No Dig Potatoes Vs. Planting Bag Potatoes

I did a little potato planting experiment last year. It was late autumn when I was able to clearly see the results of my little experiment so I decided to wait and write about when planting season began this year. As many of you know, I have access to a small space where I can plant some food plants during the planting season. I had tried a put some potatoes to ground, but it required so much digging and preparing the ground that I had been looking for maybe easier ways to plant some potatoes that were a bit easier on the back.

I found so many information filled youtube videos from enviable homesteaders and I decided that I would try something simpler. So, I planted ‘no dig’ potatoes at the small outdoor planting space and at the same time I tried planting potatoes in a planting bag on the terrace to see which one, or if either, might work for me.

It wasn’t such a big surprise to see that neither really worked as well as the traditional planting method. However, I do want to try the ‘no dig’ planting method again because it seems promising, the only problem being that I am an amateur.

This is how each method worked for me:

‘No dig’

  • ‘No dig’ really should be ‘no till’ method because you can’t just put the potatoes on top of grass. The area must have a layer of earth, but no grass so if it is a previously undisturbed area, you will have to do some digging. Fortunately for me, the area I have for planting is in a space which is specifically used for planting so there was already a layer of earth without the grass for my use.
  • The process is quite simple. Put the potatoes for planting on the top of the layer of earth and cover with hay, compost or more dirt. I covered mine in a loose hay. Leave for growing and uncover in the autumn for your lovely potato harvest!
  • Results: Many potatoes were found and they were larger than I have ever grown before! (Not to be too excited, all the potatoes I have ever grown are all quite small. Think: new potato size) The bad bit is that the birds were attracted to the hay I used for covering and the little thieves stole much of it. I know now that I should have put a much thicker layer on the top because at least half of my precious potato harvest had green (toxic) spots from being exposed to sunlight and so had to be composted instead. 😦 In total, I retrieved 1 3L bag of edible potato. I would recommend this method to anyone with a small allotment for planting or if one has a planting space of their own at their home, and has access to covering material such as hay, dried grass cuttings or compost.

Planting bag

  • Planting bags have been quite the trend recently and I can understand why. Planting bags are perfect for use in small outdoor spaces such as the terraces or balcony of a flat as long as there is some exposure to sunlight. They might even be suitable for a sunlight-filled area indoors of a small flat, but I have not tried that because the planting bag I purchased allows for the water to drain through the fabric.
  • The process is even simpler than the ‘no dig’ method. I used one 15L bag of mixed earth and compost. I put half of the 15L bag into the planting bag, and then placed the sprouting potatoes in a layer with a few cm space between and when those were all played carefully with the sprouts up, I poured the rest of the 15L bag on the top to fit the planting bag. Then I just placed the planting bag in an area with good exposure to sunlight and let it be. Watering is necessary and it can really be more or less depending what climate you are in. I gave quite a bit of water when the earth on the top of the planting bag looked dry.
  • Results: This method is for certain the easiest one and recommended for the person who doesn’t have the time for entire days spent on planting. Potatoes did grow in these planting bags, though they were quite small. Smaller even than the new potato size I had previously grown with the traditional planting method. The good thing about planting potatoes using the planting bag method is that they can be started earlier in the season. As potatoes even begin to sprout in the refrigerator, I find that it is ok to put them out if the weather is still a bit cold. No problemo! Being able to begin the growing sooner and leave until autumn may result in larger potatoes. If you like the small potatoes, this is really a perfect way to get those!

If you have plans for planting some kind of things this spring, I hope that you have found this post helpful. I have hope that people will try to keep some kind of food plants this year, wherever you are and what kind of home you live in because having the ability to grow ones own food, even if it is 1 small tomato plant or a bag of potatoes, is an important skill to have.

Read more here about why potatoes are a recommended food for always having in the budget-friendly kitchen.

Do you have any planting plans for this year?

-Mliae

Back To Basics: Local Food / Own Grown Food Experiment Starts Now!

I am doing this experiment…again. I tried this 2 years ago, and did not last long with it.  I have been thinking it often due to the coronavirus restrictions, that we should try to have some food plants here for eating if there is another wave of cases and businesses close again, that we have something here. Then I thought that well, I am thinking foolishly, just do the experiment and look that can I even manage 2 days on the few things I am able to grow.

