W30: Project X


kirkor

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Inspired by lahyshanny's "Your Whole30 Island" thread, and more specifically Munkers' comment, "I feel like the next step is to take this list and try to make a meal plan using only these foods. :P ", I have decided to give it a go!

The central metaphor is that you are stuck on an island with only a certain amount of foods to eat. What would you bring if you could? What would you not want to live without? The framework can be as light or as dire as you choose to make it. As you will see, I'm keeping it pretty light. You're limited to only 10 items, hence the name Project X!

For sanity's sake (or perhaps "shannity's" since it was her idea ;)), seasonings are allowed. My interpretation of that will include mustard, hot sauce, lemon juice (for making mayo), and vinegar, in addition to stuff like salt, pepper, garlic, curry powder, etc.

I'm big on visuals, and figured being able to actually see my little island paradise would help me be inspired to try living there, so I whipped this up:
 

w30-island_zpsch7vnxau.jpg


My X items:
Beef
Chicken & eggs (I feel it's within the spirit of the game to include these as one item)
Salmon
Coconut
Olive
Avocado
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Cucumber
Coffee

Some notes:
* This'll be my 4th or 5th Whole30 so I "know the drill" ... this island metaphor is about fun and experimentation, not restriction or hardship
* I eat keto, in case you were wondering about the lack of sweet potatoes, fruit, etc.
* Having coffee take up a whole spot is more an acknowledgment of how simply I already eat rather than any kind of "OMG I can't live without coffeeeeee!!!" feeling
* The cucumbers are mainly so I can have pickles, which I eat a lot with canned salmon, hard-boiled eggs, and mayo
* I weight-train every other day in a fasted state (16:8 IF reporting in B) )
* No health or weight issues I'm currently trying to correct; everything is going swimmingly

 

Dates:

Monday, April 13 thru Tuesday, May 12

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Kirkor, I like the concept! You don't seem to be phased by this island challenge, but I must say it takes a lot of self discipline to be able to adapt and modify your lifestyle so extensively. Much respect. 

 

I am interested in IF and ketosis, and was hoping you could shed some light on how these work together. You said that you practice 16:8, so what time does your 8-hour time frame begin each day, or does it change every day? Do you achieve ketosis by eliminating only carbs and sugars, and does that include tomato and avocado? I am probably not ready to begin intermittent fasting during my current Whole30, however I would like to prepare for it. And I think that achieving long-term ketosis is a reasonable and appropriate goal for me, especially since I am not currently exercising beyond walking and an active job. (Goodbye sweet potatoes  :(  haha)  Have you always maintained such an active and healthy lifestyle? 

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re: challenge/discipline/etc.

Part of my reason for wanting to do a W30 this way is to illustrate just how simple it can be. People too often overthink and overcomplicate the process; they get all wrapped up in their heads about it. I wanted to take a step back and just dummy-proof the darn thing. The island metaphor seemed like a fun way to do it.

re:IF

My feeding window is from 1p-9p and I keep it pretty well set in stone. The day-to-day consistency is mostly about keeping your ghrelin regulated. It's aka "the hunger hormone" and so if your window varies widely you might find yourself uncomfortably hungry at random times. A lot of the "oh, I could never skip breakfast, I get cranky and can't function" sentiment is just based on ghrelin entrainment.

re: keto

I net carbs under 25g on average. Avocados have a ton of fiber so they're fine for keto. Also, avocado oil is what I make mayo with so that's as much the reason for them being on the list as the whole fruit :)

Keto & IF really seem like a match made in heaven! The energy-dense/high-satiety nature of a LCHF diet means it's easy to fit all your food in a shortened eating window, and burning fat rather than sugar makes the fasting period a breeze.

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And I think that achieving long-term ketosis is a reasonable and appropriate goal for me, especially since I am not currently exercising beyond walking and an active job. 

I don't want to rain on your parade but I would really recommend that you read some of the information out there surrounding women, hormones and IF, if you have not done so already.  

 

In particular this article: http://paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

 

And Mark's Daily Apple reaction to the article above: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/women-and-intermittent-fasting/#axzz3XJar1M9j

 

You are, of course, free to do what works for you, but please go into it as informed as you can. Kirkor is male in the prime of his life, he is the ideal candidate for fasting. Women, just by the nature of who we are and how we're built, are not necessarily made for fasting and it can wreak havoc in areas you might never suspect.  As I said, please at least understand what could happen.  

