I am finally feeling better and am trying to tackle some clutter. And the clutter is winning.
Monthly Archives: January 2013
What I learned from my first Whole 30
I’m not even sure where to begin with this. I began Whole 30 on November 1st on a whim after reading this blog post a few days earlier. She is one of my favorite bloggers and she really had me thinking about the junk I was putting in my mouth every day. I was intrigued and went to the Whole30 site to check it out. “This is doable”, I thought to myself.
I set my intention to begin the program. I signed up for the daily emails from WHole30. It cost $14 but I knew I would need the help.
On Halloween night, I ate chocolate and drank a glass of wine. I knew I wouldn’t see anymore for thirty days so I treated myself.
I started my first day with eggs and black coffee and I just went from there.
I noticed changes almost instantly. First the weight around my middle that I had been holding onto for two years melted away in the first two weeks. I had to go buy a belt The first week was challenging because as I said before, I was dreaming of cupcakes. It was maddening. Strangely, at the height of these dreams, I received my daily email telling me that I was not alone. It seems it is a common occurrence for many people doing Whole 30 to experience dessert dreams where you binge on sweet treats. It was crazy.
And it went away.
The remaining 2 weeks brought even more changes. For one my skin changed. I have battled eczema since childhood but it disappeared in those thirty days. And my pallor itself was just brighter. I lost all the grey undertones which had crept in (I had assumed it was aging). And my eyes just looked clearer and brighter. I was amazed!
The real learning came at the end of my Whole30 when I began to reintroduce foods. I started with rice. No problem. I was still happy and my tummy was happy. It was nice to feel that fullness that rice can bring.
Then a few days later, I reintroduce dairy. At first I felt ok. But day 2 I awoke with body aches. I thought I had the flu. But I did some research and body aches can be a sign of a dairy allergy. Uh oh. So after yoga class that day I treated myself to my first delicious mocha in thirty -five days. And within an hour I felt terrible. I had stomach cramps and my mind felt just plain fuzzy. And I began to swell. Yes swell. I blew up.
This had not been an uncommon occurrence in my life. It started when I was about twenty-six. I noticed my fingers would swell when I was hot. I thought it was weird but mostly ignored it. It became much worse during my pregnancies in my late twenties and early thirties. My hands and feet often looked like big paws. Sometimes I could barely move my fingers. Everyone told me it was normal for pregnancy but the last trimester for both of my kids was tough. If I exerted myself in any way, my hands would swell and turn bright red and start to itch. No one could explain it.
My late thirties have been a bloat fest. I am just always puffy. Running seemed to make it worse. Anything over 5 miles and my hands and face swell like balloons. No one could really explain what was happening.
When I picked up my oldest son from school the day of the mocha, he immediately said, “What’s wrong with your face? Why is it so fat?”
It was the only answer.
So I don’t eat it anymore. No more cheese (glorious cheese), no more yogurt, no more delicious mochas. It’s over.
And it has been difficult. I’m not going to lie. It has been tough to accept. I have tried to eat it since the experiment and the results are always the same, only now we can also add stomach cramps to the list as well. It’s not worth it.
The good news is that goat cheese does not seem to bother me so at least I have that.
The next food I tried was wheat. I suspected I had a wheat allergy last year because of the swelling. I also have struggled with some alopecia. Yep, hair loss. Lovely. I have a huge mane of thick curly hair. My hair is basically it’s own entity. I usually don’t even consider it a part of me. It has a mind of it’s own. About a year ago I noticed a bald spot about the size of a nickel in the front of my head right behind my hairline. I also was losing parts of my eyebrow. Of course I panicked. I went to the doctor, got some steroid cream and had a couple of blood tests. They showed that I did not have celiac’s nor did I seem to have a high gluten intolerance. Whew! What a relief!
Eventually, the hair on my head grew back, the eyebrow dent was touch and go. It seemed to disappear when life got stressful. Thank goodness for eyebrow pencil, you know?
So I didn’t think i had a problem with gluten. Until the day i reintroduced it.
My son and I went to Whole Foods after school. I grabbed a container of angel hair pasta with a simple olive oil and lemon base. I ate it rather quickly…it was delicious. Anyway, my son and I were sitting there talking and I started scratching. It took about five minutes from ingestion. “Gosh! Why am I suddenly so ITCHY?!” I exclaimed. And then I gasped…GLUTEN! NO!!!!!!!!
I did not want to be allergic to gluten. But it seems I am. Stomach cramps ensued by the time we arrived home. It was not a fun night. I had a very unhappy tummy.
And my eczema returned. And I got bumpy around my mouth. And I can’t eat gluten. It’s a big bummer.
Have I rebelled? Yes.
And I get the same result every time.
“Stop it!” my husband admonished. “You’re an itching machine!”
And it’s true. I am. When I eat gluten.
I am so glad I tried the Whole30. It opened my eyes to all of the problems that have plagued me for the last ten years or so.
Do I miss gluten? Of course I do. I miss it a lot.
Thank goodness there are alternatives available because I honestly can not imagine a life without bread or pasta or pancakes or cupcakes.