My goal in this experiment, is to reconnect with the source of my food. 100 years ago, people lived in a way that they knew how to grow and produce, preserve their own foods. There was a basic connection to food, a respect for it and a need to master the process oneself. In our current society, we have everything we could possibly want. We can access summer harvested foods from the other side of the globe, in winter, in the food shops. Not only is this very unnatural, but the fragility of logistics and supply chains in order to make such luxury possible is something that must be considered. As the coronavirus restrictions have exhibited; manufacturing, logistics and supply is not always reliable. This is when I had my ‘eureka!’ moment and that knew if I am ever going to make this local food and growing food work, I needed to do this experiment again. I want to share with you the possibilities for someone who is quite helpless with growing, cooking, baking – basically all things food-related (I’m quite nightmarish) – to learn and see that is it even possible to do. I have 2 goals in this experiment. Goal #1 is for me to learn & to be able in the future to not be so dependent on the shops for my food. Goal #2 is to motivate you to think about these things. For you to hopefully, even with small changes, to also feel a sense of independent ability and a closeness to your food as well.

So here we are, launching this experiment…again. If this is the first you have read about this, I will share the basic things:

  • If I can grow it, forage it or purchase it from local farms, I can eat it.
  • If it is produced locally by small producers/individuals, I can eat it.
  • If it is gifted to me, I can eat it. 

Aside from these, I have 2 circumstances which could be variable.  #1 – Although I am trying to avoid visiting the food shops, I will have to go. Some of the things I will need to purchase are items for food preservation such as: sugar, jam sugar, oils, vinegars, spices and salt.  I will also purchase dog food (of course. For the dog, not I) and I am allowing myself purchases of both fish and cheeses, wheat powder & eggs (for baking) and salad sauce – as my luxury purchases.  But that is when I do go to the food shops, which I am trying to avoid. So probably not making those purchases for some time.  Circumstance #2 – food & my husband. Doing an experiment like this can be complicated when the person doing it, does not live alone. Last time I did this, meal times were difficult. We adjusted to eating seperate foods, which was not difficult. The problem came when my husband wanted to surprise me with a nice meal and I was unable to accept. It was not a regular happening, but it did happen. As my goal is to make use of what we have, I do not wish to waste a good meal or a thoughtful gift from my husband. So I have decided that this time, if he makes a nice meal for the both of us, I will eat it. Before you get the idea that he will be cooking for me every evening, he will not. I am quite certain that he will make good use of the opportunity to eat all the delicious foods that I don’t like.

I do have some things I am uncertain about. I am hoping that you will share your thoughts about it, so that we can together decide that are these acceptable or no:

  • Navigating costs
  • ! Food items, example; late season grown food items that I purchased from farms outside the city, but still locally and had frozen or preserved in some way. myself for it to last longer. These are the foods I can purchase when they are available, so it does fit the experiment. These were purchased months prior to this experiment though, so I am unsure that is it ‘breaking the rules’  or not if I eat these vegetables?
  • Ice-cream auto: small local business, but not grown or locally produced food. How does it fit into the experiment, or does it?

I have little doubt that I will lose some weight during this experiment. My weight at the beginning of  this experiment, 31 May 2020: 74,4 kg / 164 pounds.

I am nervous and feel ill prepared. Local food experiment a go-go!

Luck needed!

-Mliae

I Am Ending The Extreme Lifestyle Experiment; Food Diet

It’s been over 2 months now since I initially launched my most challenging experiment thus far and I am at the point now where I have to end the experiment as it is now.

For those of you who have not been following, this experiment was based around the premise of only eating the food that we could grow here, and what is grown/made locally. Beyond those items, I allowed myself the ability to purchase oil, butter, eggs, wheat powder, vinegar and sugar from the market so that I could make and preserve our own food. The reason I did this was to see 1) if I could live locally and sustainably, to 2) put my money into our community and 3) try to stop myself buying some of everything a the market and force myself to learn how to cook real food and by doing that 4) pay off some debt.

It was challenging at first, and then I kind of got into the groove.  However, it’s been quite difficult to maintain this challenge in a household with more than just me. It’s been incredibly expensive too. I did not think things through thoroughly before setting the ‘rules’ for myself on this challenge. What that resulted in was me spending 4€ on a can of local salmon pate instead of 27 cents for a bag of macaroni. This is no way is helping my debt issue. It has been an amazing feeling knowing that I’m eating sustainably and locally, but I just cannot keep up the momentum. I need food items to eat with the vegetables and I need to be able to purchase items that I can afford. I need to be able to buy fruit for my family. And if there is a bowl of fruit on the table, why am I not allowing myself to eat it?  This is why I am ending the experiment.

