Packing Paleo

You know it’s serious when you change your flight dietary preferences to gluten free.

I wish, to be honest, there was more than just a drop down. Perhaps a multi select box, or a free text field and that way I could add in the additions. Gluten free also means dairy free, but of course grains, potatoes, and sugar all find their way onto that small plastic wrapped tray of ‘food’.  If there was the option to choose more than one, I could have gone diabetic friendly also, and hoped that I was left with more than a rice flour sugar fuelled cake and a thimble of soy milk.

Ok, so there was more. A few bits of lamb, some sugar filled sauce, a pile of greens and some potatoes that I really wanted to eat. The only thing that stopped me from pushing them onto my white plastic fork was the fact that if I was going to break for the starchy goodness, they were going to be half decent, not microwaved pre-prepared plane potatoes.

There was also a box of sultanas and a tub of two fruits. Both claimed they were natural and healthy, and I think even sported the heart tick approval, but the nutritional panel on the back showed more than just goodness. Lots more. Like sugar more. Like 63.5g of sugar per 100 gram.

Of course its natural sugar, but over 50% of those dried things is a little too much.

I ate the greens, ignored the potatoes, picked my way through the meat, left the gluten free bread, tried to leave the juice behind and eat only the two fruits and succumbed to the coconut gluten free macaroon.

Half way through the four and a half hour flight when I was starving (after the same flight attendant who had previously provided my gluten and dairy free meal offered me cheese and biscuits and a packet of Anzac cookies) I popped a few of those dried grapes into my mouth and was surprised and shocked at how sweet they tasted. Too sweet. I had to stop eating them.

I should have just had the free wine that was offered. At least then I would have forgotten I was starving.

Travelling with such a long list of requirements is hard.

A day trip to Sydney, not so hard. You can pack your full lunch in one bag and not have an issue with excess luggage. You can decline the meal and not risk starvation, and even though the security guards look at you strangely during the bomb check, they keep their mouth closed.

A week trip to Perth, not so easy.

Before my flight like general Sunday afternoons, I spent cooking my week’s worth of meals. An oversized smoothie that I froze and added extra chia seeds in it to help it last the plane ride and beyond. Some chewy mocha balls to ensure snacks during the week were covered. A few pieces of the left over paleo gingerbread and three of my paleo banana and berry muffins. The standard nut trail mix and a few tins of tuna.  I even went so far as to bake a new paleo crust-less sweet potato quiche and while I froze half of it for my return, I took a piece of that too just in case I had to (god forbid) miss breakfast at the hotel one morning.

I know it sounds crazy. It looked slightly odd also.

All these Tupperware containers full of food going through security, getting put in the overhead locker as I was sitting under a bulk head.

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When my stomach was rumbling so badly on the flight, and I took out one of my muffins from the bag overhead, the passenger next to me didn’t know what to think.

Personally I think he was a little jealous. Mine looked much better than his frozen/thawed/sugar preserved cupcake.

I was hoping my muffins would make at least the flight trip, so before I could be tempted by anything else I packed them away and tried to forget about them.

But I am not that strange.  There are others like me who also pack paleo.

Nom Nom Paleo recently called out to her social media following remarking “I may not have time to pack any food for my flight tomorrow….”

She got 56 comments asking for help to determine where she could get paleo friendly food.

I got about 56 odd looks for packing and travelling paleo style.

But despite the strange looks and carting my containers from customer meeting to office, to hotel and beyond, I was glad I had taken the time to do it.

My Perth friends did remark they had supermarkets and organic shops over here (yes even Perth is not that behind, just don’t try to visit one after 9pm) which also helped to fill my stomach paleo style during the day, and let’s just say nights – well I tried as hard as I could… it was the wine that got me in the end.

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The ‘Almost Anything’ Omelette – Sweet Potato, Bacon and Tomato

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So this little bad boy does not look the best, but I blame that on travel rather than taste.

I made him the night before, and carried him to work in my trusty Tupperware container ready for a warm up at work the next morning.

Problem was, my trusty Tupperware container was too big to fit in said microwave, and getting Mr Omelette out of container onto plate for heating was more of a challenge than making it in the first place.

Omelette’s are great for breakfast and not bad heated up, making them versatile for those of us who have office jobs. They are also versatile in you can literally put ‘almost anything’ in them.

This Almost Anything Omelette is sweet potato, bacon and tomato.

There is some method in my madness which is below –

  • 4 x Happy Eggs from Happy Chickens
  • 1 x small brown onion
  • 4 x Rashes of free range bacon diced
  • 1 x Tomato
  • 1 x Cup diced sweet potato
  • Herbs of your choosing

Heat and grease pan with coconut oil

Brown your onion

Add sweet potato and fry until it starts to soften

Add bacon and fry until it gets to the level of crispiness you like

In a separate jug or bowl add your eggs, salt pepper and any herbs or spices (with no hidden extras) you like.

Whisk away.

Dice tomato and add to your whisked eggs.

Pour into pan over bacon and sweet potato. Use a spoon to evenly distribute chunks in your omelette.

When the sides start to bubble and have set enough, flip your omelette and cook until egg is set and cooked through.

See – really not Jamie Oliver worthy…

But you can also add kale, zucchini or whatever else your fridge or vegetable crisper holds.

The Primal Challenge Day 30 – The Finale

Day 30. The final day. I’ve been putting off writing this post for as long as I can. Probably because it is officially the end of the challenge, and I’m not sure I want it to be.

My procrastination has led me to tackle my own version of chewy mocha power balls (no berries, a few extra dates) and a double serving of frosty fruit smash. I then ate half of it and put the rest in the freezer – I’m still worried about Friday’s skin fold test.

