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The Second Time Around


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I did my first Whole30 back in December--I started the day after Thanksgiving and finished just in time to have a glass of wine for Christmas. That sounds like I was deliberately timing my unhealthy schemes, and I suppose I was, but I found it was easier to get support from my friends if I could promise I wouldn't be a wet blanket during the holidays. Since then I've mostly stuck to compliant eating because, having put so much effort into getting rid of my chronic gut inflammation, I didn't want to go back to that pain. My offroading mainly consisted of not inquiring into the details of oils, etc., when I go to restaurants. But the past month or two seem to have gotten slack. I find myself going out to eat more and more often, rather than eating my own healthy food, and more often than not eating out invoolves a drink as well. I justify this by the fact that I write much better when sitting alone in restaurants--I'm a novelist in my spare time--than I do at home with all the normal chores and distractions. But it's getting out of hand (and expensive!) of late.

So earlier in April I decided that May 1st would be a good day to start a fresh Whole30, to get myself back on track. I wanted to make things easy, which is why I figured the first of the month was best. That way I don't have to keep counting on the calendar to see what day it is. But having made that decision, I can understand why ISWF recommends starting as soon as you make the resolution to do the program. Knowing it was coming, I've caught myself slipping all sorts of "cheats" into my diet, just because come May 1, it would all be forbidden. Mostly it was little things, like having a packet of sugar and a little half and half in my morning tea. But the other day I found myself throwing a Hershey bar in with my grocery shopping. I gave up all sweets more than a year ago, when I decided to lose weight, but all of a sudden I just needed that chocolate! Frankly, it can't start too soon.

And no, I can't start today instead, because there's a bit of smoked salmon with sugar in it awaiting me at home, for my supper. Tsk tsk.

Just for the record...I started dieting at the beginning of April last year, because I'd topped 220 pounds and was having all sorts of health difficulties. I did it mainly by cutting back on calories and walking (which gradually turned into running as I got thinner) every day. I lived on Weight Watchers frozen meals and peanut butter sandwiches. It worked, but like I said, my gut was in terrible shape. By the time I fell across ISWF, I'd gone down about 50 pounds and had normal blood pressure for the first time in years, But I knew I couldn't eat like that for the rest of my life. So at the age of 51, I finally decided to learn how to cook and try to feed myself properly. I still have about 25 pounds to lose before I reach my ideal weight, and I've stalled in the past couple of months so I hope to kickstart that, but I've also started going to the gym, though my workouts are still of the very basic variety, and I hate, hate, HATE exercising, so I can't imagine ever working up to the sorts of things people here like to rave about. But I've got a bit of muscle definition under that last layer of fat, which makes me happy.

I didn't do the daily blog last time--it was all very experimental, so I preferred to do it outside the public eye. I'm going all the way this time! We'll see what happens.

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I'm excited to watch your journey. :) It seems like you really know how to pay attention to your body and this Whole30 will be so fruitful for you.

It's awful how those chocolate bars do a suicide jump into our shopping carts sometimes. Senseless waste of chocolate. ;)

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Day 1

You'd think, having planned this in advance, I'd be better prepared. But when I got up I realized I had no vegetables ready. My time in the morning is limited--I have to be at the bus stop before six--so the most I can manage is to throw something into the microwave. I gave up eating "breakfast food" long ago. It's generally leftovers for me. Thank God for steam in the bag veggies! I made a bag of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots and when it was cooked I added a spoonful of ghee for fat. Probably not enough ghee, but I was in a hurry. I topped it off with left over pot roast. My mother would be so appalled...

I admit, I eat my breakfast in front of the computer. Actually, I eat my dinner there as well. I have a table, but it's been a place to collect anything I don't have an immediate home for, so it hasn't been used for its real purpose in years. The desk is the only flat surface where I can set a plate and sit down to eat. The whole "savour your food" thing is taking me a while to achieve.

I've gone caffeine-free for the 30 as well. I'm not a coffee drinker--I generally just have one cup of tea when I get to work--but I've been developing a dependency on Excedrin that I really want to break. I get headaches on a daily basis, probably because my body wants the caffeine. So just herbal tea this morning. Not even really good herbal tea at that. I need to find a better flavor.

Lunch was my usual--a salad of arugula, spinach, and kale, with cucumber slices and a couple big dollops of fresh salsa, drizzled with EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Okay, when I say drizzle, I mean pour, because I've never been able to control the rate of flow of my oil, so I probably had enough fat to cover any deficiency in my breakfast. I also had a snack-size Wholly Guacamole to add on top when I was ready to eat (so it doesn't turn brown). This is pretty much the same every day. It's easy to throw together while my breakfast is heating. Only the protein that I put on top changes, according to what I have on hand. Today the best I could find was a can of chicken--from the organic market, containing only chicken, water, and salt.

Now it's afternoon, and I have a raging headache. Are there any natural headache remedies that I should know about?

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Good morning. I started on the first as well. I had to laugh because you described my kitchen table! I will be giving up caffeine as the Whole30 progresses. Ths one cup of coffee at 5:30 just isn't as appealing without cream.

The day before I started was filled ith gluten and sugar. Yup, I should have started 1 day sooner!

