Sticking a Fork in the Whole30

Well it’s about time I give you my Whole30 wrap up, don’t you think? Only a few weeks behind, but better late than never. Actually, I’m kind of glad I’m writing this a couple weeks after we finished our Whole30 because it gives me a little more insight into the whole experience. (And if everything I just wrote makes zero sense to you, you might want to read Part I, II and III)

The biggest thing for me is that this whole experience has really changed the way I think about food, the way we shop for it and how I’m ok with looking at good, healthy food as something worth investing in, because really I’m investing in my long term health and well being. Oh, and this morning for breakfast, I had a smoothie made from Kale, 1/2 an avocado, goji berries and applesauce. Hello, hippie much?

I can honestly say I loved the way my body, mind and spirit felt during the Whole30. The best word I can use to describe it as is…clean. And the first week or so after getting off the Whole30, and going back to a non-paleo diet,  Joey and I both felt like crap. I’m still getting random headaches here and there and I truly feel like I have less sustainable energy throughout the day.   I’m not saying it’s ALL related to food, because I know I’m more stressed with work at the moment, but a curious coincidence, dontcha think?

Full disclosure: Post Whole30 I’ve totally fallen back down the sugar rabbit hole. I seriously can’t stop myself when it comes to one cookie vs. three, and the fact that we had hot fudge brownie fixings in the house from Joey’s birthday, well it was all over for me. No. Self. Control. I need to get this in check. Like yesterday.

Eating Habits Now: I’m much more relaxed about the things I’m eating, but I am trying to stick to a mostly paleo diet, choosing lean meats, veggies, fruits and nuts as much as possible. We have yet to buy milk or cheese for the house (not to say I haven’t had either outside of the house, but it’s a start). I made a cauliflower rice dish just last week.  After watching Food Inc. again, I’m very serious about only wanting to buy grass fed beef and free range chicken. I’ll keeping going to my favorite local produce stand until it closes for the year. We’re changing. It won’t happen over night, but I feel a conviction deep inside of me.

Whole30 PartII?: Joey, completely under his own influence, wants to do another Whole30 in October. I think he feels bad because of all of those cheat days 😉 We’ll see what happens.

As for all the questions of, “Isn’t it hard to eat like that?” I’ll quote my favorite motivational line from It Starts with Food:

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

So who’s coming over for some Paleo Southwest Meatloaf tonight?

Whole 30: Week 3 In the Bag

Week 3 of our Whole 30 is in the bag (if you’re new, check out week 1 and week 2 recaps), and I’m still going strong. My main feeling after realizing we only have one week left to go is…umm, this is easy! I’m starting to think about what things look like post-whole30, and I can honestly say I think I’ll be making some long term changes to the way we buy our food, what we buy and how we cook. And I’m super excited about all of these things (and yes, that’s in a dorky way just like it sounds).

Full Disclosure: I told you about my breaking the no-alcohol rule for a bachelorette party. Well, Joey broke it too during a recent work trip out of state (cough cough and maybe a few other times too cough cough), and there may or may not have been late night taco bell on said work trip (GASP!!), but I have to give the man credit for sticking to the program even when I know he has been ready to give up and eat a pound of pasta. He’s a guy. He has a (enviously) fast metabolism. And he works out. I think his body seriously craves, and needs, that carb energy to keep him going. He depends on those quick, filling meals and sometimes a can of tuna and a sweet potato just don’t cut it.

I also have a bit of a leg up since I have access to an awesome salad bar/full cafeteria 5 days a week at work, where Joey doesn’t. And instead of ‘cheating’ on the Whole30, he’ll eat a meager lunch of whatever he can throw together quickly. But Joey + small meal + crazy work schedule = Mr. CrankyPants (Love you babe! smooch smooch!).

Moving along.

How am I feeling? My update is much the same as last time. More sustainable energy throughout the day, can forgo my morning coffee without getting a headache, and my body just feels…better. I don’t feel, however, like I have any superhuman, health food induced powers. It’s not like this amazing, SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS, transformation of body and soul. I  just simply feel good about myself and my food choices.

Food Discovery of the Week: Cauliflower rice is AWESOME! I don’t have a food processor, so we put ours through the blender a little at a time to break it down into rice sized pieces (see photo above, not my photo but it’s a dish using cauliflower rice). Joey sauteed it with olive oil, garlic and other spices. Added some of this awesome andouille sausage we got from a local natural market, and a green pepper and zuchinni from our favorite produce stand, and holy cow was this dish awesome. I went back for seconds…and thirds. We were so stuffed we couldn’t even think about yonanas for dessert 😉 Need to make this one again asap.

For Your Instant Queue: Some food for thought documentaries if you’re interested in making some changes to your diet, or understanding more about our food industry and food’s role in our overall health. I highly recommend you watch Food Inc. and Food Matters. I know you have to be careful of what you take as gospel, but starting to question, research, and understand is never a bad thing.

Oh, and if anyone is planning on trying a Whole30 (I know Campbell is!), or switching to a paleo based diet, I’d love to hear updates on how it’s going!

Happy Happy Friday, All!

Whole 30: OOooo We’re Halfway There

I’m having a little Bon Jovi moment as I realize that we’ve hit the halfway mark on our Whole30 journey. I may or may not be doing some Jersey Shore-esque fist pumps from this side of the computer screen.

But let’s focus now because I have a confession. As I mentioned in my last post, I was in Philly for a bachelorette party this past weekend and I did enjoy a few alcoholic beverages :). Yes, that is a Whole30 No-No, but I gave it a ‘whoops, sorry about that’ and moved right along. Haven’t broken any other rules, I promise you that, and I’m not going to let one little indiscretion throw me completely off track.

