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.

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 23

As many of us know, some more than others, eating food is often an emotional thing. It can bring comfort during stress or sadness, to those both eating it and those making it, and celebrations often revolve around it.

During exams I used to stock up on energy drinks and packets of lollies and chocolate. All the things I thought I needed to wash down the multiple cups of coffee between studying. In the romantic comedies we love to hate, during the epic post break up scene the lead female is generally pictured tucking into ice cream, or chocolate, eating peanut butter or jelly straight from the jar. How many times have we said we are only eating it because ‘we are having a bad day’? The moment something we want to celebrate happens in our lives, we arrange to go out for dinner, or drinks.

We over eat to compensate for something, we eat the wrong types of food because we are too mentally drained to think about what we should be eating, or we forget to eat because our mind is simply elsewhere.  Or on the flip side, we eat that extra piece of cake because it’s a special occasion, or because we ‘deserve it’ and that extra bottle of champagne is popped because we have worked hard, and now its time to celebrate.

When someone dies, food is often the easiest way people can communicate and show they care. Fridges and freezers are full of home cooked meals, many of which will never get eaten by those left behind to grieve.

What we put into our mouths is often the result of the way we are feeling, and can also impact the way we continue to feel.

Today was an emotional day for my family as we said goodbye to one of our own, and if there was any day I was tempted to break the challenge it was today.

But I didn’t.

I over compensated and packed not only my breakfast, but also those making the four-hour car trip with me. My bacon & egg muffins 3.0 went in one container, my sister’s vegetarian version (3.1) went into another. A (small) container of almonds and macadamia nuts to share with my sister-in-law who has kept dairy but is otherwise desperately trying to eat primal. One green apple for me. A bottle of water for each of us.

We set off early.  The muffins were gone before we had even reached the freeway, so Colac was our first stop for breakfast. I put up with more ridicule from my brother, who this time also thought it hysterical to pile a teaspoon full of white grain sugar and wave it in front of me chanting ‘take your medicine’. I might point out at this stage he is 30 years old. I managed to find a smashed pumpkin with poached eggs and rocket breakfast – hold the feta thank you.

Probably one too many coffees – two long blacks before 10am and another at 2pm. It was the only thing (apart from water) I sought out during the post service gathering. Party pies and packaged hot food was waved before me, white bread sandwiches stacked high on tables were a popular favorite.  I’m sure there were other items but I never went over to the table to see just exactly what was there. I didn’t quite trust myself.

Then the cakes.  Larger than I have ever seen before lamingtons with extra cream in the middle. Lemon slice, caramel slice and my sister-in-laws favourite, jelly slice.

I could see her eyes light up when she saw that red topped sweet being unpacked by the church ladies behind the counter, the jelly glistening in the light, its slight wobble throwing teasing shadows in our direction.

me – Don’t do it.

her – But it’s my favourite.

me – It’s not worth it.

youngest sister pipping in – I’m going to have some

me – Not helping.

I lost sight of her for a moment as my grandmother bought over a stranger who had at one time babysat me when I was two and visiting Warrnambool with my family. No sorry, I didn’t remember I was muttering, eyes searching the crowd for Heidi.

I found her, not one piece of jelly slice in hand. Still I was not confident in her determination, her sweet tooth would give most of the elderly that were around us that day who used to bake for a living a run for their money – and we were in the country so that was saying something.

I bet it’s not even homemade.

I assured her when I eventually made my way through the crowd and was able to take my post as bodyguard once again.

You reckon?

Nope, look at it, its all the same size. Look at the base.

In truth, I wasn’t that sure of its roots. It could have been homemade, I was just looking for excuses.

Ill just go have a look at it.

I kept my eye on her again, but I need not have worried. Again she returned empty handed, and for the next few hours the jelly slice, along with all the other food types on our banned substance list (which was everything available) remained uneaten.

Which meant by the time 3:30 came, we were positively starving.

I shared the nuts, well really she took one handful and I had the rest (we were in separate cars) and when they were gone I downed the green apple. Heidi had told me a recent trick of hers was to eat protein just before the fruit. It would mean the sugar levels in fruit would not just spike your insulin, so you felt fuller, and it would also mean I didn’t binge on nuts as much.

I followed the advice, and I’m not sure if it was because I had run out of nuts or because I had no other food with me and still a three hour drive ahead before we stopped in Geelong for dinner, but I didn’t feel hungry anymore.

On the way to dinner Heidi sent me a text –

My self control today deserves a mention

For sure! By passing the jelly slice in a tough emotional situation… Big mention.

