Whole30 Day30: why does it feel like an anti-climax?

Today should be a day for celebration right? I did it! Well, barring falling face first into a bucket of donuts and wine with my mouth open in the next few hours, I did it. I managed a month without alcohol, gluten, grains, dairy, legumes and soy. I probably listed those in order of importance didn’t I? I was going to write about the NSV’s, the leaner, fitter me and the demons I might have conquered on the way, but that’s not how it has turned out. But I did it! So why am I not celebrating? It all feels like an anti-climax to be honest. I was expecting to be feeling great, happy and proud but instead I feel depressed, worried, sick and anxious.

I started today in the urgent care walk in centre. I have had a cough for about five weeks now, and it has ebbed and flowed in its severity, but last night while on my own, I had a few ‘attacks’ where I didn’t feel I would ever breathe again. It was so hard to suck air into my lungs that it was audible, probably about a mile away. I obviously survived and regained control of my breathing but it was horrible. So this morning, I skipped work (with the kindness, grace and care of my colleagues who covered me) and went to the urgent care centre. I waited for a bit, saw someone, waited again and saw someone else. I was diagnosed with a chest infection and given antibiotics and told to rest up, keep hydrated and take painkillers as necessary. It wasn’t the kick ass finish I wanted for today. I wanted to be seeing my students, going to the gym and ending on a high. We don’t always get what we want.

Do we?

The other thing that is stopping me celebrating is the current state of the UK. I am grieving for the result of the referendum. I am heartbroken at the rise in racist attacks, bemused at the backtracking from promises to possibilities, fearful of the lack of leadership from those who ‘won’, and scared by the uncertainty. Zimbardo famously carried out what has come to be known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. In it he randomly assigned a sample of normal, psychologically healthy young men to either the role of guard or prisoner. He put them into a mock prison, and watched the events unfold. The story goes that the guards became increasingly sadistic, the prisoners increasingly withdrawn and psychologically disturbed, until the experiment was ended eight days earlier than planned. Zimbardo argued that we learnt that the roles we give people dictate their behaviour. Much more recently this experiment was ‘repeated’ but with different parameters. This time the guards released the prisoners and they planned to live together as a commune. This result seemed much more humanity affirming. Perhaps we had, as societies might do, made progress in how we treat each other. The guards and prisoners recognised the inherent inequality in their assigned roles and decided they would not accept it.

However, it didn’t end there. Within 24 hours came uncertainty. Not all the members of the commune were doing their jobs, some of them were lounging, expecting others to work in their place, some were demanding more of members than had originally been asked. In the early hours of the morning, in response to this, some members decided to stage a coup- they would institute an authoritarian regime and police it how they saw fit. The ethics committee watching events refused to let this situation play out, fearing psychological damage to the participants. This included those who wanted the regime and those who passively supported it. What would they think about themselves when they stepped out of the experimental situation? What would others think of them? After all, this was being filmed and shown on the BBC.

I fear that the conclusions drawn from these experiments may now be tested in the real world. That we have assigned roles to the leave and the remain sides, that those who see themselves as ‘guardians’ of Great Britain feel empowered to become more sadistic as they enforce their ideals, now seemingly with a mandate from over half of those who voted. These ideals seem to embody a racist and xenophobic dehumanisation of those ‘not like us’. Just as the prisoners in Zimbardo’s experiment were purposely dehumanised and de-individuated, and the guards were given permission to enforce their order upon others, so those ‘not like us’ are experiencing a rise in abuse both general and specifically personal. It is dangerous and it is a society of fear.

I am fearful that the uncertainty that is pulsing across the UK, Europe and the world will end with people looking for authority, for a regime that offers certainty, regardless of the conditions attached to regaining certainty, as those who are supposed to lead hesitate, refuse to take action, and make contradictory and inflammatory statements. . In the real world we cannot simple halt what is happening because we do not like how our participants are behaving, or because we fear the ethical and moral consequences of that behaviour. What can we do? Look to the research into the processes of social change, minority and majority influence to convince people to behave differently? Again, there lies uncertainty.

So my personal achievement seems small, insignificant and almost worthless in the face of the enormity of what seems to be happening around me. On the other hand, tomorrow I will be able to drown my sorrows for the first time in 30 days, and blame the shitty feeling I wake up with on a hangover. Is that a silver lining?

 

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Whole30 Day23: Braised lamb with pepper and paprika

Cooking is my yoga.

