Friday, January 31, 2014

Whole Food Challenge: Week 3

This week was a tough one, and I will tell you that I fell off the wagon briefly.  But it was an intentional falling off so at least I can say that my willpower is still intact. You see I had my bike test this week.  If you are not a triathlon nerd like me you probably have no idea what a bike test is.  Basically it is a periodic test that is done to measure progress and performance on the bike.  It is a mental challenge and a physical one designed to test your limits and your endurance.  In essence you go as hard as you possible can for 5 minutes, then easy for 10 and then as hard as you can maintain for 20 minutes.  It doesn't sound too hard but I can tell you that 20 minutes can feel like an eternity when your legs are screaming and your heart is jumping out of your chest.

Anyway I knew it was going to be a challenge and I wasn't prepared to go into it and run out of gas halfway through so I had a powerbar gel before I started. Yes, I know there is nothing but sugar and chemicals in it but I am unapologetic.  I went on to have the best bike test ever and set a new power PR.  Even my coach said I put a smile on his face which is a rare compliment from him.  So yay for preservatives, chemicals and carcinogenic additives.


The rest of the week I honestly felt like food was boring.  I am not a big foodie to start with and by the end of the week I was just sick of thinking about it. But there were still lots of positives from the week. Some of them are a bit obscure but worth noting nonetheless.

1- Our household is producing way less garbage.  Usually by the end of the week our trash can is full to overflowing, especially our recycling but I guess buying less packaged food has had an impact on our garbage output.  So that is an unexpected environmental win.

2- Still not hungry.

3 - I am eating less food after dinner.  Usually the post dinner/ pre bedtime period is the toughest for me.  That is usually the time I end up snacking on junk food.  But I feel like this experiment has helped me break that habit and I feel much better for it.  Instead I have a cup of chamomile tea and if I am really tempted to have something sweet I will grab some strawberries and raspberries instead of M&Ms.  So that is a win and hopefully a habit I can retain after this experiment is over.

4 - We have discovered some awesome new favorites.  Matt discovered this coconut "ice cream". Having a spoonful or 2 after dinner has kept him on the straight and narrow and he has given it 2 thumbs up saying he thinks it's even better than real ice cream. It only has coconut, vanilla and agave in it. This one is chocolate flavor ( no I didn't eat it), and it's only additional ingredient is fair trade cocoa. All organic. Simple but yum.

5 - Our weekly grocery bill is lower. I guess that goes to show that I can afford to buy organic by cutting out all the processed and packaged food I normally buy.

So we have made it through week 3.  Only one more week to go.  I have to tell you that the kit kat that sits next to my bed only has a life expectancy of 7 more days.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


If you saw my post last week about my caveman husband, this picture proves that it's hereditary.

And Jack was given an old Gameboy by our neighbor....and he shows how he goes old school on Pokemon.

Most of the week the weather here has been really gloomy.  Thick, relentless fog.  I think I had forgotten what the sun looks like.  And then the boys and I decided to play hookie and take a day off to go skiing.  On the way up the mountain the fog was as thick as soup.  You can see it here in the background as we were on our way up in the gondola.

But then we hit the top and it was hello blue sky and sun

One of the best skiing days we have had in ages.  No wind just clear beautiful sunny skies.

In the background you can see the fog settled into the valley.  It looks like snow but it is actually cloud.

Whole Food Challenge - halfway

Halfway through our 30 day challenge.

Matt is feeling and looking great.  He is the poster boy of the success for eating Whole Foods and no sugar or processed junk.

I think I have had a far less stellar experience.  True, I have stuck to the program but for me there have been both pluses and minuses.  The biggest plus for me is that I am never hungry.  And that is a big deal when you are training and you feel like all you are doing is eating to make up calories. Having said that it is surprising to admit that the minuses have been a lack of zip in my legs when it comes to IM training.  My workouts have been pretty average.  I get tired more quickly and run out of gas during workouts.  As a result I am often running on tired legs and unfortunately it has led to injury.  At the moment I am fighting a knee injury that has caused a veto on running for the last week.  I can literally feel all the fitness I have built up over the last 3 months slowly ebbing away. I am  rehabbing it with plenty of PT and massage and I know I can't just put it down to a change in diet but the PT explained that when I am tired my running gait falls apart and that's when injuries happen.  VOILA.

  In the spirit of full disclosure, I did buy a KitKat and it is sitting beside my bed in case of emergencies.  I haven't had to use it yet. But I always like to be prepared.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

4/52; A Little Bit Random

My 2014 pledge to chronicle our daily life continues. A photo a day of whatever inspires me at the time.

If you have read my post about surviving week one of our WholeFood Challenge you will remember I was having cravings for something sweet.  So I experimented with almond flour to see if I could make some banana muffins.

They turned out ok but more experimentation is required.

This is what reading looks like in the 21st century.  Not a paper page in sight.

And this is now I wish I could sleep.  Puppy sleep looks so good.

The boys finished their engineering unit on bridge building and then we got to put them to the test.  Both designs survived the 6 pound bag of golf balls test, ( yes, this is a very scientific measurement).

My favorite chef taking control of the meal prep.  I can see why they call this whole food thing Paleo eating.  He does seem very caveman-ish out there with his meat and fire

And speaking of food, for all my Aussie peeps, look what I found in Costco. Darrell Lea licorice.  I have my fingers crossed that the Darrell Lea Easter eggs will be next.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Whole Food Challenge- Week 1

Well we made it through week one without any slip ups but I won't lie to you.  There were a couple of times that I was dreaming about  M&M's.

So far here are my thoughts on our progress.

The Good

1 - Having spent Sunday precooking and preparing all the food for the week, nightly meal prep was a breeze.  It saved  me at least a half an hour in the kitchen every night. Obviously this is nothing to do with eating whole food but still a wonderful side benefit of undertaking this challenge.

