Since being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome I’d spent a lot of time worrying about my summer holiday. “What if the food has garlic/onions?”, “what if there is not dairy/gluten free breakfast option?”, “what am I supposed to eat for lunch if I can’t get a sandwich?” There was a whole host of questions and stress, all ultimately leading to the fear that this years holiday would be like the last where I was unwell for days.
So when we finally arrived in the outstandingly beautiful Poreč in Croatia earlier this month, I could have never anticipated just how much of a eating adventure it would be…
As it turns out the hotel was very good on the non-dairy front, I had a whole host of meats for my morning protein fix and lactose free and rice milk (turns out I rather like rice milk) to choose from at breakfast. So everyday started with a bowl of oats and fruit and then some rice crackers with meat. While my milk was strictly non dairy most days, dairy is where the first discovery lies in this trip. Through some cautious sampling I learned that (after avoiding it for 13 years) I can eat cheese and ice cream! Granted it’s only hard cheeses and 1 scoop portion wise for ice but this is an astronomical discovery of pure joy for me, two of my favourite treats are back on the menu!
In fact I discovered that there are plenty of awesome options on a low FODMAP diet, over the week I sampled some awesome risottos (cuttlefish was my favourite) and tucked into plenty of fresh fish, meats and veggies. I strongly suspect that I ate some disallowed food as pretty much everything is made with garlic &/or onions and one of the rissotos did have mushrooms but I seemed to survive as long as I stayed sensible and kept portions small.
Aside from the occasional naughty choices (breadcrumbs, mushrooms) the only real issues I faced were 1. Under ripe bananas (I love them, my stomach does not) and one evening when we went to the hotel grill restaurant. The grill restaurant was a preset menu and in reality was all FODMAP friendly food however, I am a child of the “you can’t leave till you finish all of your dinner” generation. So this meant I attempted to consume the overly generous offering of food (there were enough fries to feed 6 people), had the food confiscated by my partner and spent the next 2-3 days in significant discomfort. Honestly when it comes to controlling my willpower, I doubt I’ll ever learn…
So in short I worried a lot for nothing, FODMAP is tough in some aspects (mainly no Bread) but there are so many alternative options that I actually barely noticed that I was on a restricted diet. I’ve come home inspired and ready to make the most of what I’ve learned, namely with the desire to up my polenta and risotto game and get cheese and ice cream back into my life!
For now though it’s back home to a rather chilly feeling Scotland, oh well at least I have this memory to keep me warm!
This was today’s lunch experiment and I was so pleased with it that I decided I must waste no time and get it added to the site!
This beauty is the 2nd of my Low FODMAP Recipes but it’s really a great. One for everyone as you’re free to make it your own by adding your own favourite spice combo!
I teamed them with some M&S “Made without Wheat – super seeded sandwich thins” and some of my own homemade Asafoetida Mayonnaise (another awesome recipe I need to add) and it was awesome! I’m looking forward to trying this one again and topping it with a bit o’ cheese!
Go check it out and give it a try, you won’t regret it! Just click the photo to be taken to the recipe!
So I’ve been a little quiet over the past few weeks, both recipe and workout-wise. The truth is I’ve not been very well. For the last few months I’ve been suffering an array of uncomfortable stomach pains and issues, something that led me to reduce how much I’m eating and as a result my energy levels dropped with it. (On a side note it’s been an eye opener toward just how important your eating is for exercise)
After a string of doctor visits and tests, this week I finally got my answer. The good news: it’s unlikely that I was ever lactose intolerant. The bad news: I have irritable bowel syndrome, meaning that lactose is now one of many things I can’t eat.
It was tough but I suppose also helpful news to take. Now that I know the problem I can work on the solution; and the solution I’m told is FODMAP (Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-Mono-Saccharides, and Polyols). The condition is aggravated generally by these so called high FODMAP foods and my emotions/stress (no mystery why this is the worst it’s ever been then with the jobless-induced worrying), so a FODMAP restricted diet is the best way to manage it.
So now my Challenge is to reduce dairy, gluten, high-sugar foods, certain sweeteners, alcohol, fizzy drinks (this one hurt to hear), garlic and onions (rendering every spice mix in my cupboard redundant). It’s going to be difficult, but it’s also an opportunity to try new things and maybe scrap some bad habits for good (cough*fizzy juice addict*cough).
So be prepare to see some new recipes and ingredients from me and for anyone else suffering from irritable bowel or any other restrictive diet, this is a chance to see one way of making it work for a strength training lifestyle (hopefully)!
I wasn’t loving all the pages on my top menu bar so I’ve clean it up a little, you can now find everything about me in one neat little section: “Me, My Eating & Training“. The section has my about me section, my food diary and training plan (both also updated so give em a cheeky peek!
Also TWO new recipes (oh how I spoil you lovely people, you’re worth it though)!
Both breakfast numbers: My breakfast classic “Chocolate Protein Porridge” & (adapted from a women’s health recipe) “Mango Chia Pudding”. Click the photos to go try em yourself, the chia pudding is a must, I mean look how instagramable that beauty is! :p
A few weeks ago I had the absolute joy of going to Pula (Croatia) for a weeks holiday. Now, I went with the best intentions; I was going to keep working out each day and stick to the meal plan…all I will say is that I came home 7lbs heavier (essentially putting all of my pre-transformation weight, plus some more, back on)…
It’s not that I was eating unhealthy food (quite the opposite), I just ate waaay too much of the good stuff. Part of that was meat, I ate A LOT of meat so, by the time I got home I decided I needed a few days meat-free.
