Update

So as you know, I finished the 30 days of this challenge and wrapped it up feeling….ok-ish. Nothing stellar. It’s been a couple more days of blargs but I’m realizing I’m just going to have to fine-tune my own diet and figure out over time/through trial-and-error what works for me. I’m still undecided about almond meal, since nut consumption (almonds or otherwise) hasn’t seemed to bother me at all BUT that epic pizza night seemed to slay my body. My husband wants to have another pizza night tonight and I’m not sure if I should try “our” pizza again or not. Risk it?

On a good note, I did decide to add some dairy back in to my life and haven’t really noticed any negative effects. I had a small latte the other day and felt fine, plus I’ve had some chocolate every day for the past 3. I need my choco fix! I found some 85% Organic chocolate that one of the bloggers recommended and MAN is it delicious. I mean soooooo good. But it’s going to be a pricey habit, since I could easily eat 1/2 a bar in a day (and that’s with willpower working overtime!) and the bars are $3+ a pop. So I’m going to have to figure out ways to get my fix that aren’t so indulgent!

This morning I had 1/2 a small cup of Fage yogurt to test the waters and everything seemed to slosh along nicely. It was an experience trying to eat the whole fat version of yogurt, I practically needed a knife and fork. But a teensy bit of organic raw honey (that one surprised me – really good!) and some fresh berries made it palatable and I’m sure I’ll come to really enjoy it. Time to break out a paleo granola recipe!

In good spirits today about a lifetime of paleo, we’ll see how my emotions ebb and flow. Just a few days ago, I wanted to throw in the towel and go back to “easy” eating since this all felt so worthless. But now that I’m feeling a little better again and noticing some of the positive changes (deeper sleep, fewer allergies/stuffiness, etc.), I don’t want to give it up. Plus, just a little effort has rewarded me with plenty of recipes for clean versions of food I miss/enjoy. It’ll just come down to picking and choosing, I think, when I “cheat” since there are way too many opportunities! We had a party invite tonight, we’re hosting a bbq tomorrow, I owe a friend a birthday drink/dessert, etc. I refuse to suffer the consequences of going off paleo every time, but I’ll definitely want to indulge now and then. How long do I have to wait until there are paleo desserts at my local cafe?  My husband says his friends who introduced us to this go out once/twice per year and just eat whatever the heck they want. For them, apparently, since it is so rare, their bodies don’t go all haywire and short out. I can see us adopting a similar policy and then also going off in much smaller ways a little more frequently. Because sometimes, a girl just needs a beer.

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Latest nonsense

It’s a hazy Sunday (in my brain, not outside where it is actually quite lovely!) and I have just a minute to make three notes on my Whole30 journey.

1.  I love my fridge.  Not the actual mechanics of it – though they are are perfectly adequate – but the way it looks when I open it up. Immediately in my face are two huge plastic cartons of greens, and then a quick scan registers in my brain just produce, some meat, eggs, various leftovers and farm milk for my boys.  It looks so happy and clear and devoid of the crap it used to house.  I know it is not “perfect” by any stretch, but man it looks so much healthier than it used to look and that makes me feel great.

2.  Maybe Whole30 was right about “paleo” breads and such.  I don’t know.  I still don’t buy into the reasoning behind avoiding certain foods merely because they make us think of other foods.  If the actual ingredients are acceptable by Whole30 standards, then the food is automatically acceptable by yours truly.  But last night I did make a paleo pizza crust for us – nothing but Whole30 ingredients – and I was soooo proud when we sat to eat.  It tasted much better than the last attempt at “pizza” and felt like a treat even though it was perfectly within the bounds of the challenge.  Totally worth the effort!  But sure enough, today I am really paying a price.  I can’t be 100% sure it’s the pizza that did me in, since it also had ground pork (which I’m not confident I have ever consumed before) and I did eat till I was VERY full.  Plus, I passed out shortly after eating, rather than the couple of hours later that I was “supposed” to.  But in my heart, I know somehow it was the pizza – maybe just too much almond meal in my body?  I felt pretty crummy upon wakeup and so far today, at 1pm, the only food I have been able to choke down has been one single carrot – and that was just because I wanted to see if eating would make me feel any better.  I’m going to have to really keep an eye on this stuff.

