Make 2015 Your Play-Thing

Hey! You! Happy new year!

Hope you’ve welcomed 2015 with optimism and positivity.
Got goals? Resolutions?  You got this!

image

No, it won’t happen overnight (where’s the fun in that?) but you’ve got a whole year, if you start today.

Get up now.  Do something to take step closer to achieving that goal.  Do it often enough and you’re sorted.

It’s the 2nd here, and I’m 2 days into my sugar-ditching diet overhaul. 
How is it?  I’ll cut you for chocolate – covered almonds. 
I. Will. Cut. You.
But, I haven’t caved.  Baby steps because change takes time.

IQS: Week Seven – What Next?

There’s not a lot to Week Seven that hasn’t been covered in the earlier weeks.  The point now is to really solidify those habits and make sure that you know how to deal with going “off track” – because it will happen.  That’s life.

For me, this means experimenting more.  Getting familiar with more foods and recipes that will keep me on track.  Finding ways to prevent myself from getting distracted from this cleaner way of eating.  To keep myself excited and interested.

The last thing I need to is to get bored, distracted and wander off down the sticky, sweet, sugary path of relapse.

This week is going to be about finding ways to keep me on track long term.  Beyond the end of Week Eight when the plan officially ends.

I’m going to keep going.  
And I feel good about this. 

IQS – Weeks Five & Six: Feelin’ Good!

It’s been a bit difficult finding stuff to post about in the fifth (& then sixth) week, because at this stage these habits I’m trying to develop are starting to feel normal;

Reading labels and avoiding food with too much sugar?  Normal. 
Explaining to nay-sayers why I eat this way?  Normal. 
Not chasing every meal with a sweet-treat?  Normal. 
Cooking my own food:  Normal.

Then there are the really good parts that stood out at first that I now expect of my body;

Not dealing with the mid-afternoon sugar crash?  Normal. 
Trusting my body to tell me when it’s hungry?  Normal.
To be able to eat dairy without issue?  Normal.
(That last one’s a big deal for me – more on it in a later post!)

The weight-loss has slowed, with no notable loss over the last two weeks, but my body has changed so much.  A lot has to do with the training I’ve been picking up – but a lot also has to do with the way I’m listening to my body.  If it’s hungry, I eat.  If it’s not hungry, I’ll wait a bit before starting dinner.  

I have not been counting calories.  I have not been worried about my portion sizes.  I eat until I’m full, and I don’t feel guilty about leaving food on my plate.  Any leftovers just get packaged up with lunch the next day.

I have a confidence in my body – and in my understanding of my body – that I didn’t have six weeks ago.  I love that!

The one thing I’m struggling to give up is artificial sweeteners in my drinks.  Namely Coke Zero.  But I’ve found ways to reduce my intake from what it was.  This is a slow part of the journey, and I’m happy to take my time – as long as I don’t go backwards.

Headed into Week Seven, I don’t know if there’s much that will be different from Week Six.  So much of this is habit now, that – apart from these posts – I’m not actually thinking about the process as separate, individually identifiable weeks.  They’re all just part of the process.

Here’s to keeping up the habit!

IQS: How I’m Snacking

When all you want is a piece of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, there isn’t a lot that will fill the void.

This fact messes with your head even more than the initial craving and – if you don’t cave – it can send your enjoyment of the evening plummeting downward until it crashes and burns somewhere between Gimmiechipsville and Stuffitimgoingtobedopolis.  The further you can get from the first one, the better you’re doing.

But what if you don’t want to just give up or give in?

This evening I was faced with this exact situation.  I had a nice peppermint tea in hand, ready to settle down for the evening and bang I wanted chocolate and nothing else.  Straight away I hit Google to find me some nice recipes to use the 100% cocoa powder  I had in the cupboard.  Straight away I found hundreds of thousands of recipes.  Some of them even fit within the plan – making the most of stevia and coconut creams.  But none of them were quite what I wanted.

What was it then?  What exactly was I after if it wasn’t a cocoa-based recipe?

The familiar comfort of melting a piece of creamy chocolate in my mouth.  I wanted to be able to melt it across my tongue so it was heavy and thick, until I was ready to swallow and get my next piece.

I wanted the habit.  The ritual of eating a piece of chocolate.  Not necessarily the chocolate itself. 

So how could I replicate that feeling, that process, the ritual without a piece of chocolate?

I had no freaking clue until I was standing in front of my pantry, scanning the shelves as if chocolate would magically appear and all my thinking was over.  Thankfully, no chocolate was spotted (because I would’ve broken down and scoffed the lot!).

Instead, I found the next best thing.  Almond butter.  

This stuff is perfect.  It’s thick.  It’s creamy.  It’s got a rich taste that leaves you savouring it as it works its way across your tongue.

As an added emotional bonus, this stuff is ridiculously expensive here – so it has the feeling of luxury, too.

IMG_3675

Paired up with some appropriate crackers, or with a bit of cheese, it makes a great dessert.  If you want it a little earlier in the day, dip into it with carrot sticks or celery.  If you’re not cutting out all fructose, then pair it with a crisp green apple and be prepared for your tastebuds to weep at the sheer perfection of the combination.

Peanut butter’s tasty.  But almond butter makes me squeal.

What’s your favourite ‘go-to’ snack when you’re about to fall off the sugar-crazed wagon?

Fluffy Pumpkin and Chia Muffins

IMG_1119Baking without sugar is something that take a little experimenting with to get right.

If you have Sarah’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ book, you may have already tried her Fluffy Pumpkin and Chia Muffins.   I made them this afternoon, while the weather was deciding what it was going to do.  It was the best decision I could have made because these were delicious.

The muffins are quite dense, even though they’re referred to as ‘fluffy’.  The eggs add a fluffy-touch, but these things could still break windows if thrown hard enough (but nothing like Lucy Liu’s Chinese Fighting Muffins)

IMG_1120The best thing about these babies is that they’re made from real ingredients.  I have absolutely no issue putting any one of the ingredients into my body.  Even the sweetener is natural (stevia), and not manufactured in a test tube.

While I can’t replicate the recipe here, you can find a copy of Sarah’s recipe over here.

If you’re interested in giving them a go, please do.  You’ll be glad that you did (even if it’s so that you know you don’t like them).

These beauties are quick to make, tasty, portable for a breakfast on the run, and I’ve been assured that they freeze well.  I’m certainly looking forward to munching on these over the next few days!

Yum, yum!

IMG_1118