Goodbye Fattember, Hello Droptober…

igh…. I have to say that the past 30 days have been pretty good.  Not only are we back in Sydney and settling back into married life but it’s been the inaugural Fattember.

What is Fattember I hear you say?  Fattember is exactly what it sounds like.  Fat-September.  Think Mardi Gras or Christmas (we don’t have a parade or a mascot or presents—yet) but for a whole month.

Maybe it’s a reaction to 12 months of 30 day restrictive eating challenges, or just a nice change of pace after having worked out, weighed, and portion controlled my way into a wedding dress.  It could also be just plain lazy.  I prefer to think it’s the start of something bigger.  We already have Movember, FebFast, Dry July, Parched March, and many other months of restraint (or indulgence) so why not Fattember?

Fattember is exactly what it sounds like.  Eating everything I want and not forcing myself to go to the gym 5 times a week.  Ice cream every night for dessert, fries, the odd hamburger, Mexican, cakes, candy bars, the whole shebang.  I haven’t measured, weighed or written down anything I’ve eaten.  And I haven’t worried about it either!   It’s been liberating and delicious and well, a bit decadent but it’s exactly what I needed.  Ok, maybe I didn’t need it, but I’ve enjoyed it!

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  Fat-tember can’t last forever- I mean it could but then I would have to buy all new post “Fattember” clothes and I would probably start to take up more than one seat on the bus.    So, as The Runner makes me my last ice cream of Fattember (and literally uses up ALL of the ice cream in the freezer), I wave goodbye to Fattember and say HELLO to Droptober.

Droptober IS a real thing.  It has a website and over 2200 followers on Facebook- so unlike Fattember, it’s not something I’ve made up!

I’ve signed up for Droptober to try to negate the effect of Fattember.  A friend in Sydney started it, and it encourages people to be healthy and lose 2kg in October.  It’s a fundraiser for  Variety Children’s Charity as well.   And I’ve signed up for it.  So from tomorrow, no more candy, no more ice cream, no more fries.  I’m back on the bandwagon and back to the gym.  No excuses, 2 kg (5lbs) in 30 days…  Let’s get ready for summer and let’s get back to eating healthy.

STOP….hang on a sec.

I have an ice cream headache from Fattember’s last ice cream.  Clearly a sign.   Right, let’s rock Droptober!


Goodbye April, Goodbye Wine.

Farewell April, you’ve been awesome.  Eating what I want, celebrating my birthday, three public holidays from work- how could a month be any better?

But now it’s time to pay the piper. Waistlines have expanded and there are wedding dresses to fit into, bridal shower pictures to look back on, hens night outfits to find and honeymoon bikinis to wear– and I don’t want to be a fat bride with a chubby little face in wedding pictures captured for all eternity and future generations.  Not going to happen.  So it’s crunch time.  Time to pay the piper. Time to get real.

I have three months, 1 week and 2 days- 101 days and 52 minutes to be precise– but who is counting?!?  Ummmmm I am!

So I’m hatching a plan, well actually I’m hatching lots of plans, music playlists, RSVP lists, you get the drift.  But specifically the fun times are over in the He Runs, I Cook kitchen.

So here’s the plan-

Step 1:  30 day challenge

Yep, starting tomorrow we’re doing “No You May Not Drink in May”- yep alcohol free May!  And I’m putting it on the blog so that no one accuses me of having a little runner or little cook on the way.   It’s a 30 day challenge.  I repeat it’s a 30 day challenge, not a baby!

Step 2:  3 month detox

Yes, you read that right.  From May 9th, we’re doing a detox.  It’s one that a naturopath gave me a couple of years ago- basically it’s no wheat, no cow’s milk, no sugar, no shellfish, nothing fun really.   But it gets results.  I did it for 6 weeks last time and looked and felt great- I’m hoping that doing it for 12 weeks will help me look and feel twice as good!

Step 3:  Become BFF with my heart rate monitor

Basically, I’m going to exercise. More. A LOT More.  A Lululemon Lot More.  More cardio, more yoga, more Pilates, more Zumba, more Cycle, more who knows.. just more exercise.

