October 2021 - Round 1 - FIGHT! *cue Mortal Kombat theme*


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This is actually R1D2 for me, so here's a quick recap of yesterday:

10/1/21

1st: veggie frittata w/strawberries & blueberries

2nd: tuna salad w/cucumber and strawberries & blueberries

3rd: veggie frittata (Mexican spiced) and cauliflower mash

It was a weird day. I had prepped breakfast and lunch the day before while I was off work, feeling super proud of myself. Then I remembered that I work in a really small building with someone who actively dislikes seafood. I'm not used to eating lunch anyway, so I waited until I got home. I was/am recovering from my 3rd Pfizer shot, so I was double-not-hungry. My husband wanted the frittata I had planned for later in the week for dinner, so I obliged him. Truthfully, nothing seemed appetizing so I didn't really care. We were both tired so we went to bed early.

 

Some backstory for anyone interested, copied and pasted almost verbatim from my Reddit r/whole30 post:

I've been a pescatarian for years for health reasons. I have terrible GI distress and pain if I eat red meat or pork. I stopped eating chicken when I became a vegetarian in 2009 and never went back to eating poultry because it started smelling gross after I hadn't eaten it for a while. I can't handle a lot of dairy. Greek yogurt, cheese, and whey isolate protein powder (99% of the lactose is removed) don't seem to cause problems, but I'm aware that I might just not realize it.

For the past several years, I've slowly started to notice a connection between eating carbs (mostly sugar and wheat) and a long list of symptoms: swelling/puffiness, fatigue, insane cravings, anxiety, depression, GI distress, bloating, joint pain, and more. I had to stop consuming artificial sweeteners because they gave me a lot of the same symptoms. I tried keto briefly a few years ago, but found it much too restrictive in regards to fruit and vegetables and too reliant on meat and dairy. For the brief periods I was able to comply, I felt a lot better. Full disclosure: I have depression, anxiety, PTSD, and PMDD, and I'm hoping that cutting out problem foods and additives can make all this more manageable.

My Whole30 goals are to reset my relationship to food, break my food addictions, and find out once and for all what exactly is causing my weird symptoms. I'm prepared to extend it if it takes longer than that for me to heal my relationship to food. I'm really anxious about the whole thing. My main concern is getting burnt out on seafood and eggs, since those are my only forms of protein. I've also been doing different forms of intermittent fasting for a long time, and I'm not looking forward to forcing myself to eat 3 meals a day. Part of me is terrified I'm going to gain a ton of weight from doing that, since I've been hovering just below an overweight BMI since the pandemic started.

I'm also strangely nervous and resentful about the likelihood that my diet will look A LOT different after Whole30. I feel like it's a testament to the addictiveness of processed food that I'm hesitant to give up things that are actively harming me. I know that no one is forcing me to give up anything forever, but if I find out wheat or refined sugar (or heaven forbid, CHEESE!) is causing my mental health to spiral out of control, it's off the menu permanently. I can't justify jeopardizing my mental health for pizza or Halloween candy any more than I can justify spending a day hunched over in pain on the toilet because I wanted venison chili or a roast beef sandwich. Luckily, I have an extremely supportive husband and my friends are very understanding.

 

 

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R1D2

1st: veggie frittata w/strawberries & blueberries

2nd: tuna salad w/cucumber and strawberries & blueberries

3rd: spaghetti squash w/red sauce & scallops, romaine salad with ranch and avocado

 

I woke up with horrible allergies, and just kind of laid around all day. The tomato sauce from the Whole30 book is GOOD. Definitely going in the rotation. I'm going to have to experiment more with the ranch recipe. I don't know if I accidentally added too much vinegar or if I just need to add less than the recipe calls for, but it's VERY tangy/acidic. The avocados definitely helped balance it out.

Unforeseen side effect: my stomach/intestines are sooo quiet. For as long as I can remember, my intestines rumble, gurgle, and make all sorts of loud and crazy noises in the hours after I eat. It doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable, but it can be embarrassing. My husband and I often laugh about it as we're going to sleep at night. Well, the first day I noticed it seemed quieter than usual, but chalked it up to not eating several hours before bed. The second day, however, I realized that it's just not as noisy. It'll be interesting to see what food is causing this during reintroduction.

