Whole 30 Diary – Day 31

Off road! So far off road I can’t even see it! … Well, not really. But a bit.

So, I’ve decided against doing the careful reintroduction programme that’s given in “It Starts With Food”. Because I’m not coming off the Whole 30. But I am giving myself a one-day break between two lots of the Whole 30 to let my hair down and eat some crap.

I was sort of feeling by the end of the 30 days that I’d had enough of being so strict. But at the same time, I know I’m not actually in the habit of eating healthily enough to finish the Whole 30 and start eating a balanced diet off my own initiative. I’ve been dithering about it for a few days. Part of me said just stay on the Whole 30 until I feel ready, but the AIP is too strict, and it’s too open-ended. I need there to be a finish line in sight. Another part of me wanted to just go ahead and try to eat sensibly without being on the Whole 30, but if I’m really honest, I’m still having sugar cravings and I know I’d gradually slip back to eating badly.

So what I’m doing isn’t the recommended approach at all, but it feels right for me. One day to eat a few things I like: pizza, chocolate (both gluten and dairy free, as I was avoiding dairy and gluten even before I started Whole 30). Then another 30 days to do the stuff I didn’t get to: exercise, learn a wide variety of meals, give the cravings more time to go away.

Wish me luck!


Whole 30 Diary – Day 27

I’m still in the wrap-up stages of my Whole 30. I can’t say I feel “tiger blood” ish, but I do feel pretty good, and I’m determined to keep eating well after the Whole 30 ends. At the same time, I know that I haven’t really “cracked it” – I need to pick up more recipes. And I know that I’m going to have to try reintroductions of foods I’m avoiding on the AIP. And, lurking, I have the worry that if the reintroductions fail, and I have to eat like this long-term, what then?

One thing that I’ve been finding a bit annoying about the Whole 30 is that most Whole 30 recipes aren’t suitable for people following the AIP. BY most, I mean around 95%. It’s really hard to find recipes that I can eat, other than quite plain meat/fish-with-herbs and vegetables-with-herbs-or-lemon. Even Melissa Joulwan found it hard to enjoy food on the AIP!

Then, today, I found these.

betsyl33’s Pinterest Whole 30 AIP recipes

The Paleo Autoimmune Cookbook

Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtables

Now, obviously I haven’t really tried the recipes out yet, as I’ve only just found them, but I’m so desperate for recipe ideas that I’m posting them anyway, in case others feel the same. And, equally obviously – check for yourself that they really are AIP-compliant, especially if you already know what foods you need to avoid.

Off I go to maybe make some more varied food!

Whole 30 Diary – Day 25!

Holy crap! It’s day 25. Including today – which is half over already – I’ve got just six days left of my Whole 30!

So, a quick update. I’m feeling a lot better than I did last week – I think it was just a monthly cycle thing. So, that’s something. I’m still really craving sugary stuff – I think because the end is in sight. But as it gets nearer, I’m also starting to want to break the Whole 30 less. It’s as if it was a nice dream but I don’t really want to go back to sugar in reality. I will have one sugary treat when the Whole 30 is over though… maybe… I think… Well, let’s wait and see how I feel in another five days.

I really am looking forward to getting a few things back. Eggs, for one. (Yes, I know Whole 30 allows eggs, but I’m on the autoimmune protocol). I don’t really think that I have a problem with eggs, so assuming the reintroduction goes okay, it’ll be good to get them back. I’m dying for a really huge veg-filled frittata. I’m glad I cut eggs out though, as otherwise I think I would have eaten them too much. When they get reintroduced, it will be as just one more option for protein, not as a breakfast staple.

I also still need to broaden my recipe repertoire. I was reading Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” last night, and while there are lots of non-compliant recipes in there, it gave me loads of ideas of things I could adapt. I need to crack on and do it!

I also haven’t been doing the exercise that I should have. Starting today, strength workout every three days, yoga on the intervening days. And I want to learn to do a handstand. And after that, a cartwheel. And at some point, a pull-up. (That last may take a while, but let’s see). For now, handstand.

