Whole30

Whole30 Week 2 recap

Another week in! Here’s another totally honest recap on how Whole30 Week 2 went for me. And good news: It’s a bit more upbeat than my last one!

Day 8 – Spent most of the day at a friend’s house, but here’s a Whole30/healthy eating tip for you: Do not be shy about telling everyone and their mother that you’re doing Whole30/changing your diet/eating a whole new way, etc. I’ve been talking about it so much that people probably wish I would stop, but it makes a wooooooorld of a difference when people are aware that you’ve radically changed your diet. Most people (AKA this is where you find out who your true friends are) will be understanding and supportive and won’t try to force you to break your plan. This being said, there’s a difference between understanding/supportive and questioning. Questioning, in my opinion, is also a legitimate, not-harsh way loved ones may respond. This is OK! One, it’ll force you to know and research exactly why you’re doing W30 (or any change in diet, for that matter), and two, it’s OK if they’re concerned for you. I’m from Wisconsin, so naturally some people thought it was absolutely crazy that I was cutting out dairy for a month, since, ya know, we basically thrive on all things dairy. Some also expressed concerns/alarm over me cutting out rice and beans from my diet. All of this is good–they just want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and if it’ll be safe for you. I packed my own breakfast and lunch since I knew I’d be over at my friend’s for most of the day. It was no big deal to her or anyone. Life does go on when you’re on W30. Got home around 7 and realized, you know what, I just want to relax a bit tonight. I waited to do meal prep until two hours later, and I had zero regrets about it. Sometimes you just have to let yourself BREATHE during these 30 days. You don’t want to get burnt out. However, just make sure you don’t let breathing lead to total laziness to “I have no food to eat what do I do SHOULD I JUST QUIT WHOLE30?!” Balance!

Day 9 – Super Bowl Sundayyyyyyyy. The greatest eating day (outside of Thanksgiving, probably) in America, and here I was on Whole30. But guess what?! All was not lost because you can still eat great stuff! I found Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe for prosciutto chips, which I enjoyed while my family had tortilla chips with bean dip. I also made Whole30 compliant wings! YESSSSSS *praise hands emoji here* I didn’t feel left out or bummed all day. I realized I didn’t need to throw in the towel just because something important (OK, basically a holiday in America) was happening. Sticking to my goal was more important than eating a bag of chips.

Day 10 – Hit a bump in the road in regards to breakfast today. I just cannot do hard boiled eggs for now. Nope nope nope. Also, I need an avocado break, for at least a day. I LOVE avocados, so if W30 makes me hate them I’ll just cry. But today’s avocado-egg combo just made me nauseated and not happy, so I need a switch-up. Whole30 encourages you to think of meals less as breakfast, lunch and dinner and more Meal 1, Meal 2 and Meal 3, so if you’re hungry for soup in the morning, do it, etc. Had the most filling lunch in awhile: salmon cakes on bed of baby kale with a side of leftover Brussels sprouts. Delish! Went home and felt kind of “chef-like” for the first time ever–I was blasting my Spotify as I hacked into a spaghetti squash for the first time (holy cow, that stuff is hard to cut through!), whisked eggs and chopped sweet potatoes. By the end of the night, I managed to whip up a breakfast casserole for the next few days and cooked a spaghetti squash, which I immediately had for dinner. My review of spaghetti squash: certainly not pasta but a decent fill-in. I miraculously found some sugar-free marinara sauce last week. INCREDIBLE on top of the spaghetti squash. Oh man, had I missed tomato sauces. I’m realizing that my cap for cooking per weeknight is two items, which I think I can be OK with for the sake of my sanity. Also, got an email today from Tessemae’s that my Whole30-approved condiments are on their way. CAN’T WAIT TO BE REUNITED WITH MAYO, GUYS. (Go ahead and make a face. Don’t care. I love me some mayo.)

