Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Whole30: Days 22 - 28 and Final Thoughts

Today is Day #29.


This last week has been the hardest.  I went from feeling amazing to feeling like I'm crawling thru mud.  It's completely due to me not eating enough.  Don't worry - that is all explained in the novel that is below.

But first -

What I ate:


egg casserole:  spinach, mushroom, onion, sausage, coconut milk (I generally made a variation of a breakfast casserole for each week)


chicken pot pie soup:  chicken, coconut milk, mushroom, peas, carrots, red pepper, onion, garlic, shallots, chicken broth

sirloin steak with mushroom gravy and sweet potato fries

bacon, lettuce and tomato wraps (in lettuce)

plain old scrambled eggs

salad, raw vegetables, chicken, oil and vinegar

apples (BONUS:  apples taste like candy to me now.  CANDY!)

And while I haven't officially completed my Whole30, I'm going to go ahead and give my thoughts on this whole process.

I'll be honest, it was both good and bad.  For me, it was a seesaw of good and bad.  Some days the bad outweighed the good.  And some days it was worth it.  And honestly, it still changes from day to day. 

I'll go over the good first:

1.  How can eating wholesome foods be bad?  Short answer:  it can't.  So 30 days of eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and grassfed meat was pretty awesome.

2.  You get a sort of pride when you eat healthfully.  And when you're doing it 100% of the time for THIRTY days.  Well, they should make a t-shirt for that because I think it's an amazing accomplishment.

3.  In an effort to mix up my menu, I turned to foods I never have cooked before.  Trying new vegetables is always a plus in my book.  I tried kale, parsnips, and turnips to name a few.  Some were more successful than others.

4.  I learned a few things about my eating habits and how I can tweak my pre-Whole30 diet to be a little better.

5.  Consciously cutting out sugar is a good idea.  When you're mindful about not using it, you find that it's really not that big of a deal and you're really better off eating less of it.

6.  My body shrunk.

And now, the bad:

1.  It was, of course, hard. 

2.  I didn't feel I actually needed to do it once it was underway.  In January of this year, I did my elimination diet and this was basically the same thing.  EXCEPT, I only took out gluten.  This took out the entire grains category.  I already know I have problems with gluten, dairy, soy, and a little bit with corn (it makes me have crazy cravings).  And after I learned all of my new food limitations I was already eating with those in mind.  I rarely ate out, got fast food, or ate anything processed.  I had been doing that for 6+ months and I had such a handle on it, this just felt redundant to me.

3.  I felt deprived.  Mainly because of #2.  I already had my food problems identified and I knew how to manage them and eat around them.  I read the book, I understood their reasons for taking out certain foods, but once I got about 3 weeks in, I really, REALLY felt like I didn't fully agree this process was right for me.  I do agree that if I had been an individual who had been eating a Standard American Diet then this shock would be necessary, but I'm not that person.

4.  If I didn't know how to cook and didn't have my previously learned knowledge about cooking dairy free and gluten free especially, I would have been screwed.  I get why people quit.  You HAVE to get creative to keep things interesting.  Unless you're the type of person who likes to eat just a protein and veggie (and believe it or not some do), you'll get bored and you'll get cranky.  Quick.

5.  I also didn't agree with the not using Whole30 approved foods to make fan favorite dishes (you know, dessert, pizza, pancakes etc.).  I feel the best thing I learned from my first elimination diet was just this.  I taught myself how to make dishes that were "normal".  In fact, I tried hard to modify my favorite dishes to keep them in the rotation.   I often felt like an "outcast" because I couldn't eat normal foods.  When people invited me over, I was happy I could bring something that looked and tasted normal - and little did they know it fit into the strict confines of my diet.  Furthermore, this one thing is mainly the reason I have continued eating this way this whole year.  If I want pizza, I have a great grain free crust that really hits the spot.  It has 3 ingredients in it.  And I top it with the best ingredients I can find.  If I hadn't taught myself how to do this, I would rely on getting a gluten free pizza from a restaurant.  And just because something is gluten free does NOT mean it's healthier.  I'm sure it's laden with soybean oil, processed cheese, and all kinds of other not good stuff.

