BOO-YA!

Finished Whole30

We are now in uncharted territory.   As someone who likes to follow rules, I was a little nervous about the end of my Whole30 because I thought to myself, “What will I do without the safety net of the rules? What if I go off plan?”  I could see myself  beating myself up about eating off-plan foods, now that I know what I know about what certain foods do to your body when you eat them. But that’s no way to live.  I did this so that I could become healthier, so my body would run more efficiently, so that I would thrive instead of just survive. The perfectionist side of me wants to eat perfectly all the time – that’s no fun.  I’m not going to do that.   I got a recipe for flourless chocolate chip cookies .  I’m going to make them. And I’m going to eat them.

I’ve been thinking back on my Whole30 and doing some assessing.  There was definitely a hump I got over about 1/2 way through.  Up until that point there was frustration building about what I could/couldn’t eat, the stress of all the food shopping, having to cook every night, and the endless search for recipes.  I posted on the Whole30 forum about my frustration and got some good feedback.   It’s like I just needed to get those frustrations out because since then I’ve been fine.  I almost see that as a turning point in how I view this entire process.  It was a moment of acceptance.  Looking back, I almost question why I was so frustrated; it seems so silly.

So, the results.  You are out of your mind if you think I’m posting before and after pictures.   I weighed myself this morning and the scale said I gained 2.4 pounds.  However, I’m chalking up those pounds to the Big P that showed up today.  When I did this for a week or so back in September I dropped 5-7 pounds and got to basically where I am right now.  I hadn’t been feeling like I lost any weight during this so I’m not really surprised that the scale confirmed it.

The point of the Whole30 is not to lose weight.  The POINT is to get healthy, which I’ve done, so I can say that I was successful.  It can never hurt to cut added sugar and processed foods out of your diet.

I reintroduced dairy today by adding a little skim milk to my coffee.  I was thinking about adding back in added sugar but we want to isolate the reintroduced item so I’ll add sugar later.  About 5 minutes after I started drinking the coffee I got a headache.  Not a pounding-turn-out-the-lights headache, but a dull kind of droning headache.  Does that make sense?  On a scale from 1 to 10 it was probably a 2.  I kept drinking the coffee until about 8:15 and still had some slight head pain around 10:30, though it went down to a 1 or .5 on my pain scale.  I need to have something else with dairy in it; maybe I’ll have a piece of cheese after class tonight.  My Dad was lactose intolerant so I won’t be surprised if I have to limit how much I eat.  I really hope I don’t have to give it up completely because milk does such a better job than coconut milk of taking the bitter edge off coffee.   If headaches are the only reaction I have, depending on the severity of them, it might be something I can live with for the few instances I actually have dairy.   Coffee won’t be a problem because I don’t drink it every day.   Cheese occasionally would be nice. We’ll see.

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2 More Days

Can you believe Wednesday is my last day on the Whole30? Thursday starts the reintroductions.  I’m going to do dairy first (I miss cream in my coffee). Then I’ll try non-gluten grains like corn (I like tostitos).  The other thing I’m going to eat is chocolate.  Hopefully my palette has changed enough that 60% or 75% cacao is good enough.

On Sunday I put some pork in the crock pot and made some lovely pulled pork.  Tonight I made some plaintain mash that I topped with some of the shredded pork.  Recipe here.  When I cooked the plantains I added some cinnamon and when it was finished and all mashed up (with some coconut milk) it tasted like banana bread! It was so good!! I’ll eat it with my breakfast tomorrow and it will be lovely!

A note about the plantain mash – it didn’t mash up like I thought it would.  I had to add more coconut milk than the recipe called for to make it smooth, and even then it wasn’t smooth like mashed potatoes or cauliflower.  It was thick.  And delish.

Dinner was fast because the pork was already made so I whipped up a breakfast lasagna.  Recipe here. I can’t speak to how it tastes because I haven’t had it yet but I can let you know. If you’re interested.

I calculated what we spent on food for January and it was shocking!  We went 3x over what I had budgeted!!  I have to remind myself that cheap food is cheap for a reason and we are investing in our bodies.  As a wise woman once told me: pay for the grocery’s now or pay for the doctor later.  It’s all where your priorities are.  Mine are on food and sleep.  I want to make running more of a priority.  And reading the Bible.

