Our Last Day

So….we quit Whole30. We quit without warning and rather unexpectedly. My husband and I both got sick of feeling hungry all. the. time. and I was having “tummy troubles” that lasted a few days and woke me up at night so when we got the invite to go out for Italian with the in-laws, we looked at each other and said, “we’re in.” And can I just say that the first bite of fresh warm Italian bread with soft butter spread on it was amazing?! YUM. 

Our diet has stayed pretty close to how it was on Whole30. The only new food we’ve bought is a loaf of rosemary-olive bread from a farmer’s market and some cheese (brie and sharp cheddar). Now for breakfast we have eggs and toast and for lunch I had a piece of bread with cheddar in addition to my Whole30 compliant chicken breast and fruit. Being off Whole30 has felt good and we are enjoying less-constant hunger 🙂

In terms of numbers, we weighed ourselves before going out to dinner. I had lost 7 pounds in just over two weeks and my husband lost five. We were pleased with the results and can’t imagine what would have happened if we stuck with it for another two weeks. My pants and shirts are fitting better and I’ve noticed that my nails are stronger and healthier than ever before (seriously, the tips of my nails are so white I keep thinking I got a French manicure!). My hair has also been shinier. I’ve noticed that my arms are getting a little of their reddish tint with little bumps (keratosis pilaris) back, and I think that’s from the dairy. Like I said, the only dairy in our diet now is cheese and not that much.

Am I disappointed that we quit all of a sudden? Nope. I was bored to tears with just eggs for breakfast and I still can’t look at a salad. We stuck it out as long as we could and now we know for next time what we need to do to make it a success. We’re thinking of trying Whole30 again in September or October so standby for our continuing adventures!

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Day 16

Another regular ‘ol day on Whole30. Eggs and veggies for breakfast, a salad and chicken sausage for lunch, and leftover pork stew for dinner. Felt hungry all day. Tired because I work up at 4:30am with a stomachache (from the fish? from the mushrooms? from the seasoning? ugh, I don’t know). So today was nothing to write home about, as they say.

We’re over halfway through Whole30 and it’s hard to say what exactly is different. I can feel and see that I’ve lost weight and I think my husband has too. I don’t have the “2pm” crash anymore (no 5 Hour Energy needed!) and I make it from breakfast to lunch without snacking. My skin seems to glow a bit and it has less of a red tinge to it, which I am feeling good about. 

In other news…I am getting excited about the idea of adding certain foods back into our diet, ie crusty bread and hard cheese. Mmmm….

Days 14&15

Since we’ve determined that preparation is key, on Sunday I made hard boiled eggs, baked chicken breast and made mayonnaise. We are so ready!

Mondays aren’t easy when you’re eating anything so on Whole30, they can be extra challenging. We got the week started off right, though, by having a spinach scramble for breakfast, chicken salad with celery and grapes for lunch, and roasted mushrooms, butternut squash and tilapia for dinner. Though I’m still (all together now) HUNGRY, I know that today could not have been any healthier!

Days 12&13

Friday was exciting because we had lunch out at a local Philly place called Honeygrow. They serve salads, stir fry and fruit parfaits and all are made to order using touchscreens. I had a romaine-baby spinach salad with tons of veggies and grilled chicken breast, eggs, and bacon. I’ll admit that I didn’t ask what oil they used when they cooked the chicken or whether there was sugar in the bacon but it was a very healthy lunch nonetheless and was probably 98% compliant so I feel okay about it. I know it sounds like maybe I am getting used to “cheating” with more frequency but I’m doing the best I can without being super-intense about the diet. Since I’m already frequently hungry, I figure that if I didn’t bend the rules, I’d just about starve somedays 🙂

Today my husband and I tried out an awesome place called The Head Nut. They sell nuts (surprise!), coffee beans, loose leaf teas, chocolate covered everything, bulk spices, strange cooking things, fancy sauces/chutneys/condiments plus tons more. We tried some macadamias, which are highly recommended on Whole30, as well as almonds and cashews. Mmm 🙂 We’ll be munching (in moderation) for days. We also bought some dried figs just to try them. They were okay but in my opinion, they venture a bit far into the “tastes like a raisin” territory so I wasn’t super into them. Apparently they are excellent wrapped in bacon or prosciutto so we might try that sometime. 

For dinner tonight (Saturday), I whipped up a random stir fry with veggies we had in the fridge. We bought stir fry strips of beef from the grocery store (yay for BOGOs!) and I cooked them with strips of green pepper, onion, mushroom, celery, and sugar snap peas. Since soy sauce is obviously out, I used a few splashes of fish sauce instead. For spices, I added a scoop of minced garlic, some crushed red pepper, ginger and S&P. I was wary of how it would actually taste but my husband had two servings so I guess it was okay 🙂

We’re still working on eating more veggies and decreasing our fruit intake but we love our fruit so that’s been difficult. Plus it’s easier to just grab a banana/apple/peach than it is to grab a stalk of broccoli…at least for us it is. I’m used to eating vegetables with ranch or hummus or cheese or something to jazz it up so it’s been a change just having them plain. Hopefully I will learn to love it before these thirty days are up.

