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Where's a bison when you need one?

Meridith Wolnick

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My partner and I are on Day 5 of the challenge (we started on Saturday, July 14). I've been keeping a quick log on my own, but thought I'd post what I had and then add to it as we go on!

Day one...

It's a Saturday and it's surprisingly easy to be doing this. If by "doing this" you mean stumbling into it bleary eyed. Which, if I recall, is sort of how we got into it in the first place. I didn't seek this out but followed a link down a rabbit hole and when I mentioned it to Debra she was more enthusiastic than I expected. I was terribly afraid that we'd do this, give up and be so disappointed. After all, we already have paleo and primal friends and read sites of that nature. I'd feel like I just wasn't good enough. Which was ridiculous but also true. That first day went alright. suddenly evening came and we had not, miraculously:

Gone to Burger King

Made brownies

Eaten a fried piece of any kind of chicken

Stopped for ice cream.

The idea that that is a normal weekend startles me. I am filled with resolve to continue forward despite being nervous about missing pizza.

Day two!

Shopping for food. This is involve a very intense meal planning session (which we do every week anyway). Except it usually goes like this:

What do you want to have?


I've got that, also pork chops, and burgers and veggie tacos.


Sadly, I'm actually quite a good cook and we have tons of well-worn recipe books. I'm not sure what happens to us. Cooking sounds too complicated maybe, on a Monday, and so we plan things we can make in our sleep. And then, we go out for dinner anyway. This is taking more effort than I expected. And now I'm more nervous than I was.

I have all kinds of worries. How much will this cost? What if we don't buy enough? Do I need to throw out everything in my pantry? We decide we can't afford the $40 ISWF and so I request that the library order it. In the end, we do spend more money than we could comfortably afford to this week but we decide it's worth it, since we won't be eating out and it's our lives and health on the line. We find everything we want except for bacon without added sugar. We get it from the butcher instead and though it costs more, we feel more confident that we're on the right track.

Day three is okay:

It's Monday. I've started joking about being like a cavewoman (I saw a sabertooth at the oasis today, honey! Too bad there wasn't an apple tree on that hike back to the cave. I made this jerky from a lion I netted with one hand tied behind my back!)

We grilled a ton of food for the week yesterday as well as a terrific frittata. I feel prepared. By midday though, I'm worried about how we will get through the day, get home, have food and do all this before our two-year-old melts down. But! I am motivated and not in a giving up place. In fact, dinner comes off without a hitch. On the downside, it's over in a heartbeat and I am still nauseous at every meal (which I consider a side effect). Maybe we were so hungry we bolted our food, but mostly I think that's because it was simple fare and already made. We took a walk with our kid to kill time and then applauded ourselves for making it through. On the physical front, Debra has a headache all day. I feel great, despite becoming increasingly stressed about a conference presentation on Tuesday. Otherwise, I am freezing. I don't know why. Maybe I am getting a cold.

Day 4 (eh):

Debra makes me an omelet with green peppers, onions and mushrooms and some bacon on the side. This is the first meal I haven't been nauseous for although I still can't choke it all down. We decide to stick to one egg for me in the morning, two is too much egg for me. I eat one piece of bacon and leave the other for Debra to take on her lunch salad. I'm going out for lunch, something I think is a real challenge, though I've already selected the salad I'll eat from the online menu. I drink coffee before I leave the house and it tastes remarkably sweet cold-pressed. I drink a second cup.

We're driving separate today ANOTHER thing that makes me nervous since I don't know if I trust myself not to head to McDonalds for a burger after work. It's funny, this worry, because I probably wouldn't have even before this. Both the me before and the me now think that slipping away to eat alone before dinner and without telling Debra is more than a little questionable.

My presentation at the conference goes well. Everyone orders salads so I don't feel like I stand out too much and I even feel confident enough to see another salad on the menu that has tons of protein. I can have the cheese left off easily so I get that instead. I'm happy and proud of myself for being able to make a good restaurant decision. Also, I go to the gym in the afternoon. Physically, I have a splitting headache all day. Stress? I take a migraine pill and go to sleep early. I'm not sleeping well (stress again?) and I'm hoping that the fatigue the site mentions really does hit soon.

