Day 78 – the best bliss ball recipe I know

So I finished the block of dark chocolate. It was inevitable. Over the course of the week and when I think about it, it may have been the cause of my unshakeable headache all week. But I don’t regret a single square. I enjoyed every second of it and was ‘mindful’ of every bite.  (you see what I did there?) Part of my reckless lack of food-guilt came from having logged in to the forums on IQS today only to find like-minded women who were not in fact skipping through fields of tall grass and flowers all skinny and glowing and feeling all unburdened from their hopeless addiction to sugar. No. Like me these women felt pretty much the same. No real weight loss to speak of. Skin the same, spotty or not, and mostly they were staring down the barrel of a lifetime without Whittakers and thinking about ending it all. Like me their cravings had not in fact fucked off in to the dark and gloomy past and they were having little tiny battles with themselves every day.

These women, like me had been logging on intermittently to the forums – which are described to subscribers as a great support and most of what we are paying for – and finding testimonial after testimonial of ‘AMAZING RESULTS’ and ‘I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY NOW I RAN A MARATHON BEFORE BREAKFAST’ and ‘I USED TO BE 300 kilos BUT NOW I’M ONLY 34 kilos AND I AM SO MUCH HAPPIER NOW’ (even if my body can’t support the weight of my head). Disheartening to say the least when, like me, you are plodding along and every thing feels sort of ‘Meh?’.

Please don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the change up of food, and I mostly signed up for food ideas – not weight loss and glowing skin – but a girl can dream can’t she? And the temptation to beat myself up over not doing it right somehow has been strong. But reading the thread gave me heart. I think it is helpful to hear all of the experiences – not just the ones that serve to promote the program itself and I have to acknowledge the respectful and – yes supportive – way the moderators of the threads let the conversation happen and the legitimacy they gave to the way these contributors were feeling. Not everyone who gives up sugar will lose weight, not everyone who gives up sugar will notice massive changes in their health, not everyone will start glowing like a pregnant supermodel on a macrobiotic diet.

And probably there are a multitude of reasons but I think what you were eating before you start the program has a lot to do with it. One man was drinking 6 cans of pepsi max a day. A DAY! And he lost 32 kilos in 8 weeks. No fucking shit.

So. I am going to try to keep sugar out of my diet. I am going to keep cooking some of the family favourites out of the program and I am going to remember the headache I have had all week from the dark chocolate. But I am not going to beat myself up over the odd slip. I am not going to see my lack of weight loss as failure and I am going to share with you the best bliss ball recipe I have found on the magical interwebs. I can’t take credit for this one and I can’t remember where I got it – sorry! I haven’t been making them this year because they have dried fruit in them (strictly banned by IQS) but I have decided these are better for me and the fam than shit, nutrient deficient junk sugar and if I am going to ‘slip’ I would rather it was something I had made myself.

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You will need;

  •  1 cup of medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Soak the dates in warm water for ten minutes if they are hard (don’t bother if they are soft and squishy). Add the nuts, cacao, shredded coconut, coconut oil and chia seeds to the food processor and blitz. Add dates to the mixture and blitz again. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes. Roll into balls (about a soup spoon worth each time). Roll the balls in more shredded coconut. Pop in to the freezer for about an hour before eating – I keep mine in the freezer – best place for them!

They are just the thing after dinner or for a mid morning snack – yum!

Ooooh I almost forgot! Guess what arrived in the mail today! Almost a good enough reason to take up coffee again ha ha

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Day 75 – Bootcamp bitches ain’t nothing to fuck with

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Yeah boyeee. I’m old(ish) and using Wutang references. That’s just how I roll. But it’s ok because we all went out in the cyclone this morning and boxed our asses off before the sun came up. We are hard core y’all. Sure, it wasn’t very cyclone-y. More like Damp and Humid with a wee bit of wind. But add boxing to the mix and you’ve got some hot sweaty ladies. We just needed the rocky sound track to top it off ha ha. Have you boxed? It is seriously fun. I highly recommend it – there is something very cathartic about beating something up. I will take boxing over Yoga any day. Sorry Adrenal glands – I like it hard and fast ha ha

AND Guess what?!? The I Quit Sugar program includes Dark Chocolate this week! Oh my goodness. It is meant to be an ingredient in a recipe for ‘sort of cherry ripe bites’ (the sort of is because you use raspberry instead of cherries) but I confess I have cracked the pack already. Nice and easy grrl. There needs to be some left for the actual baking.

