How has your week been? This week has been a busy one work-wise but I’m feeling pretty good as all my food has been taken care of so I’ve not needed to eat junk or rely on pre packaged food to get me through the week – and that feels pretty great (plus my bank balance is looking much healthier than usual towards the end of the month).
So, I’m into week three, there’s still no sugar (including fruit) but I have to confess there have been a couple of times when I’ve deviated off plan and so I think I’m setting myself up for some harder sugar withdrawals next week if I don’t nip it in the bud. Full disclosure I had a slice of chocolate vegan cake that someone had baked at work and a chocolate eclair because someone was leaving at work and there may have been red wine almost every night this week…
Ok so these few slips may not sound like a big deal in the grand scheme of a week but after only three weeks of reducing the sweet stuff my palette is already hyper aware and I noticed how extra sweet these treats tasted – not to mention a crashing headache about an hour after the cake and the eclair was eaten.
Next week I’m going to start tracking my food in my bullet journal and see if that helps me stay accountable. It’s going to be a challenge as we have a staff away day (off site and no option to bring in hot food so I’m making a haloumi salad which can be eaten cold to stop me giving into any temptation they have in the cafeteria).
Ok, let’s jump into this weeks’s food shall we?
What’s on the meal plan?
Breakfasts: Rosemary cracker brekkie pack, green pea pesto risotto, build your own veggie brekkie.
Lunches and dinners (remember, you cook once and eat these twice, using the leftovers up for lunch the next day): Golden buckwheat curry, Sicilian stew, lentil sloppy Joe stuffed sweet potatoes, haloumi buckwheat bowl, broccoli and leek soup, cauliflower ‘nuggets’ and veggie chips, masala rice balls and carrot salad on the side.
Now this week’s meal plan got me way more excited than the last two weeks have. Perhaps it was the fact that most of the veggies from weeks one and two felt very orange (sweet potatotes, pumpkins, carrots etc.) and there didn’t feel like a lot of green veggies, or perhaps it’s been making staples like a masala curry paste and broccoli pesto that’s made me happier this week?
Whatever the reason it’s been a cracking week food-wise. I am loving that as the programme goes on and you do your batch cooking on a Sunday not all of the ingredients are used up in that particular week. You freeze the food in portions and whatever isn’t eaten that week makes a reappearance later in the programme. For example, the lentils used this week were cooked and frozen last week. It might sounds like a simple concept but it’s something I forget to do when I’m not on the plan. It makes life a whole lot easier when you come home from work and just heat everything through – hardly ‘cooking’ at all.
What dish(es) surprised me the most? The masala buckwheat curry. I am a huge fan of Meera Sodha and all of her Indian food I have cooked has blown me away. So I wasn’t expecting anything too ground-breaking from the IQS team (sorry guys) but I was pleasantly surprised. The curry paste and curry itself were actually just as good as one of Meeras. I’d definitely make the paste again and can see it being used as more of a pesto or spread than something that needs to be reserved for curries only. I did use pearl barley rather than buckwheat though as I didn’t have any buckwheat left and it seemed silly to buy some when I could sub it out for other grains I had in the cupboard.
What can’t I wait to cook again? The Haloumi buckwheat nourish bowl. It’s a simple warm salad with roasted veggies, buckwheat (or pearl barely in my case), greens and cheese but combined together with an easy dressing it’s the kind of salad that makes you forget you’re eating a salad. Bonus points in that this is one of the most portable and easy to assemble ahead of time recipes – I made this the same day as the curry and it took me hardly any more time but I then ended up with double the food. Win.
What would I pass on next time? The cauli nuggets and veggie chips. I love the inventiveness of flavouring the cauliflower with spices and a crispy almond meal crumb to make a healthier version of a traditional favourite but I have to say, I missed the meat on this one. I’d definitely make the separate parts again (I’m planning on using the cauliflower in tacos soon) but together I was left a little underwhelmed and missing the chicken kind of nuggets.
How have I felt? Well, you know those detox symptoms that surprised me last week? This week has been like the craving cycle from hell. All I’ve wanted (and thought about) is sugar and although some of that can be attributed to it being a certain time in the month at which I’d want sugar anyway, this has got me thinking about how even small amounts of sugar I’ve been sneaking in has really messed with my body. So the lesson I’ve learnt this week is for the need to be extra mindful of even my ‘healthy’ sugars when the programme finishes. To tackle these cravings I’ve been re-reading my own advice here on beating the cravings cycle. My favourite tip at the moment? Going for walk and having lots of peppermint tea to hand when a craving strikes.
This week I’ve also realised that I eat a lot out of boredom or ‘just because’ food is available, rather than out of a genuine hunger. The programme is good at getting you back into better habits around snacking by limiting your snacking options and now I’ve spotted the pattern I can be more aware next time I reach for a snack (healthy or otherwise). If you think this sounds crazy try going without snacks for a week – stick to main meals only – and see if you miss snacking. I didn’t realise how much I depended on being able to eat all the time until I couldn’t.
Next week is another week of no sugar, although I’m hoping the detox symptoms are going to calm down and go away eventually. The meal plan looks very interesting – theres a sugar free satay sauce AND pizza this week! I think it might just knock this week’s meal plan off the top spot.
Before I go I wanted to say I’m loving your support and reaction to my food posts over on Instagram at the moment. Thank you to everyone who reads this, likes this post, leaves a comment or engages with me on social media in any other way. It really does make my day, so thank you.
As always, if you have any questions about the Programme or about anything in general pop them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.