Whole30 – The Finish Line – Walnuts and Wholeness

walnuts

Walnuts in a shell taste 58 times better than ones that have been pre-shelled.

Or a gadzillion times better. We bought these walnuts and hazelnuts in Harrison at the end of September, so they are already two months old, but when I cracked one open the other night for dessert, it’s fresh taste was so magnificent I had to immediately text Mr. OP and share the news.

It got me thinking about this whole Whole30 plan, the way the focus is on it not being a “diet” but on eating real, unprocessed foods. Not being a meat eater, it’s a little trickier to follow the plan letter by letter, but they do offer vegetarian friendly options. I’m finding nuts are figuring into my meals more than before.  The thing is nuts have a lot of calories, and a few handfuls can really add up. I noticed when I was shelling one walnut, that it takes a considerable amount of time and effort – the cracking, the picking out and the eating. You tend to savour it more. When you buy nuts pre-shelled it’s easier to gobble many handfuls without giving it much thought.

The enforced slowness involved in shelling is similar to the  slowness created by more meal planning, more fresh vegetable shopping, more soaking (of legumes, “allowed” on the veggie plan), more preparation of food. It starts out being a bit of frustration — “Gadzooks, I have to do all this work?” — then gradually it dawns on you how much of the stuff you consume is processed, even when you think it isn’t. Like shelled walnuts.

haze;nuts

Hazelnuts are even harder to crack. The energy required to crack them possibly makes the calories within break even. I think “paleolithic man” had to work pretty darn hard to eat her food. Eating nuts this ways created a sense of mindfulness for me, making me pause and reflect upon the effort it took the tree (?) to grow the nuts, the harvesting, and all the steps in between to my table. This Whole30 gig has me reexamining my relationship to snacking — pulverizing Honey-Dijon potato chips in 2 milliseconds will have to be reconsidered in the future (after Christmas of course).

pomegranates

Pomegranates are on the menu for a treat tonight.

Two More Days

I’m two days out to the finish line. Part of me never wants to stop eating this way. I definitely feel better and have slimmed down without feeling too much deprivation. I won’t say without an ounce of deprivation, because I definitely felt sulky when passing by the cheese aisle at the grocery store or at the farmer’s market booth.

Post finish-line, they suggest re-introducing certain goods gradually, one at a time. I think I’ll start with cheese (surprise!), but I plan to avoid dairy by and large. The holiday season might make this a tad more challenging.

Onwards

coco-datein

This is the coconut date square from Day 22. Technically, might be a SWPO item, but what the heck. It’s the same ingredients as the (processed!) Larabars with a dash of coconut oil. I will not restart for this indulgence.

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.

Whole30 – Days 8 & 9 – the accidental dose

For about a year I’ve been drinking my coffee with (unsweetened) coconut milk. This makes it easy to differentiate between my cup and Mr. OP’s cup, as he takes it black with sugar.

This morning our coffee was in identical cups and I accidentally swigged a sip.

How many sips are in a cup of coffee? It was smallish sip. I realized as it was already being swallowed what I’d done.

There was about 3/4 of a teaspoon of organic brown sugar in there. If there are 10 sips in a cup (stabbing in the dark here), I consumed a statistically insignificant amount. Not that you would have noticed by my shouts of “Oh No, What Have I Done – Aaaargh!”

Onwards.

These last two days have brought improved energy and a sense that I will persevere. My Day 7 glibness towards not missing wine was, of course, overturned on Saturday evening, when the thought of a delicious glass of ice cold chardonnay (ABCers piss off) haunted me for at least an hour. I made delicious tea and enjoyed the zero side-effects the next morning by going for a run.

Sunday I faced a family dinner and managed aok. There was enough food to eat, and although the mashed potatoes with loads of butter looked fantastic, they did not cross my lips. And although I carefully inspected the salad dressing for sugar (none), a small, yet bigger than miniscule dose of sugar passed my lips via the BBQ sauce that was on the salmon. I scraped most of it off, and having scoured the forums for information found out that a wee bit of sugar does not require a restart to Day 1. Passing on the chocolate decadence cake for dessert was slightly more daunting, but I clenched my teeth and smiled.

Pureeing tomatoes for the lentil soup

Cooking.

It being a long weekend (which of course thinking about Remembrance Day puts this modest challenge into perspective) I cooked. A lot.

More chia/flax seed crackers, more vegetable lentil soup, and coconut date squares were the top of the list.

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Coconut Date Bars

(Culled from here and here w/ miniscule modifications – these are raw and Vegan)

  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinammon

I have a mini cuisinart, so had to make this in two batches. Otherwise, if you have a regular one, I’m sure you could blend it all at once.  I chopped the walnuts first, then added the dates and coconut.

Blend until it starts forming into a ball.

Roll out between two sheets of parchement paper to desired thickness and slice and serve.
Mine made about 10, plus some little bits that didn’t make the cut. Myfitness pal tells me they are about 100 calories each. A perfect snack, and Whole30 approved. I estimated the cost at 55 cents a bar (all organic ingredients) versus those Larabar ones at $1.99 a pop.

And Mr. OP likes them too.

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Today is Day 10, it being a holiday I  had grandiose plans to cook even more, but chores and dealing with stuff got in the way, so  my new half-baked plan to add a full recipe section  to this fledging blog will have to wait another day.

I am stoked I am 1/3 of the way through this regime!