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dudeascending's first Whole30 (1/1/13 - 1/31/13)


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So, it turns out that sashimi is not very fun, nor very filling without rice or soy sauce. <_<

I made it through the day with no snacking, but was still hungry when I got home, so I was bad and had... an apple. Eating it was like how I used to feel when eating, say, ice cream--like I was getting away with something illicit. Haha. How I've changed!

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Ugh. Last night, I roasted some chestnuts for a snack and ended up eating waaaaaay more of them than I should have--at least a cup of nutmeat. They were incredibly filling, and I didn't have much of an appetite for the lamb or fennel. Now I'm worried that I've binged/messed up my Whole30 with too much starch and sugar?! Guh. I should have known to stop because I didn't want to...

On the other hand, I must admit, I felt gloriously, gloriously full and woke up this morning feeling peckish instead of my usual semi-frantic hungry. On the other other hand, my skin feels more rough this morning, and I'm feeling less sharp than I have been over the past week.

Also, I read about adulterated olive oils today and have both my olive oils in the fridge, to check to see if they'll solidify. I know that's not a foolproof approach, but I might as well start there. In the meantime, I'm switching over to cooking entirely with coconut oil and animal fats. I'm rendering lard right now, and it's filling the kitchen with a rather divine smell.

The one good thing about today was I finally hunted down a bottle of Red Boat fish sauce. Yessssssss.

Day 13

  • Breakfast: Homemade gravlax with arugula salad and olive oil
  • Lunch: Braised lamb neck with olives and tomatoes and raw fennel salad with olive oil
  • Dinn​er: Pork stir fry with eggplant, basil, and onion
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea, seltzer
  • Snacks: Raw cashews, salted duck egg

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Felt less energetic yesterday and this morning. Still blinking hazily at the world, although I've been up for a bit. A bunch of people are sick/getting sick in my office (and it seems just about everywhere else, too!), so maybe I'm fighting something off? I don't feel sick, exactly, just a little blah... but that probably does mean sick in a Whole30 context. :(

On the plus side, two different people told me my skin looked great yesterday. :)

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I'm feeling not great again today. Groggy, foggy, and honestly, a little blue. I was definitely running on tiger blood last week, so I'm doubly bummed about this. As I mentioned before, I might be getting sick—a bunch of people are out of the office today with either the cold or flu. I'd actually be relieved if I actually got sick because now I'm worried that I accidentally ate something noncompliant (I've eaten out twice in the past week, taking pains to ask questions, etc., and order appropriately, but both times were at ethnic restaurants with wait staff whose first language was something other than English, so maybe something was lost in translation?), or, even worse, that the good effects of Whole30 are over for me. :(

I'm not so worried about the latter, although a friend suggested that it was my diet that was causing my problems, which bummed me out. She pretty much thinks the whole thing is crazy and that my improvements are psychosomatic.

BUT. Let's focus on the positive and flex those gratitude muscles.

I'm still falling asleep easily, which is awesome. I woke up this morning before the alarm, and even though I didn't bounce out of bed, that's something.

I really have no idea if I've lost real weight or not, but at the very least, I'm much less bloated. My jeans were feeling uncomfortably tight on an empty stomach around the holidays. Now I'm totally comfortable in them, even after a full meal.

My skin. Geez, my skin. It used to be so dry and blotchy. It bothered me so much. I really didn't think Whole30 would have any impact on it, but I have to say, it looks and feels amazing.

My appetite has evened out; I'm no longer ravenous at every waking moment and am eating what feels like normal amounts of food—finally. I'm not going to lie, I have snacked some, but the trick has been to eat 90% of my lunch at lunchtime and the last few bites in mid-afternoon. That ensures that I'm eating a balanced meal.

Even if I feel low-energy, I'm getting a lot of things done. My department at work is short one person, and we're a department of three, so it's kind of a big deal. This is also one of the busiest times of the year for us, so it's a double whammy. But my boss mentioned that he thinks it's unreal how productive we've been and how happy he is with my work.

…Wow. Typing all of that out really made me feel better. The mind is a mysterious thing. ;)

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I appreciate you listing all the things you see improving; sleep, complexion, appetite etc.

so, if you are low-energy it sure could be fighting off something like a cold and I believe the dead of winter is a low energy time of year. Be gentle, sleep more if you can and stay on track... you are more than half way!!!

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I was running late this morning and sprinted to catch the bus... and as soon as I got on, I realized that I'd left my lunch on the kitchen table. D'oh. BUT. I'd left some shrimp curry leftovers in the fridge last week, so I'm eating that now. Yay, foresight and planning!

