Friday, April 17, 2015

Halfway through the Whole30 and the novelty is starting to wear off

So, it's the end of Week 2, the weather is warming up and it's prime happy hour/sit-outside-and-have-a-drink weather. And I'm stuck doing the Whole30.

Granted it's just another two weeks.  If you need a recap, I started a food plan for 30 days that eliminates foods that are irritants for many people--dairy, legumes, sugar, grains and just to make it that much worse, alcohol. I wanted to reset my system for spring and see if this would have any impact at all on anything. But, caffeine is allowed on the plan. I only do half-caf anyway, but that would have been the deal breaker for me.

At the halfway mark, my food cravings are mostly gone and so are those highs that come with anticipating a dinner out, cocktails with friends (ok, that one still kind of makes my jaws tingle), a big bowl of chips accompanied by salsa, and cheese. And chocolate. The lows that accompany those highs are also gone--feeling "sickish" after I eat popcorn, chips or peanuts; headaches after too much red wine, etc., etc. But I'm getting kind of bored.

In the beginning I experienced real hunger and headaches and in panic mode, stocked up on everything I liked that was Whole30 compliant. Now I'm kind of over it. The website says that you do reach a point where you're just bored by it because you kind of know what you're going to eat: salad, veggies, a protein and maybe some fruit. Yay!

The good thing is that I like to cook and experiment so I am trying to mix it up. My new favorite thing is a grassfed burger (I buy them frozen in a bag), wrapped in lettuce with grilled red onion and shiitake mushrooms, a glob of avocado and my compliant mix of ketchup and mayo. Today I added baked sweet potato "fries" with cajun spice. This is my Whole30 version of my favorite Five Guys Little Cheeseburger "all the way". At this point I know it's useless to want the cheese, so I don't even think about it. But usually I would have skipped the sweet potato as "too fattening." I'm learning that it's not.

This already presents big changes. Social events based around food don't seem as exciting as they once did. I'd rather do other things, like "normal" people who aren't obsessed foodies. Yesterday I went out to lunch and ordered a cobb salad, no cheese, no dressing, with added tenderloin and a bottle of oil and vinegar on the side. The outing gave me an excuse to catch up with an old friend, but I could have just as easily made the salad at home. He had even less interest in food than I did (is this how thin people act naturally?) and half-heartedly picked at some calamari. Usually I'd want to dive into that, but I just didn't care.

This apathy is all new to me and it's kind of liberating. It's like finally quitting smoking and suddenly feeling free. I used to love outings because of the food. Now I just love the outings. But losing that familiar food rush is a little like falling out of love.

But, I am discovering recipes to make at home that sound amazing: a compliant pad thai with a mock peanut sauce using sunflower seed butter as the base.  It appeals to me much more than Five Guys, my longstanding guilty pleasure. And who'd have thought I'd ever want to make pad thai rather than just order takeout?

Maybe this will all wear off after another two weeks and I'll be eating out again all the time, and not making "healthy choices." But I really don't think so. It's just calmer and easier this way. I'm in control and that may spread to other areas of my life (they do say the Whole30 can be life-changing). And when you do something as important as fueling your body based on what you crave, it's bound to catch up with you one day. It did with me when my fiery metabolism finally started running out of gas. Plus, a friend told me my face looks "different" and I noticed it too, like I've had "something done"--much clearer and more vibrant. I don't need any help falling asleep and wake up energetic, not like a vampire who can't take the light of day. And I'm much more focused at the gym.

So far, food-wise, and with my family and friends supporting me, I have to say it's pretty much been a breeze. But that support is crucial. I am the cook in my household; my family eats what I make with no additions or substitutions. And, so far, nobody has dared to drink in front of me….

Right now I am thinking I may make this the foundation of how I eat, even after the next two weeks are over. Yes, I'll consume "noncompliant" foods and introduce them all back in, but I'd like to make them the exception rather than the rule. But let's see if I can hold on. Day 15 down, 15 to go!

Even my cat can't bear to hear the words "compliant" or "Whole30" ever again.

It takes a village to make a burger.
Grassfed patties from Mom's Organic Market, sugar-free ketchup and homemade mayo

This meal is a go-to, Whole30 or not. Garlic shrimp, broccoli and guacamole.

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