Whole30 – Reintroducing Foods

The first Phase of Whole30 came to an end for me and hubby on February 22, 2018. As much as we were looking forward to reintroducing “bad” foods (per the Phase 2 plan), we wound up waiting until February 26! Ironically, it was just too inconvenient and a little scary to STOP eating the Whole30 way. Hubby and I are only about half way to our goal sizes, so we contemplated staying in Phase 1. However, we were also both curious as to the effects of different “bad” foods, so we took the gastrointestinal leap. Our reintroduction of alcohol/sugar, grain, dairy, and gluten yielded the following results:

Alcohol

Alcohol made sense as the first choice; I have been obsessing over wine since Day 1, and, we have a friend who has an extensive wine collection and loves to share. He’s been very disappointed in us over the last month-and-a-half or so, because we haven’t been able to partake in his wine offerings (Saturday night binges for old people). I believe his exact words were, “When are you going to be off of that stupid hippie diet?” So, we chose him as our first non-Whole30 experience in Phase 2.

Me: Holy muthafuggin headache. I was in pain for two days after two glasses of red wine. I probably should have kept it to one glass, but my inner lush was in attendance. Our friend serves some very rare bottles, and my palate was in heaven. Wine was not loving me back. Excedrin joined the party.

Hubby: Alcohol puffed him up, but he peed it out within 24 hours. Other than that, no issues.

Grain

Grain was a challenge because the only grain we could find that we would both eat, which also doesn’t contain gluten, is rice. Hubby isn’t a quinoa kind of guy.

Me: I felt inflamed and lethargic; noticeable lack of energy and a definite decrease in cognition. In short, I felt like shit. It took me all three days to recover from inflammation and fogginess caused by grain. I definitely can’t have grain on a work night. I was zombiefied the next day, compared to when I was eating clean, and people noticed.

Hubby: No issues. He retained a little water, but, again, peed it all out within a day. Said he felt great. WTF.

Dairy

Hubby was dying for cheese, so he bought like 1000 lbs of it from Costco. Cheese is delicious, but I feel like I need it to be melted. On pizza. Or lasagna.

Me: No issues with cheese at all (finally!) Butter, however, turned my stomach into a wild gymnast, causing the opposite of the normal effects of cheese. I was throne-bound for the night. I’m a ghee girl from now on.

Hubby: Apparently, cheese goes well with prunes. It doesn’t, but that’s how he had to eat his last few servings. Cheese is like colon cork for hubby.

I still want pizza.

Gluten

We waited to have a fancy cheat-meal before we had gluten in the form of Bad Boy Blue Bread at Boca; a delicious light Italian sourdough with flax and other tasty seeds coating the crust. So worth it.

Me: I started with the Bad Boy Bread, and Potatoes Soufflé appetizer, followed by Hamachi Crudo with grapefruit, then I had a Tajarin with Bolognese, and finished my entree course with a Branzino in Bouillabaisse.

Hubby: Hubby also started with the Bad Boy Bread and Potato Soufflé, followed by Scallops and Brussels Sprouts, then a Potato Gnocchi, and finally a three-meat Burger.

We split a Creme Brûlée for dessert.

Honestly, I thought I’d be in pure hell the next day over all the sugar and (I’m sure) butter, but I felt fine! As a matter of fact, I was down one pound after the end of the next day, and I didn’t feel awful! I certainly felt better than I did after eating rice the week before!

However, the next day, my Rosacea suddenly came back with a vengeance, like it was dormant and starving for either refined sugar or gluten! It was unbelievable how red and splotchy my cheeks and nose became! I actually got Rosacea cysts in my nostrils; so painful! It had to be the refined sugar or the gluten! My two favorite things, of course! We had tried everything else prior to that cheat meal.

Hubby said he over-ate and drank too much, so he was feeling pretty bad, but he said he’d do it all over again in a heart beat; the food really was THAT good. We figured we had better make our cheat meal count!

The Verdict

We found some unfavorable interactions with foods; mostly grain, gluten and sugar. We also didn’t lose any weight during reintroducing foods, but we didn’t gain weight back either.

After our reintroduction experiences, and numerous conversations, hubby and I decided that we are going to continue Whole30-style eating, with modifications; he will incorporate butter and rice; we will both eat cheese; and we will both stay gluten-free and refined-sugar-free except for the occasional cheat meal. I’m not going to go crazy with honey and agave either… I eat way too much of that when it’s in front of me; definitely SWYPO.

