The Diet Update
It has been over 4 weeks since I publicly announced my weight loss goal, and it is going well! I find it interesting that despite my resistance to the quit sugar movement I haven’t actually missed added sugar. I do miss milk, but I can deal with that because so far I have lost 5kg! My fat pants that had become tight are now sitting looser on my hips!
During week 1 I found the diet easier than I had anticipated, and I said no to offers of chocolate without a second thought. One of the biggest changes I noticed were my energy levels. Over the first few days, the detoxing resulted in uncharacteristically high levels of energy, especially after dinner.
My pre-diet pre-dinner hunger was unreasonable
Pre-diet I would have arrived home from work ravenous, mindlessly snacking before cooking dinner. While I cooked I would have enjoyed a glass of wine, followed by another when eating dinner. Mmm relaxing grape juice. After this I would have been exhausted and sluggish. There would be a bit of
arguing debating about whose turn it was to wash the dishes, resulting in a stalemate, then a quick shower and crashing in bed. Repeat.
Post-diet I found my hunger manageable when I arrived home, and my glass became chilled water with lemon slices while I cooked. Mmm quenched thirst. Dinner was light and full of fresh flavours, crisp vegetables and fragrant herbs. A bizarre burst of energy then followed, resulting in me washing the dishes without a whinge. I felt positive and alert, and I wasn’t weighed down by sugar or alcohol. This was new, and I liked it.
Bursts of energy after 9pm on a weeknight are, however, unwelcome and inappropriate, so I was relieved when my body adjusted after a few days and my energy returned to daylight bursts.
Cool, so you had bonus energy…
The reason for my long-winded example of the energy I had is to show the effect the new diet of no sugar, butter/oil, or wheat (or alcohol) had on my body. A small whiny voice inside me may be sulking in defiance, but I feel great without those foods as part of every meal, every day.
The next couple of weeks were hectic. Life was full of potentially diet-cancelling events, such as moving house, Easter, and several of our family and friends’ birthday events. But outside of my ‘cheat meals’ the diet continued.
Last week was the hardest yet. I had a few slip-ups (a bit of chocolate here, milk in my tea) which tasted great at the time, but made me feel dejected afterwards. If I craved something not on the plan, my well-meaning friends and my traitorous inner voice would say things like “you’re only human!”, “but it’s only 1 piece of chocolate, look how much you’ve lost already”, “go on, it’s just a splash of milk”, “I’ve brought you some homemade chocolates!”, and I did give in a few times.
The problem is that when I start having a little bit of chocolate here and there it easily becomes a daily habit. When I’ve reached my goal these things will be back in moderation, and I LOOK FORWARD TO THAT DAY, but not yet.
After some Amanda-style tough love, I reaffirmed to myself that I wasn’t going to slide back into old unhealthy, unbalanced, and unhappy daily habits because of those slip-ups. We’re pushing on!
The chocolate can wait until after my friend’s wedding in Bali (2 weeks to go!), and after I’ve reached my weight loss goal.
I did say I would blog some healthy, simple recipes, so here is the first one…
Baked Sweet Potato Chips
When I was growing up my Mum would often bake sweet potato with our dinner. As I was a fussy child, naturally I hated it. The unwanted sweet potato would be pushed around my plate while I glared grumpily at it, wishing it were a regular potato. Which was a little odd as I’ve always loved sweet things.
Even as the refined adult I am now ( ), it has taken a while for me to progress from grudgingly ingesting sweet potatoes, to actually liking their flavour.
Unfortunately my preferred way of enjoying sweet potato wasn’t particularly healthy: boiled then mashed with freshly grated nutmeg, milk, and generous amounts of butter or olive oil. The scent of freshly grated nutmeg (using a micro-plane grater) is intoxicating, and makes the sweet potato mash completely moreish.
Why sweet potato?
Sweet potato is one of my two carb options for dinner on this diet. I needed to find a way to enjoy it without butter or milk. At first I boiled then mashed the potato with nutmeg, but this resulted in an semi-edible but dense, dry mash that only a fierce sweet potato lover would enjoy. That wouldn’t do.
It is quite nice simply steamed then dressed with fresh lemon juice, but I soon found that baking the potato is the most enjoyable way to cook it – oven-baked chips coated in spices.
What’s so good about sweet potato?
- They are high in carotene which converts to vitamin A in the liver = great for building your immune system and maintaining healthy skin
- They are high in antioxidants
- They have more fibre than white potatoes
- Boiled sweet potatoes have a GI score of 44 (gradual energy release), compared to white potatoes which have a GI of around 87 (blood sugar levels spike) *note: This website says that baking sweet potato increases its GI to 94. I hope it’s wrong. But nevertheless, the rest of sweet potato’s merits are still valid!
These chips have become a great addition to dinner that both of us enjoy. They’re so simple to make, though they do take up to 40 minutes to cook depending on your oven. I coat these chips in aromatic and sweet spices: ground cinnamon, sweet paprika, and smoked paprika. I love the combination of the heady, sweet flavours, and the subtle colour from the paprika.
Experiment with your own spice favourites and quantities, but I highly recommend trying the smoked paprika. I use La Dalia Pimenton de la Vera which is a Spanish sweet smoked paprika with an intense, deep fragrance.
I have tried baked these on foil and baking paper, and prefer the results from baking on a foil-lined pan. As these baked chips are so healthy, and oil-free, they will never be crispy like regular hot chips. They do have a bit of bite to them, and the high oven temperature makes them puff up which adds a nice texture.
Note: if you weigh your food for calorie counting, ensure you weigh the sweet potato prior to baking as it loses almost half its weight during cooking.
Healthy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips
- 1 large orange sweet potato / kumara, approx 550g (sometimes called yam)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Sea salt flakes & freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 220C (fan-forced). Line 2 baking trays with foil.
- Peel sweet potato and cut off ends. Slice along the length off the sweet potato to create a flat edge. Place potato on its flat edge then chop into slice, at approx 1cm intervals. Lay the slices on the board then slice again at approx 1cm intervals to create your chips.
- Put chips into a large snap-lock bag and add the spices. Seal and shake bag until chips are coated.
- Place chips on the prepared baking trays in a single layer with space between them. Bake for approx 30-45 minutes (depending on your oven, so check throughout the cooking time) and turn after 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the cooking progress as any smaller chips will burn before the rest are done. Serve with grilled meat and a huge salad. Serves 2 – 3.
Slice a piece off to create a flat edge
Lay slices on top of each other and cut into chips
Place in zip-lock bag with spices then shake to coat
Place in a single layer on foil-lined baking trays
Baked and puffy!