Whole 30 Recap

I know I stopped documenting the progress of my Whole 30 half way through – I’ve been madly busy getting the new blog ready to launch in May and my training has taken a steep curve. Thankfully it’s all going well. In the mean time I figured I best do a quick recap and let you all know how it went. I am happy with the result but feel that with better planning and consistency I could achieve a lot more. I plan to do my second Whole 30 in May this year, hopefully with even better results!

My Whole 30 journey has been a long and tough road, I slipped up badly, I started again; had highs and lows, and for every bad day there was an equally awesome day. I finished, just. Firstly, I need to thank Dallas and Melissa Hartwig for their awesome book “it starts with food”, which was there to remind me of all the reasons I was doing this every time I felt like giving up. I had people along the way who doubted me, who thought I was insane, and almost every person in my life tried to get my to veer off course at every opportunity they had. I may have easily fallen down on any one of the bad days I had, but I didn’t; I’ve noticed as I get older that my resilience, determination and willpower have grown in leaps and bounds – I still have a way to go, but a former me would have given up in the first week of the Whole 30.

WHOLE30 finished

The benefits of the Whole 30 were numerous; my sugar cravings are completely gone; I no longer find baked goods (even Paleo ones) nearly as attractive as I once did and am therefore feeling lighter as a result of not eating them. I have found an altogether healthier love of food and am thoroughly enjoying the super clean diet, long may this continue! My energy levels, although up and down at first, stabilised to a consistent level I have never felt before, keeping me balanced and ready for anything. As a result, my training has improved markedly and I feel stronger and fitter than I have in quite some time.

I think everyone should try the whole 30 at least once. I honestly believe it will benefit your life no matter who you are. It takes a bit of courage and a lot of willpower, but the end result goes beyond simple ‘nutrition’ or ‘diet’ – it changes who you are and your relationship with food for the long run. This is not a quick fix, and it is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. It’s personal, it’s exactly what YOU need as an individual and it is likely to benefit your health for the rest of your life. Please don’t take my word for it, go out and try it yourself – but read the book first, because if I haven’t managed to convince you, then this definitely will.

 

Eating Out Dilemmas

Eating out on a Whole 30 can be challenging; what’s made it particularly difficult are some of the restaurant waiting staff I have encountered on my recent culinary journeys. A good restaurant with well trained waiting staff who are helpful and understanding can make a world of difference when trying to enquire about the possible dairy and grains which might be lurking inside an apparently harmless, seemingly whole 30 compliant meal. You can’t be too careful when it comes to these hidden nasties and believe me, there are many more than you might think. This doesn’t just apply to eating out when on a Whole 30, anyone who eats a relatively Paleo diet will find that certain restaurants cater better to our fairly basic food requirements than others. It’s easy enough to leave out all the simple carbs, but sugars and dairy hide in the most unlikely places and can sometimes be tough to spot on a menu description; I mean it’s not like you can simply read an ingredients list from the packaging.

#Whole8

A lot of waiting staff, if they don’t know the exact content of a meal, will be kind enough to ask the kitchen and help you on your way to making the right choice; exceptional waiting staff will know the answers, make alternative suggestions or advise the kitchen to leave out certain parts of the meal to keep within your specifications. These are rare and extremely welcome when on a Whole 30; the issue I have is when I have to fork out a reasonable chunk of change to dine out at a ‘good’ restaurant, only to encounter unhelpful, uninformed and sometimes rude waiting staff who are simply unaware of what goes into each dish and who are unable or unwilling to meet your requirements.

Sunday lunch (day 8 of the Whole30) was a wonderfully simple meal at Dean Street Townhouse where I experienced some of the most attentive and extremely helpful waiting staff I’ve come across during the Whole 30. Monday night’s dinner was quite the opposite; I took my mum out for a quiet dinner at Villandry on Great Portland Street where the waiting staff were not only rude and inattentive, but had absolutely no idea what each dish contained, nor did they make any effort to assist in obtaining any information from the kitchen. Quite besides the food lacking in flavour, the entire experience made it quite difficult to stomach the £60.00 bill for only a few simple starters. Disappointing, to say the very least.

#Whole7

To recap the last few days of my Whole 30:

Day 7: Brunch of Scrambled eggs served with sauteed kale, mushroom and courgette and half an avocado. An early dinner of leftover Tricolore Paleo Pie to finish off the day, and a banana somewhere in the middle to keep me going on a lazy Saturday!

