health

Whole 30 – the end

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering how I got on with my first attempt at Whole 30. No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway. I’ll be honest, I did very, very well for three weeks, and then I hit my third weekend and cracked. I had a glass of red wine. So, I guess that counts as a failed Whole 30 but a reasonable Whole 21.

In any case, I don’t feel too bad about it. The thing is, once I cracked the door open with the wine I never really got it shut again. So the wine led to the odd dark chocolate that I got with my Butlers coffee. And then I might have thrown some honey onto my coconut pancakes (although I did leave the honey out of the recipe, it still works). But in general I’ve still been eating really well and I’m very happy I did it.

Here’s what I learnt:
– If you’re trying to control your sugar cravings then you’ve got to go easy on the fruit. Better yet, avoid it altogether because, for me anyway, it tends to set me off on a sugar spiral where I just want more sweet things. That said, sometimes a bowl of berries as dessert does the job and you feel like you’ve had a treat. Just don’t do what I did and put balsamic vinegar on them. Yeugh.

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Oh sure, it looks pretty…

– To eat really well (and be paleo compatible) it’s almost impossible to eat out at restaurants. This is great for saving money but sometimes it’s unavoidable and you’re never sure what’s hidden in things. As a rule you might as well suspect that sugar and flour are in everything, because they tend to be. But it can make you feel like a bit of a killjoy, always ordering the salad or the omelette. Anyway, life goes on. What I did for the last few weeks was meet people at non-meal times and just ordered black coffees.

– I’m totally over dairy. In the last few days I’ve started including a bit of grated cheese in my omelette again and the odd splash of double cream in my coffee, but frankly I could take it or leave it. I still make huge batches of ghee once a month, not because it’s technically non-dairy, but because it’s a great fat to cook with. It has a high smoking point and it goes well with everything. Some things just don’t go well with coconut oil, plus it’s expensive, so it’s nice to have an alternative.

– I’m pretty impressed with myself that I didn’t drink for three weeks, and it’s no particular surprise that it’s the wine that got me in the end. I’m no heavy drinker by any standards, but when it gets to Friday night and I’ve made an awesome dinner like burgers in portobello mushroom “buns”, it just feels more festive to wash it down with some wine. I’m going on holiday next week and can only imagine the damage I’m going to inflict on my liver, so I’m feeling rather virtuous that I gave it a break for the guts of a month.

So that’s it. I reckon I’ll probably attempt Whole 30 again at some stage. While I was doing it I felt very smug indeed, and isn’t that what life’s about? No? Anyway. Next time I’ll try and steer clear of the wine. It’s all my husband’s fault for buying it anyway. Let’s blame him.

Whole 30 – Day 3

I started Whole 30 on Saturday. And what did I do on Friday? I ate pizza and went out on the piss. Standard issue. No, I don’t feel bad about it and yes, it was worth it.

So, in case you were wondering what Whole 30 consists of, you’d best read about it here. If you’re more partial to cliff notes, here’s my basic summary: you eat whole, unprocessed foods, mostly in their natural state. You avoid inflammatory foods and anything with sugar in it. It looks a bit like this:

EAT:
– Meat, fish and shellfish
– Vegetables (including potatoes)
– Eggs
– Nuts and seeds
– Fruit

DON’T EAT:
– Added sugar or processed foods
– Grains
– Legumes, soy products, peanuts
– Dairy
– Alcohol

There is also an emphasis on getting enough sleep. This is something I’m really bad at as I’m a total night owl and unfortunately my 2 year old daughter is not. She wakes up around 7am on a good day and because I rarely go to bed before midnight it can be slightly torturous upon waking. I’m going to aim for 11pm this week and see if it makes a difference to my energy levels.

I’m also trying to up my water intake. For about two years now I’ve drunk lemon juice and warm water first thing in the morning. It’s a good start, but once I hit the (black) coffee at 11am I tend to let myself get dehydrated because I’m running around after the pooch and toddler. That’s a fairly shite excuse, though, so I’m hoping I can improve on this in the next month.

