Owning Up to My Resolutions - And Learning to Live Wheat-Free

About 5 weeks ago, I made a pretty serious 8-week commitment.  My logic was that I would give a big burst of effort for a short period of time, take stock at the end of eight weeks and re-adjust based on what was going well and what wasn't.  I also figured that if I gave myself a multitude of objectives, I'd surely succeed at one.

Five weeks in, I'm happy to say I'm still focused on my objectives, even though I've failed to some degree on all of them.  Here's the lowdown:

  • No alcohol --> FAIL.  We were invited to a Robbie Burns night.  The Scots are no fools; they serve up whiskey at these nights for a reason.  No one in their right mind would partake in haggis for the first time without a good glug of white lightning.  That having been said, thanks to copious amounts of booze I'm now a haggis, neeps and tatties convert (as long as I don't think long and hard about what was actually in it).
  • Let myself always feel slightly hungry -->  Partial success.  While I can't say I've felt hungry, I can honestly say I haven't felt overly full or stuffed in the last five weeks.  I have felt satisfied and gratified.
  • 1 coffee per day -->  EPIC FAIL.  I think I lasted one day on this one.  But most days I don't have more than three (or four ... five at the most, unless I'm having six, then I just throw in the towel and make it a lucky seven).
  • No wheat products -->  Mostly successful.  While I did succumb to half a cup of Kraft Dinner that one vodka-infused night, and had one sliver of Fabio's thin-crust Diavola pizza on two occasions, for the most part I've been extremely resilient and have surprised myself with my staying power.  
  • Small servings --> Mehhhhhh ....
  • 1 serving per meal -->  Mehhhhh ....
  • No eating out -->  Do weekends count?
  • Juicing at least once a day -->  Pretty much, other than the odd day skipped.
  • Log all my food -->  Success!!!!!  And I've been brutally honest; whether that food count is at 1500 calories a day or 4000.
  • Work out every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday --> The jury's still out on this one.  While I'd intended for the workout to be all about free weights and kettle bells, it's ended up being more about rebounding.  Smilin' Vic bought me a mini-trampoline for Christmas, and I get on it at least four times a week, 25 minutes at a time.  I run in place, jump up and down, do jumping jacks, and just act like a kid.  Amazingly, after four years of chronic sciatica, I now spend days and nights at a time completely pain-free.  To the point that I sometimes forget about the sciatica completely.  The only time it kicked in again was when I tried 15 minutes of jogging last week; all the hurt came rushing back the next day.  So I'll stick with the totally uncool silly-looking rebounding for now.
  • Walk 5 mornings per week -->  Success.  I'm logging about 10,000 steps a day, and on weekends I'm getting in a 10-12 km walk.

Of all of these commitments, the one that has surprised me the most is my ability to resist wheat products.  Even though I've not managed to stay wheat-free 100% of the time, I've managed to get past the point where pasta is the only thing on my mind.  I'm actually finding great substitutes that leave me satisfied and full.   I've not yet reached a state of nirvana at the thought of digging into a plate of spaghetti squash bolognese, but at least I'm no longer publicly salivating at the thought of crusty baguette and buttery pasta.

Oddly enough, despite having failed to some degree at all my resolutions, I feel like I've been incredibly successful overall.  I've challenged myself daily, whether I've succeeded or not, and I wake up every morning telling myself that I'm starting with a clean slate.  My skin is glowing, I have no trouble getting out of bed, I'm not tired during the day, I'm not bloated.  I've lost a bit over 7 lbs. and my pants aren't cutting off blood flow to my brain.   I'm in a great state of mind.  I'm not grumpy.  Well, not AS grumpy.  And other than the struggle resisting wheat for the first few weeks, I can honestly say my efforts have been virtually effortless.

I think most of this feeling of success is a result of the early morning walks, rebounding, juicing and wheat elimination.  Click here if you'd like to read a little more about rebounding.