Day 5 (today):

We wake up late – 8am. This is late, even by our normal summer relaxed work hours. Breakfast is hurried, but thanks to Sunday's frittata, it's just as nourishing as it would have been had we sat down. Last night we had an amazing crockpot meal and it's still bringing happy memories today. Debra has drunk all but the ends of the coffee though which makes me both unreasonable and snippy. This is an unpleasant way to start the day.

I'm back at the gym again today and the heat outside is oppressive. Frankly, every step feels like it's taking too much energy. I suspect I'm not eating enough but I don't want my jerky and I haven't got anything else so I have a cup of tea instead. The gym feels great and I'm super sweaty.

Can we talk about sweat? I've been dripping with it all week. I don't know whether this is the Virginia heat or the program or a combination. My workout involved actual drips on my nose and slick bars on the elliptical. I also haven't been to the gym for almost a month so I decide it's my body snapping back.

After the gym I've got leftover beef kebobs which remind me that I feel meat-inundated. I eat most of them, wish I had a vegetable (being so snippy this morning meant I forgot to check the lunch list and left the carrots at home) and then enjoy an apple. It is incredibly sweet. I suspect this is the absence of artificial sugar since I'm not a huge apple fan. I know there should be a post workout snack here, according to the site, but lunch will have to do. Fish is on the menu for dinner and I'm grappling with whether I should eat it or not. I really don't care for fish but I wonder if I "need†it for the healthy oils. I'm still torn at the end of the work day. THIS is why we made menus. 5 pm is when we enter the realm of bad decisions. Physically, I'm so tired of feeling nauseous when I eat and, since fish does that anyway, I think I might skip dinner. The headache is creeping back.

I'm beginning to realize that we used to plan a lot of our life around preparing and eating meals. Having cooked so much in advance means meals are over much more quickly and I'm not sure I like that!

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Thanks for the tip on the book Emily!

Day 6 (my head):

This morning there weren't any animals at the oasis so I sustained on leftover bacon and an egg instead. Today we brought back an old friend - the green smoothie. This is a standard morning favorite and I missed it. Normally we throw in spinach, almond milk and some fruit but this morning I gave a mix of water and coconut milk a try. I'm not sure I'm completely sold on coconut milk in a non-curry state, but hey, if all you've got on your long walk back to the cave where cavedog has licked all the chicken is coconuts, you're eating coconuts.

I've a headache today and last night I didn't eat much (tied together?) while Debra and cavebaby had fish. I went to bed satisfied though - tomatoes, avocado cream, garden basil and a side of rosemary sweet potatoes. I've never been so happy to see a sweet potato. I suspect we've been very low on starch each meal. Planning to skip the gym today...ahh, rest.

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Day 7 (corn)

You guys. I ate half an ear of corn and I felt physically horrible. Debra and I agreed that, because we're part of a CSA, that we wouldn't waste summer vegetables that we received. We feel really strongly about wasting food and, after all, there are no potatoes or sugary apple cider in the summer. When corn came in our box this week we opted to eat it rather than give it away. Neither of us have felt so awful since we began the Whole 30. Our stomachs hurt and cramped, there was gas, there was general discomfort. I wish I had never seen that corn. So, that answers THAT question.

Outside of that, we had a pretty good day. I'm still finding myself nauseous when eating eggs but outside of that all the nasty symptoms have stopped. I have never sweat so much as I did the first 4 days! I thought it was the heat (and I'm sure it partly was) but mostly I think it was the purifying process.

Last night we found a spectacular recipe for a sweet potato salad which I think solved some of our starch problems (ie that we weren't eating any). So delicious. We're definitely going back to that. Looking down the barrel of day 7, I'm SO glad I feel better. I'm not as hungry as I thought I would be either though that corn made us crave sweets like nobody's business. Back, corn! Back! I was really nervous about having enough food/inventiveness for the weekend but since I feel good today it's easier to press through. Curry chicken on the docket for this evening and then back to the grocery tomorrow!

