Saturday, 27 February 2016

End of Week 3 - heading into the halfway mark!

Here we are already - halfway through the programme and halfway through our 4 week block of - literally - no sugar. 

Not so motivated with this week's recipes, but will do most of them. I've made another veggie loaf, which I love, so will be sticking to that for breakfast with mashed avocado and feta. Being able to pick & choose a bit more at this stage is great, as we have more options. As long as it doesn't have any sugar in it, you can eat it.

I've curbed my mid-afternoon cravings this week with cheese (mature cheddar) and a treat from Starbucks mid-week: they now have coconut milk, so I had a steamed, cinnamon & nutmeg topped, medium cup. I'm not confident that the sugar content of it fell into the accepted range (0-4g/100g), but it wasn't dairy and it was darn tasty! And, as I said last week, my sugar intake has dropped massively, almost 100%, so I'm content enough to be 'naughty' on the rare occasion.

In two weeks time we will be reintroducing sweetners into our diets in the form of berries and rice malt syrup (in very limited amounts). The intent is that our tastebuds will have calibrated to the point that even minimal amounts of the sweet stuff (whatever it is) will feel like more than enough and we'll be able to limit our intake. Right now, all I can think of is strawberries...not chocolate, not cake (I know...), not bananas or kiwis or apples or cookies or pie. Strawberries. Can't wait to put them back into my breakfast oats!

I'm feeling much better this week too. What have I noticed this week?

1) Much more 'regular' (it was 'gut week' this week, so a lot of the food was for bringing back good gut culture...and stuff), although I used a natural product to help that along a bit initially
2) Because of the above, lighter, 'cleaner', less bloated (the end of last week was wretched), even though I'm only down about 3lbs overall
3) Sticking to programme (98.5%) and not feeling the urge to have sweet stuff (win!)
4) Have some definite keeper recipes: detox broccoli soup, the veggie loaf mentioned above, a biryani, halloumi everything, and kedgeree amongst others
5) Enjoying some new foods, flavours and tastes
6) Staying positive and focused
7) Heightened sense of smell. I was on the station platform after work the other day and I smelled chocolate brownies. You know that sweet, sugary smell they have when they're baking? It smelled wonderful and awful at the same time, but three weeks ago I may well have gone in to buy a cookie or whatever it was that was baking. But there was  no salivating, there was no urge, there were no tingling tastebuds - there was nothing! Not even 'OMG that smells so good!'

Apart from a slight metallic taste in my mouth on occasion, there haven't really been any negatives apart from my boss saying he thought the programme sounded awful (but I haven't regaled him with details - yet!). One of my work colleagues has even borrowed the cookbooks because she's that curious about it!

Cravings still hit mid-afternoon, but a piece of cheese generally takes care of them.

I'm going to collate all the recipes and menu plans into a binder so I can keep them to refer to. It's not that I can't make menu plans, it's that I don't want to. Having someone make a list of exactly what I need and how much of it is terrific. I'm finding there are a few things I'm not using (the salad bits) so will not bother with those from now on as I've just thrown another package away today. 

I'm food shopping to the tune of about £60 per week - just for me! To be fair, I have done a couple of 'over shops' the past couple of weeks so that in case I'm unorganised or not motivated to make a meal from the plan, I can at least have sugar-free options on hand or make more than the recipe calls for. Anyway, it's a lot of money, so if I'm going to be continuing this I'll have to find ways to shave the costs, although I've upped my grocery budget again to accommodate, starting next week.

In other news, my Working Tax Credit continues, which I'm thrilled about (I get a bit of money from the gov't every month as I make under a certain amount). I had some paperwork at the beginning of the month querying the legitimacy of my claim, so I had to send a letter explaining my living situation (I can't claim if I co-habit with someone in a more official capacity than I currently do), send along some bank statements and my mobile phone bills, and wait. I hadn't heard a peep, but when I checked my bank account yesterday, there it was - a very nice surprise! I'm not sure if I have to re-apply after April 5 (tax deadline), but I imagine a quick phone call will answer any questions I may have. I should still qualify, as I had a long break last year and don't think I earned the minimum qualifying amount (just shy of £16k).

This continuing amount will ensure that I a) get to Ireland and, b) decrease my debt at home. Ideally I'd like that below $10k by the end of the year, but I'll be throwing half of any monthly snowflakes at it. I'm already thinking about what I may be able to do if it gets low enough by the end of the year.

I've already bought my March treat - more books - and added funds to both my travel and my debt accounts (thanks, tax credit!), but payday is Monday and I'll add a bit more. I've got everything down to pretty much the last penny this month, so I hope to stick to it. It helps that I'm not going to the coffee shop at the moment, but the car still needs the doors fixed, so I'll arrange that for the end of March, before my mum arrives.

Anyway, it's dinner time here and I'm going to make some pasta with a little pesto and some green veg (I've got broccoli & asparagus hanging around).

Have a great weekend!!


Jane said...

So...does that mean no tea and cakes in Ireland? I'm in awe of how little sugar you're consuming!! (she said while eating licorice!) I am waiting to hear from Revenue Canada about whether I now qualify for GST on my much lower income. I think I do, and there's another little amount from Trillium property tax and Ontario Sales Tax. I'll take it no matter how little :) I think it's quarterly and doesn't start til July. I'm patient though. What books did you get as your treat?? And, would you be able to post your veggie loaf recipe? I like the sound of that!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Jane - it definitely does NOT mean no tea & cakes in Ireland! I have no delusions that I will stay away from sugar entirely, just going to work really hard to stay away from it as MUCH. :) Sounds like a raise coming your way - nice! As you say, take what you can. I'm happy to take the extra money each month - as long as I utilise it properly (most of it designated towards travel and debt).

New books in new post and will email you the veg loaf recipe! x