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WholeMilk with Whole30 Characteristics

Dodo Bird

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I'll start off by saying that I'm doing this out of order.  I attempted and failed my first Whole30 recently, thanks to insufficient calorie intake and getting scared out of it pretty fast by the emergence of some fairly disordered thinking around it (i.e. keeping compliant by letting myself starve).  Even if I don't seem to be in the right place to do an official strict Whole30 right now, I still want to improve my eating and see if I can improve mood and energy, and Whole30 contains some elements that I can get behind.  Eventually, I'd like to get myself in a good place to be able to go whole hog for 30 days.  Current problem for me is that I was not able to handle the all-or-nothing Whole30 mantra in a healthy way (I'm in cognitive behavioral therapy to help snap me out of anxious thought patterns, including all-or-nothing thinking).


So then, what am I doing in the meantime?


Following all the rules of Whole30 EXCEPT the no dairy provision.  My self-imposed policy regarding dairy permits milk, yogurt/sour cream/fermented diary products, and butter, all in their full-fat, unadulterated, least-processed forms, but NO cheese (because too many dang quesadillas ... and casein or whatever).


Why just dairy?


It turns out that milk provides a lot of my calories and protein, and I underestimated just how much when I attempted to do without it, and wasn't adequately prepared to fill the void with compliant options.  Also, I have a long history with milk, and a love-love relationship with it.  I was a horribly picky eater as a little kid, but I LOVED milk, so milk is how I kept on weight and stayed nourished (just wouldn't eat enough of anything else).


Also, dairy is a known quantity for me.  Milk and dairy products have never given me issues*.  No GI issues, no skin issues.  I do not notice any perceptible difference when I temporarily reduce or remove dairy from my diet for whatever reason.  I am of northern European descent and definitely got the eternal lactose tolerance gene.  Besides, milk is what I go to when I have a sour stomach and can't bear to eat anything else, which might seem counter-intuitive to a lot of people....


Furthermore, I don't have an unhealthy relationship with dairy-containing junk like ice cream or milkshakes.  A milkshake is a very rare treat, and I just don't buy stuff like ice cream.  I'll only eat whipped cream if I make it myself, and then only in small quantities (the store-bought stuff is totally effing gross.  At least I think so because I'm weird).


*....Or have they??  If dairy does have negative effects on me, they're incredibly subtle, or I've been going through life feeling like crap and not knowing it (somehow I doubt that).  I do plan to test that out with a formal dairy elimination period in the future, either via a proper Whole30 or a dairy-only elimination trial (after adding back in other non-bothersome things like rice to make sure I get enough calories and not mess up the results).


Why do I want to do my fake Whole30?


Because the "you're either doing Whole30 or you're not doing Whole30" line of thinking is not helpful for me.  Might even be harmful.  As far as I'm concerned, Whole30 is a great elimination diet framework, and all I want out of it is to see if I can improve my energy/mood/concentration by removing certain things from my diet.  The primary suspects are refined carbs and added sugar (I already know that I get a headache if I consume too much sugar at once).  It's also a good way to practice self-discipline (which I am bad at).


Otherwise, my relationship with food is fine and I'm coming into this with pretty healthy eating/cooking habits and no sweet tooth (I was the weird kid who didn't like candy), and also no history of GI issues, weight issues, allergies, or dieting issues (the only diet I've ever really done before is the "don't drink beer during the week" diet and it was successful).




I'll try to log as often as I can, and hopefully what I post can be helpful for anyone doing a Whole30 with a similar modification.  And if you are doing something similar, stop by and say hi.


So far...


So far this has been working out really well for me.  I feel clearer mentally and had a bout of borderline mania over the weekend.  Also, I'm way less bloated (totally thought I was just flabby!).  Kinda crazy.  I'll post some food stuff sometime soon.



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Your humility is a virtue.   Brilliant writing. 

Aw shucks, thank you! :)  I'm just hoping I can remember to update this thing at least somewhat regularly.