Day 11 – Woke up about a half hour before my alarm went off! Rolled out of bed and immediately went to eat some veggies and a spoonful of almond butter. I did some research the day before and concluded my morning grogginess may be partly due to not eating quickly enough in the morning. I’ve never been a big breakfast fan, and eating big meals in general is really hard for me because I get full pretty fast. So, I decided to try something new: Try to eat half my breakfast at home, the other half at my work. I’m still not completely experiencing the boundless energy that I’m supposedly supposed to start experiencing pretty soon, but I’ll give it a few more days. However, I’m just feeling overall better. The fact that I’m now regularly sleeping through the night is pretty significant, too, as I used to wake up at least once a night before. Today was a BIG DAY in my W30 life: I WENT OUT TO EAT AND DIDN’T CHEAT. I met up with a few friends at a super delicious local burger joint. Problem: This place isn’t just know for their burgers; they also make to-die-for cheese curds (like, a top 5 food for me) and custard. Oh, and there’s a bucket of peanuts at every table, no big deal. I smelled cheese curds and sat next to a bowl of peanuts and did not succumb to temptation. Do I get a gold star? Ordering, however, was still a slight challenge: They had grass-fed burgers on their menu, which is a definite W30-approved option, but I had to ask how they cook the burgers. The answer? BUTTER, SWEET DELICIOUS BUTTER. I asked if they could cook mine with no butter or oils–the waitress eventually concluded they could. Also, all the sides are this particular place are fried, so I couldn’t order any :(. To make up for the lack of veggies (definitely not an ideal W30 meal), I ordered two burger patties and extra lettuce to wrap them in. I also got in my good fat with the meal (a requirement with every W30 meal) and had the patties topped with avocado. I’m still 50/50ish on whether there was butter involved with the burgers somehow…maybe they were just extra juicy? Regardless, I did my darn best, and that’s what really mattered in this case.

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Day 12 – Had a headache on and off all day, which made me think DID I EAT BUTTER LAST NIGHT?!?!?! But, like I said earlier, I refused to really sweat it because I really didn’t have any proof of that, had done everything in my power the night before, and I could have a headache for many other reasons. I had a turkey burger for lunch, which was the first time for that on W30 and my tastebuds enjoyed the change. But I’m basically skipping the biggest news of the day: MY TESSAMAE’S MAYO (and ketchup and ranch dressing) CAME IN THE MAIL. I mean, look at my face in this photo. This tells you all you need to know about my relationship with mayo. Also, I had dreamed about making egg salad since I started Whole30, and now I finally can! However, today ended up with a big-time OOPS: First, I fell asleep sitting up in my living room chair at 11 p.m. … and stayed like that until 3:15 a.m. Woke up at 3:15 and realized, “Oh, hey, I never packed my lunch for tomorrow.” THIS is the true W30 challenge–before this challenge I 100% would’ve crawled straight into bed and called Jimmy John’s the next day. But I knew fast food is basically not an option whatsoever (even Panera is basically out because most of their meats/soups/salads have sugar or soy in them somewhere) so I HAD to pack a lunch. I groggily made my precious egg salad at 3:20 a.m., etc. etc, then crawled into my actual bed close to 4 a.m. Definitely not ideal. I HAVE to start 1) going to bed an earlier time and 2) packing lunch ASAP when I get home at night. Because Day 13…

Day 13 – OH HELLO GROGGY MORNING. Yeah, you don’t say I only slept 2.5 hours in my bed last night? Everything was painful and hard this morning. However, things did start to pick up at lunch–that egg salad was everything I dreamed it would be and more. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thanks for being in my life again, Mayo, love you. I made a conscious decision before heading home that I was NOT going to prep meals — I had enough to get me through Saturday, which I’m planning for my big cook day, and I just wanted to relax. It still took me an hour to whip up dinner, hmph. HOWEVER, it was also one of my best dinners yet: chicken breast with Tessemae’s ketchup (like a cross between regular ketchup and BBQ sauce, yum!), roasted Brussels sprouts with prosciutto, and pan-fried plantains. Yeah, I did all of that! I was pretty happy with myself. Grocery list-making is still a very long process (took me like 45 minutes to plan my next trip to the store), so I’m still hoping for that to get better over time. Finally, I discovered broccoli can go bad and stink up your entire fridge/kitchen/apartment. It was so bad that I immediately took the trash out, except our landlords had already taken the garbage cans to our curb, so there I was at 9:30 p.m. dragging a bag allllllll the way to the road when it was like -2 degrees outside. Struggle, meet real.

