First Cappuccino Post Whole30

cap_3736

On December 21st, I gave myself my first Christmas present: a foamy cappuccino. I crossed the finish line of my Whole30 journey on December 1st, and last indulged in a cappuccino (and croissant!) on October 31st, so that’s fifty one days of abstinence from one of my favourites. I did have coffee the whole time, with coconut milk. I usually only have a cappuccino once or twice a week, but it was something I definitely missed.

The verdict: A tad bitter (decided not to add sugar to the mix as the holiday season promised (es) too much of that elsewhere), and not quite enough foam. But the luxury of spooning off the foam and stirring it in, plus the pretty pattern that the barista adorned the foam with all made it worthwhile. 6 days later I had another one, (no pic) with outstanding foam – the kind you could almost stand a spoon up with – and it was delicious, no bitterness, no need for sugar.

SUGAR, dairy, booze and the Whole30 recap

I finished the Whole30

Post Whole30 they suggest reintroducing foods one at a time to check in with how it feels for one. I started with, surprise, cheese!
That was a tad underwhelming. It was cheddar melted on a homemade cauliflower crust w/ veggies pizza. It was tasty, but not “damn that’s fine” tasty. I’ve since had it a few times (in 27 days) and on balance, that’s a major victory for a change in my eating habits. Cheese was my go to snack. Since replaced with veggies and hummous.

Booze: My first glass of white wine, a Sonoma chardonnay was consumed after 35 days of no booze. I didn’t dive right into the booze on Day 31 as it was a Monday I think. I had one glass. It gave me a headache. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I’ve had more glasses and no headaches. Worth it? Yes, while St. Nick and his cohorts are around. Probably Jan 1st I’ll do another booze free stint to keep the early morning exercise vibe going.

Sugar: This one I waited considerably longer to reintroduce. I still take my evening herbal tea plain. But I’ve had chocolates, and a few desserts and cookies (even though they are more or less “paleo ones” – think shortbread made with hazelnuts and almond flour, chocolate cake made with dates and coconut date squares). I think the sugar makes me feel the worst. In particular as it has a kind of “more more more ” association raging inside each molecule. Verdict: Keep this in real moderation for 2014.

Grains: Zero. Unless there was an accidental dose eating out I am sticking with this for now. Feels great.

Overall I lost 9.2 pounds during the 30 days, I felt fantastic once the first ~7 Day period of headaches and fatigue and crankiness passed. Although I never felt that rush of “tiger blood”, I felt more energetic and my runs got just a tad faster. I suspect the “tiger blood” thing has to do with eating a lot of meat, which, of course, I didn’t eat, following a mainly veggie version of the plan. (80-85% veggie, some meals with fish).

2014?

I think I’ll largely stick with this eating plan, for the chief reason that I feel better. I may have a croissant or rice-pasta now and then, and adult-beverages will most assuredly cross my lips, as will cappuccinos, but by and large I will stick with the plan. The side benefits include a renewed appreciation for “real food”, for the time it takes to plan, purchase and prepare real food, and for the consideration of real hunger (as opposed to snacking mindlessly), and the value of slowing things down. It made me feel grateful.

All of that will have to wait as there are still a few hazelnut/almond shortbread cookies left to consume and one bottle of Veuve Cliquot to ring in the New Year!

shortbread

Advertisements

Whole30 – The Finish Line – Walnuts and Wholeness

walnuts

Walnuts in a shell taste 58 times better than ones that have been pre-shelled.

Or a gadzillion times better. We bought these walnuts and hazelnuts in Harrison at the end of September, so they are already two months old, but when I cracked one open the other night for dessert, it’s fresh taste was so magnificent I had to immediately text Mr. OP and share the news.

It got me thinking about this whole Whole30 plan, the way the focus is on it not being a “diet” but on eating real, unprocessed foods. Not being a meat eater, it’s a little trickier to follow the plan letter by letter, but they do offer vegetarian friendly options. I’m finding nuts are figuring into my meals more than before.  The thing is nuts have a lot of calories, and a few handfuls can really add up. I noticed when I was shelling one walnut, that it takes a considerable amount of time and effort – the cracking, the picking out and the eating. You tend to savour it more. When you buy nuts pre-shelled it’s easier to gobble many handfuls without giving it much thought.