One week to go! And I think it is time to start reflecting a little on my experiences. I started this because I wanted to check out the hype for myself. I didn’t think it would radically change my diet because I thought I already ate pretty paleo. To a certain extent that was very true, and people haven’t noticed a big difference- even my partner comments that it doesn’t really look any different to what I eat anyway. So I wasn’t expecting big differences, but a little part of me was hoping this would be the food equivalent of finding world peace. I haven’t found world peace, but I have found out some things. One of those things is my emotional responses to the Whole30 are not really about the Whole30 or food, but very much about other things that are happening in my life. This probably isn’t a huge revelation, but in the moment it is difficult to remember it isn’t all about food. After all, even the Whole30 plan says it starts with food. Food is easy to blame, as is a clean eating plan you decided to do. Here is how my thought process goes:

  1. Today was shit.
  2. I feel shit.
  3. I want wine.
  4. I can’t have wine.
  5. Fuck you whole30, if I could have wine then I wouldn’t be feeling like this.
  6. I can’t have wine.
  7. This fucking diet is stupid.
  8. I’m not having wine.
  9. Fucking fizzy water/herbal tea is fucking rubbish.
  10. I’m going to bed
  11. Brain, “ Hey Victoria, let’s go back to step number one, and while we’re at it why don’t we take a step down memory lane and re-visit everything bad that’s ever happened ever”.

Substitute wine for chocolate/bread/cheese or all three (plus wine) and this has been a sometimes quite circular and repetitive process. However, when I have calmed down and thought about it (which can take minutes, hours or days) I have realised it isn’t Whole30 I am angry with, it is a situation and/or my response to it. It is much easier to get angry with food than it is to think about a difficult situation and/or a difficult response. These reflections have not become automatic; I am not a Zen master. I still rant and rage and swear vociferously (and I think creatively), but the reflection is happening. Slowly.

I have also stopped using food/wine as an emotional crutch. Sort of. I think this statement needs to be qualified. Food has always been part of my emotional response to situations. But I don’t necessarily comfort eat when I am stressed or upset (although sometimes I do). I comfort cook. This first became obvious to me when I was on study leave for my GCSE’s which was many moons ago. I baked every single day. It started with recipes I knew well, and regarded as simple and were family favourites such as Victoria sponge. And I had to make them all by hand. Creaming butter and sugar by hand is surprisingly hard, but it was very therapeutic and it took my mind elsewhere. My mum went to the shops daily to re-stock the fridge with eggs and butter, less frequently to stock the cupboards with flour and sugar, but she did start bulk buying. Creating food that other people could eat and enjoy was also very important, and my brother still reckons that I make the best Victoria sponge he has ever tasted. As time went on, the food became more complex, peaking with a tiramisu cheesecake that, including hand-making the chocolate stars to decorate it, took 5 hours. (As an aside, none of this seemed to detract from my GCSE results, they were pretty good). The first items I bought after separating from my ex were two mixing bowls, wooden spoons, a set of scales and a hand whisk just like my mum had in the kitchen drawer. And I baked.

Clearly I haven’t been baking on Whole30, but I have been cooking. A lot. And I have spent a lot of time thinking and reading about cooking. My new wind down at the end of the evening is to think about new recipes, or plan new combinations of flavours. So food is still an emotional crutch, but it is not the kind of crutch that feels unhealthy. Doing something you enjoy to relax and focus is a very healthy way to deal with stress. Cooking is my yoga.

One of the things about cooking that is relaxing is the aromas that drift around while you prepare, and while the cooking is happening. Smells and sensations ground you in the here and now. If you don’t believe me try cutting up a juicy lemon just after you gave yourself a paper cut, or rubbing your eye just after chopping a chilli. You will be very focused on the immediate, very immediately. Preparing a slow cooking dish enables those aromas and sensations to float around for several hours, which has the added benefit/torture of making you hungry. Cooking focuses the mind on the present, gives you space and requires concentration and physical action to create.

Braised lamb with pepper and paprika.

Usually I would cook this in the oven, but mine is broken, so I used a heavy bottomed frying pan with a lid.

