Having made a blog post about starting the ‘no fried food’ challenge, it seems churlish not to post a review post about how it went. Whether it was a product of the time of year, or simply just that my shifts were less antisocial this time round but it was definitely an easier challenge to keep to this time.
While I didn’t actually make either chilli or curry during the month, the fact that I knew that I could if I needed to made it somehow much easier to keep to the challenge. I felt less fenced in by the challenge, in fact it felt more like a fun challenge and less like every joy being cut off whichever way I looked!
The weather being somewhat more Autumnal I made a fair amount of soup during the course of the challenge, which always helps with the snacking, as I’m considerably less likely to feel the urge to snack after a filling bowl of soup. The oven was definitely my friend this challenge as I cooked a variety of things under the grill or in the oven instead of making them on the stovetop.
For the first half of the challenge month I don’t feel that it really helped my workplace snacking as instead of eating crisps I instead ate chocolate even when that really wasn’t what I wanted. (I’m much more of a savoury snacking person.) However as the month wore on I got better at bringing my own healthier snacks, finding that snacks I picked out myself in advance were eminently more tempting than those chosen out of peckish apathy from the vending machine.
That’s actually been much easier to keep up into this month as tangerines are in season and they are the perfect snack fruit. (Few greater joys when out in the field at work, cold, tired and hungry, to find a tangerine in your coat pocket like a present from your past self.) I’ve certainly got better at hiding cereal bars and packets of dried fruit or unsalted nuts in my work bag to be found just when I need them most. Pistachio nuts in particular need no salting or sweetening to feel like an indulgent treat.
Mostly, I distracted myself with other challenges. I ate a fair amount of Japanese food over the course of the challenge as I worked my way through a sushi recipe book, learning to roll sushi with varying success. Having something new and exciting to focus on distracted me from fixating on the things I couldn’t have which I suppose is fundamentally what you want from one of these challenges, not to close yourself off, but rather to open yourself up to new things and in the process reduce your reliance on old – lazy – staples.
And while no chips were as delicious as the ones I ate in the pub the day after the challenge finished, I must admit that the thing I missed the most during the course of the challenge was an omelette. Preferably with lots of cheese, some bell pepper and perhaps a spring onion. A small pleasure, but a much missed one.