Sunday, February 16, 2014

21DSD Days 8-11

The last few days have been challenging. Not in what I'm eating, but just the 'boredom' of doing the detox. Which sounds ridiculous I know! I think starting out it was all shiny, new and exciting and I was up for challenge. I rode the wave and did really well, and felt surprisingly unaffected by the change in diet.

But moving in to week 2 that feeling wore off a little. Right from the start I don't think I've experienced any of the changes in energy, digestive issues, skin condition - for the good or bad - I just didn't feel like anything had changed - which in so many ways was a good thing - it made it easier surely?! But at the same time after the week was up and I wasn't feeling like I was seeing any benefits I think that's where the boredom crept in - why was I doing this?

I stuck with it, in terms of following the detox 'rules' but I I started slacking with the meal prep and eating! A couple of evenings I felt a little nauseous and I really wasn't hungry so dinner didn't really 'happen', and then that ended up with a slight knock-on affect when most lunches are supposed to be the leftovers. OR whilst I'm at work I'm often in the habit of eating lunch really late - and often have 2-3 snack sessions rather than 1 'big' meal and sometimes the 'big' meal that the detox program tends to call for didn't really happen. But the thing was I wasn't really hungry - I was kinda freaking that that I should eat rather than I wanted to eat. And as for those modifications for working out - um, yeah, wasn't really doing that either (but then I don't feel like I needed it either - certainly haven't suffered for energy so far).

I had a couple of evenings where I had planned a Spaghetti Squash Bolognese meal. In fact I think I first planned it out in week 1 and it got pushed back. And then it got pushed back again this week, I got lazy and reached for one of my freezer meals instead. There's a clue there.....I obviously wasn't excited about the meal and perhaps I shouldn't 'force it' on myself! - Jeez....let it go!! And that didn't help either...

Friday I did cook a wonderful salmon steak with sweet potato bites and salad (sweet potato is one of those 'no' foods unless you need the extra carbs for working out - and that day I did a P90X3 workout, an hour dog walk and a 6.5 mile run so I feel very justified!!), but pretty much everything else these last few days have been repeats or non-event meals!!

So I got to double digits - 10 days complete with NO sugar - Yay for me!!

Because on Day 11 it all went horribly wrong! I was mildly aware ahead of time that this day might be my downfall. A friends 50th birthday party - I'd already avoided his restaurant meal out, so couldn't skip the open house! But it went wrong before that...

Breakfast-time. And the realisation that pancakes really do taste like cardboard unless there's at least a little maple syrup!!! So I indulged. Literally just 2 teaspoons over 3 pancakes. And it was enough. The rest of the day was a gong-show. I didn't eat properly and I headed over to the open house at 5ish. I restrained myself from everything except cheese for the first half an hour. And then I let riiiiiiip!

Bread, salsa, cheese, caramel chocolate, chips, fruit pie, cookies, and since I was eating bad I may as well have a glass of wine, or two!. There was nothing good in any of it, but damn did it taste good!

I woke today with a mild 'sugar hangover' (I've had them before when I've drunk too much cola - same as a regular hangover but without the fun factor! but luckily soda hangovers wear off!) This too cleared up and I got busy with my day. The leftover pancakes - and you know? - maple syrup. Because I can.

I've made the decision to 'postpone' the remainder of my detox for a couple of days. Chris gets home today and we have a day off together tomorrow - and I'm owed a Valentines treat!!

But this isn't over....! And as Arnie says....I'll be back!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Green Booster Juice

Usually when we juice it's just a mis-matched random assortment of fruits and vegetables, often chosen based on how soft, squishy, wilted or shriveled looking something it is! And no matter what we juice it always seems to come out a sludgey brown colour. Often tasty, but rarely visually appealing. So it was about time I created something with a little more intention!

