Woohoo! I've done it! 😀Yep, I Simply Sarah have avoided processed food all September (mostly)
Could you avoid processed foods for a month? 🤔 It's pretty tough but I went back to basics and guess what? it's true! You do have more energy, you do sleep better and you do feel healthier! I'm so pleased because instead of my clothes digging in, I'm now hitching up my jeans and the love handles once resting on my waistband are no more!
After one month of focus I'm fitting into clothes that I'd stuffed to the back of my wardrobe to await a miracle! 😆
You know how it is, holiday food, holiday ice-cream, holiday cocktails yes holiday everything! Only this time I came home feeling tired and I was way too cushiony for my liking! Then back home I was becoming an expert in the field of justifying treats - "oh go on then! Why not! Just this once" Now, lets be honest with ourselves here,
it's rarely 'just this once'!
So I had a word with myself, I told myself to get a grip and I knew I had to make a change!
Making the change
I challenged myself to avoid yellow food/beige food/processed food whatever you want to call it. If it wasn't fresh, it was a no!
Wow, when I started to research it there was so much info! There are so many different interpretations of processed food and so many labelled diets so I just set my own rules to save my sanity!
I soon discovered just how much food I'd agreed to avoid 😐 I'm not kidding, the next time you're at the supermarket look around and unless you're on the fruit and veg aisle or looking at actual fresh meat and fish, there's not much else you can eat when doing this!
What a clean diet the world had before mass production!
Okay there were some things that I didn't want to get fanatical about and although my daughter felt it her mission to highlight all the things I shouldn't be eating 😒 I allowed these:
Knowing that I had three different celebrations during my challenge meant that I had treats to look forward to instead of them being the norm. I was actually excited for each event!
Have you ever gone to the cinema and not had nibbles? It's really hard but it can be done, I recommend pulling a scarf over your face to avoid smelling the popcorn!
Have you ever gone to a burger restaurant and order the naked burger? I have, this isn't too difficult because the bun is just excess to me, I can take or leave a bread roll, chances are I'll leave most of it anyway!
Have you ever gone to burrito stall and ordered the burrito bowl instead? I now have. Despite hearing the two girls behind me questioning why anyone would order a burrito bowl just before I actually ordered one! Me the answer is me!
For a while the evenings were tricky, especially if I was sat in on my own, boredom makes you think about the contents of the cupboards. So I crocheted! it kept me busy and not thinking about unnecessary food! (I'm hoping to sell some of my ever increasing pile of hats and donate the money to the local Christmas fund raiser 👍 Healthier than nibbling and a good deed, yey! 😁
Failing that, I might have to give everyone bobble hats for Christmas! 😉
Then there's the weekends, the time for spending time with families, the time for socialising, the time for treats. I've sat watching a film with everyone else in the room eating and drinking and I've had to say no when offered some! Hard at first but I eventually realised that I would have normally accepted not because I was hungry but to be sociable.
Don't get me wrong I have eaten really yummy things! I mentioned some of my favourite things in my last post so if you want the recipes, click the photo's ↓↓ or have a look on my Recipe Rooms Page for more!
Every time I look at that chilli pic I want to eat it! ↑↑
I took photo's of my meals (I'm that person anyway 😉) and it was a great way to watch what I was eating with the YouAte app. It helped me keep on track instead of trying to keep a written diary! (been there, done that) and most of the recipes were genuinely easy.
When I first started my September challenge, I was hungry and eveyone knew about it, thanks to my super loud growling stomach. I ate a lot of fruit and drank a lot of water just to stay full, but the more I did it, the easier it got. No matter how many things I got offered (so much for friends & family) I started to find it easier to say no and saw junk food differently! I've eaten so much fresh food that seeing people gorge on junk food made me not want it.
Was it worth it?
Im so glad I've avoided processed food for a month, I don't want to avoid it for the rest of my life and I don't want my life to be governed by some diet!
But, feel like I've reset myself somehow 😁 and going back to basics has been a real eye opener for me.
I honestly can't believe what a difference I've seen in four weeks for a little effort and focus!
Experiencing this makes me want to continue my healthy lifestyle, without letting it rule my life.
This morning I had banana pancakes for breakfast, I'm 'allowed' processed food now but I like my newly discovered pancakes so I had them!
As tempting as it once was, I don't intend to celebrate my success by devouring some cake, I'll celebrate by knowing I can fit comfortably in my clothes again. by feeling healthier and by feeling amazing!
(Cue round of applause)
Remember when I challenged myself to avoid processed food during September? If you missed it click here ←
I'm three weeks in and guess what? I'm still alive! (Cue supportive cheers) Not just alive but I honestly feel great! I'm not lying.
I've been hungry, I've nearly cried over a Dorito and I've endured people offering me bad stuff as a test! But my clothes aren't digging in anymore and I've been told I look like I've lost weight. Woohoo!
(I know it's true because my love handles have almost gone!)
So here's what I've been doing:
I installed the YouAte app - Forget scales and calorie counting, (you know I hate both!) instead this is a visual way of keeping on path. I make my food, take a quick snap and voila! No written food diary to worry about just pics of the yummy (or disastrous) food I've made.
I'm exercising - My new found energy (It's a real thing!) has helped me swim 1/2 km in half an hour, for the first time since learning to swim two years ago! (I'm not kidding when I say I would actually like a badge) I may have used my imagination to picture a mojito on the side of the pool to get me through each length...) And as usual I've been marching my way around every day. (no car so no choice!)