This will be our lifestyle, going forward…unless we are on vacation in Europe… ain’t nobody saying “no” to a Parisian croissant in this household.

Week 4 – The End is Near

Twenty missing pounds are shouting, “It works!” Whole30 works. It works very well, in fact. It’s a grueling, pain-in-the-ass, temporary, brutal “diet,” but it works better than anything I’ve ever tried in the past. Twenty pounds in 27 days. Not bad at all.

Don’t get me wrong – Whole30 is MUCH tougher to stay true to than most other things in life. I still have about three more days of the strictest phase of Whole30, but I’ve lost more weight on this plan in just under four weeks than I have on any other past attempts at a diet. The most fascinating thing to me was that I was able to do this without deliberately increasing my daily activity level one iota; I say “deliberately” because I naturally had more energy, so I squeezed more into my day, which resulted in more walking, etc. My Apple Watch activity rings were closing on a normal day of activity by the end of Week 2, whereas prior to Week 1, it looked like I had forgotten to wear my watch.

Whole30 eating, by itself, has resulted in 41 lbs total weight loss between me and hubby in just 27 days. Incredible. I have lost 20 lbs by just eating clean. That is astounding to me. I would kill myself on the treadmill in the past, and struggle, praying my relationship with gravity would decrease. I’ve heard that what you eat accounts for 80% of weight loss success, but I’d put that number even higher.

Non-scale Victories

Some non-scale victories hubby and I saw this week are:

  • Shirts are fitting more loosely
  • Able to zip up boots over cankles and calfs
  • The thought of having to climb stairs doesn’t seem like a Herculean feat
  • My watch band is no longer a tourniquet
  • Patience for stupidity has increased
  • I’m calmer in tense situations at work
  • I’ve become more pragmatic and less sensitive
  • I’m happier and I smile more
  • I have more energy
  • I feel “smarter” most of the time
  • I have more confidence
  • I require less sleep
  • I make a lot of things we previously store-bought; roasted mixed nuts, dried fruit, sausage, soups
  • Some restaurants will accommodate Whole30! Firebirds is one of them!
  • No, I didn’t eat the scrumptious bread that my lunch companion ordered

Some Things Never Change

Things that didn’t change, even though I hoped they would:

  • My hangry inner child is alive and well, throwing tantrums for red velvet cake
  • Cravings are at an all-time high. I can see why, when my friend hit Day 31 of Whole30, she went gangbusters on her cravings. I asked her, “How is the reintroduction of non-Whole30 foods going?” Her reply: “Well, I’m sitting in bed with a bottle of wine and a bowl of mac and cheese, so…. I guess… good?”
  • Acne is still playing Rudolph on my face
  • Cramps are still awful and debilitating like an evil gnome stabbing me in the gut
  • The gas. Dear sweet baby Jesus- THE GAS! Poor hubby. I decided to put Cayenne pepper in our chili to help the evil gnome cramps, but cayenne (like everything else) gives me awful gas! This last week was particularly mask-worthy. Hubby was beside himself and feared for his life for lack of oxygen. I tried to explain how Cayenne helps with cramps and his response was, “Oh! So, instead of you suffering through your period, I will!” Yes. Yes, you will.
  • Libido hasn’t increased. Perhaps it’s the gas? Or the angry hubby?
  • Pre-made meat patties contain sugar. Ain’t that some shit?
  • We both miss(ed) bread so much! Even the “healthy” breads all have some kind of sugar in them!

Holy Whole30! I was searching for Whole30 Bread online and I found an article about a girl who couldn’t eat anything; everything had to be grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free! This poor girl’s life will be Whole30 forever! Anyhow, she really missed bread… a lot…. and there were very few options out there for her. So, she and her mom spent hours trying different ingredients to create a simple bread recipe, and they came up with something brilliant. We had to try it! Immediately! We rushed into the kitchen and assembled all ingredients, then devoured the results. Granted, hubby and I should have calculated the calories before each consuming an entire “loaf,” but we were surprised at how much this stuff tasted like a cross between dense bread and a biscuit! We decided (a little late and almost 1000 Calories later) that 1/4 a loaf is plenty for one serving and we plan to make it again for breakfast with our eggs and homemade sausage. The recipe and article can be found on A Spicy Perspective. If you’re on Whole30 and craving bread, this is the best answer!