Day 8: Brunch of poached eggs with almond milk poached smoked haddock; simple and satisfying. Having arrived back in London in time for a late lunch I decided to stop by Dean Street Townhouse for an amazing Sunday Lunch which consisted of a smoked salmon and pickled cucumber starter, followed by Sea trout served with fennel, cockles and monks beard (a type of chicory); aside from having to remove the butter from the lemon sauce, the entire meal was Whole 30 friendly and utterly delicious. A big thank you to the fantastic waiting staff for their patience and helpfulness.

Day 9: Monday morning began with a gentle 15km run – long and slow and utterly fabulous in the early dawn watching the sun rise over the Thames. Sunrise is my favourite time of day for running because even on grey and cloudy days, somehow the sunrise still manages to find it’s way through the clouds and it never ceases to amaze me how incredible nature can be at the most unexpected moments. Breakfast was the usual green smoothie, followed by half a grapefruit and then a plate of scrambled egg and avocado. Light and protein packed for post run refuelling. Lunch consisted of very simple steamed broccoli, bean sprouts and spinach topped with a small grilled salmon fillet. Dinner out at Villandry – almost inedible duck breast salad, flavourless salmon tartare and overcooked lemongrass prawns with a side of equally undercooked green beans.

 

#Whole30 Days 7&8

Day 7 started well; the usual Green Smoothie followed by a hearty breakfast. I’ve been trying to work out ways in which to get more carbs into my daily diet, especially in the morning because I feel like I really need the fuel, especially if I am training. I’m also trying to have fruit which has a lower Glycemic index and is a more slow releasing sugar to try and avoid the inevitable sugar spikes. This morning’s smoothie consisted, therefore, of apples, unripe banana (the greener the banana, the lower the sugar content), pear, kale, cucumber, spinach and celery.

The glycemic index (GI) of bananas varies depending upon how ripe the bananas are. This is because a lot of the carbohydrate in green bananas is in the form of a kind of resistant starch which we lack the enzyme to digest. As the fruit ripens, the starch is converted into readily available sugars. 

#Whole30-7

Breakfast included Sweet potato, cut into thin rounds and fried in coconut oil, served with spinach, mushroom, avocado and scrambled eggs – not sure about the sweet potato but it did fill a gap and the carbs were pretty good, although I think next time maybe a mash would be better; with cinnamon. Having eaten breakfast at silly-o’clock I decided that lunch needed to something more substantial than salad; chilli and tomato roasted chicken thighs with broccoli and spinach. Nom. Dinner was a bit of a hash, I went out so it was once again difficult trying to find something I could eat; difficult, but not impossible. I ended up with a rather delicious meal of slow roasted pulled pork on a bed of salad leaves with pickled red onion which was absolutely amazing. If you are ever in the Brixton market area I seriously suggest heading to Bukowski Grill for a mean burger or pulled pork – with or without the bun. 🙂

Paying such close attention to my diet has also made me realise that my body craves sugar when I am tired, and often when I am stressed too. I ate an entire packet of Medjool Dates… quick slap of the wrist required here! For some unfathomable reason I felt my willpower waning today, I don’t know why.

#Whole30-8

Day 8 (INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY) was a pretty straightforward Friday; I didn’t quite manage breakfast so instead I wolfed down a fruit salad and 2 boiled eggs out of the simple need for fuel. I knew I was going to be making a pretty mean lunch since it was FISH PIE FRIDAY and I was trying hard to think of ways in which to keep the fish pie Whole30 friendly. It started with a morning walk through Brixton Market to see the Fishy, followed by some serious cooking later in the day. It was delicious; so delicious in fact, that I managed to eat 2 ridiculously large portions. Happy tummy. See full recipe below.

Whole30 Friendly, Friday Fish Pie:

  • 1 medium salmon fillet
  • 1 medium cod fillet (or other white fish)
  • 1 medium smoked haddock fillet
  • about 175-200g of prawns
  • 1 whole squid (about 15cm long)
  • 5 small – medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 packet of chopped spring greens or kale
  • 1 small packet of spinach
  • tenderstem broccoli
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • olive oil

