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Contessa's June Realignment


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I'm starting a new Whole 30 after spending most of these few months of self-isolation eating like a 4th grader whose parents are out of town.

During self-isolation, I have also done a number on my knee (too much anxiety-walking, I think). Probably just a little patellar tendonitis. The inflammation is pretty bad. I want my knee back. Back away from the Chips Ahoy, Contessa. My sleep has also been kind of dodgy, and I just feel/look more sluggish than I'd like.

Grocery shopping yesterday, I was delighted by the number of great products on the shelf that are Whole 30. Thank you, Sir Kensington. Thank you, Mark Sisson. I bought four different kinds of sauces and dressings. Boy, this movement has come a long way!

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Oh wow, I most definitely laughed aloud reading this! I can definitely relate to eating like a fourth grader whose parents are out of town! Lucky Charms for dinner? Kraft Mac N Cheese for breakfast! Yes, please! Oh wait, no! Lol. 

I wish you the very best on your Whole30 journey! I hope you find the results you’re looking for and that the knee feels better!! 

We’re all here rooting for you! 

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Chips ahoy sound amazing though. I was having dessert with every meal lol. It's so awesome how much stuff is focused on removing all.those filler ingredients and being whole 30 compliant - options! I love options 

Is today your start date? Hopefully you feel better sooner than later!

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Spent most of yesterday cooking up a storm in preparation for the week. I also wanted to give myself a head start on the official W30.

Food journal from 5/31/20:

Breakfast: 1 egg cooked in olive oil, cashewmilk "yogurt"

Lunch: Spaghetti squash + grassfed meatballs + spaghetti sauce

Dinner: Smoothie w/ beets, spinach, ginger, blueberries, banana. I do know smoothies fall into a "please don't" category with W30. I try to make mine veggie-heavy so they don't feel like a big Disneyworld treat.

I do not miss the Chips Ahoy at this point.

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Thanks Shadow! I have been around this work since the "Whole 9" days — I think I did my first Whole 30 in 2013. I'm excited to be back in 2020. Every time I do a reset like this, I learn something meaningful about myself. And of course, I end up feeling great after changing my diet.

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Food journal from 6/1/20:

Breakfast: 2 egg scrambled in olive oil, coffee with cashew milk

Lunch: Roasted chicken + mashed cauliflower + steamed broccoli with Primal Kitchen teriyaki sauce

Dinner: Spaghetti squash + meatballs + spaghetti sauce

I actually started my food revolution on 5/30/20, so it's been a few days. Right on time, a mild headache is brewing. It's like my body is crying out for potato chips and M&Ms. Fortunately, before all this happened, I tossed all the primo junk food into the garbage. Yep, I tossed the name brand stuff. The potato chips that cost $4.19 a bag. I wonder what the mark-up is on those chips. It's probably astronomical. Frito-Lay stock may decline sharply in the coming month as a result of my Whole 30.

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Oops — I posted too quickly yesterday, and I can't figure out how to delete the post.

Food journal from 6/2/20:

Breakfast: 1/2 sweet potato with sauteed kale + ground beef with Sir Kensington's Garlic Everything Sauce

Snack: Forager cashew milk yogurt

Lunch: Nom Nom Paleo's Asian Chicken Thighs + mashed potatoes with ghee

Dinner: Mashed cauliflower with meatballs and tomato sauce

Feeling better. Went to bed very early last night and felt good today. The unrest happening all over the country is a bit overwhelming. I had to take some breaks today to pray and meditate and just hang on to myself. Took a cue from Melissa's email blast and made a donation to a justice-oriented non-profit at the end of the day. We will make it through this.

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Food journal from 6/3/20:

Breakfast: ....the morning got away from me! I ended up skipping breakfast. No bueno.

