Healthy Eating Tip: Tomato and BBQ Sauce – Sugar

This is a new series that I will be starting. I have a huge interest in healthy eating and after doing much research, I am shocked by how uneducated the general public is about what they’re actually buying from the supermarket.

The crazy thing is, almost everything on the shelves are your local supermarket is loaded with added sugar. That’s why we keep going back to those products, because sugar can be very addicting.

The reality is, no, tomato sauce actually isn’t really that sweet. That sugar is not coming from the tomatoes (some does of course) but it mostly comes from sugar that is ADDED. Have you ever thought about what tomato sauce actually is? Just tomatoes pureed right? Not at all. If you tried to make your own tomato sauce at home, it would taste awful. It would be sour. It would not be as red. Or as smooth. You can thank added colours and thickeners for that consistency. And don’t even get me started on BBQ sauce. That’s even worse.

Essentially, if you add a teaspoon of tomato or BBQ sauce to your hot dog, you’re essentially adding about half a teaspoon of sugar over your hot dog. Sounds a bit disgusting right? You may as well sprinkle some white sugar over the sausage. And that’s just one teaspoon. I know that I personally, prooooobably have a little bit more than one teaspoon of sauce over a hot dog. I love my tomato sauce.

It’s my belief that everything in moderation is ok. Don’t go cutting out tomato sauce altogether if it going to make your life miserable. But just be AWARE. Use less sauce. Or, make a conscious decision to look at the back of the labels of the tomato sauce bottles and choose one where the sugar count is less. EDUCATE yourself on what is in the food you’re buying. There are huge discrepancies between various brands. The cheapest are not necessarily the worst (in fact I have found this to be the opposite on many occasions) and the most expensive is not necessarily the best for you.

An other alternative is going to the health food aisle and choosing a sauce that is specifically lower in added sugar. This sauce can make a huge difference. I don’t think they taste bad, but they do taste different. If you stick with it, you will definitely get used to it. The fact is, sugar is addicting. Moving on from an addictive substance isn’t easy – it will take a bit of effort on your part, but as I said, I’m not saying cut it out, but I do urge you to have a think about what you’re putting in your body. It’s the little things that add up when you’re trying to lose weight, and I know that I personally felt cheated on when I realised that there are food companies who are freely able to sell these items with such high levels of added sugar to consumers without some sort of warning label. Because to be honest, the amount of sugar in 100g of tomato sauce is AS BAD AS COKE. That’s a fact. Go and look at the labels of tomato sauce and a can of coke and you will see.

I hope this has been of some help!

Jess

Monday, Bloody Monday

Today it is Friday! As we all know, everyone loves Friday because the entire weekend is ahead of you. You’ve just gotten through another week and you’re probably feeling proud and accomplished of the work that was achieved over the last 5 days, and now it’s time for a well deserved rest.

But everyone hates Monday because it is the start of another working week. Time to do it all again. However, what I’m trying to do is change my perspective of Monday. It is a new opportunity. It is a new chance. It means new beginnings. We all love new year don’t we? Despite the fact that we have to “do it all again?” Isn’t that essentially what Mondays are? Instead of it being a new year though, it is a new week. Why should that affect the way we treat Mondays? Sure it means you can’t sleep in until lunchtime, sure it means you actually have to get dressed for work and go into horrid peak hour traffic, but it still means a new beginning.

I want life to be lived. I don’t want to wake up after 20, 30, 40, 50 years and look back at how much I hated Mondays. In fact, back in my old job I only really started getting excited on Wednesday nights because it meant hump day was over. It meant there was only 2 days left being the lower end of the 5 day scale. In Sydney we have late night shopping on Thursday nights, so that meant I had something to look forward to on Thursdays, and Fridays were always good.

And to be honest, to get to that line of thinking where I actually felt happy on Wednesday nights took me some time. Before that I worked to feeling happy on Thursday nights because there was only one day of work left. Before that, I was only ever happy after lunch on Fridays because it was the last leg of the race. Only a few more hours till home time.

