Whole30 Teen Troubles


LizzieLou

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I'm 16 and I started this challenge with my older sister. I'm young, healthy, and at a good weight (although my doctor doesn't want me to lose any weight. I did in between my last two physicals and she wasn't happy!). My sister is slightly overweight, and although I started this challenge to better myself, I mostly want to see her healthier. I do have hopes for myself: Clearing up my acne, and getting my menstrual cycle back on track. I've had ovarian cysts, and I haven't had a cycle in months. If the Whole30 could help me out with this, I'd be incredibly grateful!

 

However, it's only day 4 and I feel so discouraged. Although I physically feel good (except for wanting to KILL ALL THE THINGS when I saw my mom eating delicious beef stew with biscuits), I feel incredibly overwhelmed. My parents stepped up and offered to buy us the groceries we need, but I have to cook every. single. meal. (My sister can't cook at all.) I already have three jobs and go to school full time, so adding on all this cooking is just too much for me! 

 

My sister and I are the only ones in the family doing this challenge so every meal they make is right in front of us. For instance, tonight I had to eat my egg casserole at the same table with my family who was enjoying spaghetti, meatballs, and bread sticks. They also went out to get ice cream. I honestly wanted to cry. It's not that they are inconsiderate at all, because I usually tell them it's fine if they eat in front of me. However, I kind of want to get back to being able to spend time with my family, and let my parents cook a meal for me every once in awhile!

 

I also seem to get so much conflicting advice about Whole30 eating.... I'm an active young girl and I heard that homemade Larabars are a great energy source. Then (of course, this was after I had made them!), I read that they aren't truly Whole30 compliant as they have so many natural sugars. 

Then there is the issue of snacking. My nurse told me that having nutritious snacks in between meals was good because having my blood sugar drop down wasn't good for my body. Yet the Whole30 discourages snacking, so I'm confused which advice to follow! Day 1 I did not have any snacks. I was hungry, but so proud of myself! Then I got hungrier and hungrier. A bit shaky, a bit nauseated, and then I had the sudden feeling that I was about to throw up. It clicked in my mind that this was because of my lack of eating, and I quickly grabbed a banana and ate it which helped me immensely. This happens again every time I try to cut out snacks.

 

So please, wonderful Whole30-ers, can you help me out? I could really use some advice on how to push through this! Or if I need to throw in the towel, and focus on eating healthy without the Whole30 would you be nice enough to break it to me?

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I also seem to get so much conflicting advice about Whole30 eating.... I'm an active young girl and I heard that homemade Larabars are a great energy source. Then (of course, this was after I had made them!), I read that they aren't truly Whole30 compliant as they have so many natural sugars. 

Then there is the issue of snacking. My nurse told me that having nutritious snacks in between meals was good because having my blood sugar drop down wasn't good for my body. Yet the Whole30 discourages snacking, so I'm confused which advice to follow! Day 1 I did not have any snacks. I was hungry, but so proud of myself! Then I got hungrier and hungrier. A bit shaky, a bit nauseated, and then I had the sudden feeling that I was about to throw up. It clicked in my mind that this was because of my lack of eating, and I quickly grabbed a banana and ate it which helped me immensely. This happens again every time I try to cut out snacks.

 

So please, wonderful Whole30-ers, can you help me out? I could really use some advice on how to push through this! Or if I need to throw in the towel, and focus on eating healthy without the Whole30 would you be nice enough to break it to me?

Welcome darling! What a wonderful endeavor you're doing! It's wonderful that you want to help your sister and that you know that food plays such an important role in our heath in your mid teens. You're way ahead of the curve of a LOT of people!

I don't have a lot of advice for your cooking quandry except that maybe you and your mom can get together and figure out how you can make one meal work... for instance, if they're having pasta and sauce, can you have the same sauce on some greens or zoodles? That might help a lot and it sounds like the family is supporting you.