I'm still feeling groggy in the mornings, and my joints are achey now. I'm going to try to get 10 full hours of sleep tonight and see how I feel tomorrow.

When I look in the mirror, I don't look skinnier... but yesterday and today, I noticed that my jeans feel different. Not just comfortable, but loose. I wear semi-stretchy skinny jeans, so I've lost enough weight or water to stop stretching the material in the thighs and waist. Also, my (ahem) chest is no longer pulling apart the buttons on my button-ups. That's serious progress!

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Thanks, ORBren! I keep telling myself to just keep on keepin' on. And it turns out, I do think my recent malaise may be (at least partially) sleep-related. I finally budgeted for 10 hours of sleep last night and slept for 9+, and I feel great this morning. It is a little intimidating to think about sleeping that much every single night, but I'm hoping I'll catch up on sleep soon.

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Day 19

  • Breakfast: Poached eggs and gravlax over arugula
  • Lunch: Whole30-fied antipasto (prosciutto, olives, tomato, olive oil, etc.) and homemade pork cracklings
  • Dinn​er: Odds and ends (1/2 fillet sole meuniere, bits of chorizo, carrots, etc.)
  • Beverages: Coffee, seltzer

I hadn't fully rendered my lard from earlier, and so I finally finished it up today. Now I have a quart of lovely, creamy white lard for my cooking needs. I also made clarified butter last night for my sole, so I have about a 1/2 pint of that as well. Hooray for awesome fats!

The leftover cracklings were like... well, crack. Crisped up and sprinkled with a little salt, they were crispy, fatty little morsels of happiness. But now I'm truly stuffed and can't even fathom dinner.

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Got another 9-10 hours of sleep last night, and I feel fantastic. Calm, energetic, happy. But also weirdly sad that my Whole30 will end in ten short days. I feel like the second third of this has just flown by. I'm seriously considering extending this into Whole45 or Whole59 or WholeForever.

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Saw some friends last night who I haven't seen since the end of December; everyone said I looked great and that my skin is glowing. I'm getting used to being That Girl, drinking seltzer and lime at bars. Also, I've noticed that it's easier for me to sprint after buses I'm always nearly missing.

My crazy ravenous hunger days are behind me, I guess, since I wasn't hungry enough for lunch today. Now I'm definitely hungry and waiting for my duck confit (it's really a faux confit) to finish up. I have lamb osso buco in the stove for lunch tomorrow. Yuuuum.

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Day 22

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with chorizo and kimchi
  • Lunch: Lamb osso buco with tomato and carrots and braised red cabbage
  • Dinn​er: Lamb chops with green beans
  • Beverages: Coffee, seltzer, green tea

I'm feeling lower-energy again today. Not sure if it's my extreme unexcitement about being back to work after a glorious three-day weekend, since I had plenty of sleep last night. Also, my skin seems less great today. However, my period is approaching, so this could be good ol' PMS.

I've noticed that I'm becoming increasingly sensitive to caffeine. My stomach just can't handle a dark roast anymore, and more than a cup of light roast still makes me queasy. I'm going to go off coffee for a while to see if things settle down. It's sort of remarkable that I can just do that: go cold turkey, I mean. It doesn't seem very tough, considering everything else I've given up for Whole30.

I haven't been exercising, but I did a ton of walking over the past three days: at least ten miles. Now my legs hurt! I had to sprint to catch the bus this morning, and I felt it. Ditto when I walked up the steps for the subway.

On the other hand, I'm still experiencing a pretty great net gain in energy from when I started. It's hard to remember because my current state is kind of my new normal... the mind and body adapt so fast! But, for instance, I've run after the bus probably five or six times in the last week, whereas in the past I would have just given up. I'm also doing a lot of errands on my lunch break and after work, whereas before, I would have just put them off because I wanted to just eat my lunch or go home. Last night, I effectively made two meals at once. I had one dish in the toaster oven; another in the oven; and two on the stovetop. Woo!

I feel like I'm somehow a better friend and coworker now too. I feel more present in everything I do (even right now, when I'm feeling less than 100%). When I saw my friends on Sunday, I felt more alert and attuned than I normally am; my mind didn't race and wander, I was right there. That's truly a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

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Day 23

  • Breakfast: Steak and eggs with kimchi
  • Lunch: Leftover lamb osso buco and raw fennel and olive oil salad
  • Dinn​er: Thai flank steak, cilantro, and mint salad and 1/2 sweet potato
  • Beverages: Coffee, seltzer, water

Oops--I drank my regular cup of coffee this morning out of habit, but it didn't seem to upset me as much as it had over the past few days...