So that’s it. My meals have been pretty standard so far. I slow-cooked a nice pork shoulder on Saturday, so I’ve had that a couple of times in lettuce roll-ups. I’ve got a load of courgettes in the fridge so I’ll probably eat a lot of zoodles for the next few days.

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Garlicky meatballs with zoodles in a homemade marinara sauce.

That’s about it. If I eat anything particularly sexy in the next few days I’ll be sure to photograph it and stick it on Instagram. Make sure to follow me on there if you’re not already.

Peace out, paleo on. Snort.

Stuff I eat – in pictures

Ever wondered what us paleo cave-lurkers actually eat on a daily basis? Fear not, I have it in picture form, so, you know, not too much reading. You’re welcome.

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Lunch: Chicken salad with broccoli and Newman’s Own Italian dressing. I used to banjax myself trying (and failing) to make decent dressings but I just don’t seem to possess the skill, so why make when you can buy? This one has no hidden nasties and you know, charity and stuff.

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Lunch: Panfried salmon with zoodles, red pepper, chilli and garlic. Zoodles are awesome. If you’re Irish and balk at Americanisms, then please, feel free to call them coodles (courgette noodles). But whatever. They’re basically just grated courgettes that are stir fried for a minute or two. They’re super quick, delicious, and my toddler can’t tell the difference between them and the ones made from wheat. Then again, she’s only two. Here’s a recipe from one of my favourite paleo food sites.

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Lunch: Chicken soup made from bone broth. I added leftover roast chicken, red pepper, carrots, celery, onion and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. Yum.

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Dinner: Stuffed aubergine with pork mince, garlic, chilli, tomato and spices, served with rocket salad. I made this up as I went along and it was astoundingly tasty. If only I’d written down the recipe. Ho hum.

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Dinner: Homemade bolognese on cabbage “pasta”, which is thinly sliced white cabbage, boiled for about 5 minutes and then seasoned. It’s great for bulking out saucy (oooh, saucy) dishes without adding any weird flavours. I first came across it on this site

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Dinner: Slow cooked beef rogan josh served with pak choi and cauliflower rice. Cauliflower rice is so easy to make – just finely grate some cauliflower, fry it in ghee for a few minutes and then add seasoning. Simples. 

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Dinner: Thai green chicken curry with red pepper, green beans and cabbage pasta.

So there you have it. If you think you might require a near-ish daily visual of the food going into my belly, be sure to follow me on Instagram. It’s food for the eyes and eyes for the food. Wow, that was almost profound without being remotely profound. If only it was profane.

Bone broth

Bone broth. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? It’s one of those weird paleo things that I read about a year ago, but instead of exploring it I just made a face and got back to my ironing. That’s a joke, I never iron.

Anyway, since I’m at the height of my paleo smugness at the moment, I thought I’d save up some chicken carcasses and make a batch. I’m not going to drone on about the health benefits here. There are plenty of good articles that will tell you why it’s so awesome, and I’d only be plagarising anyway, so I’ll just say this: it’s really, really good for you. Need a little more? Ok, off the top of my head, it’s supposed to heal your gut, it’s great for joints, and it contains all sorts of minerals and amino acids that you wouldn’t otherwise get.

So I made some. I dutifully shoved the remnants of several chicken dinners into the slow cooker, covered them in water, plus a random selection of dying veg and herbs, and then left it for 20 hours. I’m not sure I’ll get the smell of not-quite chicken soup out of my soft furnishings ever again, but so be it.

Anyway, I gave a bowl of it to my hungover husband today and he loved it. I tried some myself and was surprised by its rich, almost syrupy texture. But it’s still a broth, so it’s light. It kind of tastes like stock (as you’d expect), but it has a much meatier flavour. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t be rushing to down pints of it. But then again, this is a health thing, not a taste thing, so I’ve decided I’ll use it as a base for some really awesome chicken soup. If it comes out well I’ll probably blog about it. If not, well, go on about your business, nothing to see here.