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Shella's Whole30 Journey


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December 21st


I have been living a "fairly" grain-free, "fairly" primal lifestyle since November 2013-- so over 1 full year now.  I highlight the word "fairly" because I cheat too often.  To put it simply, I love to cook.  According to most people I know, I'm pretty darn good at it.  I love to cook not just for myself, but for others.  That often means cooking to suit their palette and not mine.  I also enjoy cooking complex meals- set me up with a kitchen full of gadgets and a meal that takes 2 or 3 hours to make and I get lost in joyful bliss!  Great!  These same meals are often so delicious that I eat too much.  Bad!


I'm also a distance running and endurance athlete (talk about a double whammy... great food + monster appetite)!  Finding a balance between the right fuel for my training, the right fuel for my health & sanity and the right fuel for the body composition that I desire to maintain has been a tough challenge.  Truth be told, because I'm an athlete, I can get away with eating more junk than most.  However, the minute I do this (have those cheats that I was talking about above), my tummy swells, headaches return, body composition changes and I just feel horrible in general!  So the cheats aren't worth it, but yet when I have too many in a row (like I've done over the past month), it's becomes a death spiral; a trap that I feel I can't get out of.  


I'm hoping that this log (and doing the challenge during the holidays; which is the best time to do it if you ask me) will help me refocus and climb out of my recent downward spiral.


Current issues with food/habits that I acknowledge that I have are:


1.  Paleo baking


2.  Dark chocolate (are we noticing a sugar trend here already?)


3.  Eating when not hungry; eating when stressed; eating late at night out of habit/boredom


4.  Reaching for low volume/high calorie convenience foods bc I don't have healthier options ready to go (my cheater go-tos are almond butter, nuts, etc...)


5.  Organic half and half in my coffee.  This is BY FAR the most difficult thing in the Whole30 for me to even think about removing.  I use almond milk, coconut milk, etc... for everything else, BUT the cream in my coffee!  Weird, right?  That being said, because I have limited my dairy use before, I know that dairy is not an issue for me, however, I will try, try, try my best to limit my creamer.


6.  Eating too large portions



Christmas Day Food Plan:


As my holiday Whole30 journey begins, I have already informed my entire family that Christmas Day will be a little different around here.  Last night, I planned out "my" menu (Christmas lunch/dinner is at my house).  I will personally be making:


Dehydrated vegetable crisps (I make these fresh in my dehydrator) + fresh salsa and/or other Whole30-esque veggie dip

Italian escarole soup with extra veggies and mini meatballs

Mixed greens salad with chopped veggies and homemade dressing options

Oven-roasted turkey (which I plan to eat ON my salad)


Everyone else has been informed to bring whatever they would like to add (and I will not be eating any of it). ;)



Food plan for December 21st:


Coffee, eggs, sautéed organic kale, organic peppers and onion

Butternut squash & Cauliflower soup made with organic chicken stock and almond milk

Sautéed/seasoned ground chicken and vegetables

Dehydrated veggie crisps + salsa

Lots of H2O

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welcome Shella. As a fellow foodie, I think that may make your whole30 easier, rather than harder. As long as you enter with the mindset that the program rules are non-negotiable for these 30 days, you can use your skill in the kitchen to make delicious compliant food. enjoy that process! think about what you can have and not what you can not.


to that end: I see some rationalizing starting about dairy up in your post and I want to be perfectly clear. If you have any dairy, no matter the amount, no matter that you think you have no issues with dairy, you are NOT doing a whole30. you can do the whole30! don't compromise before you are even out of the gate!

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I just started my Whole30 today.  I'm a runner too.  Training for my 4th marathon - in D.C. March 14.  I have been eating junk food for a long time but am able to hide it from my wife by running a lot!!  I hope to drop from 200 to 180 by my marathon race.  I'm following Pete Pfitzinger's training program.  This week is a 50 mile week.  Let me know how the Whole30 does with your running.  All the best

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm back!  The holidays have no passed and I finally feel READY to do this!  I'm drinking hot tea with nothing in it right now!  A big step for me!


I want to thank Miss Mary for her comments.  I took them to heart and realized that if I was not willing (ready) to give up dairy back in late December, then I was not ready to do the Whole30.  Period.


