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An experiment: Whole 30 + Acupuncture


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I'm hungry. It's day two with two meals down and one to go and I. Am. Hungry. Lunch was five hours ago and dinner is soon and did I mention I'm hungry? I'm going to eat as soon as my partner gets home. Well, as soon as the butternut squash is completely soft and caramelized, cooked to maximum deliciousness. Both will happen at around the same time.


This isn't my first Whole 30. My first W30 was in 2013 and it was magic. At the time I was a smoker, and kept myself occupied through the sugar craving crankiness. This time I'm sober, and using something different to try and make it through: acupuncture.


There are studies that show that acupuncture helps people who are withdrawing from heroin. I've never tried heroin, but I've seen enough movies to know that the withdrawal from that is much worse than the withdrawal from sugar. I'm fortunate to have a community acupuncture clinic in my neighborhood, and to have access to it every day if I wish to. Today I had more needles than ever, all working to help this old body release the sugar addiction. I think it worked. I felt calm, peaceful, not at all grumpy, sleepy, dopey, or bashful, for most of the day.


Having been down the Whole 30 road before, I know what to expect and yet I do not have my fridge stocked with clarified butter and homemade mayo. My kitchen shelf is full of ingredients for baking and pasta and canned beans. I decided to do this W30 out of the blue, two days before grocery day. Fortunately for me I learned my lesson in 2013 and started keeping vegetables and fruits and meats on hand, and after a quick trip to the mini mart for eggs and to the fancy foods section of the wine store for olives, marcona almonds, and a surprise super-fancy jar of real deal sauerkraut, I am ready to make it to grocery day.


The obligatory meals list.


Yesterday, day 1

m1 hash of reheated baked potato, spinach, 2 eggs, and black coffee

m2 a palm sized amount of roasted chicken, a handful of cashews, a green apple and 3/4 cup of frozen berries

snack 2 cups of ginger coconut butternut squash soup with a tablespoon of pepitas

m3 a palm sized amount of roasted chicken, 4 carrots roasted with spices and olive oil, a tablespoon of almond butter

Acupuncture: CP did some work on my leg pain from overdoing exercise on day 1 eve. Worked beautifully.


Review of day 1: too much nut/seed, not enough vegetables, that's what happens when I'm poorly-prepared


Today, day 2

m1 hash of reheated baked potato, spinach, 4 eggs, black coffee

m2 a palm or two of roasted chicken, 2 cups of raw kale/cabbage salad with 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and lemon dressing

m3 a palm of braised venison, half a small butternut squash, braised onion and apple, a handful of olives

Acupuncture: KH did massive sugar addiction work that included both ears and a pretty little formation near the right elbow. I feel amazing, considering I haven't had sugar in 48 hours.


Review of day 2: Mostly awesome, some minor twitchiness but good mood, beginning to notice how much time my brain spends thinking about food.


Tomorrow, day 3

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, ok? It will definitely include food and acupuncture.

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It's Day 3 and I slept very well last night - fell asleep easily, and stayed asleep until the alarm went off this morning. Had a dream that I crushed a guy's face for threatening to harm my friend and woke up feeling kind of edgy.


When I went to make breakfast for myself and my partner it turned out she wanted something different (noncompliant) so I had to make her breakfast, and then make mine. It made me pretty cranky even though it really wasn't a big deal. I wasn't hungry and it didn't take very long to make either breakfast. I think the sugar withdrawal is messing with me.


I noticed this morning that my brain feels foggy. Thinking feels slow and unclear and I have a slight headache. My partner and I are planning to go out for dinner and grocery shopping after she gets off work. I already know what I'm going to order (a "hangover" burger that has guac and fried egg on it with salad on the side) but I still need to make a grocery list. I have to wait to make the grocery list until after we see what's in our blue bag this week.


In my city there is a program that redistributes produce that is past it's "sell date". They get the fruits and veggies from farmers and grocery stores and sometimes there are huge 5lb bags of salad like from a food service company. Usually the produce is perfectly fine and sometimes it's even good for several weeks after we buy it. It only costs $7 for 30-40lbs of produce. The "bad" part is that you can't pick what you get - they divide up the whole into individual bags, but usually there is very good variety. For someone who likes to cook, and likes to be creative, it's a lot of fun to let the bag decide what's for dinner each week. Sometimes in the winter there's mostly fruit, though - I'm hoping that isn't the case today. I would really like a lot of fresh broccoli, eggplants, zucchini, onion, greens like kale or collards.