Ingredients:

  • A nice big chunk of lamb neck fillet.
  • Coconut oil- about a tbsp.
  • Water- about a pint
  • 1-2 tsps. Smoked sweet paprika
  • 1-2 tsps. Hot paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsps. Nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsps. Cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsps. Garlic granules
  • 1-2 tsps Onion flakes
  • 2tbsps tomato paste

In the big frying pan heat up the coconut oil and place the lamb in the pan- it should sizzle in a comforting crackly log fire in a story book sort of way. Let it snap and crackle until the edge is seared caramel brown, and turn it over. If it is sticking to the pan, you might want to give it a couple of minutes longer- meat seems to know when it is ready to turn and conveniently stops sticking to the pan with so much determination, bowing to the inevitable. Once your lamb is seared, turn down the heat and add the water and spices and paste to the pan- the liquid should come about half way up the lamb. Stir them around. Bring to a simmer and then leave with the lid off, to puff wisps of steam around, diffusing warm and spicy comfort through the air. Let this happen for 45 minutes, maybe an hour and the liquid should have reduced significantly. It should be thick and reminiscent of terracotta in colour. Remove the lamb and slice into thick chunks. Place the chunks on a plate and spoon over the sauce. Serve with whatever you like. I like this with sugar snap peas and baba ghanoush. The best ever baba ghanoush recipe is Nigel Slater’s, and I’d like to add a thank you to Mr Slater. Not only has he taught me to make the most amazing baba ghanoush, he has been an inspiration.

Whole30 Day17.. Crackling Coconut Chicken

I am writing this on day17 of my first Whole30. Overall, this whole30 process has gone reasonably smoothly, but perhaps this is because it is not radically different from how I usually eat. I have been following a pretty paleo diet (pretty as in mostly, not as in attractive) for a while now, and I have been eating low carb for a long time (apart from when I was in South America where carb is king. Seriously, you get a separate plate for your carbs, usually rice, potato and fried plantain). Anyway, food wise I haven’t found this particularly hard. I have, of course, had cravings and you can see this in my previous blogs. It has however, made me examine the emotional reasons for these cravings as well as the physical. Why do I want a glass of wine at the end of the day? Do I need it? What purpose does it serve? And can I get by without it? The answer is obviously, yes I can. Do I want to? That is a question I am finding more difficult to answer. I like wine. I enjoy drinking wine with friends. I even enjoy a glass by myself with a good book. Is this something I want to change permanently? No. But how do I decide when the difference between enjoying something and that’s ok (food freedom) and when it is an emotional trigger response. Do I want to think about it all that much?

I can’t see that I have lost any weight while doing Whole30. I know I am not supposed to be thinking about the number on the scale, but I am. I am thinking more about the number on the tape measure- have I lost any inches? If not, I am going to be very disappointed, but I think I will have to face that disappointment in 13 days as my clothes seem to fit exactly as they did two weeks ago.. Are non-scale victories enough for me? At the moment I don’t think they are because I am overweight and my body fat is far too high, so I am trying to reduce both through a healthy diet and exercise. If following the Whole30 principles doesn’t help me to do that, then I need to do something else and the only thing that has really worked for me is calorie counting. I am going to wait until the end, however, I know that my body usually takes 3-4 weeks to show any real change when I make changes in my diet and exercise. I should also take into account the cough I have had, which has reduced my cardio to almost zero for several weeks. I know people say you don’t need cardio to lose weight/inches, but I find it really, really helps.

So what are my non-scale victories?

  • I have more energy. My work outs have become more intense and I am working out more often, as well as lifting heavier. I feel like I am properly full of nutrients that are helping me to perform.
  • I have had some difficult moments and I have reflected upon them, and got through them. These have been personal and food related. Some have been more difficult than others. Smelling the fresh baked bread in the supermarket made my mouth water, but I was able to resist tearing off a big chunk and stuffing my face. Victory is mine!
  • I am able to be more alert and in the moment.
  • I am sleeping better. It has become normal to feel tired at around ten pm and I am falling asleep much more quickly and waking much more naturally at around 5.30-6.00am. This might be something to do with my physical tiredness, but my natural patterns are no longer interrupted by sugar highs/lows or affected by alcohol.
  • I have proved to myself that I can do this. I don’t need to wine-d down at the end of the day, I can resist temptation, even when a student buys me a massive box of Lindt chocolate truffles, I put them away in a drawer. Now I am thinking about them. Damn!

Now one of the things that has helped is making food I really enjoy, and Crackling Coconut Chicken is one of them. This is based on Cracklin’ Chicken by Michelle Tam @nomnompaleo which is great by itself, but I was looking for something a bit more saucy and I had coconut milk to use up.

