Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ten Days Post-Whole30

We made it! In our own imperfect way, that is...

The rules of the Whole30 state that if you eat or drink anything on the restricted lists, you are supposed to start over from the beginning. Well. THAT wasn't going to happen. 

I already confessed that I had a few french fries part way through. And Pierre made the conscious decision to celebrate two volunteer appreciation days at racetracks with a couple of malted adult beverages. So *officially* we didn't do it exactly right.

However, our tiny steps off the wagon didn't completely derail us, and we both stepped right back on, with barely a hiccup. (Well, okay, Pierre may have hiccupped, but that's just part of sipping bubbly drinks, right?)

The final analysis: 

I loved it. It gave me a chance to find new, lighter ways of cooking and excellent recipes. It helped me stay away from alcohol. And it showed me, once again, how great it feels to set and reach a difficult goal. 

Pierre was far less enthusiastic about the Whole30. His relationship to food is almost polar opposite of mine. While I enjoy all of the minute details -- from flavour combinations to where the ingredients originated and how they affect our health -- Pierre is his endearing, big-picture self. If it's uncomplicated to prepare, at least relatively tasty, and fills him up, he's good. Living with a foodie has, naturally, made him more health conscious, and he's kind enough to humour me, but I'm pretty sure he won't be juice fasting with me anytime soon! That said, he is continuing a mostly low- to no-simple-carb diet and has dropped another pound. It's time to buy him new belts, and that's a fine thing.

 Besides a trimmer waistline, I was striving for a few other life improvements: better sleep, clearer thoughts, increased energy, easier breathing for Pierre, and better skin for me. Truth be told, I didn't notice many changes in these aspects of our lives. 

Today marks my official entry into post-menopause: it's been a year since my last period! Sleep is still sometime interrupted by a hot flash, meno-brain continues to happen, and my energy level seems to be more connected to exercise than food. Movement = life!

It's end of summer and ragweed season, so Pierre's stuffiness and sinus headaches remain (clearly, they're not diet-related, darn it). And my itchy spots didn't disappear, although they definitely improve when I remember to take fish oil caps every day.

So, it was fun, and writing about it has also been a treat, but it's time for brunch here. Thanks again for reading. And hope you have a delightful, delicious weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Whole30 - Day 25

Here we are, just five days away from the end. 

As hoped and expected, though, the end of this strict eating regime will not mean returning to our prior eating habits. Yes, there might be a small plate of nachos now and then, but our eyes are open, and mindlessly stuffing processed "goodies" in will not be happening.

This morning, Pierre hopped on the scale and realized that he's down almost 20 pounds from the week prior to our start date! (We actually started cutting out junk a little before the actual beginning -- eased in to make the transition less abrupt.) He's lighter than he's been in 15 years. Woohoo! My darlin's getting healthier every day!

I've only dropped about four pounds, but then I'm not very overweight, and this diet isn't so different from my usual one. 

Pierre's comment: "I now realize just how efficient my body is at converting simple carbs into fat."  Indeed. :)

I especially like the feeling of knowing that we're building healthy cells by eating almost exclusively whole, real foods.

The only exception we've made to the perfect W30 rules has been a recipe, that I made last week, which the Whole30 group calls a "Sex With Your Pants On" food. SWYPO refers to anything resembling a simple-carb food (paleo muffins or cookies, for example) that will eventually lead you back to the real thing. 

Ours are Coconut Flour Tortillas. They're actually more like crepes than tortillas and act as a grain-free sammich holder alternative to the cold-and-messy romaine. They taste fine, freeze well, and we know that everything in them is healthy (eggs, arrowroot powder, coconut flour, coconut oil, water, and salt). I'll make a second batch this evening. Yep, you could call this a bit of a cheat, but this diet is not supposed to be torture, right? And we've decided that finding something that will keep Pierre off bread is a giant win.

We made the decision to purchase the annual subscription to RealPlans, the meal planning / shopping list / recipe app recommended by Michelle Tam at NomNomPaleo. I've tried a few more recipes from them and we've been happy with them all. The team at RealPlans were totally accessible, answering my "How do I..." questions, as well as starting our lower-priced annual subscription at the beginning of last month. Handy, creative, AND kind!! Gotta love that.