Lunch: 1/2 sweet potato with steamed broccoli + ground beef + Garlic Everything Sauce

Snack: 1/2 apple + almond butter

Dinner: Mashed cauliflower with roasted chicken and sauteed kale

Felt good this morning. Woke up before the alarm. Also, it could just be my imagination, but I feel like my knee pain is beginning to dissipate a bit. I really hope so, because I'm ready to have it back! My older brother, who lives on the other side of the country, is also a Whole 30 alumnus. I've convinced him to join me for his own Whole 30, starting Monday 6/8/20. I'm excited to compare notes and share the experience with him. I'll stay with him to make my experience at least 40 days long.

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Food journal from 6/4/20:

Breakfast: diced sweet potato, steamed broccoli, roast chicken with chipotle mayonnaise

Lunch: spaghetti squash with meatballs and pasta sauce

Snack: Spindrift with 1/2 apple and almond butter

Dinner: mashed cauliflower with meatballs and pasta sauce

Whew, this has been a stressful day. My company is re-structuring and we are getting into All the Complicated Conversations with staff members. Tomorrow will be even worse. I'm thankful for the structure of the W30 right now. The complexities presented by Covid seem endless. What a difficult time in this nation.

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Food journal for 6/5/20:

Breakfast: 2 eggs + spinach + ground turkey

Lunch: diced sweet potato and white potato + broccoli + ground turkey with Garlic Everything sauce

Snack: ~3 oz cashewmilk "yogurt"; 3-4 pieces "Crunchies" fruit snacks. The Crunchies are probably not a good idea even though they are literally just freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, and bananas with no additives. They taste quite sweet after a few days away from my packaged cookies. I have not eaten many crunchy foods this week, and I miss them. The crunch, man. We homo sapiens really love the crunch.

Dinner: butternut squash apple soup + ground turkey; ~5 oz kombucha; 3 slices granny smith apple + almond butter

I have been noticing myself running out of gas very abruptly during the day.... going from "fine" to "extremely hungry" in a very short span of time. I think I need to eat more fat.

Sugar cravings have been pretty vivid today. Am I catching the scent of a forthcoming Forbidden Dessert Dream on the horizon? I remember previous W30s — halfway through, I'd start to get the most vivid dreams about surreptitiously chowing down on piles of luscious frosted donuts. (Sidebar to my unconscious mind: I really don't like donuts. Not even when I'm awake. Choose better.) Sugar has been a loyal comfort food and refuge for me for so long. It's always the part of a Whole 30 that is the hardest to live without. Sugar also does not "promote a healthy psychological response" in me, at least not in the vast quantities I've consumed at various points in my life. I have spent much of my adult life trying to find "food freedom" and am still on that journey. I actually feel so much safer right now simply knowing I am not interacting with sugar right now. Sigh.

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15 hours ago, Contessa said:

Sugar has been a loyal comfort food and refuge for me for so long. It's always the part of a Whole 30 that is the hardest to live without. Sugar also does not "promote a healthy psychological response" in me

Oh, yes.  Sugar is not even like cocaine for me, it's more like LSD, or an out-of-body experience.  It takes me on a wonderful, glorious high with no awareness whatsoever of what I'm doing.  I wake up and realize, OMG I've eaten an entire package of Fig Newtons, 2 handfuls of Twizzlers, and all of the pudding.  And then I crash.  I like your phrase, "...not interacting with sugar right now."  Like it's a toxic co-worker.  That's a really good visual.  

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3 hours ago, MadyVanilla said:

 It takes me on a wonderful, glorious high with no awareness whatsoever of what I'm doing.

Completely this. A colorful, neatly packaged escape hatch from life.

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Food journal for 6/6/20:

Breakfast: Spaghetti squash + spaghetti sauce + ground turkey + fried egg on top! Look out people! Also ~2 oz of an apple/carrot/beet/ginger baby food pouch

Lunch: Mashed potatoes + kale sauteed in olive oil + roast chicken + Garlic Everything sauce, with ~4 oz kombucha

Dinner: roast chicken + sweet potato tater tots + roasted brussel sprouts with Garlic Everything sauce

I felt like a bus hit me this morning. Since I'm on day 7, this seems to be a predictable part of the cycle. Glad it was Saturday so I could just lay low.