I also promised myself that I’d write out the list of how I feel better, just to remind myself on day 31 what it was all for (and why I don’t want to lapse!). So here it is:

More energy, no sugar lows.
Slimmer, and also less achy and more flexible.
Less fuzzy-mouth at the end of the day and in the morning.
Fingernails growing well, not breaking.
Not feeling hungry all the time.
Fall asleep easily, feel properly awake in the morning.
Easier to concentrate, I’m getting more stuff done.
Wider choice of meals, not always cooking the same few favourites out of a packet.

Things still to work on:
Getting enough sleep. (Although the sleep I am getting is more refreshing).
Exercise more.
Drink more fluids.
Learn more recipes, plan meals ahead.
Eat seasonally.
Make my meat choices more sustainable.

So, less than a week to go… But also a lifetime ahead to keep tuning this. Starting with some planning in this last week.

Whole 30 Diary – Day 21!

Wow! How did I get to day 21 successfully? Only 9 more days to go…

In theory, this should be the Tiger Blood section of the Whole 30, but I just haven’t been feeling it. Without going into TMI territory, let’s just say I’ve spent the last four or five days trying to make sure I’m eating enough fibre (my diet’s 80% vegetables, for goodness sake!) and that I’m drinking enough. Also I’ve taken some probiotics, as that was another suggestion from the Whole 30 site. Things seem to be improving, but eight drinks a day is LOADS! How does anyone drink that much without getting bored?

Also, I’ve noticed, it’s now been long enough since this began that I’m starting to take some of the benefits for granted. I did a quick audit to remind myself of what has improved since I started this – it’s a lot! It’s all too easy to forget how I felt when I was eating sugar.

Otherwise, I’m getting a bit bored with food – I’ve just bought a soup cookbook, and planning to experiment with some new recipes as well. A lot of the Whole 30 recipes aren’t okay on the autoimmune version, though – still, I can keep searching.

I am starting to fantasise about what the first treat will be when the 30 days are up. Today I cleared out my fridge to get rid of some chocolate that was stale, and tucked behind it was a small bar of my absolute favourite chocolate! Argh! If I can, I’ll leave it there until day 31. If I can’t, I’ll just have to let my son eat it! 🙂

So… Hopefully on the downward slope towards the finish, but still making adjustments and trying to get the diet right. And just 9 days to go…

Whole 30 Diary – Day 13 – The Dragon Roars

Insert expletive/blasphemy of choice here. The sugar dragon has woken up and stretched his wings.

Until now, Whole 30 hasn’t been too bad. The first week was physically exhausting, but my willpower was up to it. And I rested lots. The second week, so far, has been more about beating the habit. And I’ve been sailing through. Feeling, if I’m totally honest, the tiniest bit smug about how well I’m coping.

And then today happened. The smugness is gone. Although i haven’t broken Whole 30, but I really had to work for it.

A few things combined. First, I think I’ve got a bit of a cold. Nothing too bad, but sneezy, blocked nose and running a bit of a temperature. Feeling a bit snuggle-down-and-eat-comfort-food-ish. Secondly, I’ve been a bit short on sleep for the last couple of nights because of early starts. And then I had to do a grocery shop when I was hungry, which is never a great idea.

As I walked round that supermarket, I don’t think there was a single sugary item that I didn’t crave. I even noticed products that I’d never seen before. Did you know there’s a caramel coffee type of those coffee pods? Nor did I, but today I noticed. And wanted some.

The store had the gluten-free, dairy-free Christmas stuff in, and normally I’d buy that as soon as it’s available, since they tend to run out. Today I decided that there was no way it was safe to have them in the house while I’m in this mood.

So I didn’t succumb, and made it safely back home. But today I definitely feel like I’ll have earned the achievement when I make day 30!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wolf down some salmon and veggies so that I at least don’t feel hungry!

Whole 30 Diary – Day 11

Day 11! I can’t believe it! I’ve actually finished 1/3 of the Whole 30!

So, astonishment aside, a brief update today with things I’ve noticed.

Firstly, I’m definitely smaller. But it’s a bit up and down, because I still get occasional bloat days as my digestion adapts/heals/whatever it’s doing. But I’m wearing a dress size smaller than I was. (It may not be a full dress size, but I’ve crossed the boundary by a clear margin.)

Secondly, I’m starting to very definitely know the difference between being hungry and thirsty. This was one of the things that had got messed up for me, maybe because of too many caffeinated drinks. Now if I’m not hungry, but need a drink, I can tell – I have dry mouth instead of hunger/cravings.

