Well, the 30 days are done and dusted! Aside from one weekend when we had no children and enjoyed this rare opportunity to dine out (and having a terrible sweet tooth, I just had to have dessert) we managed the 30 days pretty well.
Overall, I can wholeheartedly say that we all have benefited from following the Paleo/Primal approach to eating. During the 30 days I enjoyed much more consistent energy levels during the course of the day and the 2.00 pm-ish lag all but disappeared. The children seemed to remain fuller for longer, therefore requiring less snacks to get them through to their next meals. Felix's digestive problems have completely resolved over the course of the 30 days. The only downside has been that Gus' eczema returned quite severely which has left us wondering what the cause is - we think its either honey or dairy as although he only has these in moderation they are the only things that has irritated his skin in the past.
Our grocery bill did increase during this month due to the extra meat, fish and vegetables in our diet, and other products such as coconut flour, coconut oil, almond meal, maple syrup and honey, which can be tricky when budgeting on a single income. However, we are trying to see it in a positive light as being an investment in our wellbeing.
The children have started asking for something "Not cooked, from the shop" and "I just want a bread sandwich, with proper bread". No amount of baking or almond meal-based breads quell these complaints. Gus in particular has started noticing the difference between his lunch at kindy versus what the other children are eating, especially when his lunch box is a little chilly bin with a cold pack (think Wog Boy!) and the other kids have Batman or Cinderella lunchboxes with sandwiches.
It got really hard during the last week to be organised with our meals as both boys were sick, Grant was in Auckland and I was severely sleep deprived (there is a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture!). I relied upon too many bananas, nuts and yoghurt to get us through as I was just too disorganised to do anything else. Although I was aware of it there was not much that I could do as I was just too busy giving cuddles to my sick loveys. Oh well!
During the last week of the challenge we reflected upon how things have been and decided that we will continue to follow a Primal approach to our food. We will definitely continue to cut sugar from our diet but I'd like to experiment with coconut sugar as a sweetener for our baking instead of honey or maple syrup. These are both quite costly to use in baking, especially with the amount that is typically asked for in a recipe, and we also find that they tend to dominate the flavours of the baking.
We intend to reintroduce some grains, maybe rice or oats, just to mix things up a bit and allow a little more flexibility at times with the kids meals - although continuing to avoid any gluten containing grains. Having said that, we decided that given the children's objections to not having bread, we have agreed to make one compromise with the gluten free grains. I'm still not convinced what is best - buying gluten free bread with a million and one ingredients or our solution of infrequently making our own rye sourdough bread.
I have been nursing our little organic rye starter for the past week in preparation for making a loaf of sourdough for the boys lunch on Monday. We're not sure yet whether this will be a weekly or fortnightly treat but we'll see how things go. So provided I don't kill the starter, if you'd like a little pet for yourself, then send me a message as I'm happy to share.
So as I complete my meal plan and grocery list for the next week, I will ensure there is plenty of kumara, pumpkin, carrot or parnsip that will be stored, mashed in the fridge ready to be made into a frittata or to await a can of tuna or salmon to make a quick lunch. There will also lots of cauliflower, brocolli, carrots to be steamed and await reheating for those times when the kids are demanding to be fed "Right now Mummy"! I'm trying out a couple of new recipes this week so will share if they're a success!