 

Ingredients (for 4 meals)

  • 4 large chicken thighs (skin on, bone on)
  • Ghee (about ½ tbsp. more if you like)
  • ¾ can of coconut milk
  • ¼ pint compliant chicken stock
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • And inch and a half of ginger
  • Tumeric (about 1tsp.)
  • Cayenne pepper to your taste (I used about ¼ tsp.)
  • Green veg (I used sugar snap peas, green pepper, red chard, baby spinach)

Method:

This starts as nomnompaleo’s crackling chicken, but you don’t need to remove the bones. Instead use scissors to snip along the line of the bone so that you can flatten out each thigh. Turn over and salt the skin. Melt the ghee in a heavy bottomed frying pan and place the chicken thighs in the pan skin side down and let them crackle. This should take about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the coconut milk, stock and spices into a food processor and blitz together. Taste. Add more of anything you feel like. Once the crackling chicken is all crackled, remove from the pan and remove the skin from the top. I give it away to be eaten, but if you like it have a quick chicken snack. Let the pan cool a little and return the chicken to the pan, uncooked side down. It might frizzle a little but that’s ok. Add the coconut milk mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer. Leave the chicken to cook through (about 20-25 minutes). While this is happening, prepare the green veg you are going to add. Once the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is reduced a little, add the green veg and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender enough for your taste  (like mine quite crunchy).

Et voila! Tasty and Whole30 compliant. Oo la la!

 

Ps it keeps pretty well in the fridge and tastes great heated up the next day..or even the day after, so great if you like to meal prep.

 

 

Whole30 Day14…Self Awareness and sausage recipe

Day 14 could be considered the polar opposite of day 13. I feel so much better. I was still up at the crack of dawn, but I didn’t mind. I had coffee and breakfast in bed and read a bit, then I got up and went to the gym where I had a cracking work out that I really enjoyed, although it was challenging. I also managed to do ten minutes of cardio without coughing up a lung which is progress, even if it was incredibly low level and very slow.

I also spent a little time thinking- the gym is a very good place for that. Yesterday was rough for reasons that go way beyond the whole30 thing. It was the anniversary of my mum’s death, in case you are wondering, made all the more poignant by my dad’s death earlier this year (which raised its own emotional minefield) Usually I deal with those things by having some wine, perhaps a bit of a cry and going to bed. But yesterday I couldn’t do that. I had to actually think and feel and make a decision about how I was going to do that. I externalised it- partly consciously and partly unconsciously as I didn’t want to acknowledge that I could be affected. So, is that an NSV? Being made to think and feel? I don’t know. There are a lot of boxes to unpack if that is the case, and I am not altogether sure that I want to. However, I also decided that my mantra for today (and it should be everyday really) is to be kind to myself. So I have tried to be. And you should too. Everyday.

So, back to the positive vibes I woke up with…and the pork ‘sausages’ in the title. I haven’t found any whole 30 compliant sausages in any shop I have been in. They all contain gluten or rice flour, but I have found a million recipes for breakfast sausage spice for minced pork (or ground pork in American). They are really burgers, but I prefer sausages for breakfast, so that is what I call them.  They would be equally good for lunch or dinner though. They are really easy to make and they freeze well once you have cooked them.

Ingredients- makes about 6/7 burgers depending how big you make your balls..nudge nudge.

500g pork mince

Onion very finely sliced- I have used both red (about ¼) and spring ( approx.. 4) . Either work equally well.

1-2 tsp. smoked paprika

1-2 tsp. nutmeg

1-2 tsp hot paprika

1-2 tsp. garlic granuals

1-2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

I say 1-2 tsps. because it is really up to you how much you like each flavour.

1 egg beaten.

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and smoosh them altogether with your hands. When they are thoroughly mixed, take a handful of the mixture and make into a burger shape.

Once you have used up all the mixture, heat some oil (I use coconut) in a large frying pan and cook over a medium heat until browned on one side, flip them and cook the other side.  They will be firm when they are pressed if they are done. Eat them straight away or let them cool a little and put them in the freezer.

Meal prep. Done.

Whole30 Day13 .. Wine on my mind

I woke up at about 5.30am today. Went back to sleep…sort of. Gave up at 6.00am and got up and started the day. Admittedly starting the day just meant making coffee and getting back into bed, but it was started. That’s how I always start my day, but usually under protest. Not this morning, this morning I was happy to be alive. I had a whole day!