Day 14 – TWO WEEKS! I’VE MADE IT TWO WEEKS! When I think about all the ways my mind has shifted (angrily, at times) in just two weeks, it’s kind of astonishing. Here’s just a very quick rundown in the ways I’ve changed since starting Whole30 two weeks ago:

1) I sleep through the night now. A typical night of sleep for me for years has meant waking up at least once in the middle of the night.

2) I already have the yes/no ingredients fairly memorized. Grocery shopping, while still an adventure, doesn’t seem so daunting now that I basically know off the top of my head “Yup, that’s OK” or “Nope, this is off-limits.”

3) I’m already not missing certain things. Bread? I’m surviving without it so far. I haven’t thought about needing a dessert to feel “complete.” Every time I start thinking about fast food I try to remember how icky I would feel after usually. Perhaps the most surprising of all: Outside of days 3-5 probably, I really haven’t thought about cheese all that much. Crazy? Maybe.

4) It’s just 30 freakin’ days. Every time I start thinking about weighing myself, in particular, I remember: It’s 30 freakin’ days. I can do anything for 30 days.

5) This is a big one: It’s totally shifting the way I think about food. I’m realizing more and more that I don’t have to live to eat; I eat to live. Food is great and delicious and all that, but really, I can live and not feel all that repressed eating what I’m eating currently. Also, I can’t tell you how freeing this experience has been for me mentally, particularly as a person who calorie-counted every time I wanted to lose weight in the past. Yes, it would work for me, but always really, really restricted me because why would I eat an avocado if it “used up” 250 of my precious calories? I could have two servings of chips for that much instead? Guess what I would choose. And I felt hungry or unsatisfied about 70% of the time when calorie counting. Whole30 is shifting me to think about what I want to eat…without any fear of “running out” of calories.

And now, a list of ways The Struggle is Still Real:

1) I have to grocery shop minimum of once a week now. A massive chunk of my diet is now produce, so this is just reality.

2) Cooking is still something I’m learning how to do…and enjoy. I had bright flashes of “Hey, this isn’t so bad” this week, but overall it’s still hard to come back from work and immediately go into making a dinner instead of just lazying around for a bit before popping a chicken patty into the microwave. Also, as I highlighted earlier in this post, gone are the days of “Oh, I’m tired/got home later/don’t feel like packing a lunch” and just having Jimmy John’s deliver to work the next day. I HAVE to have a lunch packed, every day. It’s still an adjustment.

3) I’m still figuring out how to balance my checkbook while buying fresh/organic stuff so much now, especially if I stick with a similar diet after this.

Tomorrow is the official halfway point of my Whole30! YAY!

 

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Uncategorized, Whole30

Whole30 Week 1: a day-by-day analysis

OK, so seven days ago I got crazy and decided to do something called Whole30. Basically, it’s a clean-eating program designed to get your body back to square one and without sugar (but also dairy, grains, alcohol and legumes are out for 30 days, too). I kind of came to the decision after 1) being weighed at my doctor’s office and realizing I was a little, um, heavier than I had thought and 2) hearing raves from several friends who were in various stages of it. Hearing things like “my husband stopped snoring halfway through” and “I’ve never had this much energy or felt this GOOD” were motivating things to hear. Also, I had been feeling sluggish for weeks, and it was honestly starting to wear on me. I was ready for a hard reset.

