A month of eating vegan-style has lead me to find some creative recipes for some old-time favourites. One of my favourites is this chocolate recipe. It only has 4 ingredients, unless you want extra flavours, is ‘raw’ and you don’t need much of it to satisfy cravings. I’ve adapted the recipe from Dr Libby Weaver’s recipe from her book ‘Real Food Chef’.
100g cacao butter
1/2 cup cacao powder, finely sifted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla essence (depending on taste)
Peppermint oil, lavender oil, orange zest etc are optional for flavouring.
In a glass bowl resting above a saucepan with simmering water, melt the cacao butter. Take off the heat and set aside until the melted cacao butter is lukewarm temperature. Once butter has cooled, add the maple syrup and vanilla essence and stir until well mixed. It may look a little grainy but this is perfectly fine. If you want to make difference flavoured chocolate, add flavouring now. I like the Doterra oils for quality and potency (I used 4-5 drops but alter according to taste). Make sure any oil you use is food grade. Use your imagination and have some fun!
Add the sifted cacao powder and mix well. Place the glass bowl containing the mixture back on top of the simmering water and stir until the chocolate is a runny consistency. This makes it easier to pour and produces lovely, shiny, well formed chocolates. Be careful not to overheat it though! Pour chocolate into silicone moulds and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours. And viola!
Dinner tonight!! Yes, colours of the rainbow are on my plate tonight and oh boy does it feel good! I spend so much time in the kitchen now, trying new recipes and making it as easy as possible to keep on my plan. My mushroom and veggie patty with homemade tomato sauce and ‘cheese’ is my favourite meal and it feels like a real treat.
I have a couple of mishaps where I haven’t made the best food choices. Most of those poor choices were made after drinking a fair amount of whiskey and only one mishap has been due to emotional eating. Interestingly, my weight has not fluctuated and I’m a constant 1.5-2kgs more than when I finished the water fast. I was hoping that it would continue to go down but I’m sure that will happen soon. I still only have 1-3 coffees a week instead of 7-14 and my body definitely thanks me for that. I find I’m more sensitive to coffee – the shakes, the buzz but I also find that on the days I have coffee my appetite increases BIG time. I also find it gives me brain fog so I prefer not to drink it during the week unless I REALLY feel like it. This is a really big change for me which I’m glad has continued.
Another big difference are my food cravings. I no longer crave chocolate or sweets. In fact, I spent my Saturday making chocolate and I didn’t like the bowl! This was unheard of in my reality before the water fast. What I crave now is savoury food or pastries. So I’m trying my hand at nut cheeses. So far, I’ve just made some really nice nut spreads/dips. I don’t think anything really replaces dairy cheese and I don’t want to eat the typical vegan cheese that is full of vegetable oils and soya.
My sleep seems to depend on when I go to bed and flick my light off. If I’m in bed by 10-10:30pm then my sleep seems to be more peaceful and I wake up more refreshed. But waking up has been a struggle recently which makes me wonder about the lingering effects of eating some gluten and dairy.
I love how my body just feels like it’s working better. A lot of things seem to have balanced themselves, although my gut function is still less than ideal but it doesn’t seem as upset as it was pre-fast. Probably a combination of some ‘time out’, a HELL of a lot less processed food and a fair whack of probiotics has helped it and I hope that each time I fast (I plan on doing 7-14 day water fasts every 3-4 months), it heals a little bit more.
Almost 3 weeks after finishing the water fast and things have been interesting. It sure is a hard time of year to be vegan, sugar free and gluten free. SO many yummy foods and while restaurants have great veggie options, the dishes either include gluten or dairy or both. My eyes are definitely still much bigger than my stomach and ended up only having dinner tonight as we had our (super yum!) Christmas dinner last night. Something also happened last night that has never happened – I couldn’t finish my main meal and I couldn’t/didn’t finish dessert! Some huge changes have happened to my approach and need for food and I am incredibly happy about this!
I got my blood test results the other day and have posted them in the ‘Stats & Progress‘ page. Super interesting CRP and B12 results 🙂 Makes you question what we’ve been led to believe about food and nutrition.
Initially I put on 2kgs after finishing the fast. I was quite worried that I’d stack on weight and that I’d go back to my old habits. No, I haven’t. I don’t crave junk food anymore, supermarket chocolate tastes like plastic and I only have 1-2 coffees a week! Plus, in the last week my weight has decreased so I’ve only put on 1.5kgs! STOKED!