Days 10&11

Whole30 went a little smoother for us these past two days. We realized we had to double our efforts and keep cooking and cleaning and prepping food. We made the Southwestern frittata again for breakfast which makes things easy in the morning. Lunches continue to be  boring salads but dinner last night was good! It was salmon with Montreal steak seasoning with sweet potato fries and roasted mushrooms on the side. Tonight we are having pork loin with roasted broccoli and I will be attempting to make ranch dressing for some baby carrots.

We continue to be hungry but we realized we were having more fruits than veggies so we’re going to try and reverse that. I prefer fruit myself (peaches, cherries, apples, a banana if it’s been in the fridge) but fruit is higher in sugar (albeit natural sugar) and therefore, carbs. Vegetables keep you fuller longer and those greens are full of all sorts of goodies so if we learn one thing from Whole30, hopefully it will be to love veggies more!

Moment of pride: someone brought cake in to the office today. It wasn’t any old cake: it was my favorite: Funfetti with vanilla frosting. I watched my coworkers eat slice after slice and was this close to actually drooling. Somehow I didn’t end up eating a slice but right now…honestly? I wish I had. SO DELICIOUS. Self, hang in there!

Days 8&9

On Monday, day 8, I HATED Whole30. I was hungry all day and when I opened our fridge, all I saw was produce and raw meat. I needed a snack but we had nothing prepared. Breakfast was EGGS, lunch was a SALAD, and dinner was better: pork loin with blackberry sauce. We went to bed hungry AGAIN. UGH.

Tuesday was a little better. An egg scramble with mushrooms, peppers, and onions for breakfast, a Whole30 compliant sausage with a salad at lunch, and meatballs for dinner with strawberries and blueberries for dessert. We were still hungry when we went to bed but what’s new… 😦

My energy levels have been steady and except for the being-in-contant-hunger thing, we both feel pretty good. Hopefully a little prep work will pay off for us in the coming days as we’re going to try and have more food ready to eat at a moment’s notice.

Days 6&7/30

I’ll just come right out and say it: today I broke Whole30 and had papaya cream for dessert (gasp!). We were out celebrating my husband’s new job at Fogo de Chao with his parents and I was good during the salad bar though the dressings were an issue; under the circumstances I chose the best I could and went with a Green Goddess dressing. For the record, there was a cheese wheel 24 inches wide that people could just hack pieces from. There were also mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas and dinner rolls at our table, right in front of me but nope, I resisted. Everyone had mojitos then wine but I just sipped seltzer and lime. The main course was delicious: MEAT. I looked it up and the meat from Fogo de Chao was compliant because they just salt it and then cook it over an open fire on a spit. I ate until I was full……and maybe a little beyond that point. When dessert came around, I knew I was going to be tempted and everyone was ordering so I figured, why not? I said no to the turtle cheesecake, no to the chocolate lava cake, no to the other sugar-bombs and decided to split the papaya cream with my husband. I thought that the dish would be slices of papaya with a scoop of ice cream but instead the fruit was blended into ice cream. Anyway, I had several bites and then put my spoon down. It was good but not great, and I think that not having sugar or dairy for the past 5 days has already changed my tastes. I was satisfied with just tasting it and I didn’t need to finish the whole thing and lick the bowl. I felt okay with that cheat and, while I know it’ll set me back on my goals, Whole30 continues and I don’t feel tempted to cheat again.

For day 7, breakfast was the same old, same old: an egg-and-veggie-scramble. I also had a banana. For lunch I made some paleo mayo and used it to make some chicken salad that we put on top of cucumber slices. For dinner, my husband cooked up some Jennie-O turkey burgers and we topped them with compliant pickles, onions, our mayo and some avocado. I’m still hungry but I can’t even look at a salad right now.

So it’s been a week! My thoughts so far? Well, my favorite pair of capris felt looser around my waist, which is nice…then again, maybe they just haven’t been in the dryer for awhile 🙂 I’ve been sleeping through the night recently which is new and nice; previously, I would usually wake up around 4 or 5am and use the bathroom or my cat would paw my face to wake me up to pet her. If she’s been doing that lately, I haven’t noticed. In terms of my skin/hair, I haven’t seen any differences yet. My energy level was pretty low today but honestly, I think that’s from my sweet cheat last night. I think my body was surprised to have a sudden surge of sugar and so I wasn’t super perky today.

Whole30 hasn’t been easy so far but it hasn’t been the hardest thing ever, either. For us to have a better week I think we need to do more prep work, buy more food, buy a larger variety of food, and have bigger meals. I’m hungry 80% of my day and I’m not sure that’s how it’s supposed to be. Wish us luck for week two!

Day 5/30

Completely unrelated to Whole30, can I just complain about the heat wave the east coast is currently enduring? It felt like 98F today — I just checked. I’m not a summer person by any means so when it’s this hot (and HUMID), it seriously bums me out.