6.  I did not eat enough.  Plain and simple.  This happened to both myself and my boyfriend.  I don't know the science behind it but the last week my energy dropped like a brick.  And I realized, I wasn't averaging enough calories to even have my body function normally.  This is actually both good and bad.  It's good because it shows you how hard it is to overeat on wholesome foods.  They are so filling and much lower in calories than say, a Big Mac.  But at the same time, it was bad because I found it hard to eat ENOUGH calories to even get me through my workouts.  I'll admit this last point is driven by the deprivation I was feeling.  I'm sure I could have stuffed my face with anything to get my calories up, but the bad thing was I didn't want to eat.  At all.  I just started to hate eating food.

and lastly ....

7.  I think it sets you up for a binge.  Especially because of reason #5.  I'm actually afraid of this.  I went to the forums to see how many people were dealing with this and guess what, there are TONS of posts about being afraid.  And rightly so.  Never before this year have I wanted to just throw caution to the wind and eat ... well ... everything.  I've written before about how this year I've had such a handle on my eating.  I don't feel that way right now.  I feel like if I allowed myself, I could have 2 weeks solid of just eating.  I've already made a firm plan for the upcoming weekend to help me with this.  I'm allowing myself pizza.  It's the one thing I think both of us really want so on Saturday (we finish tomorrow) we're having pizza.  And yes, we're both afraid that it'll be like opening up pandora's box.  However, we've agreed that no matter what happens, come Monday, we're starting back up again with our healthy eating habits. 


While it appears I had mostly negative things to say about this I'm happy I did it, although I probably won't be doing it ever again (as written).  But I've been wanting to do it and I did it.  And most importantly, I finished.  So of course that makes me happy.  I also learned a lot about how my body reacts to certain foods.  What keeps me full longer and what doesn't.  I learned about some new veggies which is awesome.  On the down side, I kind of feel like I messed with a good thing.  I was in a great place with my eating, weight loss and such.  I had a handle on my cravings, on my food choices and my overall relationship with food.  This was truly a learning experience.  And in case you're wondering, yes, I would recommend people try it out.  It may be the thing for you.  And again I would like to stress, while at times it seemed it wasn't for me, I never would have known unless I tried it.  Such a weird thing isn't it?  I'm spouting that It made me unhappy but I'm supremely happy I did it and made it all the way through despite my personal findings.  See what I mean?  Seesaw.

I said I wouldn't be doing this again but only not as written.  I have tried to read up on grains and there is validity to what they say about grains but I've also read the counterarguments.  I, personally, don't think wheat is ever a good idea but there are other whole grains out there that I wouldn't be opposed to eating on occasion (basically rice).  Cutting out gluten permanently for me was honestly not a big deal.  The beans argument also isn't a big one for me.  I actually rarely eat them, however, I won't purposefully not eat something tasty and healthy if it has beans in them.  And dairy.  I don't eat it every day or even once a week.  It's one of those once in awhile things for me and it will continue to be that way for me.  And alcohol, again, I'm not a big drinker but every now and then I like to have a hard apple cider or a glass of wine.  And finally sugar.  There is no argument from me.  Sugar is not good and I definitely will try my best to keep it out as much as possible and choose my battles when it comes to indulging.  As far as processed ingredients, they have been out and will stay out!

So there you have it. 

Again, I encourage everyone to give it a try.  And if you need ideas for recipes give me a shout.  I have a ton.

Also I'll post my before/after pics and measurements once I'm officially done.  Also I have some thoughts on the weight loss aspect of this program because I feel like most people do it for that ;)

Today's Menu:
B:  egg casserole:  spinach, mushroom, onion, sausage, coconut milk
L:  chicken pot pie soup:  chicken, coconut milk, mushroom, peas, carrots, red pepper, onion, garlic, shallots, chicken broth
D:  maybe some sashimi!

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30 Days to ... by JH is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.