Banana and Walnut Heaven

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that I have harboured a lifelong hatred for bananas. And I am talking deep, in-bred disgust for the heinous stinky things. But I LOVE this recipe, so it can’t be bad!!

I made mine in these tiny little mini loaf tins that I bought, mainly because they are cute and I wanted to dirty them up, but you could use a large loaf tin.

paleo crossfit

You will need:
1 1/4 cups ground almonds
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cornflour (or arrowroot if you have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flax seed flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
3 ripe bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Line your loaf tin with baking parchment & pre-heat oven to about 170 degrees.
Mash up the bananas in a large bowl until good and mushy.
Add the other wet ingredients and give it a good whipping to mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the nuts) to ensure each is properly distributed throughout.
Add the dry to the wet and mix well.

paleo crossfit
Finally, stir in the chopped nuts and add the mix to your loaf tin(s). I filled 3 mini tins.
I cooked mine for about 25 minutes, but for a larger tin I’d extend this to about 50 minutes. Keep checking them and take them out when you think they are ready, with a nice firm top and a clean skewer test.
Then smear liberally with organic butter and keep the kids away…

paleo crossfit

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31 day Paleo challenge – the deed is done

31 days clean. I mean totally clean. SO clean that three days after the big finale and I feel bloody awful, mainly due to the fact that I have had several glasses of wine since I finished the challenge. Body says ‘no’.

I found the last week easier to be honest on the coffee front. The big test was what I would select as my morning drink of choice on the first day of ‘freedom’. I chose Redbush tea.

Here are the BEFORE photos…

paleo crossfit

Final weigh-in as follows:-

Weight loss 1.8kg (about 4lb, although my scales at home say nearer to 7lbs lost)

Body fat down 1.2%

Muscle mass down by 0.3kg

Bone mass unchanged

BMI down 0.6 to 24.6

Metabolic age is now 39 (down from 42). Gotta be happy with this as a near 46 year old

Waistline reduced by 3cm. Nice!

Body fluid % up by 1%

Visceral fat also unchanged at 5%

And here are the AFTER photos….

paleo crossfit

Arms a bit less flabby I think, and the belly no longer has that involuntary wobble which it’s had for 6 years since I last gave birth. Yay for that.

So, all in all a decent outcome. I have learned that I can live without alcohol and coffee, but that I don’t necessarily want to. I have also learned that drinking it now makes me feel BAD. Which to choose – pain or pleasure?

31 day Paleo challenge – mid point pain

paleo crossfit

Start of challenge. Ill-fitting top not really helping the situation

A little over mid way and I would cut someone for a coffee.

Eating has not been a major problem. I had zero cheats in the first 15 days and then fell from grace momentarily when I licked out the bowl of my son’s 13th birthday cake. It’s a small transgression, forgivable by the onset of realisation that I have a teenage child. It was not my finest hour.

No alcohol, caffeine, grains, sugar or other bad shit apart from that.

Feeling ok, although small infant regrettably still waking in the night.

paleo crossfit

Mid term weigh-in as follows:-

Weight loss 1kg (disappointing for such a gruelling period of abstinance)

Body fat down 1.2%

Muscle mass up by 0.2kg

Bone mass up by 0.1kg

BMI down  0.3

Metabolic age is now 39 (down from 42)

Waistline cm unchanged – I fear we have childbirth to thank for that mostly.

Body fluid % up by 1%

Visceral fat also unchanged.

Still being a very good girl with no cheating and 3-5 workouts per week (Crossfit and netball), so if I don’t lose more than 1kg by the end of this, someone may have to die.

31 day Paleo challenge

….and they’re off!

paleo crossfitDay 1, Monday 14th January. It just happens to be my Mum’s birthday today (mwah to you, Mum, hope you’re going to watch over me this month from up there).

The coffee has been stuffed deep inside a kitchen cupboard. For some reason I am expecting this to be the hardest part *wrenches hands and screams ‘what have I got to live for?!* Maybe that in itself is a sign that I should cut out the caffeine for a month?

Had one last hurrah with a potato and a glass of wine last night. I did eat other stuff with the potato (just incase you were wondering whether I was playing out some kind of scene from Les Mis or paleo crossfitsomething).