I wanted to make the paleo banana bread recipe, but my sister in law did and ate four pieces of it in one day, so I’m a little scared. You know my track record with other backed paleo goods. And nuts.

Lizzy told me today post WOD she felt posting the MODs each night was therapeutic, and she would miss it. I guess I feel the same way about my blog posts.

I started the idea for my first post when the voice in my head that often talks to me seemed to make a little bit of sense. You know that voice that often tells you what you should and shouldn’t do? Well mine often says it in a more colourful way, and sometimes rather than just saying yes or no, entire paragraphs of often useless drivel and one sided conversation ends up swimming in my head.

The beginning of the 30 day challenge  – something so new to me given I had never tried to cut out any food before, let alone multiple food groups – seemed to ignite that voice in my head and send her on a sugar fuelled drive, so much so I had to get it out.

Just as Lizzy did with her MODs, I found the writing therapeutic, and it was a simple way to reignite a very rusty passion and habit for writing.   I never expected others to like it, or to follow or to share it, or to comment. Or that on day 28 a random Crossfit Rookie News website would pick it up (where were you day 1?!).

So I know I don’t want that to be over.

But most of all, I don’t really want the 30 day challenge to be over, because I’m slightly scared of what I will do when it is.

There is still that bottle of wine (or three) in the fridge. Right next to the ciders and the beer and the mixers ready for the gin and vodka. I never normally drink during the week (when I am at home – if I am travelling, out to dinner or just out for drinks of course this rule does not apply) but there is part of me that is worried I might bust out a vodka on the rocks the moment I’m able to.

A few ears still remain of the Easter bunny that was eventually cracked open on Sunday night. I almost want to eat them now in case my husband gets to them first. I have the fear of missing out – a stupid fear – like there are no more Chocolate Easter Bunnies in the world. Like normal rabbits, they seem to be quite effective at multiplying and running around in other peoples gardens when not wanted.

And a few Tim Tams – the original, not those that have tried to catch up with crazy modern times and added more sugar to the already existing overflowing amount. There are a few of them left too.

The wheel of double Brie cheese is almost calling my name from here.

I don’t think I really want to eat these things (well maybe only a little) but once the word ‘challenge’ is removed from this entire clean eating gig, then my mental barrier which has been effectively blocking these nasties from me will be lifted, and maybe then I’ll return to my human self, loosing all superhero self control I had during the last 30 days.

I think that might be scarier than the primal fear I first felt.

So, reflection time. What exactly have a I learned/experienced/felt during these 30 days I hear you ask? Yes I literally hear you ask. Almost every day someone asks me if feel better, have I noticed a difference, has it been worth it.

So here it all is – sugar sweet, sweat and tears…

Lightbulb moments –

#1

I was VERY naïve when it came to some foods and healthy eating. As a 30 something who was actively exercising, and had friends who thought I was already on a very strict eating plan, I was in some way shape or form kidding myself.

Sugar is sugar, regardless if it is in chocolate cake or muesli bars. The entire time I was saying no thanks as others ate over stimulated Picnic bars (my ultimate favorite) or pieces of cake – and silently judging them for it – I was doing the same thing with my Carmen’s muesli, muesli bars, fruit, packaged soup and other no longer –never were – healthy foods.

Here Miss Sugar is no longer center stage. She has been reduced to a mere understudy in her now dirty and ripped tutu and doesn’t seem so attractive anymore.

#2

Sugar is EVERYWHERE.  I mean EVERYWHERE.  Hidden in much of what I had in my pantry and used every night for dinner, and then wondered why neither of us could loose any weight.  In case you think I am exaggerating, here is a list of where Miss Sugar hides, loitering in the curtains waiting for the main star to break her leg so she can take over….

  • Masterfoods dried herbs, including Lemon Pepper, Garlic Pepper Seasoning, Chicken Seasoning, Roast Vegetable Seasoning to name a few.
  • Tomato sauce – all brands
  • Fish sauce – most brands
  • Moist coconut flakes – yeah this little sucker almost had me!
  • All supermarket stocks
  • Premade pasta jars – a regular in my household before this
  • Most pre-packed nut mixes
  • Most ‘mixed fruit’ packages also include extra sugar – why I don’t know.
  • Most things that are ‘flavoured’ are not really natural and the ‘flavour’ is in fact sugar.
  • Most ‘light’ or ‘lite’ options
  • Salad dressings and mustards
  • Some herbs in jars (eg ground ‘fresh’ ginger)
  • Most things in jars eg curry powder, paste etc
  • Tinned foods – especially soup (did I mention this was my lunch most days prior to day 1?)

#3

Dinner can consist of food, real food, and still be satisfying without rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, quinoa, potato as a side option.

This one was hard to accept, because most of the above is – or was – a staple and favourite of mine.

#4

Corn is a grain. Yep I know, seems obvious – but I am blonde remember.

#5

Just because you are going through a learning journey relatively late in life, does not mean others are – so don’t presume their ignorance is as low as yours and preach to them if you want to have friends in the future.

#6

Eggs and smoothies keep you much fuller than sugar muesli and fat free milk for breakfast and you can never have too much bacon.

#7

Expect headaches, maybe a few stomach cramps or joint pains. Maybe that crazy voice in your head will scream at you so violently you want to poke out your own eyeballs with a spoon and swallow them with your hide the greens smoothie, or maybe you will just feel like shit for the first few days. It’s normal, deal with it.

#8

Don’t eat kale stems if you want a normal digestive experience the following day….

#10

Red wine jus – the only sugar coming from the red wine and balsamic vinegar – does not classify as a challenge fail. Paleo gingerbread – verdict is still out.

#11

You might like to ask permission to eat eggs at your desk in the morning before you warm them up in the microwave. Especially if in a communal office.