Hokay so... since I actually started this plan a while ago (Whole30 failed on 3/3, which marks the soft start of Whole30 con leche), I'll go through some highlights from the backlog:


- Shepherd's Pie -


I had previously made the W30-compliant shepherd's pie from the recipe in the book.  It was overall quite good, but the coconut milk in the sweet potato top was extremely off-putting to me.  Tried to mask that faint but inescapable coconut odor with extra herbs and spices to no avail. The ghee also had a bit of a not-quite-butter smell to it that I didn't really like.  I have a history of scent-triggered migraines, so I'm thinking that this was a conditioned avoid-weird-bad-smell response   But again, it was good overall so for round two, I made a bigger one.


I made it bigger (cooked and baked in my 12" cast iron skillet), added leeks and more herbs and cooked everything up with real butter, used regular white potatoes mashed with a bit of (real) milk, stock, and butter.  It was fantastic.  Would make again.  But not with coconut milk.


- Roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies -


Roasted a whole chicken, roasted a pan of carrots, onions, and celery root with olive oil and herbs, and made mashed potatoes (with real milk and butter).  Turned out really nicely.  Chicken provided lots of leftovers and I have a carcass and bones for more stock.


- Bacon grease* latkes as part of breakfast -


Not kosher, but delicious.  I started cooking them with olive oil like you're supposed to, but the smoke point is too low - the bacon grease has a higher smoke point so it's better for cooking things longer on the skillet.  Just grated potato and diced onion with some salt, cooked till golden, served with sour cream and/or applesauce.  Decided to do latkes instead of hashbrowns because I'm too used to having the hashbrowns with ketchup.  Sour cream is actually a nice stand-in for both ketchup and salsa.


And now for logging:




B: Nothing, because I forgot (more on this later)

L: Potato/onion latkes with sour cream and two eggs (what I meant to have for breakfast)

D: A big sweet potato/veggie/chicken hash thing that I made up as I went along.  turned out pretty good.  Side of unsweetened applesauce**.


3/10 so far


B: Potato/onion latkes and applesauce, tall glass of milk because I didn't have time to also make eggs.

L: Nothing yet - forgot to bring food from home, thought about salad bar at the grocery store nearby, but not sure about their dressings and also got mild food poisoning last time I was there.  I have a terrible headache (thanks low pressure weather shift), so thinking of going home a bit early for some hot broth and lying down.


Some notes:

On the forgetting meals. I do this all the time.  I literally forget to eat meals sometimes and I'm also not terribly bothered by the sensation of being hungry, an issue no doubt exacerbated by my stimulant meds.  One thing I also want to work on is creating better routines and habits for ensuring regular meals.


bacon grease:  I haven't bought bacon since getting started, but I still have a bunch of bacon grease.  The bacon I buy is the house brand stuff from a local store, is cheap, cheaper if you get it as a slab, and is some of the best bacon I've had in my life.  I've not seen anything that says or indicates it has sugar in it.  It produces really nice bacon grease that seasons cast iron to a Teflon-like surface.  Bacon with sugar in it will just gum everything up - I've learned this from cooking low quality sugar-laden bacon in my cast iron.  So yeah, if I need bacon, I'll get this nice local bacon.  Besides, I refuse to pay $13/lb plus shipping for fancy bacon off the internet or patronize Whole Foods.


unsweetened applesauce:  Ack it's sweet!  Who the hell decided that applesauce needed even MORE sugar??  Seriously wtf.

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What, don't want to call me a dodo? ;)


D - sweet potato chorizo hash (with onions and bell peppers). Found some compliant chorizo at the store (their store brand stuff yay!) when I was picking up some things and had been meaning to make this dish since long before seriously thinking about W30. Turns out it's totally compliant. Then of course I had to go ruin it by making the eggs on the side in butter (instead of directly into the hash - I wanted leftovers without bits of already-cooked eggs in it) and having a bit of sour cream.

As for sour cream in general, I've been eating quite a lot of it, but then again I'm not eating ketchup, salsa, mayo, BBQ sauce, etc. Also, the cultures in it are supposedly pretty good for probiotic stuff.