Well that lasted until about 3.00pm. And it’s been downhill since then. I had lunch which was delicious- chicken thighs pan fried in ghee (see nomnompaleo crackling chicken for the recipe). Although I am assured these are compliant and they were delicious, they still left me with that slightly depressed ‘junk food’ hangover. I really like them, but I don’t think I’ll do them again in the same way. Secondly, it is day 13 and I feel fat. Clothes don’t seem any loser, my stomach seems bloated and I have that heavy feeling. It might be a physical ‘junk food’ hangover after the fried chicken, but it is discouraging. I know there are 17 days still to go (oh god how I know), but I was sort of hoping for a bit more.

The good things:

  • I have more energy;
  • I have worked out harder;
  • I am awake early;
  • I have tried new recipes;

BUT…

  • I am in bed much earlier…around 9pm so no wonder I am awake earlier;
  • I have a hacking cough from hell so I can’t cardio (this might be why I feel ‘fat’);
  • I am so bored of drinking water, fizzy water, herbal tea (for the record most herbal tea tastes like fermented grass and is horrible);
  • I feel quite isolated- the online shit and approbation from strangers doesn’t really make up for going out with good friends and enjoying food and wine together. I don’t care what whole30 say about being allowed canola oil when you go out, it is fucking impossible to remain compliant;
  • There are 17 days to go….

So today I am not really happy with my decision to do 30 days. I am not feeling the boundless energy and optimism, or self-efficacy or pride in my ‘acheivement’. I am feeling pissed off, grumpy, fat and I want a glass of cold sauvignon blanc while I sit on the sofa and watch Zombeaver- yes that’s right- a film about zombie river rodents.

Whole30 Day9…I’m hungry

I’m hungry. I am not sure why either. I have eaten a good breakfast, a decent lunch. I nibbled some nuts, at some fruit and had a good dinner. But I still feel hungry. At the end of a meal I feel satiated, but a little while later, hunger comes calling. Am I bored? Possibly. I spent writing Year 12 reports is never one filled with excitement, but I have been occupied. Besides, I thought I had become quite good at distinguishing between I am bored ‘hungry’ and I am actually really ‘hungry’ and that was before I started Whole30. And I think I am eating a lot. Loads! I am drinking a lot of water and herbal tea (also quite a bit of coffee too) and I have been doing less cardio than usual because I have had a chest infection that makes me cough at anything that resembles heavy breathing.

Is it the sugar dragon calling through a sneaky disguise? Whispering temptation to eat more and more? If so he’s not asking for anything particularly sugary, in fact he doesn’t seem to want anything sweet at all…just hungry. Do I just keep eating until I stop feeling hungry? I don’t really know if  is a whole30 thing…

In other news, according to the timeline I will be feeling bloated and ready to give up today and tomorrow and probably the next day. Oh good.

So I have a personal training session booked tomorrow…that should keep my mind off eating anyway.

Whole30 Day6: A confession … and a recipe

Let’s start with the confession. I cracked. It was about 2.30am and I had been trying to sleep for hours. Hot drinks failed to sooth, I couldn’t find anyway of lying comfortably, I was angry and frustrated and in pain. I got out of bed and decided enough was enough! I had a strepsil. Yes a strepsil. It has only taken 6 days of coughing to the wee hours but I finally had one of those sugar filled throat soothers. And it was bliss. My throat calmed down, I could breathe and finally I could sleep. I think this technically means that I should start over on the whole30. The ‘tough love’ approach of whole30 gets my respect in a way, but you know what, this was hard, and not because I was desperate for sugar or bread or donuts. So fuck that. I am not starting over.  I did not awake the sugar dragon. I did not self-sabotage because I hate myself (let’s be honest, if I was going to that it would be with a bottle of gin, not a strepsil). I did not wake up and eat a whole loaf of bread and a tub of ice cream. So, I think I am ok in not starting over. Besides which, I reached the end of the first row in my little whole30 calendar today and no little strepsil is taking that away from me.

