TJHigh

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TJHigh last won the day on March 14

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  1. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    All done! I finished gluten yesterday! But I definitely have a cold/sore throat! I am at a loss to figure out if it’s an actual bug or a gluten reaction! I can’t believe the timing, ugh. For now, I’m going to assume it was gluten, since I have read it can cause the symptoms I have- namely, scratchy throat and stuffy sinuses. I don’t have a fever, which would’ve indicated bug. At any rate, I’m done! I made it through the full 30 days and then an additional 45 days of testing. So I’ve been at this about 75 days, and I really think that’s what I needed for this to all start feeling normal, and habit-like (I’m now a believer in the thought that it takes 66 days to establish a habit). I also lost an additional 5 lbs for a total of 14. I’m actually below my goal weight. I think I have the key to my FFF! With some ideas for what additional, smaller tests I think I may need to refine things. Here are my dos and donts for myself that I’ve figured out: Do: 1. Do eat breakfast everyday. For me, it starts my metabolism and keeps me fat adapted. It’s ok to have some coffee first (maybe a half cup), if I still eat within an hour of waking. For me, this can be a slightly smaller meal than they recommend when talking “template.” 2. Do a lot of meal prep on weekends, or on telework days. Having a complete meal, frozen for later, is a great safety net. And when batch cooking lunches for the week, freeze a serving our two so you can eventually mix and match. 3. Do plan ahead. I have lists about generally what I plan to eat weeks in advance! It gets more refined as reality approaches, but it’s a good way to start thinking of new recipes and identify any challenges coming up. 4. Do eat seasonal fruit, but only about a serving a day, and only with a meal. 5. Do add legumes back in! They seem to fuel me very well and are good for my mood/energy. (NOT SOY) 6. Do maybe add back in dairy. Still ask the question, “is it worth it,” even though the answer can be a pretty low bar. 7. Do generally follow the template and pay attention to if you still feel fat adapted vs sugar adapted. For that, check: mood/energy/cravings. Don’t: 1. Don’t snack, especially after dinner. Not great for my metabolism/staying fat adapted. 2. Don’t skip a planned run day. I read a great article this week about running being about as effective as medication in fighting depression, and for me, I believe it. I’ve come to view my runs as a prescription, not an optional, “should I today?” activity. 3. Don’t drink more that 3x a week, or more than 2-3 glasses a night. Never drink the day before a tough run. I now get monster hangovers, so that’s a terrible added benefit of this detox. 4. Don’t eat soy in large quantities. My reintro test indicated it probably triggers some depression in me. Unclear in what quantity, but early reports aren’t good (I had some flavored nuts this week that ended up having soy that corresponded to a low mood, even though it was a very small amount.) 5. Don’t have non-gluten grains- corn and rice, had a subtler effect but still weren’t great. Probably just not the best fuel for me, generally. Avoid if possible unless a special dish comes up. 6. Don’t have gluten grain for now either. I’ll shake this cold and maybe try again in a few weeks. 7. Don’t weigh every day! It was good info during this reintro test, but I don’t want to be a slave to the scale. Slowly phase out and replace with better evidence (clothes fit, energy, etc.) 8. (This is non-W30), Don’t read the news obsessively when bored at work. It’s just a bummer. So that’s it! I think this is a good template for me going forward.
  2. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Starting Day 2 of gluten reintro, and even though I’m barely awake, I’m noticing a significant symptom, I think. I’m all stuffed up this morning and puffy! It’s like night and day from last night when I went to bed. I suppose I may be getting sick from a bug, but in addition to the stuffy/puffiness, my joints (esp fingers) are stiff and painful. I guess I’ll have to wait and see- the symptoms aren’t so bad that it would make me discontinue the experiment, so I’ll see how the day progresses. I don’t have a hangover this morning, so I’m optimistic that today will be easier to judge overall reactions. No headache, but not quite sure about my mood yet (mostly I just don’t really want to go into work, but that could be attributable to, you know, work.) I’m going to be conscientious to keep everything else about my routine consistent- meaning I def have to go to the gym today and continue no snacking, to see how/if it effects my mood/energy. I certainly hope today is better in that respect!
  3. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Today is gluten, my final reintro food! I'm very excited to be so close to finally finishing! I've had two days of W30 eating between dairy and gluten, with the exception of last night- when I had wine. Regretting that decision now, for a few reasons- chief among them is the hangover I have today. Which is bad enough, but it's also making it hard to judge the reintro process. Ugh, lesson learned (not sure what good it'll do me since this is the end, oh well). So, while trying to control for the pre-existing symptoms (mostly headache/body aches and crappy mood), I didn't notice any immediate effects from my lunch -which was a big farro-based salad with roast chicken, sauteed onions, cherry tomatoes and arugula. No bloating or anything. But now, maybe 3+ hours after lunch, I'm feeling a bit nauseous. And my mood has definitely NOT improved - I basically have the opposite of Tiger's Blood - I'm grumpy and unmotivated. Unfortunately, I have no idea if it's the hangover or gluten. Oh well, the best thing I can do, I think, is to power on, have the same thing for dinner and just put myself to bed! Things are always better in the morning, and I have two more days of reintro to see how things truly go (minus the hangover), so there's no real loss here, I suppose. But this is just a good lesson - there's no way to know if a reintro'd food affects you if you combine it with another off-plan food!
  4. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Alright, all done with dairy- and it was a success! I don't think I had any negative reactions. Good mood/energy/no cravings for both days, and now this morning (back to W30), I continue to feel great. The one little thing is that I didn't sleep great last night - it almost felt like one of the first few nights of sleep when I start a Whole 30 (in the past I've felt restless with aches and general twitchiness in my limbs). But I was able to fall back asleep after waking once, and then generally had a good night's sleep. I woke without my alarm in spite of the time change (as a matter of fact, I haven't noticed the time change at. all. this year. I wonder if that counts as a NSV?) So I'll definitely count dairy as back in, which is very nice, especially for dining out. Other than that, I'd have to think pretty hard about how else dairy fits into my cooking. For me, ghee is a fine sub for butter, so for everyday cooking, I don't have it very regularly, other than maybe soft cheeses as a garnish to salads? One area where I know it comes back is paired with gluten - most typically butter on bread or parmesan on pasta. So I really need to complete the gluten reintro to know if that's even a possibility. After that, I'll likely do a test of gluten + dairy (assuming no probs with gluten, of course.) Now it's back to W30 for a few days, then my last big test! I have less than a week to go and then I'll have fully completed a W30 and a very extensive reintroduction process! I'm cautiously optimistic that this is going to be the start of long lasting FFF for me!
  5. TJHigh