And she did! Not one rule broken today. Not one sweet, not one sandwhich. Not one piece of toast  – even the gluten free toast – at breakfast.

Dinner in Geelong meant more ridicule from my brother. I was ready to eat my arm off but instead ordered crispy skin salmon with the green beans, no butter, and hold the lentils but can I please have a green salad instead no dressing?

The food came and was quickly eaten. I always leave the salad for last and the first forkful revealed it was not naked as I required but fully dressed with what I thought was vinegar and olive oil – but couldn’t be sure.

But I was emotional, and hungry. And so I ate the salad and thought if there was any sugar in that vinegar dressing then too bad. I had made my choice, eat it and be full. Heath (my ridiculing brother) took great delight in taking a photo of me eating said salad and promising to put it on his blog, which was all about failed challenges….

I ignored him (again) and was just thankful I had not spent the entire eight hour car ride up and back today listening to his jeers, jokes and jibes over my eating behavior.

A BIG shout out however to his better half over her refusal of the jelly slice, and an even bigger one to all my family, both here and in Warrnambool as we remember beloved Sandi.

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The Primal Challenge Day 22

Like any normal Sunday this one was spent preparing my food for the week. I say ‘normal’ but really it has only been three Sunday’s and apparently you have to do something between 21 and 28 times to make a difference.  Regardless of that, my Sunday saw me making and eating food.

 First off was my own chicken stock, (receipe thanks to Sarah Wilson) so I was sure it was sugar free. I used an organic chicken and simmered that baby for over six hours with some lovely aromatics like onion, salt, pepper, celery and carrot.

While the chook was on the go, I moved to the slow cooked rib recipe courtesy of Jake, although I did have to change a few ingredients thanks to my now almost empty vegetable supply.

When the stock was simmering and the ribs were slow cooking I headed over to Mum’s for a roast pork lunch. I took my own vegetables – parsnips and sweet potato roasted in coconut oil, and steamed green beans and tried to not ask if the pig had been roaming free in a grass paddock or was trapped in a cage being chased by needle holding farmers pumping my pork full of preservatives.

Either way, lunch was delicious. Although when the hot homemade apple crumble came out for dessert I declined, and had to waive away my mother’s protests.

There is nothing in here you can’t eat

What’s in it?

Oats, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, apples, a bit of honey…

So the only thing in there I can eat is the cinnamon and some of the apple.

We’ll try the zucchini slice then.

You put flour in that too. That is gluten.

It’s only a little bit.

It doesn’t matter, just like when Grandma put a ‘little bit’ of bacon into the vegetarian quiche – then it’s not vegetarian anymore.

No word of a lie. My grandma did actually put bacon into her quiche she had made especially for my vegetarian sister, and then got angry when she wouldn’t eat it.

No, it won’t kill us, nor will cutting off one of my feet, but I don’t want to do that either.

After lunch I returned to the safety of my own kitchen and tried to forget about my mother’s sighs and my brother’s jeers at my blog. He is sure nobody would want to read it, and does not understand why I am doing it, posting useless dribble up on a site when I’m not that interesting to begin with.

A pillar of support and constructive criticism from someone who has not read one post… but he is right, I’m not that interesting.

So I won’t bore you with details of how I emptied the vegetables from my stock, added them to the ribs rather than discarding them, shredded the chicken to use it in salads and lunches and dinners during the week and froze Tupperware containers of my primal paleo sugar free stock before moving onto my own version of egg & bacon muffins, let’s call them 3.0.

They were quite tasty, recipe below –  

  • 9 eggs (from happy, free-range chickens)
  • 12 long, skinny slices of bacon (Cannings)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 tin coconut cream
  • 1 onion
  • 2 spring onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil

Method via primal junction website.

I even made two with no bacon for my vegetarian sister in preparation for our road trip tomorrow.

My blog bagging brother gets nothing.

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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 6

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Last night was the first time I really craved something sweet. And like the buzzing of a mosquito hiding in a dark hot summers room, once I noticed it was there it annoyed the shit out of me.

Dinner was fine. Left over lamb cutlets and salad. My mineral waster was fine. Everything was fine. But come 8pm I had an itch that was in desperate need of scratching. No matter what I had said previously about sugar and how it held nothing for me, that I barely ate it, could easily go without, the realization that I was in fact addicted to it in someway shape or form, came crashing down with a hard reality

I tried to keep busy.

Two loads of washing, paying bills, fixing the modem that Telstra has somehow blocked so my new iinet account cant work on it – yeah thanks – don’t think that fight is over, watching the football.

Nothing worked.