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What are your  tips for handling cravings,   how do you do it?


Cra...cravings?  What are those?


In seriousness, I don't really experience cravings the way the Whole30 book describes them (part of the disconnect with the program that got me off on the wrong foot).  I don't have much of a sweet tooth at all, and as I've gotten older, my tolerance for sweetness has gotten lower.  For example, most "slightly sweetened" iced teas are still too sweet for my taste.  While I certainly appreciate and enjoy sweet/craveworthy things when I have them (i.e. dessert at a nice restaurant), I don't crave food items for the sake of getting a sugar/salt/whatever fix.  I also just plain don't like a lot of the easy-access junk food that folks tend to crave.  Like chips.  Tortilla chips are okay, but I don't care or think about them unless I need something on which to put homemade salsa or guacamole.  Can't stand potato chips, though.  I'll eat a potato chip once in a blue moon, just one, and then am reminded why I never eat potato chips (they are gross).


I do get hankerings every so often.  I'd define a hankering as a low-intensity slow-burn sort of craving for something that is not necessarily bad/unhealthy.  Generally, my hankerings are for eating out at a particular restaurant, a particular dish or type of cuisine, or an oddly specific random food item (e.g. pickled herring).  I don't feel any sort of rush to fulfill hankerings.  They can last days or months.  Sometimes I forget about them before fulfilling them.  Not a big deal. 


As for when I feel peckish in general, the cure for that is half a glass of whole milk.  Gives you enough of a hit of protein, fat, and substance to stave off the urge to snack on easy-access empty calorie snacks but won't spoil your appetite for your real meal.  It's important that it's whole milk - skim or even 2% won't really work - not enough substance/fat to give you the sense of satiety.


And general tips?  Use clean Whole30/Whole30-like eating to reprogram your taste buds (they ARE programmable).  I stopped drinking soda after college (no longer had a meal plan that included fountain drinks) and eventually just lost my taste for it and the other snacky crap I ate on campus.  For the shorter term, I guess I'd try to replace the sugary/empty calorie things with something dense and savory, like some nice dried salami or prosciutto, olives or other picked things, or, if you're not strict Whole30, hard aged cheese.  I find dense little morsels of this sort of stuff much more satisfying than stuff like chips, cookies, or pancakes.  There are more complex flavors and textures to appreciate, so it becomes more of a high-minded sensory thing than a lizard brain addition fix thing.

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I generally accept a small, grocery-store-sample-sized piece to just taste and be polite, and then thank and praise.  If they inquire about why you don't want the whole brownie/mountain of potato salad or whatever, just provide a neutral excuse (honest or BS) like already ate, watching your waistline, gotta hurry to this meeting thing, etc.


Ohh!  I guess while I'm posting I should provide an update about how I'm faring:


I've probably lost an inch or more off my waist in the last week.  I moved down a belt loop and some of my older tops suddenly fit me nicely and don't feel like sausage casing anymore.  My boyfriend has definitely noticed and is very appreciative, and marvels at the fast results of my magical and seemingly paradoxical "potato and bacon grease" diet.  So there was SOMETHING (probably gluten) that was giving me chronic bloat that I'm no longer eating, so suddenly no bloat (which I really did think was just flab - never suspected bloat because I had no other adverse GI symptoms).  Also feel brighter and more alert in the mornings, which is HUGE for me.


As for why I suspect gluten in particular, some of my family members tried a Whole30-inspired elimination diet and identified gluten as the cause of bloat/puffiness and possibly mild GI discomfort and have had good results simply keeping wheat/gluten intake to a minimum.  But it's not NEARLY bad enough to resort to Celiac-level diligence, so they can eat a slice of bread now and again and not experience adverse symptoms.  I suspect I am in a similar boat.

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Guess I can update this.




B - potato and onion latkes/hashbrowns in bacon grease, dollop of sour cream, glass of milk (sometimes I just cop out on the frying the eggs part and just have milk instead - similar amount of protein, but should really get better at making the eggs and try not to use milk as a protein fallback so much)


L - leftover sweet potato chorizo hash (that stuff reheats so well in skillet) with fried egg.


