Animal Crackers

I did something today I don’t think I’ve done since before my Whole30. I snacked between breakfast and lunch. The worst part about it is I bought something from the vending machine at work with very little, if any, nutritional value. Animal crackers.pic

I figured they would do less harm than a bag of greasy chips or empty carb pretzels. I haven’t restocked my desk drawer with healthy snacks yet, and I got hungry a good two hours before I planned on taking my lunch break. I’ll chalk it up to an earlier than usual breakfast and one that contained less protein than it should have. I had sweet potato toast topped with a single egg, strawberries and almond butter. I should’ve added the salami like I’d originally intended. I have to remember that my Whole30 breakfasts always kept me full until lunch, whereas what I ate before the Whole30 usually did not, most likely because of minimal protein.

 

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Whole30 Day 30

Well folks, I think it’s quite ironic that on my last day of the Whole30 I felt bloated for most of the day and had a myriad of zits on my face, but así es la vida, as my high school Spanish teacher used to say. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. After all, neither of those symptoms is something I’ve struggled with before or during the Whole30.

But enough “oh woe is me;” I did it! I went 30 days without consuming any grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol or added sugar! I didn’t doubt that I could do it, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless. I really didn’t even miss the things I couldn’t have too much, which is good considering I still have a 10-day reintroduction period ahead of me.

As has been a recurring theme with my recent posts, I don’t feel all that different than I did before I started the Whole30. I’ll spend tomorrow taking inventory of any non-scale victories and weigh myself to see if there’s been a change there. But if you remember, what I was most hoping to take away from this is something I can’t test until I regain my food freedom. Once my reintroduction is complete and I can eat whatever my heart and tummy desire, I’m immensely curious to see which foods I gravitate toward.

More than anything else, this experience has taught me how to know the difference between hunger and cravings. If I feel like eating something but the thought of having, say, chicken and vegetables doesn’t sound satisfying, it’s probably a craving and will pass. If I determine I’m truly hungry I should opt for a mini meal that contains at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).

Thanks to the Whole30, I’ve gained a new, healthier relationship with what I put in my body, and I hope it lasts well beyond the 30 days it took to acquire.

Where’s My Tiger Blood?

With just six days left of my Whole30, I think now would be a good time for reflection. Many of you have asked me how it’s going, and my answer has been a lukewarm “fine” or “pretty good.” The thing is, I’m well past the difficult days, but I don’t feel much different than I felt before I started. I can’t deny that I snack much less than I did pre-Whole30, and I now eat to satiety, or fullness, at every meal. But I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. And I haven’t gone for a run recently (thanks to Old Man Winter’s late arrival) to see whether my stamina has increased. So I guess what I’m saying is, I feel kinda jipped of the so-called Tiger Blood phase the majority of Whole30ers experience.

That being said, I’ve really enjoyed trying out new recipes and can honestly say I have not grown tired of the food I’m eating. Here’s a sample of a few of my favorite meals. As always, if you want a recipe, just ask!

Conquering Cravings With My New Friends

I’m back! After a long absence for which I do sincerely apologize, I have returned with some exciting news. Within the next month, I plan to embark on a complete lifestyle change known as the Whole30.

In a nutshell, it’s an elimination diet that cuts out grains, dairy, legumes and added sugar for 30 days. If Melissa and Dallas (Hartwig, the founders of the program) are reading this though, they’ll scold me for calling it a diet. Because it’s so much more.

Heeding the advice of my friend Taylor, who is getting ready to do her second Whole30, yesterday I started reading two of the four books the creators have written about the program: It Starts With Food and The Whole30. I’m 60 pages into the first one and have never been more fascinated by science. Ever. The book backs up the Whole30 lifestyle with cold, hard facts; it explains how eliminating certain foods from your diet completely (no cheating!) can change your life, even if, like me, you’re pretty happy with your life already.whole-30-books

Some people choose to do the Whole30 to cure diseases or alleviate various ailments, all of which has been known to happen. There is literally a full page in The Whole30 that contains all the maladies the program has succeeded in healing. I am fortunate enough not to have any symptoms in need of attention, other than occasional migraines, but one of the selling points for me is the potential elimination of unhealthy cravings.

As the name of my blog suggests, I enjoy junk food just as much as the next person. And despite exercising every other day and counting calories most days, I can’t help but cave when someone brings donuts to the office or when my boyfriend suggests we order pizza on a Friday night. If the Whole30 does in fact allow me to conquer that penchant for what Melissa and Dallas call “food with no brakes,” I will be pleasantly amazed. At any rate, that’s one of the things I hope to take away from my 30 days.

On that note, my favorite part of It Starts With Food so far has been the explanation of why we crave certain foods even when we know they’re terrible for us. I’m going to go book report mode on you now with a quick summary that I hope you find as intriguing as I do.

Way back when cavemen roamed the earth (or maybe not cavemen but the life form that came before modern day humans), they knew to opt for sweet foods in nature rather than bitter foods, because a bitter taste indicated poison. Similarly, they knew to consume foods that tasted salty because of their ability to help conserve fluid and foods that were fatty because of their dense calorie content. So our ancestors were trained to eat things that were sweet, salty and fatty. Yum.

But fast-forward thousands of years and evil food scientists discover they can create foods that are SUPER sweet, salty and fatty, more so than anything that exists naturally. These are supernormal stimuli or Franken-foods, and it’s NOT OUR FAULT we want them so bad. As the Hartwigs write,

“These foods light up pleasure and reward centers in the brain for a different reason than nature intended – not because they provide vital nutrition, but because they are scientifically designed to stimulate our tastebuds. The effect is a total disconnection between pleasurable, rewarding tastes (sweet, fatty and salty) and the nutrition that always accompanies them in nature.”

Next time I’m tempted by food with no brakes, I’m going to stare that vanilla kreme donut square in the eye and say, “You can’t trick me! I know your secret!” And now you do, too. 🙂