Auckland seems to have gotten away with much less damage than predicted from Cyclone Pam thank goodness. There were some homes without power and I have def seen trees down and other minor damage in my travels, but nothing compared to the devastation caused in Vanuatu for the people there. My thoughts are with the folks there who have lost family and friends and I will be looking for a way to send some sort of practical help to them over the next few days.

Peace out yo.

Day 74 – preparation or bust

I am determined not to be caught short this week for food, so I spent this evening – until well after my bedtime prepping. I now have homemade capsicum and eggplant chutney, falafels, chicken poppers and boiled eggs all in the fridge waiting to be sorted in to lunchboxes for me and the fam. No fruit this week, just back to basics with cooked veges, meat and green tea. Green (vege only) smoothies for brekkies and homemade chicken stock in our cooking. Got to get back on an even keel if I am to beat this slump. I may even make bliss balls if I have the energy after school tomorrow – in between the exhaustion I am feeling inspired!

Now I must sleep. Monday (and cyclone Pam) awaits!

Day 70 – a cry for help

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Last night I ate so much fruit that I was in agony. I had told myself that buying nectarines and plums on the way home was better than buying chocolate or wine – which was what I wanted – and that I was doing myself a favour. I purposefully ignored the high fructose factor because I was feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I was missing out. I was tired and needed something to energise me. I told myself that actually, I have been not eating certain things for so long that my gut is probs sweet bro, eat away, you’ll be fine. I am very easily persuaded. And I am also very convincing. It’s a terrible combination.

Within half an hour I looked 7 months pregnant under my dress, I had to go lie down because I was hurting so bad and I was worried that I had actually done permanent damage.

All because my immune system can’t recognise food for what it is and attacks things randomly causing me pain and discomfort. Because my gut lining is so damaged from years of gluten exposure that even though I had my diagnosis of CD and went GF two years ago it might as well have been yesterday for all that it has healed. And because I knew all of this and still put something inside me that was potentially going to do me damage.

I beat myself up all night about it and then went out in a panic to find lunch today in my thirty minute break and bought more fruit. What the ACTUAL fuck man. The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake twice and expecting different results. I am doing this to myself. Compulsively.

I need to stop eating fruit and start having a lie down. I need to take a year off work and travel around the hot places of the world, not eating fruit, taking photographs and somehow being paid for it. I need the grumpy Dutchman to stage an intervention and take all of the fruit out of the house. I need to stop eating in the car. I need to figure out how to get my kids to stay in their own beds for the whole night. I need to figure out how to jam three more hours in my day – preferably between classes – so I can do some actual Deaning while I am at school and not try to fit it in around the edges. I need.

I need.

I need WINE.

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Day 69 – Only 296 days to go…

That doesn’t seem like too many…… eek.

I  am trying to compose a post with the very cute distraction of an 8 week old kitten trying to attack my feet every few seconds. He is SUCH a cutie and very bold. Last night when the human children joined us in bed at 3am so did the fur children. Molly came in, purred her head off, saw Grey (we changed his name by the way) HISSED at the top of her lungs and bolted. Grey, satisfied his job was done, settled down to sleep on my face. As you do. Couple this with the four year olds knees in my back, his older brother spread-eagled in the middle and the swearing of the grumpy Dutchman as he struggled for space and I’ll say we had an average nights sleep.

I am shattered. Completely and utterly farked. And with this organisation goes out of the window, stuff like having leftovers for lunch for work because you thought about it the night before. Of course I didn’t so I had heat-and-eat brown rice, some frozen peas and smoked salmon for lunch – all mixed up and heated together in the microwave. Not great but still ticked my boxes.

Because I am so tired, and it is that ‘special time’ my cravings are through the roof. I seriously thought about caving and getting a small chocolate bar or similar – but I don’t want my ‘relaxation’ over the weekend away to turn in to something longer and more out of control. I am conscious that I don’t want to get obsessive and start to think of food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ so I’m sticking to ‘good for my gut’ for now. So instead of eating chocolate or lollies I ate half a kilo of plums and a significant portion of pineapple. I have been suffering since with a very sore tummy, I look 6 months pregnant and I am grumpy with me for being so dumb. What a dick.

