Sunday, 18 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 7

The final entry for my food diary. Well, this week has not been necessarily the best one to show off. I didn't get to include lamb rissoles, coconut chicken, mayo and whole lot of other meals that make up our paleo repertoire. I hope, though, that it has provided an insight into how paleo looks for a family of four. As you will have noticed, there's quite a bit of repetition, repetition, repetition. That is the result of bulk meat purchases and keeping the kitchen time as low as is actually possible.

Aside from peach and pecan scramble our hot nutty cereal is the children's next favourite breakfast. We enjoyed that with banana and local honey on top.

Up and until now, we didn't incorporate honey into any area of our cooking. I would cringe when child one and two would have honey. It has taken a year, but I am now ok with child one and two enjoying treats made with honey, honey in their rooibos and on a spoon by itself. The only condition is that it is local honey. Mark Sisson gave me permission to do this. (Check out his link here.)

Bacon, eggs, vegetables and avocado were on our table at lunch. We filled in the time between that meal and the next one doing yard work. We've become pretty insistent that we all get at least thirty minutes of sunlight (without sunscreen) each day (for vitamin D). And, you may have to try it for yourself, but the change in nutrition has meant that our skin doesn't burn like it used to. I am serious! If you are someone who burns easily, try this diet out and see how different your skin is.

The day finished with Thai red chicken curry and raw cabbage on the dinner plate.

Anyway, that's it for the food diary. I wish I had shown a week where we ate 21 different meals. But, the paleo reality is that, for us, we eat a lot of the same things. We love it though!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 6

If there is ever a meal that we can eat out more or less successfully it's breakfast. While some question whether bacon is really paleo we tend to make allowances on occasion for it. So, Saturday we sat down, at a local cafe, for breakfast. I have to admit that we ate gluten free toast.

The last time I had gluten free toast (can't think when I last ate "normal" bread) was when I was in the middle of chemo. I remember that there were two instances where all I could imagine eating was bread. And, been convinced of the evils of gluten I went for the gluten free variety. Anyway, the point is we ate the toast. To be honest, both the husband and I were not convinced that we had really been missing out on anything.

It's funny, when we made the foodstyle change there were many times when we felt like we were missing out to not be having grain, sugar or dairy. But, seriously, whenever we eat the forbidden foods we are not impressed at all. I guess we have this romanticised view of these foods now. The reality is, is that we eat beautiful, healthy, filling meals that don't make us bloated. Perhaps that's the biggest turn-off with regard to eating the non-paleo foods. We have been avoiding them for so long now that they now make us sick. Our immunity to such foods has passed. Our bodies have had time to heal and kick up a stink when we shove anything that is unnatural in. The fact is, we ate the gluten free toast but regretted it straight away. We won't do it again.

By accident really, none of us ate lunch. Whoops! Believe me, I would never have my children do a fast. When they get older they may be keen to do what mum and dad do. I would love for child one and two to get onto the fasting wagon (there are so many health benefits, but more on that another time). Truly, it was an accident. We did not eat lunch! It was an involuntary, accidental fast.

For a good part of the afternoon, our lamb leg sat in the barbeque on low. My oven was still out of action and we were feeling for a roast. This was the first time that we had ever done this. The meat was beautiful. We enjoyed roast lamb with vegetables, egg and avocado that was mashed in the lamb roast's juices. Yum!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 5

Friday our family began the day with a big breakfast; bacon, eggs, sweet potato, avocado, spinach leaves and tomato. It was beautiful.

I did the standard lunch for child one and two. Sweet potato and coconut chicken for first break and a treat with two fruits for second break. When I don't have fruit I don't mind including some tinned or pureed fruit provided it is 100% fruit. These days, we always read the list of ingredients and it's been an eye opener for me to see how often sugar is added alongside colours and preservatives. We avoid such things.

I took my lunch to work. It was thai red curry with raw cabbage. While I enjoyed it I think I've had a bit too much of this meal... Will give it a rest for a bit.

For dinner the family enjoyed lamb chops, borewors, egg, vegetables and avocado. Three hearty meals made for a great day in paleo dining.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 4

I made it to noon! I didn't feel off today either. The trick was to keep busy.

Child one and two requested pumpkin soup for breakfast. I was very pleased with that, because all that I needed to do was warm their dishes of soup in the microwave. What a treat to not have to heat up the fry pan.

Child one was sent to school with the last of the pumpkin soup, a pear, apple puree and a brownie.

