My final verdict on grain free diet

2 Feb

Now the keyword of this post is MY final verdict.

Why didn’t it work for me?

  • Not sustainable. 

The diet I was brought up on was rice-oriented. (Duh, I’m Chinese!) Veggies we had plenty, but meat was seldom a centerpiece of any meal. Now going grain-free took my rice away and forced me to adopt a completely different approach to cooking and eating.

  • No real motivation.

A good friend of mine has been on a strict Paleo diet for health reasons. If you ask her, she’d tell you that Paleo has changed her life for the better. Much better. She gave me plenty of tips and encouragement for which I’ll always be grateful. Unfortunately, I have no real health motivation to stay grain free.

  • Pretty expensive.

I bought a lot of meat because I was eating a lot of meat. Before I started out, I limited my red meat intake to no more than two meals a week, mainly for environmental reasons. When meat became the center piece of every meal, I gave up this criterion.

I was buying good, happy meat too. I tried to get free-range chicken and, where possible, organic. I know that wasn’t necessary, and it certainly broke the bank.

  • Higher body fat % + heavier lean mass = weight gain.

A by-product of a protein-dense, low carb diet. Unfortunately I wasn’t really after packing on more weight. My dietitian was furious when I told my dietitian about my 21-day grain-free stint. Why? She told me that I was eating too much meat. It’s not research-based and has no scientific backing. If you look at the average lifespan of actual ‘cavepeople’, the so-called reinvented Paleo diet is a load of bullcrap.

I wouldn’t go so far as to dismiss grain-free/Paleo entirely, though. What did I learn?

  • Ethical eating is something I can commit to.

I paid a lot more attention to choosing where I buy more food. I hate buying from big evil corporate supermarkets and I like supporting the local butcher and small businesses at the farmers markets. If I ate less meat and reverted to my rice-oriented diet, I could well afford buying good, happy meat from a local, friendly, cheerful source.


last week of grain-free

26 Nov

I haven’t been able to keep track of everything I’ve eaten. I’ve also lost track of what day I’m up to. Excuses? Excuses are boring. On Saturday I became really frustrated with this grain-free business. Social eating has never been more frustrating.

At the team BBQ after the regatta, even though it was BYO meat (which I did), I had only a steak and a chicken skewer. I had to stay away from the sausages, and the skewer was probably marinated with grainy stuff. The lovely meat I bought from the boutique butcher didn’t make it to the barbecue, because it burst it into flames. Famished and frustrated, I gorged myself silly on apple cider.
In the evening I was invited to a friend’s house for a homemade supper of, wait for it, sausages. I politely declined my invitation, because there’s grain in sausages!
Upon returning home rather late in the evening, I gave myself a pep talk while cooking myself a very late supper. It went something like this:

Stop feeling sorry for yourself because of what you can’t eat. True, this diet could be a bunch of baloney, but once you’ve started something, you’re going to finish it.

So I came up with my first proper recipe… I’ll call it… Beef Coconut Curry with Pumpkin and Spinach (yep, capitalised, bold and underlined, just like a real recipe)

300g pumpkin diced
500g chuck steak diced (bitesize)
1 brown onion diced
750ml water
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried basil
Half can coconut cream
1 bunch spinach

For the marinade
2 inch piece ginger minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp water
1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
1 tsp corn starch (optional)

1. Mix marinade ingredients together with beef. Leave for half an hour.
2. Brown beef in a hot pan.
3. Boil water in stockpot. Add beef into stockpot. Stir for 2 minutes.
4. Add onions, pumpkin and herbs. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Stir in coconut cream and spinach. Serve when spinach is cooked.