I am ending the experiment as it is now, anyway.  My plan is to thoroughly integrate this challenge for myself in my day to day life. I will continue to buy locally and purchase as much produce as possible from local farms. But I will also make smart purchasing decisions in the market. I will allow myself that cheap bag of macaroni, and a can of tuna with the occasional avocado. I will still try to make bread and muffins instead of buying them, but I will not feel conflicted about buying food items for my family that are affordable options.

The great thing about this experiment is that I learned so much! I met many local farmers and am looking forward to returning for big orders to last us the winter. (Fingers crossed) I have learned how to cook a variety of items from just a few options, not to mention varying preserving methods.

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I have learned that I don’t need to waste my money on piles of unfulfilling foods. A few potatoes fills my stomach for longer that 2 plates of pasta.

I have learned how to forage for mushrooms and berries (though I still don’t trust myself to do it on my own).

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I have learned that having a small portion of locally caught fish is just as filling as a huge plate of pasta with sauce. I have also learned that if I just eat right, I don’t need all the extra stuff I was loading into my shopping cart.

So, what do you think?

-Mliae

Extreme Lifestyle Experiment: Update #1

Two weeks. It only took me two weeks to completely lose my mind. I’m still going on the challenge, but I’ve already had a major slip-up.

This is how its been going:

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On the first day, I thought I had some potatoes remaining in cold storage. Apparently not, as they had all sprouted in the bag. That wasn’t a great start, but I was able to get to the local store (which only sells local dried foods) and I was happily surprised to find a container of salmon paté so that what was my dinner.

The next day I went to the market where I was able to buy summer squash, small cucumbers, tomatoes, kale and local made habanero mayonnaise (yum!). I felt quite proud of myself and like, Yay I’m gonna do this! However I realized I had made one very large mistake. I embarked on this challenge to save money, to pay off some debt. But guess what! Eating local is expensive! The tomatoes and the mayonnaise each hit me for about €5. ‘OK,’ I thought to myself, ‘You’ve GOT to get this figured out’.

I was eating fresh berried from our bushes for breakfast. A good money saver, can’t get cheaper than free and it fit within my rules. My husband was kind enough to cook rice for a few meals (I can’t make rice…yes, it’s that bad!). Rice is also on my list, so we’re good there. Just fry some summer squash and call it a day. Hubby also made some slow cooker pea soup, which I really enjoy for some reason, so we ate a lot of that.

I did tell my husband that he didn’t have to do this challenge with me. I knew it was a major lifestyle change and I figure since he didn’t actually sign up for it, it wouldn’t be so nice to force him into it. He’s been really great trying to make meals which include things I can also have and then I only have to make whatever I want with it. However, it’s proved extremely challenging to sit there and watch the man eat bread or drink fizzy water without pulling sad puppy dog eyes.

I did manage to tell a couple friends what kind of crazy thing I had set for myself. I was invited to join on a berry picking trip. So this happened…

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I got a whole bucket! 🙂 This went promptly into a jam making session. I’m not so great at jam yet. It turns out kind of watery. But, this turned out really well (for me to eat, at least) and I’m looking forward to having it on cabbage casserole and hopefully some bread too (if I can ever figure out how to make it).

I managed to get some info on local farms that might sell directly to me.  I went, I bought, I  will go back! With this place I now have access to peas, cherry tomatoes (OMG – SOOOO GOOD!), kale, potato, onion, summer squash and turnip. This alone is enough variety to do some canning, eat fresh and make some soups for freezing.

And then it happened. About 1 week in and I got hungry. Not normal hungry, but eat the chair kind of hungry. I don’t actually understand what happened. I have been eating. Quite a bit, actually. But maybe not having all the instant food and whatever in it to make it instant, threw my body into some kind of withdrawal or something? I was so hungry. I would eat and snack and eat but I was still as hungry as if I hadn’t eaten anything. So weird.

