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The optimistic skeptic's log


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Day 0 -- 


I made the decision to start a Whole30 about a week ago.  Currently, I think I eat pretty well (with a focus on the healthy foods mentioned in Whole30, but also frequently legumes and grains; and dairy, alcohol and junk food in limited amounts).  I exercise regularly, and I have no ongoing ailments or mysterious aches and pains.  I'm in healthy ranges of weight, BMI, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and all the standard stuff they test on a regular physical.  But my CrossFit gym recommended this program, I started looking into it, and now I'm intrigued by the theoretical impact that foods are having on my health.  I completely understand how the Program would help many people with unhealthy diets, but I am very skeptical that it will have much effect on me.  However -- I am willing to take 30 days to turn myself into a control for an intriguing scientific experiment!  The worst that could happen is I eat very clean for 30 days, nothing much changes, and I return to my normal diet.  


I decided to wait until after I returned from a work trip/family visit today, as I was sure there would be many alcohols and sugars consumed over the past several days.  (I was right!)  My plan was to prepare a bunch of food tonight, but I am exhausted after travel and my husband is not in the mood to help.  Fortunately, he's doing the program with me, but he's really more focused on the elimination of certain foods rather than the whole "change your relationship with food" thing and balancing the healthy foods in the recommended proportions.  So we're off to a challenging start.  I at least chopped up some veggies so I could scramble them with eggs tomorrow morning.  


For the record, my start weight is 132 lbs (I think this is a bad week though -- I usually hover around 128), and the scale reports my body fat % as 25.3%.  I did a BodPod test last September and my weight was 128.2 and my body fat % was 24.9% -- that's probably more accurate.  Despite my skepticism, I am hoping that my body fat % goes down during the Whole30.  My trainers and fitness instructors are always surprised at how high my body fat percentage is given that I don't look fat, and I'm reasonably strong/athletic.  Maybe my organs are secretly storing some fat...  My measurements as of tonight are roughly 35-29-37.


On to sleep!  Must set my alarm early enough to make breakfast.  I'm used to having Belvita Breakfast Biscuits with my coffee and I'll miss them...

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Day 1 --


I woke up a little before 7am, usual for a work day, not hungry.  Regardless, I scrambled up a couple of eggs in coconut oil along with some salt and pepper and the veggies I chopped last night -- yellow bell pepper, broccoli and onion.  Didn't take very long and tasted pretty good, but man it felt weird to eat that much food on a workday morning.  


Drank some coffee without my usual teaspoon of sugar and non-dairy creamer.  I honestly didn't miss the extra stuff that much.  Thanks, Donut Shop Keurig cups, for being tasty on your own!


Was not hungry until after noon, which was great.


My work has a cafeteria and I had asked some questions in advance about how they prep their food.  As I eat there almost daily and am friendly with the staff, the chef decided to feature some paleo meals this week.  How sweet!  Today he made a Burmese chicken stew with Japanese potatoes.  I asked him if there was any soy, as I suspected the meat was marinated in soy sauce -- turns out it wasn't!  The ingredients looked okay so I happily bought a bowl and munched away.  I realized afterwards that there was miso paste in the sauce.  Dammit.  Day 1 and I've already failed.  I guess I'll make this a 31 day challenge.


Got hungry a few hours later and ate a banana.  Overheard my coworker talking about the cookies she brought in and had a pang for a sugary treat, but not really an irresistible craving.  However, I don't know if 3 meals and no snacks will work with my schedule -- breakfast around 8am, lunch around 12-1, and then dinner at... 8-9??  


Argued with my husband when I got home whether we should prep a LOT of food for the next few days, or just make dinner for tonight.  I wanted to do the former but after realizing that I was missing some of the meat I thought I purchased, my husband won the argument by default.  We made chicken "Pad Thai" from here:  http://meljoulwan.com/2011/05/08/paleo-pad-thai/and again argued, this time over whether the dish violated the SWYPO rule.  Hubby said yes, because we were trying to replace Pad Thai with Whole30 approved ingredients; I said no, because we were just shooting for the tasty flavor profile, not trying to make a sub-par version of Pad Thai.  Either way, we ate it, it was delicious, and I don't feel guilty about it!  

