In September I went down south to visit my pal Jen. The wedding madness had all gotten too much and I needed to get away so Brighton seemed relatively far enough. A couple days of sea air, an intro to Crossfit and some runs along the promenade teamed up with nonstop chinwagging and general food consumption - and I was more or less back to my old self.
Oh and somewhere along the way I decided to join Ms Itchy Feet in a quest to go thirty days living dairy, grain, sugar free to see what all this paleo fuss was about.
It seemed to make sense to start right after the marathon, after my 30th (what's a birthday without cake) and with just under a month to go before I needed to don a pretty white frock and look all glowing October was the time to do it.
Jen forwarded me a basic plan but it's more or less cutting out processed foods (not rocket surgery here) bread, pulses (beans! sad face.) grains (including quinoa, bulgar, rice, couscous... yeah don't try to pull a fast one) potatoes (although we can stay friends with sweet potatoes) corn, peanuts, cashews, dairy and sugar.
What're you left with?
Eggs, mostly. A lot of eggs!
Once you get past thinking ALL I CAN EAT IS EGGS you realise you can actually eat loads of stuff you just have to be creative. Fruit (although I did learn to look at the ingredients on dried fruit packets - usually the first ingredient is sugar!) and a lot of almond milk to start (you know I love a smoothie.) And vegetables and meat take over. Usually if we were having something like curry or chilli I would substitute the rice for a big portion of spinach or kale and this habit is one I've stuck with since. I will admit I probably snuck a few beans into my diet every now and then but I love beans and hey I didn't mind. And because I didn't have much time for running/I was pretending to be 'in marathon recovery' (whatever that is) the lack of pasta didn't really make any difference.
To be honest I didn't feel like I had to make too much of a life-changing alteration to my normal diet. Because I'd told Jen I was doing it I felt like I had to stick to it properly for a month - I think I maybe cheated once or twice and literally text Jen all the time to ask dumb questions about what was allowed and what wasn't but it wasn't massively different to normal and wasn't hugely difficult. If anything, it made me stock up on loads of healthy snacks to avoid having to make decisions when I was hungry. I also started drinking a lot more green tea instead of regular tea which I usually have with milk and sugar. (started adding barleygrass or spirulina to my green tea to make it even greener. Try it!)
|As you can see I needed some coaching throughout the process|
Anyways... cut to the chase... I did see results. For the first time in my life I had a flat stomach. I mean f.l.a.t. No crunches necessary. And I'd say I generally felt pretty good within myself. It certainly affects mood - maybe it's placebo but I don't care.
I've since brought dairy back and beans but still trying to tell sugar to take a walk and mostly avoiding the bread section of the supermarket. Unfortunately I love cake and cake loves me but am starting to make a conscious decision whether I want to indulge or not so as to avoid needless stuffing of face. (Also, there's plenty of guilt-free cake recipes to be found if you make the effort, much to my bearded manfriend's dismay.) Lastly, speaking of the OH, I have a husband to feed who will need potatoes and rice otherwise he might go looking for another hairy cavewoman to bed down with, so lack of carbs forever = not a brill idea.
Mainly what I'd say is, eat what you need. Don't eat what you don't need. It's just common sense right?
The quote at the top of this post is from Dr Britta Hoyes; this morning I read an article that summed up what I felt about the whole thing.
On that note, here's a recipe for a peach apple almond smoothie I've been making recently. I added some Naturya Maca as the nice folks over there sent me some to try. If you're a newbie to Maca, it basically comes from a Peruvian root and is pretty dense in minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, silica and zinc. Good for a mind and energy boost and the Naturya powder adds a hint of malty taste to the smoothie.
Cup peach slices
Spoonful maca powder
Tsp coconut oil optional
Tsp flaxseed optional
Now get back to your caves - oh sorry- I mean cakes.