Inclusive of “Nutrition. Wellness. Habits.” when revising my relationship with nutrition and food are the “3 Es.” These have surfaced over the past #104 days and this post is an update on the Day #82 post. I continue to deliberately “explore” and “experiment” with my nutrition and at the same time “educate” or re-educate myself about what, when and how I eat. The 3Ps are still brewing, ‘prep’ ‘portion’ and… something about storage / travel?
Perhaps predictably, the 3E’s are largely nutrition focused however it is impossible not to observe the confluence of all three major threads and these minor threads too. Add to that, Dr Mosley’s referenced “Stage” that you are living or operating in; rapid weight loss, shorter eating windows and fasting or moving to being healthier, happier, living longer, and lastly your current personal outlook, future aims and past experiences.
Let’s take a look at each “minor thread or “E” individually, knowing that they are inextricably interwoven and span across “Nutrition. Wellness. Habits.”
Nutritionally, Dr Mosley and Dr Spector / ZOE have nutrition and gut health covered – they offer hints towards wellness / mental health / longevity and less so habits. I have previously reviewed my personal nutritional adaptations and trades here so what else is important? Over the past #104 days what habits have formed.
Breakfast is the easiest meal / place to start, prepped and portioned the night before. More protein (Greek yoghurt, eggs, avocado, legumes, fish for breakfast). You will eventually seek out wider mouthed, two layer jars. Jam jars look hip however if you make granola or roast nuts – you will want these separated, kept dry and crunchy. away from your yoghurt, chia or fruit. Also, this is where frozen fruit works really well – keeping your yoghurt cold. As time passes, I can see why bulk preparation, portioning, cooking, supports habits.
Be prepared to think about how you use your freezer – reusable silicone freezer bags?
Cooking: slow cooker = batch cooking. 3L’s, “longer, larger, liquid” batch-cooking. Also marinated/smoked proteins stored in the freezer – another signpost to spices and pastes. Chuck them in a bag and freeze.
Pressure cooker = speed?
Digital scales at the beginning helps calibrate your portions, eg 30 grams of oats or 15 almonds. Day #107 and I onto pulses and beans and trying to find out what a portion of dried beans weighs?
I am very deliberately food shopping for a more diverse, whole foods, more frozen plant-based nutrition (vegetables, legumes and fruit, and some fish, prawns and shellfish). I have also added more tinned fish, that travels well, (sardines, mackerel, pilchards, anchovies – it was a “no” to tinned salmon) for fast protein and legumes, lots of beans.
Pulses, specifically lentils* are next to explore – as I lack the “education” or knowledge of how / what to cook with them and enjoy Indian cuisine. I do know that they are all incredibly good value and help diversify my nutrition. Dried beans ended up coming before lentils.*
I have been buying more nuts, seeds and dried fruit in bulk online for better value and experimenting with home roasting and nut butters. An overdue re-acquaintance. Dried fruit for granola and in yoghurt has introduced dates and prunes re-introduce cranberries, figs, apricots, raisins and sultanas.
Exploring new dishes, new spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ras el hanout and harissa) has somehow combined with the 3L’s, “longer, larger, liquid” batch-cooking, and discussing longer cooking approaches with my mum – an avid cook and also watching documentary “Cooked: fire, water, air and earth.”
Fermenting foods (gut-microbiome) and home-baked bread has opened up an interest in different flours and grains. Is home-brew beer on the horizon?
Visiting the reduced section when at the supermarkets, trying the “super 6” the irregular vegetables and what’s to lose with fresh turmeric for 5p?
Exploring and actively trying new foods, visiting markets and talking to vendors, just broadened my food horizons.
- Greek yoghurt and oats – are the go to breakfast, in various guises (see experimenting) and they prep and travel really well (see above).
- As overnight oats and fruit / nuts / seeds / maple syrup or honey
- Greek yoghurt with homemade, lightly toasted in granola with buckwheat – amazing upgrade
- As oat cakes with fruit and Greek yoghurt – a blender mix and so easy even my eight year old can make them
- Just Greek yoghurt and fruit, nuts and seeds (if back onto a fasting day)
- Nuts and seeds – as the go to snack (see experimenting) and so versatile. In, on or scattered over any dish, side dish, salad or dessert. Through / on home-baked bread.
- Toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds are my favourite
- Sesame and poppy seeds with breads, sometimes linseed and seed mixes for a crunch
- As per Dr Spector’s comment, I have a seed mix jar for scattering. Sesame,poppy, hemp, linseed and flax have all been used
- Toasted buckwheat added to our granola is sensational! Granola 2.0
- Coconut oil – great for toasting oats and adds a lovely flavour. Lift the coconutness with desiccated coconut
- Chia seeds – as chia pudding, was curiously delicious and adds fantastic nutritional value and satiety to travel breakfasts or as a healthy dessert with fruit
- Chia as a thickening agent
- Dry roasted and flavoured chickpeas – as a snack or added to salads
- Fresh turmeric, garlic, ginger and coconut milk – instant curry, spice pastes
- Orange zest and blackberries and citrus zest pairs well generally
- Kiwi from marinating steak!