#Whole30-9

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C, Gas Mark 6. Peel sweet potato and chop into large cubes and place in a pot of salted water. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until you can easily slide a knife into the soft flesh. While this is boiling, lightly fry the garlic and then add the greens and fry gently for 10 minutes on low heat. Take the sweet potato off the heat; drain, cover and leave to one side. Add tinned tomato to the greens and stir gently, turning the heat up to medium. until it comes to a gentle simmer and then turn the heat down again. Chop the fish fillets into chunks and gentle fry on medium heat in olive oil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and put to one side. Open the coconut milk and remove 1/4 cup of the liquid from the bottom of the tin and add pour over the sweet potato. Add the rest of the tin of coconut milk, along with the broccoli and spinach, to the kale and tomato; simmer for a further 5 minutes before removing from heat. Gently stir all fish into the mixture and then pour into the pie dish (you will need a large ceramic lasagne dish for this). Now take the sweet potato, add a sprinkle (or more) of cumin and mash until it’s as smooth as you want it and then spread it evenly over the top of the dish, making sure you cover the edges and corners. Place the dish in the oven and turn down to 180, Gas mark 5, bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until the top is a little brown.

Someone else cooked me dinner, which was strange since I had to explain the long list of things which I would be unable to eat, and I then had to monitor the cooking process so that nothing illegal was secretly sneaked into the meal. We ate steak (lots of steak) which was flavoured with mixed spices, chilli, lime, garlic and olive oil and served with spring onion and bean sprouts. The meat was fantastic and perfectly cooked but the lack of green vegetables saddened me slightly. I then ate more dates. FAIL! Note to self, no more dates.

#Whole30 Day 5&6

So far all is well in my #Whole30 world. Training is being amped up a little and the healthy eating is making me feel more energetic. I am hungrier and I’m eating more often, which can’t be a bad thing since I love food; I just hope I don’t turn into some food crazed monster on a permanent mission for protein! I am enjoying experimenting with my cooking and keeping everything as clean and lean as possible; it is not as challenging as I first thought and I’m enjoying the light freshness of everything. So Day 5 morning started with 1km run, 10 hill sprints, and a short WOD (10 press ups, 15 tricep dips, 20 leg raises, 30 squats, 40 lunges and 50 calf raises) plus a short 40 lengths of the pool! Then came breakfast, starting with the Green Slushy – my new Green Smoothie recipe which has made me EXTREMELY happy, and because it is making me so happy, I thought it was only fair that I share it with you all!

Green Slushy

  • 1/2 fresh Mango cut into cubes
  • 1 cup frozen yellow sweet melon, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen watermelon, cubed
  • 2 cups of Kale
  • 1 Avocado
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 to 2 cups of water, as desired (add 1/2 cup at a time)

Blend ALL the above ingredients until smooth and add the water slowly until it’s the consistency you want! For easy frozen fruit, freeze cubes in 1 cup portions for easy use.

#Whole30-5

Following this I decided to indulge in a proper breakfast frittata of courgette, bell peppers, mushroom and smoked haddock. Lunch was a bit of a rushed job and comprised only 1 smoked haddock fillet and 1 avocado, while pears and fresh pineapple snack throughout the afternoon kept me going till dinner. Dinner was a beef fillet served with a few stir fried veg – mushroom, courgette, peppers, leeks, tender stem broccoli and coriander with a dash of lime juice. Fresh whole foods and deliciousness; things that will make any tummy happy.

Day 6 was perhaps a little unimaginative on my part – more of the same. Green Smoothie: Pineapple, watermelon, pear, kale, cucumber and coconut water. Breakfast was Bacon, Haddock, Avo and Scrambled Eggs. Lunch was a super quick warm salmon salad; celery, spinach, green beans and artichoke hearts topped with a quick grilled salmon fillet. Simple perhaps, but still utterly delicious and completely satisfying. Dinner was basically salmon, lots and lots and lots of raw salmon. It was like an extreme sashimi eatathon; I think I devoured 4 portions (of 6 pieces each) of Salmon sashimi, followed by a seaweed salad and some steamed asapargus with grilled prawns in lemon juice. Trying to ask the chef in a Japanese restaurant to ‘hold the soy sauce’ was tricky, but in the end I definitely succeeded in having the cleanest Japanese meal of my life, and it felt pretty good too!

#Whole30-6

I’ve never experienced pure, unadulterated hunger on such a regular basis as I am at the moment; I can really feel the hunger pangs when I’ve been without a solid meal for a few hours, this is in part due to my new training regime but also largely down to the lack of heavy processed food and simple carbohydrates. My body is able to work through the protein and veg very quickly and when it’s all gone my body lets me know, in a very big way! I love the fact that I can eat more without having to feel guilty about it. This is the single biggest change which I am most happy about; long may the #Whole30 Hunger continue!