As far as your specific food questions. Larabars are a compliant Whole30 food item. That said! They are approved for emergencies only... examples of things that are not an emergency... skipping breakfast, wanting sugar, being bored etc...Actual emergencies would be that you threw a Larabar into your carry on 'just in case' and your flight was delayed for 3 hours. Or your boss decided you being at work for an extra 5 hours was more important than you eating dinner.

Okay so Larabars are essentially out.

As far as snacking. If you are building your meals to the template (1-2 palms of protein, 1-3 cups of veg and 1-2 thumbs of fat or some olives or nuts or a dollop of mayo). then should you be actually hungry between meals, you can eat a snack of at least 2 of the three food groups listed above. The fact you were starving to the point of faintness and puking tells me that you are NOT eating enough or you're going too long between meals.

Before we get too much further, it would be helpful to know what you've been eating. We can better help you if can list a few days of meals including portion sizes.

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The conventional "wisdom" that doctors and nurses and personal trainers often repeat is that eating frequently keeps your blood sugar from falling. That is true if you are eating highly processed carb/sugar filled food. If you are eating a Whole30-style menu that is heavy on protein, fat, and veggies, your blood sugar does not drop sharply between meals. Context matters. By the way, eating frequently to keep blood sugar from crashing is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. The real cure is to stop eating crap in meals and snacks and to eat the kinds of foods that do not make blood sugar rise and fall like ocean waves during a hurricane. :)

 

Like SugarcubeOD said, it sounds like you are not eating enough. Don't be afraid to eat. I eat more food than most people I know and have weighed 184 pounds for the past 5 years. I am 6'2" so 184 works nicely for me.

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If you are going to school full time and working multiple jobs (kudos, by the way!) I bet you're going longer than 5 hours between meals. Because of my schedule, for example, there are a few days a week when I have lunch between noon and one and then basically am working straight through from 2 PM to 9 PM. (I'm a university lecturer with several classes back-to-back and then a 3 hour night class that I teach on top of it, so I know what it's like to be a busy student!) So I usually eat a "mini-meal" around 5 PM when I have a 30 minute break before my night class (comprised of protein and a bit of fat at minimum, and veggies when I can) and then eat a regular dinner around 9. The posters above are probably right in that you're not eating enough food generally, but if you have to go long stretches between meals, it's super OK to add a "snack" - just make sure it's more like a real meal (protein! fat! some veggies if you can!) than a Larabar.

 

As for the meals, could you talk to your parents about maybe sharing a simple Whole30 compliant meal a couple nights a week instead of eating separately. It's great that your parents are being supportive with buying the food, even if they're making it hard for you in the early days with unchanged eating habits. There are lots of crock pot recipes that are Whole30 compliant, for example, that any member of the family could easily throw together. Or could you block off some time one day to cook meals that will keep in the fridge/freezer and ask your sister to help (even if she can't cook, she should be able to chop veggies or stir something!) or your parents? Cooking up good amounts of protein that will keep for a few days and roasted veggies can be a way to save yourself from that exahausting feeling of needing to cook every darn meal, and doing it with family members can make it seem like lighter work.

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Thank you all for the awesome advice!

 

SugarCubeOD- Thanks for clearing up the whole Larabar thing for me! It makes sense, and I'll keep them just for food emergencies!

Perhaps I'm not eating enough. It seems like I'm eating so much food, and I'm not used to that! However, I always get hungry a few hours after I eat so you're probably right! Here is what I had yesterday:

 

Breakfast: 1 sausage patty, about a 1/2 cup of bell peppers, and an apple and banana fruit salad I had made the day before.

Lunch: 2 cups of vegetable and beef pie leftovers and an orange.

Snack: Cashews, almonds, and walnuts.

Supper: About 1 1/2 cups egg and veggie casserole, one apple, and a bowl of salad.

 

Today I've had:

 

Breakfast: 2 cups egg and veggie casserole leftovers, and 2 cups of cooked veggies (broccoli, cauliflower and potato).