I’m still trying to figure out what food my body likes and dislikes. It seems it doesn’t like beans. I made a black bean soup that I had started sprouting and I was really ill that afternoon and night. I lay in bed feeling pretty wretched but marvelled at how amazing my body was. There was something that it definitely didn’t like so what did it do? It made sure I got rid of it in any way possible. How often do we take sickness to be a bad thing? Perhaps sickness is just our body’s way of FINALLY getting us to notice that something isn’t right and spur is into action to correct it? Puts a different spin on health and what is healthy Vs what is unhealthy. What if fevers, vomiting, diarrhoea etc are signs that your body is ACTUALLY healthy? Our bodies have evolved over 100’s of thousands years and so much smarter than we give them credit for. Our bodies don’t do random and nothing happens in the body either by chance, accident or independent of anything else. I reckon it’s about time we recognise and honour that.
So my foodporn photography needs some work but I promise this meal was delicious! Spinach, sweet potato fries and a ‘burger’ with homemade tomato sauce, homemade ‘cheese’, a lentil veggie burger patties (thanks Tesco!) and using portobello mushrooms as the burger ‘bun’. Plus a few different kinds of sprouts to fill and viola! Happiness on a plate. And now happiness in my tummy!
I am thoroughly enjoying all these new foods, flavours and combinations. My eyes are still much bigger than my stomach so I do have to be careful of not overeating. I’ve been eating a lot of soups, then some steamed veggies and then tonight, this wonderful meal above.
It has been an up and down week. Firstly, I have to redo my blood tests as the samples clotted. A bit disappointed that I won’t have exact comparison for pre and post fasting. Secondly, my tummy has been a bit all over the place. I think it’s having a freak out with all the extra fibre as I’m forever going to the bathroom. I’ve also been paranoid about putting on weight. I released 13kgs during the fast and have put on about 2kgs. Which, if I’m honest with myself, is a NO SHIT SHERLOCK! Of course I’m going to put on some weight when I started to eat again! I just have to constantly remind myself that I’m not eating processed crap anymore. Or refined sugars or anything like that. My body probably does need to plateau a little bit while it figures out what the hell just happened. And I’m hoping that eating a plant-based diet will cause the weight to permanently tumble off.
I had 2 squares of chocolate tonight on the way back from the supermarket. And it tasted like plastic! I threw the rest of it in the bin. Then I stood next to the bin wondering to myself “what the hell just happened???” and I must have looked liked a stunned mullet as a man asked me if I was ok! I have no memory of ever disliking the way chocolate tasted, let alone throwing the rest of it in the bin! Some good changes have happened. I also had the feeling of wanting a binge last Saturday too. I was feeling really down and not happy with my weight. And I wanted a kebab, chips and ice cream. Somehow, I reminded myself about my lifestyle change and that I was CHOOSING to eat better. Instead of going to buy a heap of crappy food, I spent Saturday night making soups and dhal. On Sunday I realised what a mountain I had just climbed. In the past, I would’ve been out the door at the first thought of a kebab, chips etc. This time, I was able to stop myself going into robot mode and chose to cook food that nourishes my body instead of buying food that takes me away from being healthy.
I may not be making perfect choices for my body but I am definitely making better choices. I still have much better mental clarity, I’m sleeping better, I’ve been told I’m more radiant AND I’ve started swimming. My cravings for junk food have decreased although I do feel that I’m hungry more often. Hehe, perhaps this is because my food world has been completely blown apart by new experiences and I don’t want to miss out!
Day 1 post fast is done. And oh I’m so glad to be able to start eating again. My blood tests were sent off and can’t wait to see the results. I’ve released 13kgs and 21.5cm. So kinda stoked with that effort.
I started this morning off with a diluted freshly made apple and cucumber juice. I felt quite faint after taking my bloods so it was good to have something other than water. I also made a wonderfully nourishing veggie broth (http://www.medicalmedium.com/blog/healing-broth) and it made me so happy to slowly sip it during the day. I do have some weird sensations in my tummy (feel like it needs to be stretched) so I’m not sure if that’s just my stomach and intestines waking up or maybe have a little reaction to something in the broth. Tonight I had a diluted carrot, red capsicum and ginger juice and a date or two. My god, dates are just SO amazingly good! So sweet and squishy and just oh so good! I’m also taking some probiotics now to just make sure my gut becomes full of the good bacteria. I’ll start introducing sauerkraut and kimchi in a few days.