On a different note: What’s up with the snow/ice coming around 8:00 this morning? Doesn’t it know it needs to start at like 4:00 am!

On another note: Alias is an awesome show! Hubs and I are so addicted! Thank goodness for Netflix, all the seasons in one place, and no commercials.

Baby, it’s cold outside!

It’s 15 degrees outside but a lovely 76 in my house! So thankful for the wood stove!

This is the creek near our house when I was driving home from work. Crazy to think that it is so cold even constantly moving water freezes!

Frozen Creek

On a different note: have you ever heard of Kombucha? It’s a fantastic Whole30 approved tea that is raw and full of lovely probiotics! It’s been great in settling my stomach.  Whenever you change the things you eat you have to give your body time to adjust.  Kombucha is helping me do that! 🙂

I made Baked Spaghetti Squash with mini sausage meatballs.  Recipe here.  The sausage was from…. you guessed it! Wyebrook Farms!! I sauteed some garlic and onion with the sausage and it was really good!!

Cooking every night hasn’t been too bad.  I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it.  I have a good supply of meals to pull from  and I like enjoying the leftovers for lunch the next day! OH! You should have SEEN the roasted chicken I made yesterday! It was gorgeous! I should have taken a picture!

7 more days until some reintroductions! I’m interested to see how that goes! 🙂

A Balsamic Dream

They said it would happen.  Eventually I would have a dream where I ate some off-plan food and I would wake up feeling guilty.  Did my dream include indulging in cake, a bowl of cereal, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or some gourmet biscotti? No. It involved me dipping some chicken in non-compliant balsamic vinegar. I just have a couple questions:

1. Who dips chicken in balsamic vinegar in the first place? Balsamic vinegar as a marinade? Yes. As a dip? I’m not so sure.

And 2. Why couldn’t it have been something more fun like cookie dough or an ice cream cake?

So in my dream I was at my Grandpa’s house in Havertown – which in and of itself is strange because he doesn’t live there anymore and it’s not like it was a place I frequented. I haven’t been there for probably a year or so. For some reason I was eating chicken (with whom, I don’t know) and I went into the kitchen from the dining room to check the ingredients on said balsamic vinegar and was horrified to find out it contained sugar. Yes, horrified.  Need I remind you of the peanut oil debacle!

I woke up Saturday morning feeling like something wasn’t quite right, like I did something wrong (dreams can have that affect on you) and then I realized it was just a dream and I felt better.

I must have felt so good that when I went to Wegman’s and got some cashew butter I never thought to look at the ingredients. I got home and started to slather (yes slather) it on an apple and then when I DID look at the ingredients I realized it had sunflower oil in it! Those damn oils!  I guess slipping up with something like that is better than tripping and having my face land in a PB&J or bowl of Raisin Nut Bran (mmmm Raisin Nut Bran!).

TWICE now those oils have gotten me! I’ve just decided to finish out this Whole30, do some reintroductions and be on my way! I know this won’t be my last Whole30, so we can just store this sneaky oil knowledge away for the next time.

Some things I’ve noticed:

1. I’m falling asleep faster, sleeping deeper, and waking up easier.
2. I’m having more vivid dreams which I can remember easier.
3. My skin is clearer.
4. Our food bill has gone up (but how much exactly I can’t say yet)
5. I have more energy throughout the day.
6. I know when I’m hungry. You know how sometimes you’re like, “I’m kinda hungry.” Nope! Not anymore. It seems that either I am hungry or I’m not, which is nice.
7. It’s much easier to pass up on the sweets and noncompliant foods.

On that note, there has been a revival of sorts of cravings recently.  My most recently Whole30 daily email said that it’s called “extinction burst” – where your brain makes one last ditch effort to revert back to old habits, to get the reward it was so used to before (i.e. something “sweet” after dinner, snacking at a certain time of the day or due to a certain mood, etc).  Having this occur is actually good because it means you’re close to breaking the old habit.  I’m still working on the “needing something sweet” to round out a meal, but it has gotten better! 🙂

Some things I’ve made recently:
Roasted Carrots (Hubs really liked them!)
Pork Roast with sweet potatoes and onions
Kale Chips
One Pan Pork and Apple Fry
Baked Apples and Pears (I modified the recipe to add the pears. I also soaked the raisins (not golden) in a little bit of apple juice to give the whole dish a little more moisture.  I also added pecans.  The pecans were to. die. for.  I don’t know why but I toasted those suckers up and ended up eating a bunch plain! They were so stinkin’ good!  It could be because my palette is changing and things are tasting different or because it was just a good batch of pecans, but MAN! I was sad when I finished them.

