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.

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.

Epic Fail and TMI

So I tried to make the mayo today after school.  Epic fail.  I was thinking that we could use the extra chicken I had to make chicken salad for dinner.  Nope. That didn’t happen.

First, I tried to use our Ninja.   We have this Ninja (the regular one?) not to be confused with this Ninja (the blender one?) so I’m blending away and the motor started to make this awful noise like a mother bear protecting her cubs and I knew I was done.  I probably burned the engine out and the whole thing is shot now.

So then I tried to whip it by hand. That lasted about a minute before I had my husband call the neighbors to see if they have a regular blender. Which they did.  However, I never got the initial egg and lemon juice to emulsify so adding all that oil afterwards did nothing to make the mixture mayo-like.  Also, there’s really no good way to add anything to a blender (Ninja or regular) because if you have the thing running, and take the lid off (or even open up a small part to add an ingredient) stuff starts to fly everywhere. The kitchen was Disaster City.

Needless to say we didn’t have chicken salad for dinner. What I did make was pretty good though. I don’t have a name for it but here’s what I did.

Saute some red onion in coconut oil until soft
Add a clove of garlic, minced
Chop one yellow squash, add to pan
Chop one  green squash, add to pan
Chop 2 small carrots, add to pan
Chop 2 small (or one medium) bunch of broccoli, add to pan
Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup Tessamae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing
Add chopped cooked chicken
Add various spices: paprika, celery salt, garlic powder, salt, mustard powder
Mix well until heated through

I just threw it together with what I had in the house and it turned out  pretty good. It kind of reminded me of those frozen Birds Eye dinners you can buy but without all the additive and preservatives.

So onto the TMI.  This Whole30 really causes you to listen to your body to figure out the signals it is sending you. Today, my stomach and GI tract had a lot to say.  There were a lot of rumblings/garglings.   The Whole9 Forum has been fantastic for my wonderings about the things I’m experiencing, if this or that is normal, what to expect at certain times etc.

Recently I search “poop” because everybody poops, and let’s be honest – things are changing.  A high fat diet can cause loose poo and if you’re going from a low fat diet (as most people follow because that’s what society has pushed on us) to a higher fat diet (as the Whole30 is) then your body has to adjust.  Your gut bacteria is changing. Did you know that the majority of your immune system is in your intestines?  The book details how the foods you eat can cause increased gut permeability, digestive distress, and systemic inflammation.  I never knew what any of those things were until I read the book and I’ll probably have to reread the gut chapter a couple times to fully understand it but the first step to healing is putting the right foods in your body.

A Real Challenge

Today I was really challenged to look at my Whole30 and examine my true motives behind why I am doing it.  Everyday I get a lovely email fromWhole30 Daily that includes tips and encouragement for me. Today the email was about personal assessment. I don’t usually get to read the email until the evening but I took the time this morning before my first class to check it out. I’m glad I did. Sort of.

I’m really good at convincing myself of something and then sticking to it 100%. For example, I have told myself that I can’t have sweets for the month of January, so it’s almost like the cravings aren’t there as much because I’ve so convinced myself that I can’t have them (although Friday after school I had a whirlwind craving for some chocolate).

When I think about how Whole30 is so much more than just changing what you eat (it addresses the emotional and psychological aspect of eating as well), I want to give up.  I mean, honestly if it was just about changing what you eat at your meals it would be super easy:  Buy different food.  Cook different food.  Eat different food. Done.  But it’s not just about buying, cooking, and eating different food.  It’s about changing our emotional attachment to unhealthy foods that promise satisfaction and then fail to deliver.  It’s about changing your palette and improving how your body functions on a day-to-day basis. It’s about the realization that how you were feeling before doesn’t have to be how you feel the rest of your life.  You might not even realize how exactly you are feeling (you’ve felt the same your whole life and it’s always been fine) until you find out how much better you can feel.

