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Elizabeth Anne's continuing Days of Awesome

Elizabeth Anne

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I started my first Whole30 on January 2, immediately had a reset day due to absentmindedness, and kept up my reset Whole30 from January 3 to February 2. This is my log for my food testing days. I plan to return to the Whole100 "100 Days of Awesome" group when I'm done with my experiments, since I intend to do another WholeSomething in March, quite likely extending through April as well so that I can get more complete control over my sugar cravings. I'm also experimenting right now with removing more things from the typical Whole30 regimen in the hopes of getting as much of my heartburn under control as is possible through diet (as opposed to through stress reduction, which will be a different set of goals), since my problem symptoms didn't respond to the Whole30 as completely as I had hoped.

My goals for this food testing period:

1. Test out all the things that I'm interested in trying, separately, with a minimum of two days between each. This includes the following 10 things and will therefore take at least a month to complete:

a. sugar

b. cow dairy (cheese only)

c. alcohol

d. non-glutinous grains (corn, rice, oats?)

e. legumes (beans, hummus)

f. goat dairy (cheese only)

g. soy (especially in milk form, but also tofu)

h. glutinous grains (spelt in particular)

i. sheep dairy (cheese only)

j. potatoes

2. Avoid nuts, in case they may be causing me GI distress that is contributing to my heartburn. I'll do some additional food testing, either in March or in May, to see how this is going.

3. Avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits, and caffeinated tea, since these things are acidic in nature and may worsen heartburn. Likewise for food testing of these things either in March or in May. I'm choosing to allow myself to use small amounts of lemon and lime juice in cooking, but that's it.

4. Continue to keep a log, at least in a paper journal if not online, of what I eat every day and how much exercise I get.

5. Go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week (with exceptions for being sick, like right now).

6. Do things that reduce my stress: meditation, being playful, having fun.

7. Get a job! I suspect that will contribute more than anything to lowering my current stress load.

Comments welcome, and I would love to see my friends from the "100 Days of Awesome" group here, but of course, you should do what's right for you. :) Cheers!

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I started my food testing by testing sugar on February 2 and 3. I know sugar is my biggest problem food, so I wanted to get a sense of what my reactions looked like after 30 days of no added sugars at all.

I discovered on the night of February 1 (Day 30) that I have a similar psychological reaction to "dessert" as I would to sugar-containing foods, even though the treat I made for myself contained no added sugar. I had put together a mango, a can of coconut milk, some allspice, and some nutmeg after eating dinner on January 30 (Day 28) and still being really hungry, since that dinner didn't have much fat in it. I didn't use all the coconut milk that night, but I did eat all the mango bits that I had put into the coconut milk and would have eaten more mango if it had been there. I kept the coconut milk in the fridge, put two bananas into it on January 31, and on the night of February 1 ate half of the coconut milk and one of the bananas, along with some cinnamon and cocoa. The cocoa and the sweetness from the bananas turned the whole business into something dangerously close to chocolate milk, although it was technically W30-compliant. I won't be doing that again while I'm trying to get my sugar cravings under control.

My husband and I cooked honey-baked chicken, which has been one of my favorite family-dinner foods since childhood, for dinner on February 2. I found myself hungry beyond what I had expected and ate 1 drumstick, 1 thigh, and then another drumstick, along with sauteed mushrooms in ghee and steamed broccoli. It's possible that I was extra hungry because I had gone to the gym and done some heavy lifting earlier that day; it's also possible that my body craved the fat on the chicken skin. But I hadn't felt that kind of gnawing hunger since the last time I'd had something sugary.

On February 3, my husband and I went to one of our favorite breakfast restaurants. They've been happy to work with me during my Whole30 and beyond. I ordered an egg scramble (cooked in the ghee I brought with me) that contained maple-flavored chicken sausage, onions, chantrelle mushrooms, and thyme; it probably had cheese in its original form that I told them to leave out. I then ate the whole thing, which is relatively unusual for me when at that restaurant. I felt hungry again an hour later, which was ridiculous, because my stomach was still full from breakfast. I then wasn't hungry for hours and ate my second meal around 3:30 PM.

(Edited to note that I forgot to mention the two and a half cups of tea that I drank that morning. Each one had a dollop of honey in it, which I have really missed when it comes to tea.)

Lesson learned about sugar: it makes me more hungry than I was before, and I eat past the point of being stomach-full. Also, I get a couple of zits for each occurrence of eating sugar.

I've also learned in the past couple of days that fresh, ripe mangoes and grapes might as well be sugar to me. I have a difficult time stopping myself from grazing on them if they're there, and I'm more hungry after eating them than I was before eating them. (This happened at a party, where everything provided by the hosts, other than those two foods, was non-W30-compliant. I brought veggies and mayo-herb dip from Well Fed, but we were there for 4 hours past when I had thought we would be leaving, and I hadn't thought to bring extra protein.)

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I tested cow dairy on February 6. My housemate and I went to the aforementioned favorite restaurant together, and I ordered a "breakfast sandwich" (minus the bread, of course) that involved eggs, pancetta (which might or might not have had sugar in it), caramelized onions, and gruyere cheese.

I had no idea how much I had missed the concentrated fats that are in cheese. My housemate said I had an "I just got laid" smile on my face after the first bite. I also only ate half of what I was served, which is about right for my usual hunger patterns at that restaurant. I ate the leftovers for lunch later that day, and then had steak for dinner, along with mushrooms cooked in butter and steamed cauliflower. Dinner also included shredded gruyere to put on the cooked veggies and a black pepper cheese that I ate on its own.

I didn't notice any immediate GI problems from eating all that dairy, which surprised me. I've had lactose intolerance problems since I was 10 or 12, and so I was prepared for gas, stomach pains, and general nastiness. I did have some fairly loose stools over the next 2 days, but that was a pretty mild reaction compared to what I was half-expecting, and I'm not 100% sure that it was directly related to my dairy intake.

The confounding factor for the past few days has been that I have gotten sick with a head cold. Phooey! As long as I'm sick, I'm going back to strict W30 ways, since it'll be hard to tell what is caused by being sick and what is caused by food reactions. So I'll test cow cheese again at the end of this round of food testing.

Of note: I ordered the same "breakfast sandwich," but minus the cheese, when I was out with my husband yesterday. Ate the whole thing. Cheese really packs a punch as far as satiety and satiation are concerned, for me.

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I continue to find with fruit that I'm hungrier after eating it than before. Sigh.

Today's adventures in dinner involved nearly everything coming out of the deep freeze: chicken drumsticks, green beans that were probably well past their best, and a bag of mixed chopped fruits (strawberries, mangoes, peaches, and pineapple). I *love* peaches and mangoes, so that wasn't a hard sell for me. But I ate more than I had intended to, and now I'm hungry all over again at 11 PM.

I'm feeling much better with regard to this cold I've been fighting off, and yesterday I tested goat cheese at two meals. I then promptly had heartburn all day. It's hard to say whether that was primarily dietary or primarily stress-induced, since Monday night and all day Tuesday were pretty rough in terms of staying calm around people having difficult emotions, but in either case it seems like goat cheese may not be helping me in my quest to be rid of my heartburn. :( Phooey. I'm not surprised, but I'm a bit sad.

I think my next thing to test will be alcohol, as my housemate and I will be going out of town to visit a friend on Friday, and I may well take a bottle of pear wine with me. I really hope that this winter and spring seasons proceed in the usual fashion, with no untimely blossoming during heat waves and no untimely freezes that kill off all the blossoms -- the fruit growers really got nailed this past year.

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