Whole 30: Days 20-25

Today is day 25 of the Whole 30.  Though I haven’t taken the time to log my meals over the past several days, they have been completely compliant Whole 30. On any given day I have had a cheat here or there. One day I had  spoonful of peanut butter to see if I still love it as much as I think I do. The answer is yes. Yes I do. I’ve also started to slowly add dairy back into my diet. I know that the Whole 30 creators would have wanted me to wait until the Whole 30 is over because they argue that it takes takes 3 weeks to form a habit, so 30 days gives you 9 extra days to get those habits down. But, I’m already convinced that most of the foods in the Whole 30 shouldn’t be in my diet, so I’m ready to move on to the reintegration phase wherein I add specific non-Whole 30 items.

So, why am I convinced? I had my annual physical yesterday, and I was the lowest weight that my doctor has observed me at in the four years that I’ve been at that office. I was 17 pounds lighter than the last time I was there (about 5-6 months ago). I can attribute 11 of those pounds (and a few inches off of my waist) to the first 23 days of the Whole 30. My blood pressure also stabilized and is now in the normal range. I’ve had to take medication for this since I was 22, but after 9 days of the Whole 30, I had to quit my medication because I was dizzy and lightheaded (that’s what happens when you take blood pressure medication with normal blood pressure). My results are all the evidence I need to continue eating this way.

One of the reasons I’m starting to add dairy back in is because my doctor was concerned that I wouldn’t get enough calcium otherwise. I know that dark green vegetables and various nuts, seeds, and fish all have calcium, but I’m not sure that I eat enough of these items in any given day to get the calcium I need. So, I’m adding in organic milk and cheese. I’d like to add yogurt, but I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to find full fat yogurt at the grocery store. I guess this means it’s finally time to learn how to make my own!

Since I’m posting, I’ll share what I ate so far today.

Breakfast: homemade egg casserole (eggs, coconut milk, apple & chicken sausage, spinach, asparagus, tomato, salt, pepper, garlic powder) and one cup of milk

Lunch: spinach and arugula drizzled with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with roma tomato, walnuts, avocado, and dried cranberries, v8

Dinner: I’m planning on making some sort of ground beef and cabbage dish


Whole 30: Day 19

Yesterday’s post about nitrites made me start thinking about sulfites. Red wine is increasingly my boozy beverage of choice, and I was concerned that maybe red wine was a poor choice because of sulfites. It turns out that I had no reason to worry about sulfites, either. A post at theKitchn nicely summarizes the role of sulfites in red wine, so I won’t repeat that all here. The main takeaway points are 1) sulfites do not cause red wine headaches, and 2) red wine has fewer sulfites than white wine (however, far more histamines). So, if you’re allergic to the histamines found in wine, avoid red wine. If you’re asthmatic, pay attention to how you feel after you drink wine (red or white), because there is some evidence that sulfites can induce asthma.

Of course, I’ve often heard about the health-promoting properties of red wine, but I don’t latch onto these as reasons to increase red wine consumption. Yes, red wine has resveratol (found in grape skin) but it also has alcohol (a neurotoxin). So, when I drink red wine, I drink it because I want to and because I like it, but I don’t lie to myself and say it’s “good” for me. However, I will agree that it’s probably a “lesser of many evils” choice (at least compared to other alcoholic drinks).

What I ate:

Breakfast: leftover Paleo No Oatmeal, one half of an avocado

Lunch: corned beef brisket with a mix of cabbage, watermelon radish, and carrots

Dinner: Beef stew (sirloin steak cut into stew chunks, onion, carrots, watermelon radish, cabbage, tomato sauce, water, salt, pepper, garlic), glass of shiraz

Whole 30: Day 18

I went grocery shopping a few days ago and I searched high and low for bacon that was 1) not cured with sugar, and 2) free of nitrites (except for those occurring naturally). I failed at this mission. Admittedly, I only checked ShopRite and Trader Joe’s. Because I went to ShopRite first, I settled on an Oscar Meyer Selects smoked uncured bacon that was cured with sugar but free of nitrites. I thought that the nitrites were the lesser of two evils here. Besides, I found that I liked uncured bacon when I purchased it from Wegman’s in the past. Since I went to Trader Joe’s second, I perused their bacon selection and found that they offer plenty of nitrite-free bacon, but it’s all cured with sugar, too.

