Checking in... 4 days in, 26 to go!

It is the beginning of day 5 of the Whole30. Overall, my experience has been pretty positive. I am noticing that I feel more energetic without that wired feeling or mid-day crashes I usually get. 

I am extremely grateful for all the food prep we did Sunday. First of all, I want to address the idea that eating healthy costs expensive. Yes, healthier food may cost a little more money, but 1) It is real food- all of the processed "food" that fills our supermarkets may be cheap, there may be sales and coupons, but think about the reasoning for that-- it is far from real, whole, nutrient-dense food. In fact, that processed food is void of nutrients and actually robs your body of its own nutrients, since your body needs to work to digest it. 2) You are no longer spending money on all the extras you once bought-- eating this way is actually much simpler once you stock your pantry with the non-perishable essentials (spices, cooking oils, etc.) and 3) You really are investing in your health and saving yourself money in the long run without a doubt. 

This is just a snapshot of what we got on Sunday for about $120-- it includes three pounds of organic chicken, one pound of organic ground turkey, canned wild salmon, three dozen organic eggs, tons of vegetables, canned coconut milk, lots of Whole30 approved condiments, a bunch of new spices... and more. This will feed 2 of us (and more) for at least 4 days! 

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With all of this food, we prepped a bunch of different meals and sides. We spent some time going through some cookbooks at home before we shopped, picking some new recipes we wanted to try, and making a list. So all in all, we ended up with:

  • A double batch of Practical Paleo's wild salmon cakes (not pictured) 

  • A pot of butternut squash chilli

  • Everyday Paleo's Better Butter Chicken (not pictured)

  • Baked potato wedges

  • Cauliflower rice & A chicken/bacon/veggie (carrots, onions, zucchini) quiche 

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Dinner was even Whole30 approved. (Better Butter chicken, cauliflower rice, potato wedges, and Swiss chard sauteed in coconut oil.) Actually, minus the 1/2 Perfect Foods bar I ate for breakfast (I won't lie... I am going to miss those), everything else I ate on Sunday was Whole30 approved. I figured I would ease myself in instead of indulging and then shocking my body on Monday.


Day 1

Day 1 went well. I felt really good all day (even with no caffeine!) I did notice at night I was really craving something sweet- which I found odd since I usually don't eat sweets. But I guess cutting down on my usual carb and sugar intake had my body a little "off."

Meals:

Upon waking up
2oz. of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in water. I bought myself these little cups and a small bottle of ACV to keep in my room so that I make sure it's the first thing I do every morning!

Breakfast
2 squares of the quiche we prepped Sunday. Coffee (decaf!) with clarified butter, coconut oil, and collagen (I throw about 1/2T each of butter + coconut oil, 1T of collagen in my insulated mug, brew the coffee, and then shake-- no blender needed!) *My friend introduced me to this mug to use this way, and I absolutely ove it! 

Lunch (at work)
Salmon cake, Swiss chard, cauliflower rice, and potato wedges

Dinner
Chili topped with 1/2 avocado

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Day 2

Day 2 went just as smooth as day 1 (mostly thanks to all the prepped food we had).

Meals:

Breakfast
(I actually had time to cook!)- 1/2 salmon cake topped with homemade dill mayo, steamed asparagus, 1 egg (cooked in coconut oil), and raw sauerkraut (I love this brand -- full of probiotic bacteria!) + black herbal coffee substitute (made with dandelion root and chicory root-- actually delicious and naturally caffeine free!)

Lunch
Leftover Better Butter chicken over cauliflower rice with steamed collard greens

Dinner
Coconut/spice baked chicken, coconut collard greens (2 last minute experiments that actually came out quite tasty!) and baked sweet potato with cinnamon

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Day 3

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Day 3 was a very long, whirlwind of a day. I left my house before 8AM and wasn't back home until 9PM. But being busy and on-the-go is no excuse. I just packed a cooler bag full of my meals and ate when I felt hungry. 