I too was unprepared with enough veggies but I work on an avenue with one good salad places as well as a Trader Joe's across the street so it's easy to supplement.

Good luck on Day 2. I'll check in to see how you're faring. Congrats on your awesome weightloss! Isn't it wonderful to feel lighter? I started out at a larger size than you a few years go, so I get how great you must feel.

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Day 2

Headache from Hell. All night. I motivated myself enough after work yesterday to do a bit of breakfast prep to get me to the weekend, then had a couple of sausages (with fruit juice, so technically compliant, but not an every day sort of food) and a big bowl of sauerkraut. This constitutes comfort food for someone of German ancestry. I was in bed by eight, which is pretty much unheard of, but my headache had taken on full-blown migraine status, and I could barely think.

I woke up around 3:30, thinking I should just call out sick from work, but when the alarm went off at 4:30 I dragged myself out of bed and did my exercising. I've started alternating the running with a set of strength exercises in an attempt to tone up enough to get into a bikini for the first time in my life. (Ah, dreams...) The head wasn't happy with the effort, but I did it, because I've generally found that lying around motionless does not relieve migraines in the least, whereas if you stay active, the pain doesn't seem so intense. Breakfast was a sweet potato and roast beef, covered in curry sauce. I got the curry recipe from someone here on the forum--it's basically coconut milk, curry paste, and lime juice--and it goes with pretty much everything. It's wonderful with sweet potatoes, because the hot and the sweet counter each other so neither is overwhelming. I bake the sweet potatoes in advance and keep them in the refrigerator, and just pull one out to pop in the microwave in the morning.

Lunch ended up being eaten sitting at my desk, which I almost never do, but I'm trying to get out early. Today my salad was topped with canned salmon. I'm running out of canned proteins--I need to stop by the market on my way home. Especially since I have no idea what I'm going to eat for supper. I think a rotisserie chicken would about fit the bill.

I forgot to mention the Seasnax I had mid-morning. My last pack, which makes me sad, because I love them, but I suppose I shouldn't be in the habit of having a snack break.

No carb-flu this time around, since I haven't been eating grains or sugar (mostly), and I'm hoping this headache will be gone by tomorrow.

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Day 3

I managed to get to the organic market yesterday after work and bought a rotisserie chicken. Of course, when I was putting it in foil to refrigerate, a leg and a wing fell off and I had to eat them. I also picked up a bit of pineapple, since I'd heard it was an anti-inflamatory and I thought it might be good for my headache. Really. The fact that it's my favorite fruit is purely coincidental. So I had a few chunks of that, which may not have helped my head but made me happier. Then I had a banana before supper--my other favorite fruit. Bananas are close to being a Food Without Brakes for me, but I can generally keep it down to one a day, and sometimes I force myself to go a week without buying any. Anyway, it was too much fruit, but it was better than the handfuls of M&Ms I used to use to treat migraines.

Supper (besides the chicken) was broccoli sauted in bacon fat and a couple of scrambled eggs. Yes, I eat supper for breakfast and breakfast for supper. One of the prerogatives of being a grown-up. My head was still unhappy, so I was in bed by eight for the second night in a row, which means I actually got a full eight hours on a work night. This is something I struggle with, because normally there's always something I feel I need to do in the evening, that being my only free time (as witnessed by the fact that I keep this blog at work...) and 8:30 is awfully early to have to be asleep.

Up at 4:30, exercise, and beef & sweet potato curry again. And my last banana. I'm not that bothered by having the same thing day after day for breakfast. It's usually sweet potatoes with something on top, depending on what I cooked over the weekend. I figure the morning is the best time for carbs, expecially since that's when I do my exercising. The headache was much, much better today--not gone, but greatly reduced in intensity. Other than that, I'm feeling fine, though I think I'm verging on that "Kill All The Things" mode that the timeline warned about. That may just be the fools I share an office with, though.

My salad was not as good as usual today, because I've run out of salsa. Oddly, I can't get compliant salsa at the organic market, but Giant always has it on hand. I suppose I could make my own, but I can't face all the chopping, and there's no way I could get the tomatoes chopped that small anyway. And why go to all that trouble when I can stop by Giant every couple of weeks for a supply? I'll have to make a trip over the weekend. Anyway, the salad was just greens and cucumber and chicken and guacamole (which I am also now out of, and also can only find at Giant).

Tomorrow should be grocery shopping day, and on Sunday I have to do some major cooking. I'd better remember to take the meat out of the freezer! I've got some pork chops in there that I bought on sale, even though I have never yet produced a pork chop that isn't like shoe leather. Can they be made in a crock pot? I may need to experiment.

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Day 4

Still with the headache, though it's changed from a migraine to a tension sort of headache, which I suppose is an improvement. I'm sitting here at my desk staring at my brand-new bottle of Tylenol Tension Headache that I bought two days before I started the Whole30. Why did I buy it? Beats me. But I'm not throwing it away, because it was expensive and I'm sure to want it someday. Just not today. I have that much restraint.

