the Whole30: my thoughts + why it didn’t work for me

In a nutshell: it simply wasn’t the right time, the right solution or the right fit for me.

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the reason why

So I decided to complete the Whole30 because the lovely Kate, my nutritional therapist, advised I remove dairy and gluten from my diet to regulate my digestion, and the September Whole30 was about to start, and I thought it would be a good excuse for me to combine the two. So I did, and it took a great deal out of me at the beginning. My digestion took a hard hit. It is very fragile on my regular diet (mostly vegetarian, occasional animal products, lots of grains), and I didn’t give it enough time to adjust to the changes of a paleo-style diet (lots more meat, no grains).

 

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apple cinnamon pork loin from Paleo Leap

 

You may or may not know that the paleo diet includes moderate amounts of meat, fish, nuts and dairy-free animal products, as well as an abundance of vegetables. No grains, no pulses, no peanuts and no soy. You are expected to eat a moderate amount of animal and plant fat to keep you satiated. The paleo community has become renowned for recreating pancakes, cakes and tortillas employing tricks using cashews, cauliflower and avocado. Now, the Whole30 encourages the paleo part, but not the recreating part. You can read more about it here.

Continue reading “the Whole30: my thoughts + why it didn’t work for me”

10 signs you’ve become an uber foodie

Happy Thursday everyone! The summer is coming to an end, and for some reason, I have been feeling so creative this month in the kitchen! I have been making and testing plenty of new things ready for the autumn, and you can expect to see a lot more food on the BARE. blog. Lots of unsweetened, pumpkin spiced things, in particular. Nom.

So it came to my attention my foodi-ness has reached a new high. I’ve tried plantain. I like seaweed. I snack on homemade sauerkraut. I know how to make cashew cheese.

Foodies are a unique breed of people. Food is at the very heart of our lives, and nothing makes us happier than tasting new foods and testing new kitchen tricks. I thought I would round up 10, pretty good indicators that you’ve become an uber foodie.

you’ve come to like food shopping more than clothes shopping

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You would rather shop for a bagful of fresh and vibrant vegetables than have to try on a new dress. It’s so much more satisfying, looking at all those beautiful leaves and roots.

you own one too many mason jars

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#septemberwhole30 week 3: what I ate + how I feel

Wow, this week has gone by so fast. And successful in terms of non-scale victories. Like snacking. I like snacking, but I’m finally learning not to snack so much.
I’ve not been keeping track of my food so well (or taking photos of it!), but I’ll do my best to recall what I’ve been eating, making, tasting and maybe even smelling.

day 15

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Breakfast is always the same. I’m really intending to change it up next week, which’ll be the final week of my Whole30. 2 fried eggs (in coconut oil), a slice or two of bacon, and some not-so-optional avocado. Yay.
Lunch is pretty interesting. I attempt to make pork sausages out of minced pork, sage and mustard but they turn out to be incredibly wet. So I decide to hash them with some cauliflower rice instead of making patties and serve it over a black kale salad, with some sauerkraut and avocado. My dressing of choice remains the same; tahini, apple cider vinegar and some seasoning.
I don’t snack today. That is a major non-scale victory for me, because I’m normally itching to eat something in between meals. I did have a mandatory black coffee at some point, like evry day.
Dinner is a simple roast chicken, with turmeric and cumin. It turns out amazing this week, really juicy and crispy-skinned, and I serve it with some potatoes, mashed with a little clarified butter.

Continue reading “#septemberwhole30 week 3: what I ate + how I feel”

#septemberwhole30 week 2: what I ate + how I feel

It’s Sunday, two weeks into my very first Whole30. I feel like I’ve been on this for months already. I’m getting the hang of it, whilst simultaneously feeling like I am not experimenting enough in the kitchen. I know I can do better!

In terms of health improvements, my digestion is 100% improved. Amazing. Not so amazing I may have to restrict my dairy or gluten intake in the future. We shall see. Oh and my sleep. My goodness I have not slept so deeply since childhood. I put my head on the pillow and I don’t wake up until the alarm wakes me. I am so lucky to have seen results two weeks in already. If you haven’t seen much improvement, please don’t give up. I know it’s not easy, but just keep going. It only gets better.

