Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Whole30: Week Four

Ta-da! I finished my first Whole30 on Sunday! It was Easter Sunday, so I ate a compliant breakfast and dinner, but also allowed myself to enjoy the wonderful lunch that my mom prepared for us. She made a delicious tomato pie, with roasted asparagus and steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on the side. I brought a berry crumble made with almond flour and coconut oil for dessert. I also brought some Trader Joe's chocolate almonds to share as a treat.

All-in-all, I feel like my Whole30 experience was a success. I stayed on plan to the best of my ability and didn't feel too deprived or unable to find things to eat that worked with the plan. I definitely feel better physically and emotionally from taking processed foods, sugar, grains, legumes and dairy out of my diet for a month.

What I learned:
  • I can do anything I put my mind to. I've known this for a while, but following the Whole30 plan was a good reminder.
  • I still don't always like to cook, but I know that it helps to stay on a plan if you're in control of how your food is being prepared. And cooking is not too bad if you plan and cook things ahead to heat up later.
  • I didn't miss beans/legumes that much, except maybe hummus. I made chili using ground turkey and tomatoes and tomato juice and it was still very good and filling without beans.
  • I knew this, but there are a lot of hidden ingredients in most foods that we buy at the grocery store or out to eat at a restaurant. I looked up the menu and allergen information for a couple of places where I was planning to eat and had a hard time finding something to eat that didn't include something on the "to avoid" list. I don't have life-threatening allergies, but I gained a new empathy for those who do and can't just go eat wherever they want.
What's next:
I am going to follow the Whole30 guidelines for reintroducing food groups. They recommend adding foods back according to what is known to cause the least amount of issues to people, but also to not feel like you have to add something back in that you haven't missed. They suggest introducing a food and then going back to following the Whole30 for a couple of days to see how your body reacted to the food. I already know that some forms of dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream) bothers my system, so I'll probably only have those on very special occasions and use a supplement to help digest the lactose. I also need to stay off of sugar and will do my best to continue that, except for special occasions. I want to try eating some oatmeal and see how adding grains back in effects my system. I think I have missed grains the most at breakfast.

This has been a good "reset" for me to get back to a healthy eating life-style. In some areas, I hadn't strayed too far off track, but I needed the motivation to get back off of sugar and dairy. It helped to have a structured plan, cause I'm a structured gal!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Whole30: Week Three

I'm in the home stretch now and for some reason, it's gotten harder again. I'm not sure what it is, except maybe I'm a little more "hormonal" and am wanting to give in to cravings (but I haven't yet). Another reason it's hard right now might be that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and just want to get there.

How I feel:
I am still feeling pretty good, but this weekend started having some gastrointestinal issues, so I am looking at what I ate and how I might need to adjust some things. My clothes are really fitting more loosely, which I like, and I can tell that my midsection is slimmer. That feels good!

What I have learned this week:
I have noticed that I am not "needing" my mid-afternoon snack as often as I used to. I still get hungry mid-morning, even after a good, protein-filled breakfast, but my afternoon appetite isn't as strong. When I was on another eating plan, the facilitator told me that I should eat five times a day:  three meals and two healthy snacks. I had been sticking to that for a few years, but I also don't think I should eat if I'm not that hungry, so I've been letting go of my afternoon snack, especially if I'm going to go home after work and can eat dinner before too late.

What I miss:
I still miss oatmeal and am thinking that it might be my first food to reintroduce, along with other grains. I still need to read more about what the Whole30 people recommend, but I am not really missing legumes, so I may not reintroduce that first.

What I've been eating:
I saw recipe for avocado egg salad and made an adaptation of it. It is so yummy and I have made it three or four times this week for lunch.

Daniel was home for Spring Break last week and was at my house for dinner on St. Patrick's Day. I made some Whole30-approved salmon cakes, green beans, roasted kale and new potatoes. Not necessarily an Irish feast, but there was lots of green and we enjoyed it!

I finally got around to trying another recipe I had seen for a turkey sausage/sweet potato/apple skillet dish. It also became a new favorite for me to have for breakfast with eggs & spinach or for dinner with some other roasted veggies thrown in.

