I’ll be honest. This challenge was not one I agreed to lightly. I’m under no illusions at how hard our patients work to follow a diet for PKU. It requires lots of planning, support and organisation. Many people had also warned me I could be pretty hungry, especially with exercising too. But ultimately I realised you never really understand something properly until you do it yourself and so was determined to give it a good go. So here we are: Day 1 of the 7 day 7 exchange challenge!
I had (again quite honestly) eaten well over the weekend. I was at a blogging conference with an abundance of food so I ensured my body was well “stocked up”. Waking up this morning with my usual sense of being so hungry I could eat my own arm; I remembered it was the start of the challenge. I had planned to food shop today and had my Nutricia stash ready.
I had been advised by a patient to have my protein substitute after my breakfast as it can fill you too much. So being a novice I did just that. Breakfast was a nectarine, 4 slices of low protein toast with olive spread and jam (they are small!) and a cup of tea with a dash of Snopro. I’m aware I did not use any exchanges but my rationale will appear clearer later. I drank my protein substitute, which was a blackcurrant Lophlex, afterwards. Not going to lie, I danced around the kitchen as I drank it, sipping tea in between. They taste much better than previous ones but for an adult, not used to the bitter taste of amino acids and vitamins, it was a challenge. Hats off to any adult going back on diet after a break!
It had been about 3 days since I last went to the gym and I was twitching a bit. My husband suggested I shouldn’t go; I would be so hungry and couldn’t eat any whole protein afterwards! How would I cope? Exactly like a person with PKU I informed him and off I went. I had no difference in energy and performance but I had eaten well over the weekend, so it will be interesting to see how I am later on in the week. After a quick nip to the supermarket for a low protein stash I was home downing my second Lophlex; pink grapefruit flavour. This was better and my little dance was less dramatic. After weight training it is important to get a 20g protein hit to refuel the muscles, hence why I had the drink a little earlier than lunch.
It was creeping up to lunchtime so I prepared an amazing salad which consisted of rocket lettuce, pepper, tomatoes, pickled beetroot, coleslaw and olives. I dressed it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and had a small portion of low protein pasta on the side. Two exchanges were in this meal: 35g of sweetcorn and 22g of caramelised sweet onion houmous (this is the one with the lowest protein). Dessert was a bowl of strawberries and another cup of tea with Snopro.
So far, so good. However, an hour later my tummy started rumbling. The post Body Pump hunger pangs were starting. I had another nectarine and an hour later a slice of Genius brown bread (1 exchange) with olive spread and jam. I then had a Promin cranberry breakfast bar.
Six o’clock is baby bathtime in our household and tea comes a little later. I decided to have my final Lophlex then as would not be too close to tea. I chose an Orange Lophlex and this time the kitchen dancing was minimal; I was getting used to them. My lovely husband made low protein curry for tea, whilst I put our daughter to bed. He used a balti curry paste mixed with chopped tomatoes. I had onion, pepper and green beans and 37g of rice (uncooked) which used 3 exchanges. I have to admit teeny bits of chicken were found in it (husband’s) and I was very good and picked the few bits out.
Dessert was a bowl of raspberries and blueberries and my final exchange: 15g of Cadburys Marvellous Creations chocolate. I’m definitely a dietitian who eats in moderation!
So Day 1 is done and dusted. I’m not as hungry as I thought yet and am ready for what Day 2 will bring.