In The News

This has been a hard day. I try not to let stories in the news really get to me because I feel like if I were to let all the bad news in the world get in my head I would just fall apart. I’m sure you have all already heard about the shooting that happened in the US this morning. A young news anchor Alison Parker and her camera man Adam Ward were shot live on air. My heart is broken. I don’t think its right to criticize someone else’s culture or country but there are certain things about America that I just cannot understand – equal rights, health care but most importantly, gun control. I cannot fathom living in a democratic, first world country that just accepts that anyone could be killed while doing mundane things like going to the movies, to school or to work.

Stories like this should be shocking but they are rapidly becoming run of the mill. My cousin is a reporter. She is 24, fresh-faced, with short blond hair, just like Alison was. Maybe that’s why I’m relating to this story more than (literally) the hundreds of others that come from across the border. I urge my American followers to use your power next year when you hit the polls. Tell your leaders that it is unacceptable for innocent lives to be lost daily to gun violence. This has to end.

Whole 30 – Mission Accomplished!

I am officially done my Whole30! Yay!!

This month has gone by quicker than I thought it would, to be honest, but I am definitely looking forward to my post Whole30 life. I have been a hermit these past few weeks! I have a phone full of messages that say something like, “Omigod! We need to hang out….after Whole30, obviously”. Obviously? It was a mixed blessing. On one hand it’s a lot easier to be complaint when you aren’t out and around tempting foods and drinks, but on the other hand, it’s not like I had leprosy!  One friend (bless her) admitted that she didn’t want to hang out because watching me be ‘good’ would make her feel guilty about her own diet. What’s the word for the opposite of inspiring?

This whole journey has been really eye-opening. I realized just how dependent I am on carbs – English muffin for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, meat, potatoes and veg for dinner. It adds up! I also realized that I am okay with less alcohol in my life. Not that I was a heavy drinker by any stretch, but I definitely felt like I ‘deserved’ a glass of wine after a long day at work, and I would sometimes indulge in a cocktail on the balcony on a Sunday afternoon. I learned how to cope with long days (and sunny afternoons!) without the treat of alcohol or food. I learned that food is fuel and I definitely felt healthier eating clean, but food is also pleasure, and by the end of this journey I was really missing that aspect of my life. It really is all about finding the balance in these two factors. I think that before this experiment I was eating for pleasure way too often and now I want to find a space where I can eat for pleasure occasionally, and eat to fuel myself the rest of the time.

I also learned a few things specific to the Whole30. These were my experiences and of course, you may find something completely different

  • Sugar hangovers are real, but you can get past them
  • I felt a lot of the stages but not as intensely as I thought I would. I never had the ‘kill all the things’ phase
  • my cravings were sometimes intense, but usually pretty specific (cheese pizza!)
  • you will have to pee all the time on day 2. Like every 5 minutes. It will get better in a day or two.
  • I never reached the Tiger Blood phase. I had more energy and was less foggy, but it was a gradual transition starting from about day 5, so it wasn’t a noticeable change
  • I quit all sleeping aids during my Whole30, because I heard that people sleep like babies on this program. That was not true for me. I slept fairly well, especially for someone who struggles with insomnia, but it was probably akin to a restless night for those of you who sleep well
  • toasted coconut chips are life
  • the first few days you will be RAVENOUS between meals, but hold out, because if you avoid snacking and play with your portion sizes at mealtime you will get to a place where  one meal completely sates you to the next.
  • My portion sizes dropped substantially around day 10, and stayed pretty low through the rest of the days. There was a point where I was wondering if I was getting enough calories each day.
  • I felt so much lighter through this whole experience. Not even in the sense that I lost weight, but even after a meal I didn’t feel bloated or weighed down. I was always satisfied but never stuffed.

So what’s next? Well, I am happy to report that I lost 11 lbs in the course of these 30 days! I would love to keep losing, so I’m going to get back on the wagon with calorie counting and regular work outs. Today however, I am giving myself a pass. I had a latte this morning and just finished my Subway sub for lunch. Tonight I will have a glass of wine and FINALLY have my cheese pizza. I haven’t really noticed any ill effects from being back on ‘regular’ food. I was definitely hyper after my coffee this morning and joked that I felt like how I thought I would feel when I reached the elusive Tiger Blood phase, but otherwise I feel pretty normal. Going forward I plan on keeping my veggie intake pretty high and keeping my carb and sugar intake much lower than it was before this, but I can’t seem myself quitting either of them fully. A life without wine or donuts is no life at all!

