Whole30, 5 months later.


TrayS

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I started my Whole30 adventure just this past August, so now it's been five solid months of Whole30/paleo (I'm about 95% compliant when not on W30 nowadays, except for a couple weeks when I was in Europe....) I realize five months isn't a terribly long time but I can attest that it's been long enough to seriously change some habits. I thought it might be fun to rehash (mmm... hash!) all of the ways Whole30 has changed me in five short months, as I prepare to put my big-girl pants back on for a January Whole30, complete with the Whole30 Daily and goals stated upfront (no falling off the wagon for Jan!)

ADDITIONS to my diet:

- Sweet potatoes - a lot of them. Not that I'd never had them before but before W30 it was typically once a year at Thanksgiving. Now I eat them weekly if not daily, and know how to bake them so they're perfectly fork-tender and almost custard-like. I cook 5-6 at a time and smash them up in a bowl with a bit of coconut milk, nutmeg and cinnamon. Leftovers last several days and can be eaten as a side with any meal!

- Kale.. OMG KALE. I had never eaten much kale til actually less than a month ago, and now I am addicted. My favorite way to eat it is kale chips - ripped into smallish pieces, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and copious amounts of garlic powder, and baked on a pan at around 350-400 for around 10-12 minutes. Sooo delicious!!!

- Coconut milk. Seriously, I think it tastes like heavy cream in my coffee. It's so easy to just open a can and put it in a tupperware and it's there for me to use every morning. Also mixed into aforementioned sweet potatoes.

- Coconut oil. My favorite cooking oil now!!

- Fried bananas, my favorite breakfast dish. Again, it's not like I'd never eaten a banana before, but I didn't really care for them especially if they were ripe enough to be yellow/spotted. I stumbled upon this recipe when I found myself staring at a bunch of spotted bananas in my kitchen that I didn't want to throw away, so glad I did! Anyway... bananas (slightly overripe is best), tossed in egg/tapioca flour mix (I believe the proper ratio is about 3 eggs to 1/3 cup tapioca flour), fried in coconut oil. Usually I just drop in my fried egg(s) in the same pan right next to it! Delicious.

- Tea - chai, Tazo wild orange, camomile, etc... I never was much of a tea fan, because I used to be such a diet coke addict. Especially in the afternoon when I was trying to fight off the post-lunch crash at my desk. Now I haven't had a diet soda since August (seriously, on the rare occasions I actually have a soda now I will just drink a regular one!) Now tea is my go-to afternoon pick-me-up. I've found that even the caffeine free varieties wake me up (well, and I don't have the same kind of post-lunch crash eating paleo). To sum up: I used to not give tea a second look and now I love it.)

- Kombucha - I don't drink much of it, probably go through about 1-2 bottles a week. But the GT Gingerberry is quite delicious (in small amounts).

Anyway that's just a start, I've also become much more efficient at cooking foods I already ate, now that I can't so easily default to eating out/take-out.

A glimpse at DELETIONS from my diet:

- Diet soda, as mentioned above I was a major addict. Now I consume absolutely none, and that goes for anything with artificial sweetener of any kind. There is no room in my life for overstimulating non-food like that.. ick. ICK.

- Grains. Oh, grains. I thought I would miss them, but I don't even a little bit. Ok, cornbread and corn chips maybe a little bit, but actually I've discovered through reintroduction that my body does not want corn in the form of chips. I went out for mexican one day a couple months ago and had some chips, thought they would be delicious (they were).... but not enough to be worth it. Imagine that it is possible to get/make a healthy lunch that isn't a sandwich or wrap or pizza. When I am out I get a salad piled high with meat and avocado. When I am at home I eat leftovers. LEFTOVERS! Leftovers are a staple of the paleo diet.

- Dairy. A couple months ago my friend had a wine/cheese party. I ate a ton of cheese - it was delicious. I love cheese. Two days later I wanted to scratch my scalp off, it was horrible. I don't even know that it's worth experimenting again to confirm that it was actually the cheese. Truthfully, I would have some cheese here and there (not on W30) if not for discovering what it does to me. But it is a main point of W30 to face the truth on food intolerance.

- Beer. I like beer, my husband brews delicious beer, and I live in the microbrew capital of America (San Diego). For a long time I've always associated weekends with beer. No longer the case. Ok, so I've replaced a bit of my former beer consumption with wine. But overall I am working to remove the association of weekend/relaxation with alcohol. It's hard, because my husband/friends like to drink, but the more I experience the loveliness of waking up early on a weekend day without that groggy feeling (not to mention, sleeping well throughout the night), the easier it becomes.