    Natural Flavors added to food?

    I’d also add that a lot of people have had A LOT of success with W30 in spite of consuming food with “natural flavors.” So while of course you’re welcome to come to your own conclusions/opinions, they don’t align at all with my experience. As @ShannonM816 said, you’re definitely free to do it without, a lot of people eliminate additional things they know are problematic for themselves personally. @AAC5453 Why not try a W30 without the natural flavors, then do a reintro where you add a few back in to see if you can’t determine some objective evidence about how they effect you and report back? I think that’d be really informative and helpful to the community.
  6. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Done with my first day of dairy, and so far, so good. Like, really, really good. I eased into it with butter-sautéed carrot zoodles, a fried egg and bacon, but then had a big hit with my cream of mushroom soup for lunch. About an hour after lunch I did my long run for the week- 5.5 miles! Felt great, good mood, energy, etc. And no digestive twinges at all. I then had a few bites of cheese at a wine/cheese/painting party and actually had very little desire to have more than a taste (it wasn’t great cheese, but to be fair, in the past I probably would’ve happily eaten a lot of not-great cheese. Also, I was operating on an empty stomach after the run, plus wine. Still, no cravings.) Dinner was equally successful- I had clams casino cooked with butter, a bite of burrata, and a filet with creamed kale. The creamed kale was the best thing to every happen to kale, so I def could’ve had a lot of that, but just had a moderately generous portion. In other words, definitely enough dairy today for a good test. So far I feel great, with the exception of an expected hangover. Today I plan to continue the reintro with an equally dairy-heavy day (all the same foods until dinner, then it’s gooey/cheesy zucchini lasagna.). I’m going to pay close attention today to the possibly more subtle signs, like any headaches or possible congestion. So far I’m cautiously optimistic that dairy may be able to come back. I’ll have to do a little thinking about what that looks like, because my overall way of eating post W30/FFF frankly doesn’t lend itself to a lot of dairy, and I don’t really miss it. Maybe just as an occasional cheese plate treat or not worrying about if a restaurant finishes a steak with butter, etc. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, got another day to go before I can say for sure.
  7. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Finishing up my back-to-W30 eating before I move on to dairy tomorrow. This week has been really great- a nice glimpse of what FFF can/will look like. Legumes went great, so I’ve pretty much had Tigers Blood all week. It’s funny, after reading It Starts with Food over again before started this W30, I’ve been able to focus much more on the idea of being “fat adapted,” and how important it is. I do think it’s the key to the hormone balance that really drives a lot of the “Tigers Blood” feeling, so I really try to think about whether or not I’m still in that zone. For me, the markers are high energy and mood (especially in the morning- if I’m in a good mood in the morning, it’s generally going to be a good day), and the ability to go 4-5 hours between meals without snacking. Another important symptom (for me), is weight loss or maintenance. The days I feel I’ve shifted away from fat adaption, I’ve generally seen a corresponding blip in the scale. So, I’ve got a little more than a week to go, with two big items to reintroduce- gluten and dairy. But as has been typical for me, I’m starting to plan what happens next a liiiiiitle early (I love a good plan). I’m going to focus on Maintenance/FFF. For the most part, I hope this will just be an overall consciousness of a feeling of well-being (again, checking in on that fat adaption,) but I do have a few small “reintroductionish” tests I want to revisit. Here they are: 1. I’ve gone over a month and I haven’t had any true, straight sugar. I’ve had added sugar via cooking, and I have fruit with meals, but I haven’t had a true dessert like chocolate since I started my Jan Whole 30 (which is pretty cool, now that I think of it.) I’d like to add in an occasional good chocolate and see how that goes. Very small, and very good chocolate. I plan to have it like I do with fruit- very occasionally, usually only at lunch. I’m going to make an effort to NOT have it if I feel myself craving it. Generally, I’d like to check what that does to the checklist most important to me- energy/mood/cravings. 