Archive | Chemistry RSS for this section

OH dear god what’s wrong with me??!

There’s one thing people don’t tell you about Atkins, and that is the effect it can have on your hormones. I’ve been on the pill for 10 years now, for medical reasons. I can count the amount of times on one hand, wherein something went wrong with timing. When you’re on Atkins, you put your body into ketosis, so you burn off the reserve fat you have. Estrogen (oestrogen) and body fat are linked directly. This hormone is also linked to the menstrual cycle. The Atkins farce can massively interfere with your cycle (EVEN ON THE PILL).

So the dilema I now face? After talking with my doctor, who gave out to me for going on this diet, I have to come off from it. What if I pile on the pounds again? Have I damaged myself in the long run? What will the long term effects be?

My plan: speed up the phase 3 (i.e. introduction of carbs back into the diet). I’ve managed to loose some inches at this stage, and I hope it hasn’t been in vain.

December 2012

Waist: 32″            Hips: 42.5″               Bust: 38″                     Thigh: 24″

Febuary 20th 2013

Waist: 28.5″        Hips: 40″                  Bust: 36″                     Thigh: 22″

That’s an average loss of 2″ off each place!

Today, I made a pizza, from scratch. The base was made first, and then the toppings were added and it was cooked again. I have to say even though it was small, it was super filling.

For the Base:

Poppy seeds

Ground almond

2 Ryvita crackers

1 egg

2 tablespoons olive oil


Crush the ryvita crackers. Mix all the base ingredients together and mix until a stiff, tacky mixture is formed. Place the mixture into a mould, or, spread out on a piece of tin foil. Bake for 10 minutes (200 C), until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven, flip the base over, and add your favourite toppings. Bake for 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Home made base, home made passata, goats cheese, mozarella, onion, peppers, spinach, and salami, nom nom nom!

Home made base, home made passata, goats cheese, mozzarella  onion, peppers, spinach, and salami, nom nom nom!

I bought lots of nuts, berries, and baking ingredients such as coconut milk (dessicated coconut and fruit bar thingy??), poppy seeds, and almond flour. It should be interesting. To offset the change in diet, I’m skipping every night, and doing some muscle work outs. I’m also drinking 1.5 L of water every evening too.

Every project has to start somewhere, right? There are some really good websites out there where women are talking about the effects of Atkins on their body, I would highly recommend a read if you’re thinking about trying this diet. A good alternative is the paleolithic one, to forcefully put yourself into ketosis, you’re putting yourself at risk. IT is something that should be discussed with someone like your GP.


Atkins Pancake Tuesday

Well Pancake Tuesday has come and gone, with many people feeling the self loathing of an indulgence session. Not me, for once! Desperate not to miss one of my favourite days, I scoured the internet for Atkins friendly recipes. A lot of them have been written by those living in USA, and for the poor souls like me, who live in Eastern Europe, finding some of those highly engineered/modified foods is extremely difficult. So here’s my alternative pancakes for those of us who are counting the carbs. This recipe made about 12 pancakes. The net carb count is about, per pancake, 1.2 g (amounts used here, ground almond 12 g, sour cream 0.35 g, regular cream 1.6 g, total in batter 13.95 g).


2 eggs

200 g ground almonds

1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 tablespoon whipping cream

1/4 cup of sparkling water (puffs them up)


Mix everything together in a bowl to prepare the batter.

Pancake mix, and my feet!

Pancake mix, and my feet!

Prepare you pan with a little butter, add a dollop of batter into the centre of the pan, and spread it out by swirling the pan.

It's simmering away nicely!

It’s simmering away nicely!

Two minutes later, tada! It’s a pancake.

Nom nom nom nom, whipped unsweetened cream, fresh raspberries and melted diabetic chocolate.

Nom nom nom nom, whipped unsweetened cream, fresh raspberries and melted diabetic chocolate.

As with all sugar alcohols (like those in the diabetic chocolate)  I will be feeling this in the morning. For those unaware, these compounds cause severe cramping and can give you the runs. The upside? Short-lived taste of chocolate, smothering some tangy raspberries with the smoothness of freshly whipped cream. The sparkling water makes them lacy, just like the pancakes at home. Most people recommended that a sweetener be added to the batter. I would definitely agree, maybe use vanilla essence, or stevia; try to stay away from aspartame. Alternatively you could add ginger and cinnamon. The texture is a little dry, so adding some lemon juice or fruit and cream makes it  more moist.

So the Atkins is going well. Still losing weight, with just under a month to my friends wedding, I’m looking forward to trying on my old red pencil dress (ala 1940’s). I need to get my ass moving on the required exercise though as I am falling behind there.

With the diet going well, the next avenue of my transformation is changing the inside.

Let’s start at the beginning…

It was a very busy final year of my bachelors degree.  I almost tore the meniscus of my knee a month before my final exams, lucky in a way, as I couldn’t run out the door and avoid studying. So we went through the motions, I did my research project, and finished with my ideal result. I was approached during my undergrad research project by an older colleague, apparently funding had come through for a 3 year PhD. Sweet, this could be my way in.

I was offered a masters position at the beginning but within the month my supervisor changed his mind. Luckily for me, I was in. Eighteen months later I had my first publication, which was just pure elation for me.

During my time as a post grad I met some amazing, and not so amazing people. I traveled to some amazing places for conferences and meetings of different sorts.


Boston, HPLC 2010. Such an awesome place!


Euroanalysis, Innsbruck 2009

Doing a PhD is like when you get a puppy for Christmas, its a long commitment and it will change your life, not always for the better (the latter is mostly in short term). For three or four years your life is turned upside down, you will find inventive ways of keeping up with results (all nighters), and you will definately have in your desk drawer tea/coffee, UHT milk and a pack of low calorie soups or noodles by the end.

Even a bad result is a result…

Aah the mantra of research postgrads everywhere. Hi. I have just had the honour of finishing my doctorate in chemistry. I am 26 and from Ireland. In 3 years of experiments I completed all the work, and in the subsequent 3 months my thesis was borne. During the 3 years, my life went through an upheaval, and now after finding work and my first post doc, I am trying to get my life back on track. From the anxiety attacks last summer to moving to the Czech Republic, I want to map my progress. Maybe this may be helpful to those who are currently beginning the post graduate life, as I’m sure it will offer many cringeworthy lessons. Image

The monolith snake. This was not a good result, but it changed my method of approach.

I promise, this blog will NOT be science heavy.