3.  Women are ridiculous.  Not me, of course!  I just mean women in general and our obsession with weight.  I saw my mother yesterday and the Whole30 challenge was not a surprise to her – I had seen her the week before and already explained the what/why/how.  At the time, she had invisibly rolled her eyes and silently shot energy waves at me to get over myself and my “healthy eating.”  Yet yesterday, she must’ve recognized a slight slimness in my frame and realized that Whole30 *could* be a way to drop a couple of pounds.  I still maintain that I have lost next to nothing – *possibly* as much as 5lbs (though it really all depends on the minute I choose to step on the scale), but more likely 2-3lbs.  Miniscule.  I have noticed that my clothes fit a little looser and some dresses I ordered to try on for an upcoming celebration were all too big.  So yes, I think I’ve slimmed a tiny bit.  But nothing drastic by any measure.  Yet, when my mother saw me and saw that I looked a little trimmer, she threw a backhanded compliment my way, “I love you, but, you’ve really lost too much weight.  You are just too skinny.”  This is NOT ACTUAL CONCERN.  First of all, I am nowhere near the stick-and-bones anyone would be worried about.  Second of all, when a woman says “You are too skinny” or “You’ve lost too much weight” what they really mean to say is, “Oh!  You’ve slimmed down a bit!  Something you are doing is working and I am jealous!  I want to do it, too!”  Sure enough, she kept up her “concern face” long enough to grill me about the specifics of our diet, what we are eating for meals, and how she might adopt changes.  I guess that’s what I wanted back when I asked “Will the Weight Matter,” but really the whole thing is insane.  If a guy said to another guy “Dude, you’ve lost too much weight” there would be no hidden compliment or agenda in there.  He’d be expressing concern.  If a woman says that, the recipient is supposed to glow with pride and thank the concerned citizen, followed by a declaration of just how wrong she is and how really, it’s nothing, I’ve actually gained weight and it’s disgusting how much I eat.  Sigh.

 

 

Groggy

Well, either Whole30 really does have me on a rollercoaster of energy (she’s up! she’s down!  the highest peak!  the lowest valley!) or another culprit is to blame.  I’m thinking it’s a combination of both.  It’s not that I fail to recognize the impact of a hunk of dramamine I bit off this morning, necessitated by the arrival at our boat launch only to find the boat rocking the dock up and down.  I get it – that made my brain as choppy as the open water.  But I don’t want to put all the blame on 1/2 of a 1/2 serving of meclazine.  I’ve found this food challenge impossibly squidgy to nail down and I swear every OTHER day I feel good.  Guess I how I feel the rest of the days?

Bad/tired/hungry/weird days like today leave me feeling far less optimistic about the future than chipper days like the last time I wrote.  I’m feeling a little grumbly/dizzy, and I reallllllly want to sip a gingerale to make me feel better.  Even if it only works in my mind, and produces no actual positive benefit to my body.  I’m feeling crankytired, so I reallllly want to enjoy something sweet and comforting to boost my spirit and temporarily spike my energy.  And I’m OVER the forever-long cooking process (not to mention the 30,000 minutes my husband & I each seem to spend washing dishes, cookware, prep bowls and the like), so I realllllly want to grab a pre-made granola bar, fix myself a sandwich on a napkin (sans plate means sans dishwashing!) or go to Starbucks to eat both of those things with my grande nonfat latte.  

I realized today that my kids are “suffering” a little, too.  Not because we are restricting their intake to a similarly small pool of foodstuffs, but because:  a)mommy & daddy are always cooking (my son tonight asked me what recipe I was looking for in Well Fed and when I asked how he knew it was a recipe book he replied, “Daddy is ALWAYS looking in there for a recipe”); b)the things we are always cooking offer no appeal in taste or smell, apparently, to my children (they are always whining about the smell!); c)dinner is now a slap-together-something-for-the-kids affair, since we end up preparing and eating dinner the two of us much later.  We enjoyed those 5pm powwows over the table, even if one kid was always spilling something and the other couldn’t stop talking long enough to take a bite.  Even if the food was “semi homemade” and probably 10X less healthy (with 10X more sodium).  It was nice to have and share a meal, rather than sit and watch them eat and try to remember not to instinctively lick the mac-and-cheese spoon.

