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.

Oh, was that all?

Well, Whole30 is done. This wraps up 30 days and I’m left feeling….meh. Not because the challenge wasn’t a good one, but because I thought it would end on a high note. That’d I’d be feeling fantastic physically, prepared for the “real world” mentally and equipped with the know-how to EAT RIGHT from here on out.

Instead, I feel a little bit impotent.  It took me all the way until Day 26 (?) to hit a real snag, but I absolutely did in the form of an almond-flour-pizza crust.  It was Whole30 compliant and tasted great, but I’ve been suffering ever since.  Last week I was feeling quite good, so much so that I wondered if I ever wanted to get off of the Whole30 challenge.  Ever since the weekend, though, major blargs.  I’ve tried to explain it away a couple of different ways, but I really think it just comes down to the overdose of almond flour.  Apparently some people can’t tolerate too much, and I must be one of them.  But what that means is that it’s Day 30 and I don’t know which way I’m going.  Do I stay on it a while longer, to get back to that place of relative healthiness?  Do I need to start over completely?  Do I just move on, since I’ve done the 30 days and I’m quite interested in shifting at least over to a Paleo lifestyle now (including at least honey, greek yogurt and CHOCOLATE?)  I’d really like to do that last one, and I had pinned on my mental calendar that tomorrow I would have yogurt for breakfast and a latte with lunch.  The book says to introduce dairy in this way and I’m quite game!  But on the flip side, I really want to know if the dairy “hurts” me or not, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to accurately gauge if I’m not feeling my best before the reintroduction.  What to do?

The funny part is that while this lifestyle is by NO MEANS easy yet, it has definitely become a habit and it almost feels easier right now to stay on it than to start picking it apart.  I want to keep figuring out meals, ideas, ways to make this easier, ways to stay varied.  It’s been a good vegetable week in that we’ve had some new ones, which keeps me teased enough to want to continue.  Not that I couldn’t continue while also adding a bit of this-and-that as well!  But I don’t want to fall completely backwards either.  So.

Tomorrow might be a game-time decision for me.  I had a crappy food day today (up until a surprisingly yummy dinner my hubs revealed in the slow cooker) so tomorrow I’m not opposed to the “usual” vegg breakfast, I’m excited for my tuna salad, and we have a Paleo delivery service that will supply dinner starting tomorrow for 10days.  So really I don’t NEED to change anything up just yet.  But we’ll see.  I promised myself some dairy tomorrow and if the morning requires it….dairy I may have.  I don’t know how it will make me feel but I can tell you for DAMN sure that I will like the way it tastes!

Sticky Fingers

Yup, I F*ed up today.  But not in the way you would’ve guessed, had you followed my every move today (creepy, stop following me.)  Let me give you two scenarios:

1.  I spend a solid 90minutes preparing a new recipe from WellFed (delicious, by the way). Once ready, I quickly microwave a few extra veggies, grab some “backup-that-is-never-backup-because-they-are-obsessed-with-it” hummus for the kids, and we sit to eat.

2.  I tiptoe to the basement after dinner to surprise the boys with milk and two chunks of a Hershey bar.  After they gobble the pieces, I notice some dreamy, melted leftover-chocolate on my fingers.

Did you guess?  Right.  I did not lick the chocolate.  Which is not to say the hand didn’t instinctively move towards my mouth.  But I caught it just before paydirt.  No, the F* up in question happened at dinner in the shape of all-natural vegetables also known as HORRIBLE INFLAMMATION- AND DISFIGURATION- CAUSING PEAS.  Those were the quick extra veggies I nuked, because my one son (the one who eats) loves them and because my hubbie and I almost always enjoy them with an Indian-style dish (which was what I had made).  I had scooped a mound on top of my dinner and taken a bite before my husband looked at me quizzically.

Husband:  Aren’t peas not allowed?

Moi:  Ha ha.

H:  No, really.  They are like a bean or legume or POD OF DOOM or something.  (I might be embellishing)

M:  Shut up.  They are veggie-tables and I’m eating them.

Husband leaves dining table to type wonks into his compuscreen and come backs feeling very proud and not at all upset that I have F*ed up.  I think it pleases him.

H:  Yup.  They’re off the list.  Thought so [hiding smirk.]  It’s ok, I’m being more strict to this diet than you are.

M:  <<silence that means to scream I AM BEING SO STRICT AND WILL NOT EVEN LICK MY CHOCOLATE FINGER IN 37 MINUTES WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF>>

Sigh.  At least this F* up is in the realm of being overly nice to a neighbor or accidentally bringing too many cupcakes to the office party.  Mmmm, cupcakes.

 

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.”

Must….drink….coffee

I was a mess today.  First of all, I was exhausted the whole day.  Like heavy-eyelids, saggy cheeks, humpback posture kind of tired.  It probably didn’t help that my son decided to wake me up this morning at the deepest part of my REM cycle with a loud “BOO!” or “YEEACHA!” or “WATER BUFFALOS UNITE!” or whatever the F* he said.  I don’t know, I didn’t hear specifics (sleeping deep – see above), but I certainly did have a response to the loud scream in my ear.  And then, the day began.

There *was* hunger this morning which was novel and fun, but I couldn’t exactly take advantage of it by scarfing down some heavy scones with a large latte.  One can dream, right?  Nope, it was eggs & veg again.  Sigh.  At least tomorrow is Saturday which of course means…..bacon!!  I should have actual time in the morning while my muffins (mmm, muffins) munch cereal and stare at the cartoon box.  I CAN COOK BAAAACON.  Maybe I’ll skip all the other stuff and just eat that for breakfast with a piping hot coffee.  Sold!  I’m back on board with this challenge!

Once I scarfed the vegg mix (like how I did that?  veg+egg=vegg=i am a TOTAL GENIUS) and a sip of coffee, it was off to camp.  There was actually a window in between camp for one boy and pool for another, so we came back home and I had a little more of the vegg.  I tried to convince my toddler to nosh it with me, but he wouldn’t, um, bite.  And he usually eats everything ESPECIALLY if mommy is eating it!  But he rolled his eyes at me when he saw me wave another limp spinach leaf in his face and walked away.  After breakfastredux, I needed another coffee (#2) and my new-favorite-dont-stop-me-ever treat, a spoonful of almond butter.  I know this is probably wrong on many levels of the Whole30 challenge (except the important one, which is the actual FOOD, so shove off), and I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this after every meal.  But I love it and am doing this after every meal.  You shall not convince me to stop.

After the pool was a crying-jag-in-place-of-nap which was most unwelcome, thus another coffee (#3) while toddler&me continued our day as if no nap ever needed to be.  More boy stuff….blah blah blah….a disgusting incident I will save for my parent friends since anyone reading this while being childless might actually die of horror…..dinner, bedtimes, more grogginess and crankiness by me.  In fact, just as I sat down to yet another coffee (#4*) — *decaf, this time, but still giving me the illusion of a pick-me-up — my younger munchkin woke up like 9:30pm was the start of his new day and please would I come get him.

What does all this boringness mean to you?  It means that Whole30 has yet to bestow upon me its magic source of energy.  That I was tired as F* today, felt blargy and heavy all day, even while crunching carrots and pickles and peas.  And that the only saving grace is that tomorrow with my BAAAACON I can have a coffee.  A LARGE coffee.