Category Archives: Food

Eat Soup reviews

I love Eat Soup. It’s been a major part of helping me get through the last six months of dieting. Studies show that soup fills you up more, for the same amount of calories and I believe this to be true.

There are few other places that do as tasty, healthy soup in my neigbhourhood, and few reviews online to tell you if today’s “Big Bold” tastes of awesome or, erm, the other thing. So I thought I’d do some reviews, as I’m eating it in some form nearly every day.

First one will follow shortly – Eat’s Hungarian Ghoulash.

Incidentally, much as I love the soup, Eat themselves are a bit annoying. Big queues, occasionally surly staff and I’ve been ‘short souped’ there a number of times… I keep hoping that @eat_news on Twitter will notice, but they never do. Needless to say, I don’t eat there for free. *sigh*. Ah well, they’re nowhere nearly as bad as the Soup Nazi

Update – Eat got in touch today, apologised & offered me some vouchers to say sorry. Thanks guys, you rock! Will take a little extra satisfaction in the soups those vouchers get me, and will no doubt keep on reviewing…

Having targets

I’ve talked before about the need to have achievable targets for weight loss, and have set any number of arbitrary goals to help motivate me. There are a few that are coming, metric and imperial, spurious and otherwise.

If I lose 1lbs, I will be below 13 st for the first time in years.

If I lose 2lbs, I will drop below 180lbs for the first time in I don’t know how long.

If/when I lose approx 3.5kg more, I will be a ‘Light Heavyweight‘ for the first time in years. I will also have lost 20% of my body mass this year.

If I lose 4-5kg more, I will happily be in the ‘ideal’ weight class on the BMI scale (pre-wedding target) – no longer overweight!

If I lose 14lbs, I’ll be under 12 stone for the first time in forever.

If I lose 8 kg, I’ll be a super-middleweight.

If I lose 10kg, I’ll be a middleweight.

If I lose 11kg, I’ll be in the middle of my ideal weight band (post-honeymoon goal), and I’ll shift into maintenance gear.

It’s incredibly satisfying to have Wii Fit display the message “you have lost 1 st and 8 lbs”… of course, I haven’t been using it often and I had gained the excess weight to begin with, but gradually getting there…

Cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to no longer being on a diet…

Weight loss – how I’m doing it

I’m nearly down 13kg this year and hope to make it to my target of losing 21kg in another couple of months. People ask me what I’m doing in and inevitably I tell them at length in a tedious, unstructured manner. So here’s the latest on how I’m achieving this so far, and you can let me know what you think. I think this counts as ‘weight loss tips for geeks’ as it involves at least one technology, and a bit of random nerdiness, but hopefully you’ll like it.

NB this post follows on from my earlier post on Chivalry House that I apparently forgot to cross post here. So start there, or here… doesn’t really matter.

Track everything
I’m logging all food and exercise on (the nasty renaming of the friendly ‘’ as it was). It’s a great way of keeping me honest. My weight loss is operating on the basic principle that if I eat less than I use on a normal day (i.e. not accounting for exercise), I will lose weight. So I’ve set (and maintained) a calorie target of 1,500 since about April. And I’ve been losing about 1kg per week, which I understand is about as well as you can hope to do. I also weigh myself daily (and am unbothered by occasional fluctuations, you can use a moving average if you want but weighing yourself at the same time daily gives some consistency). Dailyburn doesn’t yet have an iPhone app but it does have an iPhone optimised page which works pretty well.

Be aware of what you eat
My previous ‘values’ for food were determined by how much I like the taste of it, and I pretty much indulged in eating food I liked when I liked. Having an understanding of a) how many calories are in everything and b) how much it fills me up for that has changed the way I ‘value’ food. On 1,500 calories a day I’m pretty much always hungry so its necessary to eat cleverly to avoid the worst of it. Here’s my tips:

1) Avoid processed foods and simple carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, rice cakes etc). They digest too quickly, you don’t stay full and have a poor full up / consumption ratio.
2) Eat fresh, eat fibre – go for foods with more fibre content and tonnes of fresh vegetables to fill up.
3) Bulk-up with the good stuff – eat the vegetables etc., FIRST, before you eat the ‘tasty’ (for me, meat) portion of the meal.
4) Find healthy ‘treats’ in each category of food that are better for you – e.g. strawberries for sweets (7 calories each and delicious). I haven’t found a great savoury low-cal snack yet, but if anyone has any ideas…
5) Keep yourself honest – Make sure your food diary is kept on the side of caution – always estimate more rather than less so you don’t go over your calorie target
6) Drink tonnes of water to stay full, before or during a meal – NOT AFTER. After seems to swell your stomach and get you hungry again.
7) Don’t reward exercise with food. Never works, you’ll always bump the calorie count more than you think.
8) Do eat things you want sometimes – even if its bad for you. For me, it’s Hitting the Hut. Make sure you add it to DailyBurn anyway and keep within your weight loss or at least weight maintenance band.
9) Reverse the meat/carbs proportion of your meal. Western diets are generally oriented around eating a LOT more rice/potatoes/bread than meat, but we actually probably need more meat than carbs if we’re doing a weight loss/resistance training programme. Swap in more veg instead of potatoes or rice. Aubergine is a great bet and can be made pretty damn tasty.
10) Soup fills you up more than other things – see this article. Eat’s soup, which is unebelievably delicious and mostly healthy (a few in ‘Very Big Bold’ sizes to be avoided, worse than a baguette), has helped me get through many a tough day on the diet.

