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Archive for June, 2014

I’m not going to keep writing every day now that the 21DSD is over but today did seem significant to the process. The first day of the rest of my life. It was odd, knowing that we could go back to eating anything, but difficult to know what we wanted to eat. I’ve formed new habits, so moving away from them now feels strange to me.

I had left over apple muffins for breakfast, Chris went for Alpen, but I didn’t want to break so early. Lunch was a barbecue at a friends. Gins were being clinked and fresh bread rolls enveloping the sausages. I had lemon water and sausage without the bun. Not wanting to stray from my new path. But crisps were out. I tentatively nibbled, awaiting the great carb crash that would inevitably follow. I had a few cold potatoes with my salad…

Immediately after lunch I suddenly felt really tired, was it the immediate effect of poisoning my system with carbs? Unlikely, psychology testing me.

We drove to Reading for the afternoon, and this is where we broke it properly. I was tempted to buy a bar of chocolate but resisted. Then we both caught each other’s eye on passing a groovy looking creperie. That’s where we did it. I had a Nutella waffle and he had a Belgian chocolate crepe. Both smothered and covered and drowning in shiny brown goo. We gobbled them up, sweet delicious sauce running down our chins, greedily licking our lips, eyes rolling back in our heads. Oh yes. There it is. Swigging foamy latte to wash it all down. We strode out of the cafe, heads held high, big smiles on our faces, tummies happy and the sweet trail of sugar still on our tongues. Yum, yum, yum. That felt good. That felt naughty but that felt good. It’s OK to do naughty things with your husband, your partner in crime.

We talked about it afterwards. I went into Topshop and managed to get into a “petite” dress, size 6. Holy crap, I’m skinnier! It felt good. I like what the detox did for my body and my mind and my emotions. But I am going to have a cheat day every now and then because I like having the will power to make that choice and enjoy life and its naughty moments.

I don’t feel guilty, I thought I would. I came home and cooked up a monster batch of my fav Thai Nut Mix, ready to take away with me this week. I baked some banana muffins, my own recipe, using eggs and coconut flour and bananas and butter, but I added a dash of honey this time. Just a dash. They came out beautifully, the sponge moist (which is a challenge with coconut flour). And I made an elaborate version of one of my favourite 21DSD dinners- salmon with capers and olives, I added leeks, garlic cheese mushrooms and a salad. Big, satisfying, healthy, tasty Sunday dinner. All good.

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And so…. WE MADE IT!!!! 21 days without sugar, without pasta, without bread, without alcohol, without potatoes, without fruit squash, without cake, biscuits, chocolate, without processed food. Wow.

The funny thing is, when in have spoken to people about it, and tell them I’m on “day 11”, “day 16”, “day 20”, they are amazed that I’ve kept it up, saying they could never last that long, that they just don’t have the will power. Exactly what I thought before I started. The blog post I wrote before I started said that I was only 60% sure I’d complete it. And here I am, 100%.

It has been challenging, and the last three weeks have been intense with cooking and shopping and planning, but it was all very possible. Even the days away from home were navigated with a bit of planning and some imagination and strong resolve. Throughout the process there were little tests, temptations, wobbly moments, but we got through them. And now I feel anything is possible.

I’ve learnt to cook. I know more about nutrition. I have better routine. I sleep all through the night. Admittedly I’m looking forward to having a few more options, especially when it comes to drink. But I’m changed now. Things will be different.

The last breakfast; bacon, spinach, tomatoes and some spices
The last lunch; tuna Niçoise salad
The last supper; Asian meatballs and tricolour salad
The snacks; apple muffins and a banana

I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the past three weeks and this is a process I would like to repeat again at some point in the future. But for now I am just happy with the main thing I discovered on this journey. My will power.

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It’s quite scary how when you come so close to the end of a big challenge, you nearly blow it completely. It feels like you are starting to relax now you’re coming to the end and your guard is down, and that is the opportunity for that sugary snack to sneak in just before the finish line and bring you to your knees before you burst through that final ribbon.

