2016 has certainly got off to a dramatic start, losing a bright star from our universe. Although this post is about food, it’s about doing things differently and doing them with confidence. Something Bowie did better than anyone. So I have included Ziggy’s smouldering face, to begin my roundup of the fortnight.
Only two weeks in to my one month elimination protocol and it already feels like a lifetime. This short stretch has already been full of enthusiastic high points, bratty moan filled low points and I’ve learnt so much about just how pathetic and emotional my needy relationship with food really is.
I started week 1, full of vigour. I cooked up some great meals, and really went to town, creating elimination friendly versions of delicious things. By week 2, I was feeling like a limp spinach leaf. Our meals began to all taste similar, and I found myself lusting after easy fillers like eggs and rice, I never usually dig rice. When you’re feeling fed-up with all the restrictions and mumble about all the foods you miss, you can always count on someone to chirp up; “well at least you can eat sweet potato” – well, believe me that person, the taste of sweet potato quickly gets old. Mashed, chipped, roasted, snore. What also gets old, very quickly – is thinking so much about food and talking about it constantly, in an almost crazed, obsessive manner. Jabbering to people who politely nod along but can’t relate because they have the normal luxury of being able to nip out and buy a ready prepared lunch. The most effective person to complain with is Aimee, as we both feel each others frustrations.
Here are my personal HIGH POINTS and LOW POINTS so far:
5 HIGH POINTS OF THE FORTNIGHT
When I blitzed up some figs and coconut and rolled em’ in cocoa for a sweet nibble in the afternoon. And they actually confused a colleague and passed for chocolate truffles and sort of vaguely tasted like chocolate truffles too.
When I fried up some impressive fishcakes, without eggs or flour! I made use of Molly’s excellent suggestion that the goopy consistency of wet chia seeds, makes a decent bind instead of egg. I mixed this up with roasted salmon, chopped spring onion, grated lemon zest and rolled in tapioca flour before frying up in coconut oil. I made 16 fishcakes, which lasted 2 meals and a lunch.
When I used dried porcini mushrooms, bone broth and coconut milk to make the most delicious cream of mushroom soup and felt smug because it was actually nicer than any mushroom soup I had made before. Recipe here I made mine without bacon.
Making some impressive puddings despite not having sugar or nuts to fall back on. Nifty lemon notcheesecake bites and Aimee’s ingenious banana pancakes, using chia seed bind, mashed banana and coconut flour, served with maple syrup and black cherries.
Managing to cook a decent and filling meal for 3 vegetarian mates. Sweet potato + brocolli curry with cauliflower rice. We may, or may not have been texting later that evening comparing our farts.
5 LOW POINTS OF THE FORTNIGHT (you’ll notice I didn’t photograph these.)
Aimee and I decided to make our own vegetable crisps. Finely slicing, frying and roasting them for over an hour, resulting in 3 measly packets of crisps which we carefully rationed eating. This turned out to be a hilarious waste of a Sunday afternoon, when I spotted some perfectly good ones in Pret for 99p.
Spending £80 on a weeks food shop in week 1, when we would normally spend £50 between the two of us.
Getting the most INSANE cravings at work which caused me to cry and think excessively giving it all up for a Yorkie dipped in some darling black breakfast tea with a splash of almond milk.
Having to wash up the 68th saucepan of the week, because all we do is prep, eat, prep, wash up , prep, clean kitchen, eat, prep, wash up, prep, clean kitchen – repeat daily.
The night I went to a vegan cafe before an evening class, full of hope that I would find a safe and tasty meal. The parsnip soup was sold out, so I had to order a fennel and cucumber salad for dinner, surrounded by people eating steaming jacket potatoes and vegan bean burgers. But there I was, laughing with my salad.
I should mention that LOW POINT number 3, the sugar cravings, is still mercilessly clawing on. This makes us behave in strange and tragic ways. We fall asleep drooling over pillow talk of biscuits, we get antsy when we spot a Tesco supermarket bag with a photographic donut printed on it. On the bus, we both find ourselves leering wide-eyed through the window at patisseries and restaurants.
The sugar cravings got so mighty that I had to seek advice from Molly. She explained, that the feeling is to be expected. Not simply because I want sugar, but because my gut candida overgrowth is the puppet master of my appetite right now. The yeast overgrowth is likely to be slowly dying out. Doing this elimination, I’ve been inadvertently starving it of it’s favourite things that quickly break down into sugars; like bread, pasta, alcohol. Because it refuses to go quietly, it’s making me feel low, and desperate for my favourite sugary treat, chocolate. Molly explained, if I want to make it quick and painless, I need to kill off those cravings with some extra efforts. That involves cutting out my secret survival weapons; honey and dried fruit. Of course this news did not turn my frown upside down. But knowing that in a way these cravings are a measure of success and positive changes, rather being weak and close to crumbling is really encouraging.
Now on to weeks 3 + 4 with a well stocked fridge, a wry smile and two solid weeks under my belt.
Love Gutsy x