By 8:30 I was googeling paleo friendly dessert.

Oh and the tasty things that came up!

Dark chocolate cake, almond meal cheesecake, cookies, rum balls, even mousse.

All of these delicious delicacies only made my itch larger and fuelled an already blazing fire, for while these wonderful clean eating desserts were paleo friendly, not one was entirely clean enough for the Primal Challenge. Dark chocolate, maple syrup, they all called for something on the banned substance list.

I was almost a shaking, drooling mess by the time I found the pancake recipe.

Almond meal pancakes. And I had all the ingredients. I found my trusty pancake mixing bowl, tried to ignore the standard recipe printed inside and its call out for ½ cup white sugar, and mixed my paleo, sugar free pancakes consisting of almond meal, eggs, water and coconut, with a fever paced flurry and hint of madness.

The pan barely had a chance to heat before I was pouring in the first round blob of goodness.

As I watched the sides bubble and darken, ready to be flipped, I wanted nothing more than to flip the half cooked savior into my salivating mouth.

Instead I showed restraint and made myself cook all six of the darlings before even tasting one.

Then they were on a plate (or at least two of them) and I was ready to dig in.

They were a little dry.

And dense.

And the texture was not great, mostly due to the overexcited amount of coconut I used.

To be frank, they didn’t cut it and I was disappointed and my craving was still there.

And then I remembered the honey sitting only feet away from me, hiding snug in the pantry door.

All natural, nothing artificial added honey.

Could this be the one time my inner cave man found their honeycomb after months of searching?

I took the squeeze bottle out of the pantry door and smelt it. I even turned the lid and squeezed it a little to watch the liquid gold push up to the top of the bottle.

I knew this was not right. This was not ok. But still I wanted it so bad. And I can’t even remember the last time I ate honey.

Before I could dwell on it any longer I hid the honey back in the pantry and sprinted the ten steps to where my ipad was and quickly typed an SOS to primal junction.

Hi friends, can you please confirm if honey is in or out for the challenge?

I was so desperate I wrote it twice.

And then the news I had dreaded came back to me…

Hey Stace, for the challenge it’s out – we’re trying to get rid of the sugar addiction and your brain doesn’t register the different types, be it natural or refined – it’s all sugar! So you’re still really feeding that addiction. Try and avoid it if you can…sorry

I think I knew it already.

So with a sigh and a shake of my head, I went back to my dry almond meal sugarless pancakes. I forced down two with the help of a few frozen berries (if that’s not ok then shoot me now) and put the rest in the fridge for Saturday’s breakfast.

I’ll admit. I was not in a good way. I went to bed unsatisfied and didn’t even see the end of the footy.

Saturday was a new day. Boxing with a friend who since meeting Kacey at the Primal Junction clean eating seminar has taken up yoga at Kula, and then vegie shopping at Richmond market. Fantastic!

Boxing was tough. Tougher than the week before when I was fuelled by a white wine and Thai food hangover. Today my legs felt sluggish and heavy and by the end of the session even holding up the pads was hard work.

I remembered the week before where I was almost sprinting between the circuit to now where every step felt like I was walking up Mount Everest with a 40k pack on my back, and hoped this was just another phase in my body recovering and preparing to be the mean, lean fighting machine I had promised myself it would be come.

Post boxing I dragged myself to the market. I stocked up on kale, celery, cauliflower, parsnips, pumpkin, avocados (I think I got 10 in total from at least three different stalls just to keep the competition alive) lemons and lettuce. I only stopped shopping because my bag was so heavy and my arms so tired I couldn’t carry anymore.

Despite my failed pancake effort the night prior, I dragged them out of the fridge again and glared at them with determination. You will be tasty!

Two poached free-range eggs, four pieces of organic Cannings bacon, half an avocado later and they were!

Delicious!

So delicious I forgave them for last nights effort and promised I would give them another crack further down the 30-day line.

So delicious I had to cook up another serve for my father in law who came over just as I was finishing them.

So delicious I have already run out of eggs and bacon.

So delicious I pepped myself up, forgot about my withdrawal symptoms night before and vowed the rest of Saturday would be a new Day 6 day!

But again, let’s curb that enthusiasm. It’s lunchtime Saturday, and a big football game still to come.  I’m trying not to think about it, because frankly, it could just be my tipping point.

Oh Day 6 how will you end!?

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The Primal Challenge Day 1

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I spent yesterday subconsciously trying to eat everything I could that had moved its way to the “not so healthy” list of food groups.

Correction.