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R1D3

1st: 2 no-fuss salmon patties topped with ranch and avocado, strawberries & blueberries, a little leftover spaghetti squash w/red sauce

2nd: 2 boiled eggs, carrots dipped in ranch

3rd: salmon w/roasted red pepper mayo, roasted sweet potatoes, green cabbage slaw

 

I was shocked to see that I woke up at 7am naturally, even though it was a Sunday. I felt fairly good all day, but somewhat less energetic than normal. Allergies were super mild.

The salmon patties are really good. Gavin (my husband) likes them, too. I think I'm going to tinker with the spices a bit in future batches, because I think they could be awesome. The roasted red pepper sauce and roasted red pepper mayo are BOMB, A+, amazing. The version of green cabbage slaw with oil was a D- at best. Definitely making it with mayo next time. The ranch I had on my carrots with lunch didn't seem as acidic. Maybe it just needed to sit in the fridge for a day or two? Or maybe I didn't stir it enough last time.

Belly continues to use its inside voice, and I am very appreciative.

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R1D4

1st: 3 boiled eggs with leftover sweet potatoes, 1/2 avocado, and roasted red pepper sauce, with some strawberries & blueberries

2nd: OOPS, skipped it :(

3rd: salmon with broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms topped with roasted red pepper sauce

 

It was a little harder to get up this morning, but it's Monday, sooo... :P

I finally had a Whole30 dream! I was making a recipe and sprayed a pan with olive oil, only to remember after I had eaten that the olive oil spray I used to buy says "contains soy" on the label. I WAS SO MAD! Thank goodness it was just a dream. Now I want to get one of those refillable olive oil misters. It's so handy to be able to spray pans or veggies, and I miss it! Also, why is soy in everything?! I found a can of tuna in my cabinet that said it contained soy. So strange.

This morning I could tell a difference in the swelling and pain from an injury to my left middle finger last August. I really, REALLY hope eliminating some foods can help make a lasting change. On "good" days I barely notice it, but on bad days (like after a carb-fest), it's pretty painful to do anything with it. 

 

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19 hours ago, MadyVanilla said:

It sounds like things are going well!  The waking up naturally is a perk I get, too, and so love being able to just wake up and start the day.  

Yes! Sleep is very important to my mental health. I normally need a LOT of it to feel normal, and even then it takes me a while to get going. Looking forward to feeling less foggy in the mornings!

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R1D5

1st: 3 boiled eggs with leftover sweet potatoes, 1/2 avocado, and roasted red pepper sauce, with some strawberries & blueberries

2nd: 2 salmon patties with roasted red pepper mayo, baked sweet potato, celery w/ranch

3rd: shrimp, spaghetti squash, marinara sauce, zucchini, onions

 

Work was slow yesterday, so I had time to eat lunch a little before noon. I wasn't "hungry-hungry," but felt like I could eat. One of the best things about eating like this is that I don't feel bloated and sluggish after I eat.

My injured finger is doing even better. I drive with my left hand a lot, usually at the 7 or 8 o'clock position on my steering wheel, with my palm facing up. After just a short time I usually have to lift that finger up so it's not in contact with the wheel or sitting between my index and middle finger, because it feels like it's being forced into an unnatural position (even though it's definitely not). I didn't have to do that at ALL on my drive to work!

These dreams are killing me, y'all. This one wasn't Whole30 related, it was about cybernetically enhanced, highly intelligent velociraptors from space taking over the planet. But it was so vivid. These dreams remind me of when I would go on a new mental health med, or increased the dosage. I kind of wonder if it has something to do with having a ton of serotonin receptors in our digestive tracts.  

I got blindsided by a pretty wicked sugar craving after dinner, but I needed to run a quick errand and it was gone by the time I got back home. I had some bedtime tea and later, some bone broth. I'm still on the fence about that. It's a lot different from regular broth. Gonna be an acquired taste, I think. 