Hopefully as we adjust after the 30 days, we’ll find better ways to eat/cook/schedule ourselves back to the dinner table.  But right now all I can think about is how tired and blargy I feel AGAIN, and how that makes me realllllly want some hot chocolate.  Mmmmmm.

YUM

If I can find more options like what I just devoured for lunch, maybe this Whole30 thing will live on past its current 30day sentence.

That time (pre-Whole30) when I weirdly bought that spiralizer and burnt some “curly fries?” Suddenly a genius forethought, not a kitchen fail. I spiralized myself some zucchini noodles today, fried ’em up a la Well Fed with garlic, oil, red pepper flake and almond meal “crumbs”, and spun myself a whole lot of yum. Lunchtime double-bonus? I was so sick of eggs this morning that I had eaten a quite terrible spinach-mushroom-sausage plate. Which MEANT that for lunch, I had the convenience of a quick protein which was just perfection scrambled atop my noodles.

And while I won’t claim to be feeling gangbusters yet, I will admit to overall feeling a little better of body the past day or two. Which means, I just ate something that easily felt like a “cheat” from an Italian restaurant, but instead did not come with a side of pasta bloat and blarg. I’m satiated and quite happy, actually.

Tonight I plan to make Well Fed‘s version of “pad thai” which will be another curious adventure. The spaghetti squash did deliver last night and magically transform into rice-looking-noodles, so those await my instructions from the fridge. If dinner is as yummy as lunch, well…..we might just be onto something.

Warning: Do not look directly at the Funball

Ok.  I’m a crank today.  Hormones or tiredness or stress, who knows.  Point is, I’m totally over this “not a diet but a diet-like lifestyle.”  I’m struggling to see the rosiness of the big picture when the small picture is so dull and grainy.  It’s Day 8 and I have yet to see even one benefit from this challenge.  Do I understand that it will take time to reset the body?  Sure.  Do I recognize that this is a positive life choice forever?  Absolutely.  Do I want to continue?  Not one bit.  But I will.

Everything is hard.  After a couple of years, I had just gotten into a kind of groove lately with cooking.  I was able to get a nice meal on the table for our early-bird special almost every night, and even when it was stressful or time-crunched, I took pride in the fact that we could sit down together because of my weekly planning and daily prep.  Now?  Out the window, I have to learn everything all over again.  I have zero “go to” recipes, no parts can be pre-made, and the ingredients I’m allowed to use are way more limited and many of them still missing from my pantry.  I don’t feel like I have the time or energy to re-learn everything, and hate that I have to spend so much time reading again, searching for recipes, grocery shopping on a twice-a-day basis.  My husband rocked out dinners last week, but I knew that wasn’t sustainable.  He’s got work to do and the whole point of nap time (which has been veeerrryyyy limited lately, sigh) and night-before-time and crockpot-time is that I should be able to get it done even with two wild, fighting boys begging for attention.  But I still don’t have a plan for tomorrow and I HATE feeling unprepared, like setting my alarm for a shoot without knowing where I’m going to get a camera.

And even with the changes, the new time stresses and the not-that-hard-suck-it-up meal prepping, I STILL wouldn’t be so grouchy if my body seemed to be enjoying this even a little!  But I still have no increased energy (if anything, I’m more tired), my body still feels blargy (I would’ve bet ANYTHING that after a week of ‘food detox’ I would feel great), and — as I was thrilled to mention the other day — I haven’t lost an ounce.  Possibly gained.  And I still haven’t had any chocolate.  WTF WHOLE 30???

