Health & Fitness

Day 25: A Vicious Circle.

Over the past week I have eaten way too much food and spent way too much time analyzing why – each of these activities inevitably leading to more of the other.

Observations:
1) I like paleo/Whole30 foods, and really get a kick out of sourcing ingredients, recipes and related nutritional information.
2) When I prepare yummy food on my day off, I get quite excited about lunchtime at work – and morning tea.
3) Taking the adrenal fatigue herbs and other minerals prescribed for thyroid stupidness and energy levels seems to help.
4) If I eat something I don’t feel like eating (eg: meat & veg for brekky), I just keep eating until my taste buds are happy – this can take a while.
5) Too much macadamia nut butter, cashew milk, dried fruit and maybe coconut oil – combined with a significant reduction in exercise – leads to work pants being uncomfortably tight. This in turn results in miserable, and slightly irritable, me.

Conclusions:
1) I have personally witnessed (in others) great success resulting from participation in Whole30, and would definitely recommend it to friends.
2) Although I remain committed to the list of recommended foods, I can’t say I ever nailed the behavioral requirements (see Day 18), so I can’t really claim the program didn’t work for me.
3) As someone who has gained then lost 30-40 kgs 3 times over the past 20yrs, I wouldn’t suggest that I have a ‘normal, healthy’ relationship with food. So, having found my happy place with Mostly Paleo, maybe I shouldn’t push it.

Actions:
1) For the final five days I plan to enjoy eating well. I will stress less about the detail and finish ‘MY’ Whole30 happily with the desire to keep the good habits going.
I am interested in the results regarding inflammation, muscle mass vs fat, and energy levels, so I won’t be straying from the Whole30 list at least until I visit the naturopath on Oct 10.
2) I am undecided as to whether I return to full workouts after Tuesday (Day 30) or wait until after the follow up on 10/10. It probably depends on whether my work pants fit better or worse than they do today.

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I love a good condiment – here are some for you to try…

Macadamia nut butter: 3 cups raw macadamias in the (high powered) blender, blend until creamy. Delish. Remember ants on logs? Nut butter in celery stick, sprinkled with raisins. Happy days.

I discovered – well, I read that someone else discovered – that 1 part balsamic vinegar to 2 parts (organic of course) tomato paste = Paleo BBQ sauce! And it works! Hooray! Something for the burgers 🙂 Cut the stalks out of those really big mushrooms and grill – they can be the buns.

Sweet Chili Sauce by The Healthy Chef – really really easy, and good on everything.

There are some incredible sauces, marinades etc in Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan if you feel like treating yourself to a new recipe book this week. I am currently loving Salmon A L’Afrique Du Nord on page 103 – ooh la la!

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Health & Fitness

Day 18: All things. Especially food…

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The thing is, for the first two weeks, the Whole30 wasn’t all that difficult (except going out to dinner – which is near impossible), but then it was pointed out to me that this may be because I wasn’t doing it right.

I really enjoy eating from the “allowed foods” list, I prepare well and rarely crave “not-allowed foods”, but I have yet to come to grips with the habit-breaking, life-changing rules around when and how to eat. For example:
*No snacking between meals. The three meals of the day (plus an extra if you workout) are supposed to be big enough to get you to the next one.
*There are no breakfast foods – the three meals should be similar to each other in construction (ie: no yummy grain-free granola).
*Recreating junk food or desserts with approved ingredients is not permitted (ie: no Pinterest)
*Stop eating three hours before bed. I am a fan of this one, but sometimes I don’t get home from work til 10pm.

So I think it’s true that all things are difficult before they are easy.
I decided last friday, after a slap-on-the-wrist naturopath visit, that I would follow these guidelines from Monday, but I haven’t. Because it’s hard! I love brekky foods and I love researching, making and eating snacks, and none of the strategies I have tried have succeeded in eliminating either of them.

Tonight I am torn between a) accepting that eating the right foods might have to be enough, and b) knowing that the best outcome can only come from doing the program properly. My response so far to this emotional turmoil has been to skip training, drive straight home and pig out on Amanda Allen’s Raw Cake. Again, great (compliant) ingredients, but not really meant for this purpose.

Hmm.

Fuck it.

I need to get this right, or I will never know what could have been.

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Health & Fitness

Link-orama!!

In response to demands by registered followers, today I will be more specific about the foods I’m enjoying, and – if I can figure out how – even include links to favourite recipes.

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Breakfast
For over 12 months now, I have been making a weekly batch of Sarah Wilson’s grain-free granola – I love this stuff. Sarah suggests adding rice malt syrup if you want to sweeten it, but I never bothered. Pre-Whole30 I ate it with goat yogurt, but now it’s with cashew milk, and I always add berries. Delish!
If I’m not racing to work though – and sometimes when I am – I sit down to a fry-up. Eggs fried in coconut oil are YUMMY, and they regularly enjoy the company of some good bacon, asparagus, avocado and/or spinach. This morning I had a guest for post-training brekky, so I also made Sweet Potato Biscuits (American biscuits, not bikkies). NB: while you’re at the paleOMG site, check out her ‘Treats’, they are the best.
Then every couple of weeks I make Apple pecan & bacon butternut squash hash, and whack a fried egg on top for good measure. I know you’re going to make this for your loved ones within the next 48hrs.

Lunch
Leftover dinner.