After one eye-opening trip to Trader Joe’s (guys, SUGAR IS EVERYTHING! Seriously, look at your labels sometime and you’ll be amazed), I was ready. Without further ado, here’s a very real and honest breakdown of what each day of the past week has been like for me (links included for the food products I mention, btw):

Day 1 – Woo! This is awesome. Eating all dem healthy veggies and proteins. I had three hard boiled eggs in rapid succession (two for breakfast, one chopped up with my lunch salad), which might’ve been overdoing it. I went to a baby shower right after lunch and politely turned away an ENTIRE PLATE OF DESSERT (which looked amazing). I felt invincible after that, and the ladies at my table said they were so proud and I didn’t even know them before the shower. Fortunately, the shower was held at a tea house where we got to each choose a tea and had an entire teapot to ourselves for the afternoon, so I chugged that while enjoying a few pieces of fruit and passing off my adorable tea sandwiches to the gals around me. I felt pretty great and unstoppable all day. WHOLE30, HERE I COME.

Day 2 – Huh, I thought I was supposed to feel hungover or something today? Well, I feel GREAT! I drank black coffee from Starbucks this morning and didn’t die (after asking the barista a few dozen times “You didn’t put creamer in, right?”). I also didn’t experience my usual “I had a big lunch and now I’m feeling super sleepy” afternoon fatigue. I went shopping with my mom to gather spices, since I now have to, like, cook and stuff. I went home and prepped a few things — hard boiled some eggs, made some breakfast egg cups, and cooked up a pound of ground beef with some fajita seasoning I found at Penzeys. I wasn’t able to find any taco seasoning that was compliant, but desperate times called for desperate measures. The fajita seasoning is interesting with the ground beef, but whatever, at least my tongue has a new flavor to enjoy. I was in the kitchen for about two hours, which is a new record for me because I NEVER COOKED BEFORE. I mean, seriously. A typical dinner for me in the past is basically “let’s pull this frozen chicken patty out of the freezer and nuke it for a few minutes” with a side of chips. Anddddd that was pretty much it. SUPER HEALTHY STUFF. So, if nothing else, this Whole30 thing will force me to actually learn how to cook, I suppose.

Day 3 – Oh boy. The struggle became very real this day. I woke up and instantly felt “off.” Couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed for almost an hour because I just didn’t feel like it. I felt like crying for no reason at all as I drove to work, followed quickly by a bout of rage ( and this continued throughout the day, hooray!). I waited too long to eat lunch and had to battle a fuzzy head for awhile. I went home and had grand aspirations of prepping a bunch of food for upcoming meals, but no. It took me an hour just to cook dinner and pack my lunch and dinner for the next day (since I go straight to a Bible study on Tuesday nights after work). I was already getting pretty annoyed with this whole prep work thing. I went to bed and called it a day, because man, Day 3 was the wooooooorst.

Day 4 – Woke up today and realized people and things were good again, and I no longer had the urge to punch things. However, I did wake up with a migraine. I have a prescription for those so I popped a pill, which thankfully took the edge off. I felt a little hazy on and off throughout the day but overall not too bad. I felt pretty bloated all day long, so I did a little research and saw that nuts can sometimes have that effect. I had been “enjoying” (yes, the quotes are there on purpose because raw nuts are still pretty boring in my world) almonds for a few days in a row, so I skipped those on Day 4 and felt much less bloated on Day 5. I changed my salad life FOREVER that night when I sprinkled on some Penzeys Fox Point seasoning on my salad. SO GOOD. Seasonings should definitely be a thing on salads, especially if you’re going to eat as many as I eat for the next 26 days. I went to Bible study that night and got home around 10, so I quickly threw together food together for the next day. I was browsing on my phone before bed, which is when my life forever charged. I FOUND COMPLAINT BACON, YOU GUYS. Also, compliant mayo, ranch and ketchup!, since I’m not yet at a point where I feel confident enough to attempt to make my own. WEEEEEE, can’t wait until these bad boys arrive in the mail. I might kiss them, who knows. *note: I only ended up ordering the Tessemae’s condiments for now — the bacon is $20 shipping.**cries* Maybe next paycheck…

