When I was in college, I used to date this guy who loved his condiments.  We were vegan and quite frankly were dependent on condiments and spices to flavor our food.  It’s okay for your food to taste good, vegans of the world.  (For shits and giggles, read Ottavia Bourdain’s article about her one week vegan experiment.)  Anyways, we used to joke about being condimentarians because our food essentially was nothing more than a blank palette for our sauces.  This isn’t necessarily healthy but there are only so many ways to eat tofu before you drown it in barbecue sauce and salt the hell out of it.

In any case, I am still a fan of flavorful food.  Starting this challenge, I threw out/gave away/donated all the sauces and dressings in my refrigerator and pantry that contained non-whole 30 ingredients.  Being a sensible human being, I was prepared.  I pulled out Melissa Joulwan’s cookbook, “Well Fed” and made some homemade mayo and some Sunshine Sauce.  There are two tangents I’m going to go on here, so hang tight…

1.) Damn that sauce is delicious.  I will be making this all the freaking time.  I drizzled some on my salad and dipped my chicken in it (think satay).

2.) It uses sunflower seed butter.  Sugar-free sunflower seed butter.  At $8 per jar.  What?  No, no, no.  Like I said before, one of my challenges during my Whole 30 is going to be money.  I did find a recipe to make my own.  Once my very prized and expensive jar of Sunbutter is out, I will be going this route.

I’m going to expand my sauce and dressing repertoire next weekend with some creamy Italian dressing and the  stir-fry sauce, but today, I’m going to lick the Sunshine Sauce off my fork and call it a day.


Day One: Journal

I started out hopeful, enthusiastic, maybe even a little too self-assured.  I ate both of my meals, armed myself with an emergency snack of an orange and some almonds so I wouldn’t completely fall apart–because I know myself and know that snacking is something I’m going to have to seriously work on as we get through this.  At three o’clock I started thinking about sugar.

For the last four months, I have been getting through these afternoon cravings with fake sugar.  Sugar-free 2 point Weight Watcher mini bars, sugar-free gum, diet soda, etc.  On the Whole 30, you can’t do this.  Yikes.  My body apparently doesn’t know the difference between what is real or what is fake, it just thinks its being satiated.  Double yikes.  Now its me against the world of diet food, fake food and everything in-between and it’s overwhelming.  How do people live like I’ve lived, a world of convenience, grab and go, microwavable, put it in a tortilla and run lifestyles?  I have to remind myself of the steamed fish and vegetable mental image at least once today.  If I can get through 3:00 p.m., I can get through the evening.

I will not fail.

Or will I?  I find myself running around after work doing errands.  First, I took Dean to Target to get his baptism pictures done.  Then off to CVS to print some photos for work followed by a trip to Hobby Lobby to get them framed.  I start to feel really hungry.  Part of me at least wants to get a diet soda to tide me over until I make it home, but I pull through like  a champ–even with a last stop to the grocery store.  Once I get home,  I get a can of soda water and start feeding Dean.  Finally, I can make dinner or what those Whole 30 folks refer to as meal 3.  Seared tuna with sauteed yellow squash.  Delicious.  Even the kid likes it.  While I’m eating, I have Tuesday nights lemon chicken baking in the oven. Shit, I missed the season finale of Bones.  I collapse on the couch and watch Dean clap along with the applause of Dancing with the Stars.  A wave of sugar craving hits me again and I realize that I have a habit where I was eating a skinny cow ice cream sandwich around this time.  I made a new habit.  I went and got a bottle of water instead.

I made it through Day One with flying colors.  Some internal glitches, but I’m way too stubborn to give into that.  Duh.

#whole30 Day One

I am four hours into my first day.  Yesterday was Dean’s baptism and first birthday party.  I ate a few two-bite cupcakes, had a beer, and indulged.  I spent the last week using my weekly Weight Watchers points getting tempting foods out of my mind and reminding myself that after not having them (I have been very good on my WW plan) that they really don’t make me feel that good and most of the flavors of these things are sub par. This is good to know going into what should feel like a restrictive eating challenge, but really doesn’t.  

My biggest challenges are going to be time and money.  I have a well stocked freezer with grass-fed meat as well as some conventional things that I know to trim and drain, but being a single mother on a very tight budget (anyone want to donate to my rent fund this month?), it is going to be challenging to keep up on some of the “extras” like ghee, etc.  I’m going to try to do without some of these things, and make as many as I can on my own.  I’m also committing to making all my meal 1 and 2’s on Sunday night for the coming week days and cooking meal 3’s on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with left overs on Saturday and Sunday.  This is the only way I can survive this challenge and run from one activity to the next without loosing my mind and finding myself pulling into a drive-thru frustrated at life.  If I have a plan, I can do it and I am well prepared for my first week–even if I am eating the same thing for breakfast all week and don’t have much variety for the next couple of days because I’m scarfing on leftovers from Dean’s grill out.  That’s okay though because I can focus on how to change it up a little next week and make a couple of recipes from the Well Fed cookbook and a breakfast frittata or paleo quiche muffins.

