Monday, April 27, 2015

25 down, 5 to go… the final week of my Whole30

So, last week I wrote about how my cravings were diminishing and I compared it to falling out of love. Sometimes, it's only after we move on, do we realize all the pesty things we had learned to live with in a relationship. And we always had a reason to keep doing it, either because it's all we knew or because we could always rationalize the unpleasant feelings away.

I got used to (subconsciously?) bracing myself for a night out at a "good" restaurant when you want to make the most of it. On some level, I knew the alcohol would slow me down (how do you turn down artisanal handcrafted cocktails? Anybody? ), the dairy would make me feel bloated (nothing better than a cheese plate in my book), the amount of salt would make me dehydrated and thirsty, and the aftermath would be me recovering from all I'd consumed, and trying to exercise it away.

Now I realize I probably had some issues with those foods that I love the most and actually needed the foods that never appealed to me before. Vegetables, and especially fruit, were always the stand-ins, never the stars.

A big positive for me of the Whole30 was having somebody say "NO YOU CAN"T HAVE THAT FOR 30 DAYS," which took the decision out of my hands so I could no longer rationalize why it didn't really bother me that much, and why I could have it JUST THIS ONE TIME. I had no idea that these foods were making me feel bad--again, it's like a bad relationship. You don't realize how bad you had it till it's gone.

So, here's what I learned the past 25 days (and I am aware, I've still got to make through next Friday).

1. I found I love vegetables, all kinds, and that potatoes are NOT fattening. Yes, I'd eat a hunk of brie, but God forbid I'd ever eat a potato. That food myth is done. Potatoes, whether sweet or white give me energy. Cooked vegetables and salads are full of water and vitamins and make my skin clear. And, as it turns out, they only take minutes to prepare.

2. Yes, I CAN go 30 days without having a glass of red wine. Yes, I wanted it. Yes, I didn't want to watch other people drink it. Yes, I'll probably have one as soon as this ends. But I don't feel I have to have one every day to "wind down." I'll have a glass of good quality wine, and I'll savor it.

3. No, fat is not a dangerous enemy. I consume a lot of fat. I eat avocados, olive oil, homemade mayonnaise and fatty salmon. I eat eggs, steak and chicken with skin. My HDL (good cholesterol)  levels have never been better and my nails have never been stronger.

4.  Yes, I felt like I was eating more actual food than ever and I didn't explode. In fact, I got leaner, stronger in the gym and lost all the bloat in my stomach. Even with the fat, and without oats, sushi or "low fat" foods.

5. A sweet potato now tastes almost too sweet to me. I've never been much for sweets and I'm wondering if I'll ever really want them much again. Except for dark chocolate with toffee. That may work itself back in on occasion.

6. No, I'm not weak and famished because my diet is "restricted." My brain is more grounded and clear for my work, and I have so much energy I've started going on long walks and taking spin classes in addition to my workouts at 202strong. When I fall asleep at night, I REALLY sleep and don't wake up until the morning. And then I can get up and start my day without having to roll over to try to get another hour in.

7. I've discovered how to make really great dinners and found some wonderful sources for meat and chicken that is not factory farmed. THAT I never want to eat again. Plus grass-fed beef has CLA in it, which is a natural fat burner. No wonder my grandparents, who wouldn't consider processed food an actual "foodstuff" and hand picked their meat from the local butcher, ate whatever they wanted and were blessed with good health till the day they died, which, for my grandmother, was age 97 and with a clear mind.

So one more week. I'm really curious to see if I'm going to cave immediately on Saturday, or if I'll be able to live this way a little longer. Five more days to find out. If any of you have done this and have advice for transitioning out, please chime in!

I found I love garlic spinach now more than creamed. I sauté it in olive oil with lots of garlic and have it with my eggs in the morning and with several meals at night.

I've discovered multicolored baby yams by the bag. I grated these in the food processor with an apple and an onion and will sauté them till they're soft and delicious.

This will be garlic shrimp and chorizo. The sausage is cooked, so it will heat through while the shrimp sautés in olive oil and garlic. I added cilantro, too.

While nothing I make is complicated in the least, I love my food processor for chopping and making mayo. I'm not the most orderly cook, but the outcome is usually worth the mess. No meal takes more than a few minutes to prep.

This is a luxury, but I use what I save on restaurants to have grassfed protein delivered to my door from a farm, US Wellness Meats

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