Lunch: A bowl of salad (with olives, carrots, and pomegranate seeds on top - yum!), a bowl of chicken and tomato soup, and some all natural, unsweetened applesauce with some cinnamon.

 

I thought that I ate A LOT for lunch, but it's only been 2 1/2 hours and I'm already hungry! 

 

Tom Denham- That makes a lot of sense! My nurse didn't say anything about filling up with nutritious meals at all, just that I shouldn't have my blood sugar spike then drop and so on. 

 

berrybird- I loved your advice! I talked to my mom, and she is making Whole30 approved fajitas tonight! My sister and I will have them without the typical tortilla and sour cream, but the rest of my family will be able to make them however they like! I'm really excited about this  :)

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So excited that you are doing this. How great!

 

The best approach to your super busy schedule is to cook a bunch of stuff all at once and divide it into containers. Freeze some, stick the rest in the fridge for the next couple of days.

 

Suggestions:

 

Frittata/egg muffins

Crockpot Chili

Crockpot Roast (Tom Denham's Whole Life Eating website has super-simple and yummy recipes)

Grilled or baked chicken thighs - make two packages!

Burgers (I make several, then eat them that way or chop up and add over spaghetti squash or other veggies)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Tomato Sauce

 

Have your parents buy a bunch of frozen veggie mixes. Microwave and add leftover meat and some fat when you just can't cook another meal.

 

Keep up the good work!

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It's wonderful to hear that you mom is making some compliant fajitas.  I understand how you have felt becuase before I spoke to my family about how I was feeling they would do the same thing.  I would always say "it's okay to have that in front of me" or at family gatherings I would starve instead of speaking up about what my needs were.  I am a mom, work full time and have a busy life...I've learned that speaking up about my needs are not a selfish thing.  Great job with communicating with your family!

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The fajitas were a success! It felt nice to sit at the table and eat the same thing! Definitely going to have to speak up like that again  :)

 

I really like the idea of using frozen veggie mixes. I actually did that today since it was crazy busy. It worked out well, and I had a nice serving of vegetables with little effort on my part! 

 

More fat and protein? I guess that will have to be my goal going forward. I've really been trying to limit my meat intake because I know it is so expensive. Although I'm not the one having to pay for it, I certainly don't want to take advantage of my parent's generosity. However, being constantly hungry and needing to snack in between meals isn't much better! 

 

Last night I did pretty well! I ate a larger supper (Fajitas wrapped in lettuce are surprisingly delicious. I didn't even want the tortilla!), and didn't get hungry afterwards. I did end up with a mug of (compliant) apple cider as I watched the debate, though.... Not something to do everyday (it's better just to eat the fruit), but it was gooooood!

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 did end up with a mug of (compliant) apple cider as I watched the debate, though.... 

 

I'm so glad the whole30 is working for you and I think you are doing a great job. One detail: a mug of apple cider is not compliant. Although fruit juice is allowed, it is not recommended as a beverage, only as an ingredient in foods. How about a mug of herbal tea next time?

 

here is the scoop:

 

Fruit Juice: Yes

Fruit juice is the only acceptable added sweetener on the Whole30. (We had to draw the line somewhere.) Use it to flavor sauces, soups, or entrees.

Tip: While drinking a glass of fruit juice may be technically compliant, we really wouldn’t recommend it, even if you juice it yourself. Juicing strips many of the nutrients out of the fruit, but still leaves all of the sugar. We’d much rather you just eat the fruit.

- See more at: http://whole30.com/2013/06/the-official-can-i-have-guide-to-the-whole30/#sthash.KmH8NLJZ.dpuf

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Yes, I had read that before taking my first sip. I put in a little over half herbal tea (I have a wonderful cinnamon apple blend), and then apple cider. No worries, I knew about the grey areas of juice! But thank you for clarifying that for anyone who may not know! I wouldn't want to cause anyone to mess up their Whole30 because of me  :)

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