Step 4:  Panic

Well, not really panic.  There’s no need to panic at this stage.  Panic will come after my dress has been altered and I’ve spent two weeks in the US without trying it on and it’s the night before the wedding and I’m worried that it won’t fit.  Then I will panic, pray and probably puke until it fits or someone sedates me.  Don’t laugh… It’s not outside of the realm of possibility but let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

So that’s my plan- I’m cautiously optimistic that I won’t need step 4– I mean if people on The Biggest Loser can lose half their body weight in 12 weeks then clearly I should be able to lose a kilo or two– right???

Wish me luck, I’m going to go finish a bottle of wine while it’s still April!  I’ll miss you my little red and white friends….



Pale-no or my theory of evolution

I’m giving up and throwing in the towel on my Paleo challenge this month. After 7 days of not being fully committed to it– Friday morning’s hangover quenched with a piece of toast, a few breadsticks and dip on Saturday and a few treats at Ladies Lunch yesterday which were definitely not paleo plus my birthday on Wednesday, I think it’s time to stop lying to myself and stop the paleo madness now.

If I’m honest, I do better with challenges that cut something out ie no dairy rather than a list of foods to eat or not eat. Paleo is complicated and I already have enough wedding related decisions filling my head- deciding whether a caveman could have eaten sausages is just a little bit more mentally taxing than I thought it would be. So I’m tapping out of paleo and letting myself off the hook.

No, it doesn’t mean I’m going to go nuts on cakes and ice cream and chips and cookies- the wedding is 4 months and 2 days away! It does mean that I’m going to practice mindful and healthy eating and moderation. I’m going to try to eat lots of veggies and fruits and dairy and pasta and everything- in moderation.

So instead of paleo, I’m going to say yes to eating smart things and being happy with what I put into my body. Some may call it failure, I choose to call it evolution.

Paleo, Caveman, Primal, UGH!

Happy April!

So for April’s challenge, we’re going caveman or paleo or primal or something.  If we can figure out what to eat.

It seems like everyone has their own take on what Paleo is and what you can or cannot eat.  Making this week’s menu and grocery list has been a nightmare.  Is cream in or out?  What about corn?  What about potatoes and sweet potatoes? Different websites say different things- I found a gnocchi recipe on one website, only to see that on another, gnocchi isn’t paleo!

I did find a list of Paleo foods which is pretty much what I’m going to stick to this month.  We are going to err on the side of Primal over Paleo.  Apparently, the difference between them is that on the Primal diet, you can have dairy.  But there’s so much conflicting information on the interweb, I could be wrong.

It’s pretty confusing in fairness, and with its focus on meat, it’s pretty much opposite to the vegetarian and vegan challenges which I really enjoyed.   Also, not being allowed corn tortillas or black beans means that Mexican is out which has pretty much make this my least favourite challenge so far.  (So, what did the early Incans and Mayans eat??)  To be honest, I’m already happy for evolution and it’s only April 1st.

Also, since it’s my birthday month, I’m giving myself an extra cheat day (my challenge, my birthday, my rules!)


Happy April!

Hey March, You’re Not That Sweet!

So obviously with a new month comes a new challenge.  Eating vegan at home was awesome!  We loved it – and it really expanded our horizons. 

As a result, we’ve pledged to eat less meat, less often.  We’re not going to give up meat completely but I can safely say we’ve discovered a new way of thinking about food and a new way of approaching what we eat.  

Last night for the first time in 2 months I made steaks at home–  I’m not sure if was the mustard sauce or the change in diet or our conscience haunting us- but both The Runner and I woke up complaining about how badly we slept and what weird dreams we’d both had.  He dreamt he was a drug dealer being chased by police and I had four or five short small dreams that left me shaken and upset…very coincidental but very strange.

This month’s challenge– No Sugar March.  It’s The Runner’s idea– which is weird.

For me, it’s a minor inconvenience of thinking a bit more about what I eat.  I don’t really buy sweets very often, and when I do, it’s almost always M&Ms.  I like desserts, but I can also happily not have it.  For The Runner, it will be tough.  Very Tough.  

The Runner has a sweet tooth and is a snacker. A serious snacker. Partly because he trains so much and partly because of who he is, he eats constantly and loves sweets.  There are very few cookies, sweets or desserts that the man does not eat.  His favourites are Jaffa Cakes and Irish Cadbury chocolate, which his Mum lovingly sends from Ireland, but he eats most, if not all cookies and candies.  When we first started dating, he used to put chocolate chips and nuts in his pockets and eat them while watching TV- similar to a squirrel tucking into his winter provisions.  So for him to choose to give up sugar, I was pretty impressed– and worried.

