Monday, June 27, 2011

Fittings things in

A karate instructor I have trained with a few times once told us an analogy for fitting training into your life. Think of your life like a big jar, and all the things you want to do as stones of various sizes. The big stones are the important things that you have to have time for, family, work, karate training… other activities are various other sized stones, right down to fine sand, things like watching TV and browsing the internet. If you start by putting the big stones in the jar first, then the medium sized once, then the smaller ones then the sand, you can fit a lot more in than if you put the sand in first, then the little stones, then try to pack in the big ones at the end.

For me, this meant karate training is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Friends knew that if they wanted me to come around for dinner, it had to be Monday or Saturday or late enough to be after training. Karate was a big stone and went in the jar first. Then uni, family, work etc etc.

Anyway, what got me thinking about this again was that I have so many bigger stones in my life (karate, jujitsu, work, new house and garden, cooking, knitting), and I haven't thought about how blogging fits in, so it has become something that just doesn't get into the jar very often. Which is a shame, because I enjoy writing, and developing and sharing recipes, and being part of the SCD, GF etc blog community. And I do find time to look at most of the blog posts I subscribe to, because the pop up in my email. So I conclude that the reason I haven't been posting is because I have not made sufficient effort to make it a priority.

As of now, every second part time day off, I'll write a blog post. For this one, a whirlwind update on the last 2 and a bit months.

April 12, my birthday - went to Sydney for a couple of days. Still being on fairly restricted SCD we didn't eat out, but had many tasty meals in our fantastic apartment in Surrey Hills, including local prawns cooked in garlic oil and tuna steaks. We also saw a ballet version of Madame Butterfly at the Opera House, which was simply magnificent.

16 April was the 6 month anniversary of restarting SCD properly (the benchmark for the day count in the title of the blog), uneventful, except to note that my colonoscopy was due two days later, but I wasn't well enough for my doctor to want to go ahead with it. Oh, and I was at an excellent jujitsu seminar!

On 1 May, I made a semifreddo (also the first time I had made SCD french cream, and I fell in love) loosely based on Naomi's hazelnut semifreddo made SCD legal, and it was just divine. The variations were simply to use SCD french cream in place of cream, home made vanilla vodka in place of liqueur, and half walnuts, half pistachios in place of the hazelnuts (just because that was what I had). I also only folded through half of the praline, and used the rest to sprinkle over the top when served. I still had leftovers, which we had on avocado pancakes with french cream and honey over the next few days too.

18 May marked the worst bout of food poisoning I've ever experienced, and I can only blame myself - hadn't eaten out in ages. 3 days laid out with D, muscle aches, fatigue, hot sweats, cold sweats, shaking exhaustion. 21 May looked promising, feeling weak, but hungry and able to take a 30 minute car ride to watch a karate seminar, but couldn't possibly have trained. However, by that evening, the UC was back - bleeding, nausea and D, and feeling very depressed.

It was back on to SCD intro. I've incorporated a number of the GAPS ideas (which I think come from SCD anyway, but maybe aren't made as clear as they could be in BTVC) of lots of stock and soup and casseroles into my diet, but I'm backing off on the fermented foods. I've also gone more hardcore in cutting out potential problem foods, what Jordan and Steve call the 4 horsemen (dairy, eggs, nuts and excessive fruit and honey) as well as nightshade vegetables based on paleo diet principles.

Since then, I've got back to a fairly good range of vegetables and meat, and more recently have added carrot juice (a shot glass a day for now), creamed coconut (for fibre in a fairly low impact form), ghee (the first dairy allowed on GAPS, as the vast majority of the milk proteins have been removed), french cream (as a high fat dairy product, it has a proportionately lower percentage of protein), and I had a tiny bit of scrambled egg and cooked apple with breakfast on Sunday. This is a sign of my typical impatience breaking through - adding two new foods at the same time - but I did it acknowledging that if I had a reaction, they both had to go. And with the pork and sage rissoles, fried onions and mushrooms, and mashed veggies, it went so well!

