whole30

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.

The ultimate paleo banana bread

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Ok now, listen up, because on August 2nd I’ve decided that I’m going to start a Whole30. That means no processed foods of any kind, no sugars or honey, no dairy, and absolutely no more bastardised paleo foods (such as banana bread). For 30 whole days I’m just going to eat meat, fish, vegetables and small amounts of fruit and nuts. And no booze.

NO BOOZE?!

No booze.

So before I dive into that, I need to give you my recipe for banana bread, because a) it’s definitely not Whole30 approved, and b) I have tried them ALL, with varying results, and this is the one that makes my heart sing. The thing with paleo banana breads is that when they’re bad, they’re so dry they suck the spit right out of your mouth, but when they’re good, they’re moist and delicious and ah-mazing. This one is almost more chocolate than banana, but you can still kid yourself that you’re eating a healthy fruit thing, right? Who cares anyway, it’s a treat that’s sweet but is grain- and dairy-free. I have fed this to non-paleo people at 3am when they’re angry and drunk and they have practically wept with the deliciousness.

By the way, all the recipes that I tried used American measurements so that’s what I’m working with here. You’re just going to have to go with the cups thing – yes I know it’s annoying – or use an online converter.

Ingredients
Dry ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Optional: 1 tbsp of chia seeds (because I put them in everything)

Wet ingredients
3 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted ghee (or butter)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160°C, grease a loaf tin with butter and line with baking parchment.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients (coconut flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda, salt, chia seeds (if using) in a large bowl and remove any lumps with a fork.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey and vanilla. Add the mashed bananas and mix well. Then add the melted butter and stir.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
5. Pour into loaf tin and bake for 45 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.