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


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1st: tuna and egg salad, celery and cucumbers

2nd: oops, skipped

3rd: fish almondine with roasted brussel sprouts and balsamic vinegar

Snack: salmon patties

Felt much more energetic today. I've decided to go back to lifting weights instead of doing workout videos. I've asked A LOT of my body the last few weeks, and I feel like doing the same workout 5 days a week was running me down. 

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1st: scrambled eggs with leftover brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes

2nd: salmon patties with avocado and mayo

3rd: coconut shrimp, cauliflower rice, steamed broccoli w/sliced almonds


Had a lovely day with the fam (Gavin and the dogs) hanging out on the couch and then doing meal prep. Had 2 batches of mayo fail and I can't figure out why. The only difference is that I used olive oil from Kroger instead of Aldi. It's a real puzzle.

The coconut shrimp was messy to make, but REALLY hit the spot. I might consider using skewers like the recipe suggested next time, to make them easier to turn.

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

2nd: forgot to grab lunch

3rd: buffalo shrimp with spaghetti squash, salmon patties with avocado


So apparently Kroger brand olive oil doesn't work in Whole30 mayo. Got some from Aldi on my way home and it worked like a charm.

Feeling like superwoman today, but it's that time in my cycle. I'm using it to my advantage to get some heavy home improvement projects done. Thank goodness I'm off tomorrow so I can hopefully finish it.

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On 10/25/2021 at 5:40 AM, StefMonster said:

Had 2 batches of mayo fail and I can't figure out why. The only difference is that I used olive oil from Kroger instead of Aldi. It's a real puzzle.

Sometimes it really is a puzzle, but when it turns out right, it's so lovely!  I personally have more success with avocado oil than olive oil, but now based on your comment, I wonder if it's actually brand dependent.  The only advice I can offer is to make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.   Also, if the mayo doesn't turn out, add seasonings and turn it into a creamy salad dressing or a marinade.  

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3 hours ago, MadyVanilla said:

Sometimes it really is a puzzle, but when it turns out right, it's so lovely!  I personally have more success with avocado oil than olive oil, but now based on your comment, I wonder if it's actually brand dependent.  The only advice I can offer is to make sure all your ingredients are room temperature.   Also, if the mayo doesn't turn out, add seasonings and turn it into a creamy salad dressing or a marinade.  

Oh, I didn't think to use it as a dressing! Dang it! Next time, maybe.

Upon closer inspection of the two bottles, Aldi's just said "olive oil" while the Kroger brand was "extra virgin." I have no idea what difference that would make, but there it is.

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

2nd: spinach salad with tuna, avocado, ranch, and sliced almonds

3rd: tuna steaks with sauteed onions, peppers, tomato, avocado, and cilantro


Spent a good chunk of the day working on a project in the attic. It was super hard work, but worth it. I started to clean up after myself in the room I was working on, and the vacuum cleaner died, HA! I had already taken apart the dryer to get ready to replace the heating element, so I figured I might as well take apart the vacuum, too. Unfortunately it was beyond my power to save, and I had to go get another one. At least it had a good long life for a cheap vacuum (5 years).

I recently switched from doing workout videos back to actual weightlifting. I started with the very lightest weights I could, which is the empty 45lb barbell for most exercises. I'm happy to say that my ability to squat has improved greatly, and I can even drop into and sit comfortably in a deep squat now. I think I have so much less inflammation that it's positively impacted my flexibility.

While crawling and crouching in the attic, I discovered I've lost enough (water? inflammation? fat?) weight in my boobs that they don't do as good a job of holding my cell phone when I'm wearing a sports bra. I've never been busty, and once I started exercising regularly I was thankful I didn't have to buy expensive sports bras to be comfortable.  I'm really enjoying being able to fit more comfortably in some of my clothes. Sometimes I enjoy looking a little androgynous or tomboy-ish, and smaller boobs really help with that.

I've also noticed that the veins in my arms are becoming more visible, as well as muscles in general. I really wish I had measured my neck at the beginning of this adventure, because I know I've lost a noticeable amount there. It would be really interesting to know how much weight I've lost is fat vs water/inflammation. I remember thinking a week or 10 days ago that I didn't lose that much muscle after all- it was just covered up by puffiness. But now I'm getting definition in my upper body and I'm so pleased with myself. If I keep going like I'm going, I'll see my abs by Christmas.