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R1D6

1st: salmon patty in an egg wrap w/roasted red pepper mayo, baked sweet potato, celery w/ranch

2nd: skipped because I was having a VERY early dinner/ late lunch with my husband and our friend

3rd: baked salmon, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, roasted squash, and baked peaches with cinnamon

snack: carrots and ranch

 

It was a good day. I was off work so I went grocery shopping and did some meal prep. It's nice to be able to interchange breakfast and lunch when the mood strikes me. The egg wraps turned out great thanks to my Misto olive oil sprayer. I really missed being able to spray pans! Now I have some small, easy, portable lunches for work. I also made ghee for the first time and it was pretty easy? I've still got plenty of the stuff I bought from Kroger, but I'm excited to try out my diy batch.

Our friend was craving salmon and stuffing, so I baked this huge slab of fish she brought over from Sam's Club with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and chili powder. It was sooo good. I wasn't really tempted by the stuffing- I usually only eat it if it's been properly baked, and this was just stovetop. She loves it though. She brought over a big bag of cheddar and sour cream chips for her and my husband, and they did look good. However, it was pretty easy to overlook them when I reminded myself of how well I've been doing.

I bought peaches on a whim at the grocery store with the original intent of grilling them, but since we already had the oven going I just popped them in there with some cinnamon. SO GOOD. It was like a flavor explosion. Those peaches seemed like the best thing I'd tasted in literally months. I probably ate more than I should and I'm definitely going to be thinking about whether or not to include them in future Whole30 rounds. On the other hand... it's just peaches. C'mon. I wasn't having cravings for any other kind of sugary thing, either. Also, I was probably a little dehydrated. Sometimes that happens when I'm busy and not drinking as much as I should.

Many hours later, probably around 8pm, I did start feeling hungry. I did the test to see if I would eat something on plan and not sweet, and settled on carrots with ranch. And I felt good and satisfied afterward.

I have PMDD, which is like PMS on steroids. Nobody really knows what causes it, except it seems to be hereditary. It's not a hormone imbalance, nor is it a strictly psychological condition. I've struggled with it since I was 13, and I'm now 35. It's definitely gotten worse as I've gotten older. I'm really hoping Whole30 will shed some light on how certain foods affect it so I can get some relief.

The luteal phase, or cycle days 14-28(ish), are when PMDD rears its head. It's CD21 today, which is the beginning of PMDD Danger Zone. One of my biggest problems during this time is sugar/carb cravings and hunger. I did eat a little more than I should, but it was on protein and veggies and fruit, and it didn't feel...compulsive. I liked how "in control" I felt.

Another frustrating symptom is water retention. My hands have been a little puffier today and yesterday, but still probably 80% less puffy than before Whole30. That might also be dehydration, though.

I think my allergies might be improving, but my seasonal allergies are awful this time of year so it's hard to say with any certainty.

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R1D7

1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, blackberries & blueberries

2nd: OOPS, skipped again

3rd: salmon patty and egg wrap (that was supposed to be lunch), leftover squash, broccoli, and cauliflower

snack: carrots and ranch

 

Very busy day, but still pretty good. Breakfast was excellent. That one is definitely going in the rotation, probably with smaller portions. Gavin grabbed dinner on his way home, so I just had lunch and leftovers when I got there. I had some carrots and ranch while we watched Netflix. After Gavin went to bed, I made another batch of Whole30 mayo and ranch. I was very careful with the vinegar this time, but it still came out a bit too strong. I will continue to tinker with it.

I think my anxiety and mood are improving. My current job is 100% less stressful than any other job I've ever had, but it still has tense moments and bad days. However, I'm finding it a lot easier to stay calm in the face of stress. This is incredibly important to me.

I find it funny that I went into this terrified that I would never be able to "eat normally" again. At the time I would have defined "eat normally" as eating at restaurants on a whim, eating sweets and treats without a second thought, trying new foods without grilling people about their ingredients, and so on. But I wasn't being honest with myself. I haven't been able to "eat normally" in probably a decade or more. I already have to be picky about restaurants, because while most of them have a vegetarian or pescatarian option, the vast majority are "meh" at best and not really worth the price tag. I go through phases where I count calories diligently (and am always successful at losing weight that way), so even when I'm not being super strict I'm always stressing and wondering about the calorie counts in things, and whether they're putting me over my target. And the first thing I always ask people when they offer me food is, "does this have meat in it?"