The good news is that as long as I avoid gluten and dairy, my tummy is happy, I’m not all puffy and my eyebrows have completely grown back.
The pay off is worth it to me.
Paleo Sweet Potato Soup or Fun With Gadgets
A week or two ago, I tried this awesome recipe for sweet potato soup from Melissa Joulwan.
I tried it because it has bacon in it. Bacon!! We love the bacon. I love bacon so much that I never order it at a restaurant. Know why? Because they never give you enough! I can never have enough bacon. My eldest feels the same. We love the bacony goodness of bacon.
I was a bit intimidated by the recipe, mainly because I didn’t have quite everything I needed and I was in my pajamas and did not feel like getting dressed and going to the store (I told you I was lazy). I didn’t have chives but I had some scallions for the garnish. Good enough for me! I thought I didn’t have chicken broth but I dug around in my fridge and found some broth I made just a couple days prior in my crock pot. That was some hard core broth.
And Oooh! the whole recipe starts with frying up some bacon!
Mmm…yummy. I had to stop myself from eating it. After I cooked the bacon, I removed it from the pan to use as a garnish. Which is something I appreciate because I have found that bacon loses it’s UMPH when it gets left into most dishes to simmer and bake.
When I saw I needed to finely slice the sweet potatoes, I panicked. But only for a moment because I remembered that we have a handy dandy food processor. I always forget about that thing and to tell the truth, it scares me a bit. My parents had a food processor they never used because my mom said “It made too much of a mess”. But then again, mom’s always been a bit of a food Luddite. She won’t even use her dishwasher because “It just doesn’t get the dishes clean enough!”
My husband says I need to forget my childhood if I am going to be happy.
So I pulled out the food processor and found the right blade. And got to chopping. It was so easy! And look at those gorgeous taters!
Melissa’s recipe calls for Ras el Hanout which I had never heard of before but apparently is a melange of spices including cinnamon, alspice and other yumminess. Lucky for me, I had already made a batch when I cooked a ground lamb dish. I saved the blend in an airtight container and stored it in my fridge. Why in my fridge? I don’t know, it just seemed like a good idea.
I sauteed the other veg and spice and added all of my stuff and simmered. It looked like this:
And then it was time to puree. I was so excited. I got to pull out our brand new big gun blender. My husband is a Christmas baby and I was planning on giving him the new blender for his birthday…and then our old blender died in November so his birthday came a little early. Anyway, I had not used it before. He insisted on giving me a lesson. There seem to be a few steps. You flick this switch and then turn this dial SLOWLY and then the magic happens!
Once I was done pureeing, I poured it into cute bowls and garnished with BACON!! and chopped scallions.
And it was awesome!
I have to say that fancy pants blender really pureed the heck out of that soup. Not a lump in sight and it was smooth and creamy. Almost like you would imagine hot ice cream to be.
Everyone loved it. Everyone raved! My boys asked for seconds. The dog tried to eat some.
It was glorious.
I couldn’t have done it without the gadgets. They truly make life easier. And as far as the clean up, The Husband handled that.
I was in soup savasana.
I Fell off the Wagon
I guess my 2nd Whole30 is not going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. First I ate rice. (The horror!) Then I drank wine. And last night, I ate a big piece of birthday cake. It wasn’t even my birthday!
Still, I have been eating a great deal of Whole30 approved foods. However, that is not “doing the program”. So I have to start over. And the thing is, I don’t mind starting over because I know this is the best way for me to be eating anyway. Hmmm…must figure this out.
Part of me feels bad. Part of me likes cake. I am not perfect.
I don’t want this to turn into a spiral of shame. I’ve got to pick myself up.
And also, I found there are to ways to spell Savasana/Shavasana. Not sure which one to go with so I guess I will use both.
I went to a rough yoga class on Monday but I made it to savasana and I almost started laughing.
So I guess the journey continues.
Ran Three Miles Today
It took forever to get the boys out of the house. I wasn’t going to bring the dog but she got really happy when she saw the boys bring out their scooters and helmets. I couldn’t leave her at home.
Yes. I exercise even when my boys are home for winter break. Are you kidding? They need the exercise just as much as I do!
Tomorrow is a house cleaning day and no, I don’t have help, it’s just me and the boys (this means it’s mostly going to be just me). Still, I wonder if we can pull out the bikes and go for a ride tomorrow.
The weather is one of the things I adore about California.
My yoga studio does not have childcare. It’s times like this, I wish they did. But we will do our best to get our exercise in somehow.
Day 2 of Whole30 is going well. I even ate fast food today and didn’t break any rules! I got a burger wrapped in lettuce leaf with lots of veggies. That’s another great thing about California, In and Out Burger. I don’t know what I would do without them.
So far, doing Whole30 seems easier this time around because I already know what to expect and i didn’t really go that far off program in December so hopefully this will be a breeze.
My mom is coming this weekend for her birthday. It’s a big one. We need to make some plans.
Ready to Go
Ok. I’m up. I’m dressed. I’m ready to go and already that little voice is saying to me, “You don’t need to actually RUN. Just do a nice brisk walk and you’ll be ok.”