Since I'm following the 21 Day Sugar Detox program I can only have very limited amounts of fruit, and since Chris is away I can also have a lot more celery than usual (he hates the stuff, but it's so awesome for juicing with great juice content!) Really I just pulled out anything green from the fridge and set to work - I love the zing of the fresh ginger and everything tastes better with some mint, no?!

This turned out perfectly and the fresh ginger and mint give it a real boost!

Ingredients (makes approx 2 cups)

  • 1 green apple
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 lemon
  • handful fresh mint
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1/2 package of power greens or spinach
  • 1 cucumber
  • Stalks from 1 bunch Kale
This made about 500ml of juice for me which I split into 3 portions and topped to a 1 cup serving with a little cold water.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

21DSD Days 6 & 7

Yesterday was Family Day in British Columbia - a new statutory holiday for us (it's only our second year!) After my distinctly blah afternoon on Sunday I had an early night with 'The Book Thief' on my kindle. And another sleep-in so I got a fabulous 9 hours! However when I woke up I felt quite weak and light-headed. I pottered around the house getting some chores done but I did decide to skip my morning workout. I cooked up the second batch of pancakes with the batter left over from yesterday, and I added a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt and hemp hearts on top, along with the vanilla coconut butter and some mashed banana. I wanted to make sure I started out the day with breakfast first thing packed with plenty of protein - mission accomplished!

After an hour of dog walking through a fresh layer of snow in the morning I headed to a local community event where I was working. I was sure to pack some snacks and (not to slip up yet again) my lunch! I used some of the left over chicken from the Tahini Chicken, along with some sliced avocado and chèvre and wrapped it all up in some giant lettuce leaves - tasty and delicious!!

Last night's dinner was a Chili I'd started before I'd headed out to work, so just a little more simmering when I got home and dinner was ready in no time! I'm enjoying my dairy still since I'm only on level 1 of the detox program so I threw a little cheddar cheese on top!

Today marks the end of my first week! Hurrah! I've started feeling a bit blah about it all. I think the shine and excitement of it all has faded a little and I'm left with the stark reality that is sugar withdrawl!!..or not! Seriously though, I'm not sure I'm that desperate for sugar. I think about it a lot, but more in the sense that I want what I can't have - if I could have sweeteners and not dairy I'd be desperate for dairy (been there on the previous detoxes I've done!). I think the recipes in the book are excellent and varied. I've really enjoyed flipping through and picking out choices for dinner. Meal prepping is getting a little easier and I've built up a decent stash of meals in the freezer so I'm seeing an even easier week next week! - that's one perk of having my sweetheart away!

Today for breakfast I had a pumpkin spice muffin all mashed up and mixed together with greek yogurt and hemp hearts - a big moshy messy bowl of yum! Those muffins really are fantastically awesome - If I'm 'craving' something sweet they are hitting the mark! I'd also made the faux-caccia over the weekend so had a slice of that for a mid-morning snack along with a green juice. Lunch was leftover chili and this evening was the Asian Meatballs. I also made myself some 'treats' - the lemon melts from the book - 4 ingredients - coconut butter, coconut oil, vanilla bean seeds and fresh lemon juice and zest. They are delish!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

21DSD Days 4 & 5 (and Crockpot Tahini Chicken recipe)

It was the weekend here. I was glad of the lie-in opportunity on both mornings! I made a dash into town on Saturday (to spend an hour lining up!!) to purchase some awesome organic vegetables at the weekly warehouse sale at Urban Harvest (good job it's worth it - I bought 3 dozen eggs - you think that might be overkill?!). I then picked up some Macademia nuts at the local Bulk Barn. I have to say shopping is not easy whilst on detox! Everything that I can't have seemed to be jumping off the shelves at me, and Bulk Barn...yes they have a British Chocolate section - all my favourites nustled up in one place taunting me! Dang!