I was in a training course today and spent the best part of 8 hours sitting infront of a plate of biscuits. Bourbon biscuits, custard creams, chocolate digestives… All fanned out in a scrumptious circle, being passed around, pushed in my direction. No thanks (push away). An hour later the plate is replenished and pushed my way away. Noooo thanks! Again? Arrrrrggghh. I wander over to the drinks table to pour my third cup of tea of the day, a nice distraction and one of our reps from overseas has bought a nicely packed box of figs and almonds and several boxes of delicious shiny chocolates. Quick pour, pick up cup and saucer and back to the table. And those biscuits.

I knew it was my final test. I could feel my resolve weaken slightly, a mini waiver. I watched it from inside my head. I thought “how could I come so far in this process and actually be contemplating a quick nibble?”. Shocked at my slight weakening. The only way was to talk to my colleagues, say out loud “I am NOT eating sugar” state my intention, add the weight of their expectations of me to the pressure to keep on target.

It was in all truth probably one of the hardest days of the detox so far. I though that it would be the first few, but now, with the end in sight, it would be so easy to convince myself it was over. I’m already thinking about what it’s going to be like when it’s over, but I’m not there yet!

24 more little hours. Three more meals. One more official day of snacking my nuts, apple and carrots. Then, the great wide open. In the same way I became anxious a few days before the challenge, I become anxious again about leaving behind this interesting new part of my life. I don’t want it to end, but it will and my life will be changed a little as a result. This has been one of the best experiences of my life, but I need to complete it and end it so I can go onto the next thing. I will enjoy the last day of my detox!

Today; breakfast; yogurt and a banana, lunch; tuna and olive rice and Greek salad, dinner; prawn curry. One apple and nuts for my snacks. Lots of tea.

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So, what can I say? Day 19, and I really am nearly bursting with pride that we’ve nearly made it! I had the opportunity to revel in my pride tonight at it was our monthly meeting of the New Year’s Resolution Club and we always do a round of updates on what we’ve been doing in the month. So I got to say “day 19” and feel really good about it 🙂 It was a double edged sword though because the second half of the evening we were in our creative space surrounded by bowls overflowing with popcorn and Jaffa cakes. Arrrrggh the final temptation! Soooo tempting, still, even now, and when everyone had left and it was just me and a plate of two lonely Jaffa cakes… I could have had a secret nibble but NO, I swept them into the bin without a whimper.

Today was an adrenalin filled day bouncing from meeting to meeting and then the group after work. I started off this morning with my smoothie, but he coconut milk was a new brand and tasted a little synthetic (I guess it will take time to find my favourite brand…), I was a little hungry this morning so snacked all my carrots and nuts early. Lunch was leftover meatzas and veg, and I didn’t have time to eat my apple.

With the Club taking up my evening and the football on, I raced home on my bike to get back for 930pm, exhausted and with a major rumble in my tummy (although no hanger, just hunger!). I got back just in time to see England get defeated, which was the bad news BUT the good news is hat Chris had cooked! The pork tenderloins with a tasty spice mix and roasted veggies. So nice to have dinner cooked for me, and a relief not to have to cook so late.

I ate it so quickly I forgot to take a photo, but trust me, it looked good! I’m polishing off the almond butter cups that I made the other day, they’re starting to taste sweet to me now!

As I approach the end of this final week my freezer is looking a little bare, so I’m planning to restock it soon for the “transition week” – next week, the first week off the detox and the week before we head off on holiday to the ultimate re-tox destination – Sicily!

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I made my first smoothie today. Ever. In, thirty *cough* years. And it was deeeeeelicious! I’m so happy to have a new alternative food stuff for breakfast, and definitely will be researching many smoothie recipes for future power bursts in the morning. Filling but not too heavy, and easy to do when in a hurry.

