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Karen's Whole30 Extravaganza!


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I've been eating pretty clean for a few years but some stuff has been sneaking in and, due to some health issues I'm still working through (http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/826-joining-the-whole30-club/), decided to clean things up even more. I've gone super clean for 21 days at a time, but it also involved shakes and supplements and very little protein. I crave protein ALL the time so that was hard. I'm excited this program encourages it!

I started yesterday - June 23 around noon. Our city has one of THE best farmer's markets in the nation so I spent my morning there. I got my last rice crispy bar (that's my one cheat when I go) and stocked up on some veggies and grass-fed spare ribs.

Morning (last hurrah before Whole 30)

- rice crispy bar

- almond milk strawberry yogurt


- beets drizzled w/olive oil


- rib eye steak, pan fried w/coconut oil

- sauteed garlic scapes (mmm!)

I know, I know, someone's going to tell me I'm not eating enough. I went to the grocery store last night to stock up on a few things and will make a few meals today. Because I have so many food sensitivities, I lost my interest in food and don't have much of an imagination so I make what I have to to get by but that's it. I hope to improve upon that throughout my Whole30.

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I wanted to add the list of ailments /symptoms I have at the moment, no matter how significant.

- Right ear - itchiness / pressure (4+ years)

- Flaking skin on ear lobes

- Puffy/scaly eyelids

- Dry, flat skin & hair

- Coated throat & slightly stuffy nose

- Slight bloat, can't pinpoint why today

- Eczema on hands flared up and is somewhat raw

- Constipation

- Slight foggy head

- Tired behind the eyes, which for me typically signals I'll be sluggish today

- Slightly erratic waking temperatures this month

- Memory issues - doesn't seem to be as much of an issue at work as it does at home

- Exercise intolerance - I really, really miss running and Pilates. I lose energy in the middle of a workout and sometimes, I'd go from a good run to can barely put one foot in front of the other to walk home. I only exercise about 2x a month now, and only light walks or modified pilates

- I have no sense of time these days!

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Meal 1 - banana. Not a big eater in the morning other than fruit and I know that has to change. Baby steps!

Meal 2 - flank steak pan fried in coconut oil, 1 small avocado, 1 small tomato

Snack - was starving around 3:00, had half an avocado and a handful of cashews. Jury is out if I tolerate just cashews, but we'll see.

Meal 3 - pan fried rib eye steak, steam/sauteed artichoke hearts.

I had a very slight headache today but not much. Am super tired and could have gone to bed at 7:00 but am forcing myself to stay up until at least 8:00 or I know I'll wake up too early and won't feel rested.

My planned meals for work tomorrow: avocado & cashews for breakfast, flank steak and frozen veggies for lunch. Feel free to yell at me for breakfast - I have no idea what to do. I can't do eggs and I'm always running late in the morning and don't have time/energy/state of mind to cook.

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I actually made an actual breakfast - well, kind of!

I went to bed exhausted last night but couldn't fall asleep. I wake up at 3:00 am to take medication and can usually fall back asleep right away, but not today... I was completely drained when I woke up this morning and felt really weak. My hands were shaking and everything. On the way to work, I managed to scarf down a handful of cashews. I haven't had nuts in a while and I think I need to continue to avoid them. Feeling bloated again. :( Will experiment a bit for a few days.

Once I got to work, I had meal 1 - leftover flank stake, tomato, 1/2 avocado. It was all I could do to choke down flank steak and avocado first thing in the morning. I wasn't hungry.

Meal 2 - flank steak again, 1 avocado, and a kiwi.

Meal 3 - 4 grilled chicken drumsticks (organic) and sauteed cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic scapes with coconut oil. I had a handful of cherries, too, and unfortunately, my internal barometer kicked in and said I shouldn't be eating them. Sigh. It didn't do that last week. Cherries are my fave.

All in all today, I was surprised I wasn't too hungry in between meals.