Saturday I started my day with a carrot & pumpkin muffin and carrot & ginger juice. During the day I snacked on boiled egg, cottage cheese and another muffin (whoops! - they are addictively good!). I did manage to remember to eat lunch and had the leftover stuffed pepper from day 2. The evening ran away on me and before I knew it, it was getting late and the Spaghetti Squash bolognese I had planned seemed too much like hard work. So I had a giant salad loaded with feta, chicken and avocado. And then I made dessert....a 1/4 avocado, 1 frozen banana, cacao powder and some full fat coconut milk, and a couple of ice cubes blended up into a wicked little 'treat' - hey, it was Saturday night!!

Today was the first day I've felt a bit BLAH. The day started off great. Another lie-in, a 45 minute Insanity workout and then Pumpkin Pancakes. These were the first recipe from the book that I haven't loved. The pancakes were just a bit too eggey for my liking (the ratio was 3 eggs to 1/2 cup coconut flour after all). They did cook up to perfection and didn't fall apart like lots of my pancake batter concoctions, but I couldn't get excited by the prospect of them - they were fine, but the all the other recipes I've tried have been WOW!. I accompanied them with a glass of green juice and a couple of rashes of bacon. A great start to the day! I then joined some friends for an awesome snowshoe hike with the dogs up at Sovereign Lake and then a quick visit to our local ski resort  - Silver Star where they were celebrating the winter carnival with some snow sculptures.

When I got home I just felt a bit drained. I hadn't really eaten anything out (although it wasn't late when I got back home - maybe 2.30?) so I snacked on kale chips, 2 boiled eggs, and raw veggies. With hindsight of course that's really only a snack by the 21DSD standards and whilst it would normally be considered lunch for me perhaps it isn't enough during the program (or after more than 2 hours of pretty intense exercise today?!). I took a little afternoon nap and I still haven't shaken the blah feeling. I'm coming to the conclusion that perhaps I'm not not getting enough fuel inside me - that's 2 out of 3 days that I've skipped lunch.

This evening I really wanted something. Not sure what! Although it wasn't specifically something sweet I was craving wanting think I just felt for the first time the restriction of the program and it kinda got me down. Perhaps I was just feeling down in the dumps and it turned into my own little pity party. The good news is I didn't succumb to anything!

On the upside was Dinner! I cooked a fabulous Crockpot Tahini Chicken which I saw in a Facebook group and sadly I don't remember by who, so I can't credit it. This is so flippin' easy - love crockpot meals - it does it all for you pretty much!. I adjusted the original recipe to make 2 portions and I want to get the details down here so I don't loose it;

Crockpot Tahini Chicken

Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 1 lb Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut aminos (I'm sure Braggs, or regular soy sauce would also work here)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/5 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1 large clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Place the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot
  2. In a bowl mix all the other ingredients into a paste/sauce
  3. Pour over Chicken
  4. Cook on high for 2.5 hours

Friday, February 7, 2014

21DSD Day 3

Let's talk Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins for breakfast (and snacks, and lunch and....!) Oh Heck Yes! Today they were on my menu for breakfast and I really couldn't wait to crack open the Tupperware and tuck in! - I made this batch with extra (extra!) Franks Red Hot sauce so they were super tasty! I love that they can be prepped in a big batch in advance and will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. The perfect grab-and-go breakfast which I can see we'll be making long after the detox finishes!

I really struggled to pull myself out of bed this morning. It happens. I don't know if it's the detox. I only needed to put in 4 hours at work so I set my alarm a little later and was going to head into work later. It took me 65 minutes from the alarm going off to getting my behind downstairs to workout. Once I was down there and the DVD was on I had a great workout, full of energy - Jillian Michaels kicked my butt with the 30 Day Shred routine. It might be short but it's a sweat-fest!

Once at work I did have a glass of green juice (cucumber, kale stalks (left over from making the kale chips! - hey, waste not want not!!), ginger, mint, green apple, lemon and celery) It was awesome - again I'm excited by how much I enjoyed it with so little fruit in it - I've always been a bit of a fruit monster when we're juicing at home. I think the fresh mint and ginger really helps the flavor so I'll up for continuing this (and Chris - you really can't taste the celery hon'!!)

