Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's here! 'Bye sugar! :(

photo cred: iquitsugar.com

Our first email arrived on Thursday. It includes a comprehensive (and very specific) shopping list, a fabulous looking meal plan, exercise tips, and a long list of snacks that can be eaten between meals if you're feeling really hungy. The cook-up and portioning happens on Sunday and there are notes to help you work out how your daily meals are organised and set up.

During the first week we're still allowed a little sweetness, which is why fruit is on the list.

I was really thrilled to realise that I had a large number of items already in the cupboards and pantry, so I had only fresh things to buy - veggies, meat, dairy, etc.

I wandered around the (relatively empty) grocery store and was very pleased to note that the prices were lower than usual on a lot of things and that the produce department in particular had been re-organized. It looked great, although it still frustrates me beyond reason that SO much stuff is packaged in plastic containers and it's hard to root through things for single items. Depending on what you want, you either end up with a huge amount for relative pennies or, like strawberries for example, you get about 8 for a stupid price.

Anyhoo, I (mostly) stuck to the list and wound up spending £60.58, which was still more than I was anticipating, but I think that comes down to the meat, really, although I feel I got a pretty good price on what I bought. As well, pantry items won't be bought every time: containers of spices and mustard, for example.

Meat: £17.27
364g beef mince £2.91
370g pork loin £2.45
128g bacon £1.15 (2 pieces)
322g haddock £3.85
.985kg pork loin joint £3.94
6 Sausages (pkg) £2.97

Produce: £19.79
1/2 white cabbage £.47
3 x sweet potatoes (1.265kg @ £1.25/kg) £1.58
pkg wild rocket £.82
3 x white onions (0.350kg @ £0.75/kg) £0.26
2 x broccoli £0.76 (£0.38p each)
large avocado £1.35
2 x butternut squash (medium?) £1.30 (£0.65p each)
Lg pkg kale, shredded (coudn't find regular stuff) £0.86
2 x carrots (0.210kg @ £0.75/kg) £0.17
1 100g pkg green beans £1.00
Fresh coriander (cilantro) £0.72
1 seasonal baby .... £1.27 (unclear where I picked this up - ha ha!)
1 pkg baby spinach £1.00
1 med red pepper £0.60
1 mangetout (snow peas) £1.50
1 lg courgette (zucchini) (0.375kg @ £2.00/kg) £0.75
2 pkgs x small organic courgettes (@ £1.12 ea) £2.24 (4 courgettes in total)
5 loose garlic bulbs @ £0.11 each £0.55
1 loose ginger (0.010kg @ £1.00/kg) £0.01 (about the size of the top of my thumb)
1 lime £0.26
1 organic cucumber £0.26
5 loose lemons (@£0.21p each) £1.05
1 pkg trimmed leeks (only come in pkgs of 2) £0.57
1 med iceberg lettuce £0.44

Dairy: £7.43
1.126L whole milk £0.75
400g Italian Mozzarella (buffalo mozza) £1.96
250g cheddar £1.64
1 doz free-range eggs £2.27
500g plain Greek yogurt £0.81

Other: £13.56
Pasta (2 x 500g): £1.00 (or 0.61p each)
Dijon mustard £0.62
Wholegrain mustard £1.00
2 x Red curry paste (50g ea) £1.00
Mild curry powder £1.13
Whole cardamom (sm. jar) £0.67
Sage (sm. jar) £0.67
Small loaf artisan bread £1.47
500g frozen mixed fruit £2.00
Korma curry paste £2.00
2 x kitchen rolls £2.00 (or £1.24 ea)

Off-list: £6.71
600g Strawberries £2.53 (superb price; this is usually the price of the above-mentioned 8)
1 package of pasta: 0.61p
Cardamom £0.67
12 eggs @ £2.27 - probably should have only got 6, but there we are. I have some for next week now, as apparently I only need one this week!
3 lemons £0.63 - need only 2 for recipes, but also need some for my water during the day so bought extra.

Items with sugar (or fructose): korma paste, strawberries & curry paste. But as this is week one, we're allowed a little sweetness. It's NEXT week that we cut it out for four solid weeks. Tricky stuff that sugar.

I hope I don't end up like this (at least, not for too long):


The 'Sugar Free Farm' celebs (week 2 of 3) seem to be doing a bit better, although one fellow threw a tantrum because he "didn't sign up just to eat vegetables." WHERE'S THE MEAT!? He denied it was a withdrawal symptom, but his kitchen co-celeb realised that it was. She forgave him his outburst, but was ready to throat punch him the next day after he and another fellow ate half a loaf of sugar-free bread she'd bought for everyone. She was really angry and he was barely apologetic.

I'm confident I'll spend less next week (part of next week's shop was bought today - the pork joint), as a good portion of 'other' is stuff that will carry over. Overall, very pleased with what I got. The grocery store had lowered prices on loads of things - plenty in the produce section, fortunately - which was great to see.

I adjusted my grocery budget UP £60 a month to accommodate this programme, so I hope it'll be enough. I won't be buying tea this month, so that'll save me £40, which I can either roll over into groceries or savings. Not buying things at the shop on the way to work (for lunches or whatever) will also help. I've spent my food budget for this week.

I then bought gas (sorry, petrol). It's £0.999 per litre at the grocery store, which is the lowest in the area. I imagine it'll go back up as we creep towards summer, but hopefully not too much. So a full tank of petrol (35.94L) cost me £35.90 today, saving me £4.10 on my petrol budget! Fab! That should last me just over 2 months, assuming I'm just driving back and forth to the station and don't decide to take a trip to Scotland somewhere in there (unlikely).

The change went directly into my coin bank. My snowflake jar sits at at nice £63.85 and I have over £140 in my bank account. That might not seem like much, but I'm usually down atthe very bottom, so I'm actually really pleased and hope I can continue. Plus, keeping a reasonable amount in the account should also help with my credit building. The bank doesn't like to see you at your limit every single month.

Otherwise, the Irish trip continues to bloom. Jane and I have booked our accommodation in Galway and Cork and are working out transportation and food budgets. She has also booked her flight, but I'm still searching for mine. The hike itself (plus 2-3 nights in Dublin before hand) I will look into at the end of February. All costs in the Republic are in Euros, which makes it a bit cheaper for both of us. I can't believe I'm FINALLY going to Ireland!!!! Beyond excited!!

I've been taking my iron supplements as directed for a week now and I am feeling better. I'm sleeping extremely well (!) and feel a bit more switched on this week, which is great. I know I have a ways to go yet, but I can notice a difference, so it is working, and I'm pleased.

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