Basically, you beat two eggs, then add 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp Sea Salt. You can add lots of herbs if you want as well! Here’s the fun part: you put it in a straight-sided mug that has a few drops of olive oil in it to help the “bread” slip out, THEN, get this… you microwave it for three (3) minutes. Yes – MICROWAVE it! Fun, simple, and Whole30 compliant! Hubby and I both loved it! That bread hitting our mouths was like coming home. This brilliant girl named her creation, “Low Carb Magic Mug Bread.” You’ve GOT to try this stuff!

In a few short days, we start reintroducing foods. We are also discussing our go-forward plan. Stay tuned!

Week 3 – Getting used to Whole30

I started off Week 3 with the scale beaming a 15.6 lb total weight loss so far, which equates to just over 6%, and we are about 1/3 of the way through the HealthyWage challenge, where we sit in 6th Place as a team! THAT made me feel great! Especially since the boss’s team is currently in 45th Place.

Since my last post, I have been INSANELY busy! Working 10-14 hours per day and trying to eat well has been a serious challenge. Hubby and I have been pretty good about food prep, and my cabbage soup made 12 servings; thank goodness!

Cravings

We are both becoming used to this new, healthy way of eating, but we both still have major cravings! We are approximately 20 days into the Whole30 program; for him, his long lost love is bread, and for me, it’s wine. Together, we’re quite biblical!

I was lamenting to my boss last night that I miss having a glass of wine in the evenings… as Hubby and I watched him enjoy a glass of Carrera. I used to come home, start a fire, open a bottle with Hubby, and we would sit in our club chairs in front of the fire, chatting about our day, sipping in the relaxation. Now, we come home, grab a tall glass of water, and sit together bitching about this diet and all the foods we miss! Then we always say, “but it’s working!”

In addition to fighting cravings, it’s also tough to find anywhere to eat compliant foods! I keep choosing sashimi, and I have to go out to eat at least twice per week for business lunches. Not only is my staff getting tired of sushi, I probably have a tapeworm or some kind of fish-causing parasite by now.

Work is Going Well

Great news at work! My boss announced that I will have a Global Senior Leader position when the dust settles from the merger. All my hard work is paying off! However, last night he said that our Board presentations are going to take on a monthly cadence, going forward, which basically puts me perpetually in PowerPoint HELL. But, if he wants to pay me to make PowerPoint slides, who am I to complain?

Back to Whole30…

I’ve finally started to notice some non-scale effects of this way of eating! My body is so cold all of the time! I had to turn our thermostat up to 68°! It’s normally set at 64°. I also had to buy flannel sheets and put an extra blanket on the bed!

Hubby says that I have far fewer headaches, even though the stress of my job has increased. Major bonus there for our marriage.

My pants are finally looser and all my size 14s are now button-able without pliers and a vice grip. Size 16s are too big to wear without a belt. This tells me that, at least for me, there are about 15-17 lbs separating size 14 and size 16 at 5’8.

The Veggie Paradox

The biggest challenge so far (aside from no wine) is trying to find veggies that Hubby will eat. I am almost to the point where I’m just going to make him broccoli and make myself whatever I want.

We had a veggie convo last night….next to the fire…with our water… and I cycled through an entire alphabet of veggies with various preparations, trying to entice him to try them. The result? Here are some excerpts:

  • Me: “How about eggplant?”
  • Hubby: “Only breaded and fried.”
  • Me: “So, just broccoli?”
  • Hubby: “I like canned, French-cut green beans.”
  • Me: “We are not eating trailer park veggies. How about zucchini?”
  • Hubby looks at me like I broke his favorite power tool
  • Me: “Okay, no zucchini. Broccoli and cauliflower mash only. Really?”
  • Hubby: “I honestly wish I enjoyed vegetables, but ughck- most of them just taste like ass and yuck.”

Two flavors with which I am certainly not familiar, and I don’t want to know how/why he IS familiar.

So, the veggie battle continues…

Day 11 – Bacon!!!

Bacon makes everything taste better. I miss bacon. Since beginning Whole30, I haven’t had any bacon! The absence of bacon in my and hubby’s lives has been a deep and bleak void.