I know this is a long post, but before I started this challenged I wanted to read all I could about other people’s experiences. I hope that the past few posts have been enlightening, and have maybe even inspired some of you to give this a try! I can totally see myself doing another Whole30 in the future. Perhaps after the holidays…

My Past Posts on Whole30

Whole30 Resources

If you have done or are thinking about doing a Whole30, I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

Whole 30 – Truth Time

eba2fba53ce5b1000e432e67952422aaI’m at a point in this whole challenge where it would be so easy to give up. Today is day 26, and I’m so close to the end that I think, “eh, what’s a few days? 26 is the same as 30 right?”. But it’s not. I know that it’s not. But when I’m sitting on my balcony on a hot summer day reading a book, I think about how nice it would be to have a glass of pinot grigio, or how comforting it would be to have a slice of pizza while watching movies later that night.

Last week one of my co-workers accused me of cheating (jokingly) and said I probably eat salads at work then go home and eat whatever I want. I was actually a little offended, first that she would think I would continue this at work to impress people I don’t really care that much about. Second, it should be clear to anyone paying attention that I have lost weight and have more energy. Lastly, I would just never do that. If I gave up, I would be honest about it. What she said resonated with me though, and in these days where I am so close to the end, I have thought to myself, “no one would know if I got a bagel and a creamy, sweet coffee at Starbucks…” But I would know.

One of the reasons I started this challenge was to do just that – challenge myself. I, like a lot of people, am really good at starting things, but I sometimes have a hard time seeing things through. In a class at the gym, I’m the girl who quits at 11 when the instructor tells us to do 12 reps. I don’t always turn the tension up on my bike when the spin instructor tells us to. After all, know one will know…The thing is, willpower is like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets. I’m doing this for myself. I want to think back on this experience and remember that when I wanted to give up, I pushed myself just that little bit harder, went a little bit further and got the job done. So, if any of you are out there are feeling like I am today, keep your chin up, you can finish anything with the right mindset.

Whole30 – Halfway

This should have been posted last week but I got a bit busy lazy. Many apologies!

Halfway, baby! I was really excited to reach this milestone the other day, and today I realize that I am on the downward slope of this little journey of mine. I was chatting with Misty over the weekend and I was telling her that the experience has become pretty easy for me. It’s just how I eat right now. The most difficult meal of my day is still breakfast, but this past weekend I made these homemade sausage patties, and yesterday I had two of them and a side of chunked up watermelon. The perfect combination of sweet and savory! Today I had them with a Granny Smith apple.

The rest of my meals have been pretty similar to others. Lunches are leftover protein from dinner the night before and salad. Dinners have been meat with two different veggies for sides.  I roasted a chicken on the weekend, then on Tuesday I made these coconut crusted chicken fingers. They were tasty but definitely needed a dipping sauce (the one in the recipe is not compliant). I think a sweet/hot mango sauce would be good, but I didn’t make any. Next time!

As far as this Whole30 thing goes, I mentioned that it has become second nature, which it has. I have had one dream that I ate non complaint food (Caesar salad, with parmesan cheese shavings) and there are times where I mentally review what I ate all day to make sure I was complaint. I’m worried about inadvertently cheating, that’s how second nature it is! So far, the only cheating has been in my dreams  :)

I’m now in what the Whole30 community calls the ‘tiger blood’ phase, where people have boundless energy, sleep like logs and are uncharacteristically happy. I haven’t really experienced that yet. I definitely have more energy than I used to, but not a ton of it. I have not been sleeping well, but I am a notoriously bad sleeper, so this is not really that surprising. I would like to experience more of this alleged tiger blood phase in the next week but I won’t be that disappointed if I don’t. I have definitely lost weight through this process. Although weighing ones self is not allowed in the 30 days, I can tell from the way that my clothes fit and the way I look in the mirror that I am definitely down a few. I definitely feel better about my self and my body and, regardless of any other gains (or losses), that is enough to make this whole thing worth the challenge!