Breaking this sugar and carb addiction has been like breaking into a new reality where anything is possible. It's exciting, but also scary. I started growing out my hair from an undercut/pixie cut a few years ago, and once it got long enough to put in a ponytail, I realized I didn't really like it. I kept saying I would cut it off again when I lost the weight I wanted to, but I never did and my hair just got longer. Even though I have no idea how much I weigh right now, I know I'm a heck of a lot closer to where I want to be than I was a month ago. The day in the future where I step on the scale and see my goal weight seems like a real event now, a very achievable and reasonable goal. I'm thinking about getting my hair cut before a Halloween party on Saturday. Not all chopped off like I'll eventually do, but a pretty drastic change. I have to think about it some more first.

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

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

3rd: baked salmon with herbed cauliflower rice and pine nuts


Work was less hectic than I expected on the day before vacation starts, so that was nice. I'm not as sore as I expected to be from the work in the attic yesterday, either. I am hungrier than I expected to be, though. I ate a huge salmon filet and a ton of cauliflower rice and that pretty much took care of it.

I'm planning on going back to counting calories and macros after my 30 days is up, and just not doing any reintroductions until PMDD is over on ~November 10th. I'm so curious as to how the numbers look. Obviously I'm going to try to get most of my calories from protein and fat, and if I do anything deliberately it'll probably be reducing my overall carbs as far as I can manage. I have a feeling that I've been in a calorie deficit a significant amount of the time, due to being super fatigued by 30 minutes of moderate/ intense exercise daily and dropping weight. I'm loving weightlifting, but I also want to know that I'm eating enough to sustain the effort needed, even if I am in a deficit.

Sometimes I feel silly saying that I have a carb addiction, because I've never been obese (barely even overweight at maybe 2 points in my life), diabetic, etc. Plus, Whole30 has shown me that I can have potatoes and other root vegetables and fruit in moderation. When I eat baked or roasted potatoes I don't get cravings for other carbs. When I eat fruit I don't get cravings for chocolate. Something about those carbs doesn't hit my reward system in the same way. There's half a mango and some pineapple sitting in my fridge right now, and I'll probably throw it out today because it's been there for a while. I haven't even thought about eating it.

However, a month ago I couldn't open the fridge without taking multiple spoons of almond butter (if I had it in the house), multiple bites of cheese, and I was having ice cream with chocolate chips and hard shell chocolate most nights, plus more dark chocolate if I wanted it. Graham crackers slathered in PB2 and honey, PB2 sandwiches with chocolate chips and honey, homemade cookies and bread, 3-4 buttermilk biscuits (like the big canned Pillsbury kind)  with jelly on the weekend plus sometimes during the week, too. I did some of it in secret. I tried for YEARS to cut back and always failed. The obsession and the cycle of feelings: anxiety, failure, self-hatred, fear. It was all so miserable. I'm so glad I did Whole30 for myself. It's restored so much trust in my body and mind. There's nothing wrong with me. The "food" they're selling us is addictive and harmful. 

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

2nd: spinach salad with canned tuna, avocado, ranch, and sliced almonds

3rd: salmon patties with roasted potatoes (oven fries) and California blend veggies


I got the haircut! I love it! Now I just have to figure out some ways to style it. I managed a braid that doesn't look half bad.

I can't believe I'm so close to the end.

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, cherry tomatoes, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

2nd: salmon patty, california blend veggies, spinach, scrambled eggs, hot sauce

3rd: skillet tilapia with cherry tomatoes


I was so scared to start Whole30 because you're not allowed to count calories, and I didn't like not having some idea of how many calories I was eating. I didn't trust myself to moderate my intake without the calorie number, because "carbage" had messed with my satiety signals for so long. I was so excited to be able to go back to counting calories with my new healthy relationship to food because I knew I'd be able to drop weight at exactly the pace I wanted to. But now, it's more about curiosity. How much HAVE I been eating while still losing weight/fat/inflammation and feeling like a superhero? What are my macros? What do my micronutrients look like? (I use Cronometer, which is like MyFitnessPal for nutrition nerds) When I decided to extend my Whole30 until my next cycle, I figured I'd probably resume calorie counting after the initial 30 days. However, there's one thing I've missed more than the data of logging my food...

Intermittent fasting.