So anyway, week 2 has been a tasty week of meals!

day 8

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Please ignore the nails. Week 2 feelz.

Breakfast is two slices of streaky bacon (I get mine from M&S. It isn’t nitrate-free, but I’m still looking. It’s sugar-free, which matters to me the most right now.), 2 eggs and an entire small avocado. I’m struggling with digesting all this meat, and I order some HCL for stomach acid. I haven’t tested it yet, but it is very likely that I have low-ish stomach acid. Hopefully my body will adapt, otherwise I will have to revert to eating more fibre-rich starches when I am done. I’m pondering transitioning back into a much lower meat diet (90% plant-based) if my body rejects the paleo movement. But I am absolutely convinced I need grains. Like oats and amaranth and buckwheat. I read an article about digestion on PaleoLeap and read that it is normal for digestion to slow down at the beginning of a paleo shift, because fats are replacing grains and grains contain bulking fibre. I might need to eat more vegetables.
For lunch, I finally got to taste my sauerkraut, which has been in the making for 10 days. It’s so delicious, I have it with romaine lettuce, boiled potatoes, garam masala chicken breast in coconut oil and a mayonnaise (from Waitrose, all natural. I fail at making my own.) and apple cider vinegar dressing.
For dinner, I make pork loin with a big kale salad, roasted potatoes and cooked cabbage. Again, very delicious. I’m getting a little comfortable with my cooking, I’ll have to keep my creativity in check.

day 9

Continue reading “#septemberwhole30 week 2: what I ate + how I feel”

september whole30: week 1, what I ate + how I feel

Happy Monday lovelies 🐭

One week down, 3 to go. We can do this. Even if our digestion is completely out of whack and we can’t stand the sight of ghee anymore. We’re fine.

I thought I would give you an insight into what I have been eating this week, at home and on the road. It’s not been easy every day, but I’m proud of pulling through!

 

day 1:

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Monday morning, post late-night pizza feels (has anyone else tried Domino’s newest pizza with fresh rocket and Prosciutto? It was so worth it.) I am craving something healthy!
For breakfast: two eggs fried in coconut oil, a quarter avocado with hot sauce (Red Hot) and some mushrooms, sautéed in coconut oil + bone broth. I normally have toast. I didn’t miss the toast.
For lunch: a crispy chicken breast on a bed of leaves with a tahini, basil, garlic, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar dressing.
For dinner: homemade beef burger patties (spiced with cumin + paprika) + roasted potatoes + crispy black kale.
I did snack on a handful or two of nuts, I must admit I hadnt quite grasped the concept of not snacking unless you absolutely need it. I promise I’ll get better.

day 2:

Continue reading “september whole30: week 1, what I ate + how I feel”

#septemberwhole30 week 1 thoughts: SWYPO

SWYPO, or Sex With Your Pants On, is the term used by Melissa Hartwig, creator of the Whole 30, to describe recipe recreations of our comfort foods using compliant ingredients. A commonly used example is banana + egg pancakes, which are not allowed, even though banana and eggs are compliant ingredients. Pancakes, waffles and anything that attempts to mimick the real deal is out, because it doesn’t serve you well. And I agree!
Apart from the initial temptation to make paleo bread and tortillas, leaving all the foods I can’t stop eating behind is not excessively hard. I’ve done it before and I know what to expect. It’s all about the mindset (and of course I know it’s hard. I’m just trying to make it easier. Tough love applies to yourself, too.)

SWYPO closely relates to ‘Foods With No Brakes’, the foods we start eating and can’t stop eating. Like potato chips or sweets. Or almond butter; Foods With No Brakes don’t have to be junk to make you crave more. I watched Melissa’s live Facebook Q+A on this topic today (day 3) and I realised I could fine tune my approach and improve it for the 27 days to come. I didn’t sit down to evaluate my Foods With No Brakes at the beginning, but it is worth doing now.

processed carbs

Carbs are a big thing for me. I love them dearly, and I’m a massive bread-lover. I have my addiction under control, but always wish I could have seconds of my rye sourdough after having a slice or two for breakfast. My attitude towards bread is not healthy, hence it is a Food With No Brakes. And so is pasta, healthy crackers and rice cakes. Even oats in the morning! I can just eat and eat and eat. Luckily, these are all out by nature (wheat! gluten!), so it won’t be as hard to resist. Two years ago, I moved from Europe to England, where bread is like sponge. That quickly put me off the bread, because I couldn’t find anything I liked. Added to this, I wanted to lose weight and cleaned up my diet. I missed the bread at the beginning, but got very good at avoiding it, and then I didn’t miss it anymore. I know I can manage my addicition, because I have in the past!