I'm feeling rambly today. Glad I don't have to go to work. I did want to work on a blog post for the website but I think I'll have to wait until later to try that. I am having a hard time maintaining focus.


Definitely going to get acupuncture today. They open at 10am and I think I'll walk up there, and afterward, stop at the greek place to get a couple skewers of meat, then make lunch when I get home. Depending on how my brain feels then, I might work on the blog, or I might start an art project or something. It's way too cold here to be wandering around outside - but I would really enjoy a nice walk today. We'll see.


Food log time!

M1: reheated baked potato and spinach hash, 4 eggs, black coffee (I found myself reaching for a second cup of coffee just to give my mouth something to do. Ended up thinking about it and throwing it down the drain. I don't want to end up any more twitchy and edgy than I already feel.)

M2: grilled chicken and lamb, roasted carrots, sauerkraut, marcona almonds

M3: beef burger, guac, fried egg, salad


Acupuncture: Going to see KH and will certainly ask for a repeat of yesterday's treatment.

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I am super cranky and tired and just need to vent/distract myself. The dogs are getting on my nerves and barking when I just want a nap.

I did go to acupuncture and it did help... For a bit. I came home with press tacks on the "calm mind" points in my ears but I'm not sure how much they are helping.

I also ended up getting cucumber tomato salad with my skewers... Not making carrots like I planned and not trying the raw sauerkraut either.

The blue bag looks amazing this week: 2 onions, a butternut squash, 4 big tomatoes, 2lbs of broccoli, 2 heads of romaine, 3 cucumbers, a big piece of ginger, a cantaloupe, and a bunch of still-green bananas. Oh, and a 5-lb bag of apple slices sprayed with whatever chemical keeps them from browning for a month. I don't plan on eating those.

They're calling for a storm tonight right when we were planning to go grocery shopping. Having been in the car during some extreme snow and rain storms, which was terrifying, I am inclined to reschedule this outing... My partner wants to go anyway. She has poor self preservation. We will see - I'll probably go and it will probably be fine.

Seriously so tired. Damn the sugar carb dairy soy withdrawal experience.

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Thank you for the food for thought! Pun intended!

I think so, Kirkor. Using quite a bit - 2-3tb - of olive oil to sauté the hash, and it all seems to be getting soaked up into the potatoes and spinach so I'm pretty sure I'm eating it. I might try switching to coconut oil tomorrow, or adding some guacamole or olives.

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Day 4

Got pretty cranky last night after dinner doing grocery shopping and errands but I think I was dehydrated.

At dinner I decided to go for the sweet potato fries instead of the salad, since I had raw veggies for lunch. (Too many raw veggies is not good for me; not only are they not filling enough, they make my stomach hurt. That was an annoying and disappointing lesson to learn.) Anyway, the fries were not the healthiest option, obviously, but they were actual sweet potatoes at least. Not something I will be having again while I'm doing the whole 30, as they aren't really in the spirit of it.

Grocery shopping was a success, other than the fact that trader joes only has boneless skinless chicken thighs... I want the bones and skin! I did get lots of veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, and frozen spinach and pepper/onion mix. A bag of frozen berries for salad dressing. Coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, guacamole. And plenty of meat and eggs. Combined with the blue bag haul yesterday, I think we are set for a couple of weeks. (We do grocery shopping on pay day and I use my master planning skills to make it last two weeks. No lie, my fridge has 6 dozen eggs in it right now.)

I slept well again last night. Was not ready to get up when the alarm went off. Started cooking early: one lb ground beef with an onion; half a palm of that became my breakfast along with three eggs, a leftover baked potato (small) and a cup or two of frozen spinach. All cooked in fat from the beef. It was almost an overwhelming amount of food but I ate it, with a cup of coffee. Also started a batch of chicken thighs baked with olives, onion, tomato and thyme. I intend to make a batch of roasted broccoli and defrost a bag of peppers and onions. That will complete today's cook up.

I've decided not to have acupuncture today. For one, the press tacks are still in my ears doing their thing. Also I was getting some noticeable twinges around my left hand thumb where I've been getting needles and it's telling me I just don't need to be poked today. I'll wait and see how I feel on Monday.

I have an event tonight and it starts at 5: dinner time. I'm trying to decide if I should have a mini meal before and after or just eat a full meal before. Having just eaten breakfast, I can't imagine being hungry before 1:30 or 2. But it's important to me that I eat on a schedule (4-5 hours between meals) because I know that's what allows my system to stabilize - no crazy blood sugar stuff, no "hangry" feelings, etc. I'll make a decision later and record it tonight or tomorrow.

