Archive for February, 2014

The Whole30 – or something really close

So, I did it. Pretty much. I did!

I stuck to the plan almost completely for 27 days. So, yeah, I know that isn’t quite the Whole30, but it’s close, right? Maybe it was just a justification or copping out or something, but I could not see getting to my 30 days and celebrating on a Monday. I really, really wanted to celebrate with my first test food, popcorn.

Ruby red popcorn from Bittersweet Farm -  Lake Elmo

Over the course of my life, I’ve given up a number of foods that I really love because they don’t sit well in my body.


Milk, for one. I used to LOVE milk. I’d drink a big ol’ glass of it, just because. And then other dairy things, a little bit at a time. Then gluten – yes, I was only completely gluten-free for about 9 months, but since then, I’ve not been able to really, truly enjoy most of the bready, gluteny things that were once staples in my diet.

Next, potatoes!


When my Rumi pointed out to me that my itchy, red hands when I cut and peeled them probably meant that I shouldn’t be eating them, well, I have to say I was just sad. I tried to argue with her (in my head) but I could see she had a point. And I loved potatoes. Mashed, fried, scalloped, latke, cheesy potatoes, hash browns, twice baked, pirogi, potato pancakes, baked potato soup, jojos, clam chowder, tater tots, curry, gnocchi…

Ahem, yes. Ok. Back to the present. Where was I going with this ode to potatoes? Oh yes, popcorn. After choosing to let go of such foods that I loved dearly, I really didn’t want to have to give up popcorn. And hey, guess what? No need! I ate a nice, healthy (and by healthy I mean huge) serving on my 27th night and no adverse effects whatsoever! Yay!

I’m sticking with the plan (as directed) while I add in other foods. I had ramen the next day and hey, guess what? I was right the first time I gave up gluten. Which is not so much learning something new as confirming something I once knew.

So, what have I learned? I have learned that popcorn is ok and gets to stay, and remembered that gluten is not a friend to my stomach. I’ve also learned that I feel much, much better without sugar. Although I didn’t keep careful track, I think that my mood fluctuated less in the last month, without any strong dips or highs. Which shouldn’t be surprising, but still is, a little.

Which doesn’t mean I won’t be having the occasional sweet...

Which doesn’t mean I won’t be having the occasional sweet…

And I learned that if I tell people what I’m about, people are supportive of that (mostly – you know who you are). And it helps me, too, to tell people what I am up to. I mean, I can hardly say I’m not eating sugar then come out of the teacher’s lounge with a big ol’ cup cake. I also learned some tasty, creative ways to eat my slow carbs, mostly in the form of sweet potatoes, and to add veggies to my meal to help me feel satisfied (ala Volumetrics). And while this wasn’t about weight loss, I did lose weight. And I only ran twice this month (mostly because I’m still feeling the effects of the anemia)!

The next big thing I’ll be trying is beans. I love my beans and have seriously missed them. I already have my lunches for the week so I’ll wait till next weekend, but I’ll be interested to see how I do with them.

For now, I’m content to continue with the Whole30 eating plan, continue to be gluten free, continue to leave out the sugar and fast carbs (ala 4 Hour Body) and allow myself popcorn and something sweet one night a week (also 4 Hour Body). I’ll be experimenting with dairy free ice creams, and going back to gluten free brownies/cookies, too. Silly not to listen to my body, right?


The Hard Parts

Well, I told you all about the ways the Whole30 hasn’t been too hard – and I meant every word of it. I swear, that was no bullshit. However, today I’m here to say, yeah, that was true, and yet, in some very real ways, it’s also been hard. Very hard.

Today was a great example of that. Today, a very sad, distressing thing happened at work. And, the caring, loving, people at my job did what many people do in such situations. They brought food. Food of the bagel and cream cheese variety. And cake. Pound cake. And there we all were, in the room, telling our stories, laughing and crying and feeling sad, right there, alongside those bagels. And pound cake.


I held out. I did. I went and had lunch, a lunch that was almost perfectly right – the sauce on the meat probably did have a little sugar in it, but over all it fit the Whole30 parameters. And then we came back. Meanwhile, the crew at work had gotten food from a local place, which included tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. I think I held out about 10 minutes, before I decided just a few chips would be alright. Like, two. Then two more. In the end, I didn’t really eat a bunch, a handful, I’d say. I felt proud of myself.


Then the room quieted again and hey, there was that pound cake again!

All this just to say that, well, you know, it isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s really hard.  Times of stress, emotional times, those times, those times are hard, very hard.  Which likely doesn’t surprise any of you, but I thought it was only right that I document those parts too.

Three Thoughts on Thirty (The Whole30)

The thing that surprises me the most about the Whole30 (so far) is not what I miss, so much as what I don’t miss. I totally expected to miss popcorn. But I don’t. I don’t miss ice cream, either. Or Oreos. Know what I miss most? You’ll never guess.

Go Oreos!

Just in case you aren’t in the food fad know, I’ll tell you a little about the Whole30. It is, essentially, an elimination diet (at least that’s how I think of it – of course you can go to their website, and check out all the great things they say about it). Here’s a short blurb from the website:

After the 30 days, you are supposed to re-introduce the various groupings one at a time to see what their effect is on your system.

If you’ve been following me you know I’m a big fan of The Four Hour Body. And I still am, but since my move, I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve had a very difficult time sticking to my plan. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I think I’ve managed only a few weeks all year. Add to that my recent health issues, and I found that I wasn’t feeling particularly healthy.

A friend of mine started posting photos of food she was preparing and eating on the Whole30. They looked delicious, but besides that, I was intrigued by the idea of spending 30 days re-setting my body. And I loved that they posted all of the documents you need to get started right on their website.

My roommate and I started the program the following week.

We’ve been on it 14 days now, and I’m surprised at how easy it’s been. Like a friend of mine once said, it’s easier to manage a thing like this if you have really clear boundaries – like no sugar, no grains, no dairy, no legumes. Uh, wait a minute. Did you say no legumes?


Yeah, you got it. That’s the thing I miss the most, legumes. More specifically, beans. Black bean, red beans, chick peas…I miss them all. Not just eating them, though. I really miss the ease of preparing all my lunches at the beginning of the week, of having something I can heat up and eat if I don’t have time or energy at the end of the day.

That’s the first surprise. The second surprise is how people react when I tell them about what I’m doing. In the past, when I told people I don’t eat sugar, or gluten, or potatoes, people would look at me like I’m crazy. Even if I explain that they make me feel icky, and that I always allow myself a day off on the weekend. But when I say I’m doing the Whole30, people are like, “Oh, yeah, that’s interesting. I don’t know if I could do it.” And then they back right down, moving the cupcake or candy. Huh.

Finally, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy fruit! As a kid, we thought I was allergic to most fruits, then as a grown up I decided it was probably the pesticides. It turns out that good, organic fruit usually doesn’t affect me too much. When I did decide to eat some fruit, it never seemed to taste all that good, so I don’t usually pick it up. To tell you the truth, after all those years of not eating fruit, I thought I had lost my taste for it. But since I added it back to my regular foods, I’m astounded by how good it tastes!  And I have a new appreciation for living in California, where the fruit doesn’t have to travel 1000 miles to get to me.

Farmer’s Market

Those are my thoughts, and I’d be happy to hear yours!

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