Everyday Small Things


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Elimination Diet: day 4

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Today is day 4 of my elimination diet and luckily so far I haven’t really noticed I’ve been restricting so many food groups.  This shows me that I do eat well most if the time 🙂 it is the weekends that kill me however!

What am I eliminating? My aim is to explore tiredness, migraines and ‘angry’ joints (that inflame very easily and take a long time to settle- the kind that surprises professionals even). So having taken the advice of a nutritionist amount others I am excluding.., (hold your breath – no don’t really): all grains, dairy, legumes as well as the usual sugar and processed foods. 

What am I most nervous about?  Craving crisps when I have a migraine as they are such a comfort food for me, chocolate cos I love it and picking at eliminated food without thinking as I still have to cook for others in our house.

I am very grateful however that this weekend doesn’t really exist for me as I’m in an 8 day Pilates course! Starting Saturday. So I’ll be busy and distracted out of the house.  Also Pilates makes you feel amazing, clean and super in tune with your body.  I cooked all Thursday in preparation-THE KEY TO SUCCESS- to minimise falling off the wagon.

My first true test arrived last night with our pastry chef neighbour who returned from a festival with tray loads of temptation!  How do you stay strong in those moments?  If you know me at all then you’ll know that I am usually extremely weak when it comes to temptation! But yesterday- wasn’t difficult actually. They say on an elimination that if u mess up ONCE you may as well not make the effort at all! One of the reasons behind doing the elimination is to ‘heal’ your gut and thereby help your body ‘recalibrate’ its immune system (which gets heightened with an inflamed gut). Thereby helping joint inflammation and migraines etc.  I’ve gotten to the point of my Happy, Healthy &Strong journey in which it is time to take a good hard look at my diet. And more importantly am in a place in my life and self that I can. I am.:)

So all in all so far so good. Maybe for the first time in my life I’ve found the mental strength to not let any demons out to sabotage me in a moment of weakness. Maybe this is because my motivation to look at my diet is different than before (eg losing weight). I have to remind myself that this 30 days is not going to solve all my problems. But hopefully it’ll be a massive piece of the jigsaw puzzle. And at the very least I will learn something about myself. Happy days!

P.S. I will post the weekly menu plans I’m making too at some stage in case you’re interested. X


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(Cook) Book Review: Gweneth Paltrow’s “It’s all good” is really ALL GOOD

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Eight reasons why I would recommend this book:

1.  Healthy & Clean food

All the food in this book is exactly the type that I like to eat.  Clean.  Fresh.  Seasonal.  Low GI.  High Protein.  Not highly processed.  Lots of low-gluten options.  And most of all really tasty!!!  Gwyneth and her friend/co-author Julia Turshen must have really tried and tested these recipes-Thanks G & J.

2.  Normal, easy to find ingredients

So far I have known every ingredient and can also buy them all in my local supermarket!  Necessity!
3.  Never-fail basic recipes 

I’ve found as I have been introducing new ingredients such as quinoa into my diet I have had a lot of mishaps.  Lets just say there has been a lot of uneaten quinoa that has landed in the bin!  But they have included detailed recipes to make ‘perfect’ versions.  Simple and easy to follow too.  The most useful to me, in case you hadn’t guessed, is the Quinoa recipe.  I actually like the stuff now 😉

Other basic recipes include:  Stocks, Go-to recipes like tomato sauce, Soaking almonds and goji berries, pickles, sauces and cooking eggs three ways – among a few other recipes.

4.  Covers everything

There is a recipe for almost every occasion.  Dinners during the week.  Celebrations.  Food for kids.  Drinks.

The chapters are well organised into morning time, salads, soups, birds and meat, fish, vegetables, grains, drinks, kids’, sweets.  And as you’ll see below these fit well into the weekly menu plans!

There are comments and explanations on how to convert to metric too!

5.  Foreword by an actual expert

Sometimes in these celebrity cookbooks, the foreword is by another celebrity friend about how great they all are.  But alongside the forewords by Gweneth and Julia there is one by Dr Habib Sadeghi and Osteopathic physician.  OK so that doesn’t necessarily make him the most expert of dietary experts but he does provide a clear and useful explanation as to the benefits of this type of diet.  He links the scientific medical understanding of modern diets with different religious views of food.  Personally my views of food  have been changing from a love/hate relationship with this stuff that can make me fat/skinny to a more holistic view of food fuelling and empowering my body to be happy, healthy and strong.  This links in with the spiritual idea the doctor discusses.  So I learned a few new things and appreciated having some background information from a real scientific expert.

