Day 7 – One Week of Whole 30 – Hurrah

Breakfast

Brekkie. Also included some cashews and coconut water. And coffee with coconut milk of course.

Hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray. That was my inner cheerleading team this morning as I was out running (ok jogging) at 7:30am this morning. The extreme fatigue phase has passed, fingers crossed. My head still feels stuffed up, which I attribute to either a) the possibility I am fighting off a cold, b) the combo of the leftover jet-lag and starting this kooky venture or c) more toxins are still brewing in my head waiting to be released.

One week of Whole 30 – vegetarian (more or less, I am eating a wee bit of fish) style.  Trumpets please.

The biggest takeaway I have for the week is that cooking while avoiding sugar, processed foods, dairy and grains takes a gadzillion more times work than cooking the other way. The bonus is I am standing up more. Did you know sitting is the new smoking? I read it in Runner’s World a few issues ago. I sit at the box a lot.  So spending time in the morning washing lettuce for lunch, and spending more time prepping, chopping dicing, and cooking supper adds I’m guessing at least 30 minutes more standing minutes into my day. This is a big bonus.

The other takeaway is that the brain is a devious, whiny little beast. I am bracing myself for the cravings phase which they say starts on Day 8. Seeing as I’m sort of on Day 8 (see yesterday’s post), that would be today. Having done a few 30 day challenges before, in particular with booze, there is something different I’ve noticed about this one.

With the booze free (or wine-free really) ones, I thought about wine a lot. Especially in the first week. I haven’t thought about it at all this week, because my brain is too busy noticing the dark (which isn’t my favourite) chocolate Mr. OP  has left out – open – on the counter ; the copious amounts of cheese still in the fridge; and it is quite busy bitching to me about why I am doing this kookoo gig anyhow? Wine has fallen off the radar. So I think it’s that the brain wants what it can’t have and what it can see. Simple. I’ve introduced too many can’t haves for it to focus on only one (although I’ll wait and see what the next week brings), so it’s primarily relying on visual cues. There is no wine in the house. There is scotch, which I like a little bit, but I don’t ordinarily drink, so it isn’t a cue.  Plus it’s in behind a closed door that I don’t open very often, unlike the fridge.

Onwards.

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zzzzzzzzzzz – Whole 30 Day 6

Mr. OP kindly brought me a coffee in bed this am at quarter after 7. I opened my eyes, then promptly shut them again, when I woke up 20 minutes later the coffee was cold. This was after going to bed at 9:30pm the night before! So, the Day 6-7 full on fatigue they predict on their Whole 30 timeline hit me one day early.

I know why this is.  I actually started this whole insane venture on November 1st. Nice and tidy – 30 days hath November… (hence the blog name). But, I had wine that night. What happened was I planned to have wine on the Thursday night, but was so jet lagged from traveling from Mile Zero to almost Mile Zero** (St. John’s to Vancouver, via Toronto and Ottawa – 3 flights), plus there is a 4.5 hr time change that I couldn’t keep my eyes open enough to uncork the delicious Chardonnay I bought. I am not an ABCer btw. So when Mr. OP suggested we uncork it on Friday, even though I had already navigated Day 1 of this journey, I was like “yes please” and I’ll re-start tomorrow:) All this to say I’m kinda on Day 7 even though it’s Day 6.

Whole 30 Brekki

Breakfast of Champions: Leftover roasted cauliflower and portobello mushrooms, zucchini and green onions all sauteed in a mix of olive and coconut oils. Folded into 2 scrambled eggs.

Crankiness: Had to pick up some more veggies and fruit and walked through the grocery  store feeling irrationally irked I couldn’t buy cheese (avoided that aisle altogether), chips or chocolate. Contemplated buying Larabars (an approved food), but at $1.99 a pop, seemed like a waste. Very simple ingredients, I will try my own coconut date bars on the weekend. Also, my chiro’s office had a notice about how the company is unethical or something to that effect. I am easily swayed.

Good news: My dear pal and colleague brought me a cheesecloth to work today! I can make clarified butter. That pleasure will have to wait for the weekend.

My headache is lifting, although my head still feels foggy I can feel a light optimistic note creeping in, whispering, yes, you can do this for 24 more days.

One thing I’ve noticed that even though I cooked a lot beforehand, when you commit to this level of focus on real food, you really notice how much time it takes to plan, procure, and make food, which means less time for watching tv, or being on the box. Both good things.

Onwards.

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Two Mile Zeros on the Trans-Canada Highway
From Maclean’s ( The graceful end of the Trans-Canada Highway)

The sign says “Mile 0” and as journalist Walter Stewart wrote in 1965, “the Trans-Canada Highway (is) the world’s only national roadway that has two beginnings and no end. You start from Mile 0 on Water Street in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, drive 7,714 kilometres, and finish up in Beacon Hill in downtown Victoria, where the sign reads – guess what? – Mile 0. Neither city wanted to be at the tail of the procession, so we made a road with two heads and no foot. Very Canadian, very sensible.

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.

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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.

30 Days of Whole 30

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My throat is sore.

I just popped a halls lozenge into my mouth.

Gasped as realized it might have sugar or some other evil disallowed ingredient for this program. I am now on Day 3, so absolutely do not want to restart at Day 1.

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Decided to start this blog to document my experience with the Whole 30 program from a pseudo-vegetarian [ie: I eat fish (but not shellfish)] friendly perspective.

27 more days without cheese, wine, all grains (including quinoa) and no sugar, hence my anxiety about the halls lozenge. If you eat meat legumes are off the plate as well.
I don’t eat much fish, so I’m following the vegetarian guidelines, which allow for lentils and legumes – “properly prepared”, which I assume means soaked, they don’t explain.

All dairy is off the plate, but all I care about is cheese, having made the switch to coconut milk in my coffee a while ago. Mr.OP is not doing the challenge with me , which means there is cheddar and Parmesan and gruyere and Brie in the fridge. That’s way too much cheese.

3 days in, I developed a headache last night, and am slightly cranky. Wish me luck.