Today, I'm ready!  Let's do this!


I'm also sick with a winter cold, which should actually be helpful b/c I can't smell a darn thing and we all know that when the nose isn't working, cravings are so much less.  I also can't go in to work with my nose running off of my face, so today is a good day to focus on getting healthy and cooking what I can.


On todays menu:


H2O- tons of it

Leftover homemade vegetable, kale and chicken soup with organic stock.

Leftover organic chicken sausage with onions, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.

I may end up making more soup.  I received some farm share items yesterday and I know there is kale and escarole in there!


Things to focus on today:


No creamer

No sprinkles of parmesan cheese on the chicken sausage dish or in the soup

No squares of dark chocolate for nighttime dessert

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Day 1 is in the bank {fist pump} and I survived without dairy creamer or my dark chocolate {double fist pump}!


Yesterday's menu was terrific:  eggs, kale and tomatoes for breakfast; a very large bowl of homemade vegetable, kale and chicken soup; and for dinner, I made sautéed shredded brussels sprouts with garlic and baked salmon with dill (one of my most favorite meals).  


Some thoughts on salmon:


I've noticed over the past year of eating in this manner that when I create a dish with salmon, it leaves me feeling incredibly satisfied and without the desire to seek out a second helping of fish.  I know that fat is satiating, but this same degree of satisfaction doesn't seem to occur when I cook a fattier cut of meat or eat baked chicken thighs with the skin on.  Perhaps it's a serving size thing and maybe I'm consuming a bit more meat with the salmon filet (or not enough with the others).  Or perhaps I'm not cooking a fatty enough piece of meat- maybe I need to zero in on the rib eye! ;)


Whatever the case, I'm glad that I love salmon and I plan on eating it at least 2 times per week while on the Whole30.  It's terrific as a stand-alone dish, it tastes fantastic on a salad and takes minutes to cook. WIN!   In fact, last night's meal took a whopping 20 minutes:  season and pop fish in oven (2 min), shred sprouts in my Vitamix (2-3 min), sauté sprouts in garlic and rendered bacon fat while fish is cooking (12-15 min).  Done!  


Thoughts on Dark Chocolate and Creamer


I am normally not a napper, but I am in the middle of a head cold at the moment and took about a 30 minute one yesterday afternoon following lunch (called out of work today).  When I woke up from my nap, I had this urge to run to the freezer and grab a piece of dark chocolate (I keep individually wrapped squares of Ghirardelli 72% Twilight Delight) in there.  Thankfully the urge was fleeting and instead of chocolate, I made a very small side salad and drank some water.  This held me through dinner and thanks to my cold (I suppose), the desire to have my normal piece of dark chocolate after dinner never appeared.


Creamer- I knew when I started this that the tiny amount of organic heavy cream that I use in my coffee or hot tea was hands down going to be my most difficult challenge during my Whole30 challenge.  Period.  Although I made it through yesterday without any in my morning beverage, I decided to see if I could find an alternative.  I had a very small container of SO Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk (ingredients: WATER, ORGANIC COCONUT CREAM, ORGANIC GUAR GUM) and what do you know, it's Whole30 compliant!  SCORE!  It's not exactly the same as using heavy cream, but it's good enough for the next 30 days.


I also went to town and made some homemade hazelnut milk.  I added just a pinch of cinnamon and a bit of vanilla powder.  I tried that in my coffee this morning and it was a no-go.  I didn't care for the taste or the texture IN the coffee.  It's delicious and super nutty on its own.  Anyway, I dumped the cup, refilled and used the Culinary Coconut Milk instead.


Finally, I made a post on FB yesterday inviting interested friends to join me during my Whole30.  I was thrilled with the response and started a private FB for us to support each other.  Strength in numbers is a real thing!


I also stepped on the scale (last time for 30 days) and took measurements.  I'm having hubby take some photos this morning.  Yikes!


On today's menu:


Breakfast:  Eggs, kina savoy and strawberries

Lunch:  Homemade escarole and vegetable soup with ground turkey

Dinner:  my signature ratatouille with eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers, tomatoes and ground turkey  -->  this dish ranks right up there with my salmon and sautéed brussels AND it provides ample leftovers!

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