January 31, 2014

...My Whole30 Journey...

I'm officially D.O.N.E. with Whole30!  Praise the Great Lion of Judah!  The past month was a serious dose of crazy, let me tell you.  I learned so much about discipline and respect for food.  I don't plan on going back to what I was eating now that this crazy shiz is over because let's face it... that was A LOT of work and I really don't want to stop feeling as great as I feel right now.  The massive amounts of energy, the awesome workouts, and finally sleeping better (If I could only get Ramona to stop waking me up). 

  Below is my eating journal, overviews, and a few favorite recipes I discovered over the month.  If you decide to embark on this journey and want any input or advice, don't hesitate to contact me!

Whole30 Day 1: cowboy breakfast skillet, banana, bacon burger, green beans, avo, red pear, cashews, dried pineapple, zucchini lasagna, banana ice cream

Whole30 Day 2: cowboy breakfast skillet, banana, 3 cuties, apple w/almond butter, bacon burger, green beans, avo, dried fruit, cashews, cherry pie Larabar, spaghetti squash carbonara, broccoli, banana ice cream

Overview: I am pretty sleepy, but no headaches from the sugar detox yet!  I'm much more aware of when I'm hungry (which for now is all the time!!) and sleeping is harder without being able to take my melatonin gummies (since they contain sugar).  I'm looking forward to sharing some Whole30 recipes here.  I'm learning how to make enough of certain meals so that I don't have to cook every single morning/night.  

Whole30 Day 3: cowboy breakfast skillet leftover, frozen blueberries, banana, apple w/almond butter, zucchini lasagna leftover, mixed nuts, dried fruit, Apple Pie Larabar, spaghetti squash carbonara leftover, banana ice cream
Whole30 Day 4: breakfast casserole, banana, spaghetti squash carbonara leftover, Cashew Cookie Larabar, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, cutie, lemon-thyme chicken, baked carrot fries
Whole30 Day 5: breakfast casserole, banana, cilantro-lime chicken salad, baked carrot fries, apple w/almond butter, lemon-thyme chicken leftover, sweet potato

Overview: I'm still having a really hard time sleeping, which is making me pretty grumpy.  The mix of vivid dreams and waking up several times a night is really frustrating.  I'm hoping that will change soon.  Coming up with meals has been one of the more fun things about this...now somebody give me a freaking muffin!   

Whole30 Day 6: breakfast casserole leftover, banana, Cherry Pie Larabar, cilantro lime chicken salad leftover, baked sweet potato fries, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, beanless chili, banana
Whole30 Day 7: eggs w/spinach and Italian turkey sausage, banana, apple w/ almond butter, beanless chili leftover, 2 cuties, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, beanless chili leftover, sweet potato casserole (I used 2 sweet potatoes instead of one)
Whole30 Day 8: eggs w/spinach and Italian turkey sausage, banana, apple w/ almond butter, beanless chili leftover, sweet potato casserole leftover, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, egg whites w/ spinach, bacon, baked carrot fries

Overview: I am much less hungry than I was in the beginning and I managed to get through the first full week without any headaches and without punching anyone!  Yay for me!  I have definitely pinpointed the periods when I have a craving for chocolate or when I want to dive into a Papa Murphy's pizza face first.  I am able to recognize the difference now between hunger, boredom, and emotional cravings.  For example...

Yesterday I came home from a stressful day of snow-covered roads, traffic out the yang, and new information at work that was enough to make my eye start twitching again.  When I got home, I didn't want yet another bowl of chili.   I didn't feel like making sweet potato casserole unless I could cover it with a stick of butter.  But then I pulled my mail out of my purse and read a letter from my old cello teacher.  I had written to her after hearing that she recently lost her son and despite the pain she was feeling, she still wanted to hear from me.  She wanted to know all about what I'd been up to the past several years.  I read about her son and how much his family would miss him.  It put my stressful day in perspective and you know what? I found the motivation to make my stupid casserole.  I am realizing now that that urge to just order a freaking pizza was due to how I was feeling, not because my body needed crispy pizza dough covered in melted cheese.  When I was able to step back and identify my emotions, and put them in perspective I was able to think clearly.

This may all seem very trivial to someone who doesn't have issues with food.  But for me, this is a milestone.  I have had an issue with emotional eating for as long as I can remember.  The idea that I could one day not be a slave to it?  Praise the Great Lion of Judah!

