I can’t believe we are half way through the programme and more importantly, I can’t believe that I have not had any sugar in four whole weeks! Week four of the programme meant it was time for ‘clean week’ and an increased focus on green vegetables and healthy eating habits. It was suggested that we cut out gluten, alcohol and coffee this week. Given that alcohol and coffee are not an issue for me at all, I didn’t really think anything of it. Until I realised that I couldn’t eat toast. Or porridge. And life suddenly got a bit sadder. This week really made me realise how much I love a good slice of toast or some creamy porridge and more importantly how indulgent they feel. At this point in the programme, when all other comforting foods have been removed I truly think they are my form of comfort food and so it is safe to say that in the first week of my university exams that comfort food was sorely missed. However, I had made it through Clean Week mostly unscathed. The meals were still delicious and innovative and I am still enjoying the programme. (p.s. the porridge below, was my last hurrah on Sunday)
What I Ate: Breakfasts this week featured my new favourite thing: coco-nutty granola and a green smoothie. The granola is my favourite. Not the smoothie. This week I pimped the granola to be pumpkin spiced and it was heaven. I have long been a lover of green smoothies, however, I had never tried one without fruit before. Partly, because I never saw the need and mostly because I love fruit. However, this weeks smoothie featured a grand total of five green vegetables and it really packed a health punch. The first smoothie was not a success. My blender struggled with all the frozen ingredients so I had to water it down to the point where it didn’t really taste like anything. This was the worst and I only managed to get around a quarter of it down. The second day, I let my veggies defrost a bit more and added a whole lemon to the blender as well. This was an improvement, around three quarters of it was drunk. Finally, on the third day (bearing in mind we were only supposed to have it twice) but I was determined to get through this green monster. I defrosted my ingredients early, put a whole lemon in the smoothie and stirred in half a juiced lemon once blended. The result? Perfect. I drank the whole thing and felt full! I didn’t even need my granola on this day. So while I definitely do miss fruit in my smoothies, I won’t be as scared now to add more vegetables to the mix.
Lunch/Dinner: My favourite from this week was probably the ‘chicken’ Macro bowl – I made my vegetarian by subbing in chickpeas. I loved this because it contained a great mixture of vegetables and featured my first ever batch of homemade sauerkraut! It was so cool to finally get to try it after watching it ferment on the bench for so long. Another favourite was the ‘Quinoa and Sweet Potato Pilaf’. I made mine with beetroot as I had no sweet potato and it delicious despite the change. I definitely felt as though the portion sizes had increased this week in our main meals, but I am not sure if this was just an increased veggie intake. Other notable meals included: Fish on Roasted Caponata and Sarah’s KFC (family’s pick of the week).
How I felt: This week I had my first day where I really didn’t want to be on the programme. I’d had enough. After an overwhelming first week of exams all I felt like was some comforting toast or pasta, before I realised that I could have neither! I think this upset me more than usual because I am so used to being to cook what I want. I love finding a great new recipe, and then going home and being able to cook it straight away. While the programme is great because you don’t have to think about what to cook, I think this week I missed being a little more creative and being able to eat what I felt like (a.k.a. pasta drenched in pesto) rather than salad. None of the things I were wanting were unhealthy, but they had caught my eye and inspired me and I felt like I was missing out by not being able to try them. I compromised instead and had some hot chips (homemade) with a side of greens. Not the lean, green type of meal we are supposed to be eating this week, but not terrible either.
Physical Changes: Seem to have stunted a bit in this area. A small amount more weightless, still poor nails and no more great improvements in skin. But I think stress is not helping on this front.
Emotional Changes: This week made me really realise how much we rely on food. We use it as a tool to make ourselves feel better, which sometimes is great and other times not so much. Once I decided that I wanted pasta, it was all I could think about. I had to put a lot of effort into distracting myself until the craving went away. Even writing this blog post the craving is coming back. As someone who doesn’t eat a lot of indulgent foods, I learnt that toast with grilled cheese on top or melty peanut butter or perfectly creamy chocolate porridge is pretty much my equivalent of indulgent, treat food which will make me feel better. As this week brought the first week of exams, it was probably a terrible time to try and give up more things from my normal food groups, however, when look at another way it could also be considered the best time. This week I needed to be feeling 100% everyday to help me get through my study. By fulling my body with more vegetables I was doing my best to ensure this would happen. When I was studying at the library one day, I noticed all the lollies, biscuits, muesli bars and energy drinks that were on the desks of my fellow students and I was proud that I was not one of them. So while giving up sugar hasn’t been easy and saying goodbye to bread this week was hard, I am proud that I have made it half-way with no sugar lapses and boy am I excited for oats for breakfast next week.
As usual, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below 🙂