Last week a couple of girlfriends inspired me by introducing the concept of Once A Month Cooking (OAMC). I spent part of a day researching OAMC / Whole30 / crockpot / freezer meals, and wound up with a list of 21 recipes that I want to try! Of those, I've chopped, bagged, and frozen five, and we've already eaten two: Beef, beet, and cabbage borscht, which was yummy, but wasn't meaty enough for Pierre's taste; and last night's scrumptious peppers stuffed with spiced ground beef, grated onion, carrot, mushroom, and cauliflower. Who knew rice-free stuffed peppers could be so good?

This has been a grand adventure of discoveries! I'll write again next week to address our other goals, and fill you in on how this final leg goes. 

Hope you are enjoying your summer. 

If you have a moment and are so inclined, please pray for rain and for the safety of the residents and firefighters in and around my native Washington State.  

Until next week...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Whole30 - Day 11

Hard to believe that it's already 11 days into our Whole30!

Thus far, it's been a pretty easy journey. The biggest change, as I mentioned before, is Pierre's switch away from bread. He has discovered the deliciousness of romaine wraps, and sounds as though he'd like to continue this trend after the month is over! Yay!

Our days have been crazy-busy full (as usual), and the food has been fab. Breakfasts have consisted of a combination of pan-fried zoodles, hash browns, eggs, left-over meats, homemade pork sausage patties (YUM), and fermented veggies. We usually have two of any of the above. Pierre's doing fine with black coffee, instead of having it with his usual glug-glug of milk. I'm still loving iced sun-tea. And we enjoy three or four ounces of booch each morning, too.

That's been keeping us full until lunchtime. Then, Pierre usually has a canned salmon or tuna sammy and a bowl of gumbo. Last batch -- and the one I'll make tomorrow -- are without the usual brown rice addition, but he's liking the extra veggies in each tub. 

My lunches vary wildly. Usually there is some sort of ferment -- cortido, currykraut, or kimchi/kaktugi. Egg salad with homemade mayonnaise is yummy in either romaine or just on a fork. Sometimes there's a piece of meat left over from dinner the night before. And ocassionally, I'll join Pierre in a small tuna or salmon romaine wrap.

Eating dinner at a decent hour is still my biggest challenge. (Can you say a lifetime of eating late?) I'm trying to set a goal to eat by 7:00, which I know is still late for many, and most of the time we're sitting down closer to 8:00. Students, art, friends, writing... so many things mess with that goal, not to mention the fact that I've always been a forget-to-eat person. Perhaps setting a timer to begin preparing dinner would be a wise plan.

We stayed on the RealPlans schedule last week, only switching a few dinners to fit our tastebuds and timing. Fresh Italian sausages and chard from the garden got slipped in one night, as we'd been out boating and didn't have the patience to defrost and then cook. Picnics at the marinas have been easy, though, with cold bbq chicken or steaks barbequed out there, along with big mixed green salads. 

 I'm not sure whether or not I'll continue with RealPlans. The first week, I input breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and it was a LOT of work. Because of that, I haven't kept up with it. There may be time in the next couple of days to do dinners only for the upcoming week, but we shall see. The recipes are so very tempting...

My only slip up has been a small one. I ran across town to buy ingredients for our kitty, Penny's, raw food at T&T, the giant Asian grocery, and forgot to eat before I left. (See?) By the time I was finished shopping, it was 1:30, and my stomach was complaining. Across from the grocery was a Saint Hubert's roasted chicken joint, so I went through the drive-through and ordered a quarter dark, no slaw (because the dressings are made with sugar) and no fries. 

The woman on the headphones (good salesperson that she is) said, "Are you sure? Fries are just 70 cents more." 


My brain said, "Potatoes are okay on the Whole30. And so is oil."

My mouth said, "Okay. Fries."

The tray came with a LOAD of deep-fried spuds. 

My brain said, "Oops! Deep fried = not allowed!"

My mouth said, "Just a few..." and my hand agreed.

Luckily, my brain stopped my hand before too many made it to my mouth, and at least three-quarters of the cold fries got tossed into the compost when I got home. The chicken was about as far from organic as one could get, but it was roasted with no sauce, and was scrumptious to my hungry belly.