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6.  Weekly Menu Plans

There are four weekly menu plans linked to recipes in the book.  They include a body-builder, detox, family-friendly and a vegan week.  I love a menu plan I must admit.  I really search for inspiration during the week.  Also I try to get my food organised on a weekend and these plans can just save so much time.  Additionally for some reason I find I am more likely to try cooking something I wouldn’t otherwise… and this is the best way to find new favourite meals!  Yay and we all love a favourite meal!

7.  Suitable for different dietary needs

If you have specific dietary needs then they have tried to help by clearly labelling each recipe with little icons to identify each recipe as suitable for an elimination diet, vegan diet or as a protein-packed meal.
8.  Looks great!

The book has a really great feel.  Some funny, random photos of Gwyneth don’t seem to stick out like a sore thumb somehow.  The food looks delicious and inviting and the recipes are easy to follow!

Overall I really recommend this read.  I didn’t really want to like the book as much as I did,  but it is getting a lot of cooktop time at the moment so it really is all good!

What is your favourite cookbook?  Why?


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Happy, Healthy, Strong: Pretty Paleo – review 1st (Paleo) week

I’ve just finished my first week of being (Pretty) Paleo.  Or should I say I’m one week in to my new Paleo journey?!  Either way I decided to follow the e-book “A week of Paleo Recipes” by Suz Crawt which is free to download from the Paleo Network (click here).

I honestly give this book 5/5 stars!  The recipes were quick and easy to prepare and produced some of the tastiest food we’ve had in ages!  Some of the recipes do not state how many people they serve, but we had a pretty good idea anyway so didn’t find this a problem.  I fully recommend you have a look if you are thinking of giving Paleo a go.  If you subscribe you can download the book free!  And we all love things that are free!

As I have previously said I am thinking of doing an elimination diet and want to cut out dairy, nuts and the nightshades (which I’d never heard of but have been linked to migraines and joint problems – hmmm does that remind me of anyone?!) on top of basically being Paleo.  So I viewed the week as a ‘soft’ trial to see how my body might react.  Sometimes resources say to go cold turkey.  But I know my body.  Huge and sudden changes don’t necessarily suit it.  I went on the Atkins diet at university.  Made sure I ate all the food groups.  But by the end of the second week I had one of the worst cases of flu I’ve ever had.  I just think the sudden change shocked my body too much.

So the big dietary changes for me this week really were:  1)  swapping dairy milk for almond milk, 2) no beans/lentils as I used to eat this a lot as part of my low GI diet and 3)  no grains at all including my staple bulgur wheat.

I was working from home this week which usually means I snack constantly and cannot stop thinking about food!  Mentally I was a bit all over the shop too as there is a lot going on here at home.. often another precursor to eating/craving lots.

How did I feel?  Well I cannot believe I’m saying this, but:

  • I didn’t crave.  At all.  Not even chocolate.  This has never happened to me.  Ever.
  • No brain fog
  • No tiring easily whilst concentrating – being able to focus quite clearly (a rare thing for me with my constant headaches)
  • Headache ‘volume’ decreased
  • My gut felt nothing or clean or light.  Either way I didn’t’ really notice it at all, which I’m taking as a good thing.  Not full, not stodgy, not empty or grumbling.

I must admit, I was a little sceptical because I’ve tried so many different diets and approaches that why should this have been any different?!  Well it was!!  So I am going to continue with it.  I must admit this week I am a lot busier and being able to be ‘Paleo’ when I am out and about is looking harder.  But one of the key ideas with Paleo is that it is a lifestyle choice – not a hard and rigid set of dietary rules.  So just making the best choices possible at the moment is enough (therefore less stress therefore happier and healthier me).  I’ll slowly collect more resources and incorporate these meal ideas into my daily life.  I think the hardest trial will be on a tired or hungover day when I naturally reach for my traditional comfort foods.  But as Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple suggests… make new comfort foods.  So I’m hoping that through the repetition of making good food choices I will too create new comfort foods.

I’m currently creating a “Giving Paleo a Go Top Tips” post.  So if you are interested stay tuned.

I love how we are all different.  My friends love oats.  My body doesn’t!  What foods in your diet make you feel amazing?  Healthy?  Strong?