Clean eating and minding myself!

Hello and Happy Monday!

It’s the start of another new week and perhaps it’s one of those Mondays where we make ourselves promises to be healthy, exercise, eat well and all that jazz! Usually for me that lasts ’til about 4pm on a Monday as I reach for a packet of crisps!

At the end of July you may recall I decided to do a clean eating detox and I did say I would write a blog post after it was finished, but to be honest there was no point writing it immediately as I wanted to see how I felt the weeks after so I could let you know if it made any impact at all to my eating habits.

Over the past few months I’ve been pretty run down, suffering from headaches and stomach cramps and I’m continuously tired but yet not able to sleep. In turn all of this was having a knock-on affect on my skin and hair and I was getting recurring cold-sores. I suppose I was just burning the candle at both ends and being a bit silly really regarding looking after myself.
I knew all of this was pretty much down to my diet. I definitely drink too much coffee, not enough water, go for huge lengths of time without even eating at all and also make bad food choices when I’m hungry. Of course, like most people I do like my glass of wine too. I adore cheese and am a divil for eating crisps or nachos when cooking my dinner. In my job in the hospitality industry my working hours are long and they do vary so you might see me eating my dinner at 9pm but I will always have my dinner. I am sure I am not the only one who goes on like this? (please tell me ye all have bad eating habits).

Anyway, co-incidentally through work I got chatting to a local lady, Nichola Ryan and as the conversation went on I realised she was a pilates teacher but also an expert in the field of diet and nutrition. Following on from our chance meeting I decided I needed to change my mindset and focus on a bit of clean eating so I contacted Nichola and she devised a personalised plan for me which was a 5 day clean eating detox. Now this was not juicing, supplements or anything like that – those choices may work for some people and I am not knocking anyone who decides to go down that road at all, but it wouldn’t be for me. Nichola would be in agreement with me and that’s why I decided her clean eating plan would work for me. And just to clarify,  I did not do this for weight loss – I did it for energy and my own well-being and health.

So what did I eat you are probably wondering? Well I ate everything from the food pyramid including fats and carbohydrates but all the good ones! There was no caffeine, sugar, wheat, alcohol or dairy. ‘Eeeek’ I hear you say! I know it sounds awful. I’m not going to lie the first day was fine – I was all enthusiastic and geared up to embark on my 5 day detox. Starting off the day with hot water and lemon is pretty normal for me, but cutting out the coffee was hard. I guess its more of a habit. After my hot water and lemon, I always switch on the coffee machine and make a cuppa while getting ready for work. Drinking decaf green tea didn’t give me the same satisfaction, but I ploughed on nonetheless.

Healthy food shop

Day 2 and 3 were really hard. I got a thundering headache and the advice passed onto me from Nichola was to drink lots and lots of water. Honestly, I was nearly drowning myself with water, nevermind running to the loo non-stop! But I did feel the benefits and the headaches eased.

The food part was actually fine. I do love food when I actually make it my business to eat properly and and I felt I was eating more than I normally do. I am a divil for skipping either lunch or breakfast though. Every day without fail I have my dinner, but it’s either only breakfast or lunch I have, but never both! That had to change.

Breakfast options were porridge (with water only, no milk or no fruit…but I did throw in a few seeds for crunch which was allowed). Kilbeggan Oats are my favourite and still creamy with only water. Strangely I was allowed whole natural bio yogurt too (only a couple of teaspoons per day, which is dairy but also good carbs and good for the gut, so that was nice). Other options were eggs (cooked any style) and bacon…all this is obviously without toast, butter, brown bread etc. I stuck to porridge most days as I was working the 5 days of my detox and it was the handiest for me.

Glenisk yogurt

Lunch then was salads and they were great with salmon/chicken or any cooked meats. No dressings only a squeeze of lemon juice or some black pepper, but that was fine. One day I had an egg and ham omelette and sure I was as full as an egg (if you’ll excuse the pun) after my porridge breakfast, having that only a few hours later!

Chicken lunch.jpg

Snacks were veg sticks and hummus, pieces of chicken or cooked meat and boiled eggs. I was addicted to carrot and pepper sticks with my own homemade hummus…that was just fab and had a lunch box of them on my desk and in the car too if I got hungry.

Dinner was any veg really except mushrooms, so I stir fried/ roasted or boiled those and had those with brown rice (40g) or my new love ‘brown rice pasta’ – now this is deeeeelish. You will find it in the gluten free section of the supermarket: it’s in Tesco Athlone and Super Valu too. Again, you can only have 40g and it tastes like regular pasta but without that bloating feeling. I added passata (sieved tomato) to this and threw in lots of herbs and spices, veg and prawns…I love chilli and garlic so there was lashings thrown onto all my dinners. I could have any meats for protein or fish which I love anyway.

Brown rice pasta

So how did I feel afterwards? I felt energised from day 4. As I said, day 1 was just my enthusiasm. Day 2 and 3 were killers – the caffeine and sugar leaving my body had me zonked! I felt really tired and struggled with the headaches.

Would I recommend it. Yes, absolutely. It makes you think about what you put into your body. In my job I eat on the go and grab bits and pieces here and there. I am fortunate to be surrounded by fabulous food all day and I’m very lucky that I don’t have a sweet tooth but when my energy slumps I have been know to take a square of chocolate brownie! It’s kind of silly really as I don’t ever buy chocolate and I don’t have a sweet tooth at all, but when you feel lethargic you would really reach for anything to give you a boost of energy.

So am I back eating the way I was? No. Now I am eating more regularly and ensuring processed foods are minimal. Yes, I am having my morning coffee but I don’t feel as guilty as I am drinking lots more water which has reduced the amount of coffee I drink.  I am more conscious of my food choices now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t reach for a glass of prosecco or have a bag of chips every now and then. I now just think about when and what I eat and realise that I need to fuel my body from the inside with nutricious wholesome food.

And I know the burning question on people’s mind…did I lose weight? The answer is yes, of course I  did. That was not my intention but when you change to clean eating this is a natural occurence. So I would suggest that maybe if you want to lose a few pounds before a holiday or a big event, this would be the healthier way to go as opposed to starving yourself or going on some mad fad diet!

My full clean-eating detox plan was tailored for me after we discussed my lifestyle, my eating habits, weight etc. so I know it suited my needs and mine was just for 5 days. Nichola tailors eating plans for individuals on a one-to-one basis, so I would suggest contacting her if you think this is something you might want or like to do.

Anyway, I found it amazing. Nichola now wants me to join her pilates class which I am considering. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I’m allergic to gyms, but a pilates studio I might just cope with, so watch this space.

Please feel free to comment with any questions but if you want expert advise please do contact Nichola directly.

I’ll leave her details below.

Have a great week.

Tanya x

P.S. Just incase anyone thinks I got paid to write this, you know only too well I didn’t. I am just sharing my own experience but feel free to send me money if you enjoyed reading it!!!

Click below to find Nichola on facebook or call/text 086-4403110

Nichola Ryan Pilates Athlone

Nichola Ryan