The enforced slowness involved in shelling is similar to the  slowness created by more meal planning, more fresh vegetable shopping, more soaking (of legumes, “allowed” on the veggie plan), more preparation of food. It starts out being a bit of frustration — “Gadzooks, I have to do all this work?” — then gradually it dawns on you how much of the stuff you consume is processed, even when you think it isn’t. Like shelled walnuts.

haze;nuts

Hazelnuts are even harder to crack. The energy required to crack them possibly makes the calories within break even. I think “paleolithic man” had to work pretty darn hard to eat her food. Eating nuts this ways created a sense of mindfulness for me, making me pause and reflect upon the effort it took the tree (?) to grow the nuts, the harvesting, and all the steps in between to my table. This Whole30 gig has me reexamining my relationship to snacking — pulverizing Honey-Dijon potato chips in 2 milliseconds will have to be reconsidered in the future (after Christmas of course).

pomegranates

Pomegranates are on the menu for a treat tonight.

Two More Days

I’m two days out to the finish line. Part of me never wants to stop eating this way. I definitely feel better and have slimmed down without feeling too much deprivation. I won’t say without an ounce of deprivation, because I definitely felt sulky when passing by the cheese aisle at the grocery store or at the farmer’s market booth.

Post finish-line, they suggest re-introducing certain goods gradually, one at a time. I think I’ll start with cheese (surprise!), but I plan to avoid dairy by and large. The holiday season might make this a tad more challenging.

Onwards

coco-datein

This is the coconut date square from Day 22. Technically, might be a SWPO item, but what the heck. It’s the same ingredients as the (processed!) Larabars with a dash of coconut oil. I will not restart for this indulgence.

Whole30 – Raw Coconut-Date Squares

It’s Day 22 of my Whole30 journey. Cravings are definitely down, it’s the home stretch. A wee sweet treat is a much welcome  pick-me up to make it to home base.

coco-date122

After making these I realized they might qualify for what they call SWPO (Sex With Your Pants On) desserts. But then I figured, they are allowing Larabars (which I made a version of on Day 6), and they are essentially the same ingredients, with a bit of coconut oil (also on the approved list). The key difference* is the visual presentation — these look way better! They’re still in the fridge so I will have to wait till tomorrow to post the finished product, but I know from having made them last week that they are beauties.

*Portion control  (my personal nemesis) is also important, as always.

Dates

Raw Coconut Date Squares

Makes 10 big squares or 20 little ones:)

[For Miss Drew and Miss LP]

Modified from this recipe

Ingredients:

Crust/crumble:

1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pecans
6 soft Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2-3 TBSP coconut oil, melted
1 tsp dried ginger
pinch of salt

2-3 tsp coconut, shredded

Date filling:

1-1/2 cups soft Medjool pitted dates
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Directions:

Prep the dates for the filling by softening them first. I boiled some water, and soaked the dates in a bowl with the water for about 30 minutes.

Line an ~8″x8″ baking dish with parchment paper. In a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, pulse the walnuts and pecans until they are finely ground. Add in the chopped dates, coconut oil and salt, and process again until the “dough” is formed – basically it clumps together.  Save 1 cup of this dough for the crumble topping, then transfer the rest of the dough to the lined baking dish,  using your fingers to press it evenly into the bottom of the pan. (Being a germophobe, I did not press this with my fingers but used the spatula.)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until  it has a purée like feeling, with a few little chunks of date left for texture. Add more water if necessary.

Spread the filling over the crust evenly ( I used a silicone spatula) , then crumble the reserved cup of dough over the top. Sprinkle the topping over the filling and garnish with the shredded coconut.

Important> Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours to set. I found they were even firmer and more delicious the next day, after being chilled overnight.

Serve chilled for best presentation. Store in fridge for up to a week.