#12

Some supermarket eggs might look happy but they are not so watch out. Just because they have a smile printed on them, does not mean they are free range or organic, so check the packet carefully. Along with the coconut milk. There are many sneaky tricks talented marketers (like me) do to convince us the food we are buying is good for us, when really it is just crap.

#13

Paleo is not a dirty word – although the spellchecker seems to think it is (red line has been driving me crazy last 30 days).  It is a choice, not a diet, but a lifestyle for sometimes, often, almost always or every now and then. It’s a personal choice, and one that should be respected.

#14

It’s really not that hard. You can just say no. You look on the back of the pack, on the side of the jar, wherever the ingredient list is hidden and check what’s in it. Then you make your choice, and move on.

Hardest parts?

You probably want me to say laying off the booze.

For those that know me, you probably expect me to say laying off the booze (someone did ask for my advice on where to stay somewhere the other day as I would know all the local watering holes….) but really, I don’t think that was it.

Nor was it the often ridiculed, eye rolling, back handed comments and full face slaps I got during the 30 days from people like the pre primal me. Full of spite, bitterness, often a little resentful and mostly just very naïve and unaware.

The preparation was fine, I am an organised person by trade, and even though I love them, the potatoes didn’t even get me in the end.

Hardest part – worrying about not fitting in. By not taking that chip, or sitting on your hands so you don’t eat another olive because they are the only thing you can eat so you have had about 30 already, or not having that wine ‘just to be social’. Perhaps this is my own insecurities leaking through, but not being ‘normal’ or not ‘fitting in’ or being an ‘inconvenience’ and therefore making people unhappy was the hardest part for me, personally.

Oh, and the nuts. Of course, the nuts. That was pretty hard.

Best parts?

Well I have done a PB in both deadlifts and back squats – well above my own body weight – and I’ve improved in many other things too. Although still cant get a handstand….

I have a much bigger and better appreciation for real food. I no longer buy supermarket meat. Yes I used to. I tried to say it was a cost saving method, (please don’t judge me) and now get my vegetables from a market. My eggs are always smiling, where, ill be honest, before they were not.

Many, many new recipes to try at home for dinner and beyond.

My ranting, posting, blogging and talking to others has had an impact somewhere, even if only a few people. But I know of some who have actively made changes and just like I used to get happy feeding them poison, now I get happy by steering them away from it (don’t fear team, I will still bake for you).

Skin fold test aside (Friday people, Friday!) I’m sure there has been a difference in my body even if only on the inside.

The best part?

I did it.

Game set match.

I side kicked that stupid tutu wearing ballerina Miss Sugar and her toe dancing seduction to the no gluten and grain ground with little more than a few eggs. Well a lot more really, but I’m running out of stupid analogies and need to wrap this up.

The point is, the 30-day challenge is over and I’m a little melancholy because I enjoyed discovering more about real food, and I enjoyed writing about it and discovering more about myself.

So a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped or read my ‘boring blog’ along the way – too many to mention – but in particular Bec & Lizzy from Primal Junction, and those who encouraged, supported, and shared the 30 day journey with me, even those not participating formally in the challenge but ate clean ‘almost always’, ‘sometimes’, ‘every now and then’ or ‘most of the time’ (just lay off the banana bread for a bit Heidi) 😉

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The Primal Challenge Day 29

I have a confession to make.  Its day 29 and I feel like it is only right, with only one more day until this is officially finished, I need to get something off my chest.

It was over a week ago, and I would like to say it has been playing on my mind. That I have not been able to sleep from the guilt, that I regretted my actions. But in truth, I have been sleeping fine, (excluding the night I was poisoned) and there is no regret (excluding my nut habit).

It was at the girls Christmas party. Day 21. Remember the failed pudding, celebrity heads, the ‘your boring’ remarks and the self righteous ‘I didn’t even find it that hard’ comment.

I didn’t. Not at all.

Because, after the main meal, there was dessert. Fantastic dessert (not my failed pudding that is still hanging in the laundry, hoping it will self cleanse itself into something worth eating) but a range of homemade and store bought sugary goodness.

Ohhh dessert….. Rightly or wrongly, I indulged.

Yes that’s right. When it was all lined up on the table, the fudge, the chocolate, the gingerbread, the cheesecake, the fruit, and the nuts …. I ate something. And it wasn’t just the fruit.

I ate…..

No gluten….

No dairy……

Paleo gingerbread.

My beautiful and very talented ‘most often’ paleo friend with a passion for baking, researched, adapted and ultimately succeeded in bringing the moist, light, and I’ve never loved it so much in my life before, gingerbread before me.

Here friends is the recipe –

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 c. blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. maple extract
  • 3 c. almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Knowing I was not yet able to tackle molasses she replaced it with coconut nectar and took out the extracts and used a vanilla bean instead.

Amazing….

I ate two pieces. Or it might have been three. Either way it was too many and when I broke off half of another of the delight I begged her to put the rest away before I ate the lot. Thank god she did.

I can still taste the goodness of it now… well no I can’t, but I wish I could.

It literally was the answer to all my clean eating prayers.

Except of course on Sunday I went to Google and found that coconut nectar is still sugar and sugar is still not part of the 30 day challenge…. and so it wasn’t all that clean eating at all.

Fail.

I wrote about it on that Sunday. After I had shut down Google and stomped around the house in disgust and thought about how I could justify the coconut nectar. I even made a trip to the organic shop and purchased some (along with coconut flour, coconut sugar, organic vanilla essence, organic cacao powder and a range of – you guessed it – nuts) to see if by some miracle it had a low sugar content.

I tried to justify it to myself by saying it was like fruit. A banana was 55% sugar, and they are ok (in moderation) so why not coconut nectar?

I tried to justify it to myself by saying I had been clean on everything else in a borderline obsessive-compulsive way, that surely this one slip up (or three, it was three pieces) was ok?

