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 20

Why when you ask for gluten free and dairy free and grain free do you still get served rice? This is what I faced last night at the football in a (not to pump up my own tires and name drop, but I will) corporate box with Craig Hutchinson, AFL journo and Crock Media SEO. When it arrived, my social conscious, stigma and the fact I already had to have a special meal prepared and paid for by my host sent me into a guilty tailspin – so much so – I tasted – only a little of the two giant rice patties that took up half of my plate.

I should have told them before arriving of my list of dietary no no’s but I thought I would have time to devour the left over lamb shanks and I would be safe. But Friday had other ideas, and I arrived hungry and to a table full of full fat, full sugar, full of nothing primal food. Wedges, party pies, sausage rolls, mini quiche, cheese and processed cold meats, mini burgers, rolls filled with sundried tomatoes and salami, deep fried chicken drumsticks. All the food you would want to eat on a cold wet night at the football. But I couldn’t.

So I had a quiet word in the waitress’s ear when she was serving my mineral water, just to ask if there was, anything for a gluten free, grain free dairy free guest. The next thing I knew she had called in the manager and they were having a hushed conversation, fingers were pointed in my direction, menus were looked at, heads shook. Then my esteemed hosts were called over, a credit card was put down and a meal apparently matching my requirements was ordered.

I felt the flush of embarrassment crawl up my neck, especially when I was apologized to profusely for not checking dietary requirements prior, and had I only just found out about my intolerances or had it been a while?

Of course this wasn’t the best time to launch into an entire discussion around how this was just a challenge, and really I could eat everything, I just chose not to as I felt better for it.

Especially when my meal arrived and it was the envy of everyone else in the box.

Two lamb medallions, a pile of vegetables – fantastic. But then the cheap option, the two giant rice patties on the side of my plate.

You can’t eat rice can you? A friend whispered.

 

No, and I feel bad. Do you want them?

But I couldn’t give them away.

So I ate my lamb, and my vegetables, and in between I cut up the rice patties and moved the small particles around my plate to try and disguise the lack of disappearance. Like a child does with their brusel sprouts, I played with my food until it looked like at least half a rice patty was gone.

More comments were passed about how good it looked, lots of eyes passed over my plate, and then the hosts were there, looking over me, making sure I had enough to eat and was it ok?

I nodded, smile on my face, thanked them again, remarked on how good it was, then when they didn’t leave and eyes still watching, and I had no meat left, as if to prove a point I pulled off the tiniest portion of a rice patty and put it to my mouth.

It was enough for them to move on, and when the vegetables were finished and during an intense moment during the game when I thought nobody was watching, I took my plate, napkin covering rice patties, up to the waitress and thanked her, eyes almost pleading not to mention what I didn’t eat and just clear the plate before anyone could see what remained on it.

I’m not sure if it really was that one forkful that did it, or my mind making me feel the guilt, but later, my when my stomach flipped and turned and groaned, I blamed that rice patty.

And rice was one of my stables before this challenge.

I’m not sure if I was more guilty that I had ordered a special meal or if I had that one tiny forkful of rice. Either way, it as probably the toughest moment of the challenge so far.

And I say that as I am cooking a Christmas pudding – boiling it the traditional calico cloth for six hours. The smell of honey and golden syrup is radiating through the house and the windows are steaming up from the heat of the pudding. It’s a sickly sweet smell, and a task that requires meticulous detail for if that pudding comes off the boil then it is lost forever. So after every few goals of the football I get up and boil more water, add it to the saucepan, make sure the top of the cloth is not in the pan, that the pudding has enough room to expand, and all the while engulf the smell of sugar.

The smell is so strong I keep thinking I have burnt the bottom and ruined it, but there is no black mark on the bottom of the pudding, the plate is clean and the water the golden brown colour it should be as some of the juices seep out.

The smell doesn’t make me want to eat it at all. Instead it makes me worried the pudding is bad and nobody will want to eat it.

Instead I have warmed up the leftover lamb shanks for a late lunch and the smell of these little babies is delightful. Maybe its too late for a late lunch given I have a feast of a Christmas dinner before me, but I know the snacks I wont eat and none of the dessert, so I figure it will be five hours before I eat again so why not.

Plus I love those lamb shanks.

I’m not that worried about tonight. Not like I was. The food will not be an issue, and I managed to not even think about drinking last night with free grog all around me, so surely tonight will be fine.

I just cant be bothered with the questions.

Like yesterday, when a friend called and asked me if I really wasn’t drinking because I was pregnant and was this challenge just a way to hide it.

Really?

Do you honestly think I would go to THAT much effort?

