This week has been hectic, and I have thoroughly berated mysefl for letting my best intentions to exercise fall by the wayside. It was just one thing after another – I hurt my back a month ago at a gig, and the chiropracter advised me not to do anything too strenuous. Well, as it turns out, even yoga and Pilates were too strenuous in his book, so I haven’t been to a single class in over a month.
Well this Tuesday, for the first time in what feels like an age, I lost a significant amount of weight. 3.5lbs, thankyouverymuch! If I’m totally honest, I still wasn’t particularly ‘good’, and I did very little in the way of exercise. But I think it was a result of some healthier choices, and most importantly, LESS MEAT.
Now I am a die-hard carnivore, and I will never give it up entirely. I come from a long line of meat-munchers. My dad still doesn’t consider a meal to be a meal without some form of animal on his plate, and my mum thinks veggie food can include chicken. We weren’t built to be vegetarians.
Week before last I took it to excess; I went on a conservation trip doing volunteer work on a farm, and our group of volunteers had to cook our own meals in a very basic shared kitchen in a bunkhouse. I don’t know what it is about trips away, but I am terrible for staying on the right track when I am away. The night we arrived it was too late to cook, so we stopped for a chippy on the way. Now I very rarely eat fast food – I get the occasional Indian or Chinese takeaway, but friend foods like chips and battered fish are not on my agenda. Not just because I’m worried about the grease and fat content…I just don’t like them. I ordered what I thought would be the healthiest thing on the menu – a piece of roast chicken. Well what do you know, they’d deep fried the damned thing! I ate most of it, and yes it was crispy-skinned and delicious, but I did not sign up for that!
The first morning, we had bacon sandwiches for breakfast, made with that terrible half-and-half bread. Now I rarely eat white bread, and when I do it’s usually something worthy, like a piece of wonderfully light olive oil focaccia, a buttery croissant, or a crisp baguette. Not the most healthy of choices, but still worth it. This stuff tastes like – nothing. And they just chuck some wheatgerm into it to make it ‘half-and-half’, or ‘best-of-both’ as they call it. The body doesn’t digest it or break it down like wholegran, it treats ths demi-white bread as plain white. Pointless stuff. But as it was all we had, that’s what I ate.
Dinner was spaghetti with a bolognese sauce, mostly just mince and some tinned tomatoes. I think there may have been a whiff of a single onion, but other than the white pasta and mince, there was not even a hint of a vegetable to be seen. Now the woman who did the food shopping for the trip has grown kids – is this what they eat at home? Oh how I missed my vegetables. The only fruit came in the form of an apple pie. With tinned custard. I got so desperate for some fruit and veg I bought some tinned peach slices from the local shop (the only option available).
We were working for full days in the fields, so we were eating loads to keep our energy levels up. The only thing available was meat in all its processed forms. Ham, bacon, sausages. Oh what I would have done for even a paltry mushroom, a carrot, an apple! By the time we left I was so bloated I felt someone could prick me with a pin and I would whizz off into the sunset like a deflated helium balloon. Bliss.
I didn’t realise how much I missed my diet of mostly fish and vegetables until I was deprived of it for a few days. And even a few days made such a difference, as I felt awful after it. Next time, I shall be bringing my own supply of food – less clothes and more apples!