But I couldn’t justify it.

I felt ashamed, and angry and a bit too full of self-pity.  Which is why I deleted my first attempt at a blog post on Sunday that talked about my subsequent failure. I didn’t want to admit it, because I still had over a week to go and if I had already failed then what would stop me from opening the flood gates and letting all the sugar wielding nastiness back in?

Angelic clean Stacey was on the ground and red wearing horned Stacey was holding her down with a pitchfork while she drowned me in fine white sugar.

So, if I’m honest, I failed the challenge. One way or another I fed my sugar addiction and I failed. On day 21.

But I picked myself up.

Even if I was not yet ready to admit it. And I got back on that clean eating bus, brushed off the sugar particles still stuck to my shoulders and went about the rest of the nine days as if they were the first.

I’ve tried almost every MOD Primal Junction has offered, and even some of my own or some from others with a slight twist.

I cleaned my pantry on the weekend and threw out and donated a range of ‘not clean’ jars of sauces and spices.

My pantry at work is (almost) empty of sugar full muesli bars and snacks – although a few of my colleagues are full of them.

I’ve spent hours researching food options and trying to find my own primal and paleo baked recipes to feed my habit of feeding others in a more clean eating way.

I’ve made my clean muesli and kept it in a jar ready for when I can introduce some good full fat Greek yoghurt back into my diet.

My freezer is full of frozen banana’s, my homemade stock- both chicken and beef –  pumpkin soup and some Cannings meat (wanted to get that last discounted order in).

My fridge is full of kale and organic eggs and broccoli and 3 C’s salad and speck paleo bacon and empty of ‘light’ yoghurt and milk (although there is still that double cream full fat brie cheese wrapped up on the top shelf).

My breakfast is either zucchini slice, frittata or bacon & egg muffins and is the envy of the office.

Today I even took home all my nuts from work, not one remains in my filing cabinet. I made another trail mix using more seeds and coconut flakes along with the berries and the nuts. And then I put it all in a tall glass jar, keeping only a small (very small) green container out that I can take to work tomorrow  – my last ditch attempt at curbing my nut snacking.

I’ve even tried to stay off the fruit for the last few days, only having it in smoothies and nothing else.

Although, I did fail on that tonight too when I found a ‘one mug paleo cake’ recipe.  Ingredient list below, I excluded any additional sweeteners or mixes that the website says you can use SURELY that is ok?

  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons cacao powder

Side note – quite nice, but a little dense. Can be bitter, and not as good as a oven baked cake. Suggest a few drops of water to keep it moist or less cacao powder based on the size of your banana. But overall a good quick option if you need something extra to keep your mind off the passionfruit gluten free but still full of sugar cake your husband is eating next to you on the couch. 

I have influenced others at work who are also making their own muesli and protein balls. Even a ‘crossfit cult’ believer has been converted. My sister in law lives clean most of the time, and shared a great paleo banana bread recipe with me and a few good chicken curries. I’m taking my husband to paleo places for breakfast (although he still ensures there is bread) and cooking us the same meals at night with no complaints.

I sorted through my wardrobe on Friday and had three bags of clothes I needed to donate, or sell or thrown out. While some were based on fashion changes (what WAS I thinking??) others no longer fit. I had to pack away 10 pairs of pants I had only just purchased at the start of the year as they were too big (couldn’t quite bring myself to throw them out yet just in case).

While most of the weight loss is thanks to an increased exercise regime when I found crossfit (I was already exercising five days a week before I moved to the sport, which gives you some indication of the intensity) it will be interesting to see if any of it is thanks to the Primal Junction, Primal Challenge.

I’ve done all of this in 29 days.

You realize I am still trying to justify the paleo gingerbread?

Either way, it’s an accomplishment.

Like a child in the lead up to Christmas I’m counting down.

Two more sleeps.

I’m not sure why I’m counting down, maybe just to say I’ve done it, that I succeeded (lets look past the red wine jus, the paleo gingerbread and the gravy poison sauce shall we?). Maybe to see if there really has been a difference. Or maybe just because I really would like a glass of wine to celebrate.

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The Primal Challenge Day 25

Thursday. Another day another WOD and MOD and another Oh My! moment. Slight back ache again which I am finding more frustrating than painful, so to ease some of the pressure I headed to my first ever Yoga class at Kula.

Ok so it might not have been my first. I think I went once or twice way back in my very early 20’s when UDL’s and Strongbows were still the drink of choice. Although I generally revisit the UDL’s during my annual trip to the red center Alice Springs for the National Transport Hall of Fame reunion. It’s that or the ‘good quality’ wine, oh the perks of my job. But again, I digress and all that’s in the pre-primal past now.

Yoga.

I was a little nervous. I’m not that flexible. Even though a friend once described me as someone who looks bendy, I’m not. My hips are crazy tight and my gluteus lacking in strength, which in turn affects my back and causes it to seize a little when I try to push it too much.  Which is how I got myself into the backache situation to begin with.

I have been promising myself a yoga visit for months and never gone. Even when friends went – after my recommendation I might add – I still didn’t make it. Even the complimentary class we get for being CFHE members could not entice me, although I think that was more to do with the fact that despite booking out my time as busy – private appointment – I still kept getting meeting requests during the time.

Not today. I think I actually declined said meeting request and proposed a new time. Don’t’ judge me. I’m at my desk at 7:30am every morning and if I leave before 6 it’s a bonus, so today, for once, clock off was at 4pm.

I put on sweaty and smelly workout clothes from this morning and headed over for my first ever light session.