Resistance training
The reason most people give up on exercise regimens (including me) is because they require more time than we can gather the willpower to give. I’ve been working to one target – to increase my strength for press ups. This happens to be a good exercise that works a lot of other muscles as well (biceps, triceps, chest, core, etc), so works for me, but others might prefer squats or sit-ups. I’m doing the programme over at Hundred Pushups, which requires the princely time-commitment of 30 minutes PER WEEK. I’ve gone from a max of about 15 push-ups to my current limit, about 35-36, in 5 weeks. In another few weeks I hope to be pushing 60 before I make it to the 100 mark (the idea is to get to the point where you can do 100 in a single set). And I bought their iPhone app to keep me honest, if you want to do it the high-tech way.

Don’t. Most alochol is calorific as all that. On the occasions I’ve been out, I’ve had vodka shots alternating with pints of water. At 50 calories of carbs per shot its as efficient as you can get, but still not great for you over an evening. The pints of water are a great way of feeling involved in social drinking, preventing hangovers, and help reach your daily target for water intake.


…and I think that’s most of it. I’ve been rewarding myself with new clothes (necessary as trousers no longer fit and jackets and t-shirts etc., look baggy) – instead of food – which works well. And a real imperative is getting to my target weight before I get a suit tailored for the wedding in October (first fitting in a few weeks!). That maybe gives me more will power than most, but in honesty I’d just had enough of being a fatass. I’ve been gaining weight from 10 years of eating what I feel like, so losing it over 6 months of hunger is not a great deal to put up with… I’m going to carry on using Gyminee when the target’s met to prevent a resurgence, but I’m really, really looking forward to getting back to 2000 calories per day…

Any thoughts, feedback, further advice, or useful links appreciated. Thanks to all who’ve been encouraging & supportive through the proceedings, both online via Twitter and Facebook, and IRL.

Chicken curry 2.0

My love for Videojug continues – last night I made this:

How To Cook A Chicken Curry In Ten Minutes

…needless to say, it took a little more than ten minutes but worked out very satisfactorily.

If you’re curious — you can substitute milk (or Lactofree, if you’re me) for the cream and it is pretty tasty. I’d recommend using more than one chilli if you’re used to any kind of proper spice (or possibly some chilli powder), and maybe even tinned tomatoes or passata instead of tomato paste if you want to give it a bit more sauce.

Serve with fried roti canai (paratha), bought frozen at the Indian shop down the road. Nom nom nom…


Yes, after a bit of a hiatus, I’m back and blogging baby! Been a busy time in real life, but now that I’m back I’d like to get straight to the important issues that have been plaguing the blogosphere. No, not the iPhone, not the DRM conversation, not Anna Nicole-Smith, not the Shilpa Shetty race story, not the BBC dealing with the license fee increase, or their poll for feedback on the iPlayer…

Nope. None of that. I’m here today to talk about… steak (damn, gave it away in the title). So Hindus, vegetarians, and anyone else likely to take offense, now’s the time to look away from your screen.

So I had a steak last night, at Las Iguanas, a restaurant in the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. On the menu was Argentine steak. Now, if you’re like me (i.e. a REAL MAN) when you see steak on the menu you feel drawn by it. You may not order it quite every time but you will feel temptation. You will be lured in by the call of the succulent, tender, juicy meatiness of it all. And on this occasion, further tempted by the Argentinian pedigree of the meat in question, I succumbed to temptation.

“How would you like it sir? Medium well? Medium?” asked my waitress, clearly impressed with my choice, but woefully underestimating my manliness.
“Rare,” say I.
“Rare?” she checks.
“Rare,” I affirm.

There was no doubt that rare was the cooking level of choosing, and the cooking level of choosing was rare. And yet, much was my disappointment when I was presented with a steak that leaked absolutely no blood onto a plate! Am I alone in thinking that good, fresh steak when rare or even medium will ooze a little bloody goodness onto the plate, which adds to the overall flavourfullness of it all? In the end, it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.

I’ll admit that in my squeamish youth I had a few well-done steaks. These days, I no longer take the risk of ordering medium rare steak because it too often comes up too heavy on the medium side of things. Do I need to start asking for blue steak? Quick poll below to see what my loyal blog readers prefer. For reference, my favourite steaks in London have come from the Gaucho grill (fantastic), Bodeans (very very tasty on good days, and their spicy butter is tasty), Chez Gerard (standard, tasty fayre) and a couple of very nice steaks lately from the Captain Kidd pub in Wapping (on separate occasions). The worst steak I ever had was a 24 oz whopper in a Fatty Arbuckles in Oxford, but that’s another story…

Where’d you have your best steak of late? Let me know in the comments.