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Interesting about the corn!

I have the same problem with a CSA and not wanting to waste food. We sometimes do get apple cider in our CSA! And pie cherries with added sugar! Some things I freeze for, say, Thanksgiving. Others I give away if I can. And, like you, sometimes I just eat them, although if I can I keep them for a time when I'm not Whole30-ing.

Well, I'm not saying anything new here, but I just wanted you to know you are not alone!

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Community Share Agriculture. You buy a share of a farm's produce and, usually on a weekly basis, you get a box with that week's produce in it. I'm a member of a farm that is about 50miles away from me; I have a fruit and veggie share that is delivered to my area every Thursday for 26 weeks out of the year. Share sizes and prices vary.

More info: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

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Hobbitgirl - sorry, the abbreviation just slipped in there! Thanks Emily for clearing it up. Ours comes from a collection of farms in the region and includes whatever's seasonal from lamb and turkey to plums and eggs! We only have a basic fruit and veggie share (for us that's about paper box sized) each week. For example, this week we had heirloom tomatoes, green apples, an eggplant, 4 ears of corn, blackberries and onions. We get apple cider too in November and by the end of summer we'll see tons of apples.

Emily - Thanks for the sympathy. It's afternoon and I'm still holding a grudge against that corn! My neighbors are very much going to appreciate our summer donations of it!

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Word. Corn is noooo bueno. It causes me to break out with sores in my mouth and on my tongue. Gross, right? I treat myself to popcorn maybe once or twice a year because I loves it so much. It seems not as bad as plain-old corn.

I used a CSA a few years ago that delivered mostly corn and peaches; neither of which I eat. A couple of years ago I signed up for doortodoororganics.com. It isn't a single farm so I get the choice to modify my veggie box and substitute the stuff I don't want.

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That's a great option! Ours is expanding in options too - just fruit or just meat, etc. My mom lives in the mountains in Wyoming (so zero local farms) and has found a fruit and vegetable coop that ships nationwide. I'm so glad it's spreading. Also, popcorn is one of my favorite things in the world. Please tell me it's better than corn on the cob ;)

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Day 8 (fried oreos)

It's Saturday (again) and I'm very worried about making it through the weekend without tears. I am feeling fragile. It's not that I worry my willpower will break, only that I'll be very sad about the temptations. I am beginning to realize I eat sweets to self-soothe, something which I would have sworn up and down I didn't do. Dinner on day 7 is a failure - the coconut curry recipe we try is disgusting. Fortunately, Debra thinks clearly enough to hunt and roast a chicken (at the grocery store) and so we are fed. The comments other folks left about indulgence are helpful and we've planned some yummy things for supper. The big tripping point is an outing to a county fair after cavebaby wakes from a nap. We like to go every year and indulge in fried oreos and funnel cakes. Is it really indulging if you would eat those things any old time you could get your hands on them? Although we had to walk through the food alley to get to the livestock barns and other features (something I'd hoped to avoid), I'm not feeling too tempted. I am happily surprised to make it past Saturday without ever feeling unhappy.

Day 9 (lunch?)

Although we've meticulously planned and shopped for meals, we've somehow forgotten Sunday lunch. This is a terrible thing, since we used to turn to fast food for this meal. I am out doing errands and wracking my brain for an inventive solution (I don't like to eat things over and over again). I settled on wrapping julienned carrots, cucumbers and apples with a slice of roast beef like a sushi roll. It is delicious and I am delighted at my choice. Dinner goes on as planned with a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple for taco bowls. We used a grass-fed tri-tip and grilled it and chicken for the week. I make salsa from heirloom tomatoes and it's fantastic. The kale chips were a surprising delight. We eat them all and relish the crunch they make. Sunday is almost perfect - I forget to take out the italian sausage for a caramelized onion frittata for the week leaving us with hard-boiled eggs for Monday's breakfast. As I dislike eeg yolks, this is paltry indeed.