I finished off yesterday with a supper of cold chicken and a bowl of steamed carrots and brussels sprouts with ghee, as a poor substitute for the butter I used to use. Again, not the most interesting of meals, but it left me full and contented. I ended up staying up past ten last night, because I knew I didn't have to be up today, and then couldn't get to sleep for the longest time. I remember looking at the clock around midnight, but I think I'd been dozing before that. That was the last I remember, except for a lot of dreams all night. In one of them, I was going out for lunch with a co-worker, and when we went into the restaurant I suddenly remembered I couldn't eat there right now.

I slept till 8:30 this morning and took a long time getting up and moving after that. I ate my breakfast in courses, one thing at a time over a period of at least half an hour. I'm always like this on days when I don't have a schedule to maintain. My weekends tend to get a bit freestyle. I started with the rest of the pineapple, because it was easiest, just open the bowl and go at it with a fork. Then I had the rest of the roast beef, cold right out of the foil. I finished up with the leftover carrots and brussels sprouts, only this time I put curry sauce on them instead of ghee, and they were much tastier.

I'd no sooner finished eating than a friend called me up, offering to take me to Giant, as he had a bit of shopping to do, too. I prefer to buy my meat at Whole Foods, but money is tight this month, so I have to make do with the less than perfect food at the regular supermarket. Giant does have its organic line, so I was able to get my ground beef of better quality. I also picked up some lamb chops and a pack of chicken breasts, so now I have to find recipes that work with those meats. I took a couple of pounds of stew beef out of the freezer, too. Tomorrow will be a busy day.

Because I ate so late, I didn't want lunch till late. Around 4:00 I took another walk up the street to the organic market for the things I can't find at Giant, like spaghetti squash and decent bananas. (I will never eat Chiquita again--they're tasteless!) By the time I got home I was starving, and until I do some cooking, there's nothing immediately available in my refrigerator. So I whipped up some scrambled eggs and broccoli, with a bit of prosciutto, since I don't have any compliant bacon on hand. It always amazes me when I can grab a few things and throw them in a pan, and produce an actual meal in a few minutes. Even if it's something as simple as scrambled eggs. I've always been completely useless in the kitchen, and I still need detailed recipes for everything. So this leaves me feeling triumphant.

I doubt I'll have another full meal today. Probably I'll just have a bit of chicken and a few veggies later, and that will do me fine until tomorrow.

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Day 6

I'm starting to think having a headache is my default setting, which would explain how I got so hooked on Excedrin. I'm learning to live with it, but I hope it goes away eventually. At least it's not a migraine anymore.

Yesterday was a busy, busy day. I had to cook all my meals for the week. I never eat proper meals on cooking days, because I like to test everything I make, so I have a number of small servings throughout the day. Yesterday I started with a bit of roast chicken and a banana to get me going. Then throughout the day I had a serving of Well Fed cottage pie, a taste of Italian lamb chops (a wonderful concoction of lamb, onions, garlic, beef broth, tomatoes, and herbs, simmered for a couple of hours), roasted carrots and parsnips, spaghetti squash, WF Cinnamon beef stew, and cucumber salad (my mother's recipe, adapted slightly--instead of cream I used coconut milk). I also baked sweet potatoes for breakfasts and mixed up WF Waldorf tuna salad for lunches. By the end of the day my legs and feet hurt from standing in the kitchen. I didn't get to bed on time--I was washing dishes at 8:30--and when I finally got to sleep I had a bad night, very restless and wild dreams.

Today I'm very tired, though I wasn't dozing on the bus, so I guess it isn't as bad as it could be. Beef stew over a mashed up sweet potato for breakfast, plus a few bites of cucumber salad. My usual salad with a serving of tuna salad dumped on top for lunch. There was a little birthday celebration this afternoon for one of the women upstairs, but I've been forgoing cake for so long it's not even a temptation anymore. Besides, I think people would drop dead of shock if I actually had a piece.

I'm not really having terrible times yet, and since I'm used to eating this way (if slightly less stringently) I don't suppose it will get too horrible. My main problem is that I find myself needing to go to a bar for book research, and I can't actually indulge in anything if I do! I'm wondering if I can't write past that point and come back to fix the details next month. I know there's that whole club soda notion, but I've got a problem with that. I've got a pretty severe social anxiety disorder, and I can only stand to be in crowded places or intensely social situations if I have something to relax me. I don't drink a lot--it's not turning me into an alcoholic--but without that little bit of help, I would end up having a panic attack, which isn't going to help me write. So if anyone has any sure-fire Whole30 compliant anti-anxiety techniques, I've be very happy to hear them.

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Day 7

I came home yesterday to cottage pie and cucumber salad. I had much too large a serving of protein, because I was trying to get more of the mashed cauliflower, which is delicious. Next time I make it I'll increase the amount of cauliflower and decrease the meat so the proportions are more balanced. Then I exerted myself to get everything I needed to do out of the way so I could be in bed on time. I'm really trying to increase my sleep to healthier amounts. The light was turned off by 8:30, and even though I didn't drop off immediately, I was definitely out by 9:00, so that's a good 7 1/2 hours.