Raw, Vegan, Paleo, Delicious and Nutritious!

nuts22

Whole30 – Day 16! Where are you Tiger Blood?

days-16-eggs

Whole30 – Day 16. That’s 2 days past 2 weeks and one day past the half-way mark. Not that I’m counting.

To recap: On November 1, I decided to do this Whole30 paleo (a semi-pescatarian/vegetarian approach) and began with gusto. Zero grains, zero alcohol, zero sugar and zero dairy. Legumes are allowed on the vegetarian guidelines.
I had to restart on November 2nd, as I drank wine on the first:) This was because I had planned to have some Chardonnay (frig off ABC naysayers:) on the 31st  of October, but due to jet lag I fell asleep too early to celebrate either Hallowe’en or enjoy the wine. So it was sitting there, and with Mr. OP twisting my arm, I had some on the 1st. Which means my scheduling is not neatly synchronized to the 30 days of November.

Lesson 1: Let it go.

I endured headaches for about 5 days and many pimples, a rash on my neck (reaction to necklace),  crankiness, fatigue — followed by oodles of sleep,  and in the last few days really feel I’ve come out on the other side. Which is what they say in their timeline of what to expect. Days 16 – 28 are supposed to be Tiger Blood. Which I assume comes from the idea that you eat so much meat, that I don’t eat.

I signed up for their daily email support, but signed up on the 3rd day, so that too is out of sync. I’m getting Day 14’s email today which does not yet mention this tantalizing Tiger Blood.

I’m not eating meat, but am eating more eggs and fish than I would otherwise. So I will look forward to what I’m calling Winnie the Pooh Blood. Even though he ate lots of honey (no sugar permitted here), he was probably a vegetarian. I will keep you posted when that day arrives.

EATING OUT

  • Drinks out. Ordered club soda with lime and asparagus without the parmesan (sigh) as an appie. Sense of deprivation: 2/10 (it was kind of a retro-dive bar, so I even had a brief longing for a cigarette(!)
  • Book club. This was mentally tougher as the book was a travelogue type set in Italy (Under the Tuscan Sun – different than the movie, but a light read) with a gadzillion  mouth-watering recipes in it. Somewhat tortuous to read. Also, it was one of the gal’s b-day and there was cake! It was gluten free too, as the gal who bought it so sweetly thought of me. Aaaargh. I got by on the roasted veggies, kale salad topped with cherry tomatoes, and instead of having the amazing looking lemon something made with cream and topped with pomegranates, the host had some of the pomegranate seeds left, I ate those. They were delicious. Sense of deprivation: 3/10 (the b-day cake and the Italian red wine)

ROUTINE/PLANNING

The farmer’s market was this weekend, so I stocked up. Beets, kale, leeks, carrots, radishes, mushrooms, and something new: Gem squash.

Gem Squash

Gem Squash – 1st time I’ve heard of them. Vendor told me to cut in 1/2 and steam for 7-8 min. Yum.

One of the things my brain keeps whispering at me (as I walk through the aisles of Whole Foods for example) is: cheese, lentil chips, cheese, root chips, cheese, honey-dijon mustard chips, cheese…. “Aww, you can’t have this, it’s not fair“… or whiny variations thereof.

This week I had a minor epiphany. I decided to turn the focus around to all the amazing things I could have. So splurging on organic produce at Farmer’s Market (or the Whole Paycheck place) felt like a treat, even if I try to normally buy those things, I don’t do so with such zest, nor in such volume. No veggies are rotting in my fridge, trust me. Lentil Vegetarian soup round three will be on it’s way today.

Onwards.

Day 17 Pomme

A recently acquired item. Less waste, and makes the apple taste better I think. (There was also walnuts and cashews to accompany for breakfast)

Whole30 – Day 12 – Raw Kale, Habits and Planning

brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts from this summer. Purchased at the farmer’s market – it was the first time I realized how brussel sprouts grew.

Day 12. 3 more days until I am 1/2 way through.

My key takeways so far are habits and planning.