Day 10 (dinner party)

We've been invited to a friend's pasta and cake! party on Friday. I debate telling the white lie and decide to come clean. While we could (and in the future will) bring a huge salad and plate of meatballs to share, we didn't feel up to it this week. No one is offended (we have great friends) but I do feel weird explaining myself. While no one is critical, I feel like I'm on a fad diet. I'm going to review the tips for talking to others since I don't think I got it right. On the bright side It Starts With Food will be here tomorrow. Can't wait.

While I think we're set with menus this week, we did a lot of juggling to accomodate a need for an early dinner one night, the missed frittata and a too frozen pork shoulder. The menu written as is isn't correct and I think I had better fix it lest we get confused. This seems a little silly but I know it has been one of our downfalls in the past. If it isn't on the menu clear as day, we're more likely to make a bad choice. Grilled chicken with salsa, avocado and peppers tonight. No confusion about that yumminess!

Day 10 feels like we just started and like there is no progress at all. It isn't true though, I think I'm seeing slight differences in our bodies. Even if that means not going to a pasta and cake! party, I'll take it.

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Day 11 (ouch)

I love paleo. I wonder how I'll feel when the Whole 30 is over and I've not got a time based goal. Will I somehow stop? It seems so sustainable. The caramelized onion frittata I had for breakfast this morning helped the eggs go down better. They are the one thing challenging me. I've been hungry all day though - the frittata had onions, sausage, and eggs - and lunch was a big salad with chicken, blueberries, cucumbers and carrots. I had a plum as well. Since I'm normally less hungry eating this way, I'm wondering what tipped the scales today. Also, I'm not recovering as quickly from the gym today as usual. Sore back etc, even though I didn't do anything new. Turkey burgers on the docket for dinner which, eh, but tomorrow will bring a promising crock pot pork shoulder. So that's something to look forward to. that is, if I make it through today...

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Day 12 (Don't knock)

I doubt it's the change in diet although it could be the change all the hormones are making as they adjust to not getting reliable boosts of sugary, processed carbs, but my almost-social anxiety seems to be ramping up. I'm dreading meetings, visits from friends. Not enough to make me cancel or hide, but enough to be noticeable and to set that knot in my stomach. I do not know how to fix this. I am going to dump more veg on my plate. We've knocked it out of the park with protein and fruit (see awesome pulled pork with paleo BBQ sauce for dinner) but haven't been able to dump enough veg on the plate. Still, it's there, but it's more 50/50 split than a 33/66.

Day 13 (is it even possible to go back?)

It's possible I'm feeling a little righteous (something which I keep to myself, I promise, and which will soon pass). When I see commercials for some sorts of food or see an ad for a food that purports to be healthy but is so packed with processed ingredients it makes me cringe. Could I ever go back to fast food? I'm pretty sure not. This morning a scrambled egg and coffee (this was not enough breakfast!); leftover pulled pork, peppers and a plum (nuts and tea to follow) and burgers with avocado and salsa for supper. Can I mention how awesome bengal spice is? Awesome.

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I was in the Natural History Museum at the weekend ("the dead zoo" as it's known as in Dublin, all stuffed animals) and I saw a bison & thought of you :lol:

I often feel self-righteous , natural enough when you are, you know, right! B)

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Days 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 (that's a lot of days)

I look great, I feel great, I can touch my collarbone. I can't tell you enough how exciting this is. Of course, it's hard work killing pterodactyls with my bare hands and making sure there are enough berries for cavebaby. Speaking of cavebaby, the most remarkable thing has happened. She was traditionally eating a processed form of ravioli made specifically for toddler. It smelled gross and looked gross but she usually devoured it. Since we've ben in the Whole 30 we've gradually given her only paleo foods, not too hard since she generally was eating what we were eating anyway. But now, 19 days in, she flat out refuses the ravioli. It's the only processed food she gets and she won't even eat it. It's amazing and I attribute it to the Whole 30.

