Tom Denham

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Posts posted by Tom Denham

  1. Here is the relevant rule: 

    • Fruit juice as a sweetener. Some products or recipes will include fruit as a sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the Whole30. (We have to draw the line somewhere.)

    If you drink the juice, you are not using it as a sweetener. You would be violating the Whole30 rules. Don't do it. 

  2. Not stepping on the scale is not a suggestion. It is a rule. Something that we have found to be important through experience with 1000s of people. You were not an exception. You short-changed yourself by weighing. You let the scale guide your behavior and you did not learn important lessons that you still need to learn. I am glad that you had a positive experience over all, but frustrated that you did not fully engage with the Whole30 process. 

  3. Your eating two sweet potatoes per day eliminates the likelihood that you are feeling increased anxiety/depression as a result of your diet. People who go low carb and avoid eating starchy veggies are at risk, but two sweet potatoes per day should be enough to keep that aspect of things well supplied. Your meals sound good. I don't know what is going on. 


    Are you eating plenty of food so that you are not hungry for more than a short-time before meals? Are you drinking plenty of water? We recommend 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. I don't know why being low in these regards might make you anxious or depressed, but people do often fail to eat and drink enough. 

  4. Let me elaborate.. a syrup made from dates is not acceptable during a Whole30 and a crappy idea at any time because sweetening your food with such a product erodes health. It does not make anything better. Making a puree with dates in order to sweeten your food is maybe 10 percent more acceptable than using a date syrup. You know where 10 percent better leaves you? Ninety percent away from where you belong if you want to be healthy. :)


    The person behind the dessert recipes thinks eating a frozen date helped her during her Whole30. This is not true. Feeding a sugar craving keeps the craving healthy and strong. The Whole30 approach to sugar cravings is to starve them unmercifully until they die. There is no room to negotiate with a sugar craving. They are cunning and powerful. Trying to placate a craving with just a little something has ended many Whole30s prematurely. Don't listen to the soft crowd. Listen to the old timers. Go cold turkey regarding sweetness. 


    Let me explain where it really is okay to use something to sweeten your food... when you are making pickles. Here is a good recipe for making quick, refrigerator pickles... Submerge your sliced cucumbers in a mixture of half apple cider vinegar and half apple juice plus spices like salt, garlic, peppercorns, etc and let soak for 12-24 hours. Making pickles is an acceptable time to use a sweetener during a Whole30. Seriously. 

  5. Requiring a stimulant to start your day is a good sign that your hormonal rhythms are out of whack and/or you are not getting enough sleep. You don't need a Whole30-compliant substitute. You need a change in your lifestyle. 


    Eating early in your day is one of the most important things you can do to get your hormonal rhythms where they need to be. It is very challenging for some people - sounds like you - but very important. 


    Your body carries enough energy stored as fat to run multiple marathon races even when you are lean. You don't require energy from food to perform well in the morning. The issue is accessing that energy. The Whole30 facilitates becoming fat-adapted so that you can draw on fat stores to zip through an hour of spinning. Unfortunately, the adaptation process takes several weeks and you will feel tired and sluggish and perform below your usual standards until you reach the other side. It is worth the pain. You can ease the pain a little by eating starchy veggies at several meals per day, but nothing will stop it. 


    Eating pre-workout is a signal to the body to get ready for exercise. I often don't eat pre-workout simply because I don't notice it making a difference. When I do, like you, I eat a few nuts.


    Our bodies get maximum benefit from lean protein for muscle recover when eating within 15-30 minutes of finishing a workout. Protein still helps if you delay longer, but recovery is less robust. We recommend lean protein and a starchy carb to replenish muscle glycogen as a post-workout meal. Do the best you can to eat as soon as you can. Avoid fat after a workout because it slows digestion which consequently slows protein getting to your muscles. 


    I eat canned tuna or sardines as post-workout meal because that is convenient. You might need to cook chicken breasts and eat a few pieces cold as your post-workout meal. That would be light on your stomach. Chicken and cold baked sweet potato is pretty mild. Then eat whatever you want for breakfast when you are ready.