Thirdly, and I really love this one – no scummy morning mouth! You know when you wake up, and your mouth is all fuzzy? Gone. I just love that change!

Fourthly, I’m starting to get some energy back, and I feel like I want to exercise. Also, my body feels much less stiff. Even though I haven’t exercised since I started Whole 30, a load of aches are gone. I don’t grunt as I bend down to tie my shoelaces, or as I stand up from a low chair. I haven’t lost enough weight/size for it to make a significant difference, so I’m assuming that this is either less gas or less inflammation. Whatever it is, I love it.

Now the irritations.

I am starting to get a bit bored with the cooking every meal thing, and the food options. I’m heading for the shops today to buy beets and capers to make this nomato sauce. Also going to go back to “It Starts With Food” and look at their chicken/fish recipes in the appendix. I also saw a great lasagne substitute with zucchini/courgette slices instead of pasta.

At the same time, I’m wondering: where does this cross the line into trying to eat unhealthily with healthy ingredients? Whole 30 has some pungent warnings about trying to recreate your old diet with new ingredients. I am working on the assumption that the key is variety: don’t let things like the “lasagne” become staples, mix it up and have them once in a while.

Time will tell: I have to branch out sometime! Here goes…

Whole 30 Diary – Day 9 Update

I haven’t updated every day – I did say I wasn’t going to. But I am still sticking to Whole 30, I haven’t given up.

Days 6-8 have been about gradually feeling better. My Whole 30 doesn’t seem to be following the timeline exactly, but I’m getting the same symptoms in roughly the same order.

On day 6, I felt a bit better. I had errands to run all morning until about 1pm, then got home and rested until school pickup time. I didn’t achieve much, but had the energy to get my errands done without feeling like death. This was a big improvement on previous days.

The errands, unfortunately, were preparing for my son’s birthday. I seemed to spend the day surrounded by cake, sweets and everything I couldn’t eat. I resisted everything, but I did notice a tendency to overspend as compensation for resisting the sugar. I’ve noticed this before – I think it may be down to having finite willpower.

On day 7, I felt much better. I also felt completely sick of the diet. If I stayed at home all day, I was going to bounce off the walls. Moreover, the house was still full of cakes and sweets for my son’s birthday. So I went out. I had a giant mint tea at a coffee shop, and sat drinking it while thinking about all the things that I could still enjoy, rather than the things I couldn’t. Unfortunately what I thought was herbal mint tea was actually black tea with mint. The caffeine made me feel rubbish – gurgly stomach, buzzy head, hot flush. So I didn’t break the diet (tea is allowed), but I’ve decided no caffeine for me for the rest of the 30.

I then compounded my “success” by having lunch out, and carefully picking a healthy lunch (which wasn’t easy) of roast chicken, carrots and peas from the menu. Spot the error? I didn’t, until too late. I was so busy picking out veg to eat, that I forgot that peas are a legume, and banned on Whole 30. Doh! Luckily, a quick search of the forums (fora?) on the Whole 30 website showed that they consider accidentally eating some peas to be a technicality, and I don’t have to start again. Phew!

Despite the dicey nature of the day, it was really good to have a day out, to eat out, and to feel “normal”. It’s quite mentally intense, as well as physically intense, doing Whole 30, and the “treat day” really helped.

(Aside: what was my treat? I bought myself books. Books have always been my other weakness aside from sugar).

Day 8 was fairly productive – I felt back to “normal” and managed to get stuff done. I’ve got some catching up to do on housework, etc, from week one when I felt terrible. After lunch, however, I ran out of energy and needed a siesta. Day 9 is so far going the same – plenty of energy until after lunch, then a snooze. I think this is more of a sleep catch-up than an ongoing feature. I had a big sleep backlog, and each afternoon sleep is reducing the bags under my eyes a bit. I look almost normal again now, and I’ve got my colour back.

I’ve also noticed that I’m starting to get a bit bored with my food options. While I was short of energy in week one, I was preparing the simplest meals possible – grilled/cold meat with steamed veg. Everything tasted so good anyway that it wasn’t an issue. That’s one thing that I’ve really noticed – without sugar in my diet, I can taste the flavours of the food so much more. Vegetables that I used to think bland turn out to be delicious.