What I actually need to do is sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. Food is not the answer I am looking for.

I also signed up for a mindfulness course today. It starts next week and goes for 6 weeks, one night a week, and I am hoping it won’t be all crystal wearing, chakra rubbing hippies. (Disclaimer; I wear crystals and tie-dye myself occasionally and I know some lovely hippies but I don’t want to pay one to tell me my stress is all tied in to my aura). I am hoping it will be more like a ‘brain-gym’, giving me exercises to practice to stay focused on the present. To be mindful of the space and place I am in, and to achieve some balance between work thinking and everything else thinking. I feel hopeful and have some friends who might be coming to do it with me so at least I’ll have someone to pass notes to if we do start chanting…..

Street-Yoga-Blog

Day 67 – I’m baaaaaaack and I brought a little friend with me…

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Hello! Missed your face! Nah not really ha ha – it was so good to be out of town for the weekend, just me and the grumpy Dutchman, we didn’t miss anyone!

As much as we love our little grumpy dutch-kinder, it was awfully nice to be just me and my man for the weekend of our wedding anniversary. Just like the good old days, we loaded up the boot and headed off to the Coromandel to lie around, read our books, op-shop in Whitianga, have a fancy dinner out without anyone running round the restaurant like a mental person or ordering four different things only to declare that they ‘weren’t hungry anymore’. The GD did really well.

It was raining when we got there but it was fine actually – we just got wet.

Hahei Beach
Hahei Beach

We wandered around Whitianga like hippies with no jobs. Like the ‘before’ us. The GD bought books and I bought shoes from the church shops (don’t be grossed out I will clean them) and we sat at a beautiful spot and read our books while the world went on around us. The waitress stopped to say that she liked how comfortable we were reading together and the GD decided that she must be in love with him and was hitting on him. Of course! That must be it.

The few times the GD stopped talking were really tranquil. Seriously, he talked the WHOLE drive there, for most of our stay, and then ALL the way home. The man can talk the ass off a donkey. Hell he can talk the ass off an elephant. He nearly talked the ass offa me! You know that Mother thing where you can’t imagine what life was like before you had kids and there wasn’t someone saying ‘Mum, mum mum‘ every five seconds? I remember now what I could hear. It was the GD. ‘Babe, babe babe!’ He likes to ‘educate’ me. He likes to wind me up. He likes the sound of his own voice is what he likes.

The GD in his happy place
The GD in his happy place

Because we were taking a break from life, this also meant taking a more relaxed approach to my restrictions… Unlike the good old days we were not sleeping in our car, and it was good that I had mentally prepared myself for this ‘relaxed approach’ because at the B & B where we booked the guy was really rattled initially when I said I was gluten-free. Which is really frustrating because when we booked in September last year I specifically mentioned that I had coeliacs and would happily deal with breakfast myself if they didn’t have GF options (I like to give peeps fair warning to get out of feeding me if it freaks them out). We had a whole email exchange where he got increasingly short and rude about GF food and cross-contamination and using the same toaster not being ok. So I mentioned my ‘special needs’ with trepidation when he asked about breakie. I ended up having a ‘lite’ version of Thom’s breakfast and he tried really hard in the end – he kept running out of the house with random food to offer me and I like to think we educated one more person on the way. But it is annoying to be the awkward one.

I was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want to feel stressed about eating while we were away without a kitchen and so I made a decision to eat well where I could and to allow a few treats. Like a Flat White each morning to make up for my lacklustre breakfast, and my first ever Creme Brulee after our fancy dinner. YUM.

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And THEN. On the way home we adopted a kitten. We were walking around in a completely relaxed state when he came up on my news feed as still not having a home. My friends who had found him couldn’t keep him and the SPCA had no room at the inn so I mentioned him to the GD. And he must have been feeling really relaxed because he said yes! With little thought to how our dog and cat would feel we threw caution to the wind and said we would collect the little dude on the way home. Colin is 6-8 weeks old (he is a foundling so we don’t know for sure) and he is a confident little bugger. He has settled in to his new house really quickly. Although I think Molly may take a while to forgive us.

To top the evening off poor master 7 was violently ill. He will be going to work with daddy tomorrow poor kid. Glad to be home!

