Giving up bread.

Much has been written about the pandemic and people’s changes in their food and alcohol behaviours. In Victoria we have experienced some of the harshes lockdown conditions in the world and are finally coming out of our second wave of restrictions which has seen us forced to stay home from work and live an almost non-existent social life amongst other for the past 6 months. I can only write about my experience and can categorise it into the two lockdown stages. The first became somewhat gluttonous. Unable to visit cafes and restaurants and with extra time on my hands I began baking and cooking slow food recipes, often making batches in advance of rich stews and soups and freezing. Accompanying this was of course much wine and I raided my cellar regularly looking to celebrate the few remaining freedoms and easing the daily grind of working full time and caring for my son. It felt like groundhog day. Good food and wine was one way to break the monotony and being fortunate to grow a lot of our own food and have local suppliers willing to deliver to our homes, there was no short supply of the best seafood, artisan cheeses, and bakery products. I worked hard on my property and in the garden but outside of this exercise, I had little motivation or energy to commit to a new fitness program, somewhat hampered by my little one who had to participate in all activities with me 24/7!

I noticed a few kilograms slowly finding their way to my waistline as clothes got tighter and activewear became the norm. This was a pandemic and lockdown, I’d tell myself, we’re all struggling with this. But I wasn’t really, we had it very good, just another excuse to eat and drink at leisure.

One benefit of having more time was the opportunity to read more books. Reading always felt like a luxury reserved for holidays. This was one joy I had begun to prioriste and sorting though my nonfiction bookshelf one afternoon I came across one of my favourite humans the best-selling author Tim Ferris. For years I had listened to his podcast and holding his book the 4-hour body once again in my hands I removed it from the bookshelf and added it to the stack on my bedside table. Stage 2 of lockdown had been announced and I was determined to make this different. Flicking through the pages I stumbled back into his world of the slow carb diet where the focus was on increasing my protein intake at breakfast, the addition of legumes for a slow release of energy and cutting out all fruit, dairy, wheat, and any ‘white foods’. That included many items from my favourite categories, bread, pasta, potatoes, and cereals. 

The next day I weighed myself and commenced. The biggest change was eating so much protein for breakfast, and legumes. Salmon, lentils, eggs and broccoli became a staple meal accompanied by a double espresso coffee with a dash of milk. This was quite the change from the standard bowl of cereal or toast with jam and milky coffee I’d been used to each day. It also forced me to think about every meal. As a non meat eater I’d have to find ways to keep it interesting but more often than not I ate the same meal regularly which was also a recommendation in Tim’s book for consistency and simplicity. Growing my own food meant food tasted good and I started naturally eating more mindfully. Four meals a day rather than two meant I was full longer and my body felt lighter and cleaner within a week. The brain fog was gone (from what I’ve read this is a result of stopping gluten) and I was writing again daily, meditating and thinking about exercise. Then the noticeable weight started dropping. In the first fortnight, 3kgs came off and since at least 500g per week. I won’t lie and tell you this restrictive lifestyle is easy, it certainly isn’t but a few luxuries are included to keep you on track. The first is wine. You are permitted to drink 1-2 glasses per day. And one day per week you can eat whatever you feel like. Without wanting to undo the hard work of the previous week I still keep an eye on what I eat on this day and enjoy a selection of cheeses in place of one meal with my favourite crackers, some fruit, and a few more glasses of wine! The days I have gone overboard I’ve felt ill as a result – no guilt, just physically sick. It’s been over a month now and I have to say this has been a game-changer for improved mental and physical health. 

Highly recommend reading the by Time Ferris and guide to hack the human body. Feel free to reach out to me with any specific questions and I’d love to hear about your journey in realising your best self.

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