Nevertheless, I think its time to scout around the Whole 30 sites for some new recipes and try them out. One of the things I really need to do during these 30 days is try new recipes so that my healthy diet is varied enough to stick to long-term. One way to fail Whole 30, for me, would be to get through the 30 days successfully, but then to gradually reintroduce the crap into my diet out of boredom.

So: doing okay so far. Not perfect, but still on Whole 30 and still seeing improvements. Time to broaden my recipe repertoire now that I’m feeling a bit more confident. 9 days down, 21 more to go…

Whole 30 Diary – Days 4-5

I’m not planning to post this every day, just as and when I feel like it.

So, I’ve made it to the start of day 6! But the last couple of days have been tough.

On day 4 I thought I was starting to get a bit more energy. On the Whole 30 timeline, days 4-5 are called “Kill ALL the things”, so I was expecting this would be the start of major grumpiness. Not so much. The energy went away again instead.

(Aside: I am getting really tetchy when I’m too tired and hungry, but as yet no major mood swings).

Yesterday, though, I just wanted to sleep. I had my son and his friend to look after from the end of school until about 6:30pm, which I did by watching while they played board games together. I was curled up on a beanbag with a duvet, sleepy and cold. Once the friend had gone, my son and I both were in bed by 7:30pm, asleep.

Then I woke up at 2am. This has happened the last two nights. Argh! I’m a bit prone to insomnia anyway, so I’m not that surprised it’s happened. I’m not sure if the tiredness is because I’m not sleeping, or if I’m already on the day 6-7 phase of the timeline (“I just want a nap…”), or if I’m not getting enough carbs.

Yes, Whole 30 is about weaning yourself off sugar and carbs. But sweet potatoes, etc are still allowed. The thing is, to start off the Whole 30, I decide I might as well eat the vegetables I really love – since this was going to be hard enough anyway. So I stocked up lots of veggies, and every meal I cooked whichever I fancied. As it turns out, that has included butternut squash for a couple of meals, but mostly mushrooms, courgettes, broccoli, onions, asparagus and leeks – maybe a bit low in carbs.

I decided to break the Whole 30 rule and check my weight, to make sure it wasn’t dropping too quickly. I’ve been weighing myself each day, but I have WiFi scales. So I have weighed myself but religiously NOT LOOKED at my weight, knowing it was getting saved in the cloud and I could see the trends at the end. Yesterday, I did a quick check. I’m down 1 kg – not too much for the start of a diet – so I don’t need to start stuffing down more carbs. But I’ll try to remember to make sure I’m including them at least somewhat.

(Aside: Broccoli! Yum! One problem with Whole 30 is that their test for “are you really hungry or just having cravings?” is to ask yourself if you’re hungry enough to eat steamed fish with broccoli. Which is a great idea – except that I love broccoli! I really must think of another veg that I’m not so keen on. Maybe carrots).

And now I will NOT LOOK at my weight again daily!

The other problem I had was with cooking fat. I don’t eat butter, it doesn’t agree with me – and I used to be vegetarian. Whilst I’m not veggie now, I still automatically minimise the amount of animal products I eat. So I looked at the list of approved cooking fats, and bought some coconut oil.

I’d forgotten how much I hate coconut oil. (Eating fresh coconut – yum! It’s the smell of the oil I don’t like, for some reason). When I was a kid, cheap sun creams used to smell of coconut, and I’d stay indoors rather than play out and have to smell coconut all day. Coconut-smelling hair oils make me nauseous. And now, suddenly my food  smelled of coconut oil! I got around it as much as possible by choosing to saute rather than fry or roast. But by the end of day 3 it was a deal-breaker. So I went out and bought some duck fat. I only use tiny amounts for frying or roasting anyway, but suddenly my food tastes good again.

Another thing I’ve really noticed is how often, before this diet, I would be “too tired to cook” and would pick an easy option: sandwich, ready meal, or junk food. And how much everything that I crave is sugary and bad for me! So I’m definitely glad I’m doing this diet, even if all it achieves is to make me notice what I eat more.

Am I feeling any different? Well, hungry. Hungry lots. Tired. Tired lots. But yes, under the tiredness I think I do feel a bit better. Its hard to tell though, because I’m so damn tired! Apparently it’s going to get better soon. I’m just trying not to think about how many days until “soon”.