Saturday, August 6, 2016

My Whole 30 Experience

Now that I'm officially done with my first round of the Whole 30, I figured I'd write about it so the people who are on social media with me can see what it was all about if they were interested. I'll freely admit at this point that I am clearly drinking the Whole 30 Kool-Aid (which, if you want to know tastes just like plain water because that's pretty much all you should be drinking). Actually, I'm kidding...there are a couple more options as beverages, but nothing as sweet and rainbow delicious as Kool-Aid.

I hesitated to announce much about my Whole 30 on Facebook because I am generally pretty weak-willed when it comes to food, and to be honest I didn't want to fail horribly in front of a bunch of people.  So I took to my Instagram account--where copious amounts of food pictures abound as well as hashtags that would draw in like-minded people for Whole 30 support.  Instagram was amazing for that because I found lots of recipe ideas on the people who started following my journey, and really the recipes were the key to my Whole 30 success. If I couldn't have filling and delicious food, none of it would have been worth doing for me.

So what is the Whole 30? It's 30 days of clean eating. Its focus is on whole foods--veggies, fruits, nuts, animal protein, and healthy fats.  It eschews legumes (peanut butter is out), grains, dairy, and processed and refined sugars. I bought the book, read it, and planned my first week out using the recipes in the book and some of the Whole 30 compliant recipes I found on Pinterest. I chose July 5th as my start date because it was right after our July 4th weekend where I knew we'd be cooking out and out of town, and I got my mind right about cutting out dairy...I needed about a week for the mourning process.  The fact that my husband used to eat Paleo and was wanting to get back into that was helpful.  Whole 30 is totally in line with Paleo--it turns out that Paleo is not always in line with Whole 30. One big difference between them is that the Paleo diet lets you cheat without cheating.  It allows you to use things like alternative flours and honey to recreate sweet treats like muffins and pancakes.  While completing a Whole 30 you are not allowed to do that.  The idea behind it is that you are resetting your habits, and substituting a sweet treat for another sweet treat does not help you "slay your sugar dragon."  That was part of why I decided to do it in the first place.  I am a sugar hound, and it's only gotten worse as I've gotten older.

I also decided to give it a go because I deal with inflammatory arthritis.  According to proponents of the Paleo and Whole 30 diets, cutting gluten and dairy can help with arthritis, depression, acne, asthma, as well as a host of other ailments.  I was on Celebrex daily and it was barely taking the edge off.  I figured it wouldn't hurt to do the Whole 30 and then reintroduce things to see which foods might cause flare-ups.  Plus, I was really hoping to be able to get off the Celebrex since it's horrible for my stomach lining.

What about weight loss?  Well, I struggle with losing weight. It took me the last year to lose ten pounds.  But I really didn't go into it looking to lose weight.  I had eaten the Primal Blueprint diet (Paleo plus dairy) with Joe a couple years back and wasn't impressed with my results.  I think I even blogged about that at one point.  I really was just focused on my health from the arthritis pain angle, as well as cutting some of the processed foods that I was eating so much of.

Now, bread and cheese are two of favorite things, but I honestly didn't miss either of them enough to cheat.  The foods I ate were rich and satisfying.  I ate a LOT of sweet potatoes (which I love), guacamole, a lemon oil slaw that was crisp and fresh and crunchy, and chicken sausage.  Those were staples I usually had ready in my fridge to round out any meals I made.  So, sometimes I had salmon cakes with guacamole and slaw.  Sometimes pork sausage patties with carmelized onions and sweet potato mash.  Sometimes I roasted spaghetti squash and ate it with roasted tomatoes, pesto, and chicken sausages.  I had three filling meals and generally only needed an occasional Lara Bar as a snack.  I didn't really even crave fruit the way I thought I would.  I maybe had one to two servings a day.  I was shocked how far each meal would take me and how satisfied I felt.