D - Ceviche and malanga at a restaurant.  It was excellent and compliant.  HOWEVER... bad news... caved and got the tempranillo.  I'm just sooo hardwired to get a wine with dinner out.  And this was after I'd handily turned down a very tempting offer for beer earlier - buddy was trying to sabotage me pretty hard, too.  


Aftermath of the wine?  No ill effects whatsoever.  I'm not terribly worried.  I had also talked to my mom, and after all that proselytizing and browbeating I got from my parents regarding Whole30, turned out they'd never adhered to the no alcohol rule.  They certainly cut down, but never eliminated it completely.  Also reminds me of a friend who was hardcore into Whole30 and fitness and stuff who admitted to secretly enjoying a glass of wine on Friday night.


I'm just going to move forward, not let this lead to other excuses, and keep my eyes on my main diet focus:  continued elimination of grains (especially gluten-containing stuff) and added sugar and building up new cooking habits and routines.




B - sweet potato chorizo hash with egg, dollop of sour cream


L - leftovers or potatoes - not actually sure.


D - pan seared Alaskan salmon (picked up earlier for $5/lb!!) with some roasted potatoes and celery root, leeks and onions.  Will probably make salmon cakes with leftovers.


Went to the food market district and bought stuff, including produce, meat, wild salmon on crazy sale, more of that bacon, dried stuff at the Asian market.  So much good stuff in this district, and usually cheaper than the supermarket.  Have to go to like half a dozen different stores, but that's half the fun.  Good exercise, too.




B - eggs, a couple slices of bacon, and a pile of sweet potato chorizo hash (made a new batch).  Sooo much protein.


L - potato onion latkes and a mug of fatty stock.  I didn't get hungry until a looong time after breakfast, but was dragging most of the day.  I think it was a combo of lack of starch and getting screwed up by the daylight savings time shift (spring forward is always terrible on me) and not getting enough sleep the night before (stayed up too late and alarm went off an hour earlier).


D - For dinner, I made what was basically Umami: The Soup.  It was mushroom bacon potato, so yeah, glutamates everywhere.  So savory, so filling.  Five stars will make again.  Really glad I picked up the dried shiitakes - was getting bored of just the plain white mushrooms.  Also good umami substitute for the aged cheeses I'm not eating right now.


On the topic of umami/glutamates, was I the only one left scratching my head at Whole30's view on MSG?  W30 is so refreshingly up-to-date about a ton of nutrition research and science, like its stance on fats and dietary cholesterol, but then the bit on why it disallows MSG was like a time warp back to the 1970's when everyone was blaming their headaches on "Chinese restaurant syndrome". Really??  I mean, I wholeheartedly agree about disallowing MSG for the sake of Whole30, but because its presence is usually indicative of a low-quality, over-processed product that you should not be buying, but NOT because MSG itself is allegedly "neurotoxic" or "noxious stuff" - that's bad, outdated science that gets perpetuated by the likes of scaremongering quack bloggers.


What do I think of MSG?  It's glutamate in salt form, aka glutamate with a sodium ion attached to it.  As soon as you get it wet (put it in your mouth), it dissolves and becomes glutamate and sodium ions, with the glutamate being chemically identical to the huge amounts of glutamate manufactured by your own body and used by your brain for doing important things like thinking.  I just avoid MSG because it's always in crappy products.  I do not avoid MSG because it's "noxious stuff", because it just isn't.

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It would be hard to know if you actually had any ill effects from wine because you haven't done a whole30. A LOT of people who thought they had no problem with wine have come back after completing an actual Whole30 including all the rules and noted that they have problems with wine.

As far as MSG goes, you can also find studies that say carrageenan is good for you because it's made from seaweed and that absolutely isn't the case. The problem with food science is that you can find an article to support whatever position you want to support. You choose what to believe and how to internalize that information to make a healthier you. I choose to believe the science behind the Whole30 even tho there are studies and articles about how red meat is bad for you and that a vegan diet is the way to go.