Speaking of which... here it is, almost 1:30 again, and I've not had lunch. Off to eat! 

Hope you're all enjoying your summer, and enjoying delicious, healthy meals. :)

[Oh, and did I mention that I'm down 2.8 pounds, and Pierre's lost 6 over the past 11 days? It's not our only goal, but it's an easy one to track.]

'Til next time... bon appetit!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Whole30 - Day 2

Okay! Another super easy day, filled with yummy food. 

One part of this regime that I thought might be difficult was finding ways to replace Pierre’s bread. I, like my dad, am not much of a bread-guy, so this particular part isn’t a struggle on my end. Pierre, however, loves eggs on toast for breakfast (or a whey protein powder and fruit smoothie, which is also out, whey being dairy), and soup and a sandwich at lunch. 

Kitchen toys to the rescue! Last week I spent a few hours pre-prepping and freezing some goodies that we’ll spread out over the coming weeks. One of those was a giant Ziploc bag full of spiralized yellow squash from the garden and zucchini from the grocery. (Thank you, Paderno!) We love slightly caramelized summer squash either sliced or spaghetti-ed, browned in a dab of coconut oil and/or ghee.

I also peeled a five-pound bag of russet potatoes and ran them through the Kitchenaid processor/grater, flattened layers between parchment paper on cookie sheets and froze them. (Reminders to self and anyone who wants to do this: zizz some sweet onion in with it for more flavor, and it’s a good idea to score these into a grid so they break easily into squares or rectangles before freezing. My broken pieces look more like modern art.) The squash or hash browns do make a lovely and tasty bed for eggs. This morning we had squash and eggs, sun-tea and strawberry booch for me, and black coffee and ginger booch for Pierre.

Lunch was a bit more challenging, as, unlike me, Pierre prefers clean fingers to messy ones. I’d planned romaine wraps – the largest leaves cleaned and ready to hold his usual canned sockeye salmon, balsamic vinegar, tomato, and homemade mayonnaise (SO easy and containing no sugar, which Hellman’s, sadly, has.) Part of the appeal of bread, I think, is that it absorbs all of the goop, and romaine obviously doesn’t. Pierre ate it, but wasn’t crazy about the juice that continually oozed out around the leaf. We’ll be exploring new wrapping techniques, and if anyone has non-grain ideas for sandwich wraps, I’d be happy to hear them.

My lunch was a yummy tuna, mayo, tomato, and purple cabbage cortido romaine wrap, which dripped a beautiful (and delicious) pool of lavender juice onto my plate. I sipped that up for dessert!

Late afternoon we had a few almonds and Pierre enjoyed one of his favourite snacks: a crisp red delicious apple, undoubtedly grown in my native Washington State.

And dinner… oh my! This recipe (again from RealPlans) is a keeper – two out of two so far. 

I’m not usually a big fan of salmon (sockeye, the vegetarian salmon, fresh or canned being the only exception and, even then, rarely. This recipe might change that!) The preparation sounded interesting, so I picked up a couple of big wild Pacific sockeye fillets at Costco last week, froze them, and made one tonight. It was quick and easy, and had barely any fishy taste. Made a mix of a mustard powder and spicy deli mustard and spread it on the non-skin side, then pressed on a layer of finely ground almonds. Baked it for 15 minutes sprinkled on a wee bit of salt and pepper, and wowed us both! While the fish was baking, I cut a colander full of Swiss chard from the garden, cleaned and chopped it, steamed it in a little water and stirred in a couple of teaspoons of bacon fat for flavour and to improve nutritent absorption. 

How great is it, by the way, that we no longer need to be afraid of fat? Of course, bacon fat is saturated, and won’t be our oil of choice most of the time – coconut, avocado, and olive oil being tops. Nutritionist have learned, though, that even saturated fat is better for us than the hydrogenated oils which are in nearly all disgustingly delicious and addictive processed foods. Grrr! 

Goodbye Oreos. Farewell Cheez-its. Our unhealthy relationship is in the past.

Best news of the day: neither Pierre nor I are craving a nighttime snack. And THAT is a wonderful thing!

Happy dreams, everyone. And thanks for reading. :)