The end of Whole30!

It’s been awhile since Jason and I finished the Whole30 and there hasn’t been a blog post. Probably because it was somewhat anti-climactic. There were a few takeaways, but I did not get a “Tiger Blood” transfusion, and I wouldn’t call it life-changing. But since I wrote of the beginning and the middle, I thought it best to write the end. In bullet format:

  • I don’t think I have any food sensitivities, and won’t be cutting out any food groups long-term.
  • I do have a serious sugar addiction. But I already knew this. I need to come up with a plan to keep my sugar consumption in check. Perhaps something like one dessert a week. I’m still mulling it over.
  • It is possible to consume a lot more vegetables. I should do this.
  • I ate more meat during Whole30 than I’m used to eating and I would prefer not to continue (eating all the meat).
  • Speaking of meat, I have become quite interested and concerned about where my meat comes from and how it is raised. I’m glad we get our beef and pork from a local farm (Tara Firma Farms) and would like to find someplace similar for chicken and dairy.
  • I’ve also begun some reading on wheat. I like the idea of eating only whole grains, including whole wheat that is truly whole wheat (which can apparently be quite tricky to discern). But I’m not quite ready to take this on.
  • I will continue to work on minimizing processed food consumption.
  • It’s probably time to stop drinking Coke Zero on a regular basis. Sigh (tear).
  • Coconut is the best.

A few kind folks have asked me if I’m feeling better. The answer is yes, absolutely. Thank you for asking. I feel much better. And I attribute that entirely to going off antibiotics. Of course there’s no way to know for sure. Perhaps the Whole30 diet helped. If nothing else, I don’t think it hurt.

8 Tips for Preparing Whole30 Meals

Grocery-Cart-List

It’s nearly the end of Week 4, and I sort of can’t believe it. I feel like I’m finally settling into a routine. If you happen to be flirting with the idea of taking on a Whole30 yourself, here are a few things I learned.

1. Keep it simple. This is really the only tip that matters. I started out cooking way too much. Don’t do that.

2. Just do it. That said, chances are you will have to cook more than you are now. I had no idea how I was going to do all the cooking when I committed to doing this. But I had to. So I did. Sometimes I find this is the best approach. Just dive in and figure it out as you go. You’ll adjust. My cooking gauge was recalibrated over the last four weeks. Many of the meals I used to think of as “taking some effort” I now think of as “quick”.

3. Eat the same thing everyday. If you’re like my husband, you won’t like this tip. And if you’re my husband, you should also just get over it and go do the dishes. (I love you Jason.) If you’re like me, you won’t mind eating more or less the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday. And that will make life a whole lot easier for you.

4. If you have a baby, start cooking dinner in the morning. Dinner was the one meal of the day that took a bit more effort. But I couldn’t count on Ollie to peacefully entertain herself when I wanted/needed to prep dinner. So I learned to start prepping what I could at my first opportunity in the morning. And then at my next opportunity. And then at the next etc. This probably applies to those without babies too. Because we’re all busy, right? Don’t leave it all until meal time. Chop the veggies, mix the spices, make the sauce or whatever when you have time. Ahead of time.

5. Don’t worry so much about following a recipe. Figuring out how much to buy and make was challenging. The Whole30 program feels expensive because the grocery bill goes way up. Of course, the eating out bill goes down. I haven’t done the detailed math, but I suspect it was, net, still more expensive. So I’ve been more focused than usual on not wasting food. Which is hard when you’re married to a toddler. (I love you Jason. Thank you for doing the dishes!)

Jason will eat seconds and thirds of something he likes and then all of a sudden there aren’t any leftovers for him to eat the next day. So sometimes I make extra to ensure there’s enough and we end up throwing half of it away.

The easiest way around this, I found, was to modify recipes to use up things I had on hand. For example, mix and match canned tomato things. Diced, crushed, sauce, paste… it’s all a tomato thing. I once made fancy applesauce to go with our pork chops, and Jason barely touched it. So I threw it in the slow cooker with some canned tomato things, a piece of pork and some sweet potato, and it turned it pretty well! Extra veggies fit nicely in eggs, and extra sauces are perfect for dipping.

6. Go to the store more often. I used to grocery shop once/week, and I was pretty passionate about that strategy. Whenever our parents visited they would (seemingly) want to go everyday. I guess that’s the most exciting thing to do at age 70… Or so Jason and I would joke. And I would stand my ground. I didn’t have time to be going to the grocery store every other day! Except for it’s a lot easier to buy the appropriate amount of food if you go more often. I have been going twice/week and that works well for me. It doesn’t feel too often, but it’s often enough that I can modify the meal plan to use up things we already have.

7. Make someone else do the grocery shopping. I just started using Raley’s eCart this week, and let me tell you. It’s super convenient to pick up groceries without stepping foot in the store. Of course this can also be challenging when 80% of your list is produce and you’re particular about its condition. I might try doing a quick trip for a few critical items I want to pick out myself and use the eCart for the rest of my list.

8. Order food online. I mentioned my twice/week trip to Raley’s. I also made a few trips to Trader Joe’s for a few key items like spindrift sparkling water, coconut oil and cashews with fucking rice bran. Neither store, however, can manage to keep coconut milk in stock, and another trip to Whole Foods was just too much. So I recently ordered in bulk from Amazon. Problem solved. Also on Amazon: wild, boneless, canned salmon.

We also purchased one shipment from US Wellness Meats and were very pleased. Your order has to meet a minimum dollar value and a minimum weight. But they have a good selection of sugar-less products, it ships overnight and arrives frozen. We ordered bacon, sausages and breakfast sausage meat and still have a good bit in our freezer.

Why do all my tips have to do with food preparation? I suppose that’s because food preparation was the hardest thing for me to figure out. Not eating chocolate cake is hard to do, but how would that blog post read? Don’t eat the cake.

Photo Credit: shopping list by Bruce Turner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Whole 30 Week 3: Fuck you rice bran!

I realized this week that the cashews I’ve been eating, oh, EVERY DAY have rice bran in them. Even Ollie couldn’t stop crying when we figured this out. So that was just the perfect soundtrack to go along with my failure: screaming baby.

I don’t know how I missed this. I’ve been so hyper vigilant, reading labels like they’re my Twitter feed. I even emailed my friend to ask about the ingredients in the hamburgers they will be grilling at her son’s birthday party.

Friends, I’ve read the Whole30 Q&A. I saw the answer to that question about, “Do I need to start over if I accidentally eat something off plan?” The Hartwigs may say yes, but do you know what I say?

Fuck you rice bran! No! I am not starting over!

Thanks, and sorry Mom. I needed to get that off my chest.

Things have been going alright, aside from the rice bran catastrophe. My gut is still lining out, but I have not had a c diff reoccurrence. My mood is still on a bit of a roller coaster, but hey, this is me we’re talking about. 

I can tell I’ve lost weight. I don’t know how much since, per the Whole30 rules, I have not weighed myself. But enough that I was able to swap my jean inventory. My skinny jeans are now in the closet and my maternity wear and fat pants are in the probably giveaway because I’ll never get around to organizing that garage sale box. My skinny jeans are not especially comfortable yet, but I can stuff my thighs in and button all but one pair.

The other sort of notable thing happening is the throwing up. On Ollie’s part. Throw up, spit up. It’s hard to tell the difference at the wee age of 3 months. Mainly the volume has increased dramatically. Also I seem unable to completely drain a breast. Which means my letdown is pretty forceful and Ollie’s having a hard time with this. She almost won’t nurse on the left side.

So I’m left pondering… Is she sick and not eating as much? She seems otherwise quite well, in good spirits, feverless and excreting waste on schedule. Is she allergic to something I ate? I can’t think of anything new I added in the last week.  Is she just gagging herself? This is partially to blame I think; she’s always chewing on her fingers. But it doesn’t explain why my breasts are so full.

OR, has my milk supply increased now that I’m off antibiotics and eating a nutrient rich diet. I suspect/hope this is it. Ruby did spit up SO MUCH more than Ollie has until now. I thought the girls were just different, but perhaps I didn’t even realize my milk supply was down while sick. It kind of makes sense, right?