Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Honestly Healthy Alkaline Eating: Two weeks in...

On the final day of 2014, I wrote a blog post setting out the new healthy lifestyle I was going to try come January 1st, and why I’d decided to do it. Two weeks on, I thought I’d give you an update as to how it’s going, whether it’s working and how I’m finding it.

And in Richard Ayoade style, I’m going to interview myself to do so. Because that’s not weird at all.

So Rach, how are you feeling?

Blimmin' fantastic! I genuinely feel great, and have been feeling this way for about a week and a half. I suppose it makes sense that putting less stodge into your body leaves you feeling less stodgy. Go figure.

How's the new way of eating going?

Amazingly well, thanks Rachel. Surprisingly so actually. I am discovering so many yummy, healthy foods and making such tasty meals that it's not actually been terribly hard.

The first three days or so, however, were tricky. All I wanted was a cup of tea and CHOCOLATE! But once I got through those days, it's been remarkably ok.

It really is true that the more sugar you eat, the more you want. And the less you eat, the less you want. I literally would never have imagined I could spend all day in a room containing a bowl of Quality Street and not touch them, but I have.

I like the colours of the final Quality Street
Essentially, food that isn't going to nourish me isn't as appealing as it once was, which is awesome. However I imagine it'd be very easy to slip back into less healthy ways. At the moment though I’m not even considering calories, just what’s going to do my body and mind good.

How strictly are you following the plan?

I'm not following the strict Honestly Healthy rules 100%, but the book's author Natasha recommends following it 70% of the time, and I'm definitely doing that. I’m going for a new lifestyle here so it has to be sustainable.

A few days in, I decided I'd have a little piece of cake. But d'you know what? It didn't do much for me. Haven't had any refined sugar since. *gasp* (I've had plenty of sweet stuff, don't you worry, just naturally-occurring ones.)

I'm amazed to say I haven't had any fizzy drinks apart from sparkling water (a big change for me), and have had a mere one glass of squash. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give up "normal" tea with milk but now I have one cup every other day, and that's it. Those who know me well will understand this is a mahoosive cut-back.

Although meat is meant to be a no-no, I’ve had a few meals with meat (read on to see what I’ve been munching), but not much. I don’t struggle at all to eat vegetarian quite frankly.

I haven't been solely making recipes from the book - in fact, on the first evening I realised I couldn't make any of the dinner recipes without a trip to the supermarket, and this was in my mum's very well-stocked kitchen!

Pinterest and Instagram are awesome for recipe inspiration though. I definitely spend too much time on them.

Have you seen any results?

Oh, even better results than I’d expected! Let’s start with my skin: around day 10, mum said she thought my skin looked “less angry”. A few days further on and there’s no doubt about it – my skintone is more even, my spots are calmer and everything’s a little smoother. Not mind-blowingly so, I don’t suddenly have good skin, but there’s an improvement.

I think the fact that my skin is improving makes it easier for me to resist the milky, sugary chocolates. It's certainly encouraging. My face is less puffy too.

I felt slimmer after three days or so, probably due to eating fewer carbs and less sugar – a stark contrast to my diet over the Christmas period. And I have actually lost the weight I gained over Christmas and a tad more too.

Great stuff! So, what are you actually eating?

Well, my dear, allow me to give you some examples of the foods, meals and products I’m enjoying and that are helping me stay on the Honestly Healthy track…


Honestly Healthy nutty granola

Banana, peach and honey smoothie

My super skinny banana and peanut butter pancakes, made with half almond butter as it's more alkalising

Quinoa porridge made with quinoa flakes, raisins, almond milk, mashed banana, almond butter, cinnamon and agave syrup.
Quinoa porridge with blueberries, raisins, cinnamon, almond milk, banana and honey.
 Annoyingly, quinoa flakes are expeeeeensive!

Spelt bread with three - yes THREE - nut butters and sliced banana.
I'd never tried spelt bread before but I really like it - sort of like sourdough crossed with rye bread, I'd say. Anyway it's very low in gluten and is thus allowed.

Chocolate-banana chia pudding with blueberries.
This was my first experiment with what is widely considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. To make it, soak 2 heaped tbsp of chia seeds and 3 pitted medjool dates in 1/2 cup almond milk over night. The next day, put it in a blender with 1 small ripe banana, 1/2 tbsp cocoa, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend blend blend (this took me a while) until smooth and thick, spoon into a glass and enjoy.

Power breakfast bowl.
Overnight I soaked oats, chia seeds, raisins and grated apple in almond milk (it all absorbs, plumps up and turns super creamy!). Then in the morning I mixed in vanilla soya yoghurt and topped with banana, blueberries, pecan nuts and more cinnamon. Super duper tasty!


For lunch I'm lucky to have had Mama Hosie's incredible homemade vegetable soups to see me through, usually with ryvitas on the side. I've also been eating beetroot falafels and houmous (neither of which were homemade though... Oops.)


Warm salad of kale, roasted butternut squash, sprouts and red onion, and toasted pine nuts.

Butternut squash, spinach, chickpea and sprout curry.