So, I read around and learned that perhaps the nitrite/nitrate issue is a non-issue (see here, here, and here). In the future, I’ll just go for the bacon without added sugar and ignore the nitrites. Live and learn, right?

Now, onto another issue. Yesterday, Sam and I met a friend at Franklin’s for lunch. I had Malbec (which has been fine every other time I’ve had it) and a burger (no bun) with pimento cheese and a side of cole slaw. Neither the pimento cheese nor the coleslaw are allowed according to the rules of the Whole 30. Since I had no problem with dairy last week, I figured the cheese would be fine. Unfortunately, something I ate was not fine, and I felt sick to my stomach for most of the afternoon. I think that I’m going to stay away from all foods that are not compliant with the Whole 30 until it’s over, and then test them out one by one to figure out what might have made me ill. I’m really hoping it wasn’t the cheese! Either way, I suppose this is payback for being so fast and loose with the rules of the Whole 30.

What I ate:

Breakfast: a little more than one half of a recipe of Paleo No Oatmeal using pecans, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds with no added berries, one quarter of an avocado

Lunch: burger with pimento cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a side of coleslaw, Malbec

Dinner: corned beef brisket with a mix of cabbage, watermelon radish, and carrots (the veggies were roasted with the brisket)

Cheats: coleslaw, pimento cheese, Malbec

How I slept: Very well, and waking up was easy, too.

Whole 30: Day 17

Supplements! I’ve been thinking a lot about them. You can find a million sources that say that you don’t need any supplements and those will be countered by another million sources arguing the benefits of supplements. The takeaway point that has resonated most with me from my reading (so far) is that supplements that have anti-inflammatory effects, or that improve digestion (and therefore, the body’s ability to absorb nutrients) are worth considering. Two of the books that I’ve read each recommend specific supplements and dosages, so I’ve outlined them here. So far, I’ve been taking probiotics, fish oil, and vitamin D. Perhaps I don’t need the first two, but the last time I had a blood panel done, I was vitamin D deficient, so I think I’ll continue with the vitamin D.

The first three supplements recommended in both It Starts with Food (ISWF) and Grain Brain (GB), the rest are only recommended by one or the other: 

Fish oil: contains omega-3 fatty acids, naturally anti-inflammatory. Omega-3 fatty acids offset the negative effects of omega-6 fatty acid (though too many omega-3 fatty acids, either!). ISWF recommends 2 to 4 grams, GB recommends only 1,000 mg (1 gram).

Vitamin D: actually a hormone that supports your immune system and bone strength. You get it through sun exposure, but may need supplements if you don’t get enough sun. ISWF recommends up to 5,000 IUs/day, GB recommends 5,000 IU daily.

Probiotics: good bacteria in the gut helps the body to absorb nutrients. ISWF cautions to start slow with pro-biotics by implementing more fermented foods. GB recommends 1 to 3 capsules per day with at least 10 different strains.

Magnesium: good for regulating blood pressure, heart rhythm, bone strength, nerve function, immune system, and blood sugar regulation. ISWF says it may help with sleeping, too. ISWF recommends 1 to 3 teaspoons (200-600 mg/day).

Alpha-lipoic acid: an antiocidant for the brain, GB recommends 600 mg/day

Coconut oil: considered a “superfuel for the brain” by GB, 1 teaspoon/day

Resveratol: improves blood flow to the brain and promose heart health, also curbs the development of fat cells (some of these claims may be somewhat unsubstantiated, I’m not sure), GB recommends 100 mg twice daily

Turmeric: anti-inflammatory properties, improves glucose metabolism, GB recommends 350 mg twice daily

What I ate:

Breakfast: half of an avocado, two hard-boiled eggs, one mug of blueberry cranberry black tea

Lunch: Paleo oven-fried chicken with frisee greens and spinach mixed with olive oil and lemon, one Larabar, some black olives

Afternoon snack: almonds

Dinner: roasted broccoli, Moroccan chicken, 1 glass of Malbec

Late evening drink: Canadian whisky with Sam

Cheats: the Malbec and the whisky

How I slept: Very well, but I woke up with a bit of a headache — must be the whisky!

