Some of you may think I am not taking this seriously enough or with an open heart, but I am, I am! I am being very good about sticking closely to the challenge and have only cheated properly once when I had 2 slices of pizza. I hasten to add that this was not succumbing to a craving but sheer tiredness on my part to cook anything else and the pizza was there for the 6 teenage boys!
So today I will share some of the positives I have gleaned so far.
1. What they say about cravings is absolutely true. They do dissipate completely! As per banting-lore the fats seem to keep me satisfied and I can truly say I never feel hungry and have no cravings. In that sense it becomes easy to avoid unhealthy treats, although from a psychological point of view I still miss breads and rusks especially.
2. Consequently I have lost 2 kilos so far without trying to eat less. I can imagine that had I cut all starch (eg rice and oats) this would be even more effective.
3. I am now more aware of the harm sugar can do and I am more aware of the hidden sugars we take in. Some ‘hidden’ sugars really are crazy, such as a can of baked beans which contains 18g of sugar!
4. I have also spotted lots of easy ways to cut down. The big ones are obviously sweets and sweetened drinks, which frankly I find easy to cut out (coffee excepted). Using less is often an easy option, for example mayonnaise can be ‘diluted’ with plain yoghurt and tastes just as good. Likewise flavoured yoghurts can be mixed with plain yoghurts, thus halving the sugar. Butter beans can lose a lot of sugar by simply giving them good rinse before use. So think creatively.
5. Similarly if you can’t eliminate wheat, then try wholegrains which are better than anything made from plain refined flour, and most of those are quite tasty.
6. Again simply altering a traditional dinner mindset of starch (rice, potato, pasta), meat and 2 veg for supper to: meat and three/four veggies or reducing your typical starch portion by half is easy to do.
7. Lunches for my kids have not been entirely bread-free but we have increased their complex carbohydrates by adding in lots salad stuff into their sandwiches.
8. Generally being more creative has made cooking a bit more interesting the last 2 weeks which is very welcome when you’ve been cooking hot dinners for 20 years.
On the flipside I have to say:
1. Unsweetened coffee and tea still taste awful to me. And coffee with sweetner is just not nice, even xylitol has an aftertaste. Kudos to all of you who have persisted and mastered unsweetened tea and coffee. I honestly don’t know how you do it.
2. At 14 days in, I see no discernible change in energy levels, which is disappointing as that was something I was quite hopeful about.
3. I miss lots of foods. I don’t look forward to lunch and breakfast has become a chore. There’s something in the Mary Poppins adage, ‘a spoonful of sugar….’. A bit of wheat like a bechamel sauce or a sugary biscuit do really make my day more cheerful and I miss these little treats.
I am starting to think about how I could make this more workable after the 21 days, and I’m thinking along the lines of keeping up with it in the week, but letting myself off the hook on weekends.
So all round it’s been a great experience. Stick around as I see out my last week.