So generally I eat meat every day, a good mix of fish, red and white meat. Since it’s pretty much tasty with minimal effort, I’m not especially adventurous with my cooking; so taking meat out of the equation has always made me nervous. What would I eat? A plate of raw veg for lunch and dinner? No thanks! So, with this in mind, I decided for 4 meat free days I had to make an effort and get some recipes. Cue ‘Womens Health’ ‘Eat Clean Get Lean’.
This Magazine/book hybrid, along with my Womens Health and Train magazines made this deep dive into vegetarianism marvellous experience!
Here’s my Veggie Venture in Pictures!
Sweet Treats/Breakfasts: Raspberry Chia Pot and Apple Cinnamon 0% Fage yogurt
Salads/Lunches: Fig/Freekeh Salad (top/bottom left), Chilli Mango Salad (top right), Blackberry Feta Salad (Mid/Bottom Right) and Pea and Green Lentil Salad (Mid Bottom)
Down-right Awesome Dinners: Baked Sweet Potato and Balsamic Lentils (top left), Wild Rice Stuffed Squash (top right), Baked Potato with mixed Pulses (Mid Right), 4 Bean and Quinoa Chilli (Bottom Left), Aubergine and Chickpea Curry (Mid Bottom/Bottom Right)
Conclusions: First thoughts on this experience is that I am a damn good vegetarian cook, every meal turned out great and tasted wonderful! I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to take up “Meat-Free Monday’s”.
Overall my meat-tox was an amazing and eye-opening experience. Vegetarian is an exceptionally varied and colourful diet that does encourage you to be more adventurous with your cooking. Admittedly it is tough to get your proteins naturally and keep the macro’s where you want them; but 110% I’d recommend putting a meat-free day into your meal plan!
(Also worth noting – by the end of my meat-tox I had lost 5lbs of my holiday weight, although I suspect some of it was water weight!)
So I’m 4 weeks into the new training plan but admittedly I’ve experienced my first set back: I went on holiday…
Now it was an awesome holiday (I recommend Croatia for holidaying) but my willpower folded at the first dinner. The food was AMAZING (and all good clean food) but I ate far too much of and I am now paying the price (I’ll post my recovery efforts another time).
So with this in mind my stats are not really a good indicator of my efforts this time
138lbs / 62.6kg
Current Leg PB’s:
Romainian Deadlit: 45kg (never tried to go higher as was perfecting technique/form first)
So worth noting that my leg measurement has gone up a teeny wee bit so there is progress and my lifts are increasing each week. In fact yesterday was my first post-holiday leg day so there are some rather powerful doms today!
So we’ve got some gains (although mostly in the wrong place due to my being greedy) but now with all that good holiday grub behind me I can push on and work it!
To mark the beginning of #GetReal; I figure the best place to start is with me; so here’s my story. It’s admittedly not the most exciting or life changing but, as is the purpose of #GetReal, it’s a real and unedited story.
My transformation isn’t about dramatic weight loss, yes like most, I’ve been heavier than I wanted to be, but I’ve never been in the medically defined “overweight” category. My issue was that, as of late was I was growing into a terrible snacker. I was starting to feel as though I had no “off” switch when it came to snacks (why eat one biscuit when you can eat the whole pack then that’s it gone right?) It was a habit that if I didn’t bring no check I was going to lose control…
On a separate (but related) note, my interest in weightlifting began with my boxing coach a couple of years ago; we’d do one session a week focusing on power and I found myself really enjoying the challenge in lifting and of course I was liking the improvements it was making to my strength and abilities. It wasnt until around July last year that I really linked my food to my fitness and started getting into the idea of having a more structured eating and training plan (upon the discovery of Bodybuilding.com). Again I could see it was having a positive effect as much as it was growing my interest, I was eating healthier meals and immersing further into lifting; but the snacking was still there (and feeling like it too was gaining strength)
This year however, has been the game changer. In March I signed up for the ‘Protein Discount Card’ “12 Week Transformation Challenge”. This consisted of a prescribed meal and training plan and an accompanying Facebook group to get to know your onine coaches and fellow challengers!
The first noticeable change was my eating. Ok in week 1 it was my birthday and I ate a whole cake over that week, but I think at that point I realised that I really did need to sort out my eating… Within 3 weeks I found the snacking had stopped and the urges were fading until they stopped altogether. Plus with all the training, I was seeing changes that I really liked, and this was actually a strong enough incentive to put the biscuits down and carry on!
So after 12 weeks of working out and eating right I lost 5 pounds in weight, 2 inches off of my waist and dropped 2% in bodyfat. I have muscle definition and a developing 6 pack! Something that I can safely say I have never had in my life; I’m stronger and more motivated than ever to keep going. My diet is full of vegetables and low in dairy (being lactose intolerant this is a huge and beneficial accomplishment to have made), I enjoy food so much that I was driven to start this journey into blogging, nutrition and the fitness world. I’ve also met some wonderful people, the real eye opener here was seeing how vital a good support system is in staying on track.
So with the first stage of my journey done, I move onto to stage 2. Now I am building on my 12 week base and working toward becoming even stronger and, as I make my way in the world of Fitness and lifting, I shall be taking you all along for the ride!!