Oh hi day-14-of-the-Paleo-Challenge, you've stayed for a while. 

I'm on cup three of my "new" favourite fruit and mint tea, snacked on some nuts and raisins and had one mahuuusive salad for lunch. No bread, no coffee, no milk, no sugar... the list goes on.

And the reason for this massive change? For the past couple of years I've not been feeling myself. I've been suffering from awful headaches, every day, and would have to have at least two doses of either paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease the pain. I was always tired, getting up in the morning was such a drag and not to mention the bloatedness. Every single piece of clothing felt uncomfortable... I felt uncomfortable. 

So after weeks of researching what I should do, trying to get an allergy test (unsuccessfully), jumping from the Candida Diet, to the 5:2 Diet, to a Juice Detox I just woke up one morning and started the Paleo Challenge. There wasn't any planning really, I got up and made myself a fruit salad and herbal tea and said to Mat: "For the next 30 days this is what I am doing."

The first few days were sooo hard. I felt even more tired, had headaches and joint pains and after day five I just though, this really isn't working. If it wasn't for Mat I would probably have given up. He didn't let me ;) So I continued watching all my friends munch on french fries, drink beers and wines while I painstakingly julienne peeled my courgette spaghetti and begrudgingly ordered a mineral water with fresh lime.

Two weeks in and I feel so much better. No more headaches, no more joint aches, I'm ok getting up in the morning and no more bloatedness. While I know that this isn't a lifestyle for me, the Paleo Challenge has taught me that I do not NEED potatoes, bread and rice with every meal. I won't starve if I just have a bowl of fruit for breakfast and almond milk is really quite nice. I have also learned that too much garlic doesn't become me and neither do peppers and that a banana is much more filling than a 99p cheeseburger. But I do miss my real coffees with real milk, I miss a bit of feta in my salad, a lovely slice of mum's freshly baked sourdough bread and the occasional cheeky G+T or red wine. That's what I am planning to re-introduce... in small measures but nonetheless. 

The lifetime change this 30-day challenge has brought for me is to think a bit more about what and how much I eat, to look at the ingredients more often than not and kill the little hunger with some nuts or fruit rather than go for the biscuit tin. 

I'll try and keep you updated with some simple recipes over the next couple of weeks and of course on my progress. The next challenge will be tackling my "phobia" of exercise :P

Hope you enjoy this short foodie-chapter in my life. To kick it off, here's a yummy recipe of spicy chipotle pork ragu with courgette spaghetti. 

Etta xo

PS  I'd like to say a big massive thank you to all my friends and colleagues for bearing with my currently fussy eating and drinking habits. You've all been super patient, understanding and supportive. Thanks you guys!

COOKS 45mins-1hr

  • 500g lean pork mince, at room temperature
  • 2 small onions, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stick, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6-7 chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
  • 2-3 medium to large pickled chipotle, roughly chopped
  • 3tbsps chipotle pickling juice
  • 2tbsps tomato puree
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2-3 good size courgettes, sliced into "spaghetti" with a julienne peeler or spiraliser 

  1. Heat the oil over a medium to high heat and sautee the onions, carrot and celery for about five minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic, mushrooms and tomato puree and cook for a further 3-5 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.
  2. Once your veggies are soft, add the mince bit by bit and fry until it starts to brown. Then mix in the chipotle, chipotle pickling juice and chopped tomatoes and stir well. 
  3. Leave to bubble away on a medium heat for half an hour or so stirring occasionally. Season with salt (I use approximately 1tsp but this is really up to you) and black pepper and mix in the thyme leaves.
  4. Cook for another 15-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and has that lovely meaty flavour. (the longer you cook this the better it will taste!)
  5. When your ragu has another 15 minutes left, place your courgette "noodles" into a large bowl and season with some salt. Pour over boiling water and cover with a plate. Leave to sit for five minutes (or longer if you like them softer) then drain in a colander and let the noodles steam dry (let them sit in the colander for a little). You can also microwave them instead by placing them in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and some salt. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Serve the courgette noodles topped with the ragu and if you aren't on the paleo diet some grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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