The Primal Challenge Day 21

Apparently I am no fun when I am off the sugar and off the drink. Or so I was told on Saturday night when I refused cocktail after cocktail, champagne, punch, chocolates, cheesecake, gingerbread men and many other loveable naughty’s my Christmas in July offered.

I think I was a bit offended.

Actually I was.

Especially given I had wasted 12 hours on a Christmas pudding that managed to get water into it during the transfer between houses and ruin.  Yeah don’t get me started, epic fail. Its back hanging in my laundry hoping it can be saved but knowing it probably cant be, and who would eat it anyway…

But I digress – Christmas in July with the girls, Saturday night.

I still managed to last until 2am, completely sober and relatively sugar free – I ate some a bit too much fruit and as far as I could tell was still semi engaging in my conversation attempts and interactions. I still leapt to the challenge of Pictionary and Celebrity Heads and laughed over excitedly when those who were tipsy and those who were just blind drunk couldn’t hold the pen or draw a simple image.

No, I didn’t stand on a dining room chair and try to get everyone dancing. Nor did I spill red wine on the floor or dive into the chocolate cheesecake spoon in hand without waiting for it to be cut. Although I was the only one who broke a glass (of mineral water) all night.

But, as I was also told, I was no longer the life of the party. And who was going to play that role now?  I admit neither Pictionary nor Celebrity Heads would have come out on my watch.

Oh the pressure! The guilt! But I had carried the load of over excited behavior for too long and had paid the price with pounding next day headaches, a cramping stomach and often a cheeky next morning (most likely afternoon) spew.

Not tonight!

I picked my way through the meal, skipping the prawns with the Cajun spice, knowing sugar is a hidden ingredient on the list, eating a spoonful of the bruschetta mix without the bread, swallowed a few oysters, ignored the grilled halloumi and the smoked salmon and cream cheese wraps, and waited patiently for the main.

Roast pork with no gravy or apple sauce, steamed greens with almonds, roast chicken without the stuffing and roast vegetables minus the dressing and potatoes. Of course I knew and had to accept the fact that the oil was probably rancid and not the ideal choice for the challenge, but I did have to give a little.

Overall however, it wasn’t even that hard.

Nor was sticking to the mineral water. Not as hard as I thought it would be probably as there were a few others in the sober boat with me thanks to a) Run Melbourne the following day, b) the sacrifices of breast feeding c) knowing with three kids at home it just isn’t worth it the following day and d) a ‘most often’ paleo diet.

The hardest part of the night (apart from trying to guess my celebrity head Nigella Lawson and drawing an image that represented the world ‘gargle’) was accepting the change in my social tag from ‘party starter’ to ‘party pooper’.

And while one friend commended me on my effort, another said a bit of her rice bran oil wouldn’t hurt me, nor would one drink, a few stayed silent and the host pointed at me and slurred how boring I was. Lucky my ‘generally’ paleo friend had my back the entire night. Although she did take a tiny sliver of the chocolate cheesecake when I desperately wanted to and most likely would have if I was not on this challenge, making it that little bit harder.

I did get some great advice however during the meal of many choices by my ‘almost always’ paleo friend. Once you make your own choice, deal with it, own it, and then move on. If you want to eat the vegetables cooked in rice bran oil because you are hungry and there is no other alternative, just do it. If you have been clean eating all week and trained all month and really like the look of the cheesecake, eat it. But don’t go on about it all night. And don’t beat yourself up about it or let others beat you up about it. Make your choice, and live with it.

I think I needed it on day 21.

Not because I am struggling, but because there is not long left and now I’m at the stage of working out what I would keep and what I was add and what I would change of this clean eating plan. And if I want to eat a slice of the chocolate cheesecake that looks amazing (I took a giant piece home for my husband just so I could look at it) once my challenge is up then I can.

But if I want my skin fold tests to be better than when I went in, I need to stop eating the nuts hidden in my draw by the bucket load, stop thinking about what I would add back in my diet, and start thinking about what I still need to cut out.  At least for the next nine days.

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The Primal Challenge Day 19

Two new learning’s over the past few days. The first, even if your husband reads your sms wrong and when you asked to turn the lamb shanks off he turns them (literally) instead, and they remain in the slow cooker for almost 20 hours – they still taste amazing.

Honestly, amazing. I was a little angry when I found out they had been left on (ok maybe more than a little, my ‘flashes’ of anger may have had a mob like mentality in this case) and was pleasantly surprised when the meat still fell off the bone and was not the ‘old boot’ I thought it would taste like.