We’re cutting out all candy, added sugar, sugary drinks, sugary foods, ice cream, cakes, basically everything with sugar in it except for fresh fruit and alcohol.  (Wine comes from grapes, grapes are fruit, therefore wine stays in!)

For me, the hardest thing will be not having sugar in my coffee (actually, it’s Day 3 and I’ve gotten used to no sugar in my coffee).

I think the hardest thing for me will be giving up Cherry Coke.  Yep, you read that right Cherry Coke.  I don’t have it often, but it’s my feel good, cheer up food- or drink.  If I’m having a bad day, I’ll get one after lunch.  If I’m a bit tender on a Sunday morning, I’ll have a Cherry Coke to bring me back to life.  I used to have one nearly every day at lunch in high school–!!! If I’m happy I have one to celebrate how happy I am.  It’s literally the equivalent of Gummiberry Juice for me.  

If you’re not a child of the 1980s, you can read all about Gummiberry Juice here.  Ok, in reading about it again, Gummiberry Juice sounds a bit creepy, and a suspiciously a bit like wine.  

Anyway, back to Cherry Coke and true confession.  For the first few years I was in Australia, other than family and friends Cherry Coke was the only thing that I seriously missed about the US.  The one thing that I REALLY craved about home that I couldn’t ship over here and couldn’t get over it– until one day it started magically appearing….here, in Australia.  And you could buy it by the case from Costco and find it in convenience shops and our local corner store and lots of places now.  And I’m hooked all over again…. but not for the next 28 days….

Oh well, only 672 more hours until I can have one again!!!





PS- No, this post has not been sponsored by Cherry Coke, but if you a happen to have a can or two, please send them my way on April 1st!!



Two Vegetarian Picnics…. one with Fairy Bread!

So we’re 12 days into our Vegetarian Challenge and we have been doing really well.  Truthfully, I don’t crave or miss meat like I thought I would.  We had a lovely dinner with friends on Friday night, it was a veritable feast!  (It was also one of the only non-alcohol, non-meat dinner parties I’ve ever been to but it was LOADS of fun and the food was delish!) 

Last night and today we had picnics!  The Runner and I went to see Chaka Khan in The Domain and today I caught up with my best friend in Sydney for a picnic for her birthday.  Amazingly (because I LOVE prosciutto in the sunshine) both picnics were vegetarian and almost completely gluten free and 80% dairy free too!  I have to say, overall, it wasn’t that hard to make a yummy, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free picnic that was relatively kid friendly! 

The Runner and I had olives (he did, I hate olives!), dips, insalata caprese (a fancy name for tomato, bocconcini and basil), rice paper rolls, rainbow rice salad, and vanilla vodka strawberries for dessert.  It was lovely! 

This morning’s picnic featured potato cakes with sage, corn fritters and avocado, rainbow rice salad, rice paper rolls, dips, crackers,  fairy bread (because it’s not a birthday party without it!), and vanilla strawberries (no vodka before 12!).  Again, it was lovely and as much as I would have loved a couple of prawns in the rice paper rolls, I didn’t miss them.

I’m adjusting to this meat free life and I’m loving it!

So, what are we eating this week??

Baked polenta pie

Artichoke, Red Onion and Rosemary Risotto

Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Tomato

Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Curry

Lentil Burgers (The Runner is making them, from Scott Jurek’s recipe- what a treat to have The Runner in the kitchen!!!!)  


Hooray!  Have a great week!


What we’re eating this week or How to expand your mind and not be scared!

So, I thought that this month’s Vegetarian challenge was going to be daunting and hard and disappointing.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It’s only Day 4, but it’s actually been awesome so far.  Yes, saying that you’re vegetarian (even for a month) does invite some to question and some to be afraid to eat with you– we did have to reschedule dinner with friends because they weren’t sure what to make.  But overall, this has been the challenge that so far has forced me to expand my mind and my cooking brain the most. 

For most carnivores, the normal equation when they think of cooking dinner is:   meat + 2 veg (1 green if you’re my mother)= dinner.  For the last four days, and in planning the rest of the month I’ve had to shift my thinking.  Cooking vegetarian meals isn’t just subtracting meat, it’s actually looking at every element of the meal and how each bit will work together with the rest.  There is no star of the show.  