Before lunch, child two and I headed to "the farm" for some organic produce. We were lucky enough to get some free range, bug-eating-chicken eggs. Apparently, the less grain chickens are fed and the more bugs they eat the better their eggs are for you. So, for lunch we had lamb curry, (and the following are all from the farm), one fried egg, avocado, cabbage and tomato. It was the best meal ever! You can imagine how much I enjoyed that meal having not eating for 16 hours. I did a few pushpresses and "pullups" (still trying to the master these) just before I broke the fast.

This is where I get a little embarrassed about sharing my paleo food diary with those who may not do this. In fact, if I had to tell my 29 year old self what I would be eating at 31, I would think it was weird. Like, what is wrong with you? But here it is. I gave the children their dinner early (seems to be coming routine...) and was feeling a little peckish as I prepared it. Child number one decided that they only wanted half an egg, so I thought I'd just have the other half. It seemed silly just to eat an egg on its own. Let me tell you about silly. So, to the half fried egg on the plate I added some chilli tuna (an Aldi brand), avocado and tomato. I guess this meal is equivalent to having cheese and tomato crackers; it's quick, easy, not too filling. There. I said it. Paleo peeps may find this meal ok. To others, I get it if you think that perhaps we have just overstepped the mark on this food thing.

A big meal wasn't so necessary tonight, after having had that "snack". I warmed up some roast chicken in the fry pan. And then, fried an egg in the juices. Last week, there were no spinach leaves, at the farm, because flooding had destroyed the crops. This week I bought a decent sized bag. With dairy out the picture, we tend to eat a lot of spinach because it's a good source of calcium. Anyway, that, tomato, capsicum and avocado completed the meal.

The family have not made any complaints about the use of coconut oil in the cooking so it mustn't have an overpowering flavour. Good. Talking about coconut oil...there is some research that suggests that it can reverse or slow down Alzheimer's. I will need to read up a bit more on this. Those of you who have had chemo or know someone who has will understand "chemo brain". Some strange, and scary side effects, of chemotherapy are still being studied by the medical profession. And, one of these is the effect the drugs can have on the patient's memory. Anyway, this video I watched, which freaked me out a little, was saying that chemo can bring on alzheimer's. This is what I'm thinking. First of all, read more about it. Then, try and include foods that will counteract the disease.

Before bed, I'm going to finish the night off with a cup of rooibos tea. The end.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 3

Pancake mix was in the fridge. I had made so much batter, yesterday, that I had plenty for pancakes again this morning. I drizzled a little maple syrup on mine and enjoyed it with a long black.

I sent child number one to school with pumpkin soup in their thermo jar, this morning. I hadn't made the pumpkin soup. In fact, I have been told that my version of it is no good (thanks eldest). My mum supplied a rather large glass dish of the orange stuff. It's child number one's favourite. I chopped up some peach and put it in a container. And, purely because I was out of fruit, put some dried fruit in a second container. The mother-in-love provided the treat. It was a
flourless, paleo brownie. It is beautiful. She is being very secretive about the recipe, but it is definitely paleo and, what's more, it's a hit with the kiddies. (I forgot to get a photo...tomorrow?)

As soon as I got to work I found myself reaching for my small
container of almonds and macadamias. Actually, I'm pretty spoilt on Wednesdays because my mother-in-love makes me lunch. I enjoyed ham, eggs and salad.

Ever since Mark Sisson made the claim that dark chocolate (85%) is good for you, about a fortnight ago, we have been munching down the stuff. Previously, we had treated it as a treat. Something that we could eat to
celebrate or to have on our no-so-often cheat
nights. But now, we are enjoying a little everyday. And, what's more, and I'm excited about this, child number one asked for a piece and then some more. See, child number two really doesn't know any other way of eating; so is very compliant with the paleo way. So much so, that this little one loves dark chocolate. We decided that we would ease child number one, who has had a taste of the "good" life, onto the dark stuff by starting with 70%. It didn't take long. That was only a week a
go. And now, we may have two little dark chocolate eaters on our hands. Win! I enjoyed a few (let's be honest, several) pieces of dark chocolate with a cup of rooibos tea.

Because mummy (that's me) gets sick of cooking sometimes, I do tend to do big cook ups that provides meals for a couple of days. Paleo is no easy way out. If you chose to do it, be prepared to give your kitchen a serious workout. Well, I don't mind too much. But, anyway, the children don't complain if we have the same meal for a couple of days. So, it was no surprise that even though child number one had pumpkin soup for lunch, pumpkin soup was also the request for dinner. This made things easy for me. I served up soup for child one and two. And, again, I gave them their dinner early. Now that child one is at school, there is a huge appetite just waiting to be met.