Amazing. We ate with pleasure and even incorrect sms reading husband loved the entire clean eating meal, with the cauliflower and carrot puree replacing the mash staple that normally comes with shanks.  It was possibly my favorite clean dinner to date. And so easy!

Because I was feeling like I was on a roll, and I had almond butter, I whipped up the frosty fruit smash for dessert and put it in the freezer next to the low fat ‘light’ sugar filled ice-cream my husband would have for his dessert. It actually was pretty good frozen too and took me longer to eat which I think might come in handy at times when I’m craving something sweet and need my hungry mind and full body to synchronize.

I’m still excited over the lamb shanks because I kept two for tonight to eat before racing to the football. As a last minute request I got offered a few tickets in a corporate box for North V Blues and given I won’t be making use of the free food and drink almost declined. But by then I had forgiven said husband, and he is a Carlton supporter, and it means ill get to eat both leftover lamb shanks while he eats the gourmet finger food….

My second learning was that left over lamb shank sauce also assists to make amazing baked eggs. The pleasure of a new breakfast treat when you work from home and have the benefit of an oven! I took inspiration from the Primal Junction recipe but replaced the chorizo for Cannings new primal paleo bacon, added half a green capsicum, and along with the tinned tomatoes added in a decent amount of the lamb shank stew – tomato, carrots, garlic, zucchini, basil and oregano. Topped with two eggs it went into the oven and I was ever so excited.

The bowl was pretty big.

Actually it was enormous.

And I ate it all.

And loved it.

I could have had the bacon a little more crispy, and if I was on the dairy a bit of feta on top would have been a nice extra, but I loved it all the same. I’m not sure if it was the oversized bowl meant for two consumed by one, or because my trail mix was safety in the office filing cabinet but I did not need to snack once until lunch. I was full the brim (just like the baked eggs bowl).

I didn’t even think of nuts or sugar or fruit once. I drank water and my belly was full and I had another realization – maybe I just need to eat more for breakfast! Maybe my hands can hold more eggs and I just need to fill up a bit more in the morning!

To prove my point I made a baby spinach salad for lunch with tuna, avocado, capsicum and two boiled eggs bringing my daily total to four. I even boiled another one, he was the last in the carton and I felt sorry for him with no friends even though he was still smiling, so I prepped him for a snack later on.

My food wins today mixed with my recent massage at Revive Holistic Health, returning to CFHE and my physio treatment at Evolutio have helped me to lift my form and look at the second half of this challenge with a renewed focus and determination.

I know that sounds all Brady Bunch like and full of false bravado, but it has!

AND my constant sugar and primal eating talk continues to have a positive effect on others.

My previously mentioned sister in law sent me an inspiring message of her day 2 clean tasty monkfish red curry promising me there was no hidden sugar inside and that she even bought the coconut oil – I’m still waiting on the recipe and won’t mention the day 3.5 text you sent SOS style.

A college from work thanked me for breaking the “it’s inappropriate to eat eggs at desk rule” so she could follow suit and while wine was still a challenge as was the chocolate box she had to walk past every trip to the bathroom, her clean sugar free breakfast and lunches are going well.

Everyone is winning!

However, I do have to make a slight apology to my non-clean eating friends who will be attending Christmas in July tomorrow night.

Why you give someone on a no sugar and no gluten challenge a traditional Christmas pudding to make (apart from my fantastic recipe and baking skills) is beyond me. The care I provided to this ball of calico now hanging in my laundry before being boiled for six hours tomorrow was not what it should have been.

I ran short of currents, so just added more sultanas. I ran out golden syrup so opted for the honey. I ran out of brandy so used brandy essence. I ran out of mixed peel so just dealt with it.

Clearly I was not prepared or pumped for this wonder which is very uncharacteristically like me.

Apart from the fact I could not face another supermarket visit (almost every day this week is enough), I of course cannot eat nor taste the Christmas pudding. And while I would love everyone to love it, I figured by the time it is served tomorrow night a)everyone will be too full of food b)everyone will be too drunk to taste c)only half of the people going can eat it anyway and d)it will be drowned in brandy cream or ice-cream anyway.

Which (latest light bulb moment) means more than half of this big pudding will come back with me….

And I put nuts in it which means husband, nor brother in law nor sister in law can eat it when I see them on Sunday…

There is only 11 days to go, and pudding lasts for a long time…..

Shit.

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