As those of you that follow me on Twitter & Instagram will know, I’ve been doing the Buzzfeed Food Clean Eating Challenge for the last two weeks. After a hectic few months at work – working late, with an hour commute and an injury stopping me exercising – I found myself putting on weight 🙁
Now that my physio seems to be working and I’m based back in the head office, I decided to kick start some weight loss. It’s really necessary – having put on a stone in 3 months!!! So I was hoping that the challenge and starting some regular exercise will get me healthier and trimmer….
Read on to see how I did:
So the first observation I can make is that eating healthy is not cheap! I spent a lot of money, in Wholefoods, the green grocers (there’s a fabulous one on Parkway in Camden with everything you might need), and Sainsburys.
The second thing is that a weeks food for one person takes up a lot of space! They recommend you shop for each week separately, but one week’s worth of food took up the whole fridge just for me – my poor suffering flatmate…
Third observation is that my, (er actually my flatmate’s) blender does not like frozen kale – it got wrapped around the blade and I could smell smoke coming from it! :s
I really loved the shaved asparagus salad – will be trying that again.
Following the challenge exactly I started on a Sunday. You cook up big batches of things Sunday evening for leftovers to use for the rest of the week – watch out for the ratios on your quinoa!! Mine was soggy as – water should be 2:1 not 3:1.
Starting on Sunday with a hangover from my birthday drinks probably wasn’t wise though…
Overnight oats look good – but didn’t fill me up… Loved the snack of tomatoes with feta and balsamic, a flavour sensation, if only I hadn’t wolfed it down being absolutely starving by then!!
The lettuce wraps were messy to eat as they tended to fall apart, but the mango, beefsteak tomato and avocado was delightlful to eat 🙂
This diet is a detox, so no caffeine and no alcohol, the first couple of days I had headaches from the lack of caffeine withdrawal. You are allowed up to 3 cups of green tea, but that’s no coffee substitute!
I also struggled with the recipes because of the American metrics – what the hell is a cup?! Luckily I found something in the kitchen with cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 markings – my saviour!
The use of nuts as protein and fat in the meals means that a lot are vegetarian, doing this made me see the versatility of nuts to balance out a meal, think I will be doing more of that!
Having my salad outside in the sun was also good – got a little splashed by the fountains though!
Lentils also suffered from overcooking – it wasn’t meant to be a dhal :s
Still using leftover roast chicken up in the salad, omelettes definitely fill me up in the morning and the carrots and houmous is an easy to tote snack and came with me to a conference, where I am proud to say I didn’t cheat with the pastries and biscuits 🙂
Now I had to get the picture of the roast salmon fillet in here! This was enough for 2 meals, leftovers for lunch the next day:
So no one has told me that chia seeds look and feel like frogspawn – news flash – they do! Not sure I’ll be doing the pudding again anytime soon :/
Left over salmon and green bean salad was fantastic, one thing I haven’t mentioned so far is the salad dressings – they are amazing and so simple to make – usually a combination of citrus juice and olive oil – and they add so much flavour to all the lunch packed salads.
The veggie chilli with courgette ribbons is a great way to get more veg into your diet – did I mention that the challenge is meant to be gluten free (except I didn’t buy special oats when I had normal ones in the cupboard already!) so you have some innovative ways to bulk up the meals.
The best bit about the chilli was the paprika yoghurt sauce – I love paprika now!
Steamed asparagus with poached eggs, bean & feta kale salad – in the park! Turkey meatballs with collard greens
Saturday on week one was a really stretch to my willpower – I joined friends in the park to celebrate my friends on the Tweed Run.
For the picnic my friends had a full spread of meat, quiche, dips and crisps, and full fat cheese!! I had a kale and black bean salad :/ I was really good not tucking into anything else!! I also brought water whilst everyone else drank bottles of prosecco…
But it’s all worth it – I’ve lost 5 pounds in week one!
Week two starts with good intentions and pilates 🙂
Strawberries & almond butter, blueberry yoghurt smoothie, roasted aubergine, cauliflower & chickpeas
One of my favourite discoveries on this was almond butter – it’s sooo good! And when you eat it with fruit it makes a great snack balanced by adding protein, so you stay fuller longer, we discovered this with peanut butter when travelling last year.
Now the roasted cauli & chickpeas does not look pretty – too much beige! A little green would liven that dish up, but at least it tasted good with the yoghurt parsley sauce.
I really liked the leftover turkey meatball wraps – even though I didn’t have collard greens, none available at my local green grocers (he wasn’t even sure what they were – we settled on chard being the closest thing last week!), so instead it was some random greens that didn’t have big enough leaves to wrap the meatballs!
But they were tasty with the avocado, beef steak tomatoes (my new favourites) and Dijon mustard.
The quinoa take on egg fried rice was really good – I think I’ll be trying this again after the challenge with the leftover packet of quinoa in my cupboard!
Now I have a confession – I cheated on Tuesday….. It was the gin tasting at the Oliver Conquest, so you see my dilemma! Now you aren’t meant to drink at all on the plan and so far I’ve been really good at sticking to this, however the plan does say that if you do cheat only have 2 glasses of wine… So that’s 4 (single) gins right?!!
So basically I had some gin at the tasting and then tried a couple of the cocktails (between three of us girls!) oh and a few nibbles instead of dinner.
So I didn’t have the kale and shrimp bowl for dinner as I should have – but instead for lunch the next day. I was also very happy to have my last kale smoothie!
The roasted veg salad with feta was lovely too – something I can definitely see myself eating again after the challenge – roasted aubergine and chick peas with paprika.
Now I wasn’t convinced about the avocado and banana pudding – it looks good in the picture above, but when I ate it later in the day it had gone brown 🙁 The texture was good, with the avocado adding a silken edge, but I prefer my avocado in lumps on salad.
I really loved the salad with green beans, crispy radish and gooey eggs, so simple and perfect for spring 🙂 The paper parcel of steamed book choi and cod with a tamari, honey and lime sauce was great and a good reminder to me that this method of cooking is quick and easy and doesn’t need lots of wine or oil to make a tasty dish!
I’m still not loving the frogspawn aka chia seeds… But overnight oats without would still be tasty! The almond butter is going down a treat with apple slices, and the shrimp lettuce cups are a great way to add veg into a meal & keep it carb free.
This evening I successfully managed a night out at a gig with no eating out and no drinking!! Such a goodie two shoes 🙂
I really loved the portobello mushrooms – they were stacked with feta and beefsteak tomatoes cooked with shallots, mint and lemon juice. All beautiful flavours and showcasing the great produce from the green grocers.
Despite spending the afternoon in the pub I did well sticking to fresh lime and soda and one non alcoholic beer… I only fell off the wagon by tasting the birthday boy’s cake – but it was a portion a third of the size of everyone else’s – practically transparent!
Did the challenge deliver everything it promised? I.e. Was I full of zing after the two weeks?!
Well whilst I didn’t have any hangovers to deal with, but I wasn’t full of energy – I felt quite tired and having to cook everything from stratch makes it a long wait for dinner after a long day at work.
I also struggled with the caffeine withdrawal, but I think cutting back was a good thing after developing a habit over the first three months of the year – I’m going to enjoy having one lovely cup of coffee in the morning now 🙂
It did deliver on losing weight – half a stone in 2 weeks, which is pretty good for me and a great kick start to shifting the excess weight I’ve gained recently, I hope sticking to good eating habits combined with more activity can move the rest!
If you fancy doing the challenge or even just checking out the recipes for some ideas you can find the challenge here: Buzzfeed food clean eating challenge.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @katiebhughes and Instagram @whatskatiedoing
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