It’s all about perspective. And now, I don’t want to hate my Mondays. My Mondays are MINE. They are my opportunity in life. Tuesdays are always a bit better because, well, it was never a Monday. Wednesdays were sometimes hard because you were still dealing with most of the week left. But I am going to work as hard as possible to at least appreciate my Mondays. I’m going to try to appreciate every Monday I have. Because who knows, it could be the start to an AMAZING week.

Jess

How Instagram is helping my Anxiety

Anxiety is a bitch. It really is.

I know a lot of people suffer from anxiety and they keep it bottled up. It’s something like a taboo. And I don’t know why. Because I think it’s a common problem in today’s age, where so much is expected of everyone and really, we’re all just kids in adult bodies trying to forge a path in this world that just doesn’t make sense.

I mean, in what sane world do you tell a 17/18 year old – hey, make a decision about what you’d like to do FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE right now. Like, now. You have a deadline of  28 days to put in your university preferences. And if you’re good enough, you’ll get an offer. If you’re not, just choose something else.

That’s bullshit. I am 23 at the moment and I look back to when I was 17 and it horrifies me. I knew shit. But the scary part is – I THOUGHT I knew everything. I thought I knew myself and all my likes and dislikes. I thought I knew what made the world go round – money, of course. Money is all and money is everything. If I don’t have that house and car and Prada handbag by the time I’m 25 then I’m a complete and utter failure.

When I was 17 I thought I wanted kids by 25 because ew who wants to be an old mum (dude, no sperm is impregnating me at 25, not even close).

When I was 17 I thought pink was my favourite colour. I know that’s just something small, but it’s not. It’s blue. That changed since I was 17 and it’s probably one of the most insignificant things ever.

When I was 17 I thought I disliked red wine, that I would never drink alcohol in my life because drunk people are just nasty (HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAH)

When I was 17 I thought that I’d never smoke. (Just for the record, I am not and have never been a smoker. Doesn’t mean I haven’t tried it though – and that would have horrified 17 year old me).

The point that I’m trying to make is you change. You grow up. You slowly realise that you don’t know shit. And just that fact, of actually having the penny drop that you don’t know shit and realising you have so much to learn, makes you wiser.

That penny is starting to drop for me. I don’t think it has fully. But it’s a realisation I had last year. And it threw my entire life out of whack. It amped up my anxiety, it made me feel lost, it made me question every single thing. It made me cry and scream and be angry at the social order of our world. It made me go a little nuts at times and I’m sure I had like, a quarter life crisis at some point last year because I was all, what is life and what makes me happy and what do I want to do with my days?

I switched jobs last year from working in a law firm to running a business. It was probably the best decision I have ever made. But running a business isn’t a simple feat. It’s tough. I love it, but it’s tough. And it’s those doubts that drive up my anxiety. What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m a failure? What if I become homeless? Anxiety does that to you – it makes you envision the worst case scenario repeatedly. It’s makes you stand frozen. It clouds your thoughts. It’s something that is so hard to control and shove away in a box. It sucks.

I don’t want anxiety to rule my life. I don’t want it to make me cower in fear. I want to rise above and beyond it. I want to be innovative. I want to be FEARLESS. And I know part of reaching that means that I need to treat anxiety like a bad friend and cut off all ties, unfriend them from Facebook and surround myself with things that make me happy. This may sound weird, but Instagram (follow me @jessica_grundy) is helping SO MUCH. It’s forcing me to take pictures. It’s forcing me to look around and see the beauty in life to capture and share. It’s forcing me to think about the world around me rather than focusing inwards.

It means I am connecting with more people and getting inspired by more people. It means that I’m out there rather than holed up at home worrying about every scenario. So far, it has helped in 2016. I’m going to keep using Instagram to force myself to appreciate my world. It’s nice to see the likes and follows slowly pour in and know that others are appreciating the photos too.

I know anxiety will be a hard thing to over. I think I’ve had anxiety ever since I was young, probably 5-6 years old. It’s been with me ever since. Sometimes I forget that I have it. Sometimes it’s all I can think about for a day. But I am determined to not let it beat me.  Because I’m much stronger than the red devil telling me everything is going to fall to pieces. This is me saying out loud that I have anxiety, I’m going to deal with it, and it’s going to be something that I defeat.

