Whole30 – Day 12 – Raw Kale, Habits and Planning

brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts from this summer. Purchased at the farmer’s market – it was the first time I realized how brussel sprouts grew.

Day 12. 3 more days until I am 1/2 way through.

My key takeways so far are habits and planning.

Last night while preparing my delicious Licorice Spice tea, I reached into the cutlery drawer to grab a teaspoon. As I picked it up, I went “Woah… put back the spoon!”. Even though I didn’t always take sugar with my tea, I had certainly formed a habit for certain cups. Like the cup before bedtime, or the cup when it’s cold out, or I was feeling a little blue. So a habit had crept up on me without me being aware.

Following this Whole30 gig, I find the automatic response gets curbed. Which then forces you to reflect if you really do want something, or it’s just an impulse. I signed up for their email support plan ( at ~50cents a day it’s cheaper than my cappucinos) and they do talk about asking yourself if you would eat fish and broccoli to decide if you are really hungry or not. Even though I eat fish, it’s not often, so I ask myself if I would eat lentils and broccoli.  With my cup of tea of course, sugar is clearly off the table, so I don’t have to think any more about it. But when I do go back to eating cheese, for example, I do hope to curb the automated pop into the mouth of little bits while grating some parmesan for dinner, or just opening the fridge door and looking for cheese…

KALE

I eat plenty of kale normally, but this has been a week of Kale. Chiefly because I haven’t planned so well for this week (I blame the holiday on Monday), and so there is no lettuce in the house for me to bring for lunch. But there is kale, so for two days in a row I’ve had raw kale salad with a few pecans and raisins. Tasty, but a tad light on the calories. I think my buddha belly will survive.

Tonight I am going out for “a drink” after work. I am now a very cheap date – water and lettuce with dressing on the side please, I suspect will be the tune of the evening. But who knows. Wish me luck.

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Whole 30 Day 5 – Heavy head and Chocolate

squash2

Last night’s dinner: Lentil Burgers** (legumes are ok when following the veggie version of the Whole 30), spaghetti squash (my first time making) and kale. Quite delicious, but I missed the butter. Butter is allowed, but only clarified butter. Not owning a cheesecloth, and already feeling like this whole venture involves a lot of channeling of Julia Child, I haven’t yet made the clarified butter. But I will.

Day 5: Headache continues and 3pm fatigue is ridiculous. My head drops and feels like it weighs 50lbs.

Other than that there is a pleasant feeling of virtuousness knowing that no sugar has passed my lips in 5 days. Not as sweet as chocolate (why does Mr OP have to leave an open bar of chocolate in the dining room!) but at least metaphorically sugar coated.

The key thing about following this plan is preparation. I thought I had purchased everything I needed. But I’m out of ideas of what to eat for dinner tonight – and opening a jar of tomato sauce and smothering it over pasta (rice) topped with a soupcon of parmesan is off the table. Sigh.

I haven’t purchased enough veggies or fruit or fish. And keep forgetting about the bloody cheesecloth!

Fish. I still toy with going back to being a full on vegetarian, but then I remember my heritage (many fisherman on my maternal side of the family) and I concede the genetic tie overrides the guilt I have over the degree of their sentience. How sentient are salmon anyhow? Don’t tell me.

**—————————————————

RECIPE: Curried Lentil Almond Burgers

  • 3 cups green lentils (cooked)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almonds (depending on how much water is in your cooked lentils)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 TBS coconut flour* (again dependent on water)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • turmeric and madras powder to taste

Blend together above ingredients. Shape into patties.

I tried both baking and frying them. The fried ones were much more delicious:)  I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 coconut oil (~1tbs or so) seeing as I haven’t gotten the whole clarified butter thing together yet.

Bake at 350 till solid. Depending on “wet” the mixture was to start takes anywhere from 25 to 40 min.

Frying > Almost like making pancakes. Turn over when solid enough to flip.

* A note about coconut flour, if you’ve never cooked/baked with it before. It is super absorbent. They should make paper towels out of it. Don’t treat it like regular flour.

Holy chills & headache – Day 3/4 Whole 30

I went to bed at 9:30pm last night. Prior to that I was walking around the house with the hoodie of my sweatshirt pulled up over my head and thick wool socks on. Mr. OP commented that it looked like I was camping.

