Can you believe that I have been on this dairy, grain and sugar free lifestyle for almost a year already? I can’t. It seems almost impossible actually. But it’s true, I started just after my birthday last year and despite falling off the wagon quite considerably in Italy, I have pretty much stuck to it hardcore style.
This post is brought to you in conjunction with Faithful To Nature – I’ve been using their site for a couple of months now as it makes this whole healthy journey so much easier.
Funnily enough, the question that I get asked most often (after, “Why would you do that to yourself?!”) is…
What do you eat then?
And I get it. As a person that prided herself in eating burgers and pizzas whenever possible, what even is a life without cheesy pizzas or burgers topped with all the trimmings? And cheesecake. And chocolate. And Nik Naks. Or even just like, a flat white. Yoh, how Cape Town did I just sound. Anyway.
It’s been hard and as you will know if you’ve been around here for any length of time, I have struggled with the change. It’s intense. Mostly because you have to rethink EVERYTHING you put in your mouth because some form of sugar, grain or dairy is literally hiding in anything that hasn’t grown directly from a plant. Even bacon. They put freaking sugar into freaking bacon. I was absolutely gutted when I found out.
What’s changed since cutting out dairy, grain and sugar?
It’s so easy to focus on the hard parts of this journey. How much I long for pizza etc. But the good outweighs the bad exponentially. So here’s the great things that have come with this new lifestyle:
- My skin. Obvs.
- I am the lightest I have been since hitting puberty. Since starting this way of eating I dropped about 6kg and it has stayed off with ease.
- When my kids have been sick, I’ve managed to get out alive without picking up their germs. This is HUGE as I usually get it way worse than them and take longer to recover.
- My um, bowel movements are fairly consistent now.
- So much more energy than I had previously.
So to answer another question that sometimes pops up…
No – I don’t follow a particular diet.
I’m way too fussy for that. There’s no way that I can deal with them telling me that I have to eat a can of dry tuna on top of a bed of kale. It ain’t going to happen. I just make up my own thing as I go along and that meant having to literally start from scratch in how I thought about my food.
You’re not going to get that food is fuel so I literally eat kale for breakfast crap from me. Because although it totally is fuel, it’s so much more than that for me. It’s nostalgia, it’s comfort, it’s a pick up after a tough day, it’s a social gathering and for me, it’s TOTALLY got to be full of flavour. Not the crappy kind of flavour where it literally tastes like you’re eating soil. The good kind.
OK Cool, but answer the question, what do you eat then?
It might help to give you an idea of the bulk food that we eat a lot of and then break that down into individual meals. To be clear we do still eat the following: POTATOES, RICE (trying to make this brown and mixed with quinoa wherever possible), BUTTER (in moderation), ALL VEG, ALL FRUIT and MOST MEATS AND EGGS. I am also not super strict when they are very small trace elements of these forbidden foods hiding inside other foods. So like if wheat is the very last ingredient in something that is predominantly something else I won’t fuss to much. Like if chicken is coated with flour before it’s crumbed with potato or something like that.
A typical day would look like this:
I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, but when I do get a chance to make myself something it’s always one of these options:
- Rice cakes with egg/avo/bovril/some kind of nut butter
- A banana and a handful of peanuts and raisins or almonds
- A nutribullet smoothie – this usually consists of two handfuls of baby spinach, a banana then either other fresh fruit or blue berries, vegan protein powders (available on Faithful To Nature here), a combination of cocoa powder and a nut butter.
- On the weekends we have a good old fry up with eggs, fried onions and tomatoes, mushrooms and often a piece of meat.
This is hard because it varies so much depending on how my day is going. Often I go out and grab something but if not I’ll make something at home between taxi-ing the kids around.
- Leftovers from supper. This was a life saver in the beginning as it stopped me going out to find something unhealthy to eat. Making more supper and bringing it to work is so worth it.
- Some kind of salad. Mostly chicken with all the nice bits that make eating salad worthwhile (avo, carrots, tomatoes, onions etc)
- Getting in protein is key for me as I like feeling full. So a chicken friend rice from our local asian takeaway also works.
- I’m a sucker for chips, so if I’m not feeling like a salad I will have steak with chips and veg.
- Sometimes if this is my first meal of the day then I have breakfast options for lunch.
- Rice cakes with healthy mayo and tuna.
This is probably the hardest because now I’m not the only one eating it. And let’s just say that cutting pasta out of our supper routine was devastating to our children. Nevertheless we persevere with these options…
- Curries. Give me all the curries with rice mixed with quinoa. We make it mild for the kids but we’re slowly building it up in heat.
- Bunless burgers with salad.
- Mince in a tomato sauce with the rice/quinoa mix.
- Roast chicken and veg. This is probably my go to option. Chuck everything in a tray, glug some olive oil on it and some spices, chuck it in the oven for an hour and bam, it’s done.
- Soups – butternut with coconut cream, vegetable soups etc. Eaten with rice cakes usually.
- Roast chicken with salad
- Stirfried rice with whatever veg I have in the fridge and some sesame seed oil.
Eating at home is easy. You generally tend not to buy the things you can’t eat so that you aren’t tempted when you’re feeling weak. But going out for a social gathering is where I find it exceptionally hard to stay on track. So what do I order when we’re out?
- I love a really good fillet steak and I just can’t make it as nicely at home. So I tend to order this when I’m out. With fries, salad or veg depending on my mood. Usually fries.
- Sushi. Although someone once told me that they soak the sushi rice in sugar water but I am refusing to believe that, so therefore it is untrue.
- Salad. So great.
- If the restaurant really has nothing on offer then I just order a burger and take it off the bun. Easy peasy and usually much cheaper than a steak.
My life would quite literally fall apart without snacks. I need to feel like I’m indulging or else I will cheat hard. So very hard. Which means that every now and then, I cheat with something “healthy”. More every now than then to be honest. Here’s what has replaced Nik Naks in my life…
- Woolies lightly salted Hand Cooked Crisps. Sometimes dipped in avo.
- Other crisps but I try not to get the flavoured ones because there is always something hiding in that flavouring.
- Home made date balls.
- Lindt 70% dark chocolate (but only one or two blocks).
Another real problem for me changing to this lifestyle was giving up milk. I LOVED a milky coffee and would actually take half my coffee with milk and only half with actual coffee. I LOVE milk. So when I had to stop taking milk I hated coffee so much that I stopped drinking it altogether. But who can live that way? Instead of trying to go it without, I started drinking it black. It took about a month of only drinking half cups and only proper coffee for me to truly enjoy it again. Which in hindsight was perfect practice for the Italian espressos!
- Black espresso/Americano
- Still water
- Various teas
- Wine – very rarely now as I’m sure it makes my skin react, so I indulge in a glass only when I’m out at a social gathering every now and then. No more home drinking. It’s hard.
And that about wraps it all up.
Is there anything that I missed here that you still want to ask me?