Recount: January 2016

zaracliffEttalong pool

So it has almost been a month into 2016. January is almost over! It feels like this month has been going for ages but quick at the same time. Part of me is like – it seems like it’s been forever since I was on holiday at that beautiful resort above. Part of me is also like – how is it almost February? Where is the year going? I feel like I haven’t done anything!

But when I really thought about it, there have been some slight changes that I have made so far this year which I am really quite proud of. In past years, I have always made resolutions. I was always that “new year, new start” person. I would resolve to get good grades and to be healthy. I would pride myself on my ambition and proudly state my new years resolutions. But this year, I didn’t treat the new year the same way. To be honest, I was feeling a bit lost. There’s no more university or weddings to have goals about. Last year I worked really hard to get back into running to increase my fitness again to where it used to be, and I achieved what I wanted by mid-way through 2015 so it’s all about upkeep now. So there wasn’t really a health related goal for me to focus on as I feel like I truly did make a change in regard to healthy living last year that has become a part of my lifestyle.

So, the new year came, and to be honest, I hardly noticed it.

I woke up on 1 January 2016 just like any other day. Had my breakfast and went on instagram (mine is @jessica_grundy if you would like to follow) and did my thing. I hardly gave the significance of the day a second thought.

After a month in 2016 though, I am definitely feeling a lot more focused. I am feeling like I am finding myself again after a few difficult and incredibly busy years.

For example, I started to read again.

Reading was such a major part of my childhood, and I lost reading when I entered university. I was forced to read all my textbooks, and doing a law degree, I was reading an average of 400 pages PER WEEK just to get by. That didn’t leave time to read anything for pleasure, not to mention the fact that I was all read out.

But I’ve gone back into it slowly. I am reading the Harry Potter series again. I have read Ella Enchanted which is a book that captured my heart as a girl, and to be honest, it still did reading it again as an adult (although I despised the movie).

After I finish reading HP, I’m going to read A Series of Unfortunate Events again to prepare for the new Netflix series (EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! SO EXCITED) and THEN, I will start reading some new series.

But I’m glad I’ve started that again.

I’m also glad that despite going through Christmas and a couple of holidays, I have not gained any weight which was a slight fear I had. I lost about 6 kilos last year that I gained thanks to wedding stress, post-wedding honeymoon bliss, just plain old STRESSSSS, and Christmas fun times let us eat all the biscuits and cakes and I have to eat that piece of chocolate because its in the shape of a Christmas bunny. Throw in a couple mini holidays over the New Years and bam, the scales showed me numbers I had never seen before. I was surprised at first because I’ve always generally been fit and healthy. I was quite a skinny, gangly teenager growing up, so gaining that weight was a huge reality slap in the face that, hey, metabolism DOES slow down. Fun fact bro.

So I feel like I’m doing something right despite not have a focused “healthy living” goal. I still have eaten chocolate mousse, and cupcakes, and chocolate. I’m not exactly banning much – I am still enjoying myself and I am feeling good.

But I have had to focus on doing something this year, which isn’t really a resolution, but more a way of life. And that’s to let myself be happy.

I’m a worry-er. I get anxious. It actually gets pretty bad to the point of stomach aches, breaking out in a sweat and insomnia. I hate anxiety. I’ll speak about it more in a future blog post, but that’s something I’m still working on – just enjoying life and simply being happy. I’ve start to be a lot more active on instagram which I have actually found to be helpful. Just posting various little photos of the small things in my everyday life. Being grateful for all that I have. Health, family, friends, shelter, food. It’s helping.

Anyway, that’s just a quick check in of my first month of 2016. It was a pretty good one. I have high hopes for the rest of year. Positivity, love, and happiness are on the agenda.