Post Saturday’s Primal Junction seminar with Lizzy Marsh at CrossFit Hawthorn East I spent the weekend eating (and drinking) everything I could, that come Monday morning would no longer be on my shopping list.

Homemade pizza with real full of gluten pizza dough, topped with wilted baby spinach, processed prosciutto and full fat bocconcini and goats cheese.  Vegetarian lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, vanilla bean crème brulee, steak sandwich with hand cut twice cooked skin on chips, lemon grass and coriander chicken with hokkien noodles.  A full bottle of white wine (Saturday) and the sugary goodness of a few too many pints of Bulmar’s cider and another few of full strength Carlton draught (Sunday) – you can’t go to the footy and not drink –right?

Wrong.

Well at least for the next four weeks.

Let’s hope the winning streak of Hawthorn continues, something I am already stressed about given its Geelong v Hawks this weekend and a game that normally always drives me to drown my sorrows, but that is another blog post.

I can hear many of my friends laughing to themselves, or worse still, trying to pick up their jaws from the clean eating ground. Yes, I have succumbed. Yes me, miss “everything in moderation” that used to scoff at your decisions to go gluten free, to cut out dairy, or worse still to give up the grog, has decided to do all three.

Whether for curiosity, to awake my not so dormant competitive spirit (just try to tell me I won’t make it) or simply because then I can really argue with you about the importance of not cutting out food groups, I’m not yet sure.  All I know is that from today for the entire month of July I am doing Primal Junction, 30 Day Challenge.

And no, this is not some ruse to hide it; I am not pregnant (sorry Grandma).

But I am scared.

I am not sure what will be harder, the no dairy aspect, or the fact since looking at it, 90% of my “I thought I was healthy” diet belongs in the grains category that has now been moved to the ‘not right now’ shelf. Breakfast was muesli with yoghurt (fail) snacks were fruit and muesli bars (another fail) and dinner was pasta, rice or noodles (epic fail).

Sugar and I have never been really good friends so breaking up with the Miss Sweetener won’t be that hard when she is dancing centre stage. However reading the nutritional guides shows that the sweat assassin often pirouettes around in the background in her unhealthy tutu and finding her backstage might be a bit harder than first thought.

Alcohol is was a weekend thing, and really more of a social play. Who doesn’t love going out for dinner with a few good friends and even better wine? That reminds me, I am going out for dinner tomorrow night with a good friend, and now some so good soda water….

Again, I can hear my friends laughing, muttering in disbelief to themselves. I used to be the one to roll her eyes in annoyance when we went out for dinner and you recited to the waiter what you couldn’t eat, would cover the wine glass with your hand before they could fill it, would sit silently while the rest of us carried on and ordered dessert – now this is me!

Oh the social stigma! Maybe that is the biggest challenge more so than the food. I haven’t even told my husband yet of the change, knowing his first question will be why? And the second, what am I going to eat?

A few hours in, and only breakfast behind me I am feeling ok.  I managed to convince the work café to poach me two eggs and flagged down the barista before he had time to make my regular skinny latte, screaming like some crazed animal that I wanted a long black today and don’t even think about putting milk in my coffee!

Maybe I really have gone primal.

By lunch time I could be well and truly primitive.

Lucky I am not alone.  There is a ‘clan’ of us bound by the clean eating challenge, who I know, if need be, will join me in a soda water or kale smoothie and listen to my troubles. Bec and Lizzy from Primal Junction will feed me with their MOD (meal of the day) and answer all of my annoying and often boundary pushing question, and as a group we can experience the withdrawals of removing the processed and pasteurized and move into the new primal era.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to post every meal for each of the 30 days.

Phew I can hear your relief from here – already bored by my enthusiasm and b-grade blogging skills? Don’t worry they will taper off, remember it is only day one and everything is still new and exciting. Feel free to comment or add your own thoughts/ideas/challenges/remarks – like the blog is not that exciting to begin with.

I had to post this however as it looks incredibly tasty, and is something I would have eaten before the 30 day challenge! Which I find somewhat reassuring and take comfort that a) I was doing semi ok to begin with and b) it’s not that much of a change.

I have always been fond of the simple salad – although admittedly lamb and feta was one of my favorites. This little Tupperware container of goodness is your standard green salad with some tuna added, and a good half of some friendly fats in the form of our friend Mr Avocado.

Still feeling good and actually fuller than what I normally would at this time of the day. Having just finished lunch (another salad bonus is it takes longer to eat than your simple soup) I find currently no need to look for a greedy grains or secret sugar intake aka muesli bar.

I’m sure there are other ‘better’ lunch options, but hey its Day 1!

Lunch - Simple Salad