Dinner
Although I do work full-time, I have a wacky roster and it’s only ever 3 days between either a morning off or a day off. So I prepare lunches & dinners on non-work days. Sometimes I overdo it, like last week with all that lamb (!), and sometimes I underestimate, or just run out of ideas. Yesterday for lunch I had stir fried fish with capsicum, red cabbage and coconut amino sauce (kind of a soy sauce without the soy) because that was all that was in the fridge! Not a culinary highlight of the week, but it was ok, and the options were starve or eat at the co-worker restaurant – neither is particularly good for your (my) health.
I haven’t had a salad for a while, because all my favourites feature quinoa and/or corn and/or black beans:’Superfood’ Salad, Crunchy Thai Salad, …oh wait, I forgot about the Detox Salad! I love this! Will make it on Monday 🙂 🙂 Happy Happy …doesn’t take much.

Generally though, I like hot meals for both lunch & dinner. Recent winners include: Stir Fried Kelp Noodles with beef, broccoli and spinach, Chicken, Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry, Steak (grass-fed) with Cauliflower Mash and greens.
Soups are good too, especially at the end of a work day. Most soup recipes are naturally paleo, just watch for the dairy. Oh yeah and lentils …and of course no croutons or dumplings. Sigh, nevermind.
On my next day off, in addition to the Detox Salad, I will be making Summer squash meatball casserole because I like it.

Well, that should be enough to go on? Snacks will require their own entry – geez, I could write a book on (ok, mostly nut-based) snacks – and I have some tips on condiments too. Go buy a Vitamix and I’ll meet you back here in a few days.

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Health & Fitness

Day 7: On Track…mostly

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My friend John doesn’t really get it. He absolutely believes in the value of whole fresh foods, is genuinely interested in what I’m trying to achieve, and would never dismiss something just because he doesn’t understand, but John scratches his head when I start to talk about eliminating food groups. He tells me that his dad, an Italian fond of dairy and plenty of pasta, is in strapping health and still pretty active. Fair enough.
Sometimes I wonder myself whether I have been conned – the science behind paleo/whole30 makes perfect sense to me, but maybe if I put just as much time and effort into researching some other approach, I would find that equally convincing??
No, even mainstream medicine is starting to see that chronic inflammation is responsible for all kinds of ailments – I reckon it’s only a matter of time before they get around to looking at what causes it.
I tell John that if he is happy with his health, and has the energy to live the life he wants to live, then I’m certainly not going to insist he stops eating his Mama’s cooking. I, on the other hand, want to be the strongest, most healthy, most sparky me that I can be – and I am not that now, so the quest goes on.

Challenges in Week One:
#1 is definitely social events. I may get a cat and just stay at home.
Also, while I have stuck to the list of foods, I haven’t quite mastered the balance – I need to eat more veggies. I used to eat a lot of veggies (last week!), not sure why all of a sudden I feel like I need to fill up on meat?
And less nuts. Nuts are awesome. Every yummy thing I can think of has nuts – and/or dried fruit. I had a dried blueberry blowout on Saturday afternoon, which I know was a serious sugar craving due to not having eaten enough good carbs at lunchtime.

So further tweaking (not twerking) is required, but overall I am enjoying following the whole30 guidelines. I am, however, jealous of friends who say that by day 7 they felt completely new & cleansed. I don’t feel that way – still struggling in the morning and crashing in the afternoon. But I know I’m trying to fix more than my diet, so it will likely be more of an endurance event that a sprint.

Have a happy Monday 🙂

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Health & Fitness

Glossary

Whole30: A short-term (30 day) nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.
Do eat: meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit and plenty of healthy fats.
Do not eat: any added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes or dairy.

Crossfit: A strength and conditioning program utilising a wide variety of functional exercises taken from disciplines such as gymnastics, weightlifting, athletics and kettlebells.
AMRAP and WOD Also Crossfit terms.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Best show ever on tv.  Don’t worry, I don’t plan on referring to it more than once throughout the “journey” – and truly hope not to use the word “journey” too often either.

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Health & Fitness

Day 1: Kind of Scary

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I did begin the day a little scared… What if I don’t have the willpower to do this? How do I make a yummy brekky without even goat yogurt? Will my coach think I’m lazy, or just sucked in by the hippy naturopath, when I tell him I’m not going to do conditioning work for a month?
Even at this stage I didn’t doubt that my plan would work if I could commit to it, but seriously, no quinoa? Isn’t that a bit extreme? And do I have good enough diplomacy skills to keep my family & friend relationships intact without succumbing to their pho, champagne, lentils and cake (…separate September events)?

So off I went to crossfit at 9.30, and arrived just in time to hear the coach telling the 8.30 guys that getting through a tough AMRAP is a mental challenge that must be conquered – every one of them was flat on their back making sweaty impressions on the floor – and that crossfit is as much about these moments as it is about how much you can lift. Hmmm… deep breath… “Um, so I’m thinking I would like to not participate in WODs for 4 weeks and focus only on strength”. Waiting… and then, with the coach’s response, my day started to improve: “Ok, I’m only doing strength at the moment too – if I had my way, a couple of days each week would be strength-only for everyone”
Phew!! Breath out.

Things continued to get better after the workout. I read the recipes in the Whole30 book, ordered my own copy from BookDepository, tried a coffee with coconut oil instead of milk and surprisingly found it quite yum, realized that if I’m not running & jumping at the gym, I can eat beforehand (yay) and probably wear just the one sports bra (yay) 🙂

Feeling significantly better about “the plan”, I put on season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – because it has the musical episode – and started to cook.

One lamb roast with vegies, one large frittata, 6 cutlets and a litre of cashew milk later, I am ready for the week.

PS: cashew milk is tastier than almond milk and much easier to make – no pulp.

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