Tonight's meal was prairie pie. I only call it 'prairie pie' because I made it with Moose instead of Beef - and moose kinda live on the prairies, right?!! I followed the recipe in the book for the Shepherd's Pie (but I was all out of shepherds!!!) but I did add plenty of bacon since moose meat is a little drier than beef. I also added in a little tomato paste and chopped tomatoes since that's how I 'normally' make my prairie pie. The only thing missing was stock - and of note, the detox has already been an eye-opener in that department. No such thing as sugar-free stock. Not in my town anyhow. And right now I don't have any bones handy but I think we'll be making bone broth in the future for our stock purposes. It's something I use a lot of! Back to the pie...I served this with cauli-mash and a sprinking of cheese on top and a side of broccolette and leeks - yum! I had some handy personal sized bowls and made 3 of these beauts' so meals next week should be a snitch easier!

Since I was already making a mess of the kitchen this evening I also whipped up a batch of the pumpkin carrot muffins. 21DSD - you have turned me into a MUFFIN MONSTER!! I am loving muffins! These ones were awesome - they were nearly cool by the time I sunk my teeth into one!

So Day 3 - I am exhausted. All this meal prepping and dinner plans have me busy, busy, busy. I only did 4 hours work today but it's 9.30pm and it's the first time I've sat down to relax after getting up at 6am. It IS a lot of work to prep good food. And if I'm honest whilst our evening meals have always been good stuff from scratch I can see already that it was other meals and snacks during the day where we reached for less than perfect options. And now I'm including making those too my workload has gone up. It's OK (At least it will be when I can share it with Chris once he's back ;-) I also messed up today - I forgot to eat lunch! (it was out on the counter-top ready to heat up but I got caught up in getting out to take Meli for her walk and by the time I got home it was 5pm! I did snack on some cheese and tomatoes and snap-peas to tide me over till dinner. On reflection I have felt more tired today and I wonder if it could have been less than ideal nutrition (I also didn't eat breakfast till late - the first thing I ate all day was at 9:30 after having done a morning workout - I think that's also whey my days meals got pushed back and messed up a bit) Also now I'll soon be turning in for the night I realise I've probably only drank 2 pints of water today. Live and learn people. Must do better tomorrow. I'm looking forward to my weekend!!

21DSD Day 2

I've gotta say it's going well. I don't know why I'm so surprised?! Meal prepping those snacks have been critical and something I know I'll need to stay ahead of if I want success in the program. I haven't really been missing much of anything so far (but I have figured out that I need to steer clear of the recipe boards on Pinterest for a while!) and I certainly have not been hungry.

I am finding all the prep work and evening meals kinda time consuming  but actually I don't think it's really any fault of the detox program. I picked a week to start when Chris has just gone away and all of a sudden I'm working all day, getting home to walk Meli and cooking dinner, and meal prepping snacks etc. First world problems, right?! I know it's perfectly possible and millions do it but the point is I'M not in the habit of doing it all without a more assistance from Chris.

I think my standard 'smoothie for breakfast' was wearing thin. Although we always packed it with super-foods and good stuff I'm not sure it was very exciting. For now at least having variety for breakfast is good. Having said that, yesterday for Day 2 breakfast I did make a smoothie since I needed to use up the almond milk, but I followed the recipe from the book - a nice chocolaty one! I missed the sweetness just a little here - but given it was only Day 2 it wasn't bad - I could feasibly see myself having this one again and not minding the lack of sweetness - just give me a few more days!!

