Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SCD and intensive exercise

I have an intense week of karate coming up in a couple of weeks time - a solid 7 days of training 3-4 times a day, with days 2, 3 and 4 starting with a 6am run and training session. This is traditionally followed by a BBQ breakfast and beer.

The seminar is held in Hobart, and I stay at a hotel (with full kitchen facilities) with my husband and usually between 4 and 7 students. It is always a lot of fun, as well as physically and mentally exhausting, and I'm torn between excitement and dread at its impending arrival.

This will be the 9th such seminar I've been to (thankfully it only happens once a year!) and first one at which I've been following SCD. Normally the week involves massive amounts of carbs and sugar - four slices of toast with nutella for first breakfast, bacon eggs and more toast for second breakfast, pasta for lunch, rice for dinner and as much junk food as can be fitted in between without throwing up during training, because we know we're burning off the calories faster than we can eat them.

But this all has to change for me this year. Somehow I have to survive on meat and fruit and vegetables, cheese and yoghurt, and nuts. I'm not up to eating legumes yet, and even nuts aren't completely agreeing with me.

I've been reading a bit about sports nutrition over the last few weeks. All of the information I have found is based around a normal carb content diet, so it isn't particularly easy for me to use, but I've taken some pointers about what to eat and when and started putting together a plan.

The main points of what I've read seem to be to eat carbs (the form of fruit and vegetable is good) and protein a couple of hours before and within a couple of shours after exercising, and eat a snack of something more sugary like an energy bar or a banana or trail mix half an hour before exercise. I've also heard that milk after exercise is a good way to get back some of what you've lost. And of course hydration is really important. I lost almost 4kg the first time I did one of these seminars, and I think it was almost entirely through fluid loss.

So here are the basics of my plan. I'd appreciate any feedback or comments anyone may have to offer.

- pumpkin soup (basically roast butternut pureed with cooked apples, and cinnamon, nutmeg etc) - for carbs
- topped with date and cashew whip (soaked cashews pureed with dates) - for sugar
- also topped with some banana smoothie to thin the soup a little

Followed by training session 1 for the day: either 6am or 10 am

Straight after training session 1
- banana smoothie

Second breakfast (only on the days that start at 6am)
- beef rissole and fried egg - for protein
- ratatouille - for carbs (I would have sworn that I had posted a recipe for this, but I can't find it. Anyway, eggplant, zucchini, tomato, red onion, capsicum, and herbs)

Lunch (after training session 1 on the civilised days, after session 2 on the 6am days)
- salad - carbs
- with chicken/tuna - protein

Afternoon snack (after training session 2 or 3)
- avocado

Afternoon snack 2 (before training session 3 or 4)
- energy bars

Then after the last training session of the day, we take it in turns to cook at the hotel. There are a few people doing things I can eat, like mushroom strogonoff (mine with SCD yoghurt) and Vietnamise salad with rissoles/sausages. I also always cook a huge pot of bolognaise at the start of the week, so I can have that with vegies on the nights when people are cooking food I can't eat.

And finally, I'm taking some supplies for extra snacking (like the chewy macadamia cookies from CCCIBS which is my favourite cookbook, ever, not just SCD) and my mum is making labna and knowing her will probably also me a cake or something too. Something sweet is essential to slip into my bag for our regular strolls to North Hobart for coffee, otherwise the cravings for danish pastries, florentines and blueberry house cakes might kill me.

Plugging what I know I'll be eating into Nutrition Data comes up with 2195 calories a day, and from Free Dieting's calorie calculator I know I need 2630 calories a day (based on daily exercise plus physical job), so once the random snacking is added in, I should be getting an adequate calorie intake.

My carbs:fat:protein ratio is 30:40:30. There's some pretty varied opinion out there about what these ratios should be, from 60:30:10 from the USDA guidelines, to 40:30:30 from the Zone diet, so I really don't know what to make of this one.

The food plan has an estimated glycemic load of 72, below the recommended maximum of 100, and an inflammation factor of 372, well above the recommended minimum of 50. It's a little low on the various B vitamins, but I take a supplement for that fairly regularly anyway. So overall, I'm fairly happy with the plan.

But I'd really appreciate if anyone with some more knowledge and experience of sports nutrition has some pointers for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

SCD snacks

I've been experimenting with some new snack foods, incorporating dried fruit and nuts, recently, and it has got me thinking about sugar and what I've learned in starting the diet again. I think part of the where I went wrong on the first attempt at the diet was over-consumption of legal but advanced foods, and also fruit more generally. While many fruits aren't listed as advanced, the sugar content is high, which promotes inflammation.