Before Whole30, I wouldn't have called myself a sugar addict, because I think of sugar as candy, cookies, soda, Starbucks drinks, and the like, which I can easily do without. But this is America, and there is sugar in EVERYTHING. There's finally a little space between me and my "sugar dragon" and I can see the power it had over me. I've been reading about abstainers vs moderators when it comes to certain addictions, and I believe I'm an abstainer. It's so much easier for me to just not start eating certain things, because once I start, I won't stop. I've always marvelled at people who can eat one or two cookies and be satisfied. I'm the type that will eat ALL the cookies and still not feel satisfied, plus I'll feel gross and guilty and ashamed on top of it.

People can be really weird about what others eat, and that's one of the silver linings of COVID isolation. I'm not looking forward to explaining to people that I can't eat certain foods anymore. I once had an office manager who had a huge number of food sensitivities and everyone talked about her terribly, like she was making it up for attention (she wasn't). Then again, I have an acquaintance whom I have never seen eat because he's so limited due to his sensitivities, and everyone is very understanding and supportive. People have been mostly supportive of my pescetarianism, but I suspect it's because it's just normal enough that they don't have to question their own choices.

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R1D8

1st: tuna salad with cucumber slices and a little ranch

2nd: salmon patty and avocado in an egg wrap

3rd: fried salmon patties w/avocado & tomato, baked sweet potatoes, baked peaches with cinnamon

 

Last night I dreamed I ate an ENTIRE COOKIE CAKE. I was so mad afterwards when I realized I was going to have to start over. It took me a while after I woke up to realize that it was just a dream. The last time I had cookie cake was on my birthday in June, and even then my sugar-addicted self didn't eat the whole thing. I felt physically awful for probably a week while my husband and I were finishing it off. Sugar hangovers might actually be worse than alcohol hangovers for me. YUCK.

I made a different salmon patty recipe for dinner. This one had cumin, paprika, onion powder, oregano, and was fried. It was really good! Next time I'm going to make that recipe and bake the patties, because frying stuff in a pan requires more attention and I like to be lazy whenever possible.

Definitely had some pretty strong cravings around and after dinner. Not for one specific thing, but lots of stuff, like cheese, regular french fries, CHOCOLATE, (non-dairy) ice cream, and so on. I waited them out and they mostly dissipated. I'm going to blame that on sugar addiction and PMDD being in full swing. I do feel like I'm hungrier and have a bigger appetite on PMDD, the problem is that I normally only want junk food. Whole30 saves the day again!

Interestingly, my digestion was gurgling the loudest it has since I started this adventure right before bed. I don't know if it's just a fluke, the sweet potatoes and peaches, or PMDD. More data is needed. Still not as loud as it used to be.

 

Thinking ahead here, but I've been looking at the reintroduction stuff lately. I don't eat a ton of legumes, I guess with the exception of hummus, occasionally a black bean burger, and sometimes lentil soup or vegetarian chili. Going forward I'd be kind of bummed to have to limit lentils, because they've got so much protein per serving. I can't imagine the legume group (except peanuts) causing me cravings. It would be nice to have one or two meatless dinners a week, though.

Non-gluten grains aren't that big of a deal either, with the exception of rice. I do like quinoa, but I could live without it. I don't even really like corn. I'm definitely going to try and reintroduce rice and quinoa, but going forward I don't think I'll eat them that much.

The only dairy I eat is cheese, Greek yogurt, and whey isolate protein powder, so that reintroduction will be super simple. I'll definitely be limiting my cheese consumption, because I don't feel like it contributes much and it's pretty addictive and easy to overdo.

Gluten is downright scary to me right now, as is sugar. I'll probably make my own bread for that reintroduction so I'll know exactly what's in it.

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R1D9

1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, blackberries and blueberries

2nd: salmon patty in an egg wrap with avocado, carrots and ranch, plus an extra salmon patty

3rd: leftover baked salmon, broccoli, and cauliflower with a big spinach salad topped with cherry tomatoes and ranch

Snack: blackberries and blueberries

 

So there is definitely a hunger component to my PMDD, not just cravings. My husband ate fried jalapeno poppers in front of me today and I didn't even want one. I did want chocolate though. I took a nap, and that really helped. It's day 24, and things usually start getting really ugly around this time. I'm thankful to be feeling fairly normal, if a little fatigued and hungry.