The adults enjoyed chick-veggie heaven with (have a guess) fried eggs. I have to admit, that while we haven't had it for a while, it is a favourite of mine.

That's it. There really is nothing fancy about paleo. There is no magic trick. A lot of cooking that's for sure. But, when the food is good, it's worth all of the fuss in the kitchen.

Recently, I read how fasting has proven to make chemotherapy more effective. I'm sort of glad that I only heard that now. I would have really wanted to have given it a good go. In hindsight I also feel as though it may have just been another thing that I would have to do; and perhaps it would have just all been too much. Anyway. Actually, when one really gets into the paleo way, it is something that should become regular, fasting that is. So, the cancer link and the fact that it's probably the next step for me, got me doing a fast twice a week. I've done this for the past three weeks. For some of those fasts I haven't felt too good. Insulin levels, sleep and nutrition have to be sweet before it can be achieved without the moody behaviour and cloudy (thinking is mostly cloudy these days after having had chemo...) thinking. I didn't do a fast this past Monday, as you would know from my food diary. I will do one tomorrow though. So, I have stopped eating now. I will not eat again until midday. And, just to shake things up (this will give my body the impression that it was a longer fast) I will do a light workout before I eat. I'm looking forward to doing the IF (intermittent fast) tomorrow and I'm keen to see how my body reacts this time.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 2

I have decided to ditch the macadamia and olive oil for the real stuff. Coconut oil. I have dabbled in its usage but, honestly, it was its price tag that put me off. Well, I read about coconut oil benefits for the 100th time, and that final text convinced me. It has only taken a year... I bought some today from the local health food store and I am looking forward to the change in flavour.

This morning we had a bit of a feast. We had a two course breakfast. The first was peach and pecan scramble and then we followed that with pancakes with maple syrup. I've mentioned both of those breakfasts before, so I didn't grab a photo.

Child number two went to school with basically the same lunch as yesterday. I was so excited when returning from school my little "preppie" exclaimed, "I loved my lunch today".

I had two handfuls of almonds and macadamias before a lunch today of Thai chicken red curry (another one that I've already mentioned somewhere on this blog). I mashed an avocado over the top and it was beautiful; protein, fat and low on carbs.

I spent three hours waiting to see an oncologist and a member from the surgical team today. Yep, it was my six month check up. I can't believe so much time has passed. Actually, next month marks a year since the whole saga! And yes, just to make things more exciting I had child one and two. They loved having to sit in a chair and do nothing...

When we got home, I checked out my slow-cooked curry. It was beautiful. I found this Indian shop that sells prepackaged curry mixes (completely paleo friendly) which meant that all I needed to do to make this tasty meal was chuck in some stewing lamb, the spice mix and water. The absolute convenience of this meal lends itself to be paleo fast-food, slow-cooked. The meat came off the bones easy. I then served it with some tomato and the last of my sweet potato fries. Oh yeah, and an egg.

My shoulders and arms are in repair so I kept the workout simple today. Using the 21-15-9 framework I did squats, lunges and situps. For that, I rewarded myself with a mango smoothie (mango, ice and coconut milk). Sadly, I had to sit next to my work computer as I drank down the last "meal" for the day.

It's a late night tonight. I have been trying so hard to get my eight hours sleep and now it seems I've lost it. Oh well. Will get it tomorrow.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Food Diary - Day 1

If you don't mind, I'll walk you through each meal that my family ate today.

We began the morning eating Chicken Omelette with raw organic red cabbage and sweet potato chips. There are three points that I need to make here. First of all, none of us were keen on eggs at the beginning of all this. Once making the change though, it was very funny to notice how our taste buds changed. Before we knew it eggs were a staple. While they're not cheap (omega-3 eggs
are the most expensive) they represent a very quick and easy meal). So, the other thing that is worth mentioning is the chicken thing. Thanks to twitter I have been able to read loads of articles explaining recent studies in food and cancer. I have read repeatedly now that chicken and pork are high in omega-6; omega-6 (this is my very basic understanding of the matter) is not a bad thing as long as it is at a particular ratio to omega-3. For now we don't eat the skin. Anyway, while we have decided to limit our pork intake, I am yet to do the same with chicken. I think I'll cut down our chicken next shop. Finally, my oven stopped working on Friday, when I was in the middle of baking sweet potato chips. I had bought the purple variety and was devastated. As it turned out they had been in there long enough to soften. That was great. I divided up the sweet potato chips and have been frying them to get them a little brown. A terrific save.