The downside is you are prepping meals constantly or you have to spend money for the compliant products.  Clarifying butter, making mayonnaise, mashing cauliflower and sweet potatoes, and mixing and cooking double portions of sausage patties, salmon cakes, etc. meant a true time commitment.  I'm off work for the summer right now, but this would probably be a busy Saturday or Sunday every week in the kitchen once I'm back at school.

In the book they give a list of things you can expect as you go through the program.  It was pretty much spot on for me.  I didn't feel the level of drag I expected the first week, but I did feel bloated in the second week.  I then felt very "lean" after eating.  Even after a large meal.  I also never got "hangry."  Even when I was hungry, or a little hollow feeling, I didn't feel the emotional, annoyed feeling I was used to when I'd waited too long to eat.  That was interesting to me.  My emotional connection to feeling hungry pretty much went away.

You are also not supposed to weigh yourself, but I didn't do that.  I had no plans to cheat based on lack of weight loss, so I weighed myself at week two and then every day after.  For a full two weeks I lost absolutely nothing.  Then I pretty much started losing half a pound to a pound each day.  In week three I had surgery and I was seven pounds up as a result of the fluids they pumped into me, but that shook out after a few days.  So, even though I didn't do it for weight loss, a happy by-product was that I lost 9 1/2 pounds in the thirty days.  This is a big deal for me personally because it finally put me below my pre-baby weight.  I also lost two inches from my bust, two inches from my waist, and half an inch from each thigh.  Not bad for a month, especially since I didn't work out for the last week.

My final thoughts on it is that I'm willing to continue eating more Paleo, continuing to cut dairy and grains for now.  If I cheat it will be for something really worth it.  I was very satisfied with the Whole 30.  I might do a second round in another couple of weeks, but for now I plan to have an alcoholic beverage (I really did miss that!) to celebrate completing it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's been a while, but I have something to say...

It's been a hot minute since I last blogged, and let's face it--I'm a bit rusty.  Whenever I write regularly, ideas just come to me-- like, funny, smart ideas, but when I've stepped back for a while, it all goes dark and cloudy on me. I've been walking around in a fog for a while now, keeping myself safely cocooned as I grieved my mom and worked at being an effective person for my family and my students.  And now I finally feel ready to get back to my running commentary on my life--which may or may not be interesting to you as it revolves pretty much around me and my people.  I'm ego-centric that way.

So, let's talk about my latest life issue--which is, granted, extraordinarily trivial compared to the actual life issues so many are facing. But, I'm going to go ahead and be that  person today. Snapchat. I have a serious bone to pick with the Snapchat developers.

Now, I'm willing to admit that I am very, very late in jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon.  My excuse for that is that I'm not thirteen years old.  And, yes, I am aware that there are adults using Snapchat.  A lot of adults.  Using a lot of Snapchat. I get that, so simmer down for a sec.  But my rationale is that I teach eighth graders for a living who are obsessed with this app, and based on that principle alone, I have steered clear. That is, until I was under duress instigated by a maniacal three-year-old who was holding me emotionally hostage by alternately jumping on me like a jungle gym and repeating the same question over and over again. (A question to which I apparently do not know the correct answer.)  It was then that I caved.

I downloaded the app, and we spent an hour and a half of lazy parenting playing with the filters. It was quality time.  It was almost fun.  I admired myself with butterflies dancing around my head. Declan puked rainbows for quite some time and we finally decided to end our day together watching Toy Story for the millionth time.

Life was good.

Until the very next day when my kid said he wanted "rainbows in his mouth" and had a complete meltdown on the floor because the app no longer had that filter. Make that (plural) meltdowns. The world is full of disappointments, and the absence of  spewing rainbows from one's mouth is apparently the bitterest of all to swallow.  I was confused.  How was it there one day and gone the next? I googled. Yep, phased out.  Phased out the day after I downloaded.  Just my luck.

Well played, Snapchat.  Well played.

Technology- 1; Reagan- 0