Whole30 – Day 3

Good morning, everyone. Yes, I know it’s been a long time. Mea Culpa, blah, blah, blah. This is going to be a long post with no pictures, some links, and an awful lot of health stuff. If you don’t want to read it, I don’t blame you. This is the point where you click to another page.

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If you’re still here, let’s continue. I think the reason I haven’t been writing much is because I’ve had very little to say. It’s been a difficult season for me. The weather change kicked up my fibromyalgia worse than I ever remember it.
Although I’ve battled fibro for 15 years or more, I don’t ever remember being this ‘at the end of my rope’. for the recovery folks, this is Hitting Bottom.
Hitting Bottom is a drastic game changer. It’s the place one gets to, from which all things are possible. It’s the time when you’ve broken through your denial, and broken through your resistance as well. It’s a hard place to be, but it’s also an incredibly freeing place to be. It’s when you finally say, “Not this. Something else, please.”

My world is full of synchronicity. When I pay attention to it, I am always led in the right direction. I frequently don’t pay that much attention to it and end up in places I don’t want to be. Oh well. I guess I’m still a work in progress.

You all know that I’d started Weight Watchers in June of 2013, and was really gung ho and excited about having lost 37 lbs.  Well, that came to a screeching halt in November 2013.  For the next 10 months I gained and lost the same 4 lbs.  I hit a set point that would not budge, no matter what I did, along the WW guidelings.  The thing was, I really was doing all the right things.  I was tracking, I was staying within my allotted points.  I wasn’t cheating.  I was exercising to the best of my ability.  And I still couldn’t budge the scale.  Contrary to what the good folks their said, I wasn’t losing inches either.  I was at a standstill.

So I started doing research.  I discovered that the WW diet, contrary to what your doctor may tell you, is not the best diet for type 2 diabetics.  It is way too high in carbohydrates, and if you stay within the fat guidelines WW promotes, it then way too high in protein, or too low in calories.

Okay, well, if WW is too high in carbs, the reactionary thing to do would be go on Atkins; the low-carb, ketogenic diet.  Makes sense, right?  So I did that, and the weight fell off.  I broke through that plateau in a few days.  Great right?  Wrong.  I was so deprived.  Atkins is great if you’re a person who doesn’t love fruit and a variety of foods.  Unfortunately, that’s not me.  The other thing was that it promotes a lot of dairy.  Dairy is great source of protein and fat.

However, that set me up for the worst fibro flare in my life.  In the past, when I’d done the low-carb thing, after a few days I felt great.  I kept waitin for that to happen.  A week went by, then two.  My denial was so strong, that I kept convincing myself that I would bust through the “keto-flu” any minute.  My body would turn into a fat burning machine, and I would feel like biking to Peru.  Didn’t happen.

Back to synchronicity.  As it happens, a Facebook friend, and fellow blogger, Norma, posted something to the effect of:  Anyone wondering how I changed my life?  Here’s the program I did.

She linked to the Whole30 website.  I started reading, and found myself being described in their pages.  I began to wonder if this completely Paleo, anti-inflammatory, way of eating would work for me.  I read further and discovered that just about everything I’d been eating for the past year and a half has been the worst thing for someone like me to be eating.  I immediately ordered the book:  It Starts With Food.

On this program, you give up:

Grains (all grains, including rice, corn and quinoa), Dairy, Legumes, inflammation causing oils, Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners.

Processed foods (anything with any ingredients you can’t pronounce, or more than 5 ingredients, or anything containing maltodextrin or carrageenan)

So what’s left?

Proteins of all kinds (Eggs, meat, fish, poultry, pork) , all the veggies in the world, fruit (in limited amounts), nuts, great fat sources like coconut (coconut oil and coconut milk), Avocados (I know they’re a fruit, but they should be their own food group).

And, of course, no alcohol or tobacco products.

I approached this gradually over the course of a few days, eliminating things.  Grains were easy.  I’ve been gluten free for years, so the elimination of rice, quinoa, etc., wasn’t a big leap.