Whole30 Day 9: fruit smoothie, Cherry Pie Larabar, sweetpotato casserole, apple w/ almond butter, roasted chicken and veggies (from SF cafeteria), mixed nuts, dried pineapple, pork chops w/pears
Whole30 Day 10: eggs w/ spinach, apple w/ almond butter, porkchops w/pears leftover, sweet potato casserole, mixed nuts, Cherry Pie Larabar, pork chops w/pears leftover

Overview: Day 10 is here!  According to the Whole30 website this is the day that people are most likely to throw in the towel.  I have to say, I understand why because at this point, cravings are still present and my body is just now starting to adjust and enjoy healthier foods.  But I'm also feeling stronger and sleeping better... finally!!!  I know things only go up from here and I'm so excited to have more energy, see changes in my workouts, and continue to see improvement in my skin and hair.   

Whole30 Day 11: banana, eggs w/onion and green pepper, bacon, bbq mixed nuts, two banana muffins, 2 cuties, unsweetened dried cherries, spicy egg fritata.
Whole30 Day 12: spicy egg fritata leftover, cutie, banana muffin, beanless chili, unsweetened dried cherries, banana muffin, pork chop, baked carrot fries
Whole 30 Day 13: spicy egg fritata leftover, banana, banana muffin, apple w/almond butter, beanless chili, 2 cuties, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, carrots w/guac, baked carrot fries

Overview: I made it past the 10 day hump!!  Wooooo!  I have so much more energy it's crazy!  I'm not constantly tired at work.  I'm not wiped out when I get home, it's easier to get up in the morning, and I even think I can start giving myself a later bedtime!  I don't hit the post lunch-2:00 crash/ravenous monster syndrome anymore.  I do find that I'm hungrier in the afternoons than in the mornings, but that's natural.  And I'm learning that it's OK to be hungry, because now, all it takes is a small palm-full of nuts or a few pieces of my beloved dried pineapple to tide me over.  (Trust me: dried pineapple is the shiz.  Better than the fruit rollups we all loved as kids) 
Cravings are still there, mainly when I'm bored, stressed, or upset about something, but I'm learning how to handle that too.  No crazy food dreams yet, so we'll see what this week brings on that front.  (The food dreams are probably trying to fight their way past the craziness that my brain already creates when I'm sleeping.) 
Groceries are more expensive, but I think that is balancing out ok since I'm not eating out at all.  Overall, things are going better than I ever expected! 

Whole30 Day 14: banana, spicy egg fritata leftover, banana muffin, apple, carrots w/guac, roasted chicken, veggies, mixed nuts, dried pineapple, eggs
Whole30 Day 15: eggs, banana, banana muffin, apple w/ almond butter, roasted chicken w/ veggies, 2 cuties, carrots w/ guac, almond crusted chicken, broccoli, Apple Pie Larabar
Whole30 Day 16: eggs, 2 bananas, apple w/ almond butter, almond crusted chicken, broccoli, 2 cuties, bbq mixed nuts, Banana Bread Larabar, bacon wrapped asparagus, dried pineapple

Overview: I am more than halfway done and the wacky food dreams have arrived!  On Monday, this dream included a family picnic where only my grandpa and I showed up.  And, there was nothing I could eat... only cupcakes, hot dogs, and strawberry shortcake.  But I slayed that cake monster and didn't give in!  Go me!
Overall things are still going really well aside from some hormonal imbalances that my body is still trying to level out.  I'm learning discipline with food and learning to respect what I put into my body.  Seeing others indulge in non-whole30 food is both hard and easy at the same time.  It's hard because my brain still gravitates towards some of those things.  It's easy because I know the work I've put in the past two and a half weeks and I don't think I'll want to undo all that.  
The goal for the next week is to create a plan for what I will do once these 30 days are up.  How will I reintroduce foods?  What foods will I still count as off-limits?  What will my first non-whole30 meal/snack be? (I'm kind of leaning on my cherry-chocolate chip larabar that I accidentally bought last week.  I know it has to be something that won't make me sick or undo all the work I've done.  
Any ideas?  

Whole30 Day 17: eggs, banana, apple w/almond butter, chicken, bacon wrapped asparagus, 2 cuties, bbq mixed nuts, Apple Pie Larabar, lamb burger w/grilled onions, baked carrot fries, banana
Whole30 Day 18: Spicy egg fritata, two bananas, blueberries, Apple Pie Larabar, chicken-cashew salad from Culvers(no cheese), lamb burger w/grilled onions leftover, baked carrot fries, banana muffin
Whole30 Day 19: eggs, banana muffin, banana, lamb burger w/grilled onions leftover, banana, cutie, Cherry Pie Larabar, roasted chicken legs w/ sweet potatoes, onion, and tomatoes
Whole30 Day 20: eggs, banana muffin, banana, apple, roasted chicken legs w/ sweet potatoes, onion and tomatoes, 2 cuties, mixed nuts, Blueberry Muffin Larabar, cilantro-lime chicken, avo

Overview: Only ten days to go!  I'm really feeling great and thinking this was truly the best way to start 2014.  I am starting to create a plan of how I'm going to be introducing grains and dairy back into my diet.  It's a bit unnerving because I'm feeling so good and really want to keep feeling so good.  My plan is not to go back to the way I was eating.  Meal planning really isn't so bad and I think I can keep that up.  My grocery bill has been quite steep, so incorporating more inexpensive grains and starches should help with that.  Sugar is going to have to permanently take a back seat and be enjoyed only on a special occasion. And as great as this has been, I'm looking forward to that first bowl of PB and Banana oatmeal!