  6. I have loose stools or diarrhea a lot. Sometimes I go weeks with solid stools, but sometimes I spend a lot of time with looseness. I have come to accept it as a normal part of life. If I have real diarrhea, I try to remember to take OTC meds and one dose usually tightens things up. I probably take meds less than once per month. I should probably take something a little more often, but I forget. This is really different from when I ate 3-4 bowls of Fiber One cereal with soy milk per day. I am much, much healthier nowadays than I was back then, but my bowels behave differently on veggies and fruits. 

  7. Amber is right. We have refined our comments about kombucha over time. At first, I would not buy any GT Dave's product that listed more than 2 grams of sugar in the macronutrient report section, but the issue is added sugar, not the sugar from the original fruit ingredients. I still avoid the higher sugar drinks because I don't like them as much. I recommend avoiding the drinks like Guava Goddess because the sweetness may embolden sugar dragons, but they are officially acceptable. 

  8. Eating Whole30-style removes a huge amount of carbs from the diet of most people. The lethargy and suckiness that many people feel during the first few weeks of a Whole30 reflects the struggle of their bodies to adjust to living without all those carbs as fuel. You know you are becoming fat adapted when you begin to feel good living on the lower volume of carbs that result naturally from getting the carbs only from vegetable sources like sweet potatoes, beets, plantains, etc.

  9. I ate a sweet potato every day for much of my first year of eating Whole30-style and remained fat-adapted. If you are running a lot, you may need to eat a serving of starchy veggies every day. If you are running less, you might do okay with less. I have advised some athletes to eat two sweet potatoes per day when they were doing 2 workouts per day to keep energy levels up.

  10. As long as my HDL is up and my triglycerides down, I don't worry much about LDL.


    Some of us produce a lot of cholesterol. I have been having mine monitored for 25 years or more. No diet makes mine go down to a level that makes doctors happy. The Whole30 made my HDL go up and triglycerides go down, so even though my LDL and total were considered bad, I actually was healthier.


    Here is a collection of links to good information I have found about cholesterol...


  11. The ideal post workout food is probably chicken breast and baked sweet potato. I prefer the convenience of canned fish, so I use sardines or tuna packed in water. Sardines and tuna are not as lean as chicken breast, but still lean enough to digest fast, at least the ones packed in water. I prefer the taste of fish packed in oil, but I take stuff packed in water for my post-workout meals.


    The recommendation for a pre-workout meal is protein and fat. Probably the ideal pre-workout food is a boiled egg or two. I skip the pre-workout meal a lot, but one boiled egg or a small handful of nuts are what I eat.

  12. Your pre-workout routine sounds okay. The big question is what you eat after working out. The purpose of the post-workout meal is to help you recover as quickly as possible. Your body is especially ready to eat after a hard workout and what it wants is protein. This meal needs to be eaten within 15-30 minutes of the workout ending because the muscles are especially open to food at that time. This meal needs to include lean protein. Lean because fat slows digestion and you need this protein to get to your muscles quickly. Protein because that is what the muscles want. Starchy carbs are an optional part of post-workout meals. If you need to revive your energy stores, eating a starchy carb like sweet potato helps. If weight loss is more important to you than energy, you can skip the carbs in the post workout meal.

    If you complete a workout and then drive home and prepare a meal so that you are eating 45-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles have closed their "special window of openness" by the time you eat. Similarly, if you eat a meal within 15-30 minutes that includes a lot of fat as comes with whole eggs or avocados, your digestion is slowed and your muscles are not fed in a timely fashion. Your recovery suffers when this happens.

    I personally thought the idea of a post-workout meal was silly when I first heard Dallas and Melissa say we should eat them. I ignored the recommendation for at least a year until I was at a nutrition seminar and they explained why it was important in a way that made sense to me. I started eating a post-workout meal and noticed that I experienced less muscle soreness over the course of a week of workouts. Eating lean protein immediately after a workout really made a noticeable difference for me.

    I don't bother with a post-workout meal after a yoga class or a slow 5 mile run, but if I hit the gym to do a kettlebell or barbell routine, I eat a can of tuna packed in water as soon as I finish. I used to eat sardines, but the owner of the gym told me I could not eat sardines inside the building. :)

    I often drive home from the gym after eating a can of tuna, prepare a meal, and then eat again within about an hour. Adding more food with fat after a post-workout meal is okay as long as the lean protein has a good head start on the next meal.