 

Whole30 Journey – Days 1&2

Yesterday I embarked on a Whole30 for the first time, after reading several blogs and supporting articles and speaking to several Whole30 advocates, I decided it was time to give it a go; it’s not the first time I’ve done a 30 day detox, but it is the first time I’ve done one which lets me eat meat and fish – this makes things just that little bit more awesome! If you’re reading this and thinking ‘what the hell is she on about?’ then please go and check out whole9life.com, the home of Whole30 founders Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The Whole30 is a detox programme designed around the ‘Paleo’ diet of whole foods and nothing else; caveman style! Prior to starting my Whole30 on the 1st of March, I cleared the house of all Forbidden Foods and promptly set about ordering the greenest grocery delivery I’ve ever had, which was delivered on the morning of the 1st. It felt good, like spring cleaning. For the next 29 days (I’m 1.5 days in) I will be documenting my progress here, with a blog post every second day; in addition to the Whole30 food programme I will also be taking on new fitness challenges during my 30 days which include running no less than 5 days a week, attending 2 fight classes at my local MMA gym (Stars Gym) per week and doing a lot more yoga (I seem to have slipped in my consistent practice recently). I will also be throwing in a few extra classes here and there and taking on swimming, spinning and cycling to keep myself as active as possible. This month is the Game Changer!

whole30#1

I start most days with a #GreenSmoothie – so no change there, just a little bit less fruit (cutting down on sugar, even the natural ones) and adding more vegetables. I like the fact that I don’t have to change too many eating habits, but I will be getting rid of all the bad ones and clearing out the foodie cobwebs that have appeared in certain parts of my diet since Christmas.

So, Day #1 Breakfast: Green Smoothie followed by 2 Scrambled Eggs with 1/2 an Avocado and a mix of sauted kale and tomato. Lunch was a light salad of Spinach, Celery, Artichoke Hearts and Yellow pepper, which apparently went down extremely well with my Whole30 partner in crime (yes I have inflicted this regime on some unsuspecting soul). I finished the day with a wholesome but light dinner of a single pan fried haddock fillet served with a mixed veg side made of closed cup mushrooms (5), Yellow Pepper (1/2), Cabbage (6 Large Leaves) and 1/2 a tin of chopped tomato all lightly sauted and served with a teeny sprinkle of cumin – this was SERIOUSLY good eating and tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. It just goes to show that healthy food can be exciting and taste amazing too (and it wont leave you feeling bloated and sluggish. Bonus!).

Day #2 Breakfast: 750ml Green Smoothie and 1 boiled egg for protein after a 6km run and solid 20 minute leg workout. Lunch, pictured above, was leftovers from Day #1 Dinner – the second pan fried haddock fillet served with a mixed veg side. Dinner was a bit of whimsical creation which I decided on after taking a long walk over to the farm store at a nearby farm and picking up some really lovely lean venison mince and sweet potatoes. It’s my unusual Paleo take on a Shepherds Pie – see recipe and pics below 🙂 This was truly something I have never even attempted before, but it came out well and I am pleased as punch – especially since I still have leftovers for Monday lunch which saves me cooking too much on a work day!

#Whole30-2

Venison & Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie: Serves 4

  • 500g Packet of Venison Mince
  • 1 Large Red Onion; finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves; finely chopped
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomato
  • Olive Oil

For the topping

  • 2 Medium – Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 a Savoy Cabbage (chopped as finely as you can get it!)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

Optional: Serve with a side of green veg like Broccoli or Spinach 🙂

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Place the chopped onion and garlic into a pan on a medium heat with the olive oil, saute the onion until it is clear in colour. Add the meat and break it up using a wooden spoon, gentle stir and until all the meat is lightly browned. Pour in the tomato and turn down to a medium to low heat and simmer for 30 – 45  minutes or until its a thick consistency with only a little liquid.

Turn the oven on and heat to 180 degrees c. Peel the sweet potato and chop each one into quarters, place in a pan of boiling water and boil on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft enough to mash (should be able to spike it with a knife easily). In a separate pan add coconut oil and melt on a low heat, add the finely chopped cabbage, fry this on low heat until it soft (roughly 10 minutes depending on the size of the pan). Once both of these are cooked, drain and place them in a large bowl. Mash them together gently with a little sea salt and black pepper using a normal potato masher, don’t worry if its lumpy, the texture adds to this dish! Put this aside until the meat is done.