When I entered the studio, borrowed matt in hand, barefoot and open minded, I had a sudden flashback to me trying aerobics at one stage in my life. I think I lasted two classes. I got over it every time the lycra clad energizer bunny at the front would yell out another call such as the grapevine and everyone in the class would turn perfectly in sync. Everyone except me who would crash into strangers, hop on toes, or just miss the movement completely.

You’ll get it. The nice strangers with the thicker sneakers would smile at me. But I never did. Or maybe I never stuck with it long enough. All that jumping around, bouncing and knee hopping just made me feel like I was a new client of a dance studio who was failing miserably at an audition.  Don’t get me wrong, I can dance, there is a cracking video of me Gangnam styling like Psy himself at a friends wedding, but I dance to my own rhythm and could never find the rhythm of aerobics.

So when I settled into a position on my back, I hoped like crazy I was not going to be the only one who didn’t put my legs in places I was meant to when Kacey called out the next pose.

I had nothing to worry about.

The light yoga class provided a perfect introduction to yoga. And the Yin practice of really just falling into the stretches and holding them rather than pushing yourself or pulling legs over heads, and hands through opposite shoulders (thank goodness) meant I could stretch my not so bendy hips and back in my own time and not have to worry about knowing the next movement.

After my left over slow cooked ribs and salad I then went to practice my new obsession of late – googeling paleo friendly recipes.

Smoothies were my subjects of choice today. After having my own version of coconut iced coffee (ended up blending ingredients and adding a banana, leaving out vanilla and freezing it) I felt MUCH fuller and ate far LESS nuts that I had for the rest of the week. I also realised this was my problem, I had cut out smoothies for a few days, mostly because I kept forgetting to take it to work, but also because I have run out of Kale, and that is why I was getting hungry!! (light bulb Oh My! moment).

Anyway, I was googeling and came across the eatdrinkpaleo website where I got distracted reading The Benefits of Paleo page and then came across this –

Say goodbye to Hangry 

Hangry is a combination of hungry+angry, which is a common symptom for many people suffering from acute or chronic hyperglycemia. This also happens when the blood sugar drops and the person gets a rapid onset of hunger accompanied by irritability, fatigue, disorientation, and a foggy mind. Meals consisting of protein and fat are very satiating. The energy your body gets from fat, protein and some glucose from low GI carbs is released slowly and evenly throughout the day. As a result, the blood sugar levels stay stable and you rarely experience energy drops; hunger develops gradually without the crazy mood swings.

Now those of you who know me have just had your own light bulb / Oh My! moment. This was me!!!!

How many times have I heard ‘oh oh, Stacey is Hungry’ and ‘don’t stand in the way of Stacey and lunchtime’ and the ‘we all know what happens when Stacey doesn’t eat’ and ‘you get so angry when you don’t eat’ and ‘we were talking bout the word Hangry the other day and automatically we all though of you’…

I’m not kidding either.

Now I’m not saying I have hyperglycemia, but I defiantly suffered from Hangry.

I’m known to take in food to meetings that last more than an hour just in case my stomach rumbles and I need to eat something. Hangry is no good in a corporate environment if one wants to get ahead.

I shocked a new employee one day when she was driving us to a function and I was that hungry I took the food out of her child’s mouth. Well not literally, but she was a Mum with a muesli bar in her bag in case her child needed it, and I had run out of mine and was in such an irritable state she gave me hers just to shut me up. Hangry is no good if you need to onside new employees and make a good impression. 

I’m always first in line to the buffet station, and generally pacing if food has not appeared at a work event during the time it said it was meant to. I literally turn into a psychotic bitch who is more than angry and can only be silenced with food. Hangry is no good when you are pushing customers out of the way and jabbing them in the side with your fork so you can get the last potato.

Well Hangry can go and get f*ck*d!

Since my primal challenge, my own Mr Hyde, Hangry hasn’t appeared for a while yet and if he does its not a muesli bar or snickers that will send him away. And it wont be nuts either!

I think this primal challenge and paleo diet has freed me from the curse of Hangry and I feel like a Biggest Looser contestant who just climbed the mountain with all their excess weight in a backpack they can now shrug off.

The trick now, with five days to go, is to keep it off….

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  • Hangry (neenster83.wordpress.com)

The Primal Challange Day 24

I was reminded yesterday that some people eat simply because they like the taste. Sounds obvious enough, but I had forgotten this when I wrote yesterdays’ post, or maybe I just wasn’t clear enough.

Sure I like the taste of lots of food and that’s probably half to the reason I eat. I probably like more than I dislike, and I don’t want to eat something I dislike, but luckily enough I have never been someone who likes the taste so much they couldn’t stop… or so I thought. That was before the nuts.

I mean I could eat a piece of cake and put the rest back and not have to touch it again until the following day or even a few after. I could open a pack of Tim Tam’s and only have one. A bag of lollies could last me for weeks. I still have chocolate bunnies and eggs in my pantry leftover from Easter. When I was a kid I used to hide the treats around my room so I didn’t eat them all at once. It was a practice I put in place because treats were rare in our house growing up. Lolly bags were shared (and between six you don’t get much out of one bag) and when Easter came, or Santa filled a stocking with sweets, I made that supply of sugar last months. Sometimes I would even forget about what I had where and it would go to waste.

Lucky I know. Not everyone is like this. I have friends who cannot stop thinking about that chocolate cake until it’s finished, that open a packet of biscuits and have to eat the entire lot before they can rest, who have to give away Christmas shortbreads because if they are in the house then they will eat them all. They wake up thinking about food and go to sleep dreaming of it.

Shit, I can hear some of you thinking. That’s me.

Maybe that is why, largely, I have found the challenge relatively easy and very fulfilling. Although I am quite mentally strong and fiercely competitive (my blog bagging brother would say it is all in the mind – the same comment he tried to pep his wife up with before their daughter was born. Thank god she had to have a planned cesarean in the end) and once I decide to do something then I don’t like others trying to tell me I can’t do it.