In other news, we made it through another weekend (no hiccups) and arranged another fantastic menu for the week. We're trying not to repeat meals so that at the end of this 30 days we'll have a bank of recipes and meals to pick from when we're feeling uninspired. Yesterday's standout was a Brazilian Curry Chicken in the crockpot. To. Die. For. We're headed out of town this weekend on a trip that will involve a hotel and two nights in restaurants. We're doing some advanced planning and I think it will be okay. We had originally intended to make this a Whole 21 but it's amazing how our entire perspective has shifted. It's not really a Whole 30 for us, it's probably a whole lifetime (with a few modifications eventually).

Speaking of modifications, we tried an apple yam fritter over the weekend - all Whole 30 compliant. It really triggered my sweet tooth so I'm sure there won't be any paleoized desserts in my near future. Pity. And even more important that I stick to it because I feel that way, if it makes any sense.

Finally, I was accidentally weighed yesterday. I had an oncology appointment to make sure I was healthy and I had forgotten that weighing was a typically part. I looked before I even thought not to. Down 13 pounds but wish I hadn't looked! This office can be a bit judgmental and the oder man taking the notes did indeed look scolding but I didn't care. I can't remember the last time I looked or felt this good (weight loss or not) and frankly, I was more concerned about not having any more cancer than the judgmental man or the accidental weighing.

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Day 20 (Is it time to cry?)

Yesterday, I felt like I had really settled into this thing. We had a delicious dinner even though we had to make a last minute change to the menu. I survived a trip to the grocery at suppertime. I even found myself frustrated that ALL of the usual whole 30 compliant pre-made foods had red wine in them yesterday. Regardless, I was proud that it wasn't even really surviving, I had it cold! But then today was a struggle.

Breakfast wasn't enough. Hard boiled egg, half a banana and coffee. I threw up what tiny bit was left in my stomach an hour later when I had to clean very smelly cat food off of my shoe. I've a sensitive sniffer and it. was. not. good. My morning meeting featured a table filled with scones, bagels and cream cheese. Lunch was delivered - 16 pizzas and the table filled with a cheesecake and a triple layer chocolate cake for a goodbye party following the meeting. I had already made planned to skip the event but didn't stop to get a snack before I headed to the gym. After, had a hearty lunch after with tuna, carrots, celery, spinach, a plum, and cashews. But then someone came in with a plate of cookies and was, well, a cookie pusher. I stood fast today, but I feel like crying. I tell myself, I don't eat these things. Not that I cant, or I shouldn't, but that I simply don't. It helps, a little.

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Day 21, 22, 23, 24 (I don't know if I'm ready for this...)

Day 21 was a landmark for us. We had originally planned to stop there as we had a short vacation planned. But! We felt so good, we decided to stick it out. Paleo/Primal is something we're planning to stick with (probably primal) so so we committed. That meant thinking way ahead to pack lunches for the zoo a day in advance of the trip and to think about breakfast offerings at the hotel, etc. I did take one bite of scrambled eggs that I'm convinced had milk in them but I'm staying off the carrot train to crazytown (thanks for that expression, I love it!) and just moved on. Today we're back on our hometurf and successfully negotiated a last minute dinner yesterday while preparing for breakfast/lunch/supper today in a house with no groceries. We will have to go hunt for cavefood after work today (my least favorite time to grocery shop). Definitely noticing lots of cravings, but don't feel nearly as miserable about them!

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Day 26 (laziness)

Things have been going beautifully. I'm excited to see the end of the Whole 30, not so that I can eat Twinkies, but so that I can feel excited about hot sauce and the very occasional slice of homemade bread (maybe even almond bread!). This is definitely tiger blood - I have tons of energy. I am getting lazy though. Tonight my partner is having fish for dinner and, try as I might, I just can't like fish. And it is worth eating if you can't keep it down because of the flavor. But, we had hoped to have leftovers for tonight for me. Unfortunately, cavebaby ate my leftovers last night and we don't have anything else set aside. Surely there's something in the fridge besides eggs, right? Also laziness, we've settled into an omelet/scrambled eggs/hard boiled eggs this week, so not a lot of variety or flavor mix-ups. Lunches were also disappointing, giant chicken salads that didn't taste flavorful. Tomorrow is a Brazilian curry though, so there's hope for dinner tomorrow at least. We're so close to finished - can't afford to get lazy now...

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