BM is good. It's vitally important that I avoid either extreme - I had surgery a couple of years ago that makes it so I have to monitor my bathroom habits closely. I haven't had to use any miralax in a while, and should be fine as long as I don't overdo meat or fat, and I chew everything thoroughly. So far so good.

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Day 5

Started the day with 3 eggs and potato and spinach hash cooked in olive oil (a bunch) and coffee.

Lunch was out: elk burger with avocado and a salad. Kind of skimpy but it was enough.

Dinner was going to be taco salad but I might switch to chicken and roasted carrots and raw sauerkraut since I had salad for lunch.

Some minor crankiness today but nothing terrible. No acupuncture - will probably resume that tomorrow.

Last night I didn't eat dinner until very late due to the event, which went from 5-10. I had some beef and sauerkraut when I got home.

Drinking plenty of water! Not into logging today.

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Day 6

Last night was so much insomnia. Hormone-related, I think, because of where I am in my cycle. And my shoes made my feet hurt. It's a shame, I really like them, and have only worn them a few times.

I'm really paying attention to my body right now, between the acupuncture and the whole 30. Enjoying small victories like less joint stiffness and noticing things like my shoes making my feet and shins hurt.

Dinner last night was a palm sized piece of chicken with onion, tomato, olives, four carrots sliced and roasted, dipped in a tablespoon of almond butter, and a half cup of raw sauerkraut. Two cups of herbal tea (chamomile, rose, lavender, licorice). I really enjoyed the sweetness of the licorice in the tea. It was a nice treat.

This morning got up and had potato and spinach hash, cooked in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and 3 eggs.

Lunch was a palm sized amount of chicken and more olives, onions, tomato, more sauerkraut, and a banana.

I'm debating taking a nap... Really don't want to mess with my sleep schedule tonight! But it's so snowy and all my dogs are snoring around me... It's kind of hard to resist!

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Day 7

Slept well last night but not long enough. Dreamed about eating cookies and ice cream!

Breakfast was 1c potatoes 1c cooked spinach with 4 eggs and coffee, all cooked in a bunch of olive oil - 3 Tb?

Lunch was 2 palms of grilled pork and 2c cucumber tomato salad.

Dinner was 1.5 palms rib eye (I ate the fat I usually give the dogs) and 2c roasted broccoli and a handful of olives.

I have a meeting at 7:30. After I come home I will have a cup of bone broth with lemon/ginger/garlic.

I sucked at eating fat today. Picked up some duck fat on the way home from work. I am realizing now how much I relied on nuts and nut butters in previous W30.

I had acupuncture. Told KH about my crankiness and insomnia, and she suggested that as energy is starting to flow from places where it used to pool that it could be creating some excitability. Had needles in both ears and on face, chest, hands and legs. Supposed to help calm me down.

It was a warm and sunny afternoon after a crappy icy morning. I'm looking forward to spring and being more active and starting my garden!

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Day 8

Blahhhhhhhhh. Sleep was horrible last night. My feet hurt - again - and my partner snored all night. It's not her fault, she has a cold and can't help it, but I just wanted to smother her with a pillow.

This morning I decided to work from home and my feet and shins are finally feeling more normal. I don't know what is up with that - in previous W30 I felt physically better almost right away - and normally hormone-related pain goes away in a day or two. I did stand for a little longer than usual yesterday. Maybe I need to get some orthopedic shoes or something. Maybe it's all the olives. Maybe there is a hidden caffeine in my tea. I don't know, but it's driving me a little bit batty!

I ended up not having bone broth last night. Was so tired when I got home from music practice I started to sleep right away - 10:30? - but didn't fall asleep and eventually was distracted by hunger and leg pain. Not surprising, given the lack of fat at lunch. Got up and had a closed handful of salted pepitas and a banana. Not an ideal snack, but I was feeling lazy and didn't want to wake myself up more by making an actual meal on dishes. Snuggled up with the heating pad on my feet and eventually fell asleep after 1am. My mind was just racing, thinking about all the exciting things going on in my life, thinking about music, planning meals, playing the "I wonder" game. I think I want to do a media fast. No internet after dinner time.

OK Food today.

M1: a cup of bone broth, almost a cup of potatoes, 2 cups of peppers and onions, a large tomato, broiled, and 4 eggs, and a cup of coffee

M2: a massive salad of romaine lettuce, dilly cucumbers, celery, 2 palms of chicken, dressing made of defrosted frozen berries mixed with balsamic and olive oil, and a closed handful of salted pepitas

An hour after lunch, a cup of bone broth.