2. I’d like to redo my non-gluten grain reintro, specifically rice, to double check what I suspected about it giving me heartburn/acidic stomach. For reintro, I only had rice for one meal, so I’d like to do a longer test. Honestly, this is probably also about my desire to cook up some paella, but that’s ok with me! For this test, I’ll be careful to eat strictly W30 for several days leading up to the test (so, no legumes for example, even though these will be part of my FFF overall). 3. Soy was awful, and I’ll continue to be careful about ever having a large hit of it. But I would like to see if a small amount has the same reaction, that way if I ever accidentally have some (say if a restaurant uses soybean oil), I’ll be equipped to recognize a more subtle reaction. This will also tell me how careful I have to be about quizzing places about their cooking methods with respect to soy. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll do that at home with a non gluten soy sauce, or try to actively seek out a restaurant that cooks with soybean oil. 4. During reintros, I weighed in every day, and it told me some interesting information, and I felt like it was a useful way (for me) to track trends that related to fat adaption. But I do NOT want to continue to weigh every day (but I DO want to maintain my weight). I’m going to start with a smaller shift and move to just weighing on Monday and Friday mornings. That’ll tell me how weekend eating went and work week. And it seems like a nice, gradual phase out of the everyday habit. Eventually, I’d like to go to once a week, and maybe someday, not at all. But to be honest, I don’t trust myself enough to give it up entirely. So for now, the phase out is a start.
  8. In addition to Food Freedom Forever (which is invaluable), I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin's work on habits and tendencies. She talks about how different types of people are able to build lasting habits (like mindful eating), and one thing she notes is that certain people (a tendency she labels as the "upholder" group) function really well with brightline rules. It sounds like you might be one of those people (I definitely am), so I think @ladyshanny's advice is spot on. For me, it has really helped me to do a very conscientious reintroduction phase - much longer than the one recommended - as a way to help develop these rules for myself. Of course a lot is based on how I've reacted to the foods I've reintroduced (ie- no soy for me because it negatively effects my mood), but also more subtle things like I now always have to eat breakfast, I don't snack unless I truly need fuel, etc. And I love the one @ladyshanny suggested - I'm now adding the no drinking the night before a tough run rule (which as I type it out seems like extremely good advice, so much so that I'm wondering how it never occurred to me before!) Another thing I'd suggest, and I think that this is mentioned in FFF, is don't feel like you always have to do an entire Whole 30 if you feel like you're off track. You may need a reset, but it's likely/possible that you'll need less than the whole 30 days in subsequent tries. Consider if a "whole 7" might be enough to re-focus your efforts, and as part of that, definitely do another reintroduction and see what new rules you'd like to add.
  9. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Alright! All done with legume reintro and I’m very excited to say it went great! I’ve felt exceptionally well these last two plus days. I’ve had several white-bean heavy meals and for the last few days I’ve been in a great mood and had plenty of energy. Weight loss has continued, so that with the continued high energy throughout the day (minus any cravings) tells me legumes don’t take me out of fat adaption, so that’s great. I’ll add them back in unless or until I come across additional evidence that they cause a problem. Next up, a few days of W30 eating, then dairy. It didn’t seem to cause me a problem last time, so it’ll be interesting to see if that remains to be true. I’ll be trying out a homemade cream of mushroom soup and a zucchini lasagna with ricotta and parm. Looking to only do two days of testing this weekend, so I can get to gluten next week and finish up!
  10. TJHigh