That’s not to say if I was in land of Oompa Loompas and was swimming in Willy Wonka’s chocolate stream I wouldn’t take a sip, bite the nearest flower and chase a strawberry bunny for dinner. I really wanted to try that bubblegum, and the gobstoper and everything else those kids were seduced with into the pit of social gratitude failure.

And if suddenly the world went a little lopsided and I woke up there tomorrow, fiercely orange, wearing strange stripy overalls and half my height, then the challenge would easily be forgotten and my candy mushroom house would be eaten in a flash.

But today, no such luck. I woke up in my normal bed, no golden ticket in my hand and went about my day with boring normality.

Completed the Crossfit Games WOD number three, went to work, showered.  Managed to do up my back zipper dress myself without two colleagues pinning me against the wall and using brute force to get it up (which happened the last time I wore it)– a sign I have lost some of the sugar fat I was carrying. I had my usual morning discussion with a fellow cross fitter on what my latest hang up is (inability to get double unders), warmed up egg & bacon 3.0 muffins, ate muffins, ordered long black, drank long black, tried not to snack on nuts until lunch, warmed up spicy pumpkin soup, ate soup, snacked on nuts, got long black to try and stop snacking on nuts, drunk long black, locked away nuts in filing cabinet to stop snacking on nuts, ate a handful of shredded chicken to try and not taste the nuts, unlocked filing cabinet and ate more nuts, made green tea to try and stop snacking on nuts.  Wished I didn’t have any more nuts, but at the same time planned on when I will go and buy more…

Of course there is some work done throughout all of this.

And the realization that actually, I am one of those people. If I open the lid of that Tupperware container, then I can’t stop until the nuts are finished along with the coconut, the seeds and the goji berries they swim in.

So yes, some people eat because they like the taste of food. My key learning today, is I am one of those people, and my vice is not the chocolate cake, the Tim Tams, the lollies or the sweets. It’s plain old nuts.

How many days to go?

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  • Nuts! (knitreadclick.wordpress.com)

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 16

I had another strange dream last night. Not about food this time, but I still feel the reference was there. I was on a tram but on the outside of it, standing on the railings like it was an old fashioned carriage you would still see on the streets of San Francisco. The tram was on a hill, had just come to a stop at the very top.

The stranger next to me had stopped the tram by pulling up the old fashioned handle; it swayed and tilted a little, tiptoeing over the edge of the hill facing the steep decline below, rocking on the old hinges and tracks.

There were people in front of me, people I knew, standing in front of the tram, with their back towards me and they wouldn’t turn around or move, even after the tram began to rock more frantically, and the stranger kept pulling at the handle of the tram, and it kept moving, kept rolling forward. I knew at any moment it would capture momentum and roll down the hill, squashing those in the way who were not fast enough to move, and causing me to hold onto the tram for dear life.

The people moved just as the tram took flight. I managed to hold on, just.

And then I woke up.

Now maybe I just had one too many strawberries (4 in total) for dessert last night and the fructose sugar I have been craving more heavily the last few days took control of my subconscious, or maybe it was one too many ‘I still can’t stop’ long blacks or maybe it really was my subconscious trying to tell me something. I’m not sure yet.

But if I was a dream expert, I would expect to be told it meant something about feeling like I am loosing control, and that the loss of control not only affects me but others around me.

Yikes.

Maybe I am loosing control with my mental stability and running over others with my new clean eating preaching and cant stop!

Maybe I am loosing control with my Primal Plan and have eaten too much fructose and feel like I am loosing control with my challenge!

Maybe because I haven’t done a WOD since Friday I feel like I am loosing control of my fitness – that it’s running away from me and my pent up energy and excitement is ready to literally send me over the edge and off the rails!

To be sure, I did what everyone with a strange tram dream would do. I googled.

The meaning of tram dreams – you would be surprised what you can find out.

This is what I did –

Option 1 –

  • To want to get off the tram in a dream when it cannot stop means that in real life you have got involved in a case, which now seems to you rather doubtful.

Hmmm no don’t think it is that. Happy with the Primal Plan, next…

Option 2 –

  • Public or shared transport tends to indicate that the “trip” you are on may be some change or transition which many people go through.

Well that makes a bit more sense. Cutting out most of what has been my daily diet, what I thought was a healthy eating plan for the last few years is a bit of a change and transition.

Option 3 –

  • To see a tram in your dream suggests that you need to be more disciplined in certain aspects of your life.

Ouch.

Maybe I have overlooked a label, eaten one too many strawberries, or just maybe need to pick up the exercise.

I stopped googling after that.

Maybe I need to be disciplined in my eating ‘sharing’… Stop preaching to others about what I am now practicing, and share the love instead.

Nobody appreciates a Jehovah’s Witness or Born Again Christian knocking on their door with a message from the lord when they are an atheist (sorry to the above two religious groups, but its true).

An ex-smoker who can’t stand the smell but instead of moving to the non-smoking side of the bar provides a lecture on how smokers are not just killing themselves but everyone around them, is a little annoying (even if true).

A vegetarian who lectures you about how an animal is killed while you are tucking into your steak deserves a slap and a vegan who wears leather shoes is just confused.

So a day 16 clean eating – challenge still not finished – newbie i.e. me, is premature and annoying in promoting their greatness to others when they have never bothered to notice the greatness before.

Just like my sister-in-law who is trying (and almost there) to get back to her pre-baby weight and has taken a liking to some of my newly tried recipes…

Two kilos to go (Sister-in-law)  –

When you made your Bolognese sauce with coconut oil, could you taste the oil?? I might have to jump on this oil bandwagon….Just did a bit of reading on olive oil and its cooking temperature!

Newbie (me) –

Nope, I cant but I try not to use too much of it.