Last night while preparing my delicious Licorice Spice tea, I reached into the cutlery drawer to grab a teaspoon. As I picked it up, I went “Woah… put back the spoon!”. Even though I didn’t always take sugar with my tea, I had certainly formed a habit for certain cups. Like the cup before bedtime, or the cup when it’s cold out, or I was feeling a little blue. So a habit had crept up on me without me being aware.

Following this Whole30 gig, I find the automatic response gets curbed. Which then forces you to reflect if you really do want something, or it’s just an impulse. I signed up for their email support plan ( at ~50cents a day it’s cheaper than my cappucinos) and they do talk about asking yourself if you would eat fish and broccoli to decide if you are really hungry or not. Even though I eat fish, it’s not often, so I ask myself if I would eat lentils and broccoli.  With my cup of tea of course, sugar is clearly off the table, so I don’t have to think any more about it. But when I do go back to eating cheese, for example, I do hope to curb the automated pop into the mouth of little bits while grating some parmesan for dinner, or just opening the fridge door and looking for cheese…

KALE

I eat plenty of kale normally, but this has been a week of Kale. Chiefly because I haven’t planned so well for this week (I blame the holiday on Monday), and so there is no lettuce in the house for me to bring for lunch. But there is kale, so for two days in a row I’ve had raw kale salad with a few pecans and raisins. Tasty, but a tad light on the calories. I think my buddha belly will survive.

Tonight I am going out for “a drink” after work. I am now a very cheap date – water and lettuce with dressing on the side please, I suspect will be the tune of the evening. But who knows. Wish me luck.

Whole30 – Days 8 & 9 – the accidental dose

For about a year I’ve been drinking my coffee with (unsweetened) coconut milk. This makes it easy to differentiate between my cup and Mr. OP’s cup, as he takes it black with sugar.

This morning our coffee was in identical cups and I accidentally swigged a sip.

How many sips are in a cup of coffee? It was smallish sip. I realized as it was already being swallowed what I’d done.

There was about 3/4 of a teaspoon of organic brown sugar in there. If there are 10 sips in a cup (stabbing in the dark here), I consumed a statistically insignificant amount. Not that you would have noticed by my shouts of “Oh No, What Have I Done – Aaaargh!”

Onwards.

These last two days have brought improved energy and a sense that I will persevere. My Day 7 glibness towards not missing wine was, of course, overturned on Saturday evening, when the thought of a delicious glass of ice cold chardonnay (ABCers piss off) haunted me for at least an hour. I made delicious tea and enjoyed the zero side-effects the next morning by going for a run.

Sunday I faced a family dinner and managed aok. There was enough food to eat, and although the mashed potatoes with loads of butter looked fantastic, they did not cross my lips. And although I carefully inspected the salad dressing for sugar (none), a small, yet bigger than miniscule dose of sugar passed my lips via the BBQ sauce that was on the salmon. I scraped most of it off, and having scoured the forums for information found out that a wee bit of sugar does not require a restart to Day 1. Passing on the chocolate decadence cake for dessert was slightly more daunting, but I clenched my teeth and smiled.

Pureeing tomatoes for the lentil soup

Cooking.

It being a long weekend (which of course thinking about Remembrance Day puts this modest challenge into perspective) I cooked. A lot.

More chia/flax seed crackers, more vegetable lentil soup, and coconut date squares were the top of the list.

**—————————————-

Coconut Date Bars

(Culled from here and here w/ miniscule modifications – these are raw and Vegan)

  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinammon

I have a mini cuisinart, so had to make this in two batches. Otherwise, if you have a regular one, I’m sure you could blend it all at once.  I chopped the walnuts first, then added the dates and coconut.

Blend until it starts forming into a ball.

Roll out between two sheets of parchement paper to desired thickness and slice and serve.
Mine made about 10, plus some little bits that didn’t make the cut. Myfitness pal tells me they are about 100 calories each. A perfect snack, and Whole30 approved. I estimated the cost at 55 cents a bar (all organic ingredients) versus those Larabar ones at $1.99 a pop.