So following my minimal (maximal?) over-reaction to eating a strepsil, what about today? I still feel rubbish, but caved to the inevitable and decided to spend the day in bed, or at least, inside. I bought a fuckton of new (old) novels from ‘the golden age of detective fiction’ from a host of new (to me) authors and I have read half one called ‘From Information Received’ by ER Pushon. Highly praised by Dorothy L Sayers when originally reviewed, I am enjoying it. It has a promising start with the over bearing financier refusing to countenance marriage between his daughter and a solicitor, while he is being embezzled by his own solitcitor. Ripe and ready for a good murdering he is. I have also cooked rather a lot in preparation for going back to work next week so there is plenty of stuff in the fridge/freezer and no excuse for going off-plan. Which brings us somewhat haphazardly to the recipe alluded to in the title.

Whole30 Compliant Mediterranean Braised Lamb

Notes: this is a one pot super easy, absolutely delicious meal. You can add veg to the sauce if you like to braise along with the lamb, or cook it separately.

Ingredients:

Coconut oil

Lamb neck fillets (enough to stop you feeling hungry, I am going to use 200g)

3 or 4 cloves of garlic

½ tin of tomatoes

½ pint chicken stock (compliant if you are whole30)

2 tsps capers

Handful of olives

3 or 4 bayleaves

2-3 tsps of mixed herbs or basil, organo, thyme to your taste

 

Method:

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy frying pan. It should be hot hot because you are going to seer the lamb once it is. Hold the lamb so each sized is browned, and then turn the heat down. Add the stock and use a spatula to scrap up and crispy meaty goodness from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tinned tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. The stock/tomato mixture should be approximately half way up the side of the lamb. If not add some more liquid (water if you are whole30 or red wine if you are not) and then bring the liquid to gentle simmer and leave it alone to simmer away for about 45-60 minutes, checking occasionally it doesn’t need more liquids. If you are worried then you can cover it. If you like your lamb thoroughly cooked through then leave it for longer, less so if you prefer it a bit pink. Sorry to be timing vague but it depends on how much lamb you are using and its size and shape.

I like to serve this with green stuff, especially peas. Tonight it will have to be sugar snap because of the stupid whole30 pea protocol. It would also taste great sprinkled with a little feta, if you eat dairy.

 

Whole30 Day5 … I’m bored

This is kind of what I expected to happen. I am not bored of the food. In fact, I love the food. I made basil and walnut pesto today and it is fucking amazing. And easy. But I still have a hacking cough that I am not taking anything before because you know..sugar. All cough medicines are sugar laden syrups designed to coat your throat in gack and sugar gack is definitely off the menu. In case it wakes the sugar dragon. Yes that’s a thing. My sugar dragon is sleeping peacefully, but who knows what apocalyptic hell will be unleashed if the sugar dragon rises? I don’t but it might be a good idea for a children’s book- The Sugar Dragon Rises trilogy. Hmm. Maybe I could write that instead of being bored.

But, back to being a whiney bint over a self-imposed 30 day restricted diet. I am the epitome of first world middle class problems today.

  1. The cough meant I had to cut my gym session short because people don’t like it if you huff germ laden phlegm all over a machine they are about to use. Plus you get really funny looks when you cough up a lung while on a crosstrainer. So I did some weights and left feeling vaguely dissatisfied.
  2. I went to the shop. Aldi to be exact. Aldi did not have fresh basil. FFS. Then I realised I had also failed to buy fennel. I thought about crying, but I was carrying my bag that says this is what a feminist looks like. I didn’t think I would be doing much for the cause by crying over my shopping. So I went to Morrisons instead.
  3. The only way I don’t cough is by continually drinking something. Water is boring. Very. Sparkling water is marginally less so. Herbal tea is boring after 5 days. There is only so much coffee you can drink. Yes I am aware that having a clean supply of readily available drinking water is a luxury in this world.
  4. Guilt because I am whining about all of the above.

But what is really boring me is I can’t really find anything to do. I have read three books in the past two days. I have watched two films and numerous episodes of various box sets (still sticking to my no binge rule). I can’t go for a run because COUGH. I can’t go out. Everything about leaving the house involves food or drink at some point. That is way too much temptation in the mood I am in. So it is Friday night and I can cook and eat and…

Basically I want some cough mixture and a massive glass of wine to crush this cough and get a good night’s sleep.

The whole30 timeline says I should want to kill everything today and tomorrow. I don’t really want to kill anything at all. Except this cough.

On the plus side, the food has been really, really good. This is my food today:

Breakfast: home made pork ‘sausages’, guacamole, sweet potato and red peppers.

Lunch: home made egg mayo salad plus melon and strawberries

Snack: cashew nuts

Dinner: Sautéed chicken with courgettes, peppers and fennel topped with walnut and basil pesto and garlic guacamole.

