Evening all, If you’re reading this then you are very loyal supporters considering I haven’t posted for months, thank you for sticking with me!
The reason for my lack of communication is due to some changes that I’ve made in my life recently and now that these changes have bedded in, I want to bring you up to speed and take you on the rest of the journey with me.
My ‘Year of Illness’
From January through to October 2014 I was ill, it affected every part of my life and my family and resulted in an operation in August.
My symptoms varied from heartburn, bloating, weight gain and sluggish digestion. I worked out a lot to keep my weight down, with no success and I wrote a food diary for most of the year to try to identify trends that could lead to clues as to why I was ill. I had a few procedures to investigate possible causes but nothing was set in stone as The Definite Cause Why I Feel Awful.
Ultimately, I had my gall bladder removed and following recovery I could see that things were starting to get back to normal. from September to December I still had bouts of illness but they were far less frequent.
The Winds of Change..
In January this year, I was sick and tired of feeling weak and feeble so I decided to take control, with a little help from my friend Nicola, I set about making changes to my diet and began a road to learning about nutrition and the good old adage ‘you only get out what you put in’.
Initially, I wanted to make myself strong so I started training, I got back in to running – really slowly! I started off by walking for a minute then running to the next lamppost I could see, soon I was able to run 3-4 times a week for a solid 20 minutes – still giving me enough time to cook the family dinner. I also started riding my bike for a good 50-60 minutes at the weekends. It was hard going in crappy weather in January but I’m so glad I did, there are some beautiful parts around where I live.
The second part related to my diet. During my year of illness I was averaging 1200 calories per day, eating like a pigeon as my mum would say. Often it would be less than this, I’d have breakfast and feel so full and uncomfortable all day that I couldn’t eat again until I got home. I wanted to better understand the food I was putting in so I could then monitor what I was getting out.
To begin with, I kept to my same diet but I took more of an interest in the ingredients of food and also started weighing my food. Weighing portions is not something that I’d say is is sustainable – its practically impossible when at work or eating out – but it was good to do it for a short period of time to really pull myself up on what a plate of food should really look like. Needless to say I was overloading my plate, not by a huge amount but all the same…
Around the same time, I started to read health food blogs, my friend recommended one to me that revolved around Clean Eating and it was the major catalyst that triggered the huge changes that I have experienced in the past 5 months. Clean eating centres, in my view, around three main areas:
- eating whole foods — those that are unprocessed, unrefined, and keeping them as close to their natural form as possible
- avoiding or reducing the amount of products I consume that have ingredients I cannot pronounce, ones that sound science-y and chemical-y
- if ‘Sugar’ is within the top 3 ingredients on the packet, try and pick something else
After reading a fair few blogs, I started to introduce clean eating by finding ways to introduce it into my life in a low-impact way. Every Sunday night I do a menu plan for our dinners each week and then I order all the food I need online. So I tweaked this slightly and found one or two clean eating recipes to try each week and added them to my weekly meal plan.
Then I extended my meal plan, I started to call out what I would have for the whole day. But again, just for 2 days per week. I decided that I didn’t want to worry about what I’d do if I felt hungry so I split my meal plan into 5 sections – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and then dinner. I’ll post some menu plans soon.
Slowly but surely I built up to a full week of clean eating.
It can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to convenience, you can’t always easily find something to eat when you’re on the go – especially when there is so much temptation around – but I wasn’t putting pressure on myself because I was learning as I go.
I found that prepping food the night before made life easier and I identified a couple of easy options close to work in case I was caught unprepared. To start with, if I found a recipe I liked for breakfast, I stuck with it for a few days, making small tweaks to it. For example, I would soak oats in almond milk overnight and then in the morning just add stuff to it – raspberries and honey, apples and cinnamon etc.
Now that my understanding of clean eating is growing I’m learning about natural supplements and I’m going to start a nutrition course because I’m becoming increasingly passionate about this. For a bloody good reason – I feel fantastic – after a year of trouble, pain and ill health, reaching this point feels so amazing!
I started clean eating mid-January and 5 months on, everything is so very different. My dietary issues have all but disappeared, my hair is strong, my skin is fantastic, my nails are solid and I’ve lost a stone in weight – nice and gradually!
And now for something completely different
As I said at the start of this post, I want to take you on the rest of my journey with me. Many of you know me – I’m a mum, I work full time and I bloody love cooking – I want to make clean eating accessible to people the same as me, it has to be convenient, ingredients need to be accessible and its got to taste amazing – no excuses and absolutely no way I’m going to put up with anything that tastes anything less than delicious!!
So my posts going forward will have a focus on clean eating and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy them, but I’m no angel…well I am but sometimes the halo slips a bit 😉 so there will be some non-clean posts too – nothing can stand in the way of a bloody good dessert.
Please join me on this journey, you’ll be amazed how some teeny tiny tweaks can change the way you feel and the energy you have and I want to prove that clean eating is possible for everyone, even families who run at a 100mph with zero time to try new things. As always, post your comments and feedback below – I want this to be a two way communication and I want your input to make my blog better.