I sent child number one to school with lamb shank pieces, sweet potato chips, a banana, an apple and three small almond biscuits. Once a week I buy meat. On that same day I cook it all up. Our large oven means that I can roast loads. This week lamb shanks were in. So, I cut up the meat into bite size portions and froze them with the sweet potato chips. All I needed to do then was "heat up" the thermos, warm the food in the microwave and the meal for first break was done. I then typically include two serves of fruit and a treat. To be honest, I did anticipate (when the school term started) food wastage. I remember not wanting to eat my sandwiches as a child. I guess the real test will be when child number two starts school, but for now, child number one's lunchbox is always empty at the end of the day. And, just in case you were wondering about the meat, the thermos does keep the meat warm and child number one understands that it must be eaten at first break, no later.

Today, I was so busy that I didn't bother to stop for any snacks. Lunch was one and a half lamb chops, one omega-3 egg, tomato (fried with organic, dried basil, salt and pepper) and sweet potato chips. When the barbeque was on on Saturday, I took the opportunity to cook, in bulk, lamb chops. For us, lamb is the most accessible grass-fed meat, at the moment. We tend to eat quite a lot of lamb. The meat was warmed in the fry pan and the sides were cooked in its juices. I think the meal needed some guacamole... I will buy some avocados when I next shop. And, just for the record, child number two got the same dish, minus the egg.

When child number two was down for a nap, I grabbed a handful of almonds and read Donald Woods' "Biko". Soon, I was relaxed enough to have a nap. The combination of chemo and radiation last year have certainly taken their toll. There is no way I can turn down an opportunity to sleep in the afternoon. I have been finding myself trying to do as much as I can in the morning before I crash. When child one and two had some afternoon tea I reached for a handful of macadamias.

My workout for the day was a seven minute session that included dead lifts, hang cleans and pushups. It wasn't too bad. I enjoyed a banana at the end of the session.

Dinner was pretty much a repeat of lunch. But, I served the children early and therefore something different only because both were hungry and I thought that I may as well get them fed and bathed if they were keen. So, for me, it was more lamb chops (warmed in the fry pan) alongside sweet potato chips. I included a side of raw, organic, red cabbage. The children had roast chicken (roasted on the weekend, packaged, defrosted this morning and warmed in the fry pan), an omega-3 egg, sweet potato chips and tomato.

I am now having my last item, a cup of rooibos tea. It's pretty good. Life's good.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I have an idea

So, out of nowhere I got this idea. It's pretty simple. I'm going to keep a food diary for seven days.

As you know, our family adopted the paleo diet. This has meant that we no longer eat grains, dairy, sugar or legumes. Initially, as the family cook, this was a tough task. There were certainly times when we just swallowed what we were eating knowing that it was simply fuel for the body. I can still remember eating a slow-cooked, pork mince dish - it was absolutely disgusting! It lacked flavour, colour and had a texture that was never going to go down well with any palette. We have come a long way from those days. Whenever we sit down now to eat a meal (and these meals are literally sit down meals as you will see this week), more often than not, we savour the flavours, love the colours and enjoy the textures; and can't believe we hadn't changed camps long ago.

What motivated us in the beginning to make such a "radical" change in our foodstyle is what still motivates us now. We want to be healthy, fit, have energy to be active parents, avoid the top five common diseases and see our children reach their full potential. Can food really offer all of that? I reckon it can. My battle with breast cancer has given us the added enouragement. That together with keeping sugar away from the two-year-old cardi-kid. And then, there's the nearly-five-year old who has started school. What greater gift can be offered than a full belly, nutrition that will aid in the development of that young mind and body, and keep the focus on school work and not on food.

While we try to be inconspicuous about our eating habits, we often find ourselves having to explain what we actually eat. For many people, and it certainly was like this in the beginning for us, it is incredible that we find anything that we can eat.

And so, here is what my food diary hopes to achieve. Over the coming seven days, I will share every meal and snack here with you. I'm no Master Chef and I am certainly lacking in photography skills. So, please don't expect anything too glamourous. What I am is a 31 year old, married, mother of two, who works part-time. This is our paleo journey.