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Hi, Sunnibuns. If you follow the meal template, you should easily go 4-5 hours between meals. If you have longer gaps than that between meals, it's okay to eat -- try to have a mini-meal of protein, fat, and vegetables, or at least two of the three, or if you find you really need a fourth full sized meal, that's also okay, but most people in that situation find just something small is enough to get them through to the next meal.


That Pad Thai recipe isn't SWYPO. SWYPO is more about baked goods and desserts -- so Meatza is fine, because it's not really pizza, it's just those flavors, but making pizza crust out of almond flour is definitely SWYPO. (And there's also a more individualized aspect to this too -- even though meatza is okay, if you previously ate pizza multiple times a week, and crave pizza, and use meatza as a way to avoid branching out and trying new things, maybe in that case meatza wouldn't be a good option.) The best explanation of SWYPO online is here, if you want to show it to your hubby for explanation.

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Thanks, Shannon!  I'm fine for 4-5 hours... it's that lunch to dinner break that always lasts much longer.  I think I need to find the right type of snacks to bridge that gap.


SWYPO is one of those rules of the program that my husband kind of rolls his eyes at.  He'll do his best to follow it because it's one of the rules, but I don't think he really buys into the principle behind it.  (I have mixed feelings about it in certain cases.)  I think he was arguing with me just to be contrary -- he ate the Pad Thai with gusto.  :)

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I was too sleepy yesterday after my workout to post for Day 2, so I'll do Day 2 and 3 in one post.


Day 2 -- 


Woke up, feeling about normal -- which includes being not hungry.  I had leftover chopped veggies, so I had the same breakfast as Day 1, which again kept me sated until lunch.


None of the featured lunch meals at the cafeteria fit the Program, so I asked them to grill up some salmon for me and I made a salad at the salad bar.  Dutifully asked to see the bottles that the olive oil and balsamic vinegar came in (they were in plain glass containers at the salad bar) so I could confirm that there was no mix of soybean oil or sulfites, caramel color, etc.  I'm sure the chef is starting to get annoyed with me, but he hides it well.  I discovered a new challenge with this diet with one of the veggies I added to my salad -- pickled banana peppers.  I never really thought about how they were pickled, but after I ate a bite of one, it occurred to me that I should double check.  I went online to search for recipes, and sure enough, some, but not all, contained added sugar!  I stopped eating them, just in case, and grumbled to myself about how hard it was going to do this Program -- not because of temptation, but because of ignorance!  


I ate a Larabar (Apple Pie) shortly before I did a tough Crossfit class after work, came home pretty exhausted and ate some leftover Pad Thai with half a baked sweet potato.  Hubby had the same dinner but claimed to be hungry afterwards, so we toasted some almonds and he was satisfied.  Fell asleep watching TV around 10:30 (early for me) and then moved myself on to bed.


Day 3 --


Another day, another breakfast I wasn't excited about eating due to my lack of hunger.  This time I fried up some eggs in coconut oil with half a baked sweet potato and some spinach.  Probably would have tasted better if I were hungry.


Was hungry a little before noon, so went to the cafeteria and found one option I could modify for the Program.  Grilled jumbo shrimp with a mix of grilled vegetables.  There was a sauce that sounded really good... until the cook mentioned there was brown sugar in it.  Dang it!  He offered me rice with my shrimp and veggies which I had to decline.  I grabbed a banana as well.  The meal was good and I was fine for a bit, but I wish I had asked for double shrimp -- I knew I was going to be hungry before too long.  We had a long company meeting in the afternoon at which I ignored the wraps and cookies and instead nibbled on fruit and sipped on black coffee.  Ate a Larabar afterwards and was still feeling hungry before I headed home around 7pm.