Because I am trying to ensure the other stuff does not have sugar, it actually would taste the same if you used stuff with sugar e.g. sauce etc. but without the nasty’s….

Yes olive oil no good at high temperatures and all other canola etc. are BAD

Throw out your marg and get some butter too.

(See how eager I am to show off my ‘new’ knowledge, I automatically think everyone else knows nothing).

Annoyed at my naivety (Sister-in-law) –

Stacey. You don’t know me at all. I absolutely DETEST marg and everyone who uses it!!!! And I have never been a fan of low fat diary products. Full fat all the way for me!!

Maybe she was a bit over the top with the detest comment, but ill forgive her because a) she tried the zucchini bolognaise recipe (even if she did use her own sauce mix which probably – most likely – almost certainly – contained sugar) and b) she is thinking of coming to the next Primal Junction clean eating seminar.

She also later in the day sent me a photo of her bacon, zucchini and egg muffin, and judging by the looks of it, could do with a few of the Primal recipes and helpful hints…

There I go again, judging….

I hope in tonight’s dream she is not driving the tram or that I am eating margarine.

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The Primal Challenge Day 13 & 14

The second weekend has come and gone and again I have survived! And while I ate like a cave man I didn’t hibernate like one. I went out – a few times, and took my new clean eating with me. Ok so no bars, just restaurants, so no real alcohol temptation – but still.

Friday night dinner  – no worries. Just give me a steak and a pile of greens and I would be happy. Thai was almost forgotten. I felt great for not drinking – well maybe just good – but it actually didn’t worry me.

When I ordered my food the slightly odd waiter with his thick Czech accent repeated it by saying (with a creepy smile) “I know what you want, steak, medium, salt, pepper, lots of greens, no butter, no oil, no gluten, no dairy…ok no worries. But one question, how you look like you do when you eat like that?”

It’s because I eat this way I look this way! I wanted to respond.

Because I have cut out sugar my skin is clearer, I did a PB in my last back squat, my arms are on their way to looking like Michelle Bridges, (random goal of mine) and my hair can last three to four days before I need to wash it (apart from the crossfit sweat).

And maybe if you tried it you would be able to too! I wanted to scream at him.

But I didn’t because he was bald, and slightly odd, and I hadn’t got my food yet, and in a strange sort of way he was trying to pick me up until a)my husband appeared next to me and b)an attractive brunette got his attention. Plus I don’t/didn’t want to sound like I have/had tickets on myself.

But it’s true. My skin really is clearer and for a 30 something that often gets a bout of teenage acne, this is quite a positive development and given the length of my hair, the less frequent hair washing is not only a big time saver, but also a big cash bonus.

That Friday night, my meal was actually the envy of the table.

Saturday (day 13) I replaced boxing with a trip to my newfound physio Alex from Evolutio, who has conveniently opened up a studio above the Crossfit Hawthorn East box.  Another bonus is Alex actually does and coaches crossfit so understands the sport and the movements.  Which also means he is not one of those physios who looks down on you, shakes their head with dismay and lectures you about how you could really hurt yourself doing crossfit for a full 20 minutes of your 30 minute appointment before actually treating you.

13 days in and I’ve well and truly turned into one of those don’t knock it till you try it people.

Saturday afternoon the Hawks came back with a great win (thank god) I snacked on a smoothie and some celery and carrot sticks, a few almonds and felt royally in control.

Although that control was short lived.

Carlton v St Kilda was only a few hours away and I was going (and was not really thrilled about it).

While my fridge was full of greens, my Cannings meat supply was out. The first inch of panic twitched in my legs when I realised there was not much in my old pantry I could mix with a salad and want to eat.

The supermarket (shudder) my only option.

I couldn’t face it myself so instead sent my now completely aware and strangely still supportive “although I think you are becoming obsessed” husband up with strict instructions.

Free range, organic chicken breast. Nothing added. No sauce.

Then to take my mind off his potential failure and my potential challenge doom I began my weekly food prep with Primal Junction’s spicy pumpkin soup recipe.

A SOS came in while I was still cutting the pumpkin.

Is it just free range or both organic and free range.

Both.

So not this Lilydale Chicken?

I don’t think so, what does the packet say?

At Lilydale, we are proud to farm free range chickens. 

All Lilydale chickens enjoy a nutritious, vitamin enriched natural diet; have access to the outdoors during the day and are free from growth promoters and antibiotics.

Hmm, nothing about what they eat?

No?

What’s the other option?

Inglewood Farms, Organic Free Range Chicken

That sounds better.

Its $15 for two chicken breasts!

Silence.

Are you there?

More silence.

Ok ill get this one.

And while we almost had to take out a second mortgage for my two chicken breasts, I must admit it was worth it. My thyme chicken salad was a winner at the football and so was Carlton meaning my husband forgot about the emptiness of his wallet with the happiness of the result.

Sunday (day 14) afternoon I watched others snack on party pies, sausage rolls and chicken nuggets trying to hold back the vomit in my throat (well not really vomit, but distaste) and every now and then popping in a snide comment about how much sugar was in their latest blob of tomato sauce.

Eventually after the third or fourth person glared at me with irritation, and about the same time the chocolate birthday cake was being cut, I stopped and let them enjoy their lunch.

Note to others – Please don’t let me turn into one of those people.

Light bulb moment and note to self – don’t turn into a superficial, high and mighty, and all judging pain in the arse. Its only day 14 and if you think you’ll never eat another piece of cake in your life, you are kidding yourself.

Then I prepped for the week. I prepped a lot.

I made two different smoothies (ok the first one didn’t last the weekend which is why I had to do the second), spicy pumpkin soup (but I used water no stock as i couldn’t find a no sugar one), bacon and vegetable frittata and a pot of clean pasta sauce with some carrot and zucchini.