What's next:
I want to continue eating "clean" after the Whole30 is over, and have been reading about how to reintroduce foods and how to stay on track, while letting myself not be so strict. I will need to be careful about sugar and will probably still limit dairy, based on what I learned from my past eating plan and how I felt reintroducing it.

I'm going to keep on keeping on this week and will look forward to a treat of some kind (not necessarily food) on Day 31!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Whole30: Week Two

I'm actually a little late in posting this because the two-week mark was this past Saturday and I'm on Day Seventeen! It feels good to be over the half-way mark, even though this hasn't been quite as hard as I had dreaded. Sure, I'd like a cracker every once in a while and I still miss having oatmeal and almond butter in the mornings, but for the most part, I've gotten into a groove with this plan and feel like I am not having too much trouble staying on track.

Things I'm learning:
  • I can eat out at a restaurant, but it's very challenging to find compliant things to eat.
  • Herbal teas sometimes have hidden ingredients that are not on the Whole30 plan!
  • I need to eat some starchy vegetables after a hard work out so I get filled up and feel OK.
What I have been missing:
  • oatmeal (still)
  • crackers or chips with my lunch (still)
Things that I'm liking:
  • how I feel (I have more energy and stamina. For example, I came home from work on Friday and cleaned the bathrooms after dinner)
  • eating more veggies at all three meals
  • how my jeans are getting looser and my tummy area has shrunk a little
Here are some of the meals I've prepared this week:

Breakfast sausage/veggie hash with acorn squash egg-in-the-hole

Pork chops and apples, with sweet potato and cauliflower

Egg and spinach scramble with avocado

Pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions
Not-so-Random Act of Kindness:
My friend and coworker brought some food for staff meeting last Tuesday, in honor of International Women's Day (and it also was her staff anniversary). She thoughtfully saved out some berries for me to have sans sugar and provided some almonds and pecans to sprinkle on top.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Whole30: Week One

Last Saturday, I finally decided to take the plunge and commit to the Whole30 eating plan. I had been thinking about it for a couple of months and decided that I needed to put my excuses behind me (Belize trip, birthday, Valentine's Day, friends' birthday) and just start already! I want to journal my thoughts and experiences so this is where I'll do that.

I had heard of this plan before and had seen friends post about it on social media. Then in January, an acquaintance from church started a Facebook group to provide support for herself and others who were going to do a Whole30 in January. She wasn't going to start until mid-month, so my initial thought was that I'd join in a week later, after my trip to Belize, and be doing it right alongside those friends. Well . . . that didn't exactly happen, mainly because of my excuses I listed above.

My reasons for wanting to do the Whole30 plan are:
  • to "reset" my eating and get off of sugar (again)
  • to eliminate some things out of my diet to see if doing that helps some ongoing symptoms I'm experiencing
  • to feel better physically
  • to fit into my clothes better
  • to continue a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy body as I finish up this decade of life (ahem)
Things I'm learning:
  • it is important and imperative to plan, plan, plan
  • there are lots of hidden ingredients in foods that you wouldn't think (example: soy in some brands of packaged tuna)
  • withdrawals symptoms are real (headaches, gastrointestinal issues)
What I have been missing:
  • oatmeal
  • crackers or chips with my lunch
  • toast
Things that I'm liking:
  • how I feel (except for the headaches and gastro discomfort)
  • finding new products 
  • breaking out of my cooking rut
  • the structure and challenge of the plan
Here are a couple of meals I've prepared this week:

Salad greens with grape tomatoes, avocado, chicken, topped with salsa

Ground turkey, roasted zucchini and yellow squash, roasted sweet potato
I thought I'd had a photo of one of my omelet breakfasts, but couldn't find it. One thing that helped in meal prep this week was that I roasted some veggies and cooked some meats so I could have them to eat on all week. I want to continue to do this and also look for some make-ahead breakfast ideas to give me a break from omelets.

As I finish out my first week, I'm feeling pretty good and have been able to stay strong, even when I see commercials for ice cream on TV or when I had to go to Panera to pick up food for a group at work. Having to go see and smell all of those baked good was just not fair! :-)