Day 5 – Had my first food dream during the night: I went and ate one white chocolate-covered pretzels. I’m not sure why, but it was a vivid dream and I woke up CONVINCED I had ruined my Whole30. I almost started crying. But then I realized, phew, I hadn’t! All was right in the world still! Another day, another headache. Curse you, sugar and the hold you once had on my body. Also, I overslept and had to race out the door to make it to work on time. A friend, who finished Whole30 yesterday, messaged me and said she finally stepped on a scale after not going near one for 30 days (follow the rules, peeps!), and she lost 12 pounds! Without even exercising! That was exciting to hear. I was informed that I should be really blending my coffee with the coconut oil, not whisking it, so I guess I should get a blender? My hastily thrown together lunch from last night was actually a success: frozen broccoli that steams in the bag for 5 minutes in the microwave with some diced prosciutto I threw in. YUM. Also, the bag had 4 cups of broccoli in it. I. AM. STUFFED. Shortly after lunch, word spread quickly that there was a build-your-own taco bar downstairs. I wanted to cry. Also, I can’t stop thinking about potato chips. Like, seriously. The Applegate organic all-beef hot dogs are quickly becoming a favorite of mine — go ahead and judge. I looked forward to them all day just because I knew I had packed them for my dinner. Went to my Wednesday night Bible study and was satisfied sipping a cup of tea as everyone ate pretzels and cheese dip. Went home and decided to attempt to make kale chips, except the kale chips burned and the smoke detector started going off at 9:30 at night. Our landlords and their small children live above, so my stress level went through the roof as I’m fanning a beeping smoke detector. I threw together a lame salad, spent like an hour planning my grocery list for the next day, called it a freakin’ night.

Day 6 – Woke up crabby, muttering things like “Stupid grocery shopping” and “I hate cooking I hate cooking I hate cooking” over and over. My inner struggle is increasingly becoming more “I really freaking hate all this time spent in the kitchen/it’s taken me so long and I’m not getting enough sleep because I spent like an hour planning a grocery list last night.” I’m also hitting salad fatigue. Went grocery shopping after work and got pretty crabby in the process. I got sick of asking the deli guy “Can you tell me if there’s sugar in THIS meat?”, got sick of spending more money, got sick of staring at other people’s carts and wishing I had what they had in theirs. Went home, made a quick dinner of two Applegate hot dogs because I was starving, then I started another round of cooking. I made some more egg cups, kale chips (finally didn’t burn them…but I didn’t make them crispy enough 😦 ) and salmon cakes. The salmon cakes are delish! However, I was just frustrated all night. SO over all the work it takes to cook things from scratch. I fantasized about quitting Whole30 as I prepped and cooked, though I’m way too stubborn to actually quit. Went to bed crabby. Crabby day all around. The end.

Day 7 – I woke up in a SIGNIFICANTLY better mood. It’s Friday! I made it to Day 7! WOOOO! Sure, I’m still a little stressed out about having to do MORE cooking this weekend, but hey, it’s Friday. Also, I’ve noticed I’ve been starting to sleep slightly better at night, or so I think. And maybe my stomach is a little less bloated? I’m telling myself that. People have been really awesome and supportive of me throughout this process, and that has really made a world of a difference on my down days. I’ve realizing this “journey” is far more emotional and mental than I had imagined. Physically, it really hasn’t been that bad — the mood swings have been mostly manageable (outwardly) and the headaches haven’t been all that bad. But I realized today that I think I’m so mad about all this meal prep/cooking stuff because I’m attached emotionally and mentally to the ease of fast food. On busy days, fast food is there for me…to make my life easier. It’s not so much about the food (at least I don’t think so); it’s about being very attached to the idea that fast food makes my life better because it’s easier. I’m working through that as we speak. I had three salmon cakes from last night for lunch NOM NOM NOM. Going to a friend’s house tonight, where packed salad will once again make another experience. But who cares! It’s Friday! And Whole30 is kind of making me become an adult even if I hate it at the moment! Also, I’m not eating junky stuff or quitting! Wins all around!

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