I hate that little voice.
I find most days that a part of me is constantly trying to talk the other part of me into exercising. I wish my brain could just cooperate.
I don’t get why there’s a part of me that does not want to get going. What is that?
It’s inertia, that’s what it is. Plain and simple.
I need lots of motivation to do anything. Yesterday, I found a really nice long sleeved technical shirt on sale for 40% off. Hello incentive! I’m wearing it right now and my brain is still saying, “Really? You’re going to sweat in that shirt and you’ll only get to wear it for an hour or so. And its so cozy…and flattering! You don’t find shirts like that every day. And you’re just going to go sweat in it? Stink it up?!! What are you thinking? Just be lazy and comfy in your new shirt.”
This stuff is hard.
And the shirt is very cozy.
Maybe I need a new incentive.
New Year, New Me
Happy New Year. While I am happy to see 2013. I didn’t mind 2012 either. Last night we had a cozy time at home. Movies and video games. A nice family dinner. I had a final glass of wine before beginning my 2nd Whole30 today.
Yep, you read that right, no booze on Whole30. I was concerned that this would be a problem during my first Whole30 in November but it really wasn’t at all. There were times that I missed a nice glass of red wine in the evening but I didn’t crave it.
I like to stay positive when I talk about Whole30, so I will start by telling you what I CAN eat. You ready?
Meat, fruit and vegetables (except no potatoes, no corn and no legumes-Darn it! I still had to tell you what I can’t eat!).
And that’s it.
30 days. No grains, no added sugar, no dairy-including butter, no weird seed oils (canola, corn, grape) of any kind.
I switched it up and started using coconut oil in everything. Oh coconut oil. How I love you!
Was it hard?
No. Not like you would think. For me, it was more of a mental game. I got a lot of complaining from my subconscious in the beginning.
My first two weeks of Whole30, I craved cupcakes. Every night I dreamed of eating cupcakes. I would be sitting at a table full of cupcakes and just munching away. And then I would feel horribly guilty. “Hey! I’m not supposed to be eating these!”
One night, I decided I must be dreaming, so I tried to pinch myself and it didn’t hurt so I realized I was asleep. It was such a relief! I did not want to go off plan in any way. No way!
See, if you mess up and go off plan, you are supposed to start over at day one.
The prospect of starting over made the cupcake dreams seem like a nightmare until I pinched myself.
So what do I eat on Whole30? A lot of meat, quite a bit of eggs, a lot of vegetables and some fruit. Mid-afternoon munchies switched from a scone or cookie or crackers and cheese to a banana or some nuts (but not peanuts-they’re legumes).
My husband made his amazing salsa and I put it on everything. I dipped my meat in it.
I still drink coffee but I stopped putting sugar in it. If I need to change it up, I add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.
It was tough initially but eventually, I got used to it.
I also bought the book “Well Fed” and with it, I learned to make some incredible meals for myself and my family. With sauces and garnishes too! My sons’ favorite is a little recipe called “The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat”. They call it “The World’s Best Chicken” and I swear, they beg for it. Side dishes are vegetables. My kids haven’t even asked for pasta or rice. They don’t seem to miss it.*
*I need to clarify that my children are not doing Whole30. Their lunches include grains and dairy (cheese glorious cheese!) and even some sugar at times, but they eat dinner with me so they get to eat what I eat.
Whole30 changed the way I think about food. And it has changed my family too.
And yes, I had almost immediate results. I dropped ten pounds in mere weeks. It was pretty amazing in and of itself especially since after that trip to the endocrinologist, I had kind of resigned myself to being the weight I had been fighting for two long years. My hair was shinier. My skin was brighter. My eyes even look clearer than they did before. I’m also sleeping much better than I have in years.
There’s a science to all of this. The creators of Whole30 wrote an excellent book that explains all of our chemical and hormonal reactions to the foods we eat in their book “It Starts With Food”. I bought it for my Nook and read it at the beach in one sitting. Eye opening stuff.
But the most interesting thing happened when I finished my Whole30 and began adding in the foods I had eliminated. I will tell you more about that later. I’ll tell you now it was definitely an eyeopener when my new diet became a crazy science experiment.
And you probably think I ran to the bakery for a cupcake the minute I was done with my Whole30. But I didn’t. I still haven’t had a cupcake, even a month after finishing. Even with the holidays. Cupcake free! And I have a surprisingly good reason for staying away.
So today marks my first day of doing this all over again. So far, so good. Eating right and drinking my bubbly water. I feel pretty good.
I even got a workout today. I had coffee with a friend near my yoga studio. On a whim, I checked their schedule before heading home and there was a Yin class starting in 15 minutes. I’ve never done Yin before. It was ok. It felt like an hour of stretchy shavasana. Meh. I guess I like to work harder than I thought. Who knew? Whatever, it’s New Year’s Day. I decided to begin my year with a meditative whisper. That’s ok.
However, I think tomorrow is a run day. So if you see a chubby teenager running down the street with two kids on scooters and her crazy dog in tow. Yeah…that’s probably me. Be kind when you drive by. We’re all doing the best we can.