Pour the cooked meat into a small – medium sized rectangular ceramic roasting dish, spoon the sweet potato and cabbage topping on and spread gently over the entire dish and into the corners using the back of a knife. Sprinkle cumin over the top of the dish and place in the oven for 20-25  minutes. Remove from the over and cover with foil and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving. ENJOY 🙂

PUREARTH Juice Cleanse – Day 7

Bananas, today I thought of nothing besides bananas. I thought about bananas because I was cold, tired, and thought that perhaps if I ate only a banana that I would a) feel a lot better, and b) that it wouldn’t really be cheating because it’s only one banana and bananas are fruit. No, I didn’t eat a banana; instead I beat that banana craving right out of my head. I have been true to my word and stuck it out, even though today is my Birthday and I want nothing more than to devour an entire slab of rich and sticky chocolate cake; which is unusual since I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate cake. This is neither here nor there however; the point is, today was tough. This was, I’m fairly certain, due to the fact that I had in the back of mind, the niggling thought that I could begin reintroducing food to my life tomorrow, and since I’m impatient by nature, I naturally wanted tomorrow to be today. The wait is almost over; almost, but not quite.

It’s been a very cleansing week, and one I am proud to say I have completed with flying colours; no cheating and no issues of any kind, or at least none that I can think of. Although I’m told my moods have not always been as consistent as I thought. I’ve really enjoyed the experience and although it seemed daunting and almost impossible to begin with, it does get easier, it isn’t the Everest I though it would be and I’ve come through the other side with an entirely new perspective on cleansing. I’d like to try a longer cleanse at some point, but I might wait a while as I think it would be a really great thing to do at the end of winter when my body really needs it again. It’s made me appreciate food in an entirely new way, it’s given me a chance to relax and take some time out for myself without hard exercise, and it’s helped to restore a little balance to my life. I began with no expectations and a lot of self-doubt, I have found out more about myself through this than I have during some of my hardest runs, and I have left with a sense of pride.

Not only has this been extremely beneficial physically – I have a glowing complexion, have lost a few pounds of excess water and fat, have stronger and healthier hair and nails and feel light as air – but the mental benefits have been equally profound and I really couldn’t ask for more. So, to sum this experience up in as few words as possible; it’s been emotional, it’s been fun, it’s been tough and it’s  definitely worth a try. No regrets. I have to thank the amazing Angelina, co-owner of PurEarth alongside the beautiful Tenna, who has made my journey that much more enjoyable with her constant support and her unstoppable enthusiasm; you are a diamond and I couldn’t have done it without you! If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, this is definitely the one to try; the personal attention and exceptional service make it a much smoother ride, and the juices taste pretty fantastic.

PUREARTH | http://www.purearth.co.uk | cleanse@purearth.co.uk | Tenna +44 7769 251 782 | Angelina +44 7875 263 101

PUREARTH Juice Cleanse – Day 6

I couldn’t really write this last night due to the fact that I wanted to experience it all first before sitting down to review the effects. Last night I began a full liver cleanse which was interesting, to say the least, and which I am now in the process of completing. It involves drinking a lot of Epsom Salt water, which sounds terrible, and yes, it really is awful. I can’t think of anything worse than trying to drink salt water. I started day 6 with the usual hot water and lemon, followed a Kefir (probiotic) drink which was neither very nice nor particularly unpleasant. This was swiftly followed by the usual MORNING juice and some light yoga, a bit of work and then a MID-DAY juice. The instructions I was given informed me that there would be no more juice for the day and nothing was permitted past 2 pm, until I began the liver cleanse at 6pm. Very strict rules to follow, but nonetheless helpful to someone who would otherwise be completely in the dark without them. Yesterday was extremely productive and positive and I had a fantastic day all in all, that was of course until I got home at 6 and started drinking salt water.

There isn’t much in this world that I won’t try but this is definitely a first; I haven’t simply stuck to the rules of the cleanse, I’ve gone all out to try and get the most from my detox and ensure that I receive the maximum benefits from it. It’s been really good so far, and I may have exaggerated just a little about the salt water; yes it tastes pretty foul, but the effects it has on the body are well worth it. So, with my strict guidelines in hand, I meticulously executed my intake of salt water, my evening enema, and then finally, as instructed, drank a small bottle of Olive Oil and fresh pressed Grapefruit juice immediately before bed. I then had to lie down for 30 minutes and go to sleep – hence my not being able to write this post last night as I normally would have done. This morning I woke up and had to drink more salt water; lucky me! Today is in fact Day 7, the final day of the detox; it also just so happens to be my Birthday. I am feeling pretty good, despite the salt water, and am really excited about completing the final day of this cleanse. My only hope is that I don’t undo all this hard work in the next few days with all the Birthday celebrations we have planned.