Day 63 – family friendly

Today I left work at lunchtime and went and surprised Master 7 in the playground; he was lying on the dirt, playing ‘drifting’ with his cars and best friend. The plan was to head up the hill to be with the fam because my Mum is having a hard time with the grandies and the lad is a nice distraction, but events and timing conspired against us and we ended up just hanging in town just the two of us. It was really nice. There is definitely something cool about playing hooky with your oldest child and just cruising around. We went to the library, did a few errands and did a little ‘lad’ shopping (cars, Tee-shirts with skulls on them and TWO ice-creams).

We are very slowly getting through the cleaning-up-before-the-inlaws-come-and-stay clean. The GD is vacuuming as I type and I finally managed to fold the washing on the laundry couch tonight! I had to do it in two lots and break to make dinner in between – very domestic and totes boring. Interestingly, while I was sorting it in to four piles, I found heaps of knickers for me and master 4, a few pairs for the GD (I don’t want to know) and none whatsoever for Master 7 – bearing in mind that this is weeks of washing. Upon questioning he admitted that although I throw clean underwear at him in the mornings he ‘stuffs them behind the couch and wears the ones I already have on’. Weeks of washing mind you.

Master 7 has been complaining about sandwiches lately, and not eating them for his lunch so we are trying out new things. Today he had 2 cold sausages, a muesli bar, popcorn, chopped up carrot with peanut butter to dip, apple cut up and some crackers. Not the most nutritional but all finger food for him.  He does like sushi, so tonight while I was making dinner I roasted a chicken breast and made two chicken and carrot sushi rolls. I don’t chop them because it’s easier to eat them as a roll. So easy to do and one of those ‘handy hints’ I got off a ‘busy mum is amazing and even makes her own fucking almond milk’ websites, you know the sort of thing ‘while I’m milking the goat and waiting for my kombucha to ferment, I like to use my downtime/free hand to make a healthy and nutritious dinner from scratch, and cook sushi rice at the same time’.

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In other news I bought matching ‘UNT’ mugs for me and one of my grrls this afternoon. The handle makes them funny. Go on… you can work it out 😉

Day 57 – new books in the mail!

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My GAPS book arrived and my bedside ‘library’ is getting full! I need to get started on this lot quick smart. I am feeling in the need for some focus so I think I will start with the GAPS book, gut healing and psychology stuff, notice I got a GAPS cookbook to go with it? Always be prepared – like a good girl guide.

This week has felt long and there is still one day to go. I was still feeling the effects of being glutened today so my brain is foggy as and my body is still slow and achey. The mid-term blues are kicking in for my girls – the wonders of the fresh start and the new term are wearing off and I spent a lot of time doling out hugs and tissues today. My office mate has a theory that they the whole school ‘syncs up’ and they all get PMS-y at the same time. Cadbury should just bulk deliver at this time. They would make a fucking killing.

It’s been the kind of day where you just want to come home and curl up with a glass of wine and some ‘alone time’. I was gifted a Whittakers %70 dark and a coke zero today. It took every ounce of my willpower to not eat them right there and then and I am pleased to say that they are still in my office fridge – I am hoping I can re-gift them without offense. What has the world come to when I am giving away chocolate? It’s unnatural.

It is getting tougher to not just go for comfort food though. Harder to resist just one small flat white when I am shattered in the morning. I am so tired that I want to use food to prop me up but I know that it is mostly from being glutened and getting used to the term being full swing again. So SLEEP is in order. And finding some time to read and get my ass educated about GAPS.

So what I need is time then. Ha! Tell ‘er she’s dreamin.

Day 55 – Gluten free fad-ness is killing me

Artist - Alexandra Berger
Artist – Alexandra Berger

Ranting out loud (in my head) at my computer. Or rather – people on the interwebs. I follow the Coeliac disease NZ page and a couple of others, and mostly they are great places to get advice, commiserate and get good safe restaurant recommendations. BUT it amazes me how often people ask for help or advice and then get mad because you are not telling them that actually it would be fine to have just one pie a day because that much gluten can’t hurt can it? If you have coeliac disease it will hurt you. Or when you suggest that making food themselves from yummy ingredients would be easier than surviving on GF cake from cafes – that is probably contaminated anyway by the way. Bitch got mad at me because I suggested she cooks! I don’t know her life but I do know that boiling an egg isn’t rocket science. I only had to ring my mum the first 3 maybe 4 times the first time I did it? and now I’m practically an expert. So there.