Snacks were kale chips, boiled eggs and cinnilla nut mix

Last night's meal wasn't exactly what was on the menu - but I rolled with it and turned it into something beautiful! I was planning on the meatloaf but I had it in my head they were made with turkey not beef. Which I'm sure would've worked. But I had turkey that needed using. So I then switched it up to the stuffed peppers. And then I stopped following a recipe...! I fried up 1lb ground turkey, with onion, garlic in my pan, then added some zucchini which I found shriveling in the bottom of the salad drawer, lots of fresh bail, spinach and finally some tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. I did then stuff this glorious mixture into a baked red pepper cut in half - but really that was one of the only similarities to my original menu inspiration! I spinkled a little grated cheese on top and put it under a high grill to brown a little. I then served it with some cauliflower & coriander faux-rice and it was good!

What I'm loving already about this detox is how easy it is to make good healthy meals. For me the dinners are a cinch. We've already been cooking mostly clean, made-from-scratch evening meals so our personal repertoire of meal choices is quite good. And drawing from that experience made adapting last night's meal quite easy for me. (it's the other meals in the day, along with snacking that I'm going to hone my skills in during this detox I can tell)

Another successful and easy day for me. I've worked out both of the last 2 mornings for around 40 minutes a go, doing Supreme 90 cardio and strength training. Luckily I haven't really noticed any changes in energy levels and since today's was one of the lighter (easier!) workout DVD's I didn't add anything for energy modifications as per the plan. I do want to try and improve my sleep pattern - last night was a much later night than planned so with a long weekend here in BC coming up I hope to get in at least a couple of 8 hour nights!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

21DSD Day 1

So there's this awesome 2 page preparation checklist in the 21DSD book. 7 days before starting, 5 days, 3 days and finally the day before. Fantastic idea! Diane mentions repeatedly that one of the biggest keys to success is preparation....

Errrrr, so I read (most) of the book beforehand.....that works right?! With Chris heading overseas the house was in upheaval for the last few days. I was going to start Monday. And actually I did do a bit of a 'dry run' that day even whilst I was in 9 hours of First Aid training! Tuesday was our Workplace Wellness 'Love Yourself' themed event I helped arrange with potluck supper (bring red food we said, we can all die of food colouring toxic poisoning tomorrow we said!).

In the end I started Yesterday and I had nothing prepped ahead of time (honestly I'd not even had a chance to sit down and do my menu planner). I managed to fluff my way through day one - egg muffins for breakfast, a salad with feta & toasted seeds on it for lunch and nuts for snacking on. By the time I got home from work on Wednesday I was a woman possessed!

Lets get this 21DSD Prepping done, baby! I was making up for lost time....On my lunch break at work I'd been able to browse the recipes again and I sketched out a menu plan for week 1 - that takes me through the weekend and into the middle of next week. (I will menu plan week 2 over the weekend). Menu planning for our evening meals is something we've been in the habit of for some time, but snacks and lunch - not so much, and really that's the area where I make my worst food choices for sure.

What I prepped;
  • Banola (snacks) (Pretend granola made with a banana puree as the binder for the clumps)
  • Cinnilla Nut Mix (snacks)
  • Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins (breakfast)
  • Boiled Eggs (breakfast or snacks)
  • Kale Chips (snacks) (some may have found their way to my mouth before the baking tray even hit the counter top on it's way out of the oven - a little dinner prep' fuelling!)
  • Chopped Veggies (snacks)
  • Almond Milk & Almond Meal mostly snack stuff!! And a little forethought into my breakfasts since I'm usually short on time and in the past have always grabbed a smoothie to go.

Evening meals will be cooked fresh each evening.

Day 1 evening meal was the delicious Garlic Ginger Beef & Broccoli (which I had prepped the previous evening to marinate). I had planned to have faux rice with it (cauliflower disguised as rice - shockingly good - I've made it before!) but I got lazy and decided to allow myself a small portion of brown rice and quinoa blend (which is one of the modifications for high intensity exercise which I'd done today! - bonus points for me!!). I followed the recipe as per the book (pg130) except for the fish sauce (can't find a fish sauce without sugar in it locally for love 'nor money!) but I did marinate the meat for 24 hours and I added a little hot sauce - next time I'll add chilli flakes too!