My belly seems to be quiet again, so I'm wondering if carby/starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and winter squash contribute to it. I may try several days without them and see what happens. I'm relatively sure they're not making me depressed, anxious, or giving me cravings. It might just be a fluke.

I stopped taking all my vitamins and supplements when I started Whole30. The only thing I take now is 200mg L-theanine once or twice a day for anxiety. I've been taking gummy vitamins for a long time and had noticed how even that little bit of sweetness made me crave MORE in a big way. I also had been taking magnesium, potassium, and B-complex for various PMDD symptoms. I might reassess their effectiveness after the 30 days are up, but right now I'm not missing them.

 

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R1D10

1st: egg salad, blackberries and blueberries, 1/2 salmon patty

2nd: tuna salad, cucumbers, ranch

3rd: shrimp, zoodles, tomato sauce, broccoli

 

It's been a pretty good day. Got some meal prep done for next week and purposely didn't buy any fruit. I'm going to see how I do without it.

I can't believe I'm 1/3 of the way through! This is starting to feel- dare I say- sustainable?

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R1D11

1st: egg salad, blackberries and blueberries, 1/2 salmon patty

2nd: salmon patty in an egg wrap

3rd: garlic shrimp asparagus mushroom skillet, celery and ranch, blueberries

 

I exercised for the first time since starting the Whole30 today, and it felt great! For a really long time I've had trouble with lunges. My knees will start to sort of burn after a few, and will be stiff, tight, and sore the next day. I've been subbing step-ups in my workouts this year because they don't cause this problem. Well today, I did lunges with ZERO PROBLEMS. I've noticed that my knees have been popping less when I get up and down, but I didn't realize that the issue was inflammation this whole time. It's wild.

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R1D12

1st: boiled eggs, avocado, smoked salmon, celery and carrots with ranch

2nd: salmon patty in egg wrap X2 (one had avocado), celery with ranch

3rd: 2 swai fillets, blistered cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes cooked in ghee

 

Oh my glob the HUNGER. 

My workout this morning wiped me out. Thankfully work was slow and I got to go home after a couple of hours. I crashed on the couch and went into a coma for about 2.5-3 hours. My older dog was very happy about it.

I ate the salmon patty wrap I brought to work on my way home, and ate the spare one I had in the fridge when I got here, along with some celery and ranch. Dinner was excellent, although I probably used too much ghee in the potatoes. 

I'm trying very hard not to beat myself up about eating so much today. It's cycle day 27, so hopefully I'll have some relief soon. It's still amazing and comforting to know that my bottomless PMDD pit isn't ACTUALLY bottomless if I eat actual food. After that dinner, I am DONE.

I did have a lot of cravings today, for everything unhealthy under the sun. According to the timeline, days 10 and 11 are the hardest, but maybe mine was today.

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R1D13

1st: boiled eggs, avocado, smoked salmon, celery and carrots with ranch

2nd: halibut and steamed broccoli

3rd; tuna steaks with roasted bell peppers, onion, cauliflower rice, and a little avocado (fajitas!)

 

PMDD IS OVER! Despite the fatigue and cravings, I think this is the easiest bout of PMDD I've ever had, since roughly age 13. No rage. No depression. No panic, anxiety, paranoia, self-harm urges, etc. I think my appetite is back to normal. I'm interested to see if this is a permanent change.

I took a break from exercising, but got a ton of stuff done around the house with my surge of energy. Did some meal prep, had a friend over, and made a really delicious dinner. My friend told me she had noticed by the end of the first week that my hips were looking noticeably slimmer. For once in my life I can't wait to get on the scale and see how much water weight I've lost. It might not be a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like sooo much.

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R1D14

1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, celery and carrots with ranch

post workout: swai fillet with a few cherry tomatoes

2nd: salmon patty in egg wrap

3rd: cod with bruschetta and balsamic reduction, zoodles

 

First time making a balsamic reduction, and it turned out really good! It was also my first day doing a post workout "meal." I think I'll keep doing that on days I exercise. It's probably not much different in calories than the protein shakes I used to make. I got a personal best on pushups, so I must be doing something right.