If you don’t believe me, ill show you my new abs, the beginning of a six pack and the way my pants hang off my hips – no pregnant belly there thank you very much. No food belly either.

Nope, I wont be drinking tonight, and now its not just about the challenge – now its personal!

The best rice_nitwits

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The Primal Challenge Day 8

Week two was looming and I needed to shrug off the painful monkey that seemed to be both clinging to my shoulders and clutching my leg with his painful claws simultaneously, and send him scurrying back into the forest in search of a banana.

So after my roast pork dinner and a self indulgent winging blog post, I regrouped, and inspired by a colleague and fellow crossfit/clean eater’s photos of protein balls, zucchini cheesecake and coco-nutty granola, started cooking up a storm.

First – my ‘don’t hide the greens’ smoothie. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to hide the greens. The strange colour actually puts me off and reminds me I am drinking a leafy vegetable, but I had no beetroot to help change colour – and I don’t like beetroot anyway – and needed to (in more ways than one) suck it up. So I added in extra kale and a few extra berries and some chia seeds and imagined it was a lovely pastel colour rather than something that resembled grass when I took the first sip.  

And despite its strange spinach like colour, the taste test proved it was a winner.

Which at 11pm on Sunday night when I had to be up at 5:20am was a life savor.

Time then for some breakfast muffins.

These were easy and really are like a mini quiche. You can basically put whatever you want in the mixture. I used 1 x onion, 1 x green capsicum, 1 x tomato, around eight pieces of cooked free range bacon, some basil, salt, pepper, a little water and nine x free range eggs from our friends the happy chickens. I can almost hear them clucking with joy as they wander carelessly around.

Make sure you give your muffin pans a good spray of coconut oil, and when taking out the muffins let them cool but don’t go cold or they could get stuck in the bottom. Not that it matters – then you just have an omelet.

I actually ended up with two omelet’s as my impatience to get them out of the pan broke their little bottoms off (hey it was 11:45pm by then). But never fear my husband who has finally cottoned on to my new way of eating was up for a few. So into the Tupperware went the broken bums of bacon along with two sizeable full muffins.

I took the other eight. Don’t judge me, he has cereal as a backup and not afraid to eat it.

So yes, my husband finally knows that pasta is no longer on the menu. Or maybe he hasn’t realised that yet, because he has been very supportive. When I dragged him to the health food isle in Coles and stood staring blankly at the items trying in vain to find coconut oil – turns out it was in a jar and looked like a paste, not in a bottle that looked like oil, thanks for the heads up guys – he waited a full 30 seconds before leaving and wondering down to the freezer section to sneak an ice-cream tub into the trolley while I was not there to refuse.

He has eaten everything I have put in front of him, which is generally the same dinner as mine with a few slight modifications like adding a potato to his vegetable selection, without complaint. Although he did look at me quizzically with raised eyebrows when I told him it also meant I was off the grog.

The expression was short lived however before his eyes lit up with excitement. I realized then his light bulb moment was in fact the discovery of having a designated driver for the next few weeks.

The biggest realisation however comes when he offers me something, or goes to add something to his meal and I explain why I can’t have it.

  • Like tomato sauce having sugar.
  • Like the tinned mangoes having sugar added as a preservative.
  • Like the roasted vegetables Masterfoods herb shaker having sugar.

Although I couldn’t explain to him why potatoes are a no go. I love potatoes and am convinced I was Irish in a past life because I could eat them with every meal. So if someone can please explain to me why potatoes are not allowed I would be grateful. They come from the ground, and while I know our primitive paleo ancestors didn’t have spades as such, surely they could have given the women a rest by putting the club to a better use.

I can only imagine it is the starch or carbohydrates – everything I like about them.

However back to my breakfast muffins.  

Very tasty! I had two with a cup of smoothie this morning and am sure both would give Jamie Oliver a run for his healthy eating money.

They also filled me up delightfully and have kept me going with the aid of some trail mix going until lunch time.

I also think the monkey has gone, or at least run up a tree for the day. My shoulders are not as sore as they were this morning, despite the WOD – although I am glad I still used a lighter weight. Seems my muscles might need a bit longer recovery time than they did previously, but we will see during the week.

Again, I’m feeling pretty good. Not fantastically better than I was before the challenge, and I’m sure there are still a few downs throughout the ups, but overall I’m enjoying the challenge of taking part in the challenge.

I’m also looking forward to making the latest Primal Junction MOD – slow cooked beef ribs – and pretending I’ve just been clubbed by a stranger and dragged by the foot to a campfire to take part in a last night’s leftovers. If only there was potato. 

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