Wednesday, for example, was a huge test of my willpower. First, I spent my lunch hour in a meeting where there was free lunch, but it was all “sandwichs, cookies, soda” so I rode it out with a bottle of water and grabbed a grilled chicken salad post meeting. Normally I would have had at least 2 cookies, and maybe taken one for a late afternoon snack. And speaking of my sugar monster, later that evening we had consumer marketing research sessions where we’re put in a client lounge with bowls of mini-chocolate bars, cookies, and M&M dispensers at every turn. And to top it off there were gourmet cupcakes to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. It was so tempting to say, “Oh just one cupcake, it’s a special occasion,” but then I channeled my inner badass, reminded myself that I’m stronger than a f**kin’ cupcake (sorry, my inner badass has a potty mouth), and grabbed some cashews and a cup of decaf hazelnut coffee.

I think back to all those sugar temptations and if I wasn’t doing this Whole30 challenge, I realized I probably would have easily consumed somewhere around 1,000-ish additional calories. That’s a ton of sugar- fat- zero-nutritional-benefits calories. Sugar is such a slippery slope for me, where one little cookie turns into 3 cookies and a cupcake, so knowing that it’s all off limits somehow makes it easier.

Here are my other thoughts/discoveries from this past week:

  • Definitely feeling like I have more sustained energy throughout my day. No peaks and valleys, because I’m not experiencing over-carbsumption or sugar related highs and crashes.
  • I skipped morning coffee three days in a row and MUCH to my surprise I had no caffeine withdrawal headaches. Amazing.
  • Eating Kale makes me feel like Popeye. Why did it take me 28 years to discover Kale?
  • I made some awesome blackberry glazed pork chops on Monday, and some bangin’ homemade thai coconut chicken soup on Tuesday. I have more culinary superpowers than I knew I had. (PS: I need to do a post with recipes, but my way of cooking is usually 1/3-recipe + 2/3 improvising, so it might take a little time to put that together)
  • My go-to breakfast has been a sunny side up egg (two egg whites, one egg yolk) over a bed of arugula. Yum.
  • Raw cashews are AH.MAZE.ING.

15 days down, 15 days to go. Thanks for coming along for the ride even if you’re all calling me a hippie soul cleanser behind my back 😉 Yeah, you know who you are!

Whole30: One Week Down, Three to Go

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High-five to week one of our Whole30 being complete (if you’re not sure what the Whole30 is, read more here)! And I can happily report that we haven’t touched any grains, dairy, processed sugar or alcohol — so far, so good! Since we’re already generally healthy people, I will say that it wasn’t as hard as some of the things I read claimed it would be. Honestly, the only thing I’ve been craving is Pop Tarts, which is especially weird given I very rarely eat a Pop Tart, so that was just my sugar habit talking. Other than that, I don’t feel deprived at all. I do think Joey is missing his pasta and rice though!

I’ve learned that the key is to be prepared! As in, stock the kitchen with tons of healthy options, hit up the blogosphere for Whole30 approved recipes and know that you will be spending a lot more time cleaning pots and pans. I put up this little chalkboard menu in our kitchen on Monday to help plan our dinners for the week, and it was a huge hit.  It keeps us both on the same page with what the expect and helped us plan for a variety of meals/flavors so things don’t get boring.

It also helps that Joey and I are doing this together. And we’re both so competitive that we would LOVE to see the other person be the first to break the Whole30 and drink a beer, or eat a noodle :). I just realized that sounds like we have no interest in the other person succeeding, which isn’t entirely true. However, we have been known to make the Dentist determine whose cavity is worse than the others in order to win some hygiene-bragging-rights. (Mine was wider, his was deeper, Dentist said that meant it was a tie. I think it means I win.)

So how am I feeling? I would say after 7 days I don’t feel like I can jump tall buildings in a single bound or anything, but I also haven’t gotten any, what I’ve long suspected are dairy related, stomach aches. I do feel a sense of confidence though that we’ll be able to make it through the 30 days. Stay tuned!

It Starts with Food Part II: Setting the Standards

So now that you’ve had time to digest Part I (pun intended), I’m back with Part II to explain what those foods that make us ‘more healthy’ look like compared to those foods that make us ‘less healthy.’ Here’s how Dallas & Melissa Hartwig lay out their “Good Food Standards” in In Starts with Food.

The food we eat should:

1. Promote a healthy psychological response.

2. Promote a healthy hormonal response.

3. Support a healthy gut.

4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation.

Are you asking yourself what foods fit those standards? Great question! And here’s the answer: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and the right fats. NYCathy sent me a text after Part I asking about olive oil, and yes olive oil falls into the ‘right fats’ category, along with avocado, avocado oil, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, olives and more. Hungry yet?

So what should you be limiting and/or cutting out completely to make yourself more healthy? Sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, seed oils, grains, legumes and dairy. Basically, there’s a reason you can’t eat just one salty, greasy potato chip and there’s a reason I could eat an entire bowl of Starbucks whipped cream covered in caramel drizzle (wonder what the Barista would think of that order), and to further that there’s a reason that indulgences like those don’t leave us feeling satiated, but rather leave us wanting more, more, MORE.  It boils down to the psychological and hormonal responses these foods have on us, which in turn impact so many other things associated with our overall health (ie high cholesterol, diabetes, headaches, allergies!).

Again, this is the high level stuff and if it interests you, and you want to understand more about the science behind it all, I recommend you read the book. Of course if you have a more general question, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to explain!

I’m looking forward to Part III, where I get to tell you about what’s called the “Whole30” and maybe even convince some of you to try it with me starting Aug. 1! Until then…