Whole30 Day 21: eggs, banana, banana muffin, apple w/almond butter, cilantro lime chicken leftover, avo, mixed nuts, 2 cuties, Blueberry Muffin Larabar, Italian turkey sausage, 1/2 sweet potato
Whole30 Day 22: eggs, banana, banana muffin, apple w/almond butter, Italian sausage turkey sausage, 1/2 sweet potato, cutie, Blueberry Muffin Larabar, turkey burger, baked carrot fries
Whole30 Day 23: eggs, banana, banana muffin, roasted chicken, veggies, orange, Blueberry Muffin Larabar, chicken tenders, asparagus, baked carrot fries

Overview: Say it with me.  Seven. More. Days.  I'm in the home stretch and still feeling good.  Trying to fight anxiety about what I'll re-incorporate come next Friday.  But I will say it was ridiculous having to walk right by the tandoori chicken, naan, and samosas today in the cafeteria.  Of course I have to buy lunch today of all days with glorious Indian yummyness invading my senses as I walk by with my boring roasted chicken and carrots.  I think I can, I think I can!  Needless to say, this week I slayed several food dragons.  It's definitely been a challenge keeping my food choices interesting.  And, I think once this is over... I will not TOUCH an egg for at least 3 months.   

Whole30 Day 24: eggs, banana, apple, marinated steak, veggies, mixed fruit, Blueberry Muffin Larabar, dried cherries, roasted chicken legs w/sweet potatoes, onion, and tomatoes, banana-blueberry muffin (oh yes... I added blueberries and they're even more delicious)
Whole30 Day 25: banana, eggs, bacon, banana-blueberry muffin, roasted chicken legs w/sweet potatoes, onion and tomatoes leftover, banana-blueberry muffin, zucchini lasagna
Whole30 Day 26:eggs, bacon, banana-blueberry muffin, banana, zucchini lasagna leftover, italian beef, veggies
Whole30 Day 27: eggs, banana, banana-blueberry muffin, apple, zucchini lasagna leftover, Apple Pie Larabar, carrot fries, banana

Overview: The end is near!  I feel a-mazing.  Today I was able to run an entire mile without needing to stop.  And... I haven't even been running regularly.  It's just one more piece of proof that what we put into our bodies truly affects how we live our lives.  Though cravings for sugar are still there (30 days can't undo a lifetime of bad habits), especially in social situations, I am much less a slave to them and I'm confident that my willpower has improved.  


Whole30 Day 28: eggs, banana, apple, zucchini lasagna leftover, frozen blueberries, Cherry Pie Larabar, cilantro-lime chicken, avo, 1/2 sweet potato, pineapple
Whole30 Day 29: eggs, banana, apple, cilantro-lime chicken leftover, avo, 1/2 sweet potato, pineapple, Apple Pie Larabar, banana muffins, fruit, bacon
Whole30 Day 30: eggs, banana, apple, chipotle burrito bowl (meat, veggies, salsa, guac, lettuce), Cherry Pie Larabar, roasted chicken legs w/veggies, banana ice cream

Overview: This last week has been almost as hard as week one.  My brain has been knowing that I'm near the end and has reacted with a lot of irritability at all the temptations this week.  Vision night food on Sunday, cupcakes from a co-worker on Tuesday, brinner with small group on Wednesday, and breakfast with the swim team on Thursday.  WHAT THE WHAT?!  But I'm done!!

Conclusion: This has been the BEST way to start the new year.  Internally, I feel like a different person.  Having so much more energy, awesome sleep every night, and being able to live without being constantly hungry  has be so amazing.  Would I recommend it?  Yes!  Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

My recommendations for anyone embarking on this endeavor:
-create a plan.  Bookmark/pin recipes online, write out shopping lists, and make your home a safe zone.
-read your labels!  processed foods hide sugar in the weirdest places
-tell people you are close to.  With people cheering you on, checking in with you, and giving you lots of input you are much less likely to cheat.
-do it for you.  This isn't about losing weight or impressing other people.  It's about teaching your mind to have respect for what you put into your system.  It's about doing something for your body because you care about it.  Finally it's about getting back to REAL food and rethinking the way you eat.   

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