Whole30 RECAP!

I finished my Whole30 over three weeks ago but never sat down to write the final recap post! It feels longer than that!

Overall, I AM glad I chose to do a second Whole30 and am SUPER glad I had a group of women doing it with me for support! When I decided to embark on this challenge, I posted about it on Facebook and asked if anyone else was interested in joining me and it turns out, they were! It was so amazing having that support and accountability, especially during the (surprisingly rare) times where I thought, I don't know if I can keep going.

The Whole30 is an experience like none other and I highly recommend it for anyone who is wanting a dietary re-set, looking to feel better physically, or hone in on possible food intolerances. It eliminates grains, dairy, added sugars and unhealthy fats but lets you eat your FILL of meats, fish, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. There are soooo many resources out there now to help you meal plan and find new ways to mix and match meals within the confines of the program rules. Since I was already eating a mostly whole foods diet, it was not a hard adjustment for me in some regards. In others, I struggled.

Let's talk about some of that!

1) I got tired of sweet potatoes. Though it's possible to vary your SP intake between whole, mashed, roasted, shredded, etc. it's still a sweet potato. The Whole30 rules do allow you to eat white potatoes now but I found that they were causing symptoms for me personally. More on this later and it's tie-in with autoimmunity.

2) I struggled with carb intake. I've always felt I do better with a slightly higher carb intake than some might call for on a paleo diet which is why although I never eat gluten, I have eaten rice, beans, corn tortillas, etc. at my meals for variety and extra CARBS. On Whole30 though, those things are out. It was hard for me to feel like I was getting enough carbohydrate all the time through sweet potato, bananas and other fruits and squashes. Now that Whole30 is over, I find myself in that same place due to the fact that my body isn't responding well to the carbs I used to add in. I'm still trying to wade through that process.

3) My sleep wasn't great. A lot of people report better sleep at some point during their Whole30 and again, I've found that carbs help me sleep! I have quite a few different health issues going on right now so it's hard to pinpoint exactly one thing on the sleep. Hormones, a possible autoimmune diagnosis, and getting glutened once on Whole30 (In my own house! How does that happen?) can all lead to poor sleep. 

It wasn't ALL gloom + doom though! There were some good things!

1) I tried new foods! I made plantain chips, turmeric roasted carrot and parsnip FRIES, and fell in love with GOLDEN MILK at night - which did help me sleep some! (Almond milk, dates, ginger, and turmeric.) I made my own MAYO! And was introduced to Tessemae's dressings!

2) I felt my blood sugar regulate. Instead of waking up starving or feeling like I constantly needed to munch all day or snack between meals, I easily began to make it from b-fast to lunch and lunch to dinner with little eating in-between. I felt satisfied by my meals and didn't feel lethargic afterwards with sugar cravings on top.

3) I took pretty pictures. I created a #katiswhole30 hashtag on Instagram where I can look back for inspiration at some of my Whole30 meals.

During the final week and a half of my Whole30 I had to fight off some PMS and cravings for sweets which I did with some almond-coconut-date cookies (recipe on Insta!) I probably ate too many but hey - I made it through without chocolate or going off-plan. I did have one super hard HORMOTIONAL day in there where I didn't know if I was going to pull through but I did. Now that super dark chocolate is back in my life - it's alllll goooood. :>

Whole30 re-set my body and cravings which is what it is designed to do! Along with the testing I'm currently undergoing with my functional medicine doctor, it helped show me what I can and cannot bring back into my diet without consequence. I have brought sugar back in by way of some honey, maple syrup and dark chocolate. But I'm OK with that for now. This timeline is such an accurate depiction of what you might experience while on Whole30 and I found it to be so true for me at points along the way. There is definitely a 21 day interlude!! But oh the satisfaction when you hit DAY 30! And you know that you've done it!! #allthepraisehands

Have you ever done a Whole30 before? Would you consider it?

Let's Be Friends!

Whole30 Week 3, Recap

Whole30 is over THIS. WEEK. So, I'm late as usual on the recap but so it goes.

Week three was a good one. My crazy weird bladder flares finally went away and I felt pretty good in general. Really good at times! Both my moods and blood sugar have felt more stable which is a huge win. I can easily go from meal to meal without getting cranky / hangry and I haven't even missed sugar all that much. The past week has been a bit different in that regard though as I knew I was coming up on my period and when I'd typically be craving more junk and yes, sugar. Surprisingly I really haven't craved CHOCOLATE all that much. Maybe it's because my micro-nutrients are UP (magnesium?) and less sugar begets less sugar <cravings.>

I tried some new foods like parsnips, made my own Paleo mayo and experimented with turmeric milk. YuM. I did go through what the Whole30 timeline calls, "The Interlude" around day 21 where the thought of yet another compliant food or meal is enough to make you want to just not eat. But I got through it. My advice on those days is to just. get. through. it. Eat. And go to bed and wake up to another day. And try new recipes! That's a life-saver on Whole30 and a must. 

I'm feeling a tiny bit anxious on life after Whole30 and not sure yet how I'll reintroduce foods and whether it will be formal or not. We shall see. I can't believe I'm almost done!

Whole30 Week 2, Recap

I knew if I didn't sit down and write this, I'd blink and it would be week 3! Today is day 17 and I'm officially over halfway through my second Whole30. Crazy!

I haven't gotten food-bored yet, except maybe when it comes to carbs. Because let's face it - your main source of dense higher-carb foods comes from sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and some fruit. How many different ways can I make sweet potatoes?

Diced and roasted, pureed with coconut milk and cinnamon, shredded like hash browns, whole, mixed in with white potatoes? Fun, Fun, Fun.