It’s the difference between being Diana Ross & The Supremes vs. The Temptations, or for a more modern interpretation it’s the difference between being Destiny’s Child (no matter how good Kelly Rowland is/was, she’s no Beyonce) vs. New Kids On The Block or One Direction or The Spice Girls [Insert name of Pop Band here].  Diana Ross and Beyonce will always be stars (the meat), you could stick any two half decent performers behind them and the songs wouldn’t change much.  She’d still be a Survivor, and you’d still Stop, In The Name of Love.   However, with The Temptations or Spice Girls or whichever band, they all have to work together and work in harmony in order to pull off the show.

This is what I’m learning about cooking Vegetarian.  It’s not just saying yep, we’ll have some peas and potatoes and hope for the best, it’s about planning out meals that have enough elements to be nutritious, tasty, filling but overall satisfying on their own.  I’m not a fan of tofu and meat substitutes scare me, so for me, this challenge is really about exploring new things to cook and not faking it and not being afraid of being meatless.  And I love it so far!** 

So, what are we eating this week?

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

Potato Gallettes with Sage

Eggplant Au Gratin

Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Souffle

I’m already getting excited about dinner!

I found a couple of awesome Vegetarian Cooking blogs which have really helped:

Oh My Veggies

Green Kitchen Stories 

Sprouted Kitchen

Naturally Ella

There are obviously hundreds more out there but those are just a few!

And if you really are curious about what we might be eating this month…. here’s a photo with some menu ideas for the month!




**Small Disclaimer, yes, I do love it but I also love a good cheeseburger, a good steak, and fried chicken.  So no matter how much I love this 30 day challenge, I am thinking that there is a Jazz City Milk Bar Cheeseburger at the end of it!  If you’re in Sydney and haven’t been, you should go to Jazz City.  Have a burger, a milkshake, and red velvet cake.  You may not be able to button your pants, but you won’t regret it either.

Day 18- this is hardly a challenge


More than half of the way through No red meat December and quite frankly I’m a bit bored.  This is not challenging.  This is not that hard.  I don’t feel like I’m denying myself anything and really I’m not.  Giving up red meat for 30 days is a lot easier than I thought it would be. 

 Let’s get one thing straight.  I LOVE Beef.  I’m a child of the 80s and vividly remember the Wendy’s ‘Where’s The Beef’ campaign.  Hamburgers, steaks, I can’t really think of what else you make from beef but you get the picture.  When I was a little girl and my father would ask me what I wanted to eat, I would apparently always answer “steak”.  He used to do a voice as an imitation of little me saying “steak” which was quite funny.  And Funny because it was not the voice of a little 7 year old girl, more of a Bill Cosby/John Belushi comedic voice, anyway, it was gold.  And accurate because I love and have always loved Steak.  If I were to die tomorrow, I can almost promise you that my last meal would involve a rare-ish steak, béarnaise sauce, chips, with mint chocolate chip and cookies n cream ice cream for dessert.  I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, but that would probably be my all time favourite meal.

Knowing this, and knowing that I always choose beef as a choice of filling, topping, or protein, I thought this would be a really tough challenge. 

 But it’s not.  And I’m disappointed.

 I’m not sure whether I’ve gone for the easy option by considering pork white meat and not red.  (Let’s face it marketing works on me, and to me pork is “the other white meat”)  There is a fair bit of debate on the internet as to which camp pork belongs to so I don’t feel like I’ve knowingly cheated but I feel like I must be cheating because it’s just.too.easy.  It could be because right behind a juicy steak on my list of favourite foods, is a nice juicy pork chop.  If my Dad is to blame for my love of red meat, my mom gets blamed for my love of pork.  If I had to pick one meal for my mother to make it would be her famous (in my eyes) breaded pork chops with white rice, corn, peas, and of course apple sauce on the side.  There has to be apple sauce otherwise it’s just not quite right. 

 I know I shouldn’t complain as I eat my Ham, cheese, and tomato sandwich (ok, no I’m not actually eating one right now) but you know what I mean.  Can I challenge be a challenge if it’s easy???

 Clearly next month we’ll have to step it up a notch!  Will we go fully vegetarian?  Liquid while the sun is up? Vegan before 6? (see article here I’m not sure what January has in store, but it will be tough.  I’m ready to get back to the Challenge part of the Challenge.