 

Whole30 Day3…today I think I’ll stay in bed

Good morning. It is a good morning because I am on holiday from work so I can stay in bed. And I really feel rather under the weather. I don’t think this has anything to do with whole30, more to do with the hacking cough that makes me sound like a combination of the hound of the baskervilles choking to death and someone stuffed a weasel down my throat. And the weasel is desperate to escape. Also, my chest hurts, which is probably related to the coughing thing. The cough started on Saturday which is before whole30 started therefore no causal relationship can possibly be established. It is however, definitely a causal factor in my lack of sleep. The cough, not whole30. For someone who blogs, I really should think about expressing myself more clearly, but you are getting stream of consciousness, so…and this is probably more for me to write than others to read. As an aside, should you edit stream of consciousness, or leave it in its subjective glory?

One thing I have noticed is that I have started to be much more ‘in the moment’ as well as much more ‘in bed’. For quite a long time now, I have found it quite difficult to focus on one thing, for example, to watch a film without also reading a book and checking my phone every 20 seconds, wandering around every few minutes like a restless flea on amphetamine. But it occurred to me yesterday, as I turned off my kindle to watch the first episode of Z (Zelda Fitzgerald played by Christina Ricci! Pefect!) that I was actually going to sit and focus. Ok, there could be several reasons for this.

  1. I have loved Christina Ricci since I wanted to be Wednesday in the Addams Family, and Zelda Fitzgerald is fascinating, tragic and a potent symbol of woman as Mad, Bad and Sad (see Lisa Appignanesi’s brilliant book).
  2. I was physically tired from the gym and stuffed full of food- neither of which make jumping around as though all the ants are in your pants appealing.
  3. I promised myself I was only going to watch one episode. This is my new thing. I have binged on lots of series, as is de rigueur these days, but I have never ever finished one. I accept that this might be because I am up to series 3 and everybody else is on series 11.

But I also find I watch so much that I get bored of the concept and the characters. I need to go old school. I need to go back to anticipating what is going to happen, to delayed gratification. I want to be excited about what is going to come next, and not watch until my eyes are closed and my thought process is, oh for fuck’s sake get on with it. This last comment particularly applies to How I Met Your Mother. Seriously, how long can they long out this premise. Who cares about who Ted meets anymore? It’s not going to be the mother. Anyway, I digress. Being in the moment. I did check my phone a few times, but I also focused. I watched and I enjoyed. If I can do that with tv maybe I can do it in real life too. Deep stuff just from giving up gluten. I suspect it’s more to do with giving up alcohol though.

So I started by telling you I was staying in bed. I am. But I weaselled in on ‘being in the moment’. A small part of me thinks I might be being a wanker for writing about it- next I’ll be telling you how mindfulness is key to success and cutting gluten from my diet literally saved my life, but that is another post.

Whole30 Day 2

So what happened today? Nothing whole30 related really. Is that disappointing? I don’t know. I went to see my lovely friend and daughter and we had coffee. I suppose it was different because there was no wine involved but it is pretty normal not to drink wine at lunchtime. I do it Monday to Friday after all, and it is a Tuesday.

I had breakfast, which again was pretty normal. It was mushrooms, peppers and eggs. I packed my lunch, again very normal for a Tuesday. Then again, what was slightly different was that I didn’t actually eat it until about five o clock. Why? Well I had coffee and then I was making my way to the gym and I could really find anywhere to sit and enjoy my lunch, and if I am going to be eating a restricted diet then I am going to fucking enjoy it when I do eat. So I had an apple and some almonds and went to the gym. Again, boring as all it can be. Where is the emotional trauma? Where is the feeling shit? Where is the panic about meal prepping? So far I am missing out. My biggest trauma is that my sparkling water with lime is not a gin and tonic. And that really isn’t that big a deal…well not today. It might be come Friday night..Saturday… But it’s still Tuesday so that is a long way off.

In case you are interested and haven’t yet fallen asleep, lunch was chicken salad with sweet potato and some of that home made mayo, with smoked paprika. It was delicious. Dinner is prawn and coconut curry. I am obsessed with coconut products right now. Mainly because there are a lot of coconut products I can eat on this diet.

So, now I just need to find something to keep me occupied this evening. Again, nothing new. I am watching Lucifer because it has Tom Ellis in it. And you know…he’s hot.