Went running this morning rather than doing my exercises, because this was my gym day, where I go and let a personal trainer torture me for half an hour. I'm sure my ever so fit sister would laugh at my workout, but it's more than I've ever done before this, so it's doing me good. I had lamb chops over a sweet potato for breakfast. I don't think I'm getting enough fat these days--that whole "avoid fat" mindset is very difficult to break--so I made sure I threw a (small) chunk of the hardened fat into the bowl to melt when I put it in the microwave. It was good, but once I picked the bones out, I don't know that I had a palm-sized portion of meat left. I can't seem to get my meals equalized.

I ran out of time this morning, so I had to leave the cucumber out of my lunch salad. There just wasn't time to slice it; I had to run for the bus as it was. But between the three different greens and the salsa (which I think has cucumber in it anyway), I'm pretty sure I had sufficient vegetables. I put tuna salad on top again today.

Lunch was at 12:30, and my appointment at the gym was at 5:00, so I think I'm okay not eating anything first. Like I said, it's not that strenuous a workout, all in all. Since I'm on the bus for an hour getting to the gym, I don't really have an opportunity to eat. Afterwards, I have to catch another bus home, so it can be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes before I get to eat supper. Normally I carry jerky in my gym bag to nibble on at the bus stop, but the kind I buy is non-compliant, and I can't afford the compliant stuff right now, so I went without today. As soon as I got home I tore into the remains of the rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator. That's right, I didn't even bother to heat it. Or put it on a plate. My body was saying, "Give me protein NOW!" This is, I think, one of the joys of being a grown-up. My mother would never tolerate that sort of behavior. I followed it up with roasted carrots and parsnips and more cucumber salad, eaten in a much more civilized fashion, with dishes and utensils and sitting down. Also the ubiquitous banana.

Now I am going to start slowing down for the evening, with the aim of getting to bed on time again. I have to admit, I felt much more alert all day, having slept well the night before.

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Day 8

No headache anymore. Yay! It's a miracle!

I was asleep by nine or so last night, but it wasn't a particularly restful sleep. I woke up several times and had less than pleant dreams when I was asleep. I got my Whole-30 approved Natural Calm in the mail today (the stuff I have is respberry-lemon flavor with stevia, so I haven't been able to use it) so maybe things will improve.

Today was my exercise-free day. I always take the day after my trainer session off, because my legs object too much if I try to push them into anything that soon. I'll do my usual mile and a half walk home tonight (instead of taking the second bus) and that will be enough. Not having to exercise, I got to sleep in until 5:00 (woohoo!). I had beef stew over spaghetti squash for breakfast. The sweet potatoes are for days when I exercise, because I like to get the carbs.

The last of the tuna salad with my salad for lunch. Tomorrow I have to start hunting for alternate forms of protein to bring with me. Not that I'm hurting for them; I'll just have to take something that needs to go into the microwave rather than just dumping it on the greens. But that way I get to prove to my co-workers that I really do cook all the delicious things I talk about.

It's been a stressful day at work. I took a short walk outside this morning, to get away for a couple of minutes. And when my Natural Calm arrived, I had a spoonful in a mug of water, to see if it could help me relax and maybe relieve me of the anxiety build-up. It seems to be working, but I may have a nap on the bus on my way home.

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Kjt, this is a wonderful blog! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to comment. I'm so sorry to read that you've had bad headaches. I woke up witha slight headache on days 3-6 but I think it's getting better. Your food is varied and interesting and sounds so yummy.

I love that you're breaking all of your mother's rules. Bravo!

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Day 9

I discovered last night that when I've had a rotten day and want to act out, I don't do it by eating unhealthy foods. I do it by refusing to get the right amount of sleep. I got home and had a very nice dinner of cottage pie and roasted carrots ands parsnips (which are all gone now, sadly), and got into bed around eight. Then I lay there with my iPad watching videos on YouTube, even though I knew I should put it down and go to sleep. I was crabby and just didn't want to do what I was supposed to. So I ended up not turning out the lights until almost 9:30, after which I still didn't get to sleep quickly. I ended up having a lousy night, with lots of dreams. I dreamed I was staying at a very posh hotel, where they had a whole array of snacks set out in the lounge for guests to help themselves--cakes and cookies and the like. I went by them all, feeling a little neglected that they hadn't at least included a bit of fruit. When I finally settled down with a nice bowl of soup, I realized after two bites that it contained dairy, and I immediately thought, "Oh no! Now I'm going to have to restart my Whole30!" Can't even indulge in my dreams.

Got up and exercised this morning. The workout seemed too easy; I need to increase the number of reps. Coupled with my realization on Tuesday night that I need to buy smaller exercise clothes, it made me feel pretty good about my progress. Lamb chops and sweet potato for breakfast. Plenty of fat this time, but once I got past the Italian sauce I realized there wasn't a lot of meat on the chop. It's hard to tell when I look in the container from the refrigerator, so I pick by size, and I always end up with more bone than I wanted. Luckily someone has stocked the fridge at work with a huge bag of raw baby carrots, so I had some of those to tide me over till lunch.

My bottle of balsamic vinegar seems to be running low; I somehow didn't get enough of it on my salad today, so it wasn't as tasty as usual. When I went to Giant last weekend they'd run out of Wholly Guacamole, so I didn't have that to add flavor. And my protein was in the form of cottage pie in a separate dish. So there was plenty of food, but it wasn't quite as satisfactory as usual. I was actually invited out for lunch with the guys in my office, to an Italian restaurant, but I didn't want to have to hunt the menu for something I could have altered so I could eat it. They don't understand the Whole30 concept as it is, and I didn't need the aggravation.

I've got a bit of a headache today, but I think that's due to insufficient sleep and the multitude of annoyances in the office. With any luck tomorrow will be better. I'll make an effort to actually listen to that little voice telling me to turn out the lights.

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Day 12

Way behind on this, because I decided to put my latest chapter first. After all, I might actually get a buck fifty in royalties from the book someday. (The part-time novelist business is not exactly lucrative.) On top of that, yesterday I had the sudden urgent need to see Iron Man 3, and Saturday is the only day of the week I have time for a movie. So examining my attempts at health came low in the list of priorities. Which doesn't mean I let things slip in any way. I think I've got this down now so it doesn't take a lot of thought.

A good nine hours sleep on Friday night, and another round of eating all the same things I've been eating all week. Saves me from having to find my meals, but by the end of the week it gets just a bit tiresome. Cottage pie, the rest of the lamb chops, and beef stew over spaghetti squash. That was three meals, not all at once. I walked up the street (and over the hill) to the organic market in the morning. There and back is about a half an hour walk. I have to go at least once a week, just to keep myself supplied with bananas. Also salad greens, sweet potatoes, and tuna, which are staples. I added a couple of vegetables to cook and some ground beef, even though I didn't have any specific recipes in mind (which is inviting disaster--I always need a plan in the kitchen.)

The movie was playing at a theater about a mile and a half away, so I walked there and home again afterwards. It started to rain on me partway home, so I was pretty much speed walking the last half mile. I would have run, but I can't run very well with my purse slung over my shoulder. As it was, it was a pretty good bit of exercise.

To bed by 10:30, and another nine hours sleep. I woke up with a headache--a migraine, really, though the pain was not as intense as before. It's hung on all day, and I have bouts of nausea. I always found that heavy foods helped most in that case, so vegetables just don't cut it. For breakfast I had the last of the cottage pie over the last of the kale, covered by the last of the curry sauce. I needed to clear out the refrigerator to make way for today's cooking. Later in the morning I went back to the market to get the balsamic vinegar I'd forgotten and another pound of ground beef. Ended up with a few other items that I thought I might need, including a liter can of EVOO because the little 16 ounce bottles run out way too quickly.

I didn't get into the kitchen until almost two, which means the cooking ran rather late. I baked some chicken tenders (and ate one straight out of the pan) and then used them in a batch of pad thai (Well Fed, again). I had a couple of bites, just to make sure it turned out right, but other than that it all went into the refrigerator. Then I made a big pot of chocolate chili (okay, Well Fed is not the only cookbook I own, but it is the one that has given me consistently good results), which took till supper time to be finished. While it was simmering I roasted some Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar (a recipe I got on this forum, from a link someone posted--I printed out the recipe because it looked good and simple) and the WF cumin roasted carrots. I ate some of the sprouts but saved all the carrots for later. I also had a try at the Brussels sprout chips from Nom Nom Paleo (I have the app). Those ended up being very buttery, so I may have to tweak the quantities next time. Actually the ghee and salt tasted just like the "butter" you get on movie theater popcorn, making me feel like I was being compensated for sitting through a movie with only a bottle of water. I ate the entire batch as my supper vegetable, along with a bowl of the chili.

Now it's bedtime. Unfortunately, it's also laundry night. Experience has shown me that I can only be sure of getting a machine in our tiny laundry room if I go after dark, and the sun has only just set. This is one of the problems with summer. So I know perfectly well I will not get anything like enough sleep tonight.

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I had my first taste of Ghee last week. I told a friend yesterday that it tasted like movie popcorn! Glad it's not just my taste buds.

I hope you end up getting enough rest.

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Day 13

Not quite halfway, and I just want to go out to eat, despite my fridge full of freshly cooked food. But having paid my bills today, I have to admit that I can't afford a restaurant right now. I shall continue to eat my own cooking.

I didn't get to bed till 11:00 last night, and even though I'd had a glass of Natural Calm, I couldn't get to sleep for quite a while because of the headache. I woke up at four this morning, still in pain, and couldn't get back to sleep, so I was dressed and doing my stretches when the alarm went off. The exercising made me feel a bit better (though now the muscles in my rear end are feeling it) and I was starving by the time I got out of the shower. Sweet potato and the last of the beef stew for breakfast. I managed to get to work without falling asleep on the bus, though my eyes were burning so bad at one point I had to put my book down and close them for a while.

I was too tired last night to make tuna salad, so I threw together a quick chicken salad--two cans of chicken, a few chopped scallions, and mayo. I don't know why I could do that and not the tuna. I guess chopping the apple made all the difference. Instead of kale, this week I bought a spring mix, or whatever it's called--a random assortment of leafy greens. It gives me a little bit of variety in my salad. I also added a handful of chopped pecans. Someone brought two kinds of cake and a container of chocolate chip cookies to work and put them in the kitchen, and the guys in my office were eating them in quantity, but I ignored them and had a cupful of baby carrots for a snack during the morning (the sweet potato wasn't big enough).

My headache is almost gone now, but I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep. I think I will go home and have a nice serving of pad thai, and maybe some brussels sprouts. And of course my banana, which is my reward for getting through the day.

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I had crazy dreams in which I broke my Whole30 repeatedly during my first (only) Whole30 last fall. I felt so frustrated in those dreams, and only slightly better waking up and realizing I was still okay.

I hope you get rid of those headaches for good -- that sounds totally awful.

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Day 14

I was in bed by eight last night and lay there reading by the light coming through the blinds until it got too dark to see the page, which was about 8:30. Went to sleep fairly quickly and slept until seven this morning, so I'm bright and perky again. Exercises and then sweet potato with chili on top for breakfast. I had an appointment with the podiatrist today, so I didn't have to be to work until afternoon. (Problem with the tendon on my right foot, which has been tightening up and pulling things out of alignment.) Since I was out and about all morning it wasn't practical to take lunch with me.

I finally got to work at lunchtime, so I stopped by a deli with a salad bar (also a taco bar, but I resolutely walked past it) and put myself together a pretty good salad of mixed greens, onions, cucumbers, green and red peppers, carrots, raisins, and sunflower seeds, plus three hard-boiled eggs for protein. They had squeeze bottles of olive oil and vinegar beside the dressing pots, so I used those. Unfortunately, the vinegar was white vinegar, which is pretty much tasteless. Seriously, who uses white vinegar on a salad? I'm starting to think I need to stash a bottle of balsamic in my desk for occasions like this.

Two weeks down. I'm feeling pretty good these days, except for the unpredictable headaches. I can't blame them on my diet, because it's not only very clean and healthy, it's pretty much the same for a week at a time, and if something in it is causing the headaches, why do I only get them one day and not every day? This last one came on Sunday, so it couldn't have been work stress, and I do my best to keep my home environment stress-free. Can I say it's from too much sleep? My body isn't used to getting a full night's sleep every night. It's wondering where the five hour nights went.

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Day 16

I've passed the halfway point! Semi-victory dance! Actually, I'm reacting a bit weirdly to the whole thing. I've been eating paleo for months, and it's been more than a year since I ate sugar in large quantities, but now, because I know I CAN'T have it, I want it more than ever. The peppermint lifesavers on a co-worker's desk are looking so tempting, and I don't much even like peppermint. I keep thinking I'll hit May 31 and run right out for a Hershey bar, even though I know perfectly well that I won't. The human brain is such a contrary thing.

Tuesday night I got caught up in what I was doing and ended up not getting to sleep until around ten, so yesterday I was tired and cranky. I had my session at the gym after work, and by the time it was done my legs were wobbly. I keep wondering why they aren't getting stronger, but I suppose my trainer is deliberately trying to be harder on me each session so that I keep getting pushed farther. I always come away feeling like a weakling. I got home and ate the rest of the pad thai that was in the refrigerator and made sure I was in bed before 8:30. I'm feeling much sharper today.

Since I was at the gym last night, I didn't exercise this morning, but instead of sleeping the extra half hour I got up at the regular time and cooked myself breakfast for a change. Broccoli sauteed in bacon fat and scrambled eggs (two whole eggs and the three egg yolks that had been sitting in the refrigerator for a week and a half). It didn't seem like a lot of food on the plate, I suppose because scrambled eggs are so light and fluffy, but it got me through the morning easily. I also had one baked chicken tender left over that didn't go into the pad thai, so I put that on my salad for lunch. It wasn't quite a full serving size of protein, but between the olive oil, chopped pecans, and guacamole, I had more than enough fat, so the salad seemed quite substantial.

On my way home I'll have to stop by the organic market and pick up a rotisserie chicken or I won't have enough protein to get through the rest of the week. And knowing how I am with a fresh, warm rotisserie chicken, I imagine I'll eat more than one serving of that for supper. That's chicken twice in one day, which isn't ideal, but it will certainly be tasty! I'll follow it with brussels sprouts and feel virtuous.

I think I'll pick up some kale, while I'm at it. I've been having a craving for kale chips.

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Day 17

I didn't get to the market last night. I caught the bus that doesn't go that way, and I was already carrying a lot of stuff, and...well, I had what I thought were excellent reasons. I went home and had chili and brussels sprouts and got to bed on time. Not the greatest night, though at least this time the dreams didn't center around food. Woke up this morning about five minutes before the alarm, which normally is a good thing, but I was yawning all the way to work, even after exercise and breakfast (chili and sweet potato).

Despite the big breakfast, I was hungry well before lunch. The carrots are still in the refrigerator at work, because I think I'm the only one who eats them (I complained that no one ever brought in treats I could eat, so they finally did) and I had a whole bunch of them. It tided me over till lunch, which was a salad and, yes, more chili. My protein is pretty one-note today, so I really have to do something about it tonight. Switching up the veggies helps some, but I want variety. I'm even out of eggs, but those I can pick up at the little market across the street from my apartment (I don't trust their meat) so I can get them very easily on my way home.

I took pork chops and beef out of the freezer this morning to cook over the weekend. I should find one more kind of protein. Might have to grab the lamb, as well. I wish I had some salmon, but the stuff at Giant is not only farmed, it has color added, and I'm not going anywhere near it!

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Day 19

I think if someone told me I never had to cook again, I would scream with excitement, and possibly cry with relief. I am so tired of spending every Sunday in the kitchen. I'm hot and tired and cranky and actually hungry, because when I look back on my day I realize in the midst of all that cooking, I didn't actually eat much of anything. Time to go gnaw on the rotisserie chicken I've got stashed away (because I'm not interested in any of the food I made myself...)

I hit the organic market on Friday evening and Giant yesterday, so I had just about everything I needed for my weekly cooking (though I still had to run out today for beets and chili powder). I got a full night's sleep on Friday night, but for some reason I was still feeling tired yesterday, so I didn't do much of anything. I don't even remember what I ate--chili and chicken, I guess, with leftover sweet potato and steamed veggies. Another decent night's sleep last night, so I was a bit more lively today.

I ate the last of the chili for breakfast and eventually headed to the kitchen. Over the course of the day I made WF salmon, pork with a mole coating that I got from theclothesmakethegirl.com, Italian braised beef (I just used my lamb chop recipe and changed the meat), roasted pork chops and beets (a recipe I got from Tom Denham's website), a paleo coleslaw I found by googling, and tuna salad. I need more veggies, and I plan to cook some cauliflower and the beet greens (not together!) but I'm not getting to it tonight. I will have to fit it in during the week. Luckily the recipes aren't complicated, so I should be able to fit it in after work. Oh yeah, there were also kale chips, which I ate directly off the baking sheet. It was an experiment, so I didn't make many. Now I'm waiting for my sweet potatoes to cool enough to peel so I can go to bed. I only had small tastes of the dishes as they finished, to see if they were edible, so foodwise, this day has not been one of my best.

I've had some cold chicken and a bowl of steamed brussels sprouts with ghee, so I should be okay now.

One annoying thing--I have had a sudden flare-up of eczema, which mostly went away during my first Whole30 in November and has had only a couple of mild recurrences since. I blamed my few attempts at off-roading for those, but now I've been eating as clean as I can for almost three weeks, and I can't imagine why it's come back. It's very disheartening. There's a reaction of "Why am I putting myself through all this if it isn't going to help at all?" I want to run across the street to 7-Eleven for tortilla chips and queso and a great big Snickers. But I remind myself that other things are much better. For one thing, I've not had a headache all weekend. And I don't have abdominal pains on a daily basis any more.

Besides, I'd have to put on shoes to go outside, and I'm much too tired.

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Ha! Thank god sometimes laziness trumps cravings. ;)

I have psoriasis and I've noticed there is definitely a few days lag between irritants and a flare up. Also, my psoriasis always seems to get really itchy and red before it gets better. I'm not sure if eczema works the same. But i definitely get that impulse to throw up your hands.

Stick with it!

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Day 20

Got up this morning and had the delightful decision of which of the lovely dishes in the refrigerator should make my breakfast. I finally opted for the Italian beef, which blended well with the sweet potato. I was a little uncertain yesterday about how it turned out, but once it was heated I was able to cut the beef up with a fork, so I guess the slow-cooking did its job. I still can't manage to just sit and eat my breakfast without checking my e-mail, so I spend every breakfast reading my Whole30 newsletter, which I suppose is a step up from hanging out on Facebook.

Halfway through the morning, I got an e-mail from a co-worker inviting me to join a bunch of others for lunch at the Chinese buffet. I politely declined. Even if one of my goals for the W30 wasn't to eat only food I'd made myself, I couldn't imagine anything they might have to offer that I could actually eat. I stayed behind and had my salad with tuna salad alone with my notebook. Okay, I can't sit and savor my lunch, either. At least I don't ever eat in front of the TV (mainly because I don't own a working TV).

I'm still having moments of wanting to chuck the whole thing and just eat whatever I want, regardless of the consequences. I think it must be PMS. Since I had an ablation last year, I've lost all track of my cycle, but every now and then I get ultra-moody and start suspecting the hormones are running rampant. I'm not going to act on the urges, though. I'm much too pleased with the way all my new clothes are fitting.

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Day 22

Monday night I had a dream that someone baked me a cake and gave me a piece, which I ate. As soon as I'd swallowed it, I thought, "No! I'm on day 20! I don't want to start all over!" The person I was with suggested that if I didn't tell anyone I'd eaten it, no one would know and I could pretend it never happened and carry on. Apparently my unconscious mind is sneaky and deceitful. (At that point, an old acquaintance came to visit and immediately began to reorganize my library, so I forgot all about the cake. Never mind health and nutrition, you do not touch the books!)

Yesterday I had mole pork with sweet potato and ghee, a salad with salmon, and chicken and sauerkraut (not together--it was my workout day, so once again I was tearing the chicken off the carcass as soon as I was in the door). Had the lights out before 8:30. bit I didn't sleep all that well. Waking up several times during the night, and more dreams about eating lots of unsuitable things. This time I was sure I'd completely mucked up my Whole30 and it was pointless to continue. I was quite relieved when the alarm woke me and I realized it had only been a dream.

I have to admit, writing like this has helped keep me on the straight and narrow. There's something about knowing you have to tell someone else what you've been doing that makes you want to make sure that you have good things to tell. As you can see, that even reaches into my dreams, even if I do hang out with unhelpful people when I'm asleep.

I was feeling pretty hazy when I woke up. It's a good thing today was my exercise-free day, because I really wasn't in the mood. The shower helped a fair bit, as did breakfast. I had a pork chop and beets. The pork was a very pretty red color in my bowl, though it wasn't as tender as I'd have liked. The meat came from Giant, so I wouldn't lay bets that the pigs had a happy life, which means I was pretty ruthless in trimming off the fat. Unfortunately, that does not make for juicy chops.

Eight hours (or as close as I can get) of sleep every night seems to have put an end to my dozing on the bus. I would have liked to fall asleep, because the book I had with me hit a rather sad part, and I kept getting weepy. There's nothing worse than bursting into tears on public transportation. I wore one of my nice new dresses to work, so I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I think the exercising is helping my abs, because my midsection is actually starting to look presentable. I used to have an hourglass figure; with middle age it got less and less so. But it seems to be coming back. (Bigger on top than on bottom, for the first time in my life!)

Tuna salad on my salad today. It took the last of my mayo when I made it on Sunday, so I know what I'll be doing this weekend. Last time I made mayo was the first time I ever got it to turn out perfect on the first attempt. I credit my new immersion blender. It tastes so much better without the extra egg yolk that I always have to use to save it, and it's a nice white color, like the stuff you buy in jars. I hope I can repeat the success.

Tonight I think I'll find enough time to cook my beet greens. The recipe I've got calls for it to be sauteed in bacon fat with garlic. Sounds delicious! I will add that to the Italian beef in the refrigerator. And my banana. I don't generally mention the banana, but it can be understood as having been eaten every day. This week I got a bunch of very small ones, and I keep trying to talk myself into having two, but so far I've resisted. They've been ripening pretty quickly though, now that it's got warm, so I may have to eat them just to keep them from going bad.

Yes, indeed, my ability to justify any behavior has not been affected.

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Day 23

One week left! I've already got a date planned for May 31, but I've scoped out the restaurant and the food should be fairly compliant, so it's not like I'll be immediately hitting the skids. Not saying their won't be wine with dinner...

I managed the beet greens last night. They only took about five minutes to throw together and were very good. I ate half for supper and the remainder with my lunch today. But to make sure I had time for cooking I had to skip going to the market, which means I'm still out of salad greens. I've been getting to bed around eight so often lately that I start feeling very tired and ready for bed at 7:30. This doesn't mean I fall asleep easily, but more often than not I'm out by nine. I'm definitely feeling the affects of the increased sleep, and I'm going to try to stick to it even after my W30 is finished. I had vivid dreams again--I've heard Natural Calm can do that to you--but they didn't deal with food this time, so it was okay.

I was feeling stiff and sore when I got up this morning--a delayed reaction to my workout on Tuesday--but the morning exercises worked some of the kinks out, so I'm not doing too badly. Mole pork and sweet potato with ghee for breakfast. I threw a handful of chopped pecans into the sweet potato this time, and it added a slightly different flavor to the usual meal. I've been controlling the nuts pretty carefully this time, because they're like paleo crack to me. If they're in the house, I'll eat them. It's easier with chopped nuts because they're harder to eat by hand, but almonds or cashews are impossible. So I've had a container of chopped pecans in the cupboard this entire time, and I only use them as an ingredient in meals. I can't swear this will continue indefinitely, but I told myself at the start of the W30 that I could not buy nuts, so I'm good for another week.

At work this morning I got into an e-mail bitch contest with someone at another company that I was dealing with. It reached the point of infuriating me, so I had to go for a walk to calm down. I went around the block (a very large, hilly block) at my fastest pace, all the time thinking of the extremely nasty things I could say to her, but by the time I got back to the office I'd realized that I should let it go before I ended up in trouble with the bosses. I forwarded the whole thing to someone with more authority to handle and moved on. (Mostly...) I notice the crabbiness did not make me immediately want to start eating, and also that I can take hills at a rapid clip without getting breathless, so this is all progress.

Lunch, since I didn't have any salad, was Italian beef and beet greens. I brought the coleslaw along to give to a co-worker, because when I tried eating it the other night, it was much too spicy for me. Inexperienced cook that I am, I followed the recipe, putting in the various spices, without realizing that these spices were all hot. Live and learn. Anyway, when I tried it, I felt like it was eating a hole in my stomach. I don't do well with spicy. So I'm going to pass it off to someone who likes food hot and who needs to eat more healthy vegetables.

Tonight I think it's going to be salmon. I haven't decided on a vegetable yet, but the choices are a bit limited. I think I have some brussels sprouts still. I should make another attempt to go to the market, and maybe then I can have a salad.

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