I've decided to extend this Whole30 until after my next bout of PMDD is over, which should be around November 10th. My reasoning is that I don't want to do reintroduction while I'm not feeling my best, because I might miss symptoms. It's easy to overlook anxiety, brain fog, or fatigue when you're already feeling like that.

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R1D15

1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, celery and carrots with ranch

post workout: swai fillet with a few cherry tomatoes

2nd: salmon patty in egg wrap

3rd: cod with bruschetta and balsamic reduction, avocado, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers with ranch

 

it was a pretty busy and stressful day at work, but I've had a relaxing evening crocheting with the dogs nearby. So glad it's the weekend!

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R1D16

1st: veggie frittata with avocado

Post workout: 2 salmon patties with mayo

2nd: 2 cans of tuna with tomato sauce (aka "Italian tuna salad" according to Gavin lol)

3rd: pecan crusted salmon with zucchini and mushrooms

 

I've broken my pushup record for 3 days in a row! This is huge for me, as I've always felt lacking in upper body strength.

Tonight after dinner, Gavin said he might do my next round with me. Joke's on him, because I'm probably not ever stopping.

 

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R1D17

1st: veggie frittata with avocado

2nd: 2 salmon patties with mayo, small piece of leftover pecan crusted salmon

3rd: blackened cod with cucumber avocado salsa, sauteed peppers and onions

 

I really love having a satiety signal. I used to think mine was just broken, but turns out it actually works for fat and protein. Even though that pecan crusted salmon was sooo good, there was a point where I HAD to stop. And it was just as good at lunch today. :)

I was in kind of a weird mood all day. Felt restless and vaguely anxious. I did some cardio and meal prep, and then relaxed most of the rest of the day. We got the good news that we're going to be able to see my in-laws this Thanksgiving (that's not sarcasm, I love them dearly).

Really looking forward to being able to track my nutrition again. I'd like to know how I'm doing not just on calories and macros, but also calcium, magnesium, etc. It's going to be so much easier to track without worrying about my carb addiction throwing everything out of whack.  

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R1D18

 

1st: veggie frittata with avocado cucumber salsa

2nd: salmon patty in egg wrap

3rd: shrimp curry with cauliflower rice

 

My stomach felt a little off this morning, but I'm not sure if it was leftover from anxiety yesterday or muscle soreness from exercise. 

Speaking of which, I'm definitely keeping Sundays as rest days. Today's workout kicked my butt. Next time I feel weird and restless I'll go for a walk.

When I made dinner this evening, I made 2 bags of cauliflower rice because one just didn't look like enough for both of us. I ended up being too full to eat about half of mine, haha. 

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R1D19

1st: tuna and egg salad, celery and cucumbers with ranch

2nd: skipped 

3rd: salmon with leftover curry cauliflower rice and peppers topped with toasted pecans

Snack: salmon patty with mayo

 

Allow me to recount the tale of the decaf hazelnut coffee. Sunday, Gavin went to the store to get something, and I asked him to pick up some decaf. This hazelnut flavored stuff was on sale, so he got it. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it's okay.

Of course the first thing I did was look on here to see if I could actually have flavored coffee grounds. Apparently it's compliant, but not exactly encouraged. I figured what the heck, I've drank flavored coffee frequently forever.

Friends, I was mistaken.

I had some Sunday night, Monday morning, and a little bit Monday night (remember it's decaf). Woof. Nausea, diarrhea, weird loud intestinal noises, and general yucky feeling since Sunday night. I know too much caffeine can do all that, but two of the three times I had it were decaf, and Monday morning it was mixed with half regular coffee.

I'm really bummed out about this development. Gavin suggested I stay away from it for several days and then try a different flavored coffee in hopes it's just the hazelnut flavor that bothers me. Ugh. 

Coffee trouble aside, I've been doing well. Glad to have tomorrow off to rest.

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R1D20

1st: tuna and egg salad, celery and cucumbers with ranch

2nd: salmon patty in egg wrap with mayo and avocado

3rd: blackened salmon with mango salsa and steamed broccoli

 

Had my first therapy appointment since I started this adventure. She said she was very proud of me and super excited about my mental (and physical) health improvement.

I also had a realization that it might not be the hazelnut coffee causing me GI issues...it might be bell peppers. More research is needed. I really hope it's not bell peppers though.

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