And Mr. OP likes them too.

============================

Today is Day 10, it being a holiday I  had grandiose plans to cook even more, but chores and dealing with stuff got in the way, so  my new half-baked plan to add a full recipe section  to this fledging blog will have to wait another day.

I am stoked I am 1/3 of the way through this regime!

Day 7 – One Week of Whole 30 – Hurrah

Breakfast

Brekkie. Also included some cashews and coconut water. And coffee with coconut milk of course.

Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray. That was my inner cheerleading team this morning as I was out running (ok jogging) at 7:30am this morning. The extreme fatigue phase has passed, fingers crossed. My head still feels stuffed up, which I attribute to either a) the possibility I am fighting off a cold, b) the combo of the leftover jet-lag and starting this kooky venture or c) more toxins are still brewing in my head waiting to be released.

One week of Whole 30 – vegetarian (more or less, I am eating a wee bit of fish) style.  Trumpets please.

The biggest takeaway I have for the week is that cooking while avoiding sugar, processed foods, dairy and grains takes a gadzillion more times work than cooking the other way. The bonus is I am standing up more. Did you know sitting is the new smoking? I read it in Runner’s World a few issues ago. I sit at the box a lot.  So spending time in the morning washing lettuce for lunch, and spending more time prepping, chopping dicing, and cooking supper adds I’m guessing at least 30 minutes more standing minutes into my day. This is a big bonus.

The other takeaway is that the brain is a devious, whiny little beast. I am bracing myself for the cravings phase which they say starts on Day 8. Seeing as I’m sort of on Day 8 (see yesterday’s post), that would be today. Having done a few 30 day challenges before, in particular with booze, there is something different I’ve noticed about this one.

With the booze free (or wine-free really) ones, I thought about wine a lot. Especially in the first week. I haven’t thought about it at all this week, because my brain is too busy noticing the dark (which isn’t my favourite) chocolate Mr. OP  has left out – open – on the counter ; the copious amounts of cheese still in the fridge; and it is quite busy bitching to me about why I am doing this kookoo gig anyhow? Wine has fallen off the radar. So I think it’s that the brain wants what it can’t have and what it can see. Simple. I’ve introduced too many can’t haves for it to focus on only one (although I’ll wait and see what the next week brings), so it’s primarily relying on visual cues. There is no wine in the house. There is scotch, which I like a little bit, but I don’t ordinarily drink, so it isn’t a cue.  Plus it’s in behind a closed door that I don’t open very often, unlike the fridge.

Onwards.

zzzzzzzzzzz – Whole 30 Day 6

Mr. OP kindly brought me a coffee in bed this am at quarter after 7. I opened my eyes, then promptly shut them again, when I woke up 20 minutes later the coffee was cold. This was after going to bed at 9:30pm the night before! So, the Day 6-7 full on fatigue they predict on their Whole 30 timeline hit me one day early.

I know why this is.  I actually started this whole insane venture on November 1st. Nice and tidy – 30 days hath November… (hence the blog name). But, I had wine that night. What happened was I planned to have wine on the Thursday night, but was so jet lagged from traveling from Mile Zero to almost Mile Zero** (St. John’s to Vancouver, via Toronto and Ottawa – 3 flights), plus there is a 4.5 hr time change that I couldn’t keep my eyes open enough to uncork the delicious Chardonnay I bought. I am not an ABCer btw. So when Mr. OP suggested we uncork it on Friday, even though I had already navigated Day 1 of this journey, I was like “yes please” and I’ll re-start tomorrow:) All this to say I’m kinda on Day 7 even though it’s Day 6.

Whole 30 Brekki

Breakfast of Champions: Leftover roasted cauliflower and portobello mushrooms, zucchini and green onions all sauteed in a mix of olive and coconut oils. Folded into 2 scrambled eggs.