I have been reading about how to break a fast properly and I came across ‘Guidelines for Breaking a Fast’ (http://www.allaboutfasting.com/breaking-a-fast.html). It all made complete sense to me. Ease your body into eating and don’t do silly things – e.g. having a kebab and hot chips or go back to your old eating habits. I’m going to do the juices for a couple of days with the veggie broth and work up to drinking undiluted juice. Then do smoothies and simple puree soups and finally food I have to chew. I may have the odd chewy thing over the next couple of days but I’m going to try and keep my digestive system as happy as possible.
As you know, I was planning on breaking my fast on Saturday and I was SOOOOO looking forward to it! However, seems the Universe had a different idea. I have the blood test kit all ready to go…..BUT….they need the samples to be posted on the day you take them AND you can only post the samples between Monday and Thursday! Bugger. So I’ve fasted an extra couple of days. I really want to see what fasting has done to my biochemistry so it didn’t make sense to me to have a couple of days re-feeding before I took the blood tests. But when you’ve got to 17 days without food, what’s another 2? I could make it to 21 but I feel absolutely ready to start eating again. I went to a market today and bought so many wonderful vegetables and fruit. Then I’ve stocked up on beans and lentils. Can’t wait to make some yummy creations. I’m also researching how to sprout your beans and seeds to make them more digestible – this website is an incredible source for not only sprouting, but also for fermenting vegetables. http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/category/sprouting/ Maybe I’ll get so enthusiastic that I’ll make my own tofu and tempeh?
The social aspect of fasting has been extremely hard. I just couldn’t be around food or other people eating it. As a consequence, I haven’t been able to go out with friends for dinner, lunches, brunches – which has sucked a bit. Actually, it’s sucked a lot as I’ve had massive FOMO (fear of missing out).
I’m also really looking forward at falling in love with food. The textures, the tastes, the smells etc. It’s almost as if a whole new world has been opened up to me. And I cannot wait to explore it!!
Today is the final day of my fast. I have decided to call it quits and start introducing food again tomorrow. Why you may ask? Especially as 21 days REALLY isn’t that far away. Well, a few things.
Firstly, I checked in with myself (and also had an incredible friend check in with me too) and discovered that my fasting over the past few days had become about losing weight. Yes, I’ve lost a shit tonne of weight in such a short time but that wasn’t the reason for starting this journey. And based on my habits in the past, I felt it was repeating old mistakes to continue to use the water fast as a weight loss tool.
Secondly, when I ‘broke’ my fast yesterday with having a date, I had no idea that Muslim’s often use dates to break their fast. Of ALL the food in my house, I chose to have a date. Perhaps a sign that my body wanted to finish?
Thirdly, this message that I got on my phone today from Danielle LaPorte’s #Truthbomb app (http://www.daniellelaporte.com/truthbomb/). “Your body knows before your mind does.” Well, if that isn’t a sign the Universe is sending me to start eating again, I don’t know what is!
Fourthly, when I thought about starting to introduce food again I feel an incredible lightness of mind and body. I felt happy. I felt energised and I felt it was the right thing to do. It really was true that my body knew what was right and my mind just had to catch up.
I am finally feeling incredibly proud of myself for getting to 17 days. It still blows my mind! 17-frickin-days!? Sure it’s not 21, but hey. I didn’t think I’d make it to 5!
Some things that I have noticed during the fast:
- Although I didn’t have the energy that a lot of people report, I had an incredible clarity of mind.
- My sense of smell has gone through the roof as well as my sense of taste (I had a couple of sips of coffee today and I could taste chlorine?! Tipped it down the sink.)
- My teeth are whiter
- My hair is a lot more shiny
- My leg cramps cleared up eventually, although I don’t regret taking potassium and magnesium for a few days
- When I wake up, I’m awake and feel a lot more refreshed
- I have less need for nanna naps in the afternoon
- I don’t miss food. I miss the social aspect of food.
- Because of my clarity, I didn’t trip over my words as much.
- I got very clear signals from my body when it was actually tired
- I don’t have stretch marks! You’d think I would after all the weight I’ve released. But nada.
- Not that much change in my skin, but I’m blessed with pretty good skin in the first place.
- I CAN FRICKING DO IT!!
So tomorrow I’ll jump on the scales to report, take my measurements and re-take my blood tests. I’m extremely curious about these and to see what has changed since nearly 3 weeks ago. I’ll put it all up in the ‘Stats & Progress’ section. I will also be posting about my adventures re-feeding myself. Sure is going to be interesting times!