22 Nov

day 9

breakfast: tomato basil bread, leftover salmon and tomato, soy decaf flat white
lunch: newtown chicken (grilled chicken breast, spinach, mash, ewwy sodium-loaded bacon)
tea: soy choc
dinner: cider perch
dessert: rum & raisin ice cream

day 10

breakfast: tomato basil bread, soy choc
morning snack: soy decaf flat white (campos beans – not too shabby), then after spending 3 hours on the bus, three fucking cavendish bananas
lunch (at 4pm?): 3 slices of date and walnut bread with half an avocado and a tiny bit of brie
early dinner: carrot and split pea soup with coconut cream, fruit log

this grain purge is getting too much. i spend so much time and energy wondering WTF i can eat next. it’s fun at times. at other times, it’s a pain in the butt. i’m sick of quinoa bread. meat day tomorrow, and the day after too. i need my meat.

can you feel my frustration?


accidentally vegetarian

17 Nov

day 5

breakfast at home: choc quinoa log, quinoa with feta and roasted pumpkin
lunch/snack at work: choc brownie
tea (?): quinoa with feta and roasted pumpkin (yes, again)
dinner: roast potatoes, minestrone, quinoa bread with avocado

The pleasures and sorrows of working at a grain-free bakery: they feed you with grain-free goodies, but you don’t actually have the time to eat.

I did about two weeks’ worth of fresh food shopping at the farkets today. My excuse? It’s regatta weekend next week, so no farkets for me.


grain-free going strong

16 Nov

day 3

breakfast at home: banana pancakes (2 eggs, coconut flour, almond meal – sweet!)
snack: choc quinoa log
lunch: coconut beef stew, quinoa (leftovers from last night)
dinner with stuart: pork chop, cauliflower and carrots in red curry with roasted potatoes

day 4

breakfast: choc quinoa log and ladyfinger banana
lunch: scrambled eggs with zucchini and carrots, date & walnut quinoa toast with avocado
snack: date & walnut quinoa toast with avocado and tomatoes
dinner: ruby’s soup, bakchoy stirfry, date & walnut quinoa toast

I have no idea how I’d survive without all the quinoa bread I scored from work.

Looking ahead… I didn’t make it to the co-op to get almond meal, quinoa, etc. Luckily, FARKETS TOMORROW!

2 days of grain-free

14 Nov

Day 1

breakfast at home: 2 eggs, mushrooms, zucchini
lunch ON THE COAST: quinoa bread from deeks, avocado, hummus, brie, tomatoes, strawberries (it was amazeballs)
snack: mango & coconut muffin from deeks
dinner: chana masala, quinoa, ruby’s soup, hummus

Day 2

breakfast at home: 2 egg omelet with tomatoes and mushrooms
snack: choc quinoa log from deeks, soy decaf cap, choc milkshake
lunch: chana masala, quinoa
dinner: coconut beef stew, quinoa, carrots, hummus

Looking ahead… I’m keen to try using less quinoa and go even harder on the meat. Next up: roast chicken with potatoes.

Better try this too for snacking


12 Nov

One more essay left to do then I’m done for the year. Looking back at all the things I’ve achieved in the past year is overwhelming to say the least.

  • Recovering from PTSD and major depression
  • Travelling through Rome, Silesia, Krakow, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt
  • Moving out of college and into the most awesome sharehouse in the universe
  • Teaching myself how to start a milk crate veggie garden
  • Quitting mindless weight lifting
  • Falling in love with dragon boating and floor training
  • Going to therapy and meditation as if my life depends on it
  • Making new friends and reconnecting with old ones
  • Procrastibaking like a boss
  • Deciding that I want to do my Honours in the Holocaust
  • Getting a job at a grain-free bakery without actually looking for a job
  • Generally winning at life

In the spirit of going from strength to strength, I’ve decided that it’s time for another restart. Starting tomorrow I’m going Paleo for 21 days. I anticipate not too many changes/sacrifices. I will miss my grains (rice and oats) the most. Yes, beer and ice cream too. I also need to read up on grain-free breakfast options other than omelets. The best thing about working at a grain-free bakery is all the grain-free goodies I can get. This will be fun. I wonder how long I’ll last, but it’ll do great things for my heart.