Week One.

You guys.

I made it through the first week of the Whole30! Holy $hit. That's 7 days without a single morsel of: sugar. dairy. wheat or other grains (including quinoa). peanut forms. beans (including soy). I have eaten nothing but WHOLE food for 7 days.

I don't really even know how I came up with the idea that this is what I wanted to try. It just hit me one day and then I ran with it. I recruited four other people to do it with me- mostly because I know there is strength in numbers and support is key for something like this. By Day 4 I was on my own. They had all either not started or decided to stop. This cleanse/diet/lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. In doing some of my reading I kept seeing the same thing over and over:

It's highly restrictive and leaves no room for error.

And it's true. In the true spirit of the program if you "cheat" you're supposed to start back to Day One. The idea is that it takes our bodies a full 30 days to cleanse out any of the crud we've been pumping them full of (all sugar and sugar substitutes - including alcohol, unnatural additives, grains, legumes, and dairy). So if you cheat and ingest one of the items that is not allowed on this diet it will take you another 30 days of cleansing to remove it and feel the full affects of this paleo-extreme-clean way of eating. Of course, no one is around to force you to start over and I would imagine many people don't start back at Day One -- but if you're committed to doing this - that is what you're supposed to do. That being said, I have ZERO cheats. Nothing. Not a single one. I didn't even have a taste of sugar, cereal, peanut butter, cheese, bread, chocolate, pizza, ice cream, coffee creamer. Nothing. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS NOT TO LICK THE KNIFE WHEN YOU MAKE A MILLION PB&J'S EVERY WEEK?! It is field trip season, people! I am making SO many sandwiches this time of year for my troop of children. It is second nature to bring that knife to my lips...but this past week I had to be mindful of that and abstained. Even though it smelllllllllls soooooooooooooo gooooooooooooood. *drool*

As I've been doing this and talking to people about this, I've had a lot of people say that they already eat similar to this. And they probably do. It's not an uncommon diet to be on. It's essentially low carb, in it's simplest form. The thing that makes it different is that anything with any amount of anything of the off-limit stuff is a no-go. So sugar that is not naturally occurring is off limits. And until you start reading every label you literally have no idea how many things contain or have added sugar. Bacon. Sausage. LUNCH MEAT. Salad dressing. Many canned veggies. The other thing that makes this more difficult is oil. I'm only allowed to eat things that are cooked in certain oils: sunflower, olive, avocado, coconut, maybe one or two others. This makes eating out nearly impossible. Which is good for the ol' pocket book. Another large hurdle is the restriction on all grains. This includes but is not limited to: wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and even gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. Grains are like sugar in that they're added to everything. If you're a dipper- this diet is hard because almost every condiment is off limits, besides mustard. I have yet to find a soup I can eat, because most broths have sugar and wheat. *sigh*  And the dairy portion of this is the most frustrating. I mean no cheese?? No yogurt? Both of those are low carb but are off limits. So this is a little more involved than just a low carb diet. It's extremely restrictive, but that restrictiveness is temporary and does serve a purpose. After 30 days you can add all those things back into your diet one at a time to see how they affect you overall. Pretty cool - huh? I think so.

Ok, so what do I eat? That's the biggest question I get when I rattle off all the things I can't eat.

I eat eggs. meat (chicken, pork, hamburger, steak, tuna). veggies - raw or cooked. They can be fried in a bit of EVOO or coconut oil and they can be seasoned - as long as that seasoning doesn't have any wheat or sugar fillers (some do). Some fruit, approximately 2-3 servings a day. Raw nuts. Any nuts that are roasted are almost always roasted in peanut oil and that's off limits. My condiments have been limited to mayo and salad dressing that I found at Jerry's Foods. Which is spendy so I'm going to try my hand this week at making my own homemade stuff that will be dairy, sugar, and gluten free.

So here's an example of what I ate this week:

Breakfast: Eggs with chorizo, spinach, onion, green pepper, salsa (most have sugar- I had to search for one that was compliant) and a banana or berries on the side

Spaghetti squash with
sweet potato toast

Lunch: chicken salad (which contains grapes, apples, green onion), sweet potato chips (just sweet potatoes, coconut oil and salt), carrots, celery, green peppers, complimented with my stupid-expensive ranch dressing

Dinner: spaghetti squash with compliant sauce (tomato sauce, ground turkey, onion, green pepper, Italian seasoning) and sweet potato toast.

According to this plan, there isn't supposed to be any snacking between meals. You can snack, but it isn't encouraged. Although I had to reach for a snack a few times as I learn to eat enough at each meal, I am getting better at making sure I get enough fat, protein, and veggies in one sitting. This past week if I needed to snack I would have: apples, raw nuts, celery or banana with unsweetened almond butter.

What have I learned? Meal planning and prep is essential! Also, I never realized how many forks I'd use! I feel like I never have any clean! I haven't eaten with a spoon in a week. ha. My kitchen is always in use because I'm constantly making 3-4 helpings of each meal. I've also learned that eating this way is not convenient and it does not travel well. And since our culture is all about convenience and being on the go - this has proved to be the most challenging. Especially for a large busy family like mine.

Examples:  I went to my mom's house for lunch one day this week and that was probably the hardest day of the week. My mom's house is FULL of snacks, sugar, carbs, and juice. I knew she wouldn't have anything there I could eat - and I was right. I think she had one orange so I ate that but thankfully I had packed an RXBAR, which is a meal replacement bar that has nothing in it besides eggs, nuts, fruit and natural flavors like cinnamon and coffee. While visiting at her house I walked past candy dishes overflowing with Reese's peant buttrer cups at least 14 times. ha.  I literally had to hold my breath while walking by.  Another night my oldest brought home Dairy Queen. On Friday Rob ordered pizza from my new favorite pizza place. Thankfully, I was at work eating hardboiled eggs and veggies so I didn't even know they were all indulging in my favorite foods without me until I got home and saw the empty pizza box on the counter.

So yeah, it's been hard. Really, really freaking hard.

Things I love so far:
1. New foods! I'm trying tons of new foods! So far I've tried: brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and spaghetti squash.
2. I love how I feel. I feel much less bloated and lethargic. I just feel good, clear, and light.
3. The science behind it. I love learning the why and how. It's so interesting to me how our bodies work and digest food and pull the energy from it. (nerd alert)

Things I don't love so far:
1.The prep. It's very time consuming - although it's better now that I'm only prepping for myself instead of both Robert and me- I still have to make sure I know what I'll be eating all day long because anything packaged and pre-made is basically off limits.
2. The mess (ugh) - I'm contantly doing dishes (super grateful for my dishwasher) and cleaning the kitchen.
3. It is inconvenient. As I stated before it's a hard way to eat when you're on the go a lot, which we are.

All in all, I'm super proud of myself. I can't believe I did this. Granted it's only been a week but I'm going strong and have no desire to stop. It's amazing how once you stop eating certain foods, you stop craving them. So while I'm looking forward to being able to indulge in my favorite foods in 22 days, I'm pretty content right now.

Now excuse me while I go drink my plain black cold press coffee.

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