An update

Everyone keeps asking me how I am getting on with my 30 things.  And the truth is that I haven’t done anything specifically towards them for ages now.  But I’m a “the journey is more important than the destination” kind of girl, and the reason I’ve not been doing these  things is that I’ve been busy with other challenges.  Sometimes I think life would be a whole lot easier if I stopped giving myself all these challenges and projects, but I can’t see it happening any time soon.

From the original list, I’ve completed 15 of the 30 things, which isn’t bad going.  But I’ve also taken on other challenges.  So, not only did I run in a 10k race, but I did it in fancy dress. And then signed up to a half marathon.  I’m growing my hair long (not exactly challenging, I’ll admit!) but have also quit using shampoo (nine months now and my hair has never been better!).  I had a go at writing a little poem and children’s book, but also wrote a short story.  I was really pleasantly surprised at my writing, though I don’t imagine I’ll do anything more with it.  Giving blood was a really good thing that needed a nudge to do, but will now do as often as I can.  Eating on a budget and as a vegan have both made me look at my diet and make some positive changes.

But for my biggest challenge, I have decided to go and spend a week in November volunteering at the refugee camps in Calais.  I’ve never done anything like it before, and I know that I will only make the tiniest of differences, but my job at Volunteering in Health (and parenting!) has shown me that TIME is worth so much more than money or things.  An hour spent having a chat with someone who’s lonely can make SO much difference to that person’s day and week.  It shows them that someone cares, gives them a chance to share things they need to talk about, and just generally cheers them up.  My plan is to go over and help wherever I’m needed, whether that’s picking up rubbish, sorting donations, distributing food, or building shelters (not sure how helpful I’d be on that front!).  (And don’t worry, I’ve done my research and will be doing it properly, not just rocking up with a van-load of stuff and causing chaos.)  If you’d like to come with me, or help in any way, or if you’ve been and have any advice for me, please get in touch!

Back to my 30 things – out in Calais I hope I might even manage to cross off a couple more items from my list – start a fire, sleep under the stars, don’t use electricity for a whole day, buy dinner for someone less fortunate.

That will leave me with knit/crochet a hat for myself (I might manage that one), draw something I’m proud off, go out rowing, get a tattoo (I know what I want, roughly).  Then there are some that I know I won’t get around to this year, but that’s ok!  I’ve had some fantastic experiences and done some great things this year that I probably wouldn’t have done without having set myself this challenge from the beginning.

Thank you to my lovely friend Jen for giving me a push of inspiration to come back to this blog and review how I’m getting on (better than I thought!) for the first time in ages.  What a year!

My week as a vegan

The last week has been spent trying to live as a vegan. I’m already vegetarian so this basically meant cutting out cheese and milk, I don’t really eat eggs anyway.

There have been high and low points. I’ve eaten much more healthily than usual, packing my plate with more fruit and vegetables and eating a more varied, colourful diet. Everything I’ve eaten has felt pretty guilt free so I’ve eaten lots of it, hunger certainly hasn’t been an issue. I hope to keep this up.

Low points were trying to drink tea without cow’s milk. It’s not terrible but it’s certainly not good either. I will definitely be going back. My period is due any moment so I have given in to chocolate a couple of times, and to cheese once. Poor Steve has suffered the effects of a bean and fruit based diet, and I had to make a couple of emergency stops whilst out running, so I know the change of diet has certainly taken effect!

I haven’t found it difficult to think of things to eat, it just takes a bit more effort on my part: checking labels, finding alternatives, and cooking more food from scratch.

What next?

I’m off to France tomorrow so cheese will be making a big comeback. Judging by my previous travel experience, cups of tea are not going to improve for me in France! I will be going back to cows milk for tea, but I will probably continue to use almond milk for cereal and smoothies. Mainly I really hope to carry on eating more fruit and veg and less carbs and sugar now that I’ve had a kick start.

Sixth Day

So last night I made some dark and chocolate and avocado truffles, and I… accidentally… ended up eating some milk chocolate in the process.

I got back on track this morning with an almond milk, banana, and peanut butter smoothie. I snacked on an apple and a nakd bar, then stopped off at Smugglers for another quinoa salad (out of date so only cost £1!)  

On my return to the office I had ryvita with avocado and walnuts. And then my boss came in with some ferrero rocher and I caved. Those things are just too delicious!  

In my defence, my period is due. No more should need to be said.

Dinner was a butternut squash risotto.   