So when I got together with a longtime friend of mine the other day, I went off my balance. I cheated. I cheated in a major kind of way. I ate restaurant food (which actually wasn’t outlawed if I was away from home) but then I did it like 2 more times in the span of 7 hours and I got whatever my little heart desired. She was horrified, I’m sure. I don’t feel embarrassed though, because she had been sufficiently warned. And then I shopped. I bought gas water, donuts, cheese bread, mini pizza. Which I kind of hate myself for now because it’s like I’m having to start all over again. I also wonder – how in the hell did people do this? Are we really so spoiled that I thought I was going to die after only 2 weeks?! Two weeks not of dieting, but of eating whatever I wanted, as long as it was locally sourced/made/grown. You know, one really wonders about these things. 50 years ago, eating like this was the norm. Now? Not even remotely normal. Areas are growing singular crops, instead of the formerly diversified ones, because most of those crops are going into the processed food we eat. People were satisfied eating locally. People knew what to do, how to make it work, how not to get bored, what to mix it with so as to maintain healthy systems. Us in modern day? Hah.

I finally got it together and worked up the nerve to try a bit of ‘baking’. Bread is far too complicated at this point, but I did find a fantastically simpler recipe for wheat tortillas. I will be posting the recipe at a later date. I made the tortillas today and it turned out well! Not so pretty, mind you. But they work. You can put stuff in them and they wrap. Best yet, I’m not the only person here who will eat them. Win!

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So that’s how that’s been going. What do you think, is a occasional fall down acceptable in a challenge like this?

I still feel like I’m in for the win though. My husband bet I wouldn’t last 2 days, and I beat that wager by a long distance. (Although he’ll try to argue that I’ve been begging for food gifts from him all along. Don’t believe a word he says about that…). This is harder. Much harder than I actually thought. I’m hungry and I’m cranky but there’s also some weird sense of pride that I feel. Like somehow anyone but me cares that I’m eating berries for breakfast instead of diet shakes. I feel like I’m doing something healthy and constructive for myself (and I know hubby is glad I’m at least trying to learn to cook something). And I feel like I’m doing something good for the local economy. Not just wasting money, but actually investing in something that local people have poured their backs into creating.

To be continued…

Any thoughts on this?

-Mliae

EXTREME Lifestyle Experiment…Can I Do It?

Greetings all and thanks for stopping by! Today I’ve got a big one for you…

We just returned from our trip to the States, and it was so much fun! But now its down to business and I would like to discuss with you something I’ve been thinking about doing. I’d really like your input as to whether or not you think I have just completely lost my mind.

I’ve been rolling over in my mind how to explain this, but there really isn’t a good way to do it that I can find. So, here it is: I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself – starting today (this morning actually, and day one sucked) that I will do a complete 180  degree turnaround and live off the land – or at least locally. In all honesty, even though I’ve put some stuff to grow (fingers crossed) I really only have red currants and rhubarb growing and I’m smart enough to know that there’s no way I can last 2 days with that. I’m also kicking off a year (or thereabouts) of a shopping ban. No clothes, accessories shopping for me! I’ll explain all in the following paragraph. Please hang with me because there’s a lot of info – as this is a YUGE challenge I’ve set for myself. I have no idea how long I’ll actually make it, but we’ll see!

This whole post is surely a bit disjointed, but I do want to get all the facts out there so you can call me on it later. 😉 My motivation is this: I’ve been trying to get our accounting together and I realized that we are spending 100’s of Euros more a month than we should be, at the market. I’ve been thinking alot about how spoiled we (as several generations) are. I’ve been paying more attention at the market and it has started to stun me how easily accessible everything is due to globalization. I mean, I think its only in the past 20 years or so that its become commonplace to find summer fruits in mid winter or autumn root vegetables in the spring. This is not natural. Anyway, things got me thinking about how our grandparents lived. Although they were able to import/export items, it was nowhere near the level we have today. They had to eat according to natural harvesting seasons and also with wars, economic depression and the ration card. Despite all of this, many of them managed to survive and become what is actually one of our healthiest, toughest and most stable generations of the 20th century. And then I look at myself. I have been learning 1-2 ways of planting or preserving every year. But in the grande scheme of things, I’ll be 70 before I can actually live off what I’ve learned. I can’t bake – not for anything. I can cook, but it’s not in the realm of deliciousness – so I’m usually the only one who will eat it. And I need to learn. I have a habit of purchasing ready-made or easy to prepare food.  But the more I look at it, the more I want to prioritize my spending. As I would prefer to be able to pay off my debt (Or at least pay it down somewhat). Creating a life which is more on the self-reliant sphere has catapulted my decision. That and the fact that I really need to learn how to do this. It’s sink or swim time. And I hope I don’t sink!