All in all a fabulous start to the Detox. I've felt great! Almost like nothings changed....

My previous 21DSD posts;
Starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Starting the 21 Day Sugar Detox

One of my Christmas presents was the new 21 Day Sugar Detox book by Diane Sanfilippo from Balanced Bites. Diane created this 21 day detox program and until the book came out late last year the program was only available online program.

I've spent some time reading through the book over the last month 'mentally prepping!' - the first 60-odd pages explain the detox in detail and give you background info on how the body works,  the issue of cravings and what sugar does to the body. There are 3 levels to the program depending on how 'rigid' you want to make it and how experienced you are at detoxing. Although I've done a couple of real food detoxes in the past I have no desire to cut out dairy or grains completely so I opted to follow Level 1.

This isn't one of those wacky detox diets full of potions, pills and supplements - this is all about real, whole food and in many ways it's not that restrictive (especially on Level 1) so you can eat plenty of protein from meat and dairy, tonnes of vegetables, limited gluten-free grains and legumes. The key to it all is removing ALL sugar and carbs from the diet for 21 days. The aim is to beat those sugar cravings to the curb!

There are comprehensive Yes/Moderate/No food lists to keep you on track and then sample menu plans for the 21 days. There's info on all the sneaky names for sugar, modification for special diets and increased exercise levels, dining out guides, approved ingredient lists and sourcing guides, snack and meal ideas and of course recipes!! - the second half of the book has plenty of awesome and exciting recipes that had me drooling with each page turn - these were 'normal' looking meals - very much like we'd eat normally - so it couldn't be too difficult right?!

I thought we were pretty good about sugar in our house. We certainly haven't had the crappy white stuff in the house for a loooong time. And we don't buy many packaged foods like sauces or dressings. But I'd never really seen a problem with maple syrup, honey, dried fruit, fresh fruit or coconut sugar for baking.

But for 21 days* that all changes. Literally NO sugar or sweet things of any kind - the idea is to clear all that out of your body and let your taste buds forget the sensation (or something like that!) No Fruit?! Yikes! The only exceptions are limes and lemons (Mmmm - because we all love to suck on them - right?!) and a very limited 1 portion a day of either green bananas or green apples (neither of which are exactly high on my 'favourite treat' list!)

When I started prepping for this I'd be like 'oh what about this....?' and then realise that no there was fruit and/or sweetener of some kind - in the past I've thought nothing of reaching for honey, maple syrup or a little dried fruit to jazz up smoothies or baked goods or even my homemade salad dressing...


OK, I'm going to try this.

I'm fascinated by the experience and how sugar really is in everything. And I want to spend a period of time making choices that do not include it. It means I will be extra vigilant and more aware of what I'm feeding myself. I really am not in it for weight loss or miraculous improvement in health or energy or any of the many potential benefits - if they happen then great. Reducing my desire for sweet things? - we'll see! But for me, following a program like this detox (And the others I've done in the past) really sets me back on track and forces me to focus. And I do hope some of the habits rub off and stay with me!!  I've found in the past that when I find a good (and more healthy) alternative to something then I make that transition permanent after the detox finishes....and over the past couple of years many of the improvements we've made to our food choices have happened very slowly and gradually swapping out something here, something there - and THAT's the way to permanent and sustainable changes towards a more healthy lifestyle! (for me anyway!)

Let's do this funky thang.....

*I am not totally committed to 21 days. Not right now. Chris is away right now and I'll have 12 days before he arrives home and unfortunately I'm expecting him to return with large bars of real British Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate and English Cider so.....I'm not making promises. Also for me my way of success in these things is to be quite the hermit. I need to avoid social gatherings to set myself up for success. And 3 weeks is a long time to not leave the house or see anyone.....!! Anything more than a week I believe will sharpen my focus on these no-sweet food choices - I can't expect to reduce cravings in that short a time but I do think my awareness will be vastly improved and that's what I want out of this.
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