I do NOT like eating in the mornings. Exercising with food in my stomach is super unpleasant, and I like to wait until at least an hour after I eat to exercise. I've enjoyed the foods I've eaten for "breakfast" over the past 30 days, and will probably continue to eat them, just later in the day. The nature of my work is such that sitting down to eat is kind of impossible, so I'm going to have to find some pretty fat- and protein-dense foods to bring. Eating around 1pm and 5pm would be pretty ideal for me, if I can manage it. Starting tomorrow I'm going to push my first meal back later every day.

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1st: boiled eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

2nd: leftover tilapia and tomatoes with scrambled eggs and hot sauce

3rd: baked salmon and cod, California blend veggies with ranch

4th (post-Halloween party at like 3am): 2 salmon patties and cherry tomatoes with ranch


The Halloween party went SO WELL. I desperately needed a night like that, seeing friends' faces, hugging people, dancing, socializing, getting dressed up...ahhh. Vaccination was required to get in, so I actually felt safe. My depression and anxiety did NOT show up to the party at any time, and my energy was high and consistent, even when we left at 2:30am. So many people commented on how different I seemed, and I told a few of them about Whole30. No one was rude or dismissive about it. There is no processed food, no "carbage," no fleeting taste or "high" worth lessening or jeopardizing this feeling. I feel so confident, so free, so...ME.

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OMAD: protein salad (tuna, boiled eggs, celery, carrots, mayo, chopped nuts, 1 avocado, ranch)

snack: 2 100-calorie packs of almonds and a bunch of salted cucumber


We had a little get-together with two friends that are my chosen family. It was an emotional time, because we're all going through some major life changes: some good (in mine and Gavin's case), some bad, some chaotic. I feel like it was good for all of us, though. Not once did I feel the need to suppress my emotions with food.

I'm not religious, but Halloween is very significant to me and I try to do something meaningful to observe it every year. Fasting is also kind of like that for me, so I opted to wait until evening to eat. Hunger is truly the best seasoning.

I'm still planning on extending my Whole30 until the beginning of my next cycle, November 10th or so, but it feels so awesome to have completed the entire 30 days. I feel reborn.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Still here! Life's been crazy lately but it hasn't stopped my Whole30 streak!

The good: I'm officially doing reintroductions, but not necessarily by the book. My weightlifting is progressing nicely, I'm not getting overly sore, and I'm recovering well.

The bad: I've been eating more potatoes lately. I can't get a fasting routine down for the life of me.

The ugly: I've discovered I have a hard time moderating any kind of nut, even unsalted.


Let's start with the good. I reintroduced chicken a week or two ago, and it's legitimately delicious. I hadn't had it in so long I guess I forgot how good it was. Easy to do when it can smell like wet dog sometimes, haha! I do prefer dark meat over white, but that's fine by me because it's cheaper and fattier. I've made chicken pad Thai, chicken cacciatore, turkey burgers, and grilled chicken thighs. So good! Poultry never negatively affected me, I just lost my appetite for it after I'd gone without for a while.

Yesterday I tried BACON. OMG, heavenly! What else have I been missing out on?! It was amazing. At the time of this writing it's been about 16 hours since I ate it, and I haven't had any problems. Once again, I can't remember pork causing me problems in the past, but my mom was terrified of dietary fat and I was sort of convinced that meat was the source of all my issues. Oof, how wrong we both were.

I'm planning on trying beef on Tuesday, since I'm off Wednesday. I'm going to buy some really good steaks and have Gavin grill mine medium or medium-well. As a kid, I was never crazy about steak or burgers. I remember thinking they were dry, tough, and bland. The blood really freaked me out, too. I think I can handle a warm pink center, though, and that'll be a start. I have two VERY distinct memories of meat-related GI distress, although I know that it happened more than that. One was after I'd been vegetarian for a little while: I visited my parents and made the mistake of eating Hamburger Helper with ground beef. I was doubled over with abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea for HOURS. That was the day I vowed never to eat beef again, sometime in mid-2008 or 2009. Another memory was from my early teens, when my dad "cooked" up some venison (he actually violently overcooked it in a ton of vegetable oil, blech!). I had roughly the same reaction as with the Hamburger Helper, although with less severe cramps. In both instances, no one else got sick.

For a while, I thought that I had an alpha-gal allergy caused by tick bites. I got a lot of tick bites as a kid. Apparently those allergies don't always present as typical (itching, breathing problems, etc), and can even eventually disappear. So maybe if this theory is true, I'll be able to eat ruminant animals again now, since it's been over ten years.