- Soy, EW. Ok so once in awhile I still have soy sauce if I go out for sushi. And at times I let it slide if there's a bit of soybean oil in a salad dressing (not while on W30). But I can't believe I ever thought tofu was food!

Changes to food-related habits:

- I now eat 3 meals a day, with few exceptions. Also, I eat within 1-2 hours of waking up (I know the recommendation is within 1 hour but I take thyroid meds when I wake up and they have to absorb). This is a vast improvement from before, when I wouldn't get hungry until sometimes 4-6 hours after waking up.

- I don't obsess over food. This has been life-changing, to be free from the food craving demon. Sure, I think about food a lot, since it's delicious and I like it and I have to plan meals, but it's not the same dysfunctional thought process it was before. Before, I would think about food in terms of "should eat" versus "should not eat" and there was often a disconnect between what my mind and body wanted. Now, I don't give much thought to the foods I stay away from, instead I think fondly of the food that awaits me (a pound of fresh salmon and brussel sprouts in the fridge, eggs and avocado and fresh salsa... yum!) And when I do make a conscious decision to eat something less healthy (pecan pie on Thanksgiving), I do so with full awareness, no guilt, and it tastes SO MUCH BETTER.

- I don't waste food! We used to throw away a lot of food that would go bad. Now, I don't let that happen. I mean sure every so often I throw something away but it's just so infrequent now that I rely on leftovers for meals, and have gotten into a better shopping pattern. The added benefit is that this offsets the extra money I may spend on organic/free range meat. And I'm no longer paying for crap. I spend zero dollars buying crap to eat now! It all goes to real food!

And finally, physical/mental changes since starting W30:

- Sjogren's symptoms drastically reduced. Dry eyes were just killing me, and are much, much better now. So is dry skin/scalp, WHEN I AM COMPLIANT. There is a definite connection here and I'm still trying to narrow down the culprit(s) (other than cheese which I already know but suspect there are more).

- Weight loss: my weight loss has not been drastic, about 5 lbs, but man did it feel great to lose the bloat and ickiness those five pounds respresented! I don't have a whole lot more to lose at this point anyway, just about 10-15 lbs, and I'm actually a lot less concerned about it, figuring that as I adjust and continue to tweak my diet to work for me, my body will lose whatever it will lose.

- No longer a scale addict!!!! I am SO much more comfortable with that 10-15 lbs than I was before I stopped staring at the stupid number on the scale every morning. I had no idea that both daily weighing, and calorie and/or point counting had been skewing my self image and my perception of what/how much I should be eating. But now that I do neither, I am liberated. LIBERATED!

- IBS - what IBS? This has been a huge change. Just a huge change. And I have no gallbladder, so to see myself functioning normally in this area is great. So is no longer experiencing stabbing, bloating pains.

- Anxiety - my August W30 killed my anxiety. Just killed it. And this was right before my wedding!!! Some of it has come back, and I'm working on managing my stress better, but it was enlightening to see a connection there. It had never occurred to me that food could be a contributing factor.

So this is where I am now. It's a learning process, and I have plans for further improvement (next will be looking into a CSA and ordering local meat). But it's nice to take stock of where I am now versus where I was before, and anyone who is just starting out can see just how much changes with some determination and effort.

Looking forward to 2013 being my first full Whole30/paleo year! Best of luck to all.

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Hot diggity DAWG!!!! That is all so awesome!

If I had to pick a favorite part of your post it would be this bit here: "- I don't obsess over food. This has been life-changing, to be free from the food craving demon. Sure, I think about food a lot, since it's delicious and I like it and I have to plan meals, but it's not the same dysfunctional thought process it was before. Before, I would think about food in terms of "should eat" versus "should not eat" and there was often a disconnect between what my mind and body wanted. Now, I don't give much thought to the foods I stay away from, instead I think fondly of the food that awaits me"

That has been so true for me. It's like entire areas of my brain and so much emotional energy have been freed from that constant thinking about whether I should or shouldn't. Wow.

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Loved your post - what a great success story. I'm reading through many of the success stories today in anticipation of my WholeLife starting in January. Even though i already completed one, I need the added encouragement that it CAN be done again! Thanks for this - and congrats!!

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