Attack of the chocolate cake

Today was sort of a throw-away day because my body took advantage of my husband – and not in a good way.  When we’re able (i.e. no birthday party, magic show, family gathering, tot-mini-music-singalong-graduation-recital), we give each other the “gift of sleep” on the weekend – he sleeps in Saturday, I sleep in Sunday.  Everyone is better for it.  Except this morning, my body really overdid it and I slept longer/later than I have in a LONG time.  I felt bad having left hubs alone to run around with the kiddos all morning, but what really bugged me….I mean REALLY REALLY bugged me….was that I still felt wiped out much of the day.  WTF?  My body still hasn’t figured out how to turn all this food into energy.  It’s ridiculous.

One wonderful happy thing today was a celebration for my grandpa’s 94th birthday!!  Isn’t that amazing?  And he hopped up to greet each person who walked through his door with a smile and a kiss.  We are really lucky.  Not so lucky?  My aunt, the queen of NYC, walked in with what she deemed the “best cake in all of Manhattan.”  Even worse?  It was chocolate cake with chocolate filling and a thick chocolate frosting on top.  Have I mentioned that I love chocolate? I didn’t find it THAT hard to say no, thank goodness, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the day, either.  Neither was wiping chocolate from my son’s covered face, watching my brother go for thirds, or having to have an entire conversation standing so close to the leftover cake that I actually could hear it begging me to eat it.

It’s been a week and I’m proud of us.  I’m just hopeful that this will get easier, with full knowledge that it will definitely get harder (boredom anyone?)

Will the weight matter?

I considered while chowing on my meat+oil lunch today (yes, there were veggies too but that’s not my point) that there is no way I will lose weight on this challenge.  I don’t feel any lighter/leaner and, while I KNOW this is “against the rules” (which you know I am so fond of) I figured I’d peek and see if my suspicions were accurate.  Sure enough, the scale tonight read almost 1/2lb MORE than when I started on Monday.  Of course it does!  Every meal I eat is protein-packed and heavy, there is always a drizzle of oil.  And while I appreciate the food challenge for what it is and for what it will hopefully do for me and my family, I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about possible weight loss.  Who wouldn’t be?

Whole30 is about changing lifestyle, about eating natural foods and removing all the harsh, processed, chemical-laden versions that are so easy to come by – the foods that could be making us chronically ill.  I’m thrilled beyond belief to be doing the research, learning how to cook differently, finding where the local farms are to buy produce.  I want every day past this one and past the next 24 to be similarly nutrient-rich.  BUT.  It is also hard to spend 30 days (hard to spend 6 days!) without chocolate, without bread, without yogurt, without honey – without things that can be pretty wholesome and pretty natural.  People I tell about this “diet” all commend me for my willpower, all shake their heads thinking they could never (would never want to) do it, and then all assume I will emerge from this thing looking like a stunted Heidi Klum.  Shouldn’t I get that reward for the “hard work”?  Why shouldn’t I want people to see me and think, “whatever she is doing, I want to do it.”  Or at least, “whatever she is doing, it must be hard!”

I do want the ultimate prize being dangled – to feel my best, for me & my husband to be relieved of our various ailments, to be on path to a healthier and longer future.  Of course that is paramount.  I believe in the time frame (though hard) to reset our bodies and to really see afterwards WHICH of those aforementioned foods can be reintroduced and WHICH should be banished for good.  But I also am feeling a little discouraged that for all this prepping, shopping, cooking, learning, children-ignoring and chocolate-avoiding that there is no obvious sign yet that my body is the least bit happy about it.

The one other time in my life that I actually tried a diet was South Beach – meant to be 2 weeks of similarly restrictive menu.  Now, I was childless and in my 20s then, so take this with a grain of salt.  But I had to stop after one week because I had lost *too much* weight too quickly.  I remember vividly feeling that energy burn, like my body was just flying through food.  It was great and made me feel really alive and healthy, with a strong metabolism.  This food challenge?  Six days in and I still feel a bit bloated and heavy, still am having trouble being hungry for meals and wondering when it is going to change.  And tired of feeling a little foolish when I have to refuse the birthday cake, explain why, and then get an “up-and-down” look that says, “well, I guess you just started.”