I've also had something of an epiphany about fat. I've been somewhat concerned about the weight loss from November/December 2009 that I haven't managed to regain (13 kg in 6 weeks from a fairly muscular 63kg to a gaunt and underweight 50kg). I've made it back to 58kg at a couple of points, only to drop back to 53-55kg at the first sign of sickness. I've been aiming to get back to 63kg, but not making much progress, and I'm attributing this failure to my lack of understanding of the important role of fat in our diets, particularly in the absence of complex carbs.

I've been using to track my calorie intake on and off for a while now, and have comfortably been eating about 1800 calories a day, which is enough to maintain my weight if I'm not very active. However, as I start feeling better (a) I start being much more active and (b) I stop tracking things as regularly. So I think that I probably maintain eating about 1800 calories a day, when I should be eating more like 2100 to maintain current weight and more than that to gain weight. I already eat protein for all 5 meals a day, and feel suitably full most of the time, so I couldn't figure out how to get more calories.

Then I thought back to a podcast by Jordan and Steve where they said to liberally pour olive oil or coconut oil over everything. I've found it quite difficult to do - the anti-fat message is solidly embedded from grade 5 health-ed classes onwards - the idea of pouring olive oil, even knowing it's a 'healthy fat', over rissoles, vegetables, steak or whatever I'm eating just didn't seem right. I started doing a drizzle of olive oil, and working my way up as per the GAPs intro diet, but when I one day measured how much I was having compared to the tablespoon I thought I was pouring on, I was amazed - it was less than half a tablespoonful. So now, I have a measure marked on my olive oil bottle in approx 20ml increments, and I melt coconut oil and pour it into ice cube moulds for convenient 14ml portions. I also have a pot of slightly sweetened (maybe half a teaspoon on honey to 200mls of oil) coconut oil on hand, flavoured with vanilla or lemon or orange oil, and I just eat this with a spoon when I want a treat (not that it would count as confectionary to most people, but I'm currently very attuned to even the slightest amount of sweetness as I've had 30 days free of even honey). 

I'm now sitting quite comfortably at 2200-2300 calories a day, which is enough for gradual weight gain with my standard level of physical activity. My worry now is giving up all the delicious fat when I get back to my target weight! :p 

In other happy news, the former owner and tenant in our new house finally moved out on 4 June. Since then, we have had the place repainted, carpets stripped out, boards rough sanded, kitchen stripped out and new kitchen is in the process of going in, and bathroom starts coming out this week. We're mostly getting other people to do the work, but we did get persuaded into doing the kitchen floor. This involved jack hammering out a 2m2 patch of concrete some 20cm deep, pilfering matching boards from the lounge room (which is getting a new wood floor laid over the top), and cutting and fitting them into the kitchen. It took our whole 4-day Queens birthday long weekend, which was a bit sad, but it has come up pretty well. I've also been doing a fair bit of work in the garden - setting up 6 raised garden beds (from here) and installing watering system for them, setting up the compost bin and starting hacking out the many overgrown and half dead plants around the place. 

I can see it all coming slowly together. The house was disgusting - lived in by 2 smokers and 3 dogs - the window frames run dark brown as I blast them with the steam cleaner! Now, it smells of fresh paint :) In my minds eye, the garden is coming together. In reality, I think it will take a fair bit longer, but crafting the whole garden into a bountiful edible retreat was one of my main motivations for moving from a unit to a house, so I'm happy for it to progress at a leisurely pace.

Well, that's a fairly lengthy tour of the last 2 months of my life. Other than that, there was work, some excellent karate seminars (thanks to Sensei Arie and Sensei Peter), making travel plans (Canada and the US in August/September), kitten cuddles, knitting, karate, jujitsu, long baths, massages... Mmm… brain vagues out in a cloud of remembered relaxedness...