Ok. So this week is not turning out as I hoped. I am thankful I for what I have but right now, I feel overworked, scattered, sleep deprived, and frustrated. So why do I continue to write this blog? Because in the past when I have felt like this, I have sunk into depressions. But this time seems to be different. I feel a little better. Clear headed. Determined. Properly pissed off. And I think all of that has had to do with my diet.
There are a several facets of the program that I am really enjoying.
1. Clearly recognizing and acknowledging my patterns, cravings and weaknesses.
- Mid-morning, I crave more food. Not just a snack, but real food. I would eat lunch at 10, but it just feels strange to do so Given that I get up at 5 am, 10 am should be lunch time. What I need is a 10 AM mini-meal.
- The more stressful work gets, the more I crave alcohol and sugar. Given that work has not had downtime in over a year, I have been drinking a lot and eating a lot of sweets around the office. I want to cheat and have a beer or a glass of wine (really I want a tumbler of a nice bourbon) but I know I will feel like crap (mentally for having cheated and physically) and being hyper-conscious of that and in complete control of that desire is the most amazing feeling.
- Many of my craving are just cravings for water. Because when I drink water, the craving goes away. When I am hungry, the water is not satiating.
2. Consciously eating every day through the day
- I am reading labels and not letting anything that is not recognizable or from a chemical factory/food lab into my diet. While I have been scanning labels looking at ingredients for most of my life, I really have been too accepting and ignoring many added chemicals.
- My mind automatically wants to reach for that baguette, pizza, chocolate, chips, muffin, cupcake, ice cream, beer in the office everyday (temptation is everywhere!), but my hyper-consciousness is stopping me. I am reaching into my bag and grabbing that apple or kale chip instead.
- I am not just automatically putting food in my mouth. So often, I would just plop that cookie in my mouth without thinking about it and then I would want another because I did not conciously eat and enjoy it. I am consciously eating my sweet treats now (frozen banana and almond butter, chia coconut pudding, chocolate avocado pudding) and enjoying every mouthful. And no matter how small the amount, it is satisfying.
Despite my lack of sleep, I went to work out this morning. Because it makes me feel good and surprisingly I have some energy to do so. Again I think it is because of my diet. I am not weighing myself down with food that makes me sluggish, changes the biochemistry of my brain to make me sad, or causes me to crave more bad food. That short term comfort I achieve with alcohol or sweets leads to long term consequences. And I used to know this back in my pre-pregnancy/during pregnancy days, the healthier I eat, the more I want to keep eating healthy.
But that does not mean we can not enjoy our food and make foods that we like. I like fried potatoes. They are sweet, salty, fatty and starchy. So I decided to have some today. When I came home from the gym at 6:30 AM, my little one was up and begging to cook (I have created a cook…ing monster who would prefer healthy treats rather than cookies, luckily). So she helped me make breakfast that included a healthy variety of fried potato.
With or without baby in hand, I think it is best to prep the night before. If I hadn’t prepped, there is no way I could have made this breakfast for myself on a morning that I go to work.
This was not a complicated meal overall, but it had a lot of components:
- Hash Browns I made from sweet potato and blue potato that I grated in the food processor and dried overnight in the fridge (though at room temperature, squeezing with a towel would be more effective, but I am being realistic of the work). I coated them in ghee, put them in a cast iron pan and cooked until crisp and topped with salt.
- Sauteed tomatoes – simply sliced and sauteed in a cast iron pan for a few min.
- Veg – I chopped shallot, garlic, green and broccoli and tossed them with some seasoning (I used a Moroccan spice mix and salt, but you can use anything – seasoning salt, cumin, just salt and pepper) into a pan and cooked covered with a bit of stirring until tender
- Eggs – I like mine a bit runny
I am so thankful I had such a big breakfast – because of work, I did not have a moment to eat again until seven hours later. Funny story about the moment I recognized I needed food inside me: I was standing at my desk and really wanting to sit down and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t sit down. Only 5 min later did I realize that my chair was missing.
But when I finally had a chance to eat, while on hold with a client, oh how lovely my lunch was. The roasted brussel sprouts I made yesterday and veggie/eggie patties I made on Sunday and froze hit the spot. I like to stock my freezer with homemade goodies. It helps when me don’t have time and allows me to eat healthy food all the time. I made an avocado topping to go with them.
So I made these patties to contain a lot of veggie and eggs and I adapted several different recipes. All of them called for baking soda which is not Whole30 compliant. When you Google how to substitute a lot of baking powder baking soda, they tell you to use a lot of baking powder – but that is not helpful because that is not compliant either. To be honest, I don’t think my program is thaaaat strict, but I tend to give 150% too any endeavor I undertake. So let’s get to another aspect of the challenge I am enjoying.
3. Problem solving. Specifically learning how to substitute in recipes and using my scientific knowledge.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is used to make the batter rise – it is a leavening agent – and it makes the (usually baked) good light and fluffy. Let’s break this down:
- How does it do this? It reacts with acids present in the batter.
- What are the acids in a batter? Typically lemon, vinegar, cream of tartar, yogurt or buttermilk.
- What happens? The chemical reaction yields carbon dioxide (I’ll spare you the formula for the chemical reaction). Carbon dioxide causes the air bubbles that cause the leavening.
So what is a good substitution when you need to add carbon dioxide? Carbonated water! So if you have a bottle of non-flavored carbonated water or a soda stream, you can use a bit of that instead.
Yay Science! It works!
This recipe would have been fine without it, but it’s fun to problem solve.
The rest of my day was not fun and stress is suppressing my appetite. But I will have my frozen banana, almond butter, pistachio and coconut flake treat before I go to bed. I have a feeling this is becoming my new wine and I will be forced to quit the sweet treat at the end of the day sometime soon by our program nutritionist.
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 inches of minced ginger
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, steamed and shredded
- 1 stack of broccoli, steamed and shredded
- 1 medium sweet potato, shredded
- 1 tsp carbonated water or 1 tsp baking soda
- 8 large eggs
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup coconut flour
- lemon zest
- 3/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 Tbs brown mustard seed
-sautee ginger, garlic, onion in ghee until tender and fragrant and add spinach and put it into a bowl
-whisk together flour, spices
-whisk together eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water
-mix together dry and wet ingredient then add cooked and uncooked veggies and thoroughly mix (I suggest using your hands)
-form into small patties
-put ghee into a pan and cook patties evenly on both sides. Patties can be frozen uncooked or cooked.
Blend the following:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2- large lemon juiced
- cayenne (optional)
Add water until desired consistency is achieved. Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste.