Apr 27

Hello all. Thank you for following along on this little journey of mine. All-in-all Whole30 was a very informative exercise. Many things became clearer to me with respect to my relationship with food. And I will continue to think about and work on those things. Food is a wonderful thing. I enjoy it very much. LOL. But I now see how often I reach for food when I’m not hungry….stress, anxiety, boredom….and I think these, plus some other bad habits have contributed to my gaining weight over the years. This new perspective has also explained (to me anyway) why things like Weight Watchers and Atkins programs have not worked for me. it really is “all about the food.”

To anyone struggling with food, weight, skin problems…I would recommend this program (but of course, I’m not a doctor and perhaps you should check with your doctor first.) It’s not a scam to make money. All of the information you need to do the program is available for free on line at whole30.com. There are available supplementary books that I found fascinating to read (science stuff about hormones and insulin resistance, etc.) plus a cookbook with detailed meal plans for those of you who need a guiding hand, but those are extras and you can easily do the program without them. Plus forums…I found the forums especially helpful when I didn’t know if I could eat this thing or that.

Is it hard? No…I don’t think it was hard. I was happy to say that, unlike Weight Watchers and Atkins and any number of programs before, I stuck to this for 30 days without fail! No cheating at all and I didn’t feel hungry or deprived. I will say that planning is required. Read the suggestions and pre-program recommendations. Absolutely. And have fun with the food you can eat. You may find that you really do like food without cream sauce and butter! You do have to be prepared for a little bit of adjustments as you detox from sugar and grains/flour, etc. That was a little  unpleasant.

All I can say is for me it worked. I plan on following the 10-day reintroduction plan which slowly reintroduces some of those foods you cut out to see if (now that you have a baseline of 30 days without them) your body reacts negatively. And then going forward I don’t seem me changing very much from what I’ve been doing for the past 30 days (pending how I feel after reintroducing cheese and breads, etc) except perhaps a drink or glass of wine here and there. And of course, maybe pizza once a month. I’d also love a piece of pie (just not half of the pie…you see the thread here?). It’s interesting. Not having had sugar for 30 days (or honey or maple syrup or any sweetener artificial or otherwise) many things seem sweeter anyway. I can’t imagine what will happen if I ate a candy bar…although I’d love a piece of chocolate. Bottom line. It’s only 30 days!

Most of all, I never want to feel that horrible “Thanksgiving” full feeling I so often had. And I think on a modified …. let’s call it #Whole365, plan, I feel like I can continue to lose weight (although true #Whole30 fans will say that the program is not about losing weight)…and feel better. That’s the whole thing. I feel lighter. My head feels lighter…I don’t crash at 3pm.

I tried to take before and after pictures, but I don’t think they show anything significant (except for some very puffy morning eyes!) Although I think in this un-retouched photo (today is the top photo and March 28 is the bottom photo both taken at approx 6:30 am in the same location in the apartment) my skin does seem improved and less blotchy, the circles under my eyes are a little improved.

Before (above) and after photos #Whole30

Before (above) and after photos #Whole30


And in this zoomed in photo, the lines on my forehead do seem less pronounced.

Photo Apr 27, 7 33 51 AM


So here are the numbers

Day 1:

242 lbs (highest ever)

132/87 (blood pressure)–always just almost “high”

 

Day 30

226.5 (15.5 lbs lost)

120/82 (on 4/15) – absolutely shocked my Dr.

 

I didn’t do body measurements but my pants definitely are much looser…

So a these are a great bonus to how much better I feel and how much better my digestion feels…

Apr 12

#Whole30 4/12 (Day 16, 14 to go)

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Well I’m past the half-way point. It’s hard to say how I feel…it’s like a clarity of mind. I don’t have that abundance of energy people talk about yet…perhaps it’ll come.

The biggest thing I’m realizing is (and it’s not necessarily a bad thing) that I have used food for so much more than food and nutrition. It’s a self-soothing, calming thing to do…cook and eat. But I can see that I’ve gained weight because of eating when I’m not hungry and causing all sorts of problems.

Digestion is great…sleep is much better. And I can’t wait to see what happens once Pedro is gone forever!

Some pit-falls I am recognizing. I’m getting bored with eggs for breakfast and have to think of something else. Although I don’t really see me eating chicken or fish for breakfast. Is that just cultural?

Apr 07

#Whole30 4/7 (day 10, 20 to go)

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An interesting quote from the Book, It Starts With Food.

So this is what I’m looking forward to. The program let’s you know that days 1-7 you are pretty much detoxing from sugar and dense carbohydrates and your body can’t rely on those as a primary energy source. This can lead to withdrawl symptoms. Days 8-14 see an end to those symptoms. People report falling asleep faster and sleeping better (please, yes, oh please) and having more consistent energy levels.

One can only hope. But…”digestive distress” can take a couple of months to resolve.

Found a lovely new recipe called Sunshine Sauce that’s used on veggies or grilled meats…coconut milk, almond butter (no sugar, unsalted, of course), lime juice, garlic and hot pepper flakes. And I discovered something called Coconut Aminos at WholeFoods…a replacement for soy sauce!