Dairy was tougher, as were artificial sweeteners.  I’d gotten very used to yogurt and berries as a dessert item.  I’m still not happy about that, and will be trying to make my own coconut milk (the kind in the can, not the carton) yogurt later in the week.  I’ve been used to Splenda and milk in my morning tea forever.  Switching to black was much easier than I’d thought it would be.  I don’t know if I could do the same with coffee.  I didn’t know that I could ever give up cheese.  But I  have, and while I occasionally miss it, I reach for a half of an avocado instead.

Peanut butter has been replaced by almond butter.  Spread on apple slices in the late afternoon is a wonderful snack.

Other, behavioral changes, are recommended as well.  You must eat within an hour of waking up, whether you’re hungry or not.  We are trying to rebalance hormones (Insulin, Glucagon, Leptin and Cortisol).  It’s important to eat at certain times, and NOT EAT at others.  No food after dinner.  No bright light (TV, Computers, tablets) within an hour of bedtime.  8-9 hours of sleep each night.

I’m adding in my MELT exercises every day.

Now I wish I could tell you that 3 days in I feel miraculous.  I don’t and I can’t.  However, there are subtle changes.  Today, I woke up and didn’t feel like death.  I was stiff and sore, but not so bad that I immediately reached for NSAID pain meds.  I elected instead to move around a while, take a bath, do some MELT.

I say, “I elected”, but that’s so far from the truth, because that implies there were choices, and frankly, before today, I had no choices.  I could not move and whimper, or I could take pain meds.  Today, there was a choice.  Pretty awesome.

The next change was even more subtle.  If I wasn’t writing this morning I would have missed it.  When I started thinking about this, I was so horrified by the prospect of eliminating all those food groups (which, btw, you get to try adding back one by one after you’ve rebalanced your body, to find out what your culprits are), that I as referring to this 30 day period as “boot camp.”  I though the only way I’d get through it was by Strictly Adhering To The Rules.   That’s changed.  Now I’m thinking about it as “rehab.”  I’m giving myself the gift of exploring my relationship to food on a physical and psychological level.  I’m giving myself the gift of rebalancing my body.  I’m giving myself the gift of health.  Doesn’t that sound better than boot camp?

The other thing that’s great is that I’m cooking again.  Really cooking, not just putting food on a plate.  Tim hasn’t eaten this well in forever…maybe ever.  I’m making food interesting and tasty and fun.  We’re sitting down at the table and eating like real people.  We did that 3 meals a day over the weekend (except when I went out for a Whole30 compliant brunch with Norma).

Meals this weekend included:

Dinner:  Vegetable soup followed by free-range chicken marinated in coconut milk, roasted in marinade with 5 spice powder, cardamon & tarragon.  baked sweet potato on the side.

Breakfast:  Sweet potato hash with easy over free-range eggs.

Lunch: Warm chicken salad with walnuts and olives over salad made from cucumber noodles in a dressing of rice wine vinegar, olive oil and oregano.

Dinner:  Baked wild-caught salmon topped with avocado salsa crudo, with a side of eggplant caponato.

Get the picture?

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2 comments to Whole30 – Day 3

  • This is all kinds of awesome. It was great meeting you in person and enjoying that wonderful Whole30-compliant brunch with you. I love that you are viewing it as rehab rather than “kicking your butt” punishment! And the creativity with cooking that you have already embraced! Last night when I got home, after seeing you, after your yummy suggestion, I marinated my chicken overnight in coconut milk and Penzeys Ozark seasoning mix. Dinner (and leftovers this week) are going to be MARVELOUS!

    Hang in there! There are bound to be some tough moments, but you got this!!!!

    • Harriet

      It was great meeting you as well. :-) Brunch was delicious. Ironically, I found myself thinking today (Tuesday) that I should get out and walk, or go to the gym, and then I thought…nope…not yet. Maybe tomorrow. I’m just coming off a terrible flare-up, not the time to push harder. Rehab. Yes. And Norma, I can’t thank you enough for pointing me in this direction.