So here’s what I’m doing: I am living off what I can grow as much as possible and what I can source from local farms and local small business (live fish farm -? I think it exists?, greenhouses and a small shop which sources dried herbs from the area). I am allowing myself gifts. As in, I will not turn down birthday cake if someone gets it for me. (My husband hates this clause because he thinks I’ll be begging people to buy me food ‘gifts’…he may be correct, but lets hope not!) I know that I will need lots of help from friends and neighbors to help me learn and direct me to local farms where I can purchase food items (which will fun to explain, as they don’t even know this blog exists).

I am allowing myself some purchases at the market, as I cannot cook without some things. The items I am allowing myself are as follows:

  • varying wheat flours
  • oil
  • sugar
  • cheese (& maaayyyybbe milk if I need it for casserole, but I think I can do without)
  • eggs
  • yeast
  • dried beans/peas
  • mustard powder (I’m trying to perfect a mustard recipe for gifts)
  • coffee
  • tea
  • vinegar

If I cannot make the items I need with these ingredients, I don’t get it. I have to learn to make my own bread, pastry, pasta and sauces. I don’t feel like I’m cheating with these ingredients, because they are necessary and even the cowboys had access to these items. Besides, I can’t preserve without some of it. So there. *sticks out tongue and wags fingers in ears.

Part 2 of this challenge is that I am embarking on a shopping ban. 1 year if I can do it. I have enough. Ironically, I looked in my wardrobe today and have built up my wardrobe to exactly 30 items. I find it so weird that some people consider 30 items for a season, a minimalist challenge. How? My wardrobe looks so….full!

I don’t know why my mind is so set on this, as it seems like a mission to disaster for this spoiled city girl. But I am determined to make it work. I can tell you quite honestly that I am already seriously missing fruit and mineral water.  I know that I will have troubles, challenges and frustrating days. I will be logging everything so that you can share in this journey with me as much as possible. I plan to do a vlog series about it as well, but no promises because I have no idea how weird I’m going to get.

So that’s my deal. Any thoughts on the matter?

-Mliae

*Photo sourced via Pixabay

Random Factoids 28.08.2017

‘There are over 20 000 species of edible plants in the world. However, just 20 species provide 90% of human food.’

*Source

Hmmm…food for thought. Literally! I wonder if these other 19 980 species of edible plant would help to solve the worlds food crisis as opposed to lab made frankenfood. Thoughts?

-Mliae

Our Rhubarb plants!

I really love it when I can say: ‘Spring has sprung and look what’s springing up for us!’  Fresh from our garden! YYYYEEEEE, I’m always so excited when I see good plants coming up! 🙂 🙂

This past year I have really been into planting, preserving and trying to make the most out of what we can gather from our own property (or at least trying t learn how to). So I’m super excited about our little rhubarb plants. I know these guys will grow big and strong and give us lots of rhubarb juice, rhubarb pie and rhubarb sauce! Do I sound like Bubba in Forest Gump?

Stay tuned for some fun recipes 🙂

How are your Spring plants growing?

-Mliae

 

Bread, Cheese & Children from Scratch

Hi all! I HAD to reblog this awesome post! I am really looking forward to trying this home cheese recipe, it looks so much simpler than I had ever imagined 🙂 Check out http://www.wildwoodhomestead.com for more cool ideas!

wildwoodhomestead

I spend a small fortune on cheese. Especially soft cheeses, like goat cheese and sumptuous, creamy, expensive real, imported cheeses that pair perfectly with Pinot Noir and peppery water table crackers or smeared across a piece of thinly sliced toasted rye. Yep. This is my vice. Good cheese. Hard, soft, crumbly, whatever, I love it. And if I’m wrong for loving good cheese and crispy, crunchy crackers or bread, then by golly I don’t wanna be right in this life.

GUILTY. AS. CHARGED.