- Lemon juice (and black pepper) on vegetables
- Fresh or tinned sardines / avocado on home-baked dark rye bread
- Portioned is better than bars or tubs eg 85% 5 x bars, dark chocolate from Aldi trumps all 85% dark chocolate bars. An ice-cream is better than a tub of ice-cream – remember the bliss point of ice-cream is designed for you to keep digging.
Top fast nutrition tips
- Tinned and frozen foods – fast and convenient
- Nuts, seeds, dried fruits – add, throw it on – and now add pulses to that list
- Batch slow cooking with liquid with cheaper cuts, out of the freezer and re-heat – Day #107 I ordered slightly more expensive freezer, microwave and dishwasher silicone reusable freezer bags
- Chipotle roasted everything or added to any veg or meat equals a Mexican hint, harissa a Moroccan hint, green and red thai paste.
- x10 chewy granola bars straight from the freezer
Back on the shopping list
- A more diverse range of plants (eg beetroot) and more pulses and lentils coming soon
- A range of vinegars – and I am flavouring them too! Red wine vinegar and blackberries.
- Green tea, tinned fish, pulses and beans, frozen fruit and vegetables (all kinds).
- Grilled hullomi cheese and blue cheeses
- Cinnamon – and cin-cin-raisin, basically a lot more cinnamon
More conversations with family members about food and with food. Back to making dinner an event! Home-baked bread will encourage that.
I continue to try different coffee beans. The low-fat syrups are done and are not being replaced. So is diet pop.
I’ve explored fermented foods and most recently home-baked bread boules following, and now experimenting with, Brian Lagerstrom tutorial 2.0. Move over “foam bread.” That is, common store-bought, highly processed, with added sugar and salt, sliced bread. In the not too distant future, I plan to combine an interest in fermented foods with home-baked bread. Day #103 my sourdough starter was started.
There has even been a little foraging – blackberries and mushrooms.
I’ve explored and committed to daily routines (I start every day with 50 push ups and complete 2 sets every day) and listened to “Just one thing.” Of course, this is education too.
More than one, smaller dish at a time or course slows down eating.
With a more diverse, largely whole food plant-based produce to choose from, there are simply more viable combinations of foods. Pulses have been added. Beans, lentils and peas, all make a great addition or accompaniment to most things.
x10 mixes means Dr Spector’s recommended 30+ different plants per week is passed by Tuesday! Now there are dried beans too. Experimenting this week with lima, cannellini, borlotti and black beans.
Pairing back certain foods and trading others has meant a reduction in the amount of heavily refined carbohydrates – eg butternut squash or courgette noodles for pasta, home-baked (frozen and less) bread for foam bread. I am planning to introduce more grains and pulses for sustenance over white rice.
Cereals no longer feature as a breakfast or late night meal replacement. In fact, late night snacks have all but disappeared as part of time-restricted eating.
Breakfast has easily been the most explored and experimental – with easily the most control. At the weekends, breakfast is more brunch, more plants and protein – eg sauted spinach and chunky mushrooms with a poached eggs or scrambled egg.
Snacks and travel food have been overhauled (oat cakes, x10 chewy granola straight from the freezer, x10 trails mixes and travel jars.) Roasting almonds, cashews and peanuts intensifies the flavour but not all nuts improve with roasting! Roasted and flavoured chickpeas are a great snack and great on salads too – with various flavours, though I still prefer simple: olive oil and salt.
Travel and storage – moving towards two layer jars and silicone freezer bags.
I have added all sorts of plants to my permanently chilling water in the fridge – fresh ginger had a kick!
Longer (24-48 hours) and larger (batch cooking) marinades (kiwi magic), dry rubs, spices, spice pastes and use of the slow cooker, often with cheaper cuts of meat (lamb shoulder, chicken thigh and ox cheek) makes the effort worthwhile – links to storage. Especially when served with freshly home-baked bread.
On weight management and managing moves from Stages 3 and 2 – I aim to keep myself within a weight corridor of155-160lb. I have found just 2-4 days of clean-er eating with a slightly shorter eating window, encouraging two meals rather than three, resets to Stage 3.
The education continues with various podcasts, media channels, documentaries (“Cooked: Air” was great for learning about bread, the series is great and now I have watched it all, all four episode contribute) and in conversation with family. It started with all things Dr Mosley and Dr Spector, of which there are hours of available content on the BBC and ZOE website and curated here for you. Education has now moved onto focused areas of interest: fermentation, bread and pulses and I recently renewed my local library membership and accessed their delivery, ebooks and audiobook services.
The Fast 800, The Fast Recipe Book and Spoonfed, led onto:
- Sandor Katz – Wild fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
- Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread
- Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast
- Vanessa Kimbell – The Sourdough School: The Ground-Breaking Guide To Making Gut-Friendly Bread
- Tami Hardeman’s Power Pulses has helped get to grips with lentils
With an abundance of food within reach and highly processed options available to everyone – the 3Es play their part in guiding my choices, however, eating clean, eating less, does require personal discipline.
My re-ducation has strengthen my habits, my habits have strengthened my resolve and commitment to being healthier, happier, and hopefully living longer. I am not the person on this journey – listen to Dr Tim Spector’s “Food for Life, the New Science of Eating Well,” Chapter 11.