Saturday, 31 January 2015

Cook the Books | February Meal Planner


Well, here it is!  The first instalment of my "Cook the Books" Series, featuring my current favourite and go-to recipe books, Pete Evans' 'Family Food' and Sarah Wilson's 'I Quit Sugar For Life'.
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Friday, 30 January 2015

A New Series | Cook The Books

Wife-made's "Cook the Books" Meal Planner Series - from Sarah Wilson's & Pete Evans' awesome books
I am so excited to introduce this new Wife-made series to you!

A number of years ago I began a journey of healthier eating.  I've always loved my veg, and wouldn't say I was a terrible eater, however I sure loved my sweets, and bread... oh baby, don't get me started!

But around the time I got married I started having major digestive problems.  And I mean MAJOR.  I looked like I was pregnant I was so bloated.  I had terrrrrrrrrrrrible gas.  (And I will say no more about that.)  Constant indigestion - burping like I was Homer Simpson.  I felt nauseous and just generally unwell.  The doctors I saw at the time just said I had irritable bowel, and gave me no information on what to do, except for telling me to take some kind of IBS supplement that might help.  That was over five years ago, so I don't know if the mainstream medical approach has changed since then, but that just didn't cut it at the time.  Eventually, after I couldn't bear how bad I felt any longer, my husband and I made a decision for me to see a great doctor who takes a natural approach to digestive issues.  The process she recommended involved cutting out all sugar (boy, was that hard!  I was like a crack addict!), all carbs, and a variety of other foods that she believed weren't helping my cause.  And, to my delight, it actually helped.  Only a couple of weeks into the new diet, my symptoms started to subside.  I began to feel better, and eventually I had no symptoms at all.  Hallelujah!

So, to cut a five-year-long story short, I now feel much better than I did then.  But, I'm not going to try to pretend that I have stayed on the wagon the whole time.  Within twelve months of getting married I was back to my old habits (the call of the sweet was just so enticing!), and well, whaddya know, the symptoms returned.  I was also diagnosed with Graves' Disease at the same time I fell pregnant with my second child, which added to my general unwellness.

Through this time I have read a number of books on healthy eating and the impact of what we eat on our bodies.  I've tried many different approaches, but for me, the one that has stuck (or that I have kept going back to after falling off the wagon) has been cutting out sugar (or more specifically, fructose).  More recently, my Mum, who is a severe coeliac, and has also realised she has major issues with dairy (think of a face swollen like a balloon after eating some!), introduced me to the Paleo approach (in a nutshell, a focus on protein and fruit/veg, cutting out all grains and dairy).  And I now feel like I've found a great balance.  My diet is high in protein and good fats, very low in fructose/sugar and I only very rarely eat dairy or carbs.  So, strictly speaking, I'm not a complete Paleo follower because I still do have some carbs here or there (like rice or some spelt flour once in a blue moon), but I have really come to love this general approach.

Which brings me to this series!  "Cook the Books" came about when I realised that I really only cook from these two recipe books now - Sarah Wilson's "I Quit Sugar for Life" and Pete Evans' "Family Food".  They have quickly become my 'go-to', whether it's a mid-week meal for my family or something a bit more spesh when we have guests coming over.  And I realised that I need to share this with whoever I can, and what better way than by writing a year's worth of meal planners based on these two books??  So, hopefully tomorrow you will find, right here on this blog, the first month's instalment of weekly meal planners.

So, if you follow the Paleo or sugar-free approach to eating, and would love someone else to do your food thinking for you, you've come to the right place!  And if you, I dunno, made some random new year resolution about eating healthy but have already fallen off the wagon, well, you've also come to the right place!

Healthy eating, here we come!  Oh, and if you want to join in, make sure you head out and buy these books, pronto!  (Because I won't be putting the recipes up in the posts - that would be highly illegal and would undoubtedly cause a lot of trouble for me with the authors.)  But, the books are great anyway.  You won't regret it.  I don't!

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Note: One comment I have seen a lot about the Paleo approach is it's expensive.  At first I was put off because I just didn't think we could afford to eat less carbs and more protein.  But my personal approach is to just do what I can.  I don't stress over the finer points,  and just make changes where I can and go from there.  You gotta start somewhere!  Sarah's book in particular, has some great tips on how to save money with food buying, and to make food go further.

Also, I am not a doctor and anything I have said in this blog post is personal experience only and should not be misconstrued as medical advice.  If you are unwell, see your doctor!