Followed by last night’s truffles and some “ice cream” made from peanut butter blended with banana and chia seeds and frozen.  

So more slippage today! But I am still really pleased with the healthy eating I’ve been doing – it’s about the journey not the destination!

Third Day

Before you think I went to bed having only eaten ryvita for dinner, don’t panic! After I’d posted on here I had sausage and chips 🙂  

  Today has not been such a successful day! Oscar asked for a chocolate milkshake for breakfast, so I made a smoothie with almond milk, kiwi, and dark chocolate. My blender isn’t quite powerful enough so there were specks of chocolate in it, giving a weird texture.  

I also had tomatoes on toast – one of my favourite breakfasts.   

Today’s lunch was another salad, mango soy yoghurt, and nakd banana bread.

For dinner I had a cauliflower curry, which was tasty, but I don’t make a lot of curry as it never turns out quite right. Must ask my dad to give me a lesson as it’s all he eats!  

Tasty as dinner was, it was perhaps a bad choice of dinner to eat before a run.  

Second day

Today I’m feeling really tired and I’m not sure if it’s the change of diet, a bad night’s sleep, or a lack of caffeine (almond milk in tea just isn’t the same!).

Breakfast was a fruit smoothie and weetabix.  

  This morning I had an appointment with a lovely lady who talked about food. A lot. Where to go to the best fish and chips. The food when she was travelling in America and on cruises. Her favourite restaurant in town. Then I got back to the office and there was a big box of delicious chocolate biscuits on my desk (the ones with those delicious tube things). Sitting down to my salad was no fun! It took so long to eat, it was very boring! I had fried Aubergine and courgette to brighten my salad a bit but it didn’t really work! I also had a nakd banana bread bar and free from yoghurt which were both nice.

  I was still pretty hungry so got some popcorn too.   

 I left work a bit early as I was feeling tired and achieving nothing. Next up was some ryvita and hummus, and some lotus biscuits.  

 

Day One as a Vegan

My first day as a vegan is done and I have loved it! I’ve eaten loads and felt good about every bite.    

Breakfast was a smoothie, normally if I have a smoothie for breakfast I am hungry again by 9am, but this kept me going much longer!  

Next up was hummus and crudités, classic vegan grub!   
A cup of tea with almond milk wasn’t quite the real thing, but certainly wasn’t bad.  

At lunchtime I went to a meeting where there were sandwiches and cake, I found it surprisingly easy to hold back, even though it all looked so good!

Instead I took a trip to my favourite health foods shop, Poppadoms, and bought more hummus, mushroom pate, and a quinoa salad.  

   After school we went to Oscar’s friend’s house for tea. I didn’t have dinner but had some yummy peaches. The actual dessert was peaches, honeycomb ice cream, and meringue pieces. Very hard to resist!  

For my dinner I made a mushroom risotto, I added a dollop of soy yoghurt to make it a bit creamier.  

Writing it all down here makes me realise just how much I’ve eaten! I guess eating a normal person’s amount of food would be the real challenge for me!

The Last Supper

Time for my next challenge! Next week I’m off to France for a friend’s wedding so it seemed like the perfect time to have a go at eating vegan for a week as a little diet. 

I’ve been vegetarian since birth so it’s not such a big step to veganism, except I LOVE cheese. Whenever I try to think of a nice vegan meal I just want to stick a hunk of cheddar, or halloumi, or Stilton, or goats cheese, or feta, or Wensleydale and cranberries on the top of it. So here’s my last supper: chips and cheese. But of course!  

 But other than that, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll have to be more inventive and eat more healthy, colourful foods, and if my £1 a day challenge is anything to go by, I’ll look forward to cooking. Especially since I can spend and eat as much as I like this time!

Last night there was a piece on the news about how developing countries are starting to have problems with obesity because processed junk food is getting cheaper, whilst fruit and veg are becoming more expensive. I know I’ll be spending significantly more this week on food, so I’ll try and keep track as much as possible for comparison.  

 

On another note, I am reading Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” at the moment and I just love it. I feel so inspired. It’s like the first time you listen to Nirvana as a teenager (or whatever band you favoured) and felt like they knew and understood you. Except in my case it’s the hidden me, the real essence of me that’s behind the mortgage, husband, and kids. (Oh and she uses the Oxford comma – what’s not to love?!) (and on that note, I would love for her and Jonathan Ames to do something together and write about it, wouldn’t that be something?!)