Monday, 17 September 2012

Sugar and salt free ....

I previously posted my initial efforts to ‘find myself’.  
I thought I would start with my diet and a positive routine and work from there.

Stage 1: 
I established a very loose morning routine that I seem to be able to stick to 4-5 days a week. 
Yoga (my own routine) for 30 minutes with deep breathing.
Take time to do things, no rushing.
Slow breakfast, no tv.  
Think positive calm thoughts whenever I can remind myself throughout the day.

It is going ok, minor hiccups.  

Stage 2: 
I took myself almost totally off sugar and salt, and started eating a modified version of a ‘James Duigan/Sarah Wilson/flat stomach/mainly 'home made organic’ diet.

It is a weird mish-mash of conscious eating that has had a surprising result.  I am losing weight even though I am eating more; my skin is happy and my digestion has improved.  It is a bit of extra work, but I cook/prepare for several days and just reheat.

The main premise is - most of my meals revolve around huge serves of veges and beans and fruit.  Lots of olive oil, tahini and nuts, avocados, greek yoghurt.  Green tea with lemon. Home-made oat-based muesli, at any time of the day.  Other whole-grains/bread once a day.  

The obvious side effects of a heavy veg/fruit/pulse diet don't occur, because of the oil, nuts/seeds and avocado. Olives are also supposed to help.  I read that this would be the case, and it is!  Go figure!

So, what do I do?
- I make my own bread in a bread maker (using bulk baker’s flour, not pre-packaged  which are packed with salt).  (Note: I bought my bread maker in a second hand shop for $12 and it works great!).  I slice the bread and freeze it.  Instead of using cane sugar to help the yeast along I use either honey or rice malt syrup.
- I make my own yoghurt (I use the Eziyo full fat Greek) and make my own cream cheese and whey with it.  I love yoghurt on my vege stews.
- I use the whey instead of water/buttermilk when making bread, muffins, etc.  I freeze the whey if I have too much.
- I make my own vegetable stock and freeze it.
- I sprout my own beans, almonds and chick peas. I freeze these too.
- I try to have half an avocado a day.
- Fish 2-3 times per week.  Either canned tuna in olive oil (Safcol), salmon (Safcol) or sardines in oil (Brunswick).  I choose these brands because they are sustainably fished and they taste nicer than other brands too (also; Safcol is 100% olive oil: brands like Sirena mix their oils with canola etc).  If I can, I get fresh fish. 
- An egg once or twice a week and always use one in baking where one is needed.  
- I use vegetables fresh or frozen, not canned any more (sigh, I will have to learn to make my own baked beans!) This is because of the possible toxicity of the lining inside the cans. Frozen veges include  peas, corn, broad beans and the occasional block of spinach. 
- No more tinned tomatoes.  Only passata in glass bottles, with two ingredients ‘tomato and salt’ (salt reduced version). The passata can be a bit tart, so I caramelise onions prior to adding passata and this evens things out great.
- The only veges I never eat are potatoes and garlic due to personal preference.
- I use lots of fresh and dried herbs and spices and lots of onions and leeks.
- I pour olive oil over everything after cooking. I especially love the infused oils (yum for chilli and lime).  I use grape seed oil when baking and cooking instead of butter.
- I love peanut butter and tahini and use them as thickeners in stews. 
- I sprinkle seeds and nuts over everything (I love sesame, walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sunflower).
- I have gone grain mad.  Brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley, oats, chia.
- 3-4 pieces of fresh fruit every day.  Also frozen mixed berries and dried fruit (dates, plums, apricots, raisins, sultanas).
- I never add salt – not even soy sauce.
- I never add cane sugar – a bit of honey or maple syrup for a treat and cook with rice malt syrup or 'natvia'.
- I eat dark chocolate everyday (I know – cane sugar- but it is my treat.  The Whittaker’s 85% is divine, so is their dark choc and almond) with a cup of hot chocolate (there is a sugar-free brand, Vitarium, which is really yummy).
- 3-4 days a week I have a small glass of red wine.

However, I am not ‘super strict’; If I go out to morning tea/lunch/dinner with friends, I have what I am offered or is on the menu, and enjoy it.

How does it all taste?

I missed the taste of salt more than anything else.  Food initially tasted bland, especially eggs.  Maybe I developed a cooking technique to make food taste better, or maybe my tastebuds have become more refined; food now tastes good again.

Sugar; I don’t crave it as often.  I still think an evening meal is not complete without dessert, but now it is baked apples and yoghurt or dark choc and a hot choc, or a fruit muffin or home made fruit bread and sugar free jam.

Ahhhhh what mid life crisis!

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