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nuts

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I’m doing the whole30: the why and the how

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Hello lovely readers!
I’m doing the September whole 30, which I announced on instagram. I’m pumped, scared and sceptical at the same time. I must admit I’ve sort of been eating lots of bread this past week. I haven’t really been meaning to, but I’m guessing I’m going to miss the bread. I love my rye sourdough.

But anyway, I’m doing the whole 30 for so many different reasons. I’m doing it for my health, trying to figure out whether gluten or dairy have an impact on my digestion, which has been off since last summer. I figured the September whole 30 would be a great opportunity to find out. I also want to take better care of my gut bacteria but don’t know where to start. I want to know what the fuss is about. I want to become a dietician and be able to tell my patients: I have tried it, and it works/isn’t worth your while/is as amazing as everyone says/is not enough to see any results. Purely for experimental purposes, it is worth completing. I also want to stop thinking about food in the way that I do, thinking every meal isn’t complete without such and such a carb and such amount of protein. So yes, many reasons.

Continue reading “I’m doing the whole30: the why and the how”

august favourites: what I’ve been loving this month

Noooo it’s the last month of summer. I’m sad, not gonna lie. Although I am a teensy bit excited about wearing heavier + darker clothes, I haven’t quite had enough sunshine! I’m relying on the next few weeks to give me my final sun fix, and hopefully, I’ll be good to go until next year (yikes…).

But August has been a great month! I’ve done, eaten and read plenty. Here are my favourites!

The Microbiome Solution

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I’m obssessed with gut health. My own, other people’s, and beneficial bacteria in general just really, really floats my boat (weird I know). I occasionally listen to the Inspire Nation Daily podcast, so when I saw an episode with Robynne Chutkan of Gutbliss, I had to tune in. Not only was I completely sold on getting her new book, The Microbiome Solution, I actually learned a fair bit. I learned about the adverse effects of our uber-sanitised world, the benefits of gardening and became adamant to fix my own gut health. I’m pretty sure my gut could use some healing, which is why I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and start a pretty serious gut healing process (but more on that later). Gut health is the new ‘in-thing’ if you’re into nutrition, so if you’ve not joined the hype, I recommend this podcast and her book.

Cavolo Nero, or black kale

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Look who’s late to the party. I had tasted curly kale, but black kale or cavolo nero, is a new thing for me. It tastes so good! I love the delicate flavour, compared to the bitterness of curly kale. I’ve had it lightly sautéed in oil with a helping of cream cheese, and raw multiple times in a salad. I’ve been eating it Kimberly Snyder style, which is essentially a very simple kale salad before a meal to coat your stomach and ease digestion (it’s the Dharma’s Kale Salad, and it’s awesome!). But really, can you ever go wrong with kale? I don’t think so 🙂

The Healthy Gut Cookbook

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So back to my gut obssession, I’ve found this book to be an excellent resource this month. I considered doing the GAPS diet after being on a few heavy antibiotic cycles, but found it a little extreme (and it IS very restrictive and drawn out). I didn’t realise this book was GAPS compliant until I opened it, but the recipes are just amazing. So yeah, I might accidentally end up on the full GAPS diet – the recipes are far from boring (i.e. not what you would expect from a diet based on bone broth, egg yolks and sauerkraut) and make very good use of all the cheese that is allowed (think Parmesan tuiles and turkey Reubens). There are plenty of basic meal plans and how-tos in addition to the many recipes, and a few staple items to always have on hand (like homemade yoghurt, ghee, bone broth and a grain-free bread that looks BOMB.) I don’t know where my diet will take me at this moment in time; if you follow me on instagram, you’ll know I’m doing the #SeptemberWhole30, and after the reintroduction phase, I might do the full GAPS and see where it takes me! 🙂

