Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Pesto Pimping

Another 'Well Fed' creation! I am truly obsessed with this recipe book. May I introduce to you Basil and Walnut Pesto. I think we are going to be great friends.
One thing on the Whole30 and Paleo in general, sauces are hard to come by. No BBQ sauce, Hellmans mayo, ketchup, normal pesto has cheese in it etc. So here is the answer to my troubles! Going to roast some chicken thighs and slather them in pesto later, along with some cumin roasted will be a 'Well Fed' extravaganza!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Whole30 Round-up

I have finally finished my first Whole30! So I want to take some time and go over the good bits and the not so good bits. Not going to lie, I had to think long and hard this morning about this post. Reflection if you will. But first a little recap of what I have and haven't been eating in the past 30 days.

  • No added sugar of any  kind- including honey, agave, artificial sweetners like Splenda, aspartame
  •  No Grains- including wheat, rye, oats, corn, rice, bulgar
  • No Legumes- including all peas, peas, lentils, peanuts, and all soy products
  • No Dairy- from any source, so no cheese, yogurt, cream, milk etc
  • No White potatoes
  • No Alcohol
  •  Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Lots of vegetables
  • Occasional fruit
  • Healthy fats- Ghee or clarified butter (i.e. the milk proteins been removed), coconut oil, avocado etc
Whenever I mentioned to anyone what I was doing the usual response was "Well, what do you eat then?!" And the answer is good, clean food. Many people are stuck in this idea of cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta and potato based dishes for dinner. Paleo is the complete opposite of this, and in my opinion, is the right way to eat. One day I will do a science post about it.

So what was positive about my experience on the Whole30? Using the founders llooonnnggg list of consequences of it, I have compiled my own!
  • No bloating
  • Feeling stronger
  • My knee problems that I have had for a year and half rapidly improved
  • A more regular cycle (seriously, with PCOS my cycle is all over the place but this was 4 weeks to the day. NEVER happened before ever.)
  • Sleep loads better
  • Constant energy levels
  • Healthier relationship with food. Not worrying about every calorie going into my body has done wonders for my psyche. I no longer feel a slave to the calorie.
  • Fewer cravings for sweet things
  • Much more knowledgeable about nutrition.
  • I stuck to something 100% for 30 days. 30 flippin' days! I feel really proud of that. 
I can't believe how much better I have felt throughout the 30 days. Not feeling bloated, or guilty, or obsessed. It has been rather stress free on the food and health side. I feel like I have gotten more focused when working out too. I feel stronger and capable of lifting heavier weights. Me and a friend also have started going to a pilates class, something I swore was never for me! I like to sweat and be out of breath, not lie on a floor and breath deeply for an hour. I was wrong. This isn't what pilates is about.

Ok so those were the positives. Now onto the negatives. To be honest, for me there is one big one that definitely overshadowed the achievement I felt when I first woke up this morning. Weight loss. Or rather, the lack of weight loss. I was expecting and hoping for some shift on the scales. I knew that the Whole30 is designed for health and not necessarily weight loss but the majority of people do lose weight. I wanted to be one of them, but I wasn't. I will admit, there were tears. From the age of 12 I have always been dieting, always trying to lose weight, so the scale has been a massive part of my life! I always tell myself that the numbers don't mean anything; I know I am healthy and fit, but deep down the numbers do matter to me! I wanted to have lost around 4lbs. I am great at maintaining a weight between 147 and 150lbs. My goal for the end of the year is to be 140 and I hoped these 30 days would be a good jumping off point, so to have lost ermm nothing. Well. Darn.

I have had a few hours to ponder on this and really take a look back. Just because I haven't lost any weight doesn't mean that this has been a waste of time. If anything it has fueled me on and made me believe in Paleo as a lifestyle even more. High fat way of life? Yes please. The food is gorgeous. But there is the problem for me I think. I took the fat recommendation side of things a bit too liberally. I think I was consuming too much fat for weight loss. I was eating a diet between 1200 and 1500 calories a day, and during the Whole30 I have been eating WAY more than that. So to have stayed the same weight...well that's really interesting. Science works. Cut out the inflammatory and insulin spiking grains and sugars, cut out dairy that we humans are naturally intolerant to, up the fat, protein and vegetables, and you have a perfect lifestyle!