This was Day 3 of my Whole 30 semi-pescatarian adventure.

I also had a headache. It’s still there slightly, but I don’t think my symptoms are a cold, or flu. It’s just that detox thing they mention in their timeline.

The crankiness they say will appear on Days 4-5 was there right away however:) It’s the cheese in the fridge taunting me, the blue one I crumble in my salad. Plus I haven’t clarified my butter yet, so no butter so far for 4 days. Clarifying butter is a lot of work. I’m already overwhelmed. Towards the goals of this quest I have so far:

  • Made vegetable lentil soup from scratch.
  • Made chia-flax crackers from scratch. That gooey gelatinous substance was challenging, but they’re decent enough. The seeds stick to your teeth.
  • Cleaned Whole Foods out of nuts and seeds. Luckily for me there was  a 25% sale on them. You’re only supposed to eat them in moderation. Unsalted, unroasted cashews are surprisingly delicious.
  • Bought more vegetables than I usually do in the summer at the Farmer’s Market.

What I’ve noticed, as with other 30 day challenges from the past (giving up wine for 30 days, giving up wheat for 30 days, this last one has become more or less permanent) is that you always think “I don’t eat that much ______ (bread, pasta…), I only have 1 (ok 2) glasses of wine a couple (ok 4) days a week” and then when you go off the substances you realize you actually do consume a lot more than you think.

BOOZE – So far, giving up the wine has been quite easy. I think my brain has adapted to the previous 30, 60 and 30 days booze-free challenges of the past year and a half, so it’s not sulking.

SUGAR – however, which I was like “I hardly eat any sugar”, pshaw – this will be a cinch. Around 3pm and ~ 8pm I could climb a mountain for a piece of milk chocolate. It’s hard to stay focused for a few minutes, I feel slightly dizzy. Then I make a cup of herbal tea (sans honey) and all is well.

CHEESE – I knew this one was going to be tough. I used to be a vegan, so I remember being cheese free, but it’s a distant memory, something vague and surreal, like being 11.

I await with pleasure Days 16 – 27: TIger Blood. Although without any meat perhaps it will be more like Winnie The Pooh Blood.

crackers

Chia and Flaxseed crackers.

Basically 1 cup of flaxseed and 1/4 cup chia seeds, water and spices. Adapted from 2 different recipes: Lauren Conrad’s Chia Flaxseed Crackers and one from Just a Bit of Salt (minus the maple syrup of course!). The key difference is the first recipe is more or less a dehydration process – low oven heat for many hours and the other one is baked at 350. I tried both.

Personally I prefer the baked, but like the idea of being “raw”.

I used:

  • 1 cup of whole flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds (organic natch)
  • bunch of water (probably too much)
  • 1/2 veggie bouillon cube (no sugar)
  • bit of sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ground rosemary

Notes – They both say to soak the flaxseed and chia seeds in water. Never having done this before, I was imagining it like soaking chickpea seeds. Wrong. It turns into a gelatinous goop. Slightly disconcerting, but I got over it.

I soaked them for about 4 hours. Then spread with a spoon on parchment paper covered baking sheets and baked at 350 for 25 minutes (the one recipe said 15 – but it was way too soft after 15 – prob too much H20) and then scored them, returned them back for another 25. Turning it over meant getting another sheet of parchement paper and flopping it. 1/4 of it stuck to the parchement sheet.

2nd batch – I let it cook a little longer and used a cake server to flatten it out. Bit like making mud cakes.  Brushed the parchement with olive oil. Turned over beautifully.

3rd batch – Tried the 190 degree method. Took way too long. I don’t have the patience. They end up not as crisp, which is what I like in that type of cracker.

Spices: Thinking it was going to be a rinse situation inside of making mud pies, I didn’t add the spices before hand to the water. I would do this next time. I would also add some pepper.

It was my first time eating chia seeds. They have a superfood reputation. DId I mention they stick to your teeth and you shouldn’t eat too much or you could get a stomach ache. I really hope making this isn’t the whole “sex with your pants on” thing they go on about (Paleo-ification of desserts and “junk food.”)  It’s bird food for pete’s sake! I’m not going back to Day 1.

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4pm: Slight headache continues and some crankiness. But I got good news today and had a great work day with my friend and colleague. Onwards.