New Year, New Challenge.

Happy New Year!

I hope 2015 finds you fit and well and the post-holiday moodies aren't farting on your head too much.

Personally, I had a fabulous Christmas and New Year, but am now physically feeling a little more sluggish, run down and toxic than usual. I did catch the Christmas lurgie, but I also barely spent any time in my kitchen at all over the last month and despite relishing the lack of effort involved in my excessive family feasting, takeaways, and demolition of all nearby chocolate supplies, I have been feeling a bit guilty and generally crap after not making "proper" food for so long. So, to combat this, I have joined the Fed Up Challenge.

For those of you who may not have heard of it, Fed Up is a documentary film about sugar addiction and the consequences it has on our health. Although they have mostly focussed on America- where the situation is definitely worse- obesity and the diseases associated with it is a growing (boom, boom!) global concern and it's appalling how few people realise what they are actually consuming and the control sugar corporations really have over our lives. I highly recommend giving it a watch and passing it on to friends and family too; you never know, it could save a life.

So, the Fed Up Challenge is basically a 10 day sugar embargo. All foods with added sugars are to be completely removed from your diet. As someone who generally likes to make my own meals anyway, I didn't think this would be too much of a problem, but it does mean I can't have any gluten free bread, condiments or - most horrifyingly!- alcohol for 10 days. Foods with naturally occurring sugars (like fresh fruit) are fine, it's just anything that has had any form of sugar (yes, this does include honey and maple syrup) added to it must not pass your lips. After all the extra sweet consumption of December decadence, I am expecting to go through sweaty, shaky, shouty withdrawal any day now.

I will be documenting my meals and moods here as much as possible and think you should all join in with me, because you're all dirty syrup junkies too! Plus, I've heard that this is the real elixir of life and I don't want to be invincible on my own.

Things to watch out for:

  • Dairy with added ingredients, plain cheese and yoghurt should be fine, but check packets of any cheese with extra bits bunged in.
  • Anything in a tin, jar, bag or box- read the packet!
  • Sugar can be listed as any 1 of over 50 different names, get to know them here
  • Anything made with flour that you haven't made yourself
  • Gluten free people! Due to how it's made I am including xantham gum as a sugar
  • Fruit juice is not the same as fruit and counts as a sugar. Get downing water and sugarless teas instead.
  • All you "low fat" and "lighter" fans, wise up! When they take out the fat, guess what they put in it's place?! Sugar. Wondering why you can't shift weight? You're eating more than yours, mine and my mum's share of sugar combined. 
Basically it doesn't matter if your food is lean, fatty, meaty or veg laden, it just matters that it is as close to natural as possible and that you made it yourself. You can have chips and gravy every day if you want, as long as you cut the chips from real potatoes and make your gravy without any sweetened stock or sauces.

Here's how basic my kitchen activities were today:

A big bowl of scrambled eggs with sautéed garlic and thyme mushrooms.

A massive jacket potato topped with red onion, leek, celery, swede and parsnip in a chilli flake and thyme tomato sauce and topped with blue cheese.

Green tea and water

Filling, simple and uses cheap and readily available ingredients! Scrambled eggs and baked potatoes are fantastic comfort food and I'm pretty sure even my dog could manage to make them, so no excuses, Sugar! what to have for breakfast...


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