Measurements as follows:-

Height 174cm, waist 82cm (roll on elasticated trousers)

Weight 76.4kg

Body fat 31.8%

Muscle mass 49.5kg

Bone mass 2.6kg (how the f*** am I standing up?)

BMI 25.2

Metabolic age 42 (yay)

Visceral fat level 5 (recommended range 1-12)

The gym subjected us to a special Challenge WOD on Saturday, which we must repeat after we’ve finished, if our bodies can carry us across the threshold.

My slightly scaled version of the WOD (as I have more chance of marrying George Clooney that executing a ‘toes to bar’ manoeuvre):-

500m run

40 air squats

30 double unders

20 V sit-ups

10 burpees

5 30kg power cleans

Managed it pretty okay for an old bird, including the double unders (high five) in 7 mins and 5 seconds. Let’s see what January brings before we try it again.

As a slight aside, the Crossfit foot is getting significantly worse. Acute post-netball shooting pains in my right foot followed by the inability to walk without wanting to cry. Not good.

Wish me luck for the next 31 days!

“Keep up the low fat diet, dear!”

I have not weighed myself for several weeks, so I hopped on the scales this morning out of curiosity. I was feeling confident, since I have just become reacquainted with my old friends, Mr and Mrs Hipbone.

These days I am way more concerned about the inches and my shape, rather than the number on the scales, but it was good to see that both were moving in the right direction.

I weighed in today at 11 stone, 5lbs, which is a further 5.5lbs loss, and almost a stone and a half in total.

Belly reducing – check; buttocks tightening – check; old jeans fitting – check. Amazeballs.

paleo crossfitOn the negative side, I decided to get a health check from the doctor. Whilst my blood pressure and cardiovascular disease tests were all good (a relief since my Mum died from a major heart attack), my cholesterol results came in at 6.4. Shitty bollocks. Panic set in for a tiny moment. On the face of it this was definitely not so good. A score under 5, according to the NHS, is considered ‘healthy’. Oops. I began to question whether my new diet was actually causing me long term damage, and more importantly, what would it be doing to my two precious kids?

I went to see the nurse who reassuringly advised me that it was all fine since my other results were so very good, and that my risk of developing any kind of life-threatening illness was in the ‘very low’ category. She smiled at me and told me to “keep up the good work, you know – lots of exercise (tick) and a nice, healthy, low fat diet (ahem) which you are clearly already doing.”

I felt better but not altogether convinced (funny, the NHS has a habit of leaving you wanting..) so I turned to my CrossFit coach for advice. He directed me here. Blimey this guy is a genius. I read some stuff and then I read some more stuff. Cholesterol, it seems is not quite as simple as ‘they’ would have us believe. Look, I’m no professor, so I’m not even going to try to explain the science to you here (and if you’d seen my O level biology results in 1983 you’d understand why that’s probably sensible), but if you have any qualms about Paleo, saturated fats and cholesterol, just take a few minutes to read. I am sticking with it.

Thankfully the nurse left no question mark at the end of her sentence, so I felt it wise not to inform her that I had been eating a high saturated fat diet for 7 months. God knows what I might have done to her blood pressure….

Confession time…

In April I started ‘eating clean’  (such a wonderful phrase that suggests I used to eat dirt!). By that I mean I started eating a Paleo Diet. No Bread, Rice, Sugar etc, and it has been going pretty well having manged to shed more than two stone so far, but about 2 weeks ago it all seemed to have gone a bit pear-shaped!

I tend to weigh myself far too often, curious about how much my weight fluctuates during a week/day… Did you know for example that I lose an average of 3lb overnight? I must be a very restless sleeper cos I’m sure I dont lose that much during an average WOD!.

Anyway, I have been losing typically 1lb a week fairly consistently and was very happy with that as eventually I will get to where I want to be, and I am clearly putting on muscle from my Cross fit sessions. However, about 2 weeks ago, I suddenly put on 4lb! WTF I thought, how the shitting hell has that happened? Who the fuck has spiked my food? Four weeks effort down the tubes!

I was to say the least slightly apoplectic (always wanted to use that word) and ready to throw in the towel. May be I just needed a big poo? I really couldn’t understand what had gone wrong or what had changed – at least that was my story at the time …

I can now confess that I knew exactly what had gone wrong. In a single week I had fallen off the Paleo track twice.