I slept pretty horribly last night. I got to bed nice and early, but couldn't stop tossing, turning, and waking up. Had a series of very vivid dreams, although none related to food. I was surprisingly alert and energetic today after such a crappy night, though, which was really interesting. Usually a bad night's sleep ruins my entire next day.

Another interesting development: I had leftovers of leftovers for lunch today (plus a salad), so it was a much smaller meal than usual. When I finished eating, I thought to myself, "I'm going to be hungry again pretty soon." And I was. I started getting hungry again at 3pm, but instead of becoming that crazy, frantic hunger I experienced before and earlier in Whole30, it was kind of a mellow hunger. I held out all the way until 8pm, which is when dinner was ready, with no real panic. I'm impressed with myself!

I think a lot of my less-than-ideal physical feelings are actually PMS, as I've started spotting in anticipating of my next cycle. I really hope that things have settled down in IUD-land, since my last cycle was just awful. I've been supplementing with vitamin E to stave off cramps, so fingers crossed.

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Day 24

  • Breakfast: Steak and eggs
  • Lunch: Beef stew with tomatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Dinn​er: Kale, chorizo, and roast celeriac soup
  • Beverages: Coffee, seltzer, water

Slept okay last night; not terrific, but definitely got some stretches of solid sleep. I can't figure out what's making me toss, turn, and wake up. Still, I'm really grateful to still be functioning at an above-average level the next day.

Today's breakfast and lunch were AWESOME. I fried my eggs in duck fat, and they were so so so delicious. The steak was good, although not as flavorful as last night's. I should have gotten some extra lemongrass to broil them with. For lunch, I braised chunks of boneless short ribs coated in salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in chicken broth and 1/2 can of diced tomatoes, along with some bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. I added sweet potatoes towards the end. It was great. My coworkers were sniffing the air with envy.

I'm waiting for my celeriac to roast before I can pass judgment on dinner. I'm making a Whole30-fied version of Portuguese kale and chorizo soup, substituting the celeriac for the white beans.

I've noticed that I feel leaner in the evenings these days. My clothes feel looser then. Maybe they stretch out during the day? It's hard to know for sure. But the sensation of suddenly having extra fabric is a great one.

I can't believe I'm in the last week of my Whole30. I don't know what I expected. Certainly, I hoped for miracles: that I'd emerge lighter, leaner, and calmer. I'm pretty sure that I've lost at least some weight, but the truth is, weight has suddenly become secondary to all the other positive effects. I'm less anxious and so much more balanced. My energy is high--and I think, if it weren't January, it would be even higher. My skin is glowing.

There is no doubt in my mind that I want to continue this journey. I'm trying to decide how my life post-Whole30 will be. I think I'll add in alcohol (distilled liquors and maybe red wine) in moderate amounts and see how fermented soy and dairy feel. But I really don't know. I feel so clean, and I don't want to give up this feeling, or have to start from scratch again.

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Day 25

  • Breakfast: Steak, eggs, and sauteed kale
  • Lunch: Random lamb leftovers (defrosted lamb neck and osso buco)
  • Dinn​er: Gambas al ajillo and arugula salad Roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon aioili
  • Beverages: Coffee, seltzer, water

Oof, another night of subpar sleep, although this time, I know what the culprit is: our hissing radiator. I'm going to get a pair of ear plugs. I neeeeeed my sleep. The last three days haven't been great in that regard.

Also, I've been using a different computer at work, and I noticed that my eye pain has returned. I'm not sure what it is--the lack of sleep, the lack of f.lux, combo of both, or something else? I'm going to stick with my regular computer today and see what happens towards the end of the day.

Yesterday's soup turned out awesome as well--what a day for great eating! The roasted celeriac provided a similar mouth-feel as white beans, but were sweeter. I think, in all honesty, I prefer the soup with root vegetables over legumes. I sauteed chopped Spanish chorizo with diced onions, then added the stemmed and chopped kale in handfuls, waiting for each handful to get a shiny, dark green before adding the next. Topped everything off with chicken broth, simmered for a bit (but not too long, since I like my kale firm), then added in roasted celeriac, chopped parsley, and chopped mint. It was slightly too salty; I shouldn't have salted the celeriac, since the chorizo is a sodium bomb. It was so good that my fiance sneakily packed all the leftovers for himself this morning.

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