Today is Day 21.  Three weeks down. 9 days to go.

Kale Chips and Chocolate Chip Cookies

HALFWAY!! Woo hoo!! Insert Bon Jovi!! That song brings back such memories!  It was one of the only English songs on the Juke Box in our favorite bar when I lived in Puerto Rico.  Oh El Mirador, how I miss you.

So last night I made caramalized italian pork chops with sweet onion jam.  I could eat the onion jam with a spoon it’s so good! You can find the recipe for the chops and jam here.  While I made that, I also made some chili sans beans.  Hubs doesn’t like beans and they are not Whole30 compliant so I’m not eating them either.  The issue Hubs had with chili was the beans so I’m glad that he likes it without them – it’s another option for dinner.   The chili was for dinner tonight but I made it last night because it had to cook for 2 hours on the stove and I knew I wouldn’t have that kind of time tonight if we wanted to eat before bedtime.  Good thing I did because there was a faculty meeting after school and then I tutored a student for a half hour.  Also had to run an errand, so I didn’t get home until around 5.

So today when I got home from school I halved and roasted an acorn squash and then filled the soft squash with the chili. It was really good.  Recipe here.

Kale chips.  Where have I been?  They are amazing! Crispy salty goodness.  I can’t wait to try different seasonings: adobo, old bay, garlic. The possibilities are endless!! 🙂

On a completely different note: I made chocolate chip cookies tonight, or at least the dough.  It was the first time I felt strong enough in my Whole30 to bake something non-compliant and not feel like I would scarf the whole thing down.  Matt and I attend a deaf church once a month and they have a game night every month.  The cookies are for the game night tomorrow.   There was only two instances where I was slightly tempted to eat some of the dough: when a little bit got on my finger and when I added the chocolate chips.  Other than that, I just munched on the kale chips and I was good! 🙂

Three-day weekend ahead! Woohoo!

Some Introspection

Things have been moving along.  I really like this way of eating although sometimes I really want some non-plan food.  Like the pb&j Hubs was eating yesterday looked amazing while I at my grilled chicken and sweet potatoes.

On Saturday I realized that the cashews and macadamias I was eating had been made with peanut oil.

Peanut oil = not Whole30.

So that was pretty rough because I was battling in my head about what I should do: should I start over? What would that mean to start over? Should I not start over? Does that mean I really did a “Whole30”?  I  was really discouraged yesterday. The thought of starting over made me want to cry.  Were my last 12 days wasted?

So after posting something on the Whole9 Forum and getting the opinion of some other friends I’ve decided just to keep going with what I’ve been doing.   I don’t know if I’m going to tack 12 days on to the end of the month, or if I’m going to try the reintroductions at the end of the month. I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I reacted the way I did to the peanut oil and I think I realized why:  I like to follow rules. I like to know that I’m doing things correctly.  If I’m honest with myself, I’m one of those people that think if they are just good enough then God will accept them. I know that’s not true; it’s only by God’s grace that I am accepted.  Knowing that the first 12 days weren’t perfect messes with my perfectionism.  Maybe I won’t be able to say that I “did a Whole30” but I’ve made huge steps forward in the way that I eat.  I know I am becoming healthier.

So tonight I made Apple Dijon Burgers but I changed the recipe.  I used ground turkey instead of beef.  I added an egg to the meat mixture (I think it helps them stay together better), and instead of cooking them on the grill (which is packed away for the winter in the shed) I used the cast iron skillet on the stove.  I paired the burgers with some roasted root vegetables which I also changed; I didn’t use carrots, I used a yam. Little bit of oil with some herbs de provence. Yum! They could have been cooked a little longer but they were still good. This was the first time I’ve ever cooked a rutabaga (fun word!) and it turned out well.

I even started prepping for tomorrow’s dinner! I roasted the butternut squash and garlic for the topping of our shepherd’s pie tomorrow.  Now I’ve gotta go drown myself in creating a biology midterm for tomorrow morning.

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