The first time was staying in a hotel in Bromley. I was eating in my room and ordered steak and salad and was very clear that I didn’t want chips – It duly arrived without chips, but with a fucking huge bread roll!

There was no mention of the roll in the description so maybe the chef had thought he was doing me a favour, or was secretly trying to de-rail my Paleo efforts. Whatever, I wasn’t tempted. I ate the steak and salad, and left the role on the tray where it stayed, just in the corner of my eye…

I should have put it outside the room but I didn’t.

Over the next two hours it stared at me. I’m sure at one point it spoke to me.

“eat me, you know you want to”

“I don’t” (yes, I am now talking to a bread roll)

“Eat me, no one will know”

“I don’t want to eat you”

“Is it because you can’t”

“No, I just don’t want to eat you”

“Are you scared of what might happen”

“No, of course not… but I am curious…”

The rest is a blur, but I was suddenly surrounded by crumbs and empty butter wrappers with a butter stained knife in my hands. ” Oh shit, WTF have I done?”

Of course, all I had done was eaten a (very large) bread roll, but I was expecting my stomach to expand uncontrollably and then explode, rather like the scene from Alien. It didn’t, although I did feel uncomfortable and burp a lot (and I mean a lot) probably more to do with the speed at which I had consumed the offending roll, rather than its effect on my stomach.

This event was swiftly followed by another conversation two days later, but this time with a large sausage roll meant for George after he had finished playing Rugby (there were two, so he didn’t go without). Similar outcome, but this time sat in my car surrounded by pastry crumbs…

The net result of these two events? – I assume the inflammation we read so much about from gluten and the additional weight gain. Proof or coincidence I don’t know, but me and gluten are now no longer speaking to each other!

There is a line…

Along the Paleo journey I have been introduced to some interesting new (and healthy) food options, all of which I have been assured are “good for you”, and most of which are nice. But there have been the occasional “you want me to eat/drink what?” moments

On the good side…

I must give a big shout to my still favourite snack from The Naked Ape (http://www.thenakedape.co.uk). these are absolutely fantastic and have saved me on numerous occasions from having to eat crap – I always keep a couple in my case for emergencies. They wont fill you up, but they will keep you going for a few hours when your surrounded by sandwich shops!

I am also (probably not completely a good thing) becoming addicted to very dark chocolate – at least 80% cocoa, and have been amazed by how much difference there is in flavour depending on the origin – I think I am well on my way to becoming a chocolate snob/bore

Coconut – who knew? Me and Mrs Trog are on three a week (shared) and had a mild panic this week when Morrison’s didn’t have any on display. We were saved from having to write a ‘strongly worded letter’ by a very helpful man who got us three from ‘out the back’. (I always offer to open them so I can have the milk…)

My latest discovery in the ‘good things’ list is the ‘bulletproof coffee’. I did hear about these some time ago, but I dismissed them as somewhat fanatical in nature – they really do sound horrible when you read how to make one, and you will wonder why spoil a good cup of coffee? However, I was very wrong – they are delicious and easy to make, and can easily get you through a morning if you have no time for a decent breakfast!

On the bad side…

There is however, and should be, a line that no man be asked to cross. It is a good rule in life that nothing green should be drunk. Take Crème de Menthe for example – do you know anyone that has survived a Crème de Menthe hangover? – exactly, always fatal. So when I returned from holiday to see instructor Pete drinking a green liquid, I had to demand WTF is that? I was offered a taste… I tried it… it tasted like green stuff. I have green stuff growing on the flat roof of my kitchen. I can see it from the bathroom and have often wondered what it is and how I could get rid of it. I have NEVER wondered what it would taste like scraped off and blended into a green drink!… but now I know… it tastes like shit.

Now I am sure you can send off for a DVD on just how good for you this green stuff is, and I am sure they will say it is soooooo good that it is more than worth the £40 it is going to set you back. However, I think we are drifting too far away from the caveman here and into Neanderthal territory

I will not be partaking of the green stuff… EVER… unless of course the DVD says it makes your penis bigger, in which case £40 is a bargain!