Finished a Whole30!

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Well I’m glad that’s over. I saw no miraculous transformation from Whole30, and it didn’t change my life except for making more annoyed than usual. Of course, I was already eating a Primal diet, and I was not trying to lose weight. My back is doing somewhat better, although today I’m having a lot of pain. I don’t think my back pain is related to diet, but I’ll reevaluate after I see how I do next week. This was probably not the best time for me to do a Whole30. I have no plans to do another Whole30, but I would consider doing one again to get myself back on track after the holidays or after vacation. I’ll list some of my observations, in the order in which they came into my head. I posted my preliminary findings at the halfway point in this rant.

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Jewel with onion ring bracelets

1. I am noticing the natural sweet flavors of food more now, so I do think that Whole30 has re-sensitized my palate to sweets.

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Jewel - silly fighting stance

2. I had to fight NOT to lose weight on this program, even though I’ve not been exercising or tracking my calories. I’ve been able to get my weight back up to 119, which is about what it was before I started, but that is only through stuffing myself.

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Cider-braised bratwurst contaminated by an onion - see https://greenhsv.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/primal-celebration-dinner/

3. I’ve gotten used to drinking my coffee black again, so I plan to continue doing this.
4. My cravings for non-Paleo food have been much worse on Whole30. I am very content eating a Primal diet and only rarely get cravings for grain-based foods. I found Whole30 too restrictive. Primal allows me dairy, wine and naturally sweetened desserts in moderation, and for me these aren’t “gateway drugs” to grains and white sugar. I plan to indulge in a beer tonight and have Bandito some time in the near future. I miss the taste of beer much more than the alcohol.

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Lacinato Kale

5. I’m still hungry every 2-3 hours. I guess that’s just my metabolism. I think that having to eat frequent snacks made Whole30 more difficult for me.

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Sauteing the onions and peppers for Cider-Braised Brats - see https://greenhsv.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/primal-celebration-dinner/

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cooking to do! Mom is coming back into town this afternoon, and we are going to celebrate!

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Over Halfway Through Whole30 – A Rant

I am proud to say that I have made it over half-way through my Whole30 without completely cracking yet. On a positive note, my back is hurting less. There is a small but non-zero chance that this is related to the Whole30 Plan, but I think it is more likely related to the fluid from my failed epidural injection finally bring absorbed by my body. We’ll see if my back behaves any differently after I go back to my regular Primal diet. I must say that doing a Whole30 has made me appreciate how liberal the Primal diet really is! Here are my observations on Whole30 so far:
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1. It has made me irritable, that is, more irritable than baseline, which (in case anyone hasn’t noticed) is already pretty damn irritable.
2. I miss dairy more than anything. This is especially true of my snacks (more on that in a minute). I also miss using a strong-flavored cheese as a sort of condiment. A half an ounce of goat cheese, Gorgonzola or feta can go a long way in enhancing the flavor of a dish. I am constantly reminding myself that I can’t use Parmesan. This is a typical dilemma I face in cooking. Gourmet food is fresh food, simply prepared, which is generally consistent with what I consider healthy. However some dishes scream for heavy cream and cheese.
3. The snacks are tedious. I miss my homemade yogurt and my homemade buttermilk cheese. I’ve taken to making unusual concoctions of different combinations of nut butters, cherry or blueberry coconut bowls and banana boats. I’ve run out of grassed beef jerky, and sardines just haven’t sounded appetizing. So I’m eating too many nuts. Hey, what else is new? If I were able to get by eating 3 or 4 times a day, this would be a lot easier.
4. I don’t miss alcohol. Well I did for the first few days, then I pretty much forgot about it. I even went to a party last night where everyone was drinking and I didn’t really care that I was just drinking water. I do miss using wine for cooking.
5. I don’t miss eating desserts, even chocolate, but I miss making desserts. There are so many ideas I want to try!
6. This is a tough diet to follow while nauseated. I was very thankful that I had bone broth on hand and that I had made homemade chicken soup. I could also stomach hardboiled eggs, but I really wanted some toast! I’ve been trying to just tough it out. At least the Zofran allows me to keep my food down.
7. The only way that I’ve been flagrantly cheating is in weighing myself. I am not trying to lose weight, in fact, I’m trying NOT to lose weight. Hitting my lowest adult weight since college was not really my plan here. Of course, any time you eliminate broad categories of food, it is easy to lose weight. Give people more limited choices, and they eat less. Although Whole30 is a far healthier diet than the standard American diet, I’m not convinced it’s healthier than the standard Paleo diet.
8. At this point I’m having almost unbearable cravings for Bandito Burrito, although I know that that is the last thing my gastrointestinal system needs right now.
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So I guess I have alluded to the fact that I’m not going to extend my Whole30 throughout the whole Lenten season. See, my best drinking partner is coming back into town on day 31, and that was the clincher. Plus we plan to do a lot of cooking, and I’m sure we will need butter, heavy cream and cheese. 12 more days till Mom comes back – can’t wait!

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Whole30 for Lent

The

Although I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I have been observing Lent for the past few years. One of the things that I like about the Roman Catholic Church is how the church calendar follows the seasons. In December is Advent, the anticipation of the birth of the Christ Child. In late winter and early spring is Lent, a time for penitence and reflection leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ. The readings from the Bible follow this pattern as well, and the sermon is based on the readings, not vice versa. For this reason I do get something out of going to a Catholic mass, even though I don’t agree with all the teachings of the church. I am not a fan of the modern services that have become trendy in Protestant churches now. They pick a topic and then pick a few verses from the Bible out of context to justify the point they want to make, and then give it some sort of catchy name that is similar to a video game or a tv show. That just seems backwards to me. Also, there is no change to observe the seasons, neither in the readings nor the mood. The mood is “happy happy joy joy” all the time. If this works for you, then great! Everyone is different. I am just explaining why it doesn’t work for me.

I observe Lent with no sense of obligation. It is a personal choice. Last year I gave up Facebook. The year before that I gave up Facebook games. These were choices that led me to spend more time with my family, and 40 days is long enough to break a habit or start a new one. This year I am doing Whole30, which is a very strict version of the Paleo diet: no grains, legumes, dairy, sweetener of any sort, white potatoes or alcohol. Also no Paleo desserts, junk food or baked goods. I realize that this is almost the antithesis of traditional Lenten fasting, but I am going “meatless” on Fridays. (I still eat fish.). The other thing that is forbidden during Whole30 is weighing yourself and measuring your food. You are supposed to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. I like this idea of trusting my body rather than obsessing over the numbers. I’ve been eating Paleo for long enough to know what my portions should look like, so this has freed me from calculating the calories of everything I cook.

So, how many people knew that Lent was actually 46 days long? Yeah, me neither. The Sundays in Lent don’t count. If I were doing a traditional Lenten fast (no dairy, meat or oil), I’d be all about chowing down down on some meat and fat on Sundays! But the key to Whole30 is to break old habits, and indulging once a week would not be helpful. I don’t know if I’ll make it 46 days. I will reevaluate how I feel on Day 30. I am hoping that eating 100% clean will help my back, but I know that I am grasping at straws at this point.

For the next month or so, starting yesterday, I’ll be posting recipes that are Whole30 compliant. For the most part these will be savory dishes, but I will include some fruit-sweetened treats. Larabars are allowed on Whole30, so I plan to make some homemade versions. If anyone else out there is doing Whole30 for Lent, please leave me a comment. It would be great to support each other.