2 - Always having a healthy option available .  We made sure to clear our pantry of all the junk so we wouldn't be tempted, and having all our snacks precut and prepared we could just grab something and go.

3 - Finding that good, organic produce is available in so many more places at an affordable price.  I even bought organic chicken breasts at Costco for only $5.99 a pound.

 4 - We have not been hungry at all .

The Bad

1 - While we have not been hungry I can say that there have been times when my appetite has not been satisfied.  Mostly this is in the afternoon after I workout or at night after dinner.  I know this is just my sugar craving talking but sometimes eating some fruit and nuts just didn't hit the spot for me...( this was about the time I was dreaming of M&M's).

2 - I miss eating bread :(

3 - I think the biggest issue for me is meal size.  I have never been a big eater and I tend to eat smaller meals and grab snacks in between when I am hungry.  Normally for lunch I would just eat a sandwich and an apple but because eating bread is out I find I have to eat more volume to make up the calories. If I were not training for Ironman I don't think this would be as much of an issue but my training demands mean I need to eat a lot of calories and that translates to a LOT of food.  For me the quantity is almost too much.  My body feels like it's working over time all the time just digesting.

4 - And since we are talking Ironman training I will say that I have not found a satisfactory replacement for chocolate milk  for post workout recovery that still fits the Whole Food criteria.  Now I know there are many many ironman triathletes that follow the Whole 30 program year round and have great success with it but as my training ramps up I don't think I could maintain my energy levels without having a post workout glass of chocolate milk or the occasional slice of bread....and of course M&M's as a reward :)

The funny thing is that Matt's experiences are quite different form mine. He is loving it.  He feels better, has more energy and less cravings and blood sugar spikes than before.  While I have experienced more tiredness and lethargy than usual.  Go figure.  But the experiment continues. Let's see if I can hold it together for another week.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Whole Food Challenge Day 1

Yesterday afternoon Matt and I spent a few hours shopping and preparing our food for the week.  It took us about 5 hours to do everything...and it occurred to me that this is how convenience foods got their name and reputation. 

The first task was making a meal plan for the week.  Once we had that we made a shopping list and headed out.

We are lucky that our local Fred Meyer had about 80% of what was on our list.  For the rest we had to make a visit to our local organic food coop.  This took us about 2 hours to get all our grocery shopping done.  About twice as long as it usually takes but part of that was our unfamiliarity with some of the ingredients so it took us some time to scour shelves for what we needed.  I think once we get in the swing of things shopping will be a much quicker process.
Then it was back home to unpack and start the meal prep.

Let me tell you there was a LOT of chopping. 

I prebaked all the root vegetables and cut and sauté a lot of the other vegetables.  We left some veges raw and just cut them for snacks during the week.

Matt prepared all the meat and sauces.  He made meatballs, BBQ'ed chicken breasts and processed some chicken to be made into chicken patties. 

And then everything was put in the fridge ready to go.  This is what my fridge looked like on Sunday night....Not a piece of chocolate in sight.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

3/52; January Rolling Along

This week started off with a call from the animal shelter to come and pick up some more puppies for us to foster.  This was almost too much cuteness.

They settled in pretty quickly and before the end of the day they had the run of the house.

And while the rest of the country was experiencing an artic freeze we were cheering to see some of the white stuff finally falling in the PNW.

Luckily the boys were ready for such an occurrence and had their sleds at the ready.

Hyacinth growing was also in full swing.

Sometimes I need an extra reason to get out of bed and workout in the morning and our regular post workout coffee on Saturday morning always seems to do the trick.  Plus I have the best coffee companions

.We watched the Seattle Seahawks edge closer to the Super Bowl.

 And on Saturday night we went and watched a friend perform in the Spokane Youth Ballet's latest production

Got my dose of culture and had the opportunity to stare at muscly men in tights.  Awesome sauce.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2/52; Kicking off the NY

A picture a day in the bag, baby! 

OK, so it's only the first week of the new year but sometimes you have to take your victories when you can. 

My intention is to chronicle our family life for a year.  With a touch of melancholy I realized that it will be Ciara's last year at home before she heads off to college so I wanted to try and capture a little of  the every day that will soon be gone.  Life is happening right now and as the kids always tell me "YOLO, Mum". You Only Live Once. So I am choosing to embrace this year, enjoy it and  journal it. 

The week after Christmas involved a lot of relaxing and 24 hour pajama wear.

Please note what the children are doing above versus the adults in the picture below.  Oh yea, baby. Victory number 2! And may I just add that I am taking this picture while riding my bike on the trainer.  Took way more coordination than I expected.

 Ok, ok, so the kids did get off the couch occasionally.  

This is Jack (in white) at his indoor soccer game.  He plays in something akin to an indoor hockey rink with grass.  So you will have to excuse the reflections off the plexiglass in the photo.  

And in chronicling our journey I would be remiss not to include those we consider to be part of our adopted family.  Our neighbours Natalie and Alex heading back to college. 3 favourite faces.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014; 1/52

I like do-overs.
 Fresh starts.
That is where I am at on the first day of 2014.
No big resolutions here.
But I  do think I will take a leaf out of the book of those brilliant muppet things over at  Sesame Street and dedicate 2014 to the letter "F"
Family, friends, fitness, fun.
Seems like a good place to start a new year.
And with that a pledge....that hopefully I can keep blog once a week and take a photo everyday.  So by the time I get to the end of this year I will have some kind of record of our journey in 2014.

Getting ready for the NY with friends

Kids wrapped up in a pretty serious game of something

Man cave discussions

Happy new year - mountain time because it was too hard to stay awake  until midnight west coast time,. Well at least for the adults.