Onward.

Did I mention that our offer on a house was accepted! Inspection Monday!

Apr 05

#Whole30 4/5 (day 8, 22 to go)

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I have not (as you can obviously tell) been posting daily. There just wasn’t so much to tell. I’ve Facebooked photos of the meals I’ve cooked, etc. If you want recipes, I’ll try to write down what I did. But they mostly are off the cuff.

This week’s planned menu isn’t that different than last weeks. More chicken than any other protein. But I’m going to add more salads and buy some avocados to make some guacamole (I will miss eating it with chips, though). I’m making some turkey breakfast sausage. I really enjoyed the spaghetti squash, so I’m repeating that. I did not love butternut squash in a fritatta. so we’re going to leave that out.

Speaking truthfully I have not noticed that much change yet. I read that the energy and better sleeping come after two weeks….so maybe next week? I may have hallucinated that my jeans were looser. But shhh…that’s not supposed to be a goal of the program.

The eating isn’t that much of a challenge at all. I know myself and as long as I’m eating creative, interesting foods I won’t get bored. If I had to stay with grilled chicken on a salad, I would lose my mind. But I’m trying to be creative within the guidelines of the program.

I tried cauliflower “rice” and enjoyed it very much. I think it’s a great alternative to regular rice. I just used a bag of frozen and threw it in the food processor until it was rice sized and sauteed it.

The hardest time of the day is the later evening, after nine. I want something…something snacky or sweet. I’m craving peanut butter then too. Luckily I haven’t had any night time sleep eating!

So, one week (plus) down…and 3 to go. It truly isn’t horrible. Looking forward to feeling some results.

Mar 31

#Whole30 1/30 (day 3, 27 to go)

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Yesterday was interesting. Because of my schedule I had to eat out for 2 meals…and it wasn’t hard at all.
 
A simple (un-photographed scrambled egg breakfast — note to self, while it wasn’t horrible, adding coconut cream to try to give the eggs a creaminess didn’t work).
 
Lunch was at Milk Street Cafe where it was simple to adapt…I got a salad. They had olive oil and vinegar…so it was easy and yummy.
 
Dinner before chorus was another dinner out and I did the exact same thing at Au Bon Pain. (Now hopefully there aren’t Whole30 enthusiasts out there who are going to reveal some underbelly of these places and suggest I start out at day 1 again.)
 
Caffeine headache withdrawal is nearly going away. I still have a funny slow motion feeling…and my digestion is just out of whack. But I consulted the “plan” and they describe all these symptoms as “normal” and that they go away during the 2nd week. Here’s a quote from the plan
 
…as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating and your brain wraps itself around going without all its habitual sweet tastes and sugar-driven energy spikes…
 
Onward to day 4. There is a learning lunch here today. And pizza will be served. Give me strength. Luckily I’ve blabbed all about the program so everyone knows I would be cheating if I ate pizza.
Mar 30

#Whole30 1/29 (day 2, 28 to go)

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Monday night was a bit of a difficult night. My headache never really went away and I had some serious stomach trouble. It’s difficult to know what caused that…the caffeine withdrawal or my body getting adjusted to Whole30.

But it’s clear that my body is freaked out. And it’s clear that I reach for food for many reasons other than being hungry. Must be for comfort. I’m sitting here at my desk working, thinking I’ll run and get a bagel. But I’m not hungry.

Anyway, here is breakfast. A grilled turkey sausage patty with sauteed spinach on top and 2 poached eggs…with a small dollop of mayonnaise (I didn’t have the lemon to make hollandaise and figured, mayonnaise is really almost exactly hollandaise except it’s not hot).

Whole30 breakfast

Whole30 breakfast

 

Lunch was simple and no photo taken. A Burger with sauteed onions and peppers with a spinach salad (I’m definitely not depriving myself).

Dinner was lovely (so say I) File Mar 29, 7 00 15 PM
Grilled Chicken breast with steamed broccoli and grilled butter nut squash. I made a sauce using coconut cream and curry…kind of a spin of of a Thai Massaman Curry. I topped it with my grilled pineapple salsa.

Caffeine headache is slowly going away…stomach issues seem to be resolving. I don’t miss coffee so much. I don’t really miss any food that much. The thing about this is convenience. You have to plan. I never realized how easy a sandwich is. At the very least I always will have eggs in the house and grilled chicken that I can throw on a salad…

So far so good.

Mar 28

#Whole30 1/28 (day 1, 29 to go)

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Well here we go with all the enthusiasm I can muster. I’ll be sharing my experience, emotions, cravings…right here with you.

Day one menu:


Breakfast: a crust-less quiche with grilled butternut squash, grilled asparagus, spinach, and turkey breakfast sausage. While yummy, I did miss the cheese I might have added in another life. But it was very filling. No coffee though….should get interesting.

Lunch: spaghetti squash with bolognese and a small mixed green salad (no photo)

Dinner: grilled burger over peppers and onions with a cayenne mayo and a spinach salad

Midday brought a crushing headache…and a little bit of a foggy feeling. Hoping it’ll clear soon.