I don't appreciate you lumping the Whole30 in to the group with 'scaremongering quack bloggers' or that the Whole30 is basing their opinions on bad, outdated science. I think that's extremely rude given you're posting about your own non-whole30 on their website.

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First off, the reason I didn't complete a "real" Whole30 was because it triggered some pretty bad disordered thinking, so I could have said screw it and walked away back into my prior eating habits, but I wanted to see if I could improve mental clarity and energy, and Whole30 offered a really great framework and I wanted to continue in a way that wouldn't set off bad thoughts and dangerously low calorie intake for me. Mods pointed me here.

I didn't mean to imply that Whole30 was in the "quack blogger" lot, just that quack bloggers tend to be the loudest voice about how MSG will poison your family and give you brain cancer so buy these magic supplements. I've read a lot on the topic (like scientific papers and chemistry) and all the negative claims fall apart in serious scientific studies or can't be replicated. I used to think MSG was the devil, but then I did some research. Granted, I did not read It Starts With Food, just Whole30, so maybe I missed some nuance, but I guess I was just disappointed by the black and white stance on MSG in light of all the other super enlightening stuff.

Was I really being so rude in simply disagreeing with one aspect of many about the program (that I otherwise like and mostly agree with)? If i disagree with an aspect of it, should I just keep it to myself in the future? I've been Internet-lynched before for disagreeing or accidental heresy or whatever. I'm used to it, I guess. It always happens sooner or later. Still sucks though. Sorry for ruffling feathers.

Still, the reason I'm still here is because I LIKE this program and want it to work for me in some form or another. If the powers that be want to ban me or close this thread because I disagree with them about MSG and wrote my thoughts in a forum post, that's their call.

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I think I'm done for now.  Time for a dissociation anything Whole30.  Flew into an anxious tailspin last night, complete with an intentional, spiteful, and self-sabotaging glass of cider and staying up past 3AM fretting and ruminating about just about everything, but mostly that I'm wasting my time here and not being able to shake the feeling that everything I do or say is invalid and that I'm not entitled or able to derive any benefit from the principles of this program simply because I couldn't complete the special ritual like everyone else.  Probably should have never registered an account here.


Thing is, I AM benefiting from my incomplete, heretical following of the Whole30 rules.  Clothes are hanging off me and my boyfriend has remarked that my brain is definitely working better.  But I guess it doesn't count because I flunked the program and am a rude fraud because I openly disagreed with one small assertion in a diet book completely lacking in supporting references or citations and that happens to go against the massive pile of scientific papers and in-depth articles I happened to have read on the topic.


So yeah, stepping away for a while.  Don't want to keep feeding the anxiety with all the all-or-nothing attitudes around this program and community, don't want to draw any more hostility for disagreeing with whatever sacred tenants or using this forum wrong and being some failed student impostor, and feeling like my results aren't real, deserved, or even condoned (didn't complete the ritual, remember?).  Switching gears to "elimination diet in which I exclude grains, legumes, and added sugars to evaluate whether these items affect mood and/or ADHD symptoms" and "I'm cooking everything from scratch because it's awesome and good".  I don't think it can be Whole30 anymore.  I don't want to fall off the wagon so hard that the very concept of this program is ruined for me forever, because it's still an all-around great program.  Also need to force myself to eat something - thought of eating anything, especially anything Whole30-inspired (aka everything in my fridge), is putting all those bad ruminations back in my head, but I still need to eat somehow.  Haven't felt anxiety this bad in a long time.  Forgot how terrible it feels.

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No one is 'lynching' you or calling you a rude fraud. I think if this is the reaction from my simply stating that there is conflicting science out there on most food issues and that I thought it was impolite to group the creators of this program in with scaremongers, quacks and people touting outdated science, then perhaps it is a good idea that you step away. No one here has said that you can't follow your own WholeDodobird plan, only that statements that you think wine doesn't affect you isn't all that accurate considering you haven't eliminated it and then brought it back.

I wish you the best and hope that you find your way through the anxiety around food to your own health goals!

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