Right at the very last minute, literally a day before the registrations closed for the new round of the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program, I found myself not only signed up, but appointed an IQS Ambassador* by the IQS team!
I hardly ever check personal mail at work (and never Facebook), but I happened to log in to my email account the day before the 8WP kicked off, and read a mail sent from IQS HQ, asking whether I’d like to become an ambassador.
“If I wasn’t surrounded by colleagues right now, I’d be squealing! ”
And I meant it!
Within a 24 hour period, I received that mail, a copy of I Quit Sugar for Life *signed* by gorgeous Sarah Wilson, and word that Diana Tencic from Body Be Well was going to be on the panel of experts for this round. How could I NOT take part?
Before signing up for this round of the IQS 8-week program, I wondered whether there would be a great deal of repetition in regards to recipes and information (I had, after all, just completed the previous round). I am truly shocked (in a good way!) to discover that, not only do most of the recipes so far appear to be new ones, they have become some of my favourite recipes EVER! IQS must have sugar-free pixies working overtime in order to have come up with the new features and developed all these new recipes… for two programs, I might add!
WHAT’S NEW THIS ROUND
- All the amazing new recipes, for starters!
- There seems to be even more enthusiastic forum activity/participation
- The new Movement Plan (hooray!), which is designed to complement each stage of the IQS program and is adaptable depending on fitness level
- There where many experts available to support participants last time, but it certainly seems like there may be even more on board this time around, from personal trainers and nutritionists, to hormone balancing experts and psychologists… an impressive line-up!
- The new webinars, tips, snack ideas, etc.
WHAT I HAVE BEEN EATING
The best Veggie Burger I have ever made and one of the top 5 I have ever eaten… and I have eaten many!
My signed copy of Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar for Life”, with my version of her slaw recipe from the book. Love it! And love Sarah!
Pumpkin & Coconut Curry Parcels
The Week 2 round-up blog post on iquitsugar.com, featuring my burger and @missfitclaire’s eggs
Earthy Mushroom & Hazelnut Quinoa
Paleo Veggie Bread with gorgeous feta and herb smash
Sesame Carrot & Pecan Salad
Sunday Cook-up time! I love getting organised for the week!
Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Tacos
Layered Vegetable “Lasagne”
Honoured to be an IQS Ambassador during this round
Pumpkin & Pepita Hash
Loads of veggies, ready to go
Spaghetti (Zoodles!) Arrabiata
Paleo Veggie Bread
Coco-Berry Yogurt Smash
Asian Noodle Salad with Pickled Vegetables
Zucchini Fritters with Roasted Tomatoes
Breakfast prep (Choose You Own Oats)… eat this almost everyday!
Abundant Brekkie Bowl, plus SATS Magazine and coffee with coconut cream
Week 1 kicked off to a brilliant start, with a fabulous Sunday Cook-up (thanks to hubby being on kiddie duty), during which I managed to prepare elements for a grand total of 9 of the week’s recipes. I was thanking myself all week for that afternoon’s efforts! The recipes were amazing, from the Open Spinach & Ricotta Sandwich (I used feta, as it’s what I had on hand) to the Sesame Carrot & Pecan Salad. The Layered Vegetable “Lasagna” was bound to be a hit and I loved the Choose Your Own Oats breakfast concept, which not only caters to individual tastes but makes breakfast a breeze thanks to prepping in advance.
Week 2 introduced more new (and stellar) recipes, including the very clever IQS take on Spaghetti Arrabiata, Zucchini Fritters and Pumpkin & Coconut Curry Parcels, which newly-vegan hubby is still raving about! The Veggie Burger was simply outstanding. Not only does it make my top 5 IQS recipes ever, but it easily makes the top 5 of ALL the veggie burgers I have eaten (and I’ve seen plenty of veggie burger action in my time, I can tell you!).
If you’re curious to see more of what I am eating during the program (including Week 3, which I will cover in the next post), you are welcome to visit my Instagram account.
You can still search for the hashtag #IQS8WPveg that I created on Instagram during the last round of the program, but it appears to have been adopted by others, so no longer features my images exclusively as it did during the last round… but you will get a good overview of the broad variety of dishes in the vegetarian version of the program.
HOW I HAVE BEEN FEELING
In a word, good!
I love being able to get through a whole day at work and pick-up time at nursery school on the fuel that breakfast and lunch provide me with… no unhealthy snacking necessary. I adore getting/being organised, particularly when it comes to meals and family-related routines.
Last Saturday, I beat my previous personal record for a 5 kilometre run… a record I had set during the last round of the program. I beat it by only 3 seconds, but I was thrilled. I am doing more yoga and, as sad as I am to have left the truly lovely small women’s only gym I was going to, I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to train with my husband for the first time since 2009, thanks to the co-ed factor and amazing childcare services/playroom at our new gym (that my kids love so much, they cry when they get picked up!). I am embracing the Hot Mojo, HEAT and Organic Body Work passes available in the “hot room” at my gym. And now that the weather is turning, it’s great to have access to an abundance of brand-new treadmills. Baby Cupcake has also started at my gym, doing Born to Move baby dance classes once a week. Totally adorable!
So what does this have to do with IQS?
My schedule is full-on now. I am back at work part-time, with the children the rest of the time, engaged in many personal projects and I train 4-5 times per week. I have energy to do all of this, despite still not getting quite enough sleep and drinking only one cup of coffee per day.
I am enjoying being part of the IQS community and I’ve loved the weekly intro videos, blog posts and the webinar that was held the other day. Sarah Wilson said something that really struck a chord with me during the webinar:
“Be the message.”
So simple and so powerful.
I am not an expert/nutritionist/dietician/doctor… I am a just someone who is interested in and has benefitted from investing in my health. When I treat myself with kindness, the effects spill over into every area of my life. My children, I believe, will do as I do, not as I say. So “being the message” is vital when it comes to raising my children the way I think they deserve to be raised.
WHAT I AM LOVING
- The new 8-Week Program recipes
- Being more active in the IQS forums, Instagram and other channels with program participants and those who are curious about quitting sugar
- The adaptability of Vegetarian Program recipes means my vegan husband and I do not have to prepare entirely separate meals. This is a huge time-saver… and everybody wins!
- That my kids love the food too!
- That my 3.5 year-old son has started asking for asparagus, quinoa and “avocato” at meal times! (I am not kidding)
- Having a fridge and pantry stocked with healthy food and a freezer full of labeled leftovers
- Riding the wave of all this organisation-related motivation and getting other big jobs done, such as donating clothing to charity
- That the more care and attention I invest in food- from the purchasing of raw ingredients of the best quality through to preparation and cooking- the less inclined I am to waste a single bite!
WHAT I AM NOT LOVING SO MUCH
- That I am still “snacky” when I first get home after picking the kids up/before gym (although I don’t know if this is a “bad” thing, especially when I am training!)
- That I can’t shake chocolate completely (even if it is raw, homemade and sugar-free)
WHAT I AM NOTICING
- There have been many occasions when I thought I was craving sugar, that I’ve actually been dehydrated. As soon as I drink water, the fake craving goes away!
- That in Week 2, roasted tomatoes tasted very sweet (not in a bad way, just noticeably sweeter)
- That preparation truly is one of the cornerstones of success with IQS. I see the benefits of being organised food-wise everyday as I try to juggle work, parenting, training, hobbies, married life and whatever else a 24-hour period brings!
Wishing all the other participants of this round of the IQS8WP the very best and, indeed, the same to anyone who might be reading this today! :)
<3 MM xx
*An IQS Ambassador’s role is essentially one of helpful support and friendly encouragement for fellow program participants… not hard to do, as they are all quite lovely and I am a big fan of the program!