Sarah’s Day Youtube Channel

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This girl is my Australian alter-ego. She is so down to earth, so watchable and so educational! Just like me, she loves fitness and nutrition, but not the tupperware-chicken-and-rice kind, or IIFYM kind. As I’ve mentioned before, tracking food doesn’t work well for me. I like doing it, but don’t really reap any benefits from it. So I pack on the nutrient-dense foods and don’t worry too much about the numbers. She is very focused on keeping her diet clean, hormone-balancing and high fat, which is so refreshing. My only complaint: not enough videos! 😀

Rye Sourdough

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This is new for me too, but such a revelation! I haven’t quite curbed my addiction for bread  (and probably never will. French blood, you know.), and a slice of dark rye bread is generally sitting next to my eggs in the morning. I also love sourdough but don’t eat it very often, because the flour is refined and healthier options exist. So a rye sourdough?! That couldn’t be a better match for me. When made traditionally, it’s actually a great source of probiotics. The sourdough starter is a fermented paste (rather than commercial yeast) that is added to the bread, which gives it the distinctive sour taste. This particular loaf is delivered to the Alligator health food shop in York on Saturday mornings by Bluebird Bakery. If you live in the UK, Everfresh Bakery make a pretty decent packaged one, too. It’s nutty, super dense and very tasty. And it lasts for ages! I’m never going back!

Myprotein Water Bottle

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I’ve been looking for a bigger bottle for ages, but never gave in to the gallon-sized  container-looking water bottle, because I thought they looked lame (and it’s called a ‘gallon hydrator’. Lol.). They seemed chunky and very large, too large for my dainty handbag. But after training with a PT I realised I officially needed a bigger bottle if I wanted to survive the killer sessions he was putting us through, so I got one. I got this one from Myprotein, which is 1.9 litres (about 1/2 gallon) and a little smaller than the average gallon bottle. It’s nothing special, but it does get me drinking more water. It’s BPA free, but it is still plastic, so when I’m at home, I generally stick to my glass VOSS bottle. 🙂

 

And that’s it for this month! WHat have you been loving this August?

 

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Being BARE.

So what exactly is the BARE. Lifestyle?  Simplify, simplify, simplify. Minimalism is a big trend at the moment, and there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t apply to your plate or mindset, too. What you put in your mouth every day should not only give you the energy you deserve to have, but it should also make you super happy! And the food you eat shouldn’t crowd your head with questions, concerns and tension. Food is awesome and we want it to stay that way, right? So ditch the sugar, the processed junk, and start eating real. Eat the BARE. way!

Eating the BARE. way will allow you to feel great, there is no doubt about it. But your mental health will benefit from this journey enormously, too! Being more aware and mindful of yourself and others is more important than ever; we are always so busy, stuck in our routines and unappreciative, despite our efforts to make the most of our daily life. None of these mechanisms are our fault; they are the product of modern society. But we all have the power to change the way we lead our lives.

Whatever ethical, dietary or lifestyle choices you make, there is no one-size-fits-all magic formula. We are so amazingly different! So by taking it back to basics, allow yourself to be in tune with your physical and emotional needs rather than blindly following the latest trend or fad. Trends and fads can be really good fun, there is no denying that (the avocado fad has still not worn off on me, oops!) But first, you should know and understand yourself. 😙

I am a strong believer in second chances, and your body is a very forgiving organism. Give yourself another chance to feel amazing! If you like the sound of the BARE. lifestyle, don’t stop here – take action and head over to my recipes and lifestyle posts to get inspired and excited about simplifying your life.

My 3-step approach makes it easy for you to reach your goals; from experience, I know that trying to reach a goal without a structure or a plan is hard.

  1. A BARE. head: understand and identify your emotional relationships, with food and your surroundings, take time for yourself and for others and be mindful of your place in the world through meditations and self-awareness exercises.
  2. A BARE. plate and body: take time and learn food awareness by following my recipes and eating tips & find the physical activity you are most passionate about, and start getting perfectly in tune with your body.
  3. A BARE. Lifestyle: integrate your new mindset, eating habits and exercise regime into your daily life. This is a time for you to reflect and transition into your new habits, share your experiences with others and move on. Knowing yourself well means you have the liberty to add or remove whatever feels right at the time. Your body and mind are ever-changing entities. 💌

Much love,

Elise 💗🌟