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!

We Need to Talk About Buns

We need to talk about buns. Not that kind of bun, and not the bread kind either. The Whole30 cookbook has recipes for buns made of mushroom caps and slices of eggplant and sweet potato.

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Photo of Buns Taken From the Book

Tonight I decided to try a sweet potato bun to complement my turkey burger. After all, when I make turkey burgers, which is pretty often, I tend to make oven-baked sweet potato fries as a side. So this wasn’t going to be a far cry from my pre-Whole30 go-to dinner.

I think I might’ve cut the sweet potato slices too thick. The recipe says to shoot for 1/2-inch, and mine were closer to 3/4-inch. So when they didn’t get soft after three to five minutes per side in olive oil, I wasn’t that surprised. I transferred my not-bun to the toaster oven, set it to 425 degrees and then made the turkey burger, and by the time that was done, my bun was soft! And once topped with meat and veggies (and a dollop of homemade mayo), it made for a BEAUTIFUL burger.

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Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful

And then this happened.

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I’m hideous! Don’t look at me!

Yes, after just a couple bites, my masterpiece fell apart. What’s the point of a burger if you have to eat it with a fork?! Where my Whole30 people at? Does this always happen? Is it me or my buns???

Day 4: Don’t Worry, I Won’t Kill You

You guys. The support I’ve gotten in my first four days on the Whole30 has been astounding. I am blown away by the kind words my family, friends and coworkers have offered me. I’m also surprised by how not difficult (notice I didn’t say “easy”) the past few days have been. I mean, the creators of the Whole30 said days two and three I’d probably have no energy and feel woozy. Sure, Tuesday morning I could barely squeak out two miles on the treadmill before taking a break (for comparison, I average around five miles on the treadmill when winter weather keeps me from running outside), and Tuesday afternoon a dull headache set in until bedtime, but not getting a good night’s sleep has had far worse effects. I read that the negative side effects Whole30ers experience in their first few days are directly proportional to how bad their diets were before the Whole30. So I guess I should feel encouraged.

Try to keep yourselves from rolling your eyes when I say this, but I feel as though I’ve gained more on the Whole30 so far than I’ve lost, and I’m not talking about weight. Not being able to just pour myself a bowl of cereal or bring a granola bar or a yogurt to work with me has forced me to get creative with my breakfasts. As you can see, I’ve eaten a lot of eggs and sweet potatoes, but no two meals have been exactly alike. Almost all my condiments have been homemade, and I’m using more fresh herbs that I’ve ever used before. The last nonscale victory I’d like to mention is that I didn’t kill anyone today! Ok, that one needs some explanation. The Whole30 timeline states that on days four and five, most participants have a burning desire to “kill all the things.” Not me though! I’m just a ray of sunshine!

And So it Begins…

Today was the first day of my new life. I’m all in. I’ve drank the Hartwigs’ Whole30 Kool-Aid, and I’m more than ready to comply with their rules for the next 30 days.

Look at all the yummy food I made for Day 1! I’m excited to spend more time in the kitchen in the coming weeks and plan to eat my way through the recipe section of the Whole30 book.

Speaking of my ravenous appetite, these meals were hearty enough to fill me up, but I still got hungry between meals. I didn’t allow myself any snacks though because Melissa and Dallas say that promotes a grazing lifestyle, which disrupts the eating cycle. I also started feeling tired around 3:30 or 4, but I don’t know if that has to do with the Whole30 or the fact that I didn’t have coffee today.

Nutrition Label Changes

As the writer of a health and wellness blog (that’s weird to say), I would be remiss if I didn’t so much as mention the nationwide food label makeover announced yesterday.

 

To recap before I give my two cents, the FDA proposed a series of changes to nutrition labels two years ago that the First Lady just announced will go into effect within the next couple of years. Most food companies have until July 2018 to comply.

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Here are a few highlights:

Serving Size

The Change: Under the new guidelines, the suggested serving size on food labels will more realistically reflect what someone actually eats. For example, a serving size of ice cream will increase from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup. Also changing is the number of servings contained in a “single serving” package of food that weighs up to — but not quite — twice the standard serving size. That means a 20-ounce bottle of soda will show one serving.

My Thoughts: I understand the concept behind the change: to help people understand the calorie content of what they are actually consuming. The problem is, I think many people, myself included, will end up eating more because of the larger serving size on some foods. I do try my best to adhere to the posted serving size for snacks regardless of calorie count; granted, the fewer calories something contains, the more likely I am to eat more than one serving. But now my single serving of some foods is just going to be bigger, in accordance with the listed serving size. I won’t intuitively think, oh, I used to only eat one handful of pretzels instead of the one and a half it says I can eat now, so let me go back to that. And for people who don’t regularly adhere to posted serving sizes, I don’t think they will be any more likely to do so now.

Sugars

The Change: The total sugar content will now be broken down to show how much of that sugar is added, as well as a daily value percentage for added sugars.

My Thoughts: Why didn’t food labels have this before? Great idea.