Whole 30: Day 16

Woo hoo! Yesterday marks a full day of being officially on the other half of the Whole 30! Starting on day 16 and spanning to day 27, the Whole 30 timeline calls this period Tiger Blood. They describe this phase in the following quote:

Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about!

You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.

Considering I recently recovered from two back-to-back sinus infections, I’m not too upset that I didn’t feel this great. But I will say that I don’t have any cravings and that my clothes are fitting better.

The most important thing (to me) that I have noticed is that I rarely feel hungry. Sure, by 4:30 pm or so, I start feeling somewhat hungry for dinner, but it’s not that gnawing, stomach rumbling hangry feeling. (Yes, I did mean to type hangry. Anyone who gets hangry knows exactly what that means.) I read that this would happen in It Starts with Food and Why We Get Fat books and on countless blogs devoted to the Whole 30 and Paleo/Primal eating, but honestly, I didn’t believe one word of it. I just assumed that, like any other diet*, people just said this because they loved how they felt and looked. I never thought for a second that I would actually feel less hungry throughout the day. But, I do! And it’s awesome! After reading the aforementioned books, and a few other sources, I know I don’t feel hungry because I’ve stabilized my insulin and leptin levels (and probably a few other hormones that I’m not remembering), but still. I was skeptical.

The hardest part of all of this has been making sure that I have food prepared (or ready to easily prepare). I have to remember to pull frozen meat and fish out of the freezer and put it in the fridge about two days early because things take forever to thaw in our fridge. Thankfully, once meat is thawed, most recipes don’t take that long to prepare. If I’m roasting vegetables, I can just toss everything in the oven at the same time.

What I ate:

Breakfast: chopped green pepper and onion, one diced roma tomato, and one half of Aidells apple & chicken sausage with two eggs sauteed in olive oil, one mug of Irish breakfast tea

Lunch: Paleo oven-fried chicken, peaches and mixed berries, lemon Larabar

Dinner: leftover Moroccan chicken with mixed greens (spinach and some other salad green that I got in my CSA)

After dinner: one glass of Malbec

Cheats: 1 (Malbec)

How I slept: very well. I’ve been in bed before 10pm, and that helps a lot with getting up at 6am

*I want to reiterate that I don’t consider the Whole 30 to be a diet in the conventional sense of the word “diet.”

Whole 30: Day 15

Yesterday marked the halfway point of the Whole 30! So far, so good! In general, I’m finding that the rules of the Whole 30 are, for the most part, sustainable in the long run for me. I am getting somewhat tired of eggs in the morning, so I plan to try making a Paleo “no oatmeal” as soon as I acquire all of the necessary ingredients. Speaking of breakfast, I learned that I don’t like coconut oil with my eggs. I suppose I’ll have to find other creative ways of using it!

What I ate:

Breakfast: chopped green pepper and onion, one diced roma tomato, and one half of Aidells apple & chicken sausage with two eggs sauteed in coconut oil and olive oil, one mug of Irish breakfast tea

Lunch: Paleo oven-fried chicken with chicken breast, roasted butternut squash, peaches and mixed berries, a few almonds

Late afternoon snack: chocolate coconut Larabar (no added sugar in these)

Dinner: Moroccan chicken thighs (from the 500 Paleo Recipes cookbook) and roasted broccoli

Cheats: none

How I slept: very well.

Whole 30: Day 14

Sorry, not much to report about yesterday!

What I ate:

Breakfast:  chopped green pepper and onion, one diced roma tomato, and one half of Aidells apple & chicken sausage with two eggs sauteed in ghee, one mug of Irish breakfast tea

Mid-morning: one 12-ounce cup of hazelnut coffee, no cream or milk

Lunch: Paleo oven-fried chicken with chicken breast, roasted butternut squash, v8, peaches and mixed berries

Dinner: hake fish pan fried in ghee, roasted broccoli, and I think a banana (I don’t remember)

How I slept: very well. I was super tired by 7:30 pm, so it was easy to fall asleep.