My fridge was loaded and my freezer stocked, and I was set for this week. Week three!

It also provided me with another light bulb moment.

I don’t miss pasta – I missed the pasta sauce.

I tried the Primal Junction zucchini spaghetti recipe and hardly noticed my noodles were carrot and zucchini instead of penne or spaghetti. It was the rich tomato and garlic flavor with mince and Italian herbs that I looked forward to on Sunday nights and I still got that – all of that.

But I got it without sugar and without carbo loading on cheap wheat.

Why did I wait so long to try this?!

Oh that’s right I don’t have a julienne slicer and had to cut all my vegetables by hand which took me a long time, and before this challenge had no idea I could substitute pasta for something and still love it.

Perfect pasta without the penne!

Wining.

Plus when my sugar craving kicked in after dinner as others around me had strawberries and ice cream with chocolate topping for dessert I had a cup of left over smoothie and felt satisfied.

So Sunday night, the second Sunday night, and I was ready to face the week head one. Breakfast – frittata and smoothie, lunch – soup and left over ‘pasta’. Plus I had reserves for a salad if things went pear shaped and the other $7.50 chicken breast in the waiting  – better not leave that waiting too long would hate to throw it out and waste the home loan payment.

Primal Junction Challenge Day 14 which means –  I’m almost half way there……

Lessons Learned –

  • Don’t buy your organic, free-range meat from a supermarket if you want to pay off your mortgage this decade.

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The Primal Challenge Day 5

Friday! The joy of the weekend – it’s so close I can almost taste it. Dairy free and gluten free and sugar free of course.

But let’s be honest, this is the first real challenge, the weekend. We have been skating around the surface Monday to Thursday thinking things were hard, complaining about not knowing what to eat, worried about a faint headache, thinking we were doing so well – or maybe that was just me… anyway, for me, Friday is the first test of real strength.

Friday is – I mean was – known as full fat Friday’s. Where sausage rolls were a breakfast staple and lunch was a $10 pizza and beer.  Friday dinner is normally white wine, Thai food and footy.

Hmmmmm.  Seems a few changes are needed there.

Saturday is normally a big post boxing breakfast that includes eggs (tick) bacon (tick) tomatoes (tick) avocado (tick) and bread (fail) all cooked in oily goodness (fail) and washed down with two ‘skinny’ lattés (fail).

Saturday night – more football, this time with a beer in one hand and a Coles bought chicken schnitzel roll in the other – I always thought it was better than eating Red Rooster or cold meat pies.

Hmmmmm.  A few more changes.

And Sunday is a family roast, complete with an overdose of nibbles and snacks prior, champagne throughout and dessert to follow.

Hmmmmm. Lots of changes. And I thought I was moderately healthy.

In preparation for my weekend war on processed food, I went to Cannings Free Range Butchers last night to shop away my sorrows with some good quality organic meat. I pre-ordered online so it was ready to pick up after work and Sam was very helpful. When I asked if the herb crusted chicken held dairy or gluten, he confirmed it did and swapped it for me to plain,  and then commended me on making a ‘good paleo decision’ thanks Sam!

I must admit, I got a bit too excited with the meat shopping. Again, scared of failing and not having something friendly to cook I shopped as if I was once again living with my Mum and five siblings instead of a husband and two dogs.

  • Short Rindless Otway Bacon – 250gm
1
  • Beef Casserole Cubes – 200gm
2
  • Chicken Schnitzel – 1kg
1
  • Lean Beef & Pork Mince – 2kg
1
  • Chump Lamb Chops – 140gm
4
  • Lamb Cutlets – 80gm
10
  • Lemon & Pepper Free Range Chicken Tenderloin Skewers – 10 Pack
1

Ooops.

But I highly recommend the lamb cutlets which I had for dinner last night, and taking a leaf out of Kacey’s organic tree, served them with sweet potato crisps (I had no parsnip) and a fresh salad.

Tomorrow’s post Leo Berry’s boxing breakfast will be replaced with post boxing fresh food market shopping – and if I feel strong enough a few poached eggs, bacon and tomato in one of the many organic friendly cafes’ on Bridge Rd.

Saturday’s night game will have one of the plain chicken schnitzels with a salad, and water instead of beer.

Sunday’s roast will be fine, with a few modifications, and no nibbles.

So food wise I am set!

But it’s not the food that I am most worried about. Again it’s the glass or two or three of a crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc I would have enjoyed on the couch tonight or over Thai with friends, that I am already missing.

Especially after the work day I have just had – hence the very late blog post while I eat my ‘lunch’. 

Plus the impending Hawthorn v Geelong footy game on Saturday night is already weighing heavily on my mind. The Kennett curse has bought me to tears more than once, and the stress of the game often causes me to dry retch – so much so everyone at work knows if it is another loss not to expect me in the office on Monday. Yes I know this is madness, but hey everyone has their vices.

Like my sister-in law who was doing her own form of a Primal Challenge and on Day 2 sent me the below text –

Crashed already. Just had a choc ice cream…..

Nooooo!

The reason I’ll never be skinny…..

 Unfortunately for her, I don’t think ice-cream is her only vice, but the love of food – all types of food (sorry Heidi, I’ll bake you that chocolate tart for the weekend to make it up to you).

And my biggest vice (excluding the Hawthorn footy club) is a few drinks on a Friday night to get the weekend in gear.

I can substitute food almost without worry – but why is it that a tall glass of soda water and lemon over ice does not have the same feel for it without the vodka?

What can I replace it with that has some flavor and tricks me into thinking I am unwinding after a long week?

Why does my constant winging about it make me sound/feel/act like a recovering alcoholic?

And why can’t Hawthorn beat Geelong!!!???

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