Crankiness: Had to pick up some more veggies and fruit and walked through the grocery  store feeling irrationally irked I couldn’t buy cheese (avoided that aisle altogether), chips or chocolate. Contemplated buying Larabars (an approved food), but at $1.99 a pop, seemed like a waste. Very simple ingredients, I will try my own coconut date bars on the weekend. Also, my chiro’s office had a notice about how the company is unethical or something to that effect. I am easily swayed.

Good news: My dear pal and colleague brought me a cheesecloth to work today! I can make clarified butter. That pleasure will have to wait for the weekend.

My headache is lifting, although my head still feels foggy I can feel a light optimistic note creeping in, whispering, yes, you can do this for 24 more days.

One thing I’ve noticed that even though I cooked a lot beforehand, when you commit to this level of focus on real food, you really notice how much time it takes to plan, procure, and make food, which means less time for watching tv, or being on the box. Both good things.

Onwards.

**————————————————————————

Two Mile Zeros on the Trans-Canada Highway
From Maclean’s ( The graceful end of the Trans-Canada Highway)

The sign says “Mile 0” and as journalist Walter Stewart wrote in 1965, “the Trans-Canada Highway (is) the world’s only national roadway that has two beginnings and no end. You start from Mile 0 on Water Street in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, drive 7,714 kilometres, and finish up in Beacon Hill in downtown Victoria, where the sign reads – guess what? – Mile 0. Neither city wanted to be at the tail of the procession, so we made a road with two heads and no foot. Very Canadian, very sensible.

Whole 30 Day 5 – Heavy head and Chocolate

squash2

Last night’s dinner: Lentil Burgers** (legumes are ok when following the veggie version of the Whole 30), spaghetti squash (my first time making) and kale. Quite delicious, but I missed the butter. Butter is allowed, but only clarified butter. Not owning a cheesecloth, and already feeling like this whole venture involves a lot of channeling of Julia Child, I haven’t yet made the clarified butter. But I will.

Day 5: Headache continues and 3pm fatigue is ridiculous. My head drops and feels like it weighs 50lbs.

Other than that there is a pleasant feeling of virtuousness knowing that no sugar has passed my lips in 5 days. Not as sweet as chocolate (why does Mr OP have to leave an open bar of chocolate in the dining room!) but at least metaphorically sugar coated.

The key thing about following this plan is preparation. I thought I had purchased everything I needed. But I’m out of ideas of what to eat for dinner tonight – and opening a jar of tomato sauce and smothering it over pasta (rice) topped with a soupcon of parmesan is off the table. Sigh.

I haven’t purchased enough veggies or fruit or fish. And keep forgetting about the bloody cheesecloth!

Fish. I still toy with going back to being a full on vegetarian, but then I remember my heritage (many fisherman on my maternal side of the family) and I concede the genetic tie overrides the guilt I have over the degree of their sentience. How sentient are salmon anyhow? Don’t tell me.

**—————————————————

RECIPE: Curried Lentil Almond Burgers

  • 3 cups green lentils (cooked)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almonds (depending on how much water is in your cooked lentils)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 TBS coconut flour* (again dependent on water)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • turmeric and madras powder to taste

Blend together above ingredients. Shape into patties.

I tried both baking and frying them. The fried ones were much more delicious:)  I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 coconut oil (~1tbs or so) seeing as I haven’t gotten the whole clarified butter thing together yet.

Bake at 350 till solid. Depending on “wet” the mixture was to start takes anywhere from 25 to 40 min.

Frying > Almost like making pancakes. Turn over when solid enough to flip.

* A note about coconut flour, if you’ve never cooked/baked with it before. It is super absorbent. They should make paper towels out of it. Don’t treat it like regular flour.

Holy chills & headache – Day 3/4 Whole 30

I went to bed at 9:30pm last night. Prior to that I was walking around the house with the hoodie of my sweatshirt pulled up over my head and thick wool socks on. Mr. OP commented that it looked like I was camping.

This was Day 3 of my Whole 30 semi-pescatarian adventure.

I also had a headache. It’s still there slightly, but I don’t think my symptoms are a cold, or flu. It’s just that detox thing they mention in their timeline.