30 thoughts that go through every 20-something year old girl during a night out

Every time I’ve agreed to go for a night out, I always go through the same dilemmas in my head. Here are 30 thoughts that go through every 20-something year old girl during a night out on the town:

  1. Week and days leading up to the night out: OMG SO EXCITED! Going to drink all the alcohol and have the best time EVER.
  2. Friday at 5pm: this weekend is going to be so great, I wonder what I’m going to wear.
  3. Friday evening: tries on ALL the dresses and can’t find ANYTHING to wear. I wonder if I order something from Asos right now, it’ll get here in time with express shipping? But who wants to pay for express shipping…
  4. Saturday: ughhhhhh I just wanna sleep all day and I just want to order in take out and put on a face mask and do my nails. I don’t want to get dressed up.
  5. Approximately 5 hours before heading out: put on some music, have a glass of wine and so it begins…. face mask, make up, hair, nails, and trying on a million outfits with a million shoe and bag combos…
  6. When you should be leaving – still not ready.
  7. Leave late.
  8. Hey, these heels are actually super comfortable, and they look AMAZING.
  9. Pure excitement as you meet up with your friends and gush about how great the night will be.
  10. Entering said bar or restaurant and scoping out what everyone else is wearing.
  11. Concentrating super hard on the menu because suddenly you’re STARVING.
  12. Ordering food and ALL the drinks.
  13. Eating all the food and … am I on my 3rd or 4th drink now? WHO CARES
  14. Suddenly 3 hours have passed and the restaurant is trying to kick you out.
  15. Tottering outside in high heels and trying to decide where to go next.
  16. Eventually deciding on a place after a shameful amount of time and now experiencing the dreadful walk in heels to the next venue.
  17. Is it really hot or is it just me?
  18. Ouch.
  19. Ouch.
  20. Ouch.
  21. Oh thank goodness we’ve arrived.
  22. Great, we can’t find a seat.
  23. Ouch. My feet are going to fall off.
  24. Music is so good here – what did she just say to me? Just nod. Just nod and smile.
  25. MORE DRINKS.
  26. You can now no longer remember what is happening due to your intoxicated state. Bright flashes everywhere.
  27. Suddenly you’re in a taxi home and you don’t know why – you can still keep going! (Or so you think)
  28. Waking up the next morning awfully hungover, with flashes of last night, an empty bank account, mascara down your face, and – who are these people in my photos from last night on my phone?
  29. Hangover hell – never. drinking. again
  30. Approximately 12 hours after hangover, you finally start feeling alive and message your friends how great last night was and when’s the next one?!

Re-visiting Childhood

 

HP

Towards the end of 2015, I had this yearning to re-read the Harry Potter books. It’s probably been a good 5-6 years since I have read them. I don’t think I read the final book more than once. I read the other books repeatedly, in an effort to contain my excitement for the 5th, 6th and 7th books to be released.

I was only in Kindergarten when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released. I started reading them in 4th grade when the first movie was released which had me hooked. Even to this day, watching the first movie provides a sense of magic (pun intended) that I don’t feel the other movies (except for maybe the second movie) provide.

Since moving out of home, I have mostly kept my books in my old bedroom at my parent’s house, as I have not yet found a suitable bookcase (read: a bookcase I am happy to purchase because I am so picky when it comes to furniture) to display all of my books. Every time I went home to visit my parents and brothers, I would constantly forget to bring the books home with me.

Then last week I received the shock and sad news that Alan Rickman, aka, Professor Snape to me, had passed. I received that message through a 3am Facebook message from one friend, and a 6am text from another, all in caps, all in shock, that he had passed.

To be honest, I’ve never really been affected by a ‘celebrity’ passing before. The only one that’s come close is when I walked downstairs all those years ago to my brother saying “hey guess what? Michael Jackson died.” I thought he was joking for a bit because he is always fooling around, but to find out it was actually true did stop me in my tracks.

This was different though. Although I enjoyed Michael Jackson, I did not grow up in his prime. But I grew up to Harry Potter. I grew up to Alan Rickman and his distinct voice. I grew up to watching him on screen on those 8 movies which spanned over a decade, and reading those books hearing his voice every time Professor Snape spoke.

Therefore when I visited my parents on Saturday, I went upstairs to my bedroom and ensured that I grabbed my very old, very tattered copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I have not touched this book in years. It has mostly remained as it was, back when I begged my mother to purchase it for me when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I am about halfway through the book now, and I have noticed a huge spillage of food that has stained multiple pages, dirty fingerprints, and I’ve tried to be gentle with the very delicate and scruffy softcover.