I've still had some hit or miss sleep and bladder pain, which got rather annoying. I'm not sure what during Whole30 triggers this but I think it happened last time too? I plan to chat with my doctor about it. Don't worry, I don't think these are "normal" Whole30 woes, just part of my makeup and being super sensitive to stuff and changes and all that.

I still feel like my blood sugar is super-stable and I don't feel hungry between meals. This is a HUGE WIN to me and means that i'm hugging that balanced blood sugar line a lot closer which is what my doctor wants. {praise hands!} I used to wake up feeling like I HAD to eat asap and now I don't. Even though I do try to eat within an hour of waking up which is a good policy for anyone I think.

I plan to try and pull out some new recipes for this second half so that I don't get bored.

Week 3, here we go!

Whole30 Week 1, Recap

For my first Whole30 two years ago, I wrote a quick daily recap which was kind of neat to read back over the other day. This time, I've decided weekly will suffice. Something about having two kids...

Today is day 8! Officially over 1/4 of the way through. Here's how its gone so far:

Food wise, it really hasn't been that tough. I feel like I'm at a place where the majority-ish of what I eat is real, whole food so it's not a complete overhaul; instead more of a tweaking here and there. No more Mission tortilla chips, no more chocolate, no more gluten-free cereal before bed.

The first few days were a little rough in that I had some uncomfortable symptoms and trouble sleeping. I found a super interesting article one night (while not sleeping) that discussed just WHY you may have trouble when beginning a Whole30 which put my mind and body to rest a little. You can check it out here

I just geek out over this kind of science!

As far as the other "uncomfortable-ness," it's not something I talk a lot about but one of the things I have dealt with over the past few years is some bladder irritation and possibly IC, intersticial cystitis. This is another blog post for another time and I don't have it completely all figured out yet. But my bladder is pretty sensitive and if I eat gluten, it doesn't like it. I'm still looking into autoimmune related issues and I did have one friend tell me that for some people, changing their diet to AIP for instance (autoimmune protocol) can trigger a flare. Think of "flare" as a bladder spasm feel in this case with lots of frequency / urgency. Fun stuff huh?! Anyways, when you cut out sugar, up your protein and fat, things change inside and I think I was probably half reacting to that and half reacting to some hormonal shifts. Good times all in all. But not really. 

I was actually starting to get worried but it's gotten better. I started making sure dinner included a nice amount of carbs and turning off my phone an hour before bed and relaxing in a warm epsom salt bath like I usually do. It worked. Better sleep!

Now, as far as week 1 benefits! (hopefully I didn't lose you with all the bladder talk. Isn't it an awkward word?) What's even more awkward is dealing with it at 34. Between it, MTHFR and my newly near-diagnoses-of-almost-Celiac, it gets kind of crazy town.

I really feel pretty good. I can tell my blood sugar is stable and more balanced because I can go longer between meals or snacks. I don't feel the need to snack like I did before or constantly eat all day. I don't wake up hungry with that low blood sugar feel. I don't feel tired after eating. My digestion has improved. I'm having fun trying new recipes like carrot fries with turmeric or salty kale chips. Tonight I did dip plantain chips into almond butter - hey O! That was good. But that's another thing the Whole30 does. It messes with YOUR MIND. Things start to taste good. Things like plantain chips in almond butter. #yumyum

I'm excited to keep going. Bring on week 2!

10 Tips to Rock Your Whole 30!

We all know beginning a Whole 30 can seem daunting. Thirty days of delicious, pure, whole foods? No ice cream?! I know, I know. But trust me. You CAN do this!

All it takes is a little preparation and a whole 'lotta mindset. With that in mind, here are ten tips to help you get started.

1) Clear out the foods you WON’T be eating.

  • Put them away, give them away, or throw them away. Just move them out of sight. And if your whole family won’t be completing the Whole d30 with you...

2) Create a separate shelf in your pantry and fridge for your Whole 30 approved foods.

  • Choose one that's in your line of sight so that you can see what you’ve got as soon as you open the door.

3) Tell your family and friends what you’re doing!

  • You’re going to need their support, especially from the ones that LIVE with you. Ask them politely not to offer you non-Whole 30 approved foods during these 30 days.

4) Google, Google, Google.

  • Not sure if a food is safe to eat while on Whole 30? Your new best friend is going to be Google. You can literally type in “xyz food, Whole 30” and get multiple links to an answer that has probably been asked before.

5) Whip out a calendar and start looking at the month ahead.

  • What upcoming events and gatherings do you have? Start thinking now about how you will navigate those...ie, bringing your own food, eating beforehand, etc.

6) Utilize Pinterest, Instagram, and yes Google again to find recipes, meal plans, and more.

  • Type in “Whole 30 Breakfasts” on Pinterest or use hashtags on IG like, #whole30meals or #whole30approved - There is a LOT out there!

7) Write down 5 quick and easy meals that will be your “go-to” when you’re tired, short on time, hangry, and can’t think of what else to make.

  • Post it on the fridge where you will SEE it! Example: rotisserie chicken, baked sweet potato fries, salad. OR, Omelet with veggies + fruit.

8) Post a list of non-food activities to choose from when you’re stressed, bored, or just need a distraction to ride out a craving.

  • (Take a walk, call a friend, paint your nails, take a bath, stretch, do yoga, sip some hot tea.)

9) Write out your goals.

  • WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to sleep better? Have more energy? Squash your inner sugar demons? Figure out which foods are giving you trouble and contributing to symptoms? Whatever your reasons, write them down and refer back to them when you start to feel discouraged (you will) or are tempted to quit.

10) Know that you CAN do this!

  • You are not giving up ice cream forever - just for 30 days. You are CHOOSING to fill your body with whole, unprocessed foods that are going to nourish you and provide your body with ingredients it recognizes. And at the end of 30 days, you will be so glad that you did! You can do it! You can do it! You can do it! Yay!!!