I'm not a food blogger, and my photography skills (cue MB at HX, my photo guru) are far too poor for me to ever be one, but I've nonetheless included a few pictures of some of the better meals I've prepared for the family over the last few weeks in an effort to satisfy cravings for a bit of crunch without sacrificing my wheat-free pledge.  If anyone out there is struggling to overcome their penchant for grains, whether it's to lose weight, support a family member who is gluten intolerant, or - like me - go through a process of elimination to find out what's been ailing them, these really simple ideas might give you a kick start.

Seven carrots, two beets, an orange and a sliver of ginger make a surprisingly tasty morning treat for Smilin' Vic and me after a 4 a.m. walk.

You just know this is going to brighten your day.  P.S.  Carrot-beet juice is a great hangover cure ...

Roasted red bell pepper soup with baby bocconcini.  Kiddo had THREE bowlfuls of this in one sitting...

My daily mid-morning snack.  Dates, walnuts and Gruyere.  The sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy combination is amazingly comforting.

These summer rolls were absolutely amazing.  Even though prep was fairly time-consuming.  And despite the fact I had a girlfriend tell me that the peanut sauce oddly resembled her 1-year-old's poo after eating bananas ... If that hasn't ruined your appetite, get a similar recipe here.

Eggs Benedict on blinis (buckwheat pancakes).  Despite the name, buckwheat contains no wheat.  It is a fruit seed that is ground into a floury powder.  Buckwheat pancakes were my favorite as a child, so you can imagine my joy when I found out that it is wheat-free.  The black bits you see poking out are pieces of bacon, but you can easily replace the bacon with ham, salmon, asparagus or anything else that pleases your fancy.  The pseudo Hollandaise sauce is Hellmann's low fat mayonnaise, lime juice, a knob of butter, dijon mustard and a dab of Crystal hot sauce.  To poach the eggs, I bring water to a slow boil, add a tablespoon of vinegar, break an egg into a small bowl, then pour slowly into the water.  I remove the egg after 2 minutes using a slotted spoon.

Quinoa casserole.  This is now a staple in our home.  It's a very liberal take on this recipe, with a few adjustments to our taste, but I just make a big batch at the start of the week, omitting the stuffing of the pepper and the cashews.  When we're looking for a snack, we warm some up with freshly grated parmesan.  It's low-cal, extremely flavourful, and really nourishing.

This one topped the charts.  It's a pesto cauliflower crust bruschetta pizza.  Rave reviews from the whole family.  Two slices and I was stuffed!  I won't lie, it's definitely not pizza dough, but it's crunchy and soft at the same time, and it was just as good as any pizza dough I've had.  I made it by mixing together one shredded head of cauliflower (I used a hand blender 'til the cauliflower faintly resembled couscous, then nuked it for 6 minutes in the microwave), 2 eggs, a third cup of freshly grated Parmesan, and two heaping tablespoons of fresh pesto (with LOTS of garlic).  Nothing else.  I spread the mixture out in a pan and baked for about 40 minutes at 180C.  Once it was done, I coated with another two tablespoons of pesto and mounds of homemade bruschetta mix (tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic).

This is what the cauliflower looked like once I'd shredded it.  You could make it even finer ... I was in a rush to get it done!

This is what the wheatless crust looked like after 40 minutes in the oven.

Add a bit of fresh pesto ... 

Add the homemade bruschetta mix.  And ''voila''!  Bob's your uncle ... Pesto-cauliflower crust bruschetta pizza.  I CANNOT tell you how delicious this tastes.  Feel free to make it your own, by adding cheese, spinach, meats, or anything else that tickles your fancy.  It's a keeper.

And to finish this off right, how about some rebounding (of the exercise-type, not the relationship-type!) ,,,

Life is full of little surprises.  I never thought a mini-trampoline could make such a HUGE difference in my life.  In the space of five weeks, I've practically eradicated the back pain, heel pain, buttock tightness, and leg numbness that had been plaguing me for years.  I feel like a new person.  I have no reason to stop.  25 minutes four times a week while watching a short episode of Come Dine With Me with Kiddo ... I'm happy!

I haven't really succeeded at my 2015 resolutions, yet I've been so successful.  I definitely haven't failed.  They say promises are meant to be broken.  I would agree.  As long as you keep on aiming to make good on those promises.  Eventually you'll get there.  Don't give up.  Happy 2015!