I have completely forgotten the style of writing. I have completely forgotten the detail. Reading this book again has reminded me of childhood. It’s reminded me of that MAGIC. I have been completely immersed in the story just like the first time. And gosh, the book is so bloody good.

It’s reminded me of how much simpler times were back then. As a child, my biggest gripe was “why is it taking J.K Rowling so long to release the next book?!”

I think over the last several years, I have been so consumed by growing up. Getting into uni, getting good marks, getting a job, getting married, moving out. Ticking off all those boxes. And I know they’re great factors of life, definitely. But life isn’t just about ticking off those boxes. Life is also about enjoyment. And especially, to me, enjoyment of the little things. A good book. The sound of the ocean. The sun streaming in through the window in the morning. A good cup of tea. A good conversation.

I do not spend much time with children as I don’t really have any around me on a daily basis. But in a way, reading this favourite childhood novel is allowing me to rediscover my childhood. My inner child (because we all have one). And I’m glad, because it’s allowing me to view the world in a different way, and different perspective is always precious to have.

My aim is to re-read the entire series. And after that, I want to lose myself in other series. I am ashamed to say that I have not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I completely intend to rectify my lack of Tolkien in 2016. Are there any other good series that you would recommend?

 

The Weekend: 16-17 January 2016

This is a series I will be posting regularly here on the blog. I’m all about creating memories, and I think it is unfortunately part of human nature to focus on the bad rather than the good. It seems that time moves so fast and we tend to forget the good times. So this is a way to reflect positively and also keep the memory of time spent with family and friends alive.

So, this is how I spent my weekend:

  • Waking up in Ettalong, Sydney. The past week my husband, Cejay and I were spending some down time with his family in a beautiful resort. It is a tradition that we do every year. The days are filled with swimming, eating and board games with the tennis that is usually happening in Sydney on in the background.
  • Knowing it was the last day and not wanting to get out of bed.
  • Lazily packing our bags while appreciating the sunshine streaming in from the sliding doors. We had a room that overlooked the beautiful pool.
  • Taking our bags down to the car so that we could be empty handed to help Cejay’s mother, aunt and nan.
  • Getting caught in the 10am check out rush.
  • Grabbing some brunch and having the most delicious brioche with strawberries, banana, ricotta and a drizzle of honey. And a strong flat white.
  • Having a look around the local shops for Cejay’s aunt to buy something cute for her new granddaughter.
  • Enjoying the drive home.
  • Opening the door and being grateful to be home after a week away. The holiday was lovely but there is nothing better than home.
  • Collapsing on the sofa and spending time with our cute little cat, Zara, who had spent time with my brother and missed us greatly.
  • Lazily watching episodes of Parks and Recreation – we have recently become addicted.
  • Heading over to my parents house to eat pho – one of my favourite foods in the world. I was basically raised on pho from the womb – my mother used to eat it every single day when she was pregnant, and would take me down when I was a toddler to get some pho.
  • Eating pho way too fast and feeling way too full.
  • Catching up with my brother about his recent trip to Jervis Bay, NSW.
  • Chatting away with my mother.
  • Marvelling at my dad’s good job at re-painting their house.
  • Heading to the shops to purchase a birthday present and doing a quick veggie shop.
  • Getting ready for a friend’s 21st.
  • Catching up with friends, eating good food and sampling Butterbeer for the first time.
  • Getting into the pool and having a swim.
  • Feeling incredibly tired and heading home at almost 2am.
  • Collapsing into bed which was greatly missed – hotel beds never are the same.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Deciding it was a PJ day after the couple weeks of fun and excitement we’d had.
  • Watching various episodes of our favourite shows and having the classic Mi Goring for lunch.
  • Finally getting dressed and heading to Costco to restore some basics.
  • Ordering Indian for dinner – we had a craving.
  • Eating our dinner way too quickly.
  • Enjoying our quiet evening together.
  • Heading to bed to get ready for a busy week.BeachEttalong poolBriochePho