So what am I going to do now? Well, today me and my best friend are going to a Body Pump class then having a spa day; jacuzi, steam room, massage, reelllaaxxx, with a latte from Starbucks of course (that is the only thing I have been craving all 30 days.) Then we are going out for dinner. I won't go crazy though.
Tomorrow, I am going to carry on with the Whole30 principles but just cut back on the fat. I know the science, I know the baseline, now I need to adapt it to my needs. Too much fat? No problem, I can change that. Weight loss needs to be a slow and gradual process to be maintainable. I like this lifestyle; it isn't a diet. It works if you cater it to your needs. Right now my needs are to lose a few pounds. Once that has happened, I know that I can up the fat slightly, introduce the odd latte, and i'll be a mean, lean, fighting PCOS machine.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Radio Silence

I apologies for the lack of updates; essays are kicking my a**.
One week to go on the Whole30! I can't believe that it has gone so quickly. Food wise, I think I need to tighten up a little for the last week. A few too many dried fruit handfuls after lunch!

I went to a PCOS specialist clinic today. What a joke. The basic jist of the conversation was "Metformin is the best solution right now. Losing weight is the best way to help your PCOS so try harder with diet and exercise."
I was this close to punching him in the face! What did he think I have been doing for yyyeaarrrs? My weight was the original reason why I found out I had PCOS; inability to lose anything, rapid weight gain etc led to scans. If I got a penny for every time a medical professional has told me to 'try harder', or eat a 'well balanced diet', or 'take the stairs as opposed to the lift', I would be very rich. I felt a bit patronised when he started to explain that the body releases this hormone called insulin. I KNOW. He even got out the BMI chart thing which is a load of crap. I have had this appointment booked for a few months now and was really looking forward to it. My regular GP doesn't know much about PCOS so I was hoping to be able to talk to someone who did. He obviously knew all about it, but it was not a worthwhile experience.

Self education is so important now a-days. I told him that I eat a clean Paleo diet and he just stared at me blankly. Ok so Paleo is not as big in the UK as it is in America but he should have heard of it! My goal from now on is to find what is right with my body. Doing the Whole30 has helped to regulate my period; 3 weeks early this time...amazing compared to going usually going 6-12 weeks without one! This was 4 weeks on the dot. I have been spending a lot of time trawling the internet listening to podcasts, reading literature, and just generally becoming more educated on both PCOS and Paleo. I feel like I am taking control of my body. And I love it.

Anyone else had any bad experiences with doctors?

Or have you got a doctor or met a specialist that was brilliant?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Cup Half Full!

I have reached the halfway mark with my first Whole30! And to celebrate I am going to see Les Mis! I feel that this cinema experience will be better than my last; I have discovered toasted coconut and will be snacking away on that instead of carrot sticks.
I thought by this point I will be ready to give up and cave (if I hadn't already) but my cup is half full. I'm looking forward to the next 15 days of health:) Again, the only thing I miss is latte's. That is what I will be having on day 31. The rest I am going to keep the same! It is easy, fun, healthy and filling. What more could you want?

I made a new recipe from Melissa's recipe book 'Well Fed'; Cauliflower Rice Pilauf. I paired it with my own beef meatballs which I very generously seasoned! I think I put almost a cup of herbs in it...a bit overpowering!
I stuck to the recipe for the 'rice' but added some shredded coconut, to boost up the fat a little. Also, the recipe said it served 6...I made it serve 2. Oops! I didn't have any other veggies so I didn't feel so bad about it though. An excuse to make more!
I apologise for the shocking photography. I love photography and outside, I am pretty good. But inside, the lighting sucks, and it smelled so good that I couldn't be bothered to mess around with the exposure settings! I wanted to TUCK IN.

For the last half of the Whole30 I think I need to tighten up on a few things. One being not snacking between meals. I am getting better at this but I think I need to not be afraid and just do it! Also, I am not going to buy coconut...I eat way too much of it! I think that I am getting more fat than I need which may be why my weight isn't dropping. I'll still stick to the guidelines of the fat, but aim for the lower end at each meal. 