M3: will be chicken, roasted cauliflower, roasted carrots in duck fat or ghee.

Tonight more music out. No acupuncture.

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Day 10

I forgot to log food yesterday!

Day 8 snack around 4 hours after M3, 10pm after I got home from music practice: a small celery stick with 1/2 Tb almond butter and 1/3 palm of chicken

Day 9

M1: 3 eggs, potato spinach hash, coffee

M2: 2 palms chicken, dilly cucumber and tomato salad, 1.5 deviled egg

Snack: 1c chicken broth

M3: 1.5 palms chicken cooked in ghee, 1/2 sm butternut squash with 1.5 dried apricot smashed and mixed in, ghee poured over, broccoli roasted in olive oil

No acupuncture

Day 10 (today!)

M1: potato, pepper, onion hash with 4 eggs and tomatillo salsa, coffee

M2: dilly cucumbers, 4 stalks celery, ground beef, onion, closed handful of pepitas

M3: iceberg lettuce, cooked peppers onions mushrooms, ground beef, salsa, guacamole

4hrs after dinner: 1 Tb coconut oil

I had acupuncture today, still feeling tired. My skin looks like hell - normally doesn't break out like this, I hope it goes away soon. Body feels good. Easier going down and up stairs, less stiff. Ready for some movement! Starting with stretching.

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Day 11

Not enough sleep last night, got up early this morning at around 7 and didn't eat until 8:30. Cranky. Went to music practice and had fun. Got home to find my partner had come home from work early. Cranky again. Had lunch and took a nap. I feel like I'm fighting a cold. Cranky.

Good stuff about today: my skin looks better after giving it some TLC last night. Music really was fun and I really like the songs this week. Opportunity to take a nap today. Tasty lunch. Pork roast slow cooking in the crockpot.

M1: potatoes and broccoli, 4 eggs, coffee

M2: cucumber and tomato salad, 2 palms grilled lamb, a closed handful of pepitas, small banana

M3: frittata of spinach, mushrooms, peppers and onions, ground meat, egg whites; handful of olives

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Day 13! Already!

Finally, finally I learned to make mayo! Finally! It was so easy and is so delicious. I made two batches: one to mix with shredded cabbage to make cole slaw, one with a little dried tarragon stirred into it for dipping and slathering.

This morning the slow roasted pork was finished and omg so good. I made a barbecue sauce to go with it: 4 apples, 1 big onion, a few Tb of mustard, a few Tb of apple cider vinegar, and spices - cumin, cinnamon, clove, chipotle, salt, pepper. Simmered for a few hours and the zapped it with the immersion blender. Ended up with a LOT of sauce. Mixed a few Tb into two palms pork for dinner. Yum!! Then I roasted a chicken and baked 3 big potatoes and a tray of broccoli. Busy, productive day!

I woke up with a sore throat - the cold is winning - but tomorrow I will make some chicken broth and hopefully kick it out. I want to feel better already!! I do feel good in that I am less bloated, going up and down stairs more easily, and sleeping well. And plus feeling like a kitchen champion for making my own mayo!

M1: hash of potato, pepper and onion, pork, with 2 eggs and black coffee

M2: a pouch of salmon, mixed with failed mayo, and 6 mini peppers

M3: 2 palms of pulled pork with Apple barbecue sauce, 2 cups cole slaw made with home made mayo

No acupuncture today.

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Update: I did not have enough starchy goodness today! Just had a wave of intense nausea hit after dinner. Felt like I needed something cold and grabbed a handful of frozen blue berries, raspberries, blackberries. Started to feel better. Ate a couple bites of baked potato and washed my face and brushed my teeth. Now I feel totally fine.

Lesson: eat enough veggies!

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Day 13

M1 3 eggs, potato and spinach hash cooked in olive oil, coffee

M2 1 palm chicken, 2 cups roasted broccoli, a big blob of tarragon mayo

M3 1.5-2 palms pulled pork in Apple bbq sauce, 1/2 cup cole slaw made with home made mayo, 3 roasted carrots

Sleep last night was good. Woke up to the cold I've been fighting - sneezing, coughing, runny nose fun! Made a batch of bone broth after work. Honey came back from her parents with a big bag of frozen venison from her dad, so I'll be cooking that once we work through the pulled pork and chicken.

