A rare 'treat' - £5 juice from Planet Organic

My Whole30 review: the good, the bad and the ugly

Whole 30 title

720 hours. 43,200 minutes. 2,592,000 seconds. A lot can happen in 30 days. If you’re on Whole30, mainly A LOT OF COOKING.

It’s 30 days since my boyfriend James and I started the challenge. I know a few of my friends have read with interest our voyage into this unfamiliar and slightly strange territory, so I thought I’d share an update on our progress.

To re-cap, Whole30 is a restrictive version of the Paleo way of eating. Whole30 is about eating real, unprocessed foods and high quality meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as olives, nuts and seeds. That means no grains, no dairy, no sugar (yes, that includes booze and more natural sugars like maple syrup and honey) no legumes (that’s peanuts, chick peas / beans / lentils etc to you and me) and no preservatives like MSG or sulphites (surprisingly ubiquitous in so many foods).

You’re not allowed to re-create ‘healthy’ versions of treats that fit within the guidelines, such as pancakes or cookies. They are ‘treat’ foods and contribute to an unhealthy attitude towards food as a reward.

It’s about re-setting your body, boosting energy, pinpointing foods that don’t agree with you and re-connecting with food.

It’s a strict regime; the slightest slip and you’ve failed

one bite of pizza, one splash of milk in your coffee, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30 day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button, requiring you to start over again on Day 1….Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip.” Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident.

PHEW. Ok. So, how did we get on?

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Empower

Fire up, cheerlead and champion the women in your life – and yourself!

Empower

What if every girl in the world had access to education? What if women could walk home alone at night without fear of being attacked? What if those who hold political power reflected the demographic of the people they represent? What if 50% of leadership roles went to women? What if childcare was affordable and accessible? What if the media stopped using women’s self-image as a weapon to make us feel guilty and inadequate? What if we stopped enforcing gender stereotypes  and started telling women and girls that they could be whatever they damn well like?

Can you imagine a world like that? Wouldn’t it be incredible?

It’s International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate women. To champion, empower, and advocate for equality. To raise our voices in praise of how far we’ve come, but,crucially, to look ahead and take action to create the change that needs to happen to bring true equality.

Getting fired up

I spent this afternoon surrounded by inspiring women at a workshop run by my local MP and all-round eMPowering woman, Stella Creasy. They take the name of Circular Firing Up Squads – don’t let that put you off – these are workshops designed to bring women together to get fired up, cheered on and – most importantly – to go and take action. To put ourselves forward, speak up, make ourselves heard and take opportunities. To encourage more women to step into leadership roles and create change – one woman at a time.

And here’s what I came away with.

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Crunchy nut cottage pie2

Crunchy nut cottage pie – a delicious Whole30 paleo recipe

I’m on day four of the Whole30 Challenge and I’m feeling cautiously fabulous. By now, according to the challenge timeline, I should want to ‘kill all the things’. But – aside from totally normal fleeting moments of disdain or fury (people who stop at the top of tube escalators, people who say 100 words when they could see 15, that sort of thing), I’ve felt pretty fucking great.

J and I have both noticed we’ve not had our usual peaks and troughs of energy – no 3 o’clock slumps where I’d normally hunt down a biscuit or two with a cup of tea to keep me going. I’ve had a pretty full-on week and have really felt I had the energy to power through it.

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whole 30 start

No half measures; starting the Whole30 challenge

whole 30 start

Those who know me well will know that I’ve not always been ‘into’ food and cooking. My food journey as a kid was mainly from freezer to plate in the company of that jolly old sailor, Captain Birds Eye.

SCENE FROM TELEVISION ADVERT FOR 'BIRDSEYE' SHOWS CAPTAIN BIRDSEYE

Like a lot of kids I knew, walks home from school were punctuated with trips to the local shop to pick up some sweets – as many as you could buy with 50 pence. I didn’t eat a pepper until I was about 18 and my university cooking repertoire consisted of pasta, chilli and curry (from a jar) on loop. And kebabs, obviously. And cider. And….you get the point.

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NTC Finsbury Park edit

Review: my month with Nike Training Club

If you read my first post of the year, you’ll know that one of my goals was to work out with Nike Training Club twice a week.

Apart from the privilege of paying triple the rent of my hometown and five quid for a pint, one of the nice things about living in London is access to exciting free stuff like Nike Training Clubs. Over the last month, I’ve tried out classes at the Stratford Nike Store (queue burpees in front of bemused strangers on the shop floor) and Finsbury Park (queue running through clouds of marijuana smoke and heckles from horny homeless guys).

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20 seconds

The voice in my head that says ‘quit’

It’s a freezing cold Sunday morning in January. I’m in a line with 10 other women, facing 10 women on the other side. We’re in formation, holding ourselves in a plank position, cold hands pressing into the spiky pavement of Finsbury Park. I can feel every ridge pressing into the skin of my hands, icy and sharp. I pull my sleeves down. My upper arms start to burn. And then it starts.

The voice in my head that says ‘quit’. Continue reading

blissfinal

15 days of bliss – halfway through my 30 day yoga challenge

blissfinal

If you saw my last post, you’ll know that one of my January goals is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge.

I’d always thought yoga wasn’t really for me. My mind moves fast – I like to be busy, can find it hard to really switch off, and struggle a little bit with feeling the pressure to be totally zen and wear hemp trousers that I used to associate with yoga.

I’m also not what you’d call bendy – I’m more the kind of woman known to grown when I have to pick my keys up off the floor.  I did do an amazing Ashtanga Yoga session at Shambala festival a couple of years ago, which I found relatively straightforward, but I’m quite sure that was because I was possibly (read definitely) still a teeny, tiny bit shitfaced from the night before and feeling a bit gung ho about it all.

So fast forward to 2015.

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