Every brand of bacon in the Whole Foods near my home has sugar as a top ingredient! I had no idea until Whole30 that bacon (peppered, dry rub, you name it…) has sugar in it!

Today, our lives were changed forever.

I found a store called Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market that was a convenient stop on my way home from work. I specifically went in for pork loin, coconut aminos (a Whole30 soy sauce substitute) and some Rx bars, but lucky for me, I had to pass the packaged meat section to get to the pork loin.

On a whim, and with a heavy heart as I anticipated imminent defeat, I began reading labels… disappointment after disappointment – Sugar. Sugar. Sugar…until I stumbled upon a package with an unmistakable brand in the corner and a halo glowing overhead. Pederson’s Bacon!!! With a tear in my eye and my heart a flutter, I pranced to the checkout, eager to bring home this fabulous find to the hubby.

The Big Reveal

Hubby greeted me in the kitchen and began unpacking my groceries. When he saw the bacon, he was beaming ear to ear and I thought I saw a tear glisten in his eye. He looked up at me, wrapped me in a bear hug and started jumping up and down in sync with me like we had just won the lotto, all the while squealing, “Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!”

*wipes tear* It was beautiful.

Pork Loin – Bacon’s First Cousin

We decided on Pork Loin and Brussels Sprouts for dinner; I really wanted to use bacon, but hubby is guarding it like a precious commodity and will only allow it for breakfast. The Sprouts weren’t nearly as good without bacon.

I made it through the day, despite a 3am wake up to finish the presentation slides for my boss. They’re still not done to his satisfaction, so I’ll likely be working all weekend. Four times per year (once per quarter) – I just keep telling myself – that’s the only time I have to do this… breathe…

Stress was high today, and I was definitely tired, but food was pretty easy. The cravings were held at bay, likely because I was so busy, and hunger was minimal… or maybe I was just too tired to give a shit.

Yesterday’s Foot Joint Pain

The foot/toe is feeling much better. I decided not to have any beef today because of the sore joint thing. I also wore different shoes. The pain subsided substantially, so I may lay off beef for awhile. I’m unsure of the cause, since I also changed up my shoes, but I may wait until after Day 30 to reintroduce beef. Good thing Nick’s Sticks come in Turkey Jalapeño!

The Grub

At 1838 Calories, I was slightly over my target, yet again. The Calorie culprits included:

  • B: Egg Whites w/ Spinach, Turkey Sausage, Kale-Spinach-Green Apple smoothie
  • L: Crab, Shrimp, Scallops Sashimi, Coconut Aminos
  • D: Pork Loin, Brussels Sprouts, and a Bacon happy dance
  • S: Dried Mangoes, Nick’s Turkey Sticks, Wild Zora Lamb and Veggie bar (yum!)

Still working on regaining my energy. Sleep deprivation is absolutely playing a role. Early to bed for me tonight.

Day 10 – Losing Footing

Sleep evaded me last night, again. Hubby’s phone went off at 3am (he forgot to put it on silent before bed), so I only got 3.5 hours of sleep. That makes 7.5 hours of sleep in 72 hours, and tonight won’t be any better. I have to be awake at 3am for a call with my boss, overseas. I’m so tired, I want to cry.

And the cravings. Oh my gawd, the cravings! If I had any kind of beer or wine in front of me, I would drink it. I day dream of huge cakes, donuts, and chocolate covered bacon. Salivate even. My choco-hound magnet in my stomach is on full power and I know hubby has a Toblerone bar in the house somewhere. I can practically smell it.

Cravings and extreme fatigue aside, I seem to also be experiencing some kind of pain in the metatarsophalangeal joint of my left foot. This morning, it was more nagging and annoying than anything. Now, it’s painful and I’m hobbling like one of those wind-up toys with no knees. It’s late, so I’m heading to bed and keeping this short tonight. If I don’t get decent sleep soon, you may find me eating my way through a mound of cupcakes, mumbling to myself between bites.

Food (if you can call it that)

I am way under my Calorie goal at 1353 today. Funny thing is, I’m not even hungry. Cravings are out of control, but I’m not truly hungry. Food hasn’t tasted great to me since I returned home from Cali.

