*From Monday, 05 May – https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/blogs/4647
Day one stated off positively, happily, joyfully, so I was clearly not expecting what was about to happen. I was in a bit of a morning rush so I simple packed some oats in a take-away container, grabbed an apple and headed off to work. I was only working till the afternoon, so I figured I’d be okay. Big mistake! But more on that later.
As it turns out, there are a lot more benefits and downsides to completing the LBL challenge in an office environment than I first expected.
- You have a lot of people you can ask for donations, and many of them are very keen to donate… especially as they get to watch you squirm as you avoid the kitchen, coffee, free morning/ afternoon teas and treats.
- You get a lot of support from people in the office. People tend to give you lot of encouragement and ask you how you’re feeling.
- There’s free food everywhere.
- The smell of coffee is everywhere.
- Cheeky people will try and torture you for fun by eating delicious food in your face.
- If you’re going through withdrawal or feel like dirt you can’t let it affect your work, or the way to act towards people.
I started off my day by putting up little bits of signage around the office kitchen area and sending out an email to all the staff detailing what I was doing, why I was doing it and how they could get involved. By 8:30am I’d received my first workplace donation of $52. Then came another for $10 and another for $5. I then checked my online donations an anonymous donation had come in for $35. As I mentioned earlier, that has to be the best part of working in an office, people seem to really care because they know you so well.
By 10:00am the smell of coffee was wafting through the office, and caffeine withdrawal hit me like a ton of bricks. Tired, unable to focus and irritable beyond belief, my positive outlook had turned for the worst. The problem with going through all that at work is that it becomes hard to focus, and you really want to be horrible to everyone around you for not reason… but you can’t. I stuck my headphones in, turned up the music and spent twice as long as I should have making silly errors whilst trying to do some tedious paperwork.
I have to give a lot of credit to my boss at this point for making sure to keep food as far away from me as possible. Usually I see him sneaking food at his desk and without fail asking if I want a coffee at least once a day, but today, none of it. And thank-goodness for that. But as you can imagine, it couldn’t be that easy. So to balance out my bosses awesomeness I had some of the cheeky IT boys torturing me with talk of food and the smell of coffee, saying I need to earn my donations through true pain. I will give them this though, they were really good entertainment which helped with all the negativity that was sitting inside me once I started to feel like dirt.
By the time the afternoon came around I was starting to get a headache and was so exhausted that all I could think about was having a nap. Luckily for me I was only working until the afternoon, and I was hoping to get a power-nap in before going to uni for the evening. I had a bowl of porridge (oats and water to be exact, one of the dullest things you will ever eat) to get me through my last hour or so of work, but on the way home that’s when a whole new sensation hit me. All I could think about was junk-food, take-away, burgers, Asian, greasy fried chicken. It was strange because the cravings were so intense, and it made me realise just how powerful the notion that I couldn’t have something made me want it so much.
It had taken a while to sink in, but it was then I realised I clearly hadn’t planned out my meals for the day too well. So I ate the apple in my bag, and not a moment too soon. By the time I got home my power-nap accidentally turned into an extended one. My body was needing it, especially after having done the Step Up for MS challenge the day before. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s a stair climb of 1103 stairs in the Perth Central Park building. Upon checking my email again I noticed another donation had come in for another $35, which was great to see since I was feeling so crappy. And since I hadn’t helped myself by not having my food planned out and having enough of it with me for when I needed to eat, I ended up missing my uni class and a committee meeting so I could rest and get some energy back.
Once I finally got out of bed I decided to -at the very least – do dinner right. So I came up with an improvised potato and zucchini rosti recipe that comprised of a small handful of ground oats, 1/3 to ½ of my zucchini I had – grated, 2 small potatoes – grated and a little bit of my Italian herb mix. [At this point I should mention, cooking when you’re not thinking straight it not 100% safe. The reason I mention this is because I managed to slice the palm of my hand on a food processor blade, something which would never happen to me normally, so please be careful.] I pressed my rosti mix onto an oven tray and popped them into the oven to crisp up alongside a chopped up carrot. When the carrots were roasted and the rosti crispy I made a dipping sauce out of a little tomato paste, Italian herb mix and chili. The kick was incredible, but definitely helped with giving the dish some flavour.
I finished up by treating myself to some toasted oat porridge, which was much better than the mush I’d had earlier in the day. But even after all that food I’m still quite exhausted. The sugar cravings have kicked in and I’m not too sure how tomorrow is going to go. But today I definitely learnt my lesson about eating small meals throughout the day to keep up my energy level and planning ahead. It might have only been a day, but neglecting my body the way I did was not a good way to kick-start the experience.
Though speaking of planning ahead, for anyone who’s done LBL before, it’s likely you learnt very quickly (as I did) that variety is the spice of life. Without it, this challenge can be almost unbearable. After all, there’s only so much plain porridge (water and oats) that a person can eat before they go crazy. So after looking back on my shopping list from last year I realised that it’s your choice of primary carbohydrate that determines just how much meal variety you are going to have during the 5 days. My mission for variety is the reason I decided to focus on potatoes this year as they can be sliced, diced, grated, cooked in a pan, baked in the oven, mashed… the list goes on. So I purchased my ingredients with potatoes in mind and voila, here are 12 recipe ideas that have come from my little shop that can be mixed and matched to create some flavoursome fun.
List of ingredients can be found at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/blogs/3252
- carrot & apple juice
- porridge w/apple, pear, plain or toasted oats
- shredded carrot and apple salad
- crunch baked chili chickpeas
- toasted oats w/pear or apple
- baked potato and onion w/ Italian herbs and beans or chickpeas
- roasted carrots, cauliflower, potatoes w/Italian herbs
- potato and zucchini rosti
- tomato and herb pasta w/ beans or chickpeas
- spicy tomato beans w/pasta or potatoes
- tomato soup w/ carrot, potato, beans or chickpeas, cauliflower and Italian herbs
- potato and cauliflower soup
By picking and choosing different recipes that utilise the same ingredients you are guaranteeing yourself a little bit of sanity during the 5 days. Trust me, take what you can and make the most of it, it can be a bit of a rollercoaster at the best of times.