Baked butternut squash topped with homemade bolognese and halloumi (which isn't from cows)

Honestly Healthy spelt pizza topped with tomato and garlic purée, buffalo mozzarella and halloumi (both not from cows), peppers, red onion and sweetcorn.

Remember how I mentioned I got a spiralizer for Christmas? Weeeeelll...

Chicken stirfry with courgetti noodles

Courgetti bolognese
I am LOVING courgetti right now and can't wait to experiment more with my spiralizer. Have a read of my piece for Epigram about spiralizers, why I think they're so great and a link to the one I have.

Snacks and drinks

I'm drinking so much herbal tea these days - this one was too pretty not to instagram

Healthy apple muffins - recipe here

Cheaper than most coconut yoghurt and tastes like a mix between sorbet and ice cream. Yum! (Their website)

My all-natural energy bars - recipe here
What else? Well, I had my first soya latte in Caffe Nero, without coffee but with sugar-free hazelnut syrup. Really tasty, pleasingly.

I have to admit though that I'm not a huge fan of natural soya yoghurt. The vanilla though, is better, and I like to add mine to breakfast mixes and smoothies.

The kind people at Coyo also very kindly sent me a selection of their coconut yoghurts to sample. I'd heard lots of good things about them but never tried them myself (as, you guessed it, they're a tad pricey for the average student.) However, they're really tasty and deliciously creamy. Coconut yoghurt is by no means low-calorie, but I'm learning calories aren't as important as I once thought, and the Coyo is actually doing me a load more good than a low-fat, low-cal normal yoghurt.

Yum! So what's been hard?

I’ll be honest, Rach, I’ve had to get a fair few new ingredients. And they’re often pricey. Still, I’m trying to pick and choose what I think is worth splashing out on, and my thinking is that it’s an investment in my health. Holland and Barrett has become my favourite shop on the high street.

Seeing the rest of my family eat meaty, pasta-y, creamy dishes is a bit of a bummer too. Essentially, eating this way just takes a little more effort, but hopefully it’s worth it.

Have you had any side-effects?

I had really bad headaches for the first few days but I reckon that was a result of caffeine withdrawal – thank the Lord I was never a coffee drinker as I imagine giving up both tea AND coffee must be a nightmare.

What about exercise?

Between you and me, I haven’t exercised merely as much as I should but that’s because I am in essay hell right now. (I definitely shouldn’t be writing this blog post but OH WELL!)

What I have been doing, however, is making sure I get my 10,000 steps a day thanks to my new Fitbit, which I love. I got a Fitbit One for Christmas – it’s an activity and sleep tracker which discreetly clips onto your bra and syncs with an app on your phone to show you all the data. You also get awards and badges when you reach milestones, which is fun. My Fitbit frequently tells me it loves me, which I thought was a tad forward considering we've only known each other for a few weeks...

What next?

Well, I'm going to try my best to carry on in the same way as I feel fantastic as a result. Being at home, working and not going to social events means it's been easy to control what I eat and there hasn't been too much distraction. Once I'm back at uni again, that will not be the case. However, I wouldn't let an eating regime stop me having fun. It's all about a balanced lifestyle. And this one's going pretty darn well.

I hope this update might have inspired you a bit! How are your healthy resolutions going? What do you think of my new lifestyle? Do you have any tips? Hit me up in the comments :)


  1. I've been waiting for this post to see how you're getting on. Glad to hear its going so well! I did a whole30 plan last year, and I remember those headaches from the first few days - urgh! It was tough to start with, but after a while I got really into eating healthy choices. In fact, if I went back to my old favourites I felt rubbish, so that was great incentive to carry on. Its great actually noticing changes to how you feel, and to your body isn't it - it really helps you stay on track! Good luck over the next few weeks :-)


    1. Thanks Jennie! Couldn't agree more... Hopefully we can both keep it up! :) X

  2. I'm really interested in maybe doing this diet, but was just wondering how affordable you think it might be on a student budget?
    Also as a gluten free person (yay!) do you think there are still enough recipes and things out there for me to try out and make the diet doable?

    Very impressed that you can sit near a tub of Quality Streets and not eat them! I have pretty much been on a mostly chocolate diet since coming home for Christmas... oops. Breaking that habit would be amazing!


    1. Hey Stef! I think it's doable - things like lentils and pulses are cheap, and then I think it's just a case of picking and choosing when it comes to the more healthy ingredients.

      And you'll be fine as Honestly Healthy is meant to be gluten-free anyway!

      Good luck breaking the chocolate habit :) xxx

  3. The dishes you have made just look incredible, especially all of the breakfast ones. I am a particular fan of the meridian nut butter one. I tried the cashew butter but it didn't quite match up to peanut butter! Would you say the hazelnut one is more like PB?


    1. Thanks Rosie! No, I'm not sure any other nut will ever match up to peanut butter in my books, but I'd say the almond butter is the closest to it. Enjoy :) X

  4. Sounds like you're enjoying it. I'm making an effort to improve my diet, just slightly less drastically, and I'm enjoying all your tips! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

    1. Do glad to hear it, Chloe. Good luck and well done! X

  5. Great update! All the food looks soooo yummy, especially the chia pudding <3 I have to make that!


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