The crankiness they say will appear on Days 4-5 was there right away however:) It’s the cheese in the fridge taunting me, the blue one I crumble in my salad. Plus I haven’t clarified my butter yet, so no butter so far for 4 days. Clarifying butter is a lot of work. I’m already overwhelmed. Towards the goals of this quest I have so far:

  • Made vegetable lentil soup from scratch.
  • Made chia-flax crackers from scratch. That gooey gelatinous substance was challenging, but they’re decent enough. The seeds stick to your teeth.
  • Cleaned Whole Foods out of nuts and seeds. Luckily for me there was  a 25% sale on them. You’re only supposed to eat them in moderation. Unsalted, unroasted cashews are surprisingly delicious.
  • Bought more vegetables than I usually do in the summer at the Farmer’s Market.

What I’ve noticed, as with other 30 day challenges from the past (giving up wine for 30 days, giving up wheat for 30 days, this last one has become more or less permanent) is that you always think “I don’t eat that much ______ (bread, pasta…), I only have 1 (ok 2) glasses of wine a couple (ok 4) days a week” and then when you go off the substances you realize you actually do consume a lot more than you think.

BOOZE – So far, giving up the wine has been quite easy. I think my brain has adapted to the previous 30, 60 and 30 days booze-free challenges of the past year and a half, so it’s not sulking.

SUGAR – however, which I was like “I hardly eat any sugar”, pshaw – this will be a cinch. Around 3pm and ~ 8pm I could climb a mountain for a piece of milk chocolate. It’s hard to stay focused for a few minutes, I feel slightly dizzy. Then I make a cup of herbal tea (sans honey) and all is well.

CHEESE – I knew this one was going to be tough. I used to be a vegan, so I remember being cheese free, but it’s a distant memory, something vague and surreal, like being 11.

I await with pleasure Days 16 – 27: TIger Blood. Although without any meat perhaps it will be more like Winnie The Pooh Blood.

crackers

Chia and Flaxseed crackers.

Basically 1 cup of flaxseed and 1/4 cup chia seeds, water and spices. Adapted from 2 different recipes: Lauren Conrad’s Chia Flaxseed Crackers and one from Just a Bit of Salt (minus the maple syrup of course!). The key difference is the first recipe is more or less a dehydration process – low oven heat for many hours and the other one is baked at 350. I tried both.

Personally I prefer the baked, but like the idea of being “raw”.

I used:

  • 1 cup of whole flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds (organic natch)
  • bunch of water (probably too much)
  • 1/2 veggie bouillon cube (no sugar)
  • bit of sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ground rosemary

Notes – They both say to soak the flaxseed and chia seeds in water. Never having done this before, I was imagining it like soaking chickpea seeds. Wrong. It turns into a gelatinous goop. Slightly disconcerting, but I got over it.

I soaked them for about 4 hours. Then spread with a spoon on parchment paper covered baking sheets and baked at 350 for 25 minutes (the one recipe said 15 – but it was way too soft after 15 – prob too much H20) and then scored them, returned them back for another 25. Turning it over meant getting another sheet of parchement paper and flopping it. 1/4 of it stuck to the parchement sheet.

2nd batch – I let it cook a little longer and used a cake server to flatten it out. Bit like making mud cakes.  Brushed the parchement with olive oil. Turned over beautifully.

3rd batch – Tried the 190 degree method. Took way too long. I don’t have the patience. They end up not as crisp, which is what I like in that type of cracker.

Spices: Thinking it was going to be a rinse situation inside of making mud pies, I didn’t add the spices before hand to the water. I would do this next time. I would also add some pepper.

It was my first time eating chia seeds. They have a superfood reputation. DId I mention they stick to your teeth and you shouldn’t eat too much or you could get a stomach ache. I really hope making this isn’t the whole “sex with your pants on” thing they go on about (Paleo-ification of desserts and “junk food.”)  It’s bird food for pete’s sake! I’m not going back to Day 1.

===========

4pm: Slight headache continues and some crankiness. But I got good news today and had a great work day with my friend and colleague. Onwards.