First off, this feels like Week 10, not the end of Week 2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I am getting used to this ‘regime’ (there’s no other word for it, really), but I flipping miss coffee. And cheese. And wine.
I started off the week by making, as promised, a broccoli and spinach soup. Everything went fine, until it came to the taste, not that it tasted horrible, it just didn’t taste of anything at all. I am finding that everything I’m cooking, I have to add shedloads of salt to, and that can’t be good, on so many levels. But not being able to use stock cubes is proving a bit problematic. Mum emailed me a quick DIY veggie stock recipe, but I’ll admit I haven’t gotten around to it yet, so that will probably be on the To-Do List this week.
Days are easily taken care of, as I never get bored of bananas, or my melon, raspberry & cucumber salad (tuna salad on alternate days). My stomach has definitely shrunk, so I’m rarely hungry if I stick to these two failsafes. It’s the evenings when I start to pace the floor and hallucinate. Every time I open a cupboard, I see Breville sandwich toasters, pizza wheels and big boxes of eggs, but none of those things exist in my garret.
Monday and Tuesday, I got by on the tried-and-tested Cod & Sweet Potato Chips, and I solved the problem of how to get those chips crispy – throw them in a bowl with EV olive oil and a ton of salt, and coat liberally before baking. Magic. But a girl should not live on chips, even if they are low calorie ones. And then something even more magic than crispy chips happened….my meat box arrived!!!
If you’re a dedicated carnivore, like me, then you’ll understand my pain when I say it had been ten whole days without meat of any kind and I was going crazy. I was also skint, so I’d resigned myself to being veggie for an entire month, but I only lasted a week before I forced myself and my copper jar to Coinmaster, and cobbled together enough cash to be able to order the smallest meat box ever from Athleat. Just some chicken breast fillets and some beef & pork meatballs, all grass/naturally fed, not a grain in sight. Over that first weekend, I would salivate at the thought of cooking up a chicken stir fry, although I hadn’t a clue what to do with the meatballs that didn’t involve tomato sauce.
When the box arrived, I was beyond excited. They’d said delivery would be “between 7am and 7pm”, and I was up, dressed and waiting by the door with a knife and fork, by 6.59am. I stayed there, without moving, until the box arrived at 2.47pm, whereupon it took me another half an hour to actually find the meat, on account of it being packed up in five tons of ice packaging and those silver insulation sheets you see wrapped around runners at the end of the London Marathon. Athleat sure do care about providing excellent quality organic meats to their customers, but I don’t think they’re that bothered about saving the environment any time soon.
No matter. I had chicken. I HAD CHICKEN! It was all I could do not to stir fry the whole lot and just pig out in front of ten episodes of “Gotham”, but I was very good, and found that these fillets were so huge, I could easily chop each one in half and make 12 meals. What’s more, each fillet was only £2.49, and weighed 310g. Go to Tesco and look at the faux-organic chicken fillets there, and you’ll pay twice as much for half the weight. Similarly, the meatballs were huge, 8 in a pack but 4 would more than suffice for one meal. I meant to take pictures of it all, but I was so consumed with chicken passion, I completely forgot.
So dinner that night (well, 4pm… I couldn’t wait) was a glorious affair. I felt like Henry VIII at one of his royal feasts. Spoilt for choice, I reluctantly put the meatballs and five and a half chicken fillets back in the freezer and grabbed a recipe from Tara’s book for tomato-free marinara sauce. It’s basically a sweet potato, carrot and beetroot soup, thinned out for sauce. I didn’t think it could taste tomato-y at all, but it did. That, with the stir-fried chicken, pak choi, spring onions and ginger, was delicious.
So, mentally back on track, I couldn’t wait for Thursday so I could try out the meatballs. I’d made a batch of the sauce, half of which I froze and the rest to be used on the meatballs, with some broccoli and cauliflower. Just smelling them as they cooked in the oven, was a little piece of heaven. They were big balls (yeah, yeah…) and noticeably devoid of the added water or fat that you get with most shop-bought meatballs. Every gram from the box was 100% meat. Such a simple meal, meatballs and sauce, and I treasured every morsel. So far, so good.
Then it was Friday, and things went a little awry. Not food-wise, just the-way-I-feel-wise. For starters, I didn’t sleep well. I was waking up nearly every hour, on the hour. My Fitbit told me later that I’d finally fallen asleep at around 5am, but I didn’t wake again until 12.30pm, which threw the day into some disarray (I’d grown used to my scheduling, especially meals, and now I was out of kilter). Rushing, I headed straight out for my daily walk to the London Road market to stock up on fruit and veg when, just as I was negotiating prices on the honeydew melon, I suddenly felt very dizzy and light-headed. Not nauseous, so much as that feeling you get when you’ve just got off a waltzer. It was unusual – I don’t get dizzy, not even after five bottles of Rioja – but I knew I had to abandon the shopping and just get home as I was genuinely afraid I might keel over. The rest of the day was spent in bed, waiting for the room to stop spinning.
As I lay there, I realised I’d not eaten anything at all since getting up, not even my morning bananas. Perhaps that was the reason. Maybe this new regime has altered my blood sugar so drastically, I’m now not getting enough good sugar, as opposed to too much of the bad. I ate the bananas and did feel better an hour or so afterwards. I even managed more meatballs although, not to put too fine a point on it, I did spend an awful long time in the little girl’s room afterwards. Too much, too soon? Maybe my carnivorous side will have to ease itself more gently back into the ways of the meat…
It’s been back to normal this weekend, no lasting effects, just a blip in the grand scheme of things. Lesson: take it easy. So it’s been a mixed week but now I’m in more of a routine, there’s stuff in the freezer, I kind of know what I’ll be eating each day, so I don’t have to think too much about it, and I still have plenty of recipes to try. I have a spare beetroot and need ideas about what to do with it. Anyone?
HS-wise, things continue to calm down. Slightly less aggravated than last week, so it’s all still heading the right way.
Things I’ve Learned This Week
1. Slow down
I know that 10 days without meat doesn’t sound a long time, but our bodies are wizards at adapting to a change in diet. So they’re going to be a bit shocked when you suddenly reintroduce something they thought you’d got rid of.
2. Eat breakfast
I know everyone says it’s the most important meal of the day but, to be honest, even before this elimination diet, I’ve never been big on breakfast. Sometimes I don’t eat anything before noon, and that’s not unusual for me. So when I got dizzy the other day, it didn’t occur to me that it was do with missing breakfast. But then I realised something else. Although I may not have been a big brekkie person, I was a massive coffee person. Every day I’d have three giant mugs of coffee before doing anything. That was my breakfast, and that was what kick-started every day. So coffee abstinence + lack of breakfast, is probably going to have an effect. I now keep bananas on my bedside table so it’s the first thing I do when I wake up – eat.
3. Detoxing gives you spots
Seriously, I’m breaking out like a teenager here. Maybe it’s just a sign of all the nastiness leaving my body and, although I’ve never had supermodel skin, I hope to get back to my comfortable 42-year old skin very soon. It’s a good job I’m in self-imposed exile because even if I was ready to face the dreaded ‘social situation’ and all the temptations that entails, I’d have to do it with a bag over my head.
Average daily calorie intake: 1128
Energy level: 6/10
HS severity: 5/10
Weight loss: 1lb (that’s meat, for you…)
Total weight loss (14 days): 5.5lbs