As of Wednesday 18th, Lent began – 40 days of fasting more or less.
I’m not religious, but this was as good a time as any to put some changes in place that I have been wanting to for a while. Also, as the majority of my friends both in and outside of work are also giving something up, I figured I wouldn’t be faced with as much temptation.
This year I decided to give up wheat and gluten and will be documenting my progress every 10 days.
Why Wheat and Gluten?
Since I started working full time back in July, I have randomly been getting horrendous stomach aches – usually between 3pm and 9pm. At first I thought it was because I was sitting behind a desk all day and that was causing discomfort, but after doing a little reading on the effects of wheat and gluten now believe the two are linked.
Because I was commuting to work for the first couple of months, lunches were shop bought pastas, potato salads, crisps and bread and tea was pretty much the same – quick, cheap and hassle free as commuting was expensive and an absolute nightmare.
I couldn’t avoid the afternoon slumps. I was like Jekyll and Hyde; a sweetheart before 3pm and a bitch on the warpath after. Constantly tired, constantly bloated, constantly in pain, constantly unmotivated and unsurprisingly, getting fatter each day!
According to what I’ve been reading lately, all this ^^^ is linked to wheat and gluten; as are bad skin and dull hair.
It might all be another fad diet, but I have been trying to cut it out as much as possible since the beginning of 2015 and already feel much better. That is why I decided to cut it out completely for Lent – a test to see if it is true or not.
What foods are Wheat/Gluten Free?
Nothing. Seriously, I didn’t realise how many foods wheat and gluten are in. It is scary that I am so uneducated about what I am putting in my body.
Ketchup is even off limits for crying out loud! And beer!
That is why I did Shrove Tuesday right and ended my days of eating what I wanted with a bang. There was even a pancake competition involved…
Pancake Competitors – banana and chocolate vs blueberry and maple syrup 😋😋 pic.twitter.com/qfYaFABpZm
— Bethanie Rose (@BethRHenderson) February 17, 2015
However, there are plenty of delicious foods that I can have:
- Coconut oil
- Almond milk
- Nut Butters
- Fish and shellfish
- Fruit and vegetables
- White/brown/wild rice
- CHEESE (although not blue cheese, wahhhhh)
Although some of these are to only be eaten in moderation, I can still enjoy amazing meals with these ingredients and if anything, it is encouraging me to cook more myself which is good because then I know exactly what I am eating.
So, every 10 days I am going to update on my progress following a very simple template. This way I can identify any changes the ‘body cleanse’ is making to the way I feel, the way I look, my skin, my hair, blahhhhh.
Here we go…
Skin and Hair
No changes really. Although my face has been a little less dry than usual.
My eczema came back when I moved back to Manchester, something about the city brings it on as when I’m home I don’t have any problems. It is only a patch the size of a 20p, but it is irritating. Leave me alone.
I did read that gluten and wheat can sometimes cause eczema, so it will be interesting if anything changes in the next 40 days. However, I think it is down to Manchester’s water.
I’m not going to weigh or measure myself, because that would just be depressing. I have bought a dress for my brother’s wedding which falls a week after Lent is over, and at the moment it is snug so I am
desperate hoping that cutting out wheat and gluten will help me fit in a little more comfortably.
However, I wore my leather skirt the other day and my little pouch of stomach blubber was looking slightly smaller. Usually I wear it with a jumper or over sized top, but I was able to tuck a polo neck into it this week… yeah, I know!
The Way I Feel
That subheading makes me cringe, apologies. I just couldn’t think of another way to group ‘fatigue, bloating, bitchiness, stomach pain and lack of motivation.’
In the whole 10 days I have only suffered once from fatigue, bitchiness and stomach pain which all fell on the same day. I went out on Saturday and got absolutely no sleep on Sunday night, which meant on Monday I was a tired, bitchy mess. And the alcohol did bad things to my stomach – I predict minor case of poisoning. Monday was not a good day.
I haven’t suffered from any bloating though, which is amazing because that was the effect I hated the most.
I have been pretty unmotivated for the past 5 weeks, which I think has something to do with the weather and dark nights.
Foods I Miss
Soy sauce. I use it in everything. I have bought myself a gluten free alternative though – it’s okay.
I also miss cake! My whole family are massive cake lovers – my Dad even hosted a Birthday Bake Off for his 50th! I’m lucky though, because the office baker is taking Lent off… thank God.
To replace the cake shaped hole in my heart, I recently tried out a Gluten Free Blueberry and Banana Loaf which was incredible! I would even go as far as saying better than the real deal. Mmmm, scrumptious.
Ooooh, it has to be this Teriyaki and Sesame Crusted Salmon, resting on a bed of rice noodles cooked in a soy and peanut sauce and served with stir fried veg.
One of my favourite places for lunch when working is Wahu, Spinningfields, where I usually get the Teriyaki Salmon Rice Box. However, as Teriyaki Sauce contains wheat/gluten I can’t get this anymore. This kind of inspired me to create my own version to meet my new dietary requirements.
It was a last minute, throw everything in recipe, but oh my giddy aunt did it taste good.
Asian Style Salmon with Rice Noodels and Veg
- 1 Salmon Fillet
- 2 tablespoons of Gluten Free Soy Sauce
- 1 sprinkle of Sesame Seeds
- 1 teaspoon of Honey
- 1 teaspoon of Minced Ginger
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil
- Rice Noodles
- 1 teaspoon of Natural Peanut Butter
- Vegetables of your choice (a packet of stir-fry veg is fine)
- Preheat the oven to 180⁰C
- Thoroughly mix together 1 tablespoon of GF soy sauce, sesame seeds, honey, ginger and seasoning in a bowl to create a wonderfully sticky and fragrant sauce
- Place the salmon on a baking tray and score three times; either end and in the middle
- Rub in the sauce, adding as much as you like. You can either allow to marinate or cook immediately depending on the depth of flavour you desire.
- Place the salmon in the oven and cook for around 10 minutes or until cooked.
- When the salmon only has 3-5 minutes remaining, you can prepare the rice noodles and veg
- Heat coconut oil in a small or medium pan on a medium flame
- In a jug, mix together 1 tablespoon of GF soy sauce and peanut butter
- Once the oil is hot, add veg and cook until soft. This should only take 2-3 minutes
- Remove the veg from pan and plate up.
- Add more coconut oil if needed, if not add rice noodles to the pan and fry for 2 minutes
- Pour over soy and peanut sauce and cook noodles for a further 1-2 minutes before plating on top of the veg
- Remove the salmon from the oven and place over rice noodles
The picture makes it look quite crispy, but the sauce was wonderfully sticky and made the salmon melt in the mouth. It’s meals like this that make me forget all about Lent.
So far so good… my 40 day body cleanse is going pretty well.
See you in 10 days