I’ve had some really successful cheese making sessions lately. The kind where the mozzarella actually stretches and with each pull, I simultaneously feel a tear being tugged from my eye as I secretly celebrate my cheese making success while beaming with pride. Like, how boring is my life that my mozzarella making accomplishments leave me verklempt? Let me answer that question for you…

Not boring at all.

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Fresh from the garden :)

Hello everyone 🙂 I hope you are enjoying the last bits of summer!

I was so excited about this, I just had to share! Yours truly, has a very nasty track record of killing off almost every plant she comes in contact with. So you can imagine my fear and frustration when I spent a ton of money I didn’t have on bulbs and roots for pretty plants and flowers I feared I would ultimately murder.

But look-y what happened! I planted tons of lily and gladiolus bulbs (being consoled by friends and family the entire time that they would not sprout until next year) and 3 peace rose ‘bushes’ (nope, not bushes…really tiny sticks with a root-y part). I only managed to ‘over-love’ one of the rose bushes that just didn’t make it. But two of them did, as did some of the lilies!

So here is a photo of my first Massive peace rose from my baby stick and a beautiful lily next to it. No, the lily isn’t miniature, the rose is HUGE. YYYYEEEAAA! Who’s your gardening lady now?!

How’s your garden growing?

-Mliae

WWWOOOOHHHOOO!!! Winter Slim down goal achieved!!

After a very long battle with my weight…I’VE DONE IT!!

yeah-baby-yeah

This has really been some sort of journey! I started out at 76 kgs (168 lbs) and more than 2 yore than a year later, I’m now at 59,9 kgs (132 lbs)! I picked up on my attempt at shedding those last stubborn 20 lbs of weight while blogging. Those were absolutely the most impossible and stubborn to shed! But today, I’m here to celebrate meeting weightless goal! I’ve tried and failed, tried and succeeded with so many different things and I’d like to go over some of those now.

To recap some of the alternatives I tried:

  • No sugar
    • This actually helped a lot but I was astonished to discover that everything we eat has tons of sugar in it! I mean seriously! Take a look at your ketchup bottle. Now divide the grams by 4 and thats how many tablespoons of sugar are in 1 serving of ketchup! If you can curb the sugar, its a great feeling. You know your body is starting to get over it when you feel like someone has hit you head with a sledgehammer.
  • No booze
    • This was a no-brainer. Booze has tons of hidden calories in it, and I always get the munchies when I indulge. So, I limited my intake to 1 or 2 glasses of wine or a small cognac on only special occasions.
  • Dramatically limiting my calorie intake
    • Great in theory, horrendous in practice. No doubt. I was hungry all the time, and completely lost my senses – resulting in The Nacho Incident. If you scroll down to the bottom of the linked post, you’ll see a list of low calorie foods and their serving sizes in 100 Kcal increments.
  • Strict exercise regime
    • When I finally realized that I desperately needed some outside help, and someone that I trust to hold me accountable for my own failure or success, I was fortunate enough to get David from Chape Personal TrainerChape Personal Trainer to work me into shape! David has been awesome! He takes the time to explain things to me that defy logic, listen to me whine about my bad diet days, patiently listens to me bitch about muscle soreness, and has supported me with friendship, consistently updating new workouts for those  soft cushy spots on my body that are driving me mad and always adjusting whatever need be to make sure that I had a positive and successful experience with him as a personal trainer. Thank you, David! You pushed me to meet my weightless goal and I DID IT!!
  • A not so strict, gradually increased exercise of convenience regime
    • This was at the beginning and I…sucked at it. I’ve discovered in this process that I have zero will power if I allow myself even a millimeter of lee-way.
  • Diet soups and green teas
    • Green tea helps a lot, but really only by getting rid of water weight. Green tea is super healthy though, so I say go for it! The diet soups worked well…for awhile. But then I was just – HUNGRY! The lack of vital nutrients made me feel really run down and basically worthless. The hunger turned me into a monster.
  • Vegan and vegetarian
    • This, I highly suggest – if you make sure to have enough protein. Always have a backup though because when Chape suggested I lose the tofu, tempeh and cheese for a week – I lost my mind.
  • Only eating fresh fruit and veg
    • This, I loved! It was a bit more time consuming to cook and clean, but I felt really great, higher energy and less hunger!
  • Consulting Chape Personal Trainer
    • BEST MOVE I MADE!  I seriously could not have done this without David’s help! Super simple – All I had to do was consult daily. I kept a daily/hourly food and drink journal, David posted workout regimes, times, weigh in days, measurement days and scales for me and then would adjust the workouts to fit my needs as he saw fit. This took all the stress out of trying to figure out what was best. I just trusted him, and on occasion listened to him tell me things in a quite loud voice, and IT WORKED!
  • No fizzy drinks
    • This was easy, and I suggest it as a first move to anyone who’s trying to shed some weight. Fizzy drinks have TONS of sugar and other bad stuff for you and cutting back on just one a day can make a massive difference! I went to mineral water, hot teas, black coffee and the occasional juice. Also, shocker: cutting back on fizzy drinks actually reduces your thirst. Fizzy drinks dehydrate you – making you thirsty.
  • Eating my carbs in the morning
    • This was actually a great suggestion by a fellow blogger at Olivier fiction. And it actually worked out pretty well! At least when you eat your carbs in the morning, you have time to burn them off throughout the day and you don’t crave it so badly. Not exactly sure how it works body-wise, but it helped ease the pain of the carb and sauce cut down.
  • Cutting carbs completely
    • Oh Atkins, how you mutilate my mainly vegetarian diet! This just wasn’t for me. Granted, broccoli has tons of protein. Buuuttt, do you have any idea how frustrating it is to be a herbivore on a carnivores diet and still manage to find something yummy to eat? No fun…no fun at all.
  • Going yeast free for 1 week
    • This was actually something I did not share on the blog. I wanted to see if I could actually even pull it off. I did! Surprisingly, yeast is in lots of baked foods which one would not expect. After what I thought was a sly move on my part when I bought a weeks worth of tortilla wraps as a substitute, my fiancé took one look at me and said ‘you know thats made with yeast, don’t you?’. I didn’t believe him. I was wrong. Gggrrr…I hate being wrong. The yeast free week was a long one – especially when I got to watch everyone else enjoying my wraps. But you know what? At the end of the week, my belly looked pretty flat! I never realized how much yeast containing products contribute to belly bloat! So, if you’re working on that beach bod, I’d give this a shot!
  • Reducing portion sizes
    • This was quite easy. Stopping myself from getting seconds was the hard part.
  • Eating earlier in the day
    • Great in theory, virtually impossible when you are eating in a household setting and with others who actually have schedules to contend with.
  • Guzzling matcha and cutting back on the sauces
    • Matcha, I love you. Sauce, I love you too. Putting a few drops of salad or hot sauce on my food just didn’t cut it. Sorry.
  • Drinking more water
    • I’ve been told to do this on countless occasions. But I just don’t like it. I try, but I float. I’m a chic. I’m already running to the Loo every chance I get. Add a preliminary water consumption minimum and I might as well set up shop there. Tried, and failed. However Im drinking more than I was – so maybe not totally failed.
  • Eating more
    • When David suggested this, Thought he had lost his mind for sure. After he explained it to me, I thought – great, I’m going to go on an eat more diet and turn into a blueberry. But, I tried it. And you know what? IT WORKED! How the hell???
  • Drinking Yerba Mate before meals 
    • This is actually something a girlfriend of mine from Argentina suggested when I very first trying to shed the weight, weighing in at 76 kg or 168 lbs. I was desperate to lose some of the flab before I turned into a ball. She suggested drinking a full glass of heavily steeped yerba mate before every meal so as to reduce my appetite. It worked! I will never again have a home without this stuff in it.
  • Fasting
    • Intermittent fasting wasn’t actually bad at all and I managed t0 pull it off for like 2 weeks. However, eventually my body began to expect food at 4 and to not be hungry after 7, but the weight loss stopped. When I stopped fasting, I re-gained the weight.

Moments when I went totally off the rails:

  • Christmas and New Years
    • I decided I would allow myself some holiday indulgence. What a terrible idea this was…I actually gained back all the weight I’d lost (while trying to shed this last bit) + 2kgs/5lbs! Nothing like starting all over again 😦
  • The Nacho incident
    • I don’t even know what happened on this day. It’s like I was being a nice normal chic in the supermarket and then…insanity struck. I kid you not when I say that I barely even remember grabbing all requirements for an amazing set (or 2 – YES, 2!) of nachos! Including a solid weeks worth of my calorie intake. Boy did I ever regret that move!