Actually I was not in a hurry this morning as I got up at 630 to ensure I could get Chris’s lunchbox ready for him as he headed out for an early start on the road. So I had the best part of 2.5 hours having a wonderful leisurely morning. Starting with my smoothie experiment. Out came the blender. Coconut milk, water, lime juice, mashed banana, and that was it. Whoooosh, pulse, pulse, and pour. The lovely, lazy pour of the liquid into my tall glass. It looked a little dull so I spruced it with a couple slightly tired looking mint leaves, which actually added a nice little zip in fragrance as I drank. Subtle bananacocolimnt, let’s just say 🙂

Spent the rest of my morning reading, doing some lazy yoga, a little mad dancing around, and then my wake up shower, gradually getting energised for work!

Lunch today was leftover salmon. The ginger sauce from last night was a little too subtle for me so I quickly whisked the olive and caper tapanade that I’ve previously done and poured it into the foil packet with my salmon. Along with, guess what, my friends carrots, nuts and apples.

I would think I’d get bored of that trio by now, but I’m not. Weird.

Tonight I decided to head to a new dance class after work, something called Nia. It’s a meditation dance class, pretty out there, but perfect to decompress from a crazy day in the office. I cycled home and by the time I got in I was ravenous, along with hungry husband on the sofa.

Luckily tonight’s recipe was quick to produce – 2 way “meatza” like pizza, but with meat (!) . It was supposed to be beef and pork, but I had beef and lamb. I mixed the two minces with garlic, onion powder, fennel, oregano, and salt and pepper, then made patties (the bases) to cook whilst also baking the toppings; aubergine, courgette, tomatoes, and adding some artichoke hearts and olives for a little salty zing.

The lamb did spread out a little in the oven, but the little burgers tasted good, especially with the veggie toppings and it was a very filling meal. And now there are 6 more patties in the oven for tomorrow!

I’ve just noticed the bananas are going down rather fast in our fruit bowl. I think someone may be eating more than their banana allowance. And if I want my smoothie fix tomorrow morning, I may need to hide the last one!

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Today’s meals were pretty standard for me now, I’m settling into a rhythm. Much like “life before 21DSD”, I’m starting to get into my groove with set meals. I was tired this morning, I think for two reasons, one, I was up late reading last night (just started Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and couldn’t out it down, and two, I had quite vivid dreams for the first time in, well, at least 17 days. So I lay in to 730 and did manage to get up pretty sharpshooter but was all out of inspiration for brekkie. So I did what I could, I scrambled some eggs. Chris was happy to have it plain, but my growing lethargy for “just eggs” means I have to spruce mine up, so I threw in some feta and capers, for a little salty pazazz.

I sacrificed the remaining leftovers of the delicious chilli to Chris for his lunchbox and I opted for a healthy looking salad, filling my bento lunchbox with cucumber, feta, tomatoes, capers, celery and I even toasted and sprinkled on some pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I also had my ready supply of nuts and carrots ready for my snacks.

I was overdue another trip to the supermarket to stock up on my dwindling supply of bananas, green apples, veg and coconut milk, so jam packed my backpack with goodies on my supermarket trip en route to work. Praying the sesame oil wouldn’t work it’s way free in my bag.

Arriving home from work, a slight gnawing hunger lead me to quickly mixing up some of my favourite Thai nut mix, I’m all over that nut mix!!

Dinner this evening was back to salmon. Lovely salmon, how I’ve learned to love you. Fleshy, filling and actually tasting as if it is doing me good, from the first bite. I made a ginger, lime and sesame dressing and served it up with the cold cucumber salad. Fresh! Even have a couple salmon filets to serve up as a more interesting breakfast tomorrow!

So my experiment today was to attempt a pudding/desert. I have always eyed up a recipe called “almond butter cups” in the book they look like little chocolate nuggets of joy. I’ve been meaning to make them for a while but only just bought unsweetened cocoa. So tonight, I made them! They are a mix of almond butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, cocoa, and I threw in some desiccated coconut. Mix it all up and spoon drops into bun cases, then refrigerate.