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Day 14

Soooo tired!! Poor quality sleep last night, five hours tops. Thanks to this cold and congestion. I was unable to breathe comfortably and had to sleep propped up on my back with my head elevated to try and prevent the congestion from moving into my ears. I can feel it trying to go there! I'm feeling slightly better? The same? I don't know. Today.

Got up super early since I had to be at work early to let the water delivery in. Made breakfast and lunch, took a shower, then got a ride to work since I'm sick and it's cold and rainy. Looking forward to this day being over, the workday at least, and hopefully getting some acupuncture to help with this congestion.

I realize this is vain of me, but my skin was looking so good for a couple of days there... Now my face looks all puffy and tired and sick. I want to look and feel healthy dammit! That's why I am doing this W30!

Oh well. I suppose I would be feeling 10x worse if I wasn't doing the W30 right now.

M1: 3 eggs, potato pepper onion hash, 1/2 avocado, salsa. And coffee!

M3: 2 cups roasted broccoli, 1.5 palm chicken, a big? Blob of home made tarragon mayo

M3: chicken soup (heavy on the chicken) with butternut squash, spinach, onion, ginger and almond butter.

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Update on Day 14

My boss gave me some acupuncture at work that helped with the sinus issues but I still can't smell or taste :-/

I had a mini meal at 4pm since dinner is going to be late tonight: guacamole with a bit of chicken and raw red pepper.

The soup is really a stew and it looks amazing. I just hope I get my taste and smell back before we eat through it all.

Super excited that one of the venison packs we got is ground! They mix it with pork and it tastes like beef. I'm going to make something yummy with that. I also pulled out several packs of venison steaks to braise with my apple barbecue sauce.

Minor tragedy: I'm almost out of onions!

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Day 17

Yesterday's meals

M1 potato, pepper, venison hash with 2 eggs and coffee

M2 roasted broccoli, 1.5 palms venison burger, mayo

M3 a palm of rib eye, roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts, .5 cup frozen berry mix

Feeling pretty good! Getting over the cold already, ample energy, steady mood.

Day 17 meals

M1: potato pepper spinach venison hash with 2 eggs and coffee

M2: chicken butternut squash almond butter stew

M3: braised venison with apple and mashed potatoes with homemade mayo

Today acupuncture and grocery shopping!

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Day 20


I am so tired. We're waiting for some friends to go out to dinner and I had a snack and just fell asleep.


I've been slacking on my log. I'll do my best to recall the foods.


Today was Day 20

M1 potato, spinach, venison hash, 2 eggs, coffee

M2 paleo pad thai with spaghetti squash, onions, chicken, egg, sunshine sauce, lime

Snack was brisket, grape tomatoes, guacamole

Dinner will be a burger and brussels sprouts


Day 19

M1 was potato, pepper, onion, venison hash with 2 eggs and coffee

M2 was chipotle 2x carnitas, 2x pico, 2x guac over lettuce and 1/2 cup frozen berries sprinkled with dried coconut

M3 was a giant salad of lettuce, cucumber, roasted green beans, and sunshine sauce


Day 18

M1 was potato, pepper, onion hash with 3 eggs and coffee

M2 was a huge plate of sauteed mustard greens and kale with venison, and 1/2 cup frozen berries with a handful of dried coconut

M3 was roasted broccoli, chicken... I don't remember!

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Day 24

I'm so in the groove I'm finding it tedious to stop and log food. I'm confused about which day I'm on and don't remember exactly what I've been having over the last couple days.

M1 hash of potato spinach with 3 eggs and coffee

M2 paleo pad Thai... Yesterday was a pouch of salmon with mayo and cucumber and tomato and roasted broccoli

M3 brisket with peppers and onions and salsa and guacamole with either butternut squash or potato.

One night I had a mini meal of 2 eggs with cinnamon, a bit of coconut, and a few berries.

I'm getting ready to start my period so I've been super tired unless I eat extra starch... Been trying to keep starchy veg at breakfast but needed another serving at dinner.

Today's meals. Day 24

M1 brisket, mustard greens, 2 eggs, coffee

M2 ?

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Day 26

Feeling good. Still no period ... Late. Weird because I'm normally very regular.

Day 26 meals

M1 potato pepper onion 3 eggs coffee

M2 yellow squash pepper onion canned mushroom chicken sausage mustard; frozen berries with coconut

M3 steak asparagus potato horseradish mayo

Day 25

M1 Tomato spinach 4 eggs coffee, berries with coconut

M2 carrots chicken salad small green apple

M3 grilled pork cucumber tomato roasted cauliflower

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