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Yep, we all gotta figure out what works best for us as individuals. The best fuel & maintenance schedule for these human vehicles we're all running around in.

sxjhm7X.jpg

Plenty of successful female fasters here: http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/49-intermittent-fastingand here: http://forum.lowcarber.org/index.php?

but yeah as with any new dietary approach it's important to carefully monitor our reactions and results, and keep the big picture in mind: long-term health & wellness and a low-stress and satisfying life!

 

Kirkor is male in the prime of his life, he is the ideal candidate for fasting.

Plus I'm like half caveman already!

4MFrXBy.jpg

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I completely agree that women can be successful at IF, my point was only to be aware of what "not succeeding" looks like before starting out because if it does go sideways that can be a very difficult thing to come back from.  Also know that what works in this 6 months might cease working in the next and it is prudent to continue to check in with oneself on a regular interval rather than just going along indefinitely without re-evaluating (but of course, this is something we should all be doing regularly anyway).  :)

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TGIF??!

 

Nahhh on Whole30 Island it's always the weekend!

 

 

First workweek in the bag .....Project X is off to a great start!  Ate everything on my list except coconut, but my order from VitaCost arrived (errr, "washed ashore") today so that'll be on the menu soon.

 

 

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Pretty simple stuff:

eggs & avocado

ground beef, eggs, olive oil

ribeye & roasted cauliflower

shredded beef & broccoli

salmon, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, & mayo

ground beef & cauliflower chili

I said I used 9/10 items, but didn't do any actual chicken meat just eggs. Got some thighs for next week.

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I actually love this idea and if I didn't have a hubby that I also deign to feed, I would totally experiment, just for fun. Noooot so sure I would do a solid 30 days though, that takes committment! :)

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All those meals sound good enough to me....

Ten foods for ten days possibly ladyshanny? I might be willing to give tha a shot myself - it would make shopping a whole lot more simple!

 

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All those meals sound good enough to me....

Ten foods for ten days possibly ladyshanny? I might be willing to give tha a shot myself - it would make shopping a whole lot more simple!

All those meals sound good enough to me....

Ten foods for ten days possibly ladyshanny? I might be willing to give tha a shot myself - it would make shopping a whole lot more simple!

Maybe! My husb would revolt, but he's going out of town in a month for 7 days, I could totally pull it off!

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Apparently it's day 15? On Whole30 Island we don't wear watches or use calendars, so it's hard to tell.

islandtime.jpg

More "boring" meals this past week ---

egg salad w/cucumber

taco-seasoned ground beef

baked skin-on chicken thighs with steamed broccoli

meatloaf (added a bit of coconut flour as an experiment, it didn't really do a whole lot for the dish, *shrug*)

canned salmon w/avocado

It's pretty cool only having these 10 things --- being in the kitchen feels like autopilot or something, in a good way. I've got my foods to eat and I'm just mixing and matching as I go along. Shopping is super easy as well.

Missed out on a killer sale on zucchini though! ;)

Been out to several meals with family and friends where I've elected to eat beforehand or afterwards. Spent the meals with coffee or ice water and kept the events about the conversation and the community, not the food! But since I've been eating differently than mainstream folks for a while now, I've already gotten plenty of practice of being around normal food, being part of the comments about how appealing everyone's dishes are, whether it's appearance, flavor, or whatever. Last night my step-mom had a plate of super nachos that was really well put together and so we chatted about that ... "Would you like some?" "No thanks I'm good" , the other day a couple bros were having cocktails while I had a late-night coffee ... "Not drinking with us?" ":P" ... ;)

At this point it's too soon to say if this has been "too easy", but it's definitely easier than you might expect. With a spouse or kids to deal with I suppose it might be trickier? I have a roommate though and he shops, cooks, and eats differently than me, so there's always that to contend with. Just fades in to the background though.

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I think I could a "Project I" if the one item was end-cut prime rib cooked medium rare. Had that on Friday with some steamed broccoli and it was perfection on a plate!

Got some cauliflower chili simmering on the stove as we speak. I've often wondered in the past about what *makes* chili "chili"? Is it chile powder and other spices? Is it the tomato? Is it the beans (no! ;)) ... well, so the cauliflower and broth I've been using during Project X has been tasty, and the spice profile is of course very much "chili", but I think my official definition of chili would definitely include tomatoes and or tomato paste.