  13. I doubt it. Most deli meats fail to measure up to the real, whole food criteria of a Whole30. The Boars Head website does not share ingredient lists online and that is a red flag to me. They do say, "For additional nutritional information, please call our customer service department at 1-800-352-6277."

  14. I don't worry about "natural flavor." When I am in a restaurant, I like to put French's yellow mustard on grilled chicken. I use something else at home, but like to smear yellow mustard on pork chops near the end of cooking.

  15. Thank you for asking!

    Most people lose weight during a Whole30. Eating only healthy foods tends to make that happen. However, the Whole30 is not a weight loss program, it is a health improvement program. It really works best if you focus on trying to improve your health and let the weight take care of itself. Therefore, it takes some trust on your part that this program is good for you and will yield good results. Unfortunately, if you focus on weight loss, you can mess up your Whole30 and either slow weight loss or hurt your health.

    The key to this program is eating as much as is recommended in the meal template. If you try to speed weight loss by eating less food or less fat, it interferes with your hormones achieving a normal, healthy balance and often backfires. Here is a link to the meal template...

    Do not count points, track calories, or weigh your food. The replacement for that behavior is following the meal template and paying attention to your feelings. If you try to do both, you will fail at following the meal template and paying attention to your feelings. They may not seem your best choice now, but they really are what works for a lifetime of health and happiness.

    I lost weight with this program starting in May of 2010. I lost 2 pounds per month for 15 months in a row. I ate lots of food and was never hungry. I made the mistake of trying to speed the process by skipping some meals. Back in 2010, stepping on a scale was not forbidden. What I discovered is that I sometimes gained weight on days I skipped meals. I don't understand why. I also tried to speed weight loss by exercising more than usual. I would add a 5K run to my ordinary workout. That did not make me lose weight faster either. Finally after a few months, I settled down and just followed the program. I kept losing weight until I was down 30 pounds. I went from 215 to 185. 185 was my goal weight. I wondered if I would keep losing weight when I reached it. Curiously enough, I got down to 184 one day, but never lost more. I kept eating exactly the same, but stopped losing weight.

    Today, I weigh 195, but I am much more muscular than I was before. I have not had my body fat measured, but I suspect I remain as lean as ever, but when I started lifting heavy weights, my chest, arms, and legs got bigger. This program really works if you will let it. Just give it time.

  16. You can plug alcohol in to the schedule similar to any other food with the exception that you probably don't want to have a shot of whiskey at breakfast, a glass of scotch at lunch, and a glass of wine with dinner unless your lifestyle is friendly to drinking all day. :) Actually, a few servings of your favorite drink should give you an idea of how your body responds.

    I was impressed with how much more detailed the reintroduction advice was in It Starts With Food than anything Dallas and Melissa had written before. Now I hear you guys asking for more details. Some of that is developing though our discussions here on the forum. I am kind of saying you may need to reintroduce for several days in order to have enough servings of a food to get a reaction if you are going to have one. And then I think you need several days of clean eating before testing a new food to let your body get back to baseline. If you crowd tests too closely together, you won't get as good an idea of how strongly something is affecting you.

  17. The Whole9 meal template applies to all of your concerns. Eat a serving of protein as big as the palm of your hand at 3 meals per day (whether you feel hungry or want to eat or not). You need that much protein to maintain your body in a healthy state. Fill the rest of your plate with veggies cooked in a measure of fat as big as your thumb. If you are participating in intensive exercise, you need a pre- and post-workout snack. This is your baseline need for food. Sometimes you don't feel hungry, but you should eat to this level regardless.

    If you feel hungry, you can eat up to 2 palm-size portions of protein at each meal. You can add more fat. You can add some snacks. You can add another meal.

    When you don't eat enough, your metabolism slows and your hormones get out of whack, making weight loss slow or even reverse. It may seem backwards, but that is how things work.

  18. Terez, I love that you keep asking why. Asking why and confronting what I perceived to be inconsistencies is what secured me a spot as a Whole9 Envoy, forum moderator, and even editor of ISWF. That and working for the joy of a good cause. :)