Something strange happened both yesterday and today. I have a very sweet taste in my mouth, even after not eating anything sweet. It feels like someone sprayed a bit of confectioners sugar in my mouth and it landed on the back of my tongue. Does that make sense? Sound totally weird?

On another note, I've been seeing an acupuncturist that specializes in targeted digestive enzymes. While waiting in her waiting room, I picked up a trade magazine that touted the benefits of a diet similar to the Whole30. Sounds like the Whole30 can boost ATP levels, huh? Pretty cool! She didn't have any concerns with the Whole30 and we agreed we wouldn't try any new enzymes at the moment so I can see what my body does on just diet alone. But, I wanted to get a baseline where things are at. At the end of the 30 days, I'll go back to see how her measure of my health is. I'm only on day 3 but she picked up on some changes already compared to last month.

This week's eating may be a bit slim pickings. I only get paid once a month and have to stretch what's left until Friday!

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Day 4 - wasn't as tired today, though not full of energy. But really, am I ever?

Meal 1 - 2 compliant hot-dogs, 1/2 avocado

Meal 2 - went out for lunch for work. I was told we'd be going to a make-your-own stir fry place and they have a full listing online of which sauces to avoid based on certain allergies so I was all prepared, and then someone changed locations at the last minute and we went to the bar down the street... The ONLY thing I could find on the menu that was reasonable was a hamburger patty, lettuce, and tomato. I ordered a clean side salad, too, with oil and vinegar but it came out completely smothered in shredded cheese, so I didn't eat it. They threw a lemon in the water (citrus and I don't agree) and had a raging case of brain fog before my meal was even done. :( I'm really hoping that feeling goes away after my Whole30!

Snack - since meal 2 didn't fill me up, I topped off the snacks I had at work - peas and cashews.

Meal 3 - Leftover chicken drumsticks & sauteed veggies

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Day 5 - feeling ok, though I was run-down this afternoon

Meal 1 - hot dogs (approved) and 1/2 avocado

Meal 2 - 2 chicken drumsticks & sauteed veggies. I don't think I ate enough...

Snack - cashews (I REALLY wanted peanut M&Ms or a glass of wine when I got to the kitchenette at work for a snack, but I settled on cashews as well, though I still don't think they agree with me.)

Dinner - flank steak and roasted sweet potato & chili spices

I've never been a fan of sweet potato but I think it's because every other recipe I've ever had them in was smothered with cinnamon, which I don't like. It wasn't so bad. I ate the whole sweet potato I'm chalking that up to the severe RAGE I had today. This was the closest I got to emotional eating today. Not cool.

Tomorrow will be a test - I'll be traveling most of the day. 5+ hours in the car for what will amount to a 1/2 hour meeting. Sigh. So, I need to pack finger food to eat in the car and find a non-bar restaurant in the small town I'm going to for lunch. I just hope I don't have to take anyone out to lunch as I'd get weird looks from the crowd I'll be with.

Changes I've noticed so far:

Rage (I'm hoping that'll be gone by tomorrow)

I'm retaining water - but can blame the nuts, which I won't eat any more of

The skin on my face seems more firm and smooth, as do my thighs. Reduced cellulite, anyone?

Still a little sluggish, particularly in the afternoon

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Day 6 - 1/5 of the way there!

Today sucked. I haven't been sleeping well the last month or two and last night was no exception. I slept awful and woke up early, and very tired. Had to travel a few hours for a job site meeting and scarfed down 2 hot dogs and 1/2 avocado in the car. I need to find a better (no cook) breakfast!

Meal 2 - went to a burger joint and got a plain patty, no bun, wrapped in lettuce, no condiments, and a side salad. Despite telling the waiter I couldn't have gluten, the salad came out with croutons on it and the burger was on a but. Sent it back.

Snack - was STARVING by the time I got back to the office this afternoon. Our company was having a happy hour and I passed up margaritas, chips & dip, and cookies for the fruit-cabobs and at at my desk.

Meal 3 - bought a huge piece of salmon from the co-op on the way home from work and scarfed that down with some tomatoes. Had some cherries and a Larabar, too. First time I tried one - not bad! Though I think I'd prefer to make them myself.

I have a friend coming to visit this weekend. She's one to over-eat and over-indulge, particularly on 'vacation', so I have a history of doing the same when I'm with her. So, I figured I'd mention I'm on a strict diet at the moment - high protein, fats, veggies, and a little fruit. Her response? She's on a similar diet! I don't think hers is nearly as strict, but I hope we can keep each other in line. I've always had more willpower than her so I'm not too worried about me, but I think I'd shoot her 'the look' if she scarfs down ice cream in front of me.

Oh, and today I noticed that my always tense neck isn't very tense. And my skin is softer. Still looks a bit rough and dry, but softer none the less. I'll take it! Still bloated, but with any drastic diet change, that usually resolves with me by day 7.

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I'm on day 9 and doing well, though I've been having a bit too much fruit and will need to scale that back.

I'm not finding the restrictions too difficult as I've done a liver cleanse before that was much more strict (though for only 21 days instead of 30). So being able to eat a few (clean) processed foods is a treat, though I'm trying to mostly exclude them. The last few days, I don't feel like I've been getting enough protein or fat so will make efforts with that.

A few potential pitfalls I avoided:

- Girl's night out - which in food world - meant drinks and movie theater popcorn (Magic Mike was very... entertaining!) and more drinks. I participated in the outing but didn't blow my Whole30.

- Fireworks - we got there around 6:30 and I avoided the sweet smell of popcorn, corn dogs, funnel, cake, etc. and instead munched on cherries and strawberries. I had too many, but would prefer that to what I was smelling.

What I'm nervous about today - I have a friend in town. Although she mentioned she's on a similar diet, I'm finding it's not so similar. She's eating beer nuts, diet soda ("but it doesn't have sugar!"), crackers, etc. I made dinner last night (chicken & beef kabobs w/sauteed veggies & grilled asparagus). She told be even before dinner was served that she wouldn't have the sauteed veggies... After dinner, she proclaimed that this was the last meal she was eating in, that she was on vacation, after all, and wanted to indulge the rest of the time with me. Plus, she has her 14 year old daughter and friend with her and her daughter isn't used to eating veggies, so I think she's trying to avoid her daughter's complaints about not getting 'real' food... I'm a bit pissed off about this. But, I expected it and will just be an example of what the Whole30 is all about when we either go out to eat or I decide not to eat with them. When she's done with her diet and still feels/looks like she does when she started, maybe she'll get it, though she'll likely tell herself she did everything right and it's just her body that isn't working. The thing that gets me is that both she and her husband have multiple, serious health issues. Her husband has a kidney issue, likely autoimmune. She has a blood clot in her brain, hashimotos, PCOS, fibromyalgia, etc. I don't get it... Ok, rant over!

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Hey, thanks for the reminder!

I survived the rest of my friend's company. We went to a restaurant/bar that serves local food yet still had stuff for the teens to eat. I had a bison burger minus the bun and a salad with an awesome olive dressing, made from scratch. Mmm.

I'm on day 10 now (1/3 of the way there - woot woo!) and am happy to report my eczema is really clearing up. I feel like my clothes are slightly fitting better, but nothing really noticeable. Energy levels still suck but there's a lot going on with me and I don't expect that to change in 30 days.

I don't think I'm eating enough protein or fat - I need to increase those this week and have a few meals planned to accomplish that.

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Thanks! I don't want to get too excited about it because it's come and gone through the years with nothing that I can pinpoint, even while eating very clean, but I have my fingers crossed!

Day 11 - ate out for work but my team let me pick where. I love when they ask. :) An interesting thing happened today - I've been peeing a TON! Probably 7 times between 1:00 and 5:00 - and not just a dribble - we're talking full bladder. That's always been a sign that I'm dropping excess water weight. I've dropped some in the past few months (avoiding nuts and drinking gelatin helped incredibly), but prior to that, I was a walking water balloon. To give you an idea, my nutritionist did a BIA in March and discovered I had 10-18 POUNDS of excess water! So, yeah, when my body drops water, I'm stoked and it makes me think that my body doesn't need to hold onto as much water, which means things may be working better. One wrong thing in my mouth, though, and it goes back on in an instant... (I gained 8 pounds in 1 week once, despite working out and eating mostly clean.)

Oh, and I'm pooping first thing in the morning - yay! I used to be SO regular, but the last 5 months or so, I haven't been. I'm going about twice a day now. Is it sad that poop can make me so excited??

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Day 12

I've had some nasty zits the past few days - the kind that I used to get when my hormones were jacked up. You know, the ones along the jaw line. Fun fun. But, I think they're clearing.

Looking back at my list of symptoms, a few things are getting better. The bloat is mostly gone. My tummy feels flatter (still pudgy, not bloated!) and constipation isn't an issue anymore. I feel like my waist is tightening up, but unfortunately, my butt/thighs haven't seen any shifting, and they're by far the heaviest part of me and usually the first to lighten up with some diet changes so that has me baffled. (If you line all the women up on my dad's side of the family and look at us from the back, you can tell we're all related...) But, I know I still have 18 more days and maybe that will change. I tried on a few clothes that I haven't been able to wear in a few years and I can get them on without a muffin top! They're tight in the thighs/hips, though, so I don't want to leave the house in them. I'm hopeful that'll change by the end of my 30.

Oh, and my waking temps are DEAD STEADY the past week. My temps normally fluctuate so much, but since ovulation this month, they've only varied by 0.1 degrees from day to day. I'll take it! My temps/cycles are always an indication of what's going on inside, so that was a cool trend to see!

One thing that absolutely hasn't changed yet is exercise intolerance. And I use the word exercise loosely... A trek to see fireworks last weekend WIPED me out and only consisted of walking maybe 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile, tops, with a small bag and a folding chair. We sat in the shade while the sun was still out and I drank tons of water and had some fruit. The next morning, I was wobbly when standing, felt totally out of it, and had to take a nap. :( My adrenals suck.

Today, I splurged and bought a food processor! I meant to make some homemade sauerkraut and had a cabbage sitting in my fridge for a week that I was too lazy to chop up but, voila, the FP made it in a breeze! I'm kicking myself for not buying a few years ago! The one I got has a very wide opening so I can put whole foods in there without having to chop them into small bits. Awesome!!

but Eczema is still hanging on a little bit but it's not sore or inflamed.

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Day 13 and I'm really hungry today. I'm also a bit bloated so that tells me I'm close to the end of my cycle, though I'm only on day 7 of my LP. My cycles over the past few years have ranged from 13 days to 180+ days and have only started ovulating again 3 months ago (thanks to Cytomel!). I've been ovulating on day 21 with a LP of 12-14 days (woo-hooo!). However, since I started the Whole30, ovulation was delayed a few days. I'm hoping I don't have a short LP this cycle - want to keep the momentum going! Regardless, I'm starving. Like about-to-get-the-shakes starving, despite having a huge bowl of beef stew and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, straight up. Might have to roast some extra sweet potatoes this evening.

I had a sweet potato, onion, and ground beef hash for breakfast

Roasted chicken legs & beets for lunch

Beef stew w/carrots, onion, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes (with a hint of cinnamon - mmm!) and an apple w/sunbutter

Made last minute plans to go out of town this weekend. I have a meeting on Monday just down the street from my bestie and found out she'll be sans kids and hubby this weekend, so I'll crash there until my meeting. I warned her I'm on a strict diet and she suggested we just go to the grocery store instead of eating out. I think Monday will likely be the trickiest as I'll probably be eating out for lunch.

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Day 15?

Well, it's confirmed - I had a short LP this cycle of only 8 days. But, I'll blame it on the bio-identical progesterone that I ran out of a few days ago and due to a mix-up with my compounding pharmacy, took a few extra days to get my replacement. I'm assuming my body sensed the drop in progesterone and decided it was time. I think a tiny part of it has to do with the diet, too.

I felt completely out of it yesterday - headache (that's new), dizzy, nausea (that's new), out-of-body feeling, tingly, weak, etc. so I left work early and had some energy work done. I was CRAVING protein yesterday like crazy (that's NOT new) and don't think I had much veggies - just protein and fruit. I went to the grocery store and just about said screw the Whole30 but decided not to. Instead, I just left with a TON of protein and one bag of frozen spinach that I forced myself to buy. Today, I didn't wake up with cramps but they're slowly setting in. I have endometriosis so this time of month can be especially traumatic and I'm just hoping this one isn't awful.

I'm at the halfway mark and have to admit I'm a bit frustrated. I'm bloated, in pain, haven't been sleeping well at all (though that's been going on for a few months), I have no more energy than I did before, and am not noticing much other than a slightly small waistline. I've eaten very clean prior to this so I guess I don't know what more I expected. I'm guess I'm more upset with my body in general - I have a lot of things going on with my health that no one can figure out and feel like I have to work really hard just to feel somewhat mediocre.

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I survived a weekend at my best friend's house. We ate out a few meals but I was very particular and confident of my choices. She kept telling me how good her food tasted (all things I couldn't eat) and though I don't think her comments were conscious, she got her point across when saying there's no way she could ever eat like I was. Last night, I made dinner (steak, sauteed veggies, and sweet potato fries with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic, and olive oil - delish!) and she couldn't stop raving about the meal. So I at least proved my point that I don't eat poorly while on the Whole30! I have to admit - I was jealous that she was able to drink wine with her meal. She finished the bottle, though, and I was NOT jealous of her headache this morning.

Today wasn't as successful, though... I was still at her house this morning as I had a few meetings to go to in the area. Before my first meeting, I had a sweet potato hash. I've been relying on that for breakfast for the better part of a week and it's getting old. In between meetings, I stopped back for lunch and had more sweet potato hash... By the time I got home this evening, I was starving and exhausted. All I had for dinner was a few chicken thighs. Prior to the Whole30, I've been very guilty of having lots of protein for dinner and very few veggies/lots of fruit. I'm afraid I'm falling into that trap again. For me, meat is super easy to prep for, but veggies are a bit trickier and there aren't too many that I like.

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I think I'm on day 25 now? I should finish up on the 22nd. I'm finding my clothes are fitting much better - I'm finally in some of my 'normal' size pants now, though they're a bit snug. The bloat is definitely gone, and likely due to the little bits of sugar or gluten that snuck into my diet when I went out to eat and wasn't as careful. Unfortunately, most of the other symptoms that I started with haven't gone away really. The eczema has been flaring up again the past week or so. My skin feels a bit smoother, but doesn't look so good. But, I have lots going on inside and can't expect it all to go away.

I'll admit I've been having a harder time planning meals the past week. I have a sinus infection and don't have much of an appetite. When I get like this, rather than reaching for a bad food, I just don't eat as much. I've had a few nights where I crashed due to that.

Eating like this isn't hard for me - I ate similarly before, only I allowed myself treats when I ate out. But, now, not so much. I had dinner tonight at a local restaurant and had a fabulous grass-fed burger (sans bun & cheese) & a side salad with THE best oil/vinegar dressing I think I've ever had. I always see the chef of the restaurant at the farmer's market every weekend with his huge wagon full of food, so I trust eating there will be safe. (Plus he has a GF/DF menu, so he gets it).

I've been exhausted the past week or so. It's been a struggle to wake up every day. I always have a hard time getting up, but it's been worse lately. Probably due to lack of meals/planning...

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