They popped out an hour later, small dark brown disks. We tried them, set but only just. The almond butter crawled and coated our tongues and dragged itself down our throats. They looked so sweet and they were a little bitter. I thought they were OK, Chris pulled a horrible face and handed me back 2/3 of a disk.

I figure that if you are going to cut out sugar, then you just have to realise that puddings are never gong to taste them same.

I chilled them a little longer and have persevered. Now they snap when bitten and I can swallow them before the cling begins. It’s better. The flavour is fine, like bitter dark chocolate, not sweet but a different rich taste. It’s just about avoiding that clawing texture that almond but butter has when it spreads in a warm mouth, sticking everything together. It’s that which is unnerving. I think. But perhaps I’m being positive. I do have another 9 to eat all by myself…

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So it’s starting to feel a lot easier, I’m in a routine, I have the occasional craving, but they pass. I have been taking in my packed lunches for 2 weeks now and I don’t ever feel like going to the canteen at lunch (in fact now I have to locate the elusive microwave in our building – 2000 people and one allowed microwave – sheeesh!). I’m still drinking a lot of tea though – as in builder’s tea – probably around 5 cups whilst at work and around three when I’m at home. I’m trying to alternate them with herbal, or my new experiment lemon and mint water, but at least I’m hydrating!

I’m very pleasanty suprised and now trying to formulate a plan for coming off the detox. This time next week it will all be over. I must admit the thought makes me feel a little sad! I love what this has done for me in terms of building a new routine and making me feel healthier and more energized. How can I keep the momentum? Here are my top ten rules that I’m going to attempt to integrate into my daily life after the detox:

1. Use coconut oil as my preferred cooking oil
2. Keep nuts, carrots and one green apple as my daily snacks of choice
3. Keep regular stock of fresh ginger, garlic, and shallots to make sauces
4. Keep coconut animos (which I had previously NEVER heard of) and fish sauce in my stock cupboard
5. Try to avoid bread and pasta (or seek out alternatives)
6. Keep drinking herbal teas, especially at night time
7. When shopping in the supermarket, actively avoid processed food, load up on meat, veg and dairy
8. Never, ever buy “low fat” items
9. Do a weekly shop so I can plan my meals
10. Always eat breakfast (plan it ahead of time) – to avoid a mid-morning hunger pang

Today we had our banola bars with yogurt for breakfast, something I really enjoyed as a lighter breakfast choice (I don’t have a big appetite in the mornings). Lunch was DELICIOUS – leftovers of the chilli from last night (which, thanks to my discovery of the microwave was even better the second time around). My snack was the end of my Thai Nut Mix, a large carrot and one green apple.

For dinner tonight I had a pack of freshwater prawns in the fridge. The recipe book suggested prawns wrapped in lettuce, but I didn’t have any lettuce and we were both raveneous after a busy day in our respective offices, so I indulged and decided to cook up my own curry sauce, an experiment, which turned out to be incredibly tasty! I chopped shallots, garlic, a red pepper, some fresh green chilli and threw in some chopped cherry tomatoes. I liberally shook in some ground ginger, cumin, tumeric, chilli powder and a small squirt of tomato paste followed by a liberal squeeze of coconut cream and half a can of coconut milk. I swirled it all together and left it to reduce whilst my brown rice took its usual 25 minutes to slightly soften. I threw the prawns in at the end and watched them get their orangey creamy coats. It smelt divine and as I was thinking aesthetics as I served it up on the plate, I quickly rustled up a cucumber and yogurt ratia, with a little sprinkle of cayenne, for show, and splodged it on the side of the plate – ta-daaaah! It actually tasted super sweet to me, despite not having any illegal sweet substances in it – MUCH better than a sauce in a jar – result!

So Day 16 complete, curry sauce conquered and plans in place for post-detox, not bad for a Monday!

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