    Pleasure feeding

    I'm certainly not qualified for counseling people or diagnosing people - I'm not even a moderator here, let alone a doc. But my personal take is that if you're doing W30 just to impress/support a girl and for you that involves incontinence and chewing and spitting out cake, there are probably better ways to go about it.
  11. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    So far, so good with the legume reintro. I feel great! Tigers Blood most of the day, great energy/mood, no afternoon slump, and no cravings. I hope this continues and I can add legumes back in to my Food Freedom. I don’t eat them that often, but I do occasionally crave a ham and white bean soup, or a lentil salad with vinaigrette. And I do think in and of themselves, they’re fairly healthful foods, so I def hope they’re healthful for me. Again, no wine today so I’ll have a good test/baseline to see how I feel tomorrow morning. I have a run scheduled for tomorrow morning, so we’ll see how this fuels me. I’m also interested to check my weight tomorrow. I’d been steadily heading back down after last week’s unfortunate battle with the macadamia nuts, so we’ll see if that continues or at least maintains. I hope so. In two weeks, I’ll have completed reintros and honestly, I’d really like to be at my goal weight so I can really work on maintaining. I only have about 1.5 lbs to go, so it seems like an achievable goal. I know it’s an arbitrary number, and it doesn’t really matter to me what the actual end number is (okaaaaaaay, it does a little), what matters is that at the end I can maintain within a reasonable range (I’m thinking +/- 2 lbs either way before I consider being in a danger zone.) Part of my FFF will be to maintain my weight level for a consistent amount of time (or well, forever, I suppose!) I cant think of a time in my adult life I’ve maintained for longer than two months, so it’s very important to me, just to finally know I can.
  12. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Finished my return back to W30 eating in between soy and legumes. Back to feeling great (for the most part), with the exception of Friday night/Saturday. Went out to dinner with friends, and there wasn’t a ton of compliant food options, so the wine I did have hit me VERY hard. Yikes, another good lesson- don’t have two glasses of wine on essentially an empty stomach. That obviously also led to a tough Saturday as I recovered. Back to feeling great on Sunday though, full Tiger’s Blood! Got lots of chores done, lots of energy/motivation, and had a great long run. Perfect canvas to start my legume reintroduction! And I made the most amazing cassoulet from this month’s Bon Appétit, sooooo good (I just omitted the breadcrumb topping.) really a good food to test to see exactly how “lowly” white beans can be worth it when they’re part of a special meal. So far, I’ve only had the one meal (dinner last night), but I’m still feeling very good. Great mood, woke early and am having a nice, relaxing morning. We’ll see how the day progresses- I’m having more cassoulet for lunch and dinner both today and tomorrow. That should be enough to tell me what I need to know. One thing I’m being more careful of this time is how I add back in the wine. I didn’t have any last night and won’t again tonight, to make sure those symptoms don’t combine with the beans, but ultimately, for my last night, I’m going to have some with a glass of wine- it just pairs so well. And after all, that’s part of what makes it a “worth it,” meal for me, in some cases. After I finish up legumes mid-week, I have just two days of W30 (I’ve been trying to do about three in between, where possible), and then dairy over the weekend. If I recall correctly from past reintroductions, this had no effect on me, but I’ll be curious if that’s still the case. After that, just a week left!
  13. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Ok- finished with soy. Did not like. That was bad. I'm not sure how it's possible, but I really think soy might trigger depression for me. So strange to think that a food-thing could cause a brain-thing. But that was my experience- and it definitely was more acute when I had that big hit of soy on the first day. After that, I was able to manage and keep some of the low mood at bay, but it was a struggle and I really had to put in an effort to stay positive and maintain my good habits. I still feel a little precarious (today is first day back W30). In addition, I slept very poorly the last two or three nights - I just never fell into a deep sleep. Today that has finally caught up to me, and I'm just exhausted. In order to continue to fend off the low mood, I really need a run, but not sure if my body can handle it - if I manage it, it'll likely be with my husband's encouragement at the very end of the day. Now back to 3 days of W30 before I continue with the rest of legumes on Sunday. I really really hope I don't have a similar reaction to just straight white beans, because I'm making a huge cassoulet and I'd really like it not to go to waste. I've decided if I have similar symptoms with legumes, I'm going to cut off the experiment earlier this time, it's just not worth it. One thing I need to focus on and make sure I don't let it creep back in excess - wine. Last week I veered towards the upper end of my self-imposed guidelines (no more than 2 drinks per night, 2x per week), and some of that did contribute to the snacking/poor food choices on Monday (which likely also contributed to me feeling poorly overall). We're going out to dinner on Saturday, and I would like to have wine with the cassoulet- but I'm going to be more careful with my amounts than I was last weekend. So, soy verdict - in large doses- absolutely not. May be ok in limited quantities like soy sauce when going out, but at home I will continue to use the very acceptable coconut aminos as a substitute. And if/when I go out and have an opportunity to encounter a small amount of soy, I'll pay particular attention to how it effects my mood. There! It does feel good to add another observation/guidepost to my FFF. Makes me feel like the process is worth it in spite of going through some bad days along the way.
  14. TJHigh

