Friday, 1 August 2014

Getting clean

image c/o thekitchn.com
Happy Friday!
As most of you will know from my posts going back about 18 months I am in the process of overhauling my diet and lifestyle, getting clean if you will! (If you're a new reader, you can find those posts by clicking the labels in the right side bar, look under "food" and "health")

I would naturally be the type of person who would happily sit on her ass eating a 6 pack of crisps, wash it down with a cherry C*ke and follow it with a bottle of wine. On a Tuesday. This was my unfortunate lifestyle right up until my first child started eating solids. I suddenly became aware of my diet and realised that I didn't want him eating what I ate (I say "I" because my husband has always had healthier eating habits than me). So I started cooking food I wanted to share with my baba, and so the path to healthier eating began.

Back then I was still eating bread three times a day, not limiting sugar, not limiting caffeine, not taking supplements, so I wasn't very well educated on nutrition. But I did start cooking and eating real vegetables, snacking on fruit (biting off a chunk of apple is so much easier a snack for a child than a packet of children's corn snacks), and reading the labels of everything.

We have come a long way in the last 5 years, especially in the last 12 months or so. Our whole family's diet has improved, and I'm now at the stage of choosing gluten-free options and cutting back our wheat and sugar intake, which were the worst vices. The boys get water or breastmilk to drink, with juice as an odd treat and fizzy drinks for parties and Christmas only. I am baking gluten-free or mostly gluten-free breads and making my own pizza bases. I am happy to say that since April we haven't had so much as a sniffle, and if I feel something's coming on (as in a virus) I'm straight out with the garlic and onions, making a soup or curry to clear it all away. We do buy some processed foods (fruit-flavoured yoghurts, crisps, sweets or chocolate, jams, icepops) but these are for treats or dessert, not a part of our casual diet. I'm trying to bake my own treats and make healthier sweet alternatives, like frozen banana ice-cream and fake fudge, and you know what? When these are the only "treats' in the house they get eaten with relish. Homemade bread with butter and jam is now a treat, as is a Barleycup at night, with honey or my homemade coffee creamer.

Up to a few months ago I used to sit down after the kids were asleep and eat a bar of chocolate, maybe some crisps while watching tv. I'm talking at midnight. Then I'd wonder why I couldn't get to sleep, and why when I woke up I'd feel mildly hungover and have sore joints. I think I reached a crisis point with my body and I really felt like I was ageing fast. So I started cycling everywhere and nowhere and signed up for a yoga class. In only 3 weeks of yoga practice I feel so much better. I am reaching for healthier foods, I'm drinking more water. I'm not feeling the need for a glass of wine at night, not at all. Not even really enjoying it when I do have a tipple. I'm craving fresh, real foods, reading the labels on my bread, and have stopped buying sliced pans. (We used to go through 2 a week between 3 of us) I've baked a lot of spelt loaves in the last few weeks, and when I do buy bread it is artisan with as few ingredients as possible. Quality not quantity.

This is hopefully what's keeping us healthy, what's keeping me fit, hopefully these changes will continue and we will be visiting fast food outlets less frequently. Actually we took the kids and their cousin to McShithole's a couple of weeks ago and the kids ate the food-like substances, while Barry and I got takeaway organic soups from an artisan cafe. I'd have previously devoured a sack of fries.

Hail the slow lifestyle changes, I have to sneak them upon myself. If I told myself this was a new "diet" or something was outlawed, I'd be craving it. And there is no way healthy eating needs a large food budget. In fact, without sweets and crisps, tortillas and dips and endless bottles of ketchup, we are saving money. We haven't done a big food shop in almost 2 months, just buying stuff as we need it, bananas and cheese here, potatoes and bread there. I'm making laundry detergent and other cleaning and beauty products (more in a later post) so we are saving lots of money in the long-haul. And the days I don't feel like cooking? There's usually a pot of soup in the fridge, or we'll have scrambled eggs on toast, or new potatoes with butter, or noodles and peas. Or I'll thank past-Niamh for throwing that extra homemade pizza back in the freezer to do a future meal. So I'm cooking double and freezing the extras a lot, that's a big time-saver.

Anyway enough rabbiting on. In other news I just finished a book. On my tablet, but a book nonetheless. Dervla Murphy's Wheels within Wheels. It's the first book I've finished in months. Pats on back. I liked it, it explained a lot. Bit frustrating and depressing too though, but a must if you like her other books, it's her life from birth to age 32.

Anyway, namaste to you
Nee x

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