Hello lovelies! As you may have read in my previous posts, I started 2018 with a major change in my nutrition and lifestyle by signing up on a 6 week journey to re-set my body. Designed by the incredible Suzan Terzian, the program aims to change our mindset when it comes to eating and focus on optimizing our health through proper nutrition, restful sleep, hydration and of course movement.
I am currently on my 3rd week and I haven’t felt this good in a long time! Everyone knows how much I ADORE food, especially treats and pasta which I cannot live without – so when Suzan explained that the program involves eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar as main players, I was scared. I came to realize actually that I had a negative relationship with food – why do we eat if we are not hungry? Is it because we are bored or stressed? Well, that was the case with me. I was in a bad place with work towards the end of the year, not to mention I had a terrible knee inflammation, so I really took this program as a challenge to help my body, and let me tell you – 3 weeks later … I feel amazing!
Suzan explained so clearly that when our body is under inflammation caused by processed food, our body cannot heal and that is when we get sick. This completely freaked me out, and catapulted my willpower to purely engage only with activities and nutrition which benefit me. So how has my lifestyle looked like in the passed 3 weeks? Let’s take a closer look:
I mentioned already that the most important elements to eliminate or reduce severely are sugar, wheat, and dairy — hold on, let me explain before you panic.
- Sugar is 8 x more addictive that cocaine- and eliminating all types of sugar (including honey) has completely refreshed my taste buds.
- Wheat – I constantly felt bloated and tired after eating any type of wheat, especially when paired with dairy – so finding alternatives really has helped me get my energy levels back.
- Dairy – the big one … since I am in love with yogurt and milk … finding an alternative has really helped get me passed week 1, but more importantly I learned that the body does not digest dairy well which is why its good to avoid. I have HEAVILY reduced my cheese intake and limit it to Parmesan only, once a week, if I eat pasta.
Here are some of the alternatives that I have been enjoying:
- Brown rice flour pasta: I discovered this in Spinney’s & Waitrose and trust me, it takes just like wheat pasta!
- Australia’s Own Organic Almond Milk Blends: it is pretty tasteless to drink on its own, however is a great base for smoothies and I found it in Spar supermarket, Khalidiya
- COYO coconut alternative:I found them in several flavours in Spinney’s and at the Organic Foods & Cafe store in Nation Towers. Flavours include: natural, raw chocolate, salted caramel – so creamy and delish!
- Temons Avocado chips: love these little avocado chips from Spinney’s – great for a snack especially during movie nights!
- Bone Broth: Suzan introduced us to The Clean Living Company, based in Dubai which delivers beef and chicken bone broth. I use it in cooking, and enjoy a nice cup of warm broth before bed time. BONUS: it can be stored for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Vital Proteins Collagen: I ordered this from iHerb and put a scoop into my smoothies. Collagen is excellent for the skin and joints!
And here is a sample of my meal plan:
- Breakfast: chia seed pudding with berries or poached eggs with avocado and sweet potato
- Lunch: brown rice pasta with bolognaise sauce or grilled salmon with veggies
- Snack: handful of almonds or lots of berries and pomegranate seeds
- Dinner: I usually do not eat dinner, but if I feel a ping I generally enjoy some of that coconut yogurt or a cup of soothing bone broth
I can honestly say that at no point during this program have I felt like I was starving, I am not even looking at the calories I consume, and I have been able to enjoy pretty much everything I love (except ice cream, which I am still on the look out for). The key element in making this a success is definitely planning, and getting back into the kitchen preparing all of my meals fresh, has been rewarding.
The other super important element has been hydration! Suzan encourages us to start the day with hot water and lemon which is super soothing yet energizing, and a glass of apple cider vinegar as it helps with digestion – however I must admit, I am still struggling with the apple cider vinegar – I just hate hate hate the smell and taste. But, I am working on drinking at least 2 litres of water daily and plenty of green tea, which I love anyway 🙂
The program is designed together with the Bodytree Studio, where we have 18 classes included in the package. I have never actually tried out this studio, but now, its my favourite fitness hub in Abu Dhabi. I have tried a number of new classes such as: Xtend Barre which combines elements of ballet, Pilates and cardio, mat Pilates, Reformer (which I love by the way!), and restorative yoga which completely focuses on the joints, ligaments and aims to unlock any tight areas. Furthermore, I love the community feeling that I get – starting from the instructors who are very friendly. Nectar is also located at the Bodytree Studio and has an amaaazing range of yummies all suited for a healthy lifestyle.
The final component to a successful plan is sleep and trust me when I say this, no one can stop me from getting my minimum 8 hours of sleep. I realised that through improving my nutrition, my quality of sleep has also improved and I am much more peaceful. I have put into place a very nice relaxing routine an hour before bed, and have swapped my social media check ups with reading a hard cover novel (currently Origin by Dan Brown), and I simply feel amazing waking up naturally. Sleep is so vital in helping the body heal … and besides, who doesn’t love a restful long snooze 🙂
I have 3 more weeks to go, after which I hope to continue this amazing lifestyle because I feel GREAT! Oh and my knee inflammation has completely disappeared! The sky is the limit and as Suzan says, go on and enjoy that slice of pizza if you want to — just don’t eat pizza every day. I am so excited to try out new recipes, and through my research I have found some excellent blogs which focus exactly on this type of lifestyle. I’m very lucky that in Abu Dhabi there are plenty of healthy options in supermarkets to facilitate the healthy lifestyle, as well as plenty of cafes and restuarants. I have also learned to stop being pressured by my colleagues or friends into eating crap, just because they feel like doing it.
So, to anyone who is working hard on improving their health, stay strong my friends, your health is #1 and the benefits feel amazing!
Check out The Bodytree Studio for classses, and Suzan Terzian for advice on a healthy happy life!
Disclaimer: All views are my own and all photographs are © My Pink Diary, unless otherwise stated. Sleeping puppy image, credit: Canva.