It’s so much easier to just eat whatever I want and live with those consequences than it is to fight against myself to change for the better.   I feel like there is a big revelation of something I’m going to have to face right around the corner; I can just feel it looming.

To really get the most out of these 30 days I need to make my Whole30 mine.  Melissa (Hartwig, co-author of It Starts With Food) recently posted on Facebook: “We’ve created the Whole30 with as clear guidelines as possible. We’ve explained our rationale many times, in detail. But ultimately, YOU have to own your program… AND your results.” So my first thought was, “Well, if I make it my own, and decide for myself what’s OK, then I can have more fruit.”   But that would be taking the easy road and that would not help me yield the best possible results.

But that’s not the point!  The point is to follow the guidelines no matter how hard it is because that’s how you’re going to experience real change: physical, emotional, and psychological change.   And it’s going to be hard!!  It’s not an easy thing to change decades of eating habits/emotions/psychological ties in just 30 days (sometimes it takes a Whole45 or Whole60 to really break free).

All this ‘psychological’ talk might make me sound like I’m crazy and need a shrink.  I wish I could detail chapter 4 of It Starts With Food because it explains so clearly  the link between the food we eat and the emotional connections we experience. And why.

I’m really working to figure out the different things I’m feeling: Am I hungry or just bored? Am I hungry or is this a craving (which will pass in 3-5 minutes).  Why do I feel compelled to eat when the bell rings around 3:00 or I get home from school? I know it’s going to be hard to answer these questions and others I don’t even know I have.

On a different note, I made the salmon cakes from the book. They are really good! Still haven’t made the mayo…..

Back to work! Whole30 Day 2

After a very lovely week and a half off from work, I went back today and was surprised that I didn’t mind being there as much as I had anticipated. My schedule in the morning (thanks to a rotating schedule) was very open and I worked on creating a budget worksheet for Hubs and I to follow. There are still some tweaks that need to be made but I think it will work.  I’m trying not to stress over the lack of funds; I know God will provide.

I have to say that I’m typically a snacker. I like to munch. And the time between breakfast and lunch I almost always get hungry and eat something. Breakfast before Whole30, while I always had some protein (i.e. eggs), it never seemed to fill me up like I wanted. I inevitably got hungry and snacked, usually on cashews or some piece of fruit.  WELL! Let me tell you! I have met my breakfast match! What I had today filled me up completely until about 1/2 hour before lunch! It was fantastic!  The few times I thought I felt hungry I drank some water and then didn’t think twice about eating.

Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup ground chicken with taco seasonings (homemade) from dinner a couple nights ago, and 1/2 an avocado.

At first I didn’t think I would be able to finish it. That’s A LOT of protein! But I did. And I didn’t get hungry! It was lovely!

Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night: pork, apple, and sage stuffed pork chops (the recipe called for bacon but we haven’t gotten our Whole30 approved bacon yet so I substituted ground pork. It was lovely. Recipe: here); extra pork stuffing; some caramelized red onions with sauteed spinach (I add this to e.ver.y.thing because I love it so much!), and some roasted  broccoli. I also had a salad with 1/2 an avocado and the always awesome Lemon Garlic Tessamae’s Whole30 approved salad dressings. Check them out here. It filled me up until the bell rang around 3:00. I had some cashews and an apple and felt great until dinner.

Dinner tonight was spiced chicken legs (recipe: here) with a veggie stir-fry (coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce) and some roasted sweet potatoes with herbs de provence (another current obsession).

I felt good today. Minus waking up with enough adrenaline to out run a cheetah (my alarm really startled me). Looking back I  don’t ever remember feeling tired and I didn’t have the after-lunch slump. 🙂

On a different note, I started my Bible reading but only got to “In the beginning God…” because the Bible that I downloaded for my Kindle is a study Bible so then I was reading all the notes that go with the beginning verses of Genesis.  I’ve started reading the Bible so many times (and never finished) that I’m really praying God makes these first couple books fresh and new.  I don’t want to read them thinking that I know everything about them, Clearly I don’t.