Oddly enough, even though I was hungry in late afternoon, I wasn't that hungry when I started making dinner around 8.  We prepared the Chocolate Chili recipe from here (http://meljoulwan.com/2013/12/29/whole30-2014-week-1-meal-plan/), and I belatedly realized that it needed to simmer for a couple of hours.  So we also threw together a salad (hubby chops up a variety of veggies super small and makes the best salads!) and pan fried some chicken thighs in coconut oil for the immediate dinner.  I also prepped the Italian Pork Roast from that same site and will put it in the slow cooker tomorrow.  Husband was not thrilled with so much time in the kitchen, but I told him this would save us a lot of time later in the week, and I'll do much better about prepping for Week 2.


Overall state: nothing too good or too bad.  Was sleepy at the corporate meeting, but I think that often happens at long meetings regardless of what you eat!

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Another 2 days at once!


Day 4 (Thursday) -- 


I had an early morning call from home that ran long, so I grabbed an apple and a banana and some Nuttzo butter to eat when I got to work.  Actually my favorite breakfast so far -- the banana and nut butter were delightful!  Wasn't sure it was going to be as filling as the eggs and veggies I had been eating.  I had a yoga class at 11:15 that I was hungry when I started, but not when I finished an hour later.  Odd!  


I had brought some of the chocolate chili with me and ate it alongside a salad from the salad bar (oil and vinegar dressing).  It was a great combo!  I had wondered if a meaty chili would be nearly as satisfying without rice, chips, bread, or some sort of grain.  I had a banana and more nut butter as a snack in the late afternoon.


I had a cardio intensive workout at Crossfit after work, and then when I got home, my husband and I got distracted talking about selling our home back in Virginia, and didn't eat until late.  I just had some chili.  


Day 5 (Friday) --


My morning was jam packed with meetings, so I repeated my breakfast from yesterday.  The cafeteria had a grilled salmon salad with jicama and strawberries which meant I didn't have to do the regular salad bar again.  Those strawberries were delicious!  Not sure if these were particularly good ones (they seemed very ripe), or if I'm getting used to natural fruit sugars again.  Ate another banana with nut butter as a late snack, and worked late.


When I got home, my hubby had made a great salad which accompanied the Italian pork roast I had put in the slow cooker that morning quite well.  Put some almonds in to soak so I could make almond milk in the morning.


Overall:  still no noticeable changes, for better or for worse.  Just a general CONSTANT awareness of food.  Not cravings -- just thinking about my next meals since I know it will take extra effort to prepare.

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Day 6 (Saturday) --


I had a lot of time this weekend, so I figured I'd spend as much time as needed to make sure to ease the frustrations from last week, where advance planning and prep was minimal.


First things first -- coffee.  Made my almond milk when I got up and added it to a strong cup of coffee -- perfect!  My husband made bacon eggs, and a potato onion hash that he claimed was burnt but I thought was quite tasty.


Next -- I went back to my tried and true CookSmarts as a meal planning service.  My husband and I have been using that for a while, although usually we make the original and not the other types of recipes (vegetarian, gluten free, paleo).  I figured the paleo would be the closest to Whole30 and picked a week of recipes that looked tasty.  The hope is that the 4 recipes also make enough for lunch leftovers, and we can fill in the other meals with miscellaneous foods as needed.  I also looked into some "breakfast on the go" type recipes since I found breakfast to be the most challenging of my meals during the workweek.  Loaded up groceries on Amazon and Instacart, and voila!  Set for next week.  I also prepped some snack bars (coconut, dates, walnuts, cranberries, almond milk) for breakfast or snack emergencies.


Made a salad for lunch to eat with the leftover pork roast, and then went for a long bike ride.


Snacked on almonds and dried cranberries (sweetened only with apple juice) when I got back, plus an apple.


Hubby made another salad for dinner and opened up a can of sardines.  One of our cats went crazy for the smell.  I thought it was all right but not quite as exciting as she did.  :)

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