I will post tomorrow about how I did during my first day.  So far, nothing is different.  I don’t really eat bread or cheese, so that’s a no-brainer.  Other than time and money, my Diet Dr. Pepper addiction and my love for sweets will be a whole post sometime during this month–especially during lady times, but why would I screw up all the hard work I will have put in by then to indulge in my PMS?  These are all preemptive concerns and I should not anticipate things I don’t want to actually deal with, right?  I will be fine and on May 28, I will be talking about how amazing I feel.  Yeah!

Food Additive Monday

I have been doing a lot of research about alternative beverages for baby Dean.  Now that he is a year old, it’s time to ween him off the formula.  I’m opposed to giving babies juices and I don’t really drink them myself, unless I am mindfully juicing for a period of time.  I think its best to eat the whole fruit in order to get its full nutritional benefits, which include fiber.  One of the options presented to me in beverage choices was coconut milk.  That was until I read about carrageenan, on a paleo thread regarding paleo babies and coconut milk.  Carrageenan is a common additive to processed coconut milks sold in the dairy aisles.  This stuff is also in ice creams and yogurts as a thickener and emulsifier.

After more research, I realized that if I were to give my child coconut milk in the carton, that I would essentially be slowly poisoning him.  Who would do that to a baby?  Not this mom.  Not only can this food additive cause ulceration in your stomach, but it causes inflammation of your cells and can cause glucose intolerance, ultimately leading to diabetes.  None of this sounds good to me.  

Dr. Weil has something to say about this too.   “Is Carrageenan Safe?”

Dean isn’t really liking anything but his formula at the moment, so I will continue to research.  Apparently, just switching him to water is a viable option. *sarcasm*  I think we are just so socialized to have all of these drink options that we have become hardwired to depend on juice and milk unnecessarily.  I just feel fortunate that I don’t have to deal with this later on when he’s already eating pre-formed chicken nuggets and cookies, which if you know me well would probably never have happened.

Method behind my madness

I am generally for the eating of whole foods, so I thought I’d give this a try because after all, what is a month of your life in the name of good health?  I have been on Weight Watchers for four months and have lost 32 lbs.  Since I have been on WW, I have decided that the pre-packaged, sugar-free substitutes for real food that I have been eating over the past few months are not the way I want to live once I get to my goal weight, or towards it for that matter.  Since the paleo lifestyle fits into the “filling foods” or Simply Filling list (sans the fats), I am switching to that technique in favor of tracking–I will not be tracking my paleo-approved fats over the 30 day reset.  This will be a major variation from the Weight Watchers program.  I am a little nervous about not tracking, but again, mindfully eating fresh, whole foods for one month of my life isn’t going to get me where I was–which was years of eating fast food, processed food and fake food.  In my mind, I am changing my lifestyle for the long term.

I am still going to go to Weight Watchers meetings because I promised myself that I would stick with the program until I reached my goal.  For this month, I am simply going to attend for the encouragement, the routine and the mindful part of being present in my weight loss journey, but I am going to follow the Whole 30 principal of mindful eating.  I will assess myself at the beginning and end of 30 days, when I will weigh in and take before and after photos and measurements.

I have been reading all the material I can get my hands on for the past month.  I have been following WW, but trying to get rid of the non-paleo foods I invested in prior to my interest in whole foods as a staple.  I am nearly finished with pantry and freezer items and have made several food donations to a local women’s shelter to help me along in the process.  On April 26, whatever is left in my house that is a packaged, processed, non-whole food item will be tossed out.

Even the baby has gotten a little food make over.  I have not given him dairy, he has been eating homemade baby food (he always has) and I cut up fruits and chicken for him so he can self-feed nutritiously.  He still gets most of his calories from formula, (which I was against, but had to do because I had production issues,) but since he is nearly a year old, he will be switching to something else.  What, I haven’t yet figured out, since I’m on the fence about cow’s milk in its pasteurized format–which is no good for anyone. I’m thinking coconut milk since it won’t mess with his reproductive development like soy, poison him like rice milk (arsenic levels), or be laden with sweeteners like commercial almond milks.  If anyone has any thoughts on this, I just want my child to be healthy and eat whole, nutritious foods.  He is my inspiration for changing my food lifestyle after all.