Whole30 – Oh, The Dishes You Will Do!

I have never been so thankful to have a dishwasher in my life! After living 10 years without one, it was one of the selling features of my new condo, and it has come in so handy while I have been doing the Whole30. I cook more, so there are roasting pans, pots, cutting boards and knives in addition to the dishes I am eating off of. Those leftovers go in Tupperware in the fridge. My lunch is packed in Tupperware every day. I run my dishwasher about every other day now, which for one person living alone feels like a lot. I used to run it once a week. Maybe twice on a busy week.

In other news, I just completed my first Whole30 grocery shop that was under $100! $68.72 to be exact. My previous two shops (I go once a week) were both well over one hundred dollars, but I attribute that to stocking up on things like almond butter, coconut oil and meat. My appetite has lowered a lot recently and this shop I was much more aware of what I have eaten in the past two weeks, so I’m not buying things that will eventually go to waste. Don’t you just hate wasting food? I cannot stand it. I feel like I may as well be throwing cash right into the bin. I’m really trying to get better about meal planning and using leftovers in creative ways, and this challenge has definitely helped.

Food has been pretty much the same since my last update. Egg cups and fruit for breakfast, usually a salad for lunch and then meat and veg for dinner. At Sam’s on Friday night, I made this citrus herb chicken, which I have made a bunch of times before and is really yummy. It’s great for summer with the fresh, fruity flavours. I have definitely been feeling cravings lately. Cheese pizza! Seriously. I know I have mentioned it before, but my kingdom for cheese pizza and a glass of red wine! I know this is a really common stage, and the Whole30 website recommends journaling when you have these cravings. On my way home from work I go down a street that has all the fast food restaurants in our town, and I thought to myself, “technically french fries are compliant…” but I also knew that I am way too far into this to give up right now, and there was no way in hell I was going into a drive thru and not leaving with my fries and a bacon double something with extra cheese. I just kept on driving.

Whole 30 – Days 7 and 8

I have been debating what to write about the past two days, because honestly, now that the initial struggle with Whole30 has worn off, things are pretty normal around here. I mentioned earlier that the first few days were a bit rough with some headaches and ravenous between meal hunger, but that seems to have tapered off now. Monday I barely finished my lunch, and was perfectly content until dinner. Even dinner was fairly light.

Yesterday I worked from home and had my typical eggs in a nest with some watermelon chunks. Watermelon was one of those things I hated growing up but then grew to love. Probably because you  can fill it up with vodka and have a real good time! Yesterday’s was just regular old melon though because of work, and Whole30, and because drinking vodka alone at breakfast is definitely a cry for help. But I digress… Lunch was a small bowl of chili. I packed another small bowl for lunch today and the rest of it now lives in the freezer.

Dinner was the real star yesterday. I made chicken curry using this recipe. I couldn’t find any compliant chicken stock, they all either had corn starch or cane sugar in them, so I just used water. Seriously, cane sugar in chicken broth. I couldn’t believe it myself. I have a whole chicken in my freezer right now, so I may make some broth later this month. I also made this coconut lime cauliflower rice to go with it and it was pretty good. My one complaint is that it was a little too limey. I would just use one lime next time, instead of the two called for. Other than that though, it was great! Definitely a better carb substitute than mashed cauliflower, which ain’t fooling no one!

Today was my usual breakfast, a tiny bit of chili for lunch along with a sliced orange pepper. I packed carrots and guac as well, but lately I haven’t been hungry enough to eat them. Dinner tonight was roasted turkey, steamed broccoli and some roasted sweet potato, which is something I would have eaten for dinner before I started this.