Everything else is going well. Avocados have been on sale which has been awesome. I made mayo these last couple times with both white wine vinegar and lime juice instead of lemon juice. The lime vs. lemon was pretty equivalent, but the WWV version was really tasty! Might be the new favorite. I decided I will try it the next few times using other various vinegars I have on hand. Will probably do a version with Frank's Red Hot too since that is mostly vinegar.

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I always use apple cider vinegar for my mayo....

lol that's like the one I don't have! I've got white, basalmic, rice, white wine, and champagne on hand! Ok ok, nextNEXT time maybe I'll do ACV! ;)

What else is going in the cauliflower chilli? (other than cauliflower, obviously!)

Using a Project X bastardized version of Melissa Joulwan's recipe; so it's just garlic, coconut oil, ground beef, cauliflower, broth, chile powder, cumin, cocoa powder, allspice, oregano, salt, and fish sauce (used this for more umami since I couldn't do the tomato paste).

Still giving it the 2h simmer for "cross-mojination" as my roommate says.

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What a great plan! I love your island, kirkor. I think it would be good for me to also think in terms of 'core foods' I'm never without as I'm often overwhelmed by not being able to decide what to buy/eat.

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Figures on Day 29 I'd discover something new: BROCCOLI SPROUTS!! I haven't had sprouts in forever, and thought they only came in the alfalfa variety. So it was a delicious and awesome surprise when I saw these at the store today. Mixed them with some ground beef and my mouth and tummy are very happy.

6Zdp54V.jpg

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Figures on Day 29 I'd discover something new: BROCCOLI SPROUTS!! I haven't had sprouts in forever, and thought they only came in the alfalfa variety. So it was a delicious and awesome surprise when I saw these at the store today. Mixed them with some ground beef and my mouth and tummy are very happy.

6Zdp54V.jpg

 

I love broccoli sprouts. There are also radish sprouts which have a spicy little kick to them. I've also eaten clover sprouts and sometimes I can find boxes that mix a few different varities together.

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So I took a couple days to try to think of some kind of wrap-up post, but nothing comes to mind! As I've mentioned a couple times throughout the 30 days, there wasn't really anything too dramatic about this process. I mainly wanted to do it as a way to create an example that a Whole30 needn't be complicated with having to try new dishes or buy ingredients you don't normally have or eat weird food or whatever people's concerns often are.

 

I've never been a picky eater at all, and I'll eat & enjoy darn near anything set in front of me, but I AM a lazy cook, and *that's* really where my ordinarily simple menu comes from even when I'm not trying a Project X.

 

I suppose this 10-item challenge was made easier by doing it within the context of a Whole30, but that could be because of my own particular biases.  I could see SWYPO's being useful for breaking up the monotony for some people.

 

Other thoughts-----------

 

* I didn't eat salmon nearly as much as I thought I would. I typically just do the canned Alaskan stuff, making salads with it.  I think since I didn't have mixed greens on my list that made me not do it as much. (I do mix it with hard-boiled eggs, tuna-salad style ... so good!)

* I missed tea more than I thought I would.  Tea in the evening is pleasant, and coffee just seems like a bad idea later in the day.

* Being keto combined with intermittent fasting (both of which I was already used to before these 30 days) probably made this a lot easier since I eat less types of food and cook less often than most people

* People debate the definition of chili, i.e. does it need beans, is it the spice profile that separates chili from marinara or stew, etc., but I found out that, for me, tomato is an essential part of chili.  I made it with cauliflower and chicken broth along with the ground meat & standard spices, and it was a tasty arrangement, but I wouldn't call it chili.

* Homemade mayo continues to be amazing

* I ate a lot of broccoli & cauliflower, but did miss zucchini. I still have yet to mash or rice cauliflower ... I just like it roasted. (I know I comment that I'm a lazy cook, but really, if the roasted cauli is something I love, I can't see taking the extra time, effort, cleanup to mash and/or rice it)

* If I were to do this over again, I think I would probably use the same 10 items.  I could probably swap stuff around if I wanted to, but I wouldn't need to: I was satisfied from a shopping, cooking, and eating standpoint.

 

So there ya have it, folks!  Project X was a success! If you're at all curious about something like this, I encourage you to try it out. It's a fun exercise, and if you have the right attitude it will probably be easier than you think. Maybe even a "10 for 10" thing like jmcbn & ladyshanny mentioned earlier in the thread.

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