My other theory is something I stumbled across the other day. Apparently a lot of people get GI distress from eating the liquid fat from ground beef. There's some sort of chemical reaction that occurs at high heat that doesn't agree with people. It doesn't happen in steaks, roasts, etc because the fat inside the meat isn't liquefied or exposed to that high heat. The way around this, of course, is to cook ground beef on lower temperatures, or drain the fat, or just not eat it. My mom used to drain the fat, rinse the ground beef briefly under hot water, and then heat it back up in the pan. I know venison is much leaner than beef, but I wonder if it's the same phenomenon? Dad cooked it until it was practically leather. Maybe it wasn't the fat from the venison, but the oil that he cooked it in.

That brings me to my final theory. Maybe it was never the actual meat that was giving me problems. Maybe it was what I was eating WITH the meat. I was one of four kids in a VERY poor family in a VERY poor rural area. We ate a lot of ultra-processed garbage (and "carbage"!). So maybe it was the gluten, soy, dairy, preservatives, etc. all along??? I won't actually know until I eat the beef and see what happens.

After beef, I suppose I'll try cheese. This one will be tricky for a couple of reasons. One, I have had ZERO lactose or whey in the past month and a half, so any side effects are going to seem more severe. Two, I don't have the healthiest relationship with cheese. I might reintroduce it and if it doesn't give me side effects, only eat it sparingly. I really don't have any interest in reintroducing anything else. I feel the best I've ever felt in my entire life.

Now for the bad. I love potatoes. Like, REALLY love them. Any and all of them. But I've been noticing that the day after I eat white potatoes, I sometimes feel some mild inflammation in my joints and feel a bit swollen all over. This is usually gone by the end of the next day. I'm not completely sure that the potatoes are responsible, but I'm like 75%. I don't feel like they make me crave other carbs, though. I need to do some more experimentation with them vs. sweet potatoes. Maybe it's a nightshade thing.

I was so excited to get back to intermittent fasting, but it's hard. I get up at 5:30 with my husband every day, and don't get a formal lunch break at work. I can definitely eat, but it has to be something quick and portable. "Lunch time" is also not the same time every day. Dinner is usually around 5pm. By the time I get to work I'm super hungry if I haven't eaten breakfast. I'm going to try to leverage the "less hungry" part of my cycle to push my breakfast back to lunch, and maybe the habit will stick.

I mentioned life has been crazy, and that was an understatement. It's been wild. And food-as-a-coping-mechanism is baked into me. I've been snacking on nuts SO MUCH after dinner. I've got to break that habit. A small victory though: I bought cashew butter for my chicken pad Thai and moderated my intake of it very well. That was a huge step for me.


All in all this continues to be a huge positive change in my life.

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Gavin grilled some up last night and it was DELICIOUS. He overcooked it a bit trying to get it just right for me (God I love that man), but it was still amazing. It was pink on the inside and hot all the way through. Definitely more rare than I've ever eaten it, but mind you, I used to eat it extremely well-done. I want to try it more rare next time, because I think it'll be even better.

The texture was different than I remember and a bit tougher than I expected. Not in a bad way, just different. He used some kind of smokehouse spice blend that wasn't technically Whole30 as it had some sugar, but he didn't go crazy on it. I think the weirdest thing to me was that the meat itself had a very faint fruity flavor, like peach or pineapple. I thought I was losing my mind, but Gavin could taste it too, and even in the parts that didn't have the seasoning. Strange. 

I'm so excited about the possibilities this has opened up. Roasts, chili (I used to make vegetarian chili sometimes, but it made me really gassy), stews, steak... Ah, so much to choose from! Not to mention pork! Plus, this means I don't HAVE to reintroduce legumes or dairy if I don't want to, as I primarily only used them for protein I wasn't getting from meat. Greek yogurt was basically a sugar fix anyway, with all the crap I put in it.

Now I just have to chill out on the potatoes and nuts. I woke up with puffy hands again this morning. If I can make it a few days without them, I think it'll be pretty easy to figure out which one is doing this. It's hilarious and amazing that so much has changed in such a short time. I used to wake up with all sorts of aches and pains and stiffness and swelling and it was just another day, and now it's like, "I sense a disturbance in the Force. What is the culprit of this interruption of my perfect Zen?"

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