Meals

Breakfast
2 squares of quiche + black herbal coffee with 1T collagen. 

Lunch
Kettlebell Kitchen's Bacon Coconut Chicken*

Snack
1/2 bowl of chili

Dinner
Homemade chicken soup + salad with orange fennel dressing

*All of these meals are free of dairy, grains, sugar, & anything processed (aka full of real, wholesome food), 99% are Whole30 compliant, and they are all really delicious (which is always a big help). And honestly, the amount of food is perfect (I had lunch at about noon and didn't feel hungry until around 6:30PM!) The convenience factor is a huge win. I know I'm super busy with work, school, and teaching, so I order myself 1-3 of these meals a week for those days when I don't have time to cook or am away from home all day. It's fool-proof! 

That evening, my boyfriend prepped another quiche, since the one we made on Sunday was really good (and gone!) I admit, his came out better than mine!


Day 4

On Day 4 I went out to breakfast at one of my favorite places with 4 of my cousins--3 of who are doing the Whole30 too!

Meals

Breakfast
We all had Shakshuka (an Israeli dish of eggs baked in a spiced tomato sauce, topped with eggplant)-- it usually is topped with feta cheese and eaten with pita, so it was pretty simple to make it Whole30-compliant. 

I also brought a small container of clarified butter and coconut oil as well as my insulated mug, so we ordered French press coffee and shook it up.

Lunch (not pictured)
Kettlebell Kitchen's Salmon Cakes 

Dinner (below)
Pork chops with roasted peppers, steamed asparagus, red rosemary potatoes sauteed in avocado oil, and salad with orange fennel dressing.  

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Thoughts so far (Days 1-4):

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  • I would not have been able to get through so easily without preparing food ahead of time. 

  • The first few days, I noticed I was craving something sweet, often (usually at night). Candy sitting on my desk at work that I normally walk by 50 times a day without ever wanting a piece, suddenly became a serious threat to me (I think it's a combination of my body "detoxing" from sugar + the fact that now it's "forbidden," where before, I knew I could choose to have a piece).

  • No caffeine-no problem. I honestly feel much better without it. I was noticing that I would wake up and not be able to think of anything but coffee-- not really for the caffeine, but just for the taste. And every time I had any caffeine, I would get a wiry surge of energy, but inevitably crash 1-2 hours later. (Caffeine has the same effects on blood sugar as pure sugar would!) It is a bit challenging, especially when I smell the Kurig machine brewing fresh coffee a million times a day at work, but I realized that I often was having a cup mid-day just for the hell of it, which definitely was a comfort mechanism.

  • I am noticing that by eating adequate, balanced meals, my appetite is much more manageable and my hunger cues are different. I am never getting that "I need food now" feeling, which I know was a blood sugar issue. I am able to go 4,5, even 6 hours without being hungry, or without thinking about eating. I struggled over the past 5-6 months with having to eat much more often throughout the day. I experimented with upping my carb intake, and started realizing that my body was now using carbs for fuel all the time, instead of being able to use fat. Our bodies' main fuel source is glucose, but our bodies can use fat for energy, and actually thrive that way-- A healthy body should be able to switch back and forth. A person who has a carb/sugar-heavy diet will be using carbs/sugar for energy, and therefore, will feel they need to eat much more often. A person who has a good balance of macronutrients and avoids refined carbs and sugars, will be much more effective at using fat for energy. Think of your body as a fire-- carbs/sugar are kindling, while fat is a long-burning log). 

  • And lastly, taking pretty pictures of food is ridiculously difficult! 

I am hoping that the next 26 days go as smoothly as these first few, but let's be serious-- things are gonna get rough. Weekends is where I know I will struggle, plus my birthday falls right smack in the middle of the Whole30. However, I am using how I feel as motivation to keep myself on track, and the fact that so many of my friends and family members are suffering right along with me ;)