Now if you excuse me, I have to go warm up my vocal chords in preparation for Les Mis. Oh the whole cinema audience is going to hhhhattteeee me.

How is your Whole30 going?

Have you seen Les Mis yet?!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

My New Saviour....the Crock-Pot!

I am now back at University, in my student house, with my friends, stressing about this final push before graduation. Unfortunately for me:


You can see why I said I was only around 80% Paleo compliant!
Though I haven't caved! Day 12 of Whole30 and still going strong. I thought that the move back to university might upset the balance. Temptation everywhere, plus the stress, and random hours in lectures will have me reaching for an easier option. So far, so good.
I have found it almost easier than before. For ages now I have been eating Paleo and counting calories. This adds so much more stress to my day! Having exact rules on the Whole30 means that it isn't a question of shuffling things around so you can have an extra something and fit it into your calorie count; it is either yes or no. This is exactly what I need!

One bad thing about being in a student house is that things go wrong. For example, our oven broke for the third time in 3 months on Monday, while I was roasting vegetables. Deep breathing was called upon here. But never fear because I got a crock-pot for Christmas! Now I am a crock-pot virgin. I have never cooked a meal in one. But here was my chance.
I took inspiration from Erika over at the Everyday Paleo site. She has some great recipes over there and this one immediately jumped out at me.
Creamy? I love cream. Chicken? I love chicken. Soup? Erm hello, it's winter! Click on the link and it will take you straight to the recipe I used:)

Putting my ingredients into the crock-pot was odd. It was just a mass of raw things and for hours it looked like nothing was happening. Had I done it wrong?

 9 hours later, this is what materialised....

I know it doesn't look the most appetising of things to eat but it was hearty, and warm, and creamy! Next time I will add some more seasoning as it was a little bland, but for a first attempt, not too shabby.

Another thing I am loving on the Whole30 is toasted coconut. So delicious. I could eat my weight in these. I think I need to cut back a little on this though. I am finding myself grabbing handfuls throughout the day when you aren't supposed to be snacking. It isn't even because I am hungry, i'm not. But they are just so crunchy! This is what I like most about them. That satisfying crunch that you only really get from crisps or crackers; toasted coconut replicates this. I'm such a child...all about the texture.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Week 1 Complete!

I have to say, I feel pretty darn fantastic right now. I have resisted every temptation, every opportunity to slip, and stuck to the Whole30 like glue. And my body is thanking me for it!
I don't feel hungry at odd times of the day, I don't feel sleepy one minute and wide awake the next, none of these insulin peaks and crashes making me feel like crap and make my PCOS come out to play.
I feel healthy.
It is also great not trying to keep track of every single calorie that enters my body, or leaves it via exercise. After counting calories for so long, it was second nature, but also an obsession. I wouldn't say I had an eating disorder (please, I'm overweight!) but I definitely thought and worried about calories most of my waking hours and panicked on  daily basis about it. No-one wants to be weighing carrots or crying over accidentally drinking regular coke. I would slip, eat a bunch of bad stuff, and yes I would enjoy it at the time, but the next day, and the day after that, I would want to punish myself for it.
But now I am eating good proper food...with fat! Oh my word. When I was dabbling in Paleo, I would ignore their suggestions about fat intake; I felt that that was a sure fire way of ballooning, and it would have been actually. As I was not 100% Paleo, the dairy and other 'treats' that I was eating daily would have made me put on weight if I ate a bunch of fat too. My body would get it's energy from sugar, while happily spreading the fat to my stomach!

 I know I know, it has only been a week! I am sure that I will change my mind about some of this, but for right now I am happy.
Today I spent the day making food to take back to University with me tomorrow, so that I will have some Whole30 meals ready to go for the first week of term. I made cumin carrots, Tex-mex scotch eggs, and a hhuugggeee shepherd's pie again! It is going to be tricky once I am back at uni. Going out with friends will be challenging, and living with other people will test my will power, but I am confident that I will see this through. I want that massage at the end of it!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Returning To Normal...For Now!

