more finding yourself in the chips and sweets aisles, being tempted to buy unhealthy goodies.

4. You will master portion control and calorie intake

Meal prepping teaches you self-control and discipline. You put in the effort to ensure you have balanced meals. As a result you will better manage your portion sizes and calorie intake. If you want to lose weight and consume the right amount of nutrients, portion control is exceptionally important. You can still treat yourself from time to time, but then it will be on your terms.

5. Weight loss will be a sure thing

Planning your meals in advance is most certainly the key to successful weight loss. It’s an easier way to track what you have consumed and impulsive eating soon becomes a thing of the past. A well thought out meal prep routine allows you to control how many calories you are consuming daily, which is the perfect way to achieve your weight loss goals

6.Variety is key

Variety is most certainly the spice of life and if you are able to put thought into your meals ahead of time, it will become easy to choose from several different food group. Variety will help you stay motivated and on track. There are no limitations and this will spur on your creativity. So don’t forget to change it up and keeps things fresh and exciting.

Happy meal prepping lovelies 💋