This time through, I've spent more time thinking about snacking and rationing my intake of fruit and nuts. Snacks seem to be the hardest part of the diet for me - breakfast, lunch and dinner are meat and veg, lots of different combinations, which isn't that different to what I used to do. I was never big on sandwiches, and mostly took leftover dinner to work for lunch. But snacks... I would usually bake a cake or biscuits on the weekend to last the week, take a couple of pieces of fruit, occasionally a fun size chocolate bar or a packet of chips.

I carried this pattern into the SCD with me - basically replacing the cake/biscuits and the chocolate bar/chips with SCD legal baked goods, and the fruit stayed too. I also got into the habit of taking a 250ml container of nuts and dried fruit to work to snack on over a couple of days, but it would only ever last a day. So 4-5 fairly high sugar snacks, and 2-3 with a fair bit of fiber etc from the nuts.

So I thought I'd write a post on what I've done differently this time through. (I started this a fair while ago, being quite organised and going through week by week. Then I forgot about it, so I've just added a random bunch of subsequent things since then. And all the recipes are right down the bottom).

Week 1: intro diet - not much to say here, given the limited range of foods. Boiled egg, jelly, and yoghurt (I decided to do dairy from day 3 because it had never given me problems before and given all the prednisone I've been on, I'm a bit paranoid about calcium intake and bone density).

Week 2: as for week 1 (but I couldn't stomach jelly anymore) with the addition of half a mashed ripe banana or some apple sauce with the yoghurt.

Week 3 saw the addition of avocados with macadamia nut oil dressing and small pieces of matured cheddar cheese.

In week 4, I added some sultanas to my apple sauce when cooking it, and stopped pureeing the apples. So sick of eating mush! I also added some cooked strawberries, and also started eating the occasional dried apricot with almond butter.

I got a bit more adventurous with the dried fruit and nuts in week 5 and made black cake (see earlier post for recipe and explanation of the name), and also started playing with energy bars.

It all started with this page, which give a great pictoral guide to the textures you are after at the various stages, and the ratio of fruit and nuts you want. I remembered back in my wheat and sugar days these lovely date and orange wontons, deep fried and dusted with lots of icing sugar, and decided to try to capture that flavour in bar sugar free form. That, and I'd just bought some orange oil I wanted to try out.

What I came up with was so good I've made it about 4 times since then. I used fresh dates, but have been wondering if I could get the same effect with dried dates - much cheaper.

That said, I did some number crunching and even my most expensive creation (cranberry and pistachio) only works out at $1 for a 45g bar.

I've put some of the combinations I've come up with - the good ones - at the bottom on this post.

Another thing I like to snack on is veggie sticks with labna (yoghurt cheese - see below), or just dunked in the macadamia dressing.

And cakes. Cakes are good too. I particularly like this one from Naomi at milk for the morning cake - I've done it a couple of times, one with pear and raspberry, and once with pear and mulberry - cherries never lst long enough in my house to make it into a cake!

If you have any SCD snacks you'd like to share, please add them as comments.

(I think it is a sign of how well I'm feeling that I had to check my diary to see how many days since restarting SCD... 83 days and counting)

Macadamia nut oil dressing

½ cup macadamia oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp grated orange rind (don't add this in early on in the diet)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of salt
Energy bars
follow the method here for the following combinations:

Christmas pudding:
1/8 cup raisins
1/8 cup currants
1/4 cup sultanas
1/8 tsp spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves 45:45:5:5)

Date, orange and walnut:
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup whole walnuts
A drop of orange oil

Cranberry and pistachio:
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup cranberries
1/6 cup walnuts
1/6 cup pistachios
1/4 tsp cinnamon, and a splash of rose water

Labna (yoghurt cheese)
1.5L SCD yoghurt
a few cloves of garlic (or a few more, to taste)
salt and pepper
chopped fresh herbs (or dried)
good quality olive oil

Either crush your garlic raw, or roast it and mash it, depending on whether you like the tang of raw garlic. Or leave it out if you aren't a fan of garlic at all. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to your yoghurt and drip it for around 8 hours. You want it to be really thick because the next step is to take spoonfuls of it and shape them into little balls and roll them in the fresh herbs.

A combination of oregano, rosemary and parsley is really good, but you can do any combination you want, or have spare.

Place the balls into a jar and fill with olive oil. Having done it with cheap olive oil a few times, I can verify that the oil makes a big difference.

As well as a great dip, this makes a lovely spread. I used to eat it on crispy white toast with these lovely sweet chillies (marinated in massive amounts of sugar I'm sure, and stored in sugar syrup). When I have some chillies again, I'm going to have a go at making something similar with honey...