Mar 21

It’s Time for a Change–Whole30

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How many times have I enthusiastically started a new diet, a new eating plan…a healthy new start? Started and failed. But, what’s amazing is, I am finding out why. It isn’t necessarily because of poor willpower or laziness. I’m learning it’s simple chemistry.

I’m looking into doing the Whole30 program, reading and researching this week with a proposed start date of Monday, March 28. You can do your own reading/investigating, etc at the Whole30 Website too. AND the information on the website is totally free. You can buy the book if you want, but all the information is out there for free.

I’ve tried every diet out there and what I’m reading is dieting actually promotes a hormonal response in the body that causes diets to fail. Read that again

Dieting makes it harder to lose weight.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, and I have not lost all of my critical thinking skills. I’m not “drinking the koolaid” and am doing other research on line to help debunk any craziness. But nothing sounds crazy here. I’ve read the same things in other nutrition magazines and articles. I am learning and plan on blogging each of the 30 days of this journey, sharing my experience with you. There will be no weight loss reports. The program discourages this. This isn’t primarily about weight loss. This is about resetting your body, detoxing from our sugar/carb (no this is not Atkins) addiction (results of chronic overconsumption of empty carbohydrates in the next paragraph) and toward eating food that:

Promote a healthy psychological response.

Promote a healthy hormonal response.

Support a healthy gut.

Support immune function and minimize inflammation.”

Excerpt From: Melissa Hartwig & Dallas Hartwig. “It Starts With Food.” Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, 2012. iBooks.

In a nutshell, due to consuming over processed foods (something we all agree is bad, right?) causes an imbalance of 4 major hormones in our body; Insulin, lepton, glycogen, and cortisol. 4 hormones which are supposed to work together to maintain sugar levels, manage stores or energy, regulate our hunger/not hunger signals, and  also help keep the others in check–a well designed checks and balances system.

But chroniclly overeating empty carbohydrates throws this system out of balance. The brain doesn’t know when we’ve consumed enough, blood sugar levels remain chronically high which leads to a domino effect with these 4 hormones, hyper over-secreting them and stressing out our bodies which then actually starts breaking down, rendering these checks and balances inoperable…leading to a host of chronic conditions not limited to Type2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic fatigue, etc., etc., etc.,

So before this post gets too long, I’ll summarize. What I think this program is about is: rebalancing your body’s own natural system which is designed to keep us at a healthy weight, store a healthy amount fat, and keep everything thing in a harmonious balance. Unnatural and over processed food destroy that balance.

Dec 03

Juniper Moon Sheep Stash

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I have loved the Juniper Moon Sheep Stash idea since it came out. But I didn’t jump on the bandwagon until this year. I was so excited yesterday when I got home I saw that I got my sheep in the mail!

sheepstash
here. The best part for me is that a portion of the profits will be donated to Heifer International, an organization I admire very much. If you’re wondering what to get someone, their gift catalog has many great gifts that keep on giving.

I admired Susan B Anderson’s sheep so much, but I couldn’t just copy the idea. Then I knew…here she is:
bobblebaabaa



Here is how I did it. You may need to make modifications for your yarn, needles, tension, and size sheep. But do what I did…knit a little, try it on the sheep and continue or adjust as needed…see my outline (I hesitate to call it a pattern).


Bobble Baa Baa
I used an aran weight yarn and US# 5 Double Pointed Needles
Using the long-tail cast on, cast on 12 sts (4 per each of 3 needles)

Being careful that your stitches are not twisted, join for working in the round and knit 2 rounds of K2, P2 ribbing (my next one may become 2-3 rounds of reverse stockinette stitch…you know, purl on the right side, knit on the wrong…)

Bobble Round 1 (K1, MB*) around
Bobble Round 2: Knit around
Bobble Round 3: (MB*, K1) around

*Here is how I made the bobble (totally stolen from the Purl Bee blog).
K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1 in to the next stitch (5 loops now coming out of one stitch) Turn (wrong side facing you) and knit 5. Turn again (right side facing) K2tog, then return the stitch to the left hand needles and one, by one, pass the next 3 stitches over the K2Tog stitch.

Continue knitting bobble rounds 1-3 until the “sweater” fits the sheep up to behind the front leg. Now you’re going to work flat, going back and forth, until the sweater fits…

Bobble Row 1 (K1, MB*) across
Bobble Row 2: Purl back
Bobble Row 3: (MB*, K1) across

You can end with ribbing or a curling stockinette or reverse stockinette stitch. Bind off and sew the seams of the sweater around the sheep’s neck. Next one, I may increase slightly for the last portion…but experiment and have fun.

Weave in ends and love her.

Nov 23

Ribbed & Buttoned

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It took me a bit longer today to release this pattern. I had to break into my own blog. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t blog in 6 months.

I am happy to announce the release of my newest pattern: Ribbed and Buttoned, a fun cowl with almost limitless variations.

Please visit my Ravelry Shop if you wish to purchase the pattern.

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