    Here goes!

    Overall feeling a little better today since I had a legitimate breakfast, but I did have slight nausea again, and my mood is just awful. This am I had simple scrambled eggs with soy sauce, and it caused just a general feeling of sick to my stomach. Last night wasn’t much better, but I don’t know if the issue was soy, although I suppose may have been. I made cauliflower fried “rice” with soy sauce and edamame- no nausea, but I did snack on dried cherries and macadamias after dinner. Like so, so, so many. Approx my body weight in macadamias, ugh. Caused severe bloating and jus a real feeling of discomfort all night (not a shock.) I’m definitely in a poor mood today and yesterday, and it feels different than just life-stress. It’s like someone sucked away my motivation. Ugh, it’s awful. I don’t fully trust that the soy’s to blame though, it feels like that could just be psychosomatic. It seems incredible soy could effect my brain, but I guess it’s possible. We’ll see how today goes though. After my breakfast, I’m having a Whole30 lunch- bbq chicken wings, sauerkraut, and carrots with Tessa Mae Cesar. Dinner will be leftovers from last night and I’ll try to be conscientious about the snacking/how I feel, to see what that reveals. Last night got away from me a bit, so I’m overall just trying to be mindful today and get back to some healthy habits and see if I can’t shake this mood. It’d be nice to feel back on track so I can continue the test tomorrow to see if the small amount of soy in dinner really is causing a low mood. But to do that, I have to shake my current mood!
  15. TJHigh

    Meal Delivery? Cooked-Concerns

    @Babsie95 good questions. I was concerned about that too, but I found the portions to be perfect, although I’m not a big eater. But when I emptied the package onto one of my regular-size plate, it more than filled it up- lots of protein and veggies. I will say I think only two of the eight dishes had starchy veggies, so if you regularly want that, you would have to supplement.