I think that’s one big misconception about Whole30 – people think you are going to have to change things so dramatically to stay on this plan and that’s not really true. You have to change things, definitely, but I’m still eating a lot of the same meals I used to eat, just more of them and slightly modified. Chili and spaghetti squash and meatballs were always in my usual dinner rotation, as was chicken,  veggies and sweet potato. I just changed them a little. No beans in the chili, no cheese on the meatballs, no butter on the potato. Not huge sacrifices, and to be honest, I didn’t miss those ingredients. Now is the part where you’re saying, “well, you have to miss something” and I do. I miss coffee and wine most of all, and that is probably as much about routine and comfort as it is the taste of those two things. I think about carbs a lot. Today I thought about the delicious sandwiches at a local shop, served on thick, fluffy homemade bread (Ouderkirk and Taylor, for locals), I thought about the dense and chewy bread I make, and I cannot get cheese pizza out of my head. But really, the cravings aren’t that bad. I think of how far I have come, and even though it’s really only a week, I don’t want to give up. I want to see this through, and I think I can. I think you can too   :)

A Whole30 Weekend – Days 4-6

Happy Monday! I needed a little help from the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack to get me going this morning, but eventually I found my energy. I have never been much of a morning person, and while I’m enjoying my morning green tea, it just doesn’t compare to the coffee I used to drink. This Sunday I tried to put coconut milk in my coffee (not the stuff in the milk carton, the real stuff in the can, found in the Asian section of the grocery store), but it did not cut it. Back to green tea.

Lots of cooking happened this weekend. On Friday, I made spaghetti squash and meatballs for Sam and myself. I used compliant tomato sauce, but make sure you check labels. A lot of ‘spaghetti sauces’ are full of sugar. Pure tomato sauce is safer bet. The only difference in this meal from how I would usually make meatballs is that I didn’t add any breadcrumbs to the meatballs or cheese to the sauce. I loaded the sauce up with onions, mushrooms and green peppers, and made sure there were lots of leftovers for Sam, who doesn’t really like to cook.

Saturday I made bacon, eggs and hash browns for breakfast and it was delicious! It felt like a meal I would have made before this whole endeavor, and even though there was no ketchup, I savoured every bite. Lunch was a giant beefsteak tomato and half a cucumber sliced with some prosciutto, which again was similar to a lunch I would have off Whole30, except it would also be accompanied by sliced baguette. I also made a giant pot of chilli very loosely following this recipe. I found it was a little thin, so in addition to the zucchini and onion I added mushrooms, red pepper and diced sweet potato. Also, I used the coconut oil like the recipe recommends, but next time I would use olive oil. I am not a big fan of coconut oil even though the Whole30 community is just nuts for it. I just find it imparts too much flavour to food. Chili was eaten with some sliced avocado on top and served al fresco, as we do.


Sunday’s breakfast was the one last egg in a nest I had left over from last week, and some raspberries. I don’t usually buy raspberries because while I like their flavour, I never could get used to their texture. But I thought, hey, this experiment is all about changing tastes and adapting to change, so I figured I’d try them again. They were okay. Still not a huge fan, but I’m glad I bought them. Lunch was a small bowl of chili. I find my appetite was raging when I first started Whole30. There was too much time between meals and since I was trying desperately not to snack, I was often ravenous when it was time to eat. Now though, my meals aren’t quite as large, yet I’m still full between meals. I do allow myself a snack now and then if I know I will be deviating from my schedule, for example Friday when I knew dinner with Sam would be late, or tonight when I know I wouldn’t be home from yoga until 7. Dinner Sunday night was roasted turkey breast, leftover roasted potatoes and lots of asparagus roasted in coconut oil (ick! Went right in the bin afterwards. Next time, olive oil).

Today has been great. As I mentioned earlier, a bit of a slow start, but nothing other than a little of the usual Monday morning drag. Breakfast and lunch were the same as they were last week, and dinner was leftover chili. The rest of that chili is being frozen for quick dinners later in the month.

A lot of my co-workers have been asking how my weekend was and whether I “survived”. One even joked that she could never be home thinking about all the forbidden food she could make. To be honest, staying at home was so much easier than being out. When I’m out running errands and get hungry I hit a drive thru. At home, I hit the fruit basket. The only really difficult time was Saturday and Sunday afternoons, where if I am at home, I can usually be found on the patio reading and enjoying a cocktail. I missed it enough on Saturday that I felt it was best to come inside. Other than that, the weekend was pretty easy. I relaxed and enjoyed my time.

In other news – my sister welcomed a baby boy this weekend, evening up the team to two nieces and two nephews. Guess I’m going to have to stop telling Nicholas he’s my favourite little boy…