  • B: Egg whites with spinach and homemade turkey sausage
  • L: Chicken breast and Whole30 gravy, made by hubby
  • D: Rubbery Cod that tasted like it came out of a microwaved TV dinner, Blasted Broccoli, and Sautéed Asparagus
  • S: Rx Bar, Nick’s Turkey Sticks

Food sucked today. It made me sad. Here’s another rubber fish:

Day 6 – Piece of Cake

Cravings and temptations were the themes of the day. We celebrated my niece’s and Dad’s birthdays today.

I arrived at my parents’ house around lunch time, and the only Whole30-acceptable food I could find was lettuce, tomato, and a can of tuna. Mom only had Best Foods “bad” mayo, and she didn’t have any avocado oil, so I whipped up some EVOO Whole30 mayo. EVOO is not ideal for mayo – it is very heavy and creates a green tinge, but it did the trick for me in a pinch.

I made tuna salad lettuce cups. I was only able to eat half of what is in the picture. One can of tuna with “heavy” mayo is extremely filling!

Making your own mayo is simple. If you’re interested, a Whole30-friendly Mayo Recipe is below. If not, scroll-on.

W30 Mayo Recipe

Tools:

  • Food processor with ability to add ingredients while operating; or
  • Immersion blender and bowl; or
  • Mixer with wire whisk attachment; or
  • A hand whisk, mixing bowl, and a strong arm!

Ingredients:

  • 1 free-range, grass-fed, organic egg
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil & 1 cup avocado oil divided (light olive oil will also work)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • Lemon juice

Instructions (Hubby always calls these “destructions,” which, for some reason, irritates the living shit out of me – he says he thinks it’s cute. I tell him it’s cute only if you’re three years old):

  1. Put 1/4 cup of oil, egg, and seasonings into mixer/bowl/processor. Mix until emulsified.
  2. VERY SLOWLY drizzle in remaining cup of oil.
  3. Once completely emulsified, gently stir in lemon juice to taste.

That’s it! Homemade mayo! Makes approximately one cup. Season it however you like. Just beware that too much lemon will cause it to separate, so you always add it, slowly and to taste, at the end.

Birthday Dinner

Tradition in my family is that my mom will cook a meal of our request on birthdays. Her cooking is better than going to a restaurant, so it’s always a great smorgasbord of fantastic food. Tonight’s feast included BBQ chicken, wine, Marinated Tri-tip, wine, Shrimp Scampi, wine, Lasagna, Garlic Bread, wine, Green Beans, and Salad… annnnd more wine.

Did I mention wine? I miss you, wine.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but only one of those things (and my least favorite) is Whole30 compliant; salad…which, by the way, I kind of had for lunch; that tuna salad cup thing with the lettuce.

Thank goodness, Mom set aside a few raw shrimp and had a non-marinated steak for me. I made my own Balsamic Vinaigrette from scratch, for the salad, just to be sure I was not consuming hidden crap from all the other bottled dressings (have you read those labels? Scary!)

Red Meat Mayhem

I ate a bit more steak than I should have (6oz of meat instead of 4oz), and my tummy was not happy about it. Angry, in fact. Maybe that was just a little too much fat for the day. I’m thinking red meat should be consumed the least of all meats while on Whole30. It makes me very sad to even think that.

Desserts Backwards is Stressed

Time to blow out candles! I watched both my dad and niece blow out the candles together, with a high-five. By the time everyone was eating what looked to be a silky, delectable chocolate cake with layers of creamy chocolate mousse, I convinced myself that Dad and Niece had spit all over the cake in their synchronized extinguishing of the candles.

I came very close to making this the Whole 5.5 + Whole Maybe 24, if not for the mental image of raining spit.

Still, I was salivating like a rabid animal the entire time, trying to be social at the table; feeling crushing of my soul with every bite I saw and “mmmmmmmm” I heard.

Pure Torture.

Chocolate goes very well with some wines… and with milk, which is also Whole30-forbidden.

Dried mangos are totally a substitute for dessert, right? No. No, they’re not. Not even close.

I made it through the day and evening, feeling like I had endured a physical fight with my will power. It’s pretty bruised up, so I hope I can withstand tomorrow.

All My Boring Eats Today

All meals and snacks for the day totaled 1827 Calories (27 over Target):

  • B: Eggs, Nick’s Sticks (Spicy Beef)
  • L: Tuna Salad Wraps
  • D: Steak, Salad, Shrimp
  • S: Dried Mango, Mandarin

Day 6 is a wrap! Mmmmmmm…. wraps. Ugh.