Anywho, the rundown: breakfast was a hard boiled egg with an avocado. Little weird, but that’s what we had. Lunch was leftover stew from yesterday which was still super tasty. I had another hard boiled egg on the side with some baby carrots and that held me over until dinner which was….leftover stew! The stew’s gone now though — three pounds of pork shoulder consumed by two people in two days. Should I be embarrassed? I’m not. That was some good stuff, man!

I also whipped up a side of sweet potato hash to have on the side. I grated half a sweet potato into a frying pan that had a tablespoon of coconut oil and some chopped onions. I let that fry up for a few minutes until the sweet potatoes were crispy, almost like hashbrowns. The oil imparted a really nice but subtle coconut flavor and I scarfed the dish down. We had a few blueberries later, and I had a kiwi. Gotta love those little hairy things.

I feel pretty good, and my husband says he has more energy. Then again, it’s summer vacation for him so that might help by itself, haha.

Here’s the big crisis of conscience: my husband just got a full-time teaching job which was two years in the making. Months ago, as he sent out resume after resume, the thought that encouraged him (honestly, probably more than anything else) was the promise that we could go to Fogo de Chao for dinner when he got a job. Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian steakhouse where gauchos serve all the meat you can handle. There is a salad bar but all my temptations will be there: cheese, dinner rolls, a dessert table… If I can just stick with the meat and salad bar, I’ll be okay, even though they’re probably not cooking the meat in a Whole30-compliant oil, and I’m sure none of the dressings are okay either. Whole9.com is pretty clear about cheating: they say DON’T DO IT. AT ALL. They say even a bite can ruin the whole anti-inflammation/healing thing we’re working on. That’s a total bummer because there is no chance we will be going elsewhere for dinner, and there’s no chance that the food at Fogo is compliant. So looks like I will be cheating after all…but at least I’m not happy about it? I’m going to stick just to salad and meat. NO bread. NO booze. NO garlic whipped potatoes. NO dessert. NO cheese cubes. I’m going to be big and strong and do my best under the circumstances. I knew this wouldn’t be a perfect Whole30 from the start…I mean, we’re going to Myrtle Beach for vacay on Day 26 and rules will be broken. Anyway, the beauty of Whole30 is that you can do it whenever you want, as many times as you want. We’ve already learned quite a few lessons, and I know there’s more to come. So what I’m saying is this: while I’m disappointed that these thirty days won’t be flawless, I’m not giving up and letting anything go. I’m going to try my best and be kind to myself.

Day 4/30

Today was better! For breakfast, all my husband and I had time to eat was a shared mango. I made hard-boiled eggs for some more protein to keep us full but…they turned out to be soft-boiled eggs! Oops 🙂 I was too impatient to let the eggs reach a boil before turning off the heat. It was funny — my husband rapped one of the eggs to crack the shell and peel it…and out oozed a bright white-and-yellow gooey yolk! After that debacle, we had to head to work but the mango almost lasted me until lunch. My tummy was getting grumbly so I bought a banana from my office’s deli and enjoyed some iced coffee, sans cream or sweetener. For comparison purposes, I used to have three eggs and two slices of toast or a huge bowl of Cinnamon Life for breakfast and I was still hungry by 11:30am. I thought I would be ravenous on half a mango but I was okay. That’s progress!!

For lunch, I had a salad with chicken breast, asparagus on the side, and some blueberries. I was distracted by Facebook and texting on my break so I had some asparagus back at my desk and got some strange looks. Granted, those who thought I was weird confessed that their lunch consisted of a Cherry Pop-Tart, so I didn’t feel too bad about it 🙂

Dinner went over like gangbusters! We had a Crock Pot pork stew; the amazing recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo which has been a great resource for me. My husband and I both had multiple servings and I’m truly, truly full, which is a great feeling.

our pork stew

our pork stew

I was a little droopy today but that improved with some caffeine, my first coffee all week. We got nine hours of sleep last night (we looooove sleeping) but the night before was not restful so maybe I’m still a little behind. Overall, we feel pretty good!

Sidebar: my husband went out with friends after work today and was pretty good: he had oysters instead of fries or nachos, which is definitely a change for him! He did have a glass of wine but it was well-deserved, and we all just do the best we can, right?

Day 3/30

I did not get a good night’s sleep last night. I woke up at 2am and felt sick to my stomach. I felt like I was on a small boat in the ocean getting tossed by the waves. I’m not sure what it was — maybe it was completely unrelated to my new diet but I kind of feel like it’s the increase of oil in my diet. Breakfast: fry an egg and peppers in coconut oil. Lunch: eat a salad with olive oil dressing. Dinner: cook onions and chicken in more coconut oil. See what I mean?  That feeling lasted all day and even now as I write this. I’m also wondering if some of it has to do with the new spices that I’ve been using, ie liberal amounts of cayenne power! That might be in. Whatever the reason, hopefully it passes soon.

I didn’t feel like eating much of my dinner and now I’m nibbling on baby carrots, my old friends. I am craving a bowl of Cheerios with whole milk because I’m getting sick of the textures of the food I’ve been eating. I know there is a plethora of options out there so I guess I just need to find them. Has anyone else experienced an unhappy tummy three days in? How do you get your favorite textures using our limited food options? Any favorite dishes so far?