Some of the exercises that worked really well for me:

  • I used forearm planks and flute bridges as warm ups and to tone my core:
    • Forearm plank – I find myself doing extra of these randomly and mixing with ->
    • Glute bridge – Doing flute bridges feels like a bit of a break after planks. Mixing these is awesome and its really simple to just jump off the sofa and do a set!
    • Bird Dog
    • Dumbbell Shrug – I love this one! Simple and really effective 🙂
    • Reverse fly – Great for arms, shoulders and back. You get used to it, but at first = Ow ow ow! However, it’s a REALLY important exercise so I suggest you try it if you are doing any for of weights.

Some of the exercises that were difficult:

  • This reverse crunch is a great exercise, but hard, hard, hard!!
  • This Alternating Shoulder Tap Plank made me feel like I was going to land on my face. But its super effective, and to tell you the truth, I was incredibly proud of myself when I finally nailed it!

In addition to all the exercises I received from Chape (there are many), I also go on several dog walks daily, which aids in burning some calories. I have been intermittently trying to conquer the kettle bell swing. I look like Mr Magoo trying to do it, but I will nail it down eventually.

Although I have met my weight loss goal – YYYYEEEESSSS!!! – I do plan to continue eating well and utilizing these exercises. I would like to at least maintain my weight and would be very happy to take up more! Besides, I want to look fantastic in that bikini and I have a wedding dress to fit into! I will, of course keep you updated on my progress and pitfalls.

I am SSSSOOOOOO HAPPY! I was seriously starting to doubt that this milestone day would ever come! Just consider me living proof that a woman metabolism does not come to a screeching halt in her 30’s 😉 Thank you all so much for following me and my journey, for all the support and ideas, suggestions, encouragement and motivation! Thank you David, for all the time, effort and energy you put into getting me into good shape! And a special Thank you to my fiancé for putting up with my whining about sore muscles, midnight rampages about being hungry and not having suitable food, and for laughing at me when I’m acting like a total psycho.  We did it!!! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Mliae

DIY Yard Waste Composter

Hi all and happy Sunday 🙂

As most of you know, we’ve been working, working, working…to make this place great and add some curb appeal at the new place!

This composter desperately needed to be done, as we have quite a bit of yard space and nowhere to put all the cut branches, grass clippings, etc.

I was so excited when my partner mustered up some old wood and put this beauty together! It will be full soon, and no doubt, we’ll have lots of good quality planting soil next spring! 🙂

Making yard compost is really easy, especially since you don’t have to be so super cautious about placement since it doesn’t use food waste. A yard compost pile really only needs a perimeter (such as this), lids or solid walls are not a necessity. Just toss all your leaves, and natural yard waste inside it. The outside will insulate the core and will help to excellerate the natural process of breaking down the material. In about a year this will result in a natural, nutrient rich form of soil and fertilizer (especially if you add coffee grounds). Because worms are naturally attracted, and necessary in the process, you must place your composter a reasonable distance from your home, as to not create  a pathway for creepy crawlies from the compost to your home.

Compost and enjoy!

-Mliae

Planting time is upon us!

WWEEEEEEEE!! Spring is here, spring is HERE!! We’ve been working quite hard to get the yard area even ready to do some spiffing up. Curb appeal is the name of the game this summer. So is self-sufficiency.

We are starting out with a whole bunch of berry bushes that were here when I got the place. Now we’re adding…ALOT!

There are plans in the making for a few flower beds which include multiple types of lilies, gladiolas, red poppies and yellow rose bushes. These have been ordered, but only the gladiolas and a few lilly bulbs have arrived so far.

Then there’s the good stuff: Food!

There will be 2 different types of apple trees, a pear tree, a plum tree and a cherry tree going into the ground when they arrive this month or next. Rhubarb is planted, and we have seeds – lots of seeds. We decided that planting boxes would be a good idea, so now that those are being created, I can start putting my seedlings and some new seeds in to watch them take root! Some of the seeds include: Portulaca, carrots, turnips, peas, kale, cherry tomato and chili peppers.

This year, I really wanted to be as self-sufficient as possible. This little guy you see pictured, is one of many kale plants I hope will grow and last me the entire summer of grazing and eating. I figure by planting the kale alone, I’m saving at least 80€ in what I spend at 3 -4€ a pop on small packages of kale at the market.

What are your summer planting plans?

Time to get dirty!

-Mliae