Yesterday and today have been a reeeeeaaaaallll struggle. Today was probably the worst since starting the fast. I think it’s a combination of the weather being bloody cold, it’s that time of the month and perhaps my body starting to want food. But my god, I almost undid all my hard work this evening. I was super tired today, a bit emotional and on the way home from work I nearly stopped off to get a kebab and hot chips! But I didn’t. Instead, I had a date (as in the fruit). Yup, I caved and had a date. 16 days of no food and I ate a date. Oh boy it was so good! I am a bit annoyed at myself for eating it but then I compare a date to the damage a kebab and hot chips would’ve done (my poor digestion probably would have a hissy fit!), and I feel a bit better. If a date is what I needed to keep me going to 21 days, then I’m ok with that. I am wondering if I should break my fast this weekend. It’ll mean fasting for 18/19 days instead of 21.
This 3rd week has been a real emotional roller coaster. Almost like the 3rd week is the emotional detox. And today I was walking past restaurant and food stalls and just hating everyone who was eating and enjoying beautiful food. It really is not a nice place to be in. I feel like I’m missing out big time because I’m not eating. My friends talk about going to restaurants of food festivals and I feel I have to decline so that I’m not around temptation. I also feel awkward not eating when others are. Yes, pretty miserable tonight and have quite a pity party.
Day 13 was an uneventful day although I did feel I had slightly more energy than usual. I also made it through a busy time at work, although I was quite tired at the end of the day. My work colleagues still think I’m nuts 🙂 I jumped on the scales today and have dropped 10.2kgs! 10.2kgs in 13 days??!! Bloody insane if you ask me. Yes, some of that is going to be water and inflammation. So I’m curious what my inflammation markers are going to be when I finish the fast and re-do my blood tests.
Today was day 14. And I’m still flabbergasted that I’ve been able to do 14 days without food! However, today I almost caved and just gorged myself silly. Somehow, I held out. God knows where this willpower is coming from. I honestly never knew I had so much. Possibly due to a very poor night’s sleep, I was extremely tired and really struggled today. My body, mind and soul just felt really heavy and really slow. Perhaps something to do with the full moon too? Who knows? I was in my PJs by 6:30 tonight and ready to hit the hay. I’m just going to take the fast day by day now. If I get to 21, great. If I don’t, great. I’ve made it to 14! If my body still doesn’t feel right over the next couple of days then I will start introducing foods – fermented food, probiotics and juices. I would like to make it to 21 but we will see how the next couple of days go.
The above are jars of shredded vegetables that I’m fermenting for some good probiotic goodness. I’ll turn a couple of the jars into kimchi too. Can’t wait to eat this!
Still going strong, which I’m constantly amazed at! Getting to day 14 is not going to be a problem at all. I’m very tempted to stretch it to 21 days but I’m going to check in with myself on Day 14 and see where my motives are. If my motives are mainly about the weight loss (I’ve lost 10kgs so far), then I will stop. Weight loss is meant to be a happy side effect of this experiment. But I’d really like my gut to heal and apparently 21 days is a good time to do this. So we’ll see. I may just take it day by day after Day 14 and see how I go.
I had some interesting conversations on Day 11. I was out for a friend’s going away and somehow it came up that I was on day 11 of a water fast. Well. They were horrified, told me I was crazy, told me I was starving myself and that I needed a good meal from McDonalds. To most people it is crazy as it’s such a social extreme. As Ray Cronise said “just because it’s socially extreme doesn’t mean it’s biologically extreme.” But what was curious is that they had absolutely NO interest to hear what actually happens to your body when you fast on a physiological level, how incredibly smart our bodies are and that we used to go for extended periods of time without food, thus we have evolved to cope with this. This was the first time that I really became conscious how most people would view what I’m doing. But it also gave me a small insight into society and how willing we are to carry on the ‘norm’ instead of listening to another point of view, which may perhaps be more accurate that what we have always been lead to believe.
Since I got myself some magnesium (http://www.togetherhealth.co.uk/products/magnesium) and potassium (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vita-World-Potassium-Citrate-Capsules/dp/B00K5N3860/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?srs=3899258031&ie=UTF8&qid=1479073175&sr=8-1&keywords=vita+world+potassium) my leg cramps have been heaps better! I haven’t had any today so see how I go tonight.