Or – and this is really annoying – when someone finds out I am gluten-free from the coeliacs and then they say ‘I don’t eat gluten either – I am trying to lose weight’. REALLY?! ARE YOU TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT ARE YOU?!

I am all for not eating stuff that makes you feel like shite. Have you seen my list of no-gos ffs? And I have every respect for those folks that are doing what they can to feel the best they can feel. BUT don’t go gluten-free ‘for your weight’ and then eat all the packaged, sugar-free, chemical shit storm gluten-free food in the stupidmarket and then complain about getting fat. Processed food is processed food. When they take out the gluten they add sugar and salt and other ‘filler’s to make it taste ‘normal’ Don’t be fooled dude.

Especially don’t come to a work function and hoover up all the gluten-free food that they thoughtfully got in – leaving none for the real foodtards, and then go over to the ‘normals’ food and just have one because it ‘won’t hurt’. Because it won’t hurt you. And you ate all my fucking grapes and now I hate you.

Shall I tell you what I have learned about cafes and restaurant gluten free-ness? I have learned that even if the food has gluten-free ingredients, if it is cooked on the same tray as gluteny food it will be contaminated. If it is stored in the same display as the other food it is likely to be contaminated. (It can be okay if they store it at the top so nothing can drop crumbs on it). If they don’t have gluten-free specific tongs, the food is contaminated. If they don’t have gluten-free cutting boards or utensils out the back then the food is likely to be contaminated. Even if you order gluten-free toast; if they cook it in the same toaster it is definitely contaminated.

I have learned that if you ask these questions cafe staff quickly become sick of you and either a. lie to shut you up or b. make it clear they want you to fuck off. And that’s fair enough really. They can only go so far to accommodate. I have learned that it is easier to not eat out very often.

And although I think that the ‘trend’ towards gluten-free eating has meant that there are heaps of yummy things on the market now that are safe for me to eat and although I agree to some extent that coeliacs ‘should be grateful’ that there are more options out there for us, I am conscious that every time I say that I need to have gluten-free food I cringe a little in case someone thinks this is my ‘lifestyle choice’. It would be amazing to get up tomorrow and be able to eat anything I like.

I am not an angel. I know that if I could – and knew it wouldn’t hurt me – I would eat pretty randomly. It takes a lot of organisation and effort to be able to eat at every meal, to be prepared for each day – and I am not too often – and to make sure that I am getting everything I need from my food. It is tiring when the rest of life is demanding attention too. I guess that’s why I get so irritated with the foodie fads.

I ALSO KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO HANG OUT WITH ME. My very thoughtful friends and family go to great lengths to make me food or treats and they are so disappointed when I can’t eat them because of some shit. I’m sorry.

GF for life bitches.

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Day 51 – TGIF

Grumpy cat is happy on friday

Friday friday, thank fuck it’s Friday! And because things aren’t still completely up and running at work I got to leave early-ish at 4. I was driving home and thinking, beautiful day; glass of wine by myself out the back in the sun before all the boys get home.

Oh yeah. That’s right. I don’t drink this year.

And actually, I had such a bad ear-ache from the too cold air-con at work that when I thought about it I realised that I didn’t actually want a glass of wine – I wanted a lie-down. Progress. If it had been last year, I would have come home and poured a cold, crispy, refreshing glass of Sav – and instantly my headache would have gotten worse. Instead – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this – I lay down, downed two full glasses of water and cruised around on the interwebs for a while… My ear-ache receded dramatically. Who’da thunk it?

Have you seen ‘The Katering Show‘? Oh my god. These women get me. I lost an hour of my life watching them and laughed and laughed and laughed. Even the GD cracked a smile. Kate McCartney is an australian version of me. Watch it.

Because it was friday and we are lazy, we got fish and chips for dinner. FYI Gluten-free fish and chips leave you feeling just as bloated and greasy as non gluten-free fish and chips. I sent the (very) grumpy Dutchman to The Ancient Mariner in Mt Eden because they have a dedicated gluten-free fryer. I told myself that it would be different this time. That I wouldn’t regret it because they understand me. They GET cross-contamination. I lied.

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Looking forward to a kid-free day tomorrow doing errands – I might finally post the xmas parcels to the nieces and nephews! They’ll have given up waiting so it’ll be an even more pleasant surprise… at least that’s what I’m telling myself.