Week 3 - Cook With Care

I will only eat food I have prepared from scratch (local food where possible).​

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Apologies for the huge delay in getting my "Week3" reflections up on here...I've been away with work AND succumbed to a horrible winter virus which floored me for a few days. I've been refuelling my body with plenty of sleep, probiotics & a rainbow of fruit & veg ever since. The key lesson from Week 3 helped hugely here - it's so easy to forget the effect that good or bad food choices can have on your health!

I try to keep up to date with latest food trends (think spiralizing, coconut oil, medjool dates & almond butter) and have tried various diets - Paleo, vegetarian, slimming world, weightwatchers - in a quest to slim down. I believe that most women (and an increasing number of men) equate food with weight and don't really give a second thought to the nutritional value it brings, the damage it can cause and the air-miles its travelled. Convenience is the priority of 21st century dwellers and I regularly forego a healthy, balanced breakfast in favour of a triple shot coffee & Danish pastry at the train station in the morning. By focussing on only eating food that I have prepared from scratch, I hoped to feel better, perform better & sleep better.

Day1 - I start the day with porridge (done slowly on the gas hob, none of these instant pots that are full of sugar and 10x the price!) and a banana....not sure how locally the bananas were grown though, sorry ;) I made a huge pot of vegetable soup that should see me through the week for lunches - onions, celery, carrots, garlic, peppers, leeks & lentils. Demolish a large bowl for lunch, along with a big hunk of fresh rye bread from the farm shop that's a 10minute walk away. Later in the day I cook a fake steak & ale pie from scratch and serve with winter greens & kale. I'm usually a Diet Pepsi fiend, but in keeping with this week's challenge I've stuck with plain, filtered tap water all day (other than my morning coffee which I'm just unable to give up just yet!)

Day2 - working in London today. Tougher to stay on track as temptation is all around me in wonderful bakeries & coffee shops. I pack an apple, some almonds & a Greek yoghurt to eat on the 7.29am train...surprise bonus - less crumbs than my usual chocolate twist brekkie! Lunch is microwaved leftovers of a veggie chilli I froze last week; made with real spices & passata, not a sugar laden branded jar. Get home late & don't want anything too heavy so have yesterday's vegetable soup heated up with a big salad of lettuce, rocket, cucumbers, tomatoes & radishes (all cut by my own fine hand)

Day3 - commuting again today, but I thought ahead and made my own "overnight oats" with porridge flakes, yoghurt, fruit & seeds. Perfect homemade train breakfast. Lunch is tough as a few people are getting in burritos from a place near the office - I'd normally have ordered without a second thought but I've got my own massive tuna salad in the fridge and refuse to let a humble burrito scupper my experiment! Home quite late again; second day in a row and feeling quite tired. Could think of nothing better than ordering a takeaway & letting someone else do all the cooking! Instead I rustle up the best stir fry I've ever made and feel quite virtuous in doing so.

Day4 - trip to the farm shop straight after my "10 minutes outside" this morning. Grab some free range eggs & local veggie sausages & cook up a delicious brunch. Later in the day I make a vegetable & lentil curry from scratch (making my own raita and onion bhajis for the first time ever too - I'd normally buy them in!)

This week's experiment takes time, no doubt about that. It's so much EASIER to grab a pre-packaged sandwich between meetings or dial the local Chinese after a long day but with planning & preparation I can honestly say that I felt better for preparing everything from scratch. Half of what I ate probably wasn't as local as it could have been...I'm definitely going to try and improve on this over the next year, especially once I start harvesting stuff from our new allotment. Homemade food prepared from scratch tastes better & doesn't cost any more than convenience foods; another experiment I'm going to try & continue with (90% of the time) - thanks for the newly found appreciation of REAL FOOD! x