After the anger filled, craving packed, cranky, tired day that I had yesterday, I woke up this morning hoping for a better day. And it worked...eventually! I woke up just how Melissa and Dallas Hartwig (Whole30 God's) said that I would on days 4 and 5:

"Day 4 dawns and you tentatively step out of bed, expecting to feel like you took a strike from Thor’s hammer in the temple. Instead, your head is surprisingly clear. Your limbs all feel functional. This could be a good day! You walk into the kitchen and as you’re greeted by the smiling face of your significant other you are suddenly overcome…with the desire to punch them in the face for smiling this early in the morning"

Well, at least I know that what they are preaching actually works. My symptoms were down to a tee! However, the rest of the day has been surprisingly clear and peaceful. An extremely emphatic greeting from this cutey helped get my mind away from punching my family members in the face...

 A long walk was what I needed to clear my head and re-evaluate. I came back, caked in mud and dog slobber, tucked into some scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, and felt rejuvenated. Then it was off to a coffee shop with my brother for a black coffee (not quite as yuck as a few days ago!) and some studying. Tonight I am off to my cousins for dinner. This will be my first test at a meal at someones home while on the Whole30. I've warned her that I will be picky! My plan at the moment is to eat before I go; this will feel weird but I need to learn to put my goals first and not cave to temptation.

According to Dallas and Melissa I will constantly wanting to be napping over days 6 and 7. If you don't hear from me for a couple of will know why!

How is your Whole30 going?

Have you taken any new exercise classes this January? Or started a new workout routine?

I know that I have been ignoring the moving part of this blog...I will tackle that soon!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sugar-Less Haze

Day 4 of the Whole30 is nearly over. Thank god. I thought this was going to be fairly easy. I smirked to myself a little when my Whole30 Daily newsletter on days 2 and 3 told me I was probably feeling tired and grumpy. 'Not me!" I gayly cheered and sprang up to eat half of a scotch egg, moaning in satisfaction at the yummy, meaty, goodness! Then I woke up on day 4.

The novelty had worn off, and I was left in a crashed, sugar-less state. I felt lethargic and dozy. I even felt a little angry; "What is the point in all this? Surely a diet coke or a nibble of some chocolate will do anything to me. Those aren't the problem." It didn't help that I had arranged to go to the cinema to see The Hobbit with a friend. The cinema is like a utopia for me...pic and mix sweets, chocolate, diet coke, popcorn, and all other types of sugary goodness. I never have gone crazy like you see some people do; a tray of nachos dripping in fake cheese in one hand, a large popcorn in the other, an even larger drink under one arm, and a sharing size bag of M+M's that they are clinging to with their teeth. No, I get a drink and a small amount of sweets and leave it at that. Today, I had brought with me some carrot sticks. And boy was I not impressed. I munched on them with disdain while sipping a soda water. I could hear those chocolate covered brazil nuts that were quite literally calling out to me "Jenniiiffeerrr, just one bite, we won't do any harm!" Thankfully I ignored them and got sucked into Middle Earth.

I felt proud that I hadn't caved; that I had stuck to my guns and not given into temptation. But I also felt weak. It is only day 4 and I am already finding it tough! !here are another 26 days that I need to contend with yet. Also, what happens after the 30 days? I truly believe in the Paleo lifestyle, and I have to say, that up until today, my body felt so much...well...cleaner I suppose because of the past few days. I will obviously be eating Paleo after this Whole30, but it did make me realise that there are things in my usual Paleo diet (perhaps not everyday but often enough so as not to be justified as a treat) that definitely do not fit into the Paleo framework! How will I contend with those? Well, I have a few weeks left to work this out. Luckily, there is great help and support on the Whole30 forum and I am sure that it will all become clearer once my brain has come out of the sugar-less fog that currently surrounds it! Bring on day 5. I have a feeling that it will be much better than today. I shall leave you with a festive giggle that I found here...

 Anyone else feeling a bit crappy? Whether it is from the Whole30, a detox, or an extended hangover from New Year!