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Food journal for 6/7/20:

Breakfast: ground turkey + butternut squash apple soup

Lunch: Purple smoothie with beets, blueberries, spinach, cashewmilk, etc. I needed something quick and COLD as I was dashing out the door to a protest. Protesting in Georgia in June is the real deal.

Dinner: collard greens + mashed potatoes + roast chicken + steamed broccoli with Garlic Everything sauce; sweet potato tater tots

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Food journal for 6/8/20:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs + kale + 1 piece bacon; black coffee. I really can't remember the last time I consumed black coffee. I neither loved nor hated it. Pre-Whole30 coffee for me was not a daily experience, but when I had it, it was a big, sumptuous affair with lots of frothed milk and sugar. Black coffee is a different animal entirely.

Lunch: Power-eating in the precious, 6-minute window between meetings about my company re-org. Broccoli, spaghetti squash, sweet potato, roasted chicken + Garlic Everything sauce. A splash of cashewmilk yogurt.

Dinner: Refrigerator clean-out: Butternut squash apple soup with ground turkey and shredded chicken. 1/3 apple + almond butter.

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I've adopted Melissa Urban's Food Freedom Forever book as a companion to this Whole 30. Although I bought it when it first came out, it stayed on the shelf for a couple of years... until now. (I can't tell you how many times this has happened in my life... I feel irresistibly drawn to purchase a book, but then put it on the shelf when it arrives, only to find myself extremely ready for it two or ten years later.) I'm really enjoying the book. Adopting a growth mindset, using mantras, and using positive language around food are some of the tools Melissa unpacks for the Post-Whole30 eater who wants to develop a long-term success strategy.

This section on the language of food really spoke to me:

Food freedom catalyzes you to change your relationship with food. It also requires you to take an honest look at one more aspect of your life-changing transformation: your vocabulary.

Negative self-talk is one of the fastest ways of destroying self-esteem, sabotaging your goals, and upsetting your mood and emotion....

Insulting yourself for your choices—any choices— is perhaps the most harmful behavior of all. You aren't a mess, a disaster, or a train wreck. You aren't hopeless, worthless, or pathetic. You are a committed, motivated, healthy person working hard to change your relationship with your food, grappling with strong emotional ties and the pull of long-standing habits. You are so much more than the results of your struggles.   [emphasis mine]

I really loved this section. When it comes to food, some of us are dealing with powerful old messages. Food touches on so many aspects of our identity. The families we grew up in, the relationships our caregivers had to their own food and their own bodies, our own self-image, our dreams about the future. Perhaps we'd all benefit from giving ourselves a tiny bit of credit for the effort we are putting in just by being here and by bringing more consciousness to our relationships with food.

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Food journal for 6/9/20:

Aaaaaaaand the forbidden food dreams have begun. Last night I dreamed that I carelessly took a bite of a peanut butter cup. As the sweet chocolate began to melt in my mouth, I realized I was eating something I shouldn't. Then I faced a dream dilemma: keep eating it, or spit it out? I regretfully spat it out. Ha. I think some forbidden sourdough bread also showed up in some improbable circumstance in my dreams. Can't wait to see how else my wacky brain is going to tempt me.

Breakfast: Spaghetti squash + tomato sauce + ground turkey and garlic

Lunch: Sweet potato + broccoli + chicken sausage + spinach with Garlic Everything sauce

Dinner: I needed a break tonight from cooking. I was really excited about stopping at Whole Foods to pick up food from the buffet, which has recently re-opened. I can usually do well at the Whole Foods buffet, and they do an admirable job of labeling all ingredients. Alas, the buffet isn't self-serve yet. A gloved, masked, robed employee has to prepare your container of food. I felt like I was timidly requesting a chicken breast from a surgeon. So, yeah. Chicken fingers, fries, compliant ketchup. Not a nutritional powerhouse of a night, but that's okay.