I'm eating - Rice is now cauliflower rice, steamed cauli then blitzed (nothing to do with rice at all!) I probably don't need to tell you that slow cooked chilli with cauli rice, homemade guacamole and home made salsa is simply gorgeous! The smell of my daughters dorito's nearly did me in but I resisted! (Pretty proud of myself!)
Where there would have been noodles or pasta, I've used my peeler to make courgette and carrot ribbons and it works! Also veggies are cheap enough to buy loads, throw them into a pan with garlic, herbs and stock, and leave to simmer and an hour later there are five lunches in the freezer! 👍Yes I used stock cubes! one of my allowances, (there are a few) I didn't have the time or the patience to make my own stock! Nor did I have a chicken carcass lingering around the kitchen!
I've gone back to basics - Soft boiled eggs and asparagus to dip in that yummy runny yolk, fresh fruit breakfasts, garlic and chilli veg, omelettes without cheese (Gasp!) and cooked breakfasts minus the processed meat.
The simple things are often good things!
I'm winging it! - Yes I'm making it up as I go along, scrambled egg on fried aubergine slices for lunch was a decent creation (I used oil otherwise I imagine it would have been like eating rubber!) Sugar free apple sauce (chopped apple, lemon juice and a bit of water) to go with some pork chops, also good and devoured by my husband. Winging it works!!
I've failed - I can confirm that chopped salad tomatoes don't reduce into a delicious tomato sauce as I'd imagined and our spag bol unfortunately looked like something I'd brought up! (Sorry- - I have saved you from a pic though!) luckily it tasted ok-ish but I learned that tinned tomatoes should be another allowance! I attempted the bacon-wrapped, egg-filled avocado lunch thing, only to end up with a deconstructed version and the realisation that I had in fact eaten bacon! (hello processed food!) Also on a particularly hungry day I thinly sliced a sweet potato, rustled it up in some oil, cumin, salt and pepper and baked in the oven to make crisps.
Warning: they don't take long.
At the sound of my growling stomach (quite often) I've drank gallons of water and I've kept busy writing, walking and crocheting! (My handmade woolly hat pile is getting big, hat anyone?! no I really mean it!)
It's said that it takes 21 days to break a habit and I'm on day 21! It's not easy, but maybe easier having broadcast my intentions to the world via social media in order to succeed! (Public pressure) I've realised that I do have bad eating habits despite often thinking I eat well. For example, in the first week of my challenge, I went for a coffee with the husband and he automatically put his amaretti biscuit on my saucer (good lad!) and I automatically started to eat them! Talk about auto pilot!
I'm working hard, I'm gorging on fruit and I'm nearly there! I'll let you know how I feel at the end of the month but to be honest, I wanted to feel healthier and happier and I already do 😁
I'm going to try and not talk about the C Word too much, but I am just going to leave this here →🎄 (because I like it) and ask if you've seen this years hottest toys here?
Things have really progressed since I was a kid and even since my daughter was a kid for that matter!
So let me ask you, what was your favourite toy as a child? Take yourself back, to that time when you were so happy and excited to play, when you couldn't wait to show your friends your most beloved plaything...
A few months ago my daughter bought me a kinder egg, just so I could have my very own My little Pony again! Yey! 😀
She now thinks I'm crazy for having my mini pony standing on my laptop as I type! My version of 'Rubber Duck Pairing' though I don't talk to her (yes of course she's a her) Unfortunately she doesn't have that My Little Pony smell that they used to have, or was that just me?
Last Christmas I got bought a Carebear because I wish I'd never have got rid of mine during a teenage clearout! And obviously Lovealot Bear was THE best 😍
What a cutie!
Something I did manage to keep hold of is my beloved Popple, I loved her the moment I unwrapped her Christmas 1987! Who doesn't want a doe-eyed, big-eared teddy that can roll into a ball?! My popple saw me through my childhood and even beyond because when my daughter was little, if she ever felt poorly, she snuggled up with Popple to look after her.
(Rest assured Popple has been washed she's not carrying 20 years of childhood germs)
My favourite game was Ghost Castle 🙂 I remember seeing the advert ← click to have a peek 😉and feeling that I just had to have it! How can anyone resist a game with a glow in the dark skull and actual steps!
Father Christmas did in fact get me it (Thank you kind Sir) and I was over the moon to be roping my siblings into playing all the time.
I had dolls galore, all with names of course (Layla, Katie and Tracey to name a few!) and I had Sindy's. Unfortunately I never graduated to owning Barbie's like my friends, and that multi storey Barbie house, wow! I really wanted that but had to make do with visiting the friend who had it instead! 😆
My most favourite toy ever?
All of these toys I loved but my most favourite put that Barbie house to shame!
When I was about seven, I received the most amazing gift, a handmade, wooden dolls house😃
It had a staircase in the centre, not just any staircase but a carpeted staircase! all the rooms had carpets and mini furniture.
The most amazing thing was in a small gap in one of the walls, a switch that actually turned all the house lights on!
Actual lights in actual light shades!
I'm not kidding if I still had that house, I would most definitely be playing with it! 😁
So come on, tell us your favourite childhood toy and and if you have pics, even better!
Hi I'm Sarah!
Blogger in The Lakes
I live in the beautiful Lake District...
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