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Food journal for 6/10/20:

Breakfast: Spaghetti squash + roasted brussels sprouts + chopped chicken + every conceivable kind of sauce. I added three kinds of sauces to this.

Lunch: Spaghetti squash + roasted brussels sprouts + ground turkey + steamed broccoli + all the sauce, small glass of cashewmilk yogurt

Dinner: Sweet potato + sauteed kale + chopped chicken + sauceapalooza

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Food Freedom Forever has been a great companion to this Whole 30. It is making me reflect on previous Whole 30s. The first time I did a Whole 30, I found these bizarro "sprouted cookies" at a Whole Foods. They were little date and sesame seed cracker things. They were not very good, but they were somewhat sweet, and when I dunked them in almond butter, they became palatable.

These cookies became a real substitute dessert for me and I ate them with abandon. I think I did this during every Whole 30 I've completed. Melissa talks a lot about honoring the spirit of the program and not just the letter. Although these sprouted cookies were technically permitted, they were very much counter to the spirit of the program.

Fun sidebar: the store where I bought those cookies has since closed. I don't even know where to buy them anymore. I think I'm having a better Whole 30 without them.

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Speaking of cookies, because my boyfriend has been having a hard time lately, I decided to bake him some cookies today. Not the gross date and sesame kind, but real chocolate chip cookies with real butter and real chocolate. My baking adventure did not involve any surreptitious dough-sampling or crumb-nibbling. I baked six cookies for him, bagged them, and then froze the rest of the dough for some future bake-a-thon.

Food Freedom Forever contains some serious reflections on "treats." It's making me think hard about deliberately crafting a personal Philosophy of Treats. My previous, unspoken Philosophy of Treats was basically... All Treats, All the Time. Going forward, I may add a treat-planning session to my weekly meal planning session. I don't know why this thought has never occurred to me. I like treats, but I don't want to start eating treats every day. Why not plan them out?

Maybe I have a tough meeting on Wednesday, and I want to start the day with a latte. Boom, there's a treat. Then, maybe Friday night's dinner party is being hosted by a great cook. Lasagna and a glass of wine becomes a treat. Perhaps I go out with the aforementioned boyfriend for bubble tea on Sunday afternoon. That's a solid week.

What makes a treat not a treat is when I eat them all the time. That's when a treat becomes "Oh, Okay, So We're Just Eating Chips Ahoy for Lunch Now, I Guess? This Is What We're Doing?" I don't want to go back to that place. It's a surefire way to kill the joy of treats.

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14 hours ago, Contessa said:

I baked six cookies for him, bagged them, and then froze the rest of the dough for some future bake-a-thon.

This is Expert-level right here.  


The Philosophy of Treats...deliberate treats...special...there is wisdom here.  This is a good focus.  I look forward to getting to this part of Food Freedom Forever.  

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Food journal for 6/11/20:

Breakfast: Spaghetti squash + shredded chicken + brussels sprouts + sauce + 1 egg

Lunch: Mashed potatoes + ground turkey + sauteed spinach + sauce; one baby food pouch of apple, sweet potato, coconut milk, blueberry, etc.

Dinner: Sauteed shrimp + cauliflower rice + steamed broccoli + sauce with cashewmilk yogurt

Today was a very frustrating day at work, and the first time in this W30 that I have felt like face-planting riiiiiiight into a bucket of ice cream. I am not sure what I would have done today if it weren't for this reset.

Doing a W30 is easy for me when everything is jazzy, and when I am able to prepare all my food myself, but it gets a lot harder when my mood is in the basement, or I'm traveling (I haven't yet found a way to stay compliant when I'm on the road for work). Today is a good test. I think I will try journaling away my irritation and see if that helps.

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