Whole30 Week4: Closing Time

IT’S OUR FINAL WEEK OF WHOLE30!

JK NO IT’S NOT THIS NEVER ENDS THIS IS WHO WE ARE NOW

Day 22

M: A recipe if you’re breakfast-weary: this pumpkin breakfast bake. The words pumpkin and bake made me worry about sexpants, but it’s really not. The apples and raisins are sweet, but the sweet potatoes and pumpkin don’t taste like a sugary dessert version of themselves. It’s a good way to get in some eggs and carbs. Also, your house will smell amaaazing when you’re cooking it. I had more sweet potato than the recipe anticipates so I baked it in a 9×11 baking dish instead of my trusty cast iron skillet.

I usually can’t bear to spend money on spaghetti squash because I grow so much of it in the summer, but I caved this week. The pull of using an easy fallback recipe was too strong. Cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, roast for like… 20 minutes?, mix in salsa (I make mine pico style, but you do you), top with sliced avocado and make a well to crack an egg into, two if it’s a large squash. Bake for 40 minutes or til egg is set.  Top with compliant hot sauce, salt and pepper.

 

to quote the boss: you ain’t a beauty but hey, you’re all right.

T: I have been eating nothing but hard boiled eggs, avocado and some kind of breakfast meat for the past week but herein lies my problem – by the time I make two dinners on Sunday the last thing i want to do is cook breakfast. I just looked up that sweet potato recipe Molly shared and, this is why I’m liking Blue Apron, I don’t feel like buying a whole jar of pumpkin spice or ghee for a one-time use. Instead, I found this other Sweet Potato Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bake and maybe I’ll make it this weekend! Most ingredients I already have, so this works out well.

M: I’m normally a big substitutor (I used cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves instead of pumpkin spice and coconut oil instead of ghee). Then I looked at the sweet potato apple etc. recipe and realized nothing in my house can even sort of fill in for coconut milk. Womp-womp.

I’ve started to prefer splitting my cooking up over several nights a week instead of one giant Day Of Cooking, but that varies from person to person. In ‘real’ life I make meals/sides/bread/yogurt/granola from scratch, but I usually cook big batches and freeze half. On busy days I pull out one of my freezer containers and have an easy meal. None of my freezer food is compliant and I will not ‘waste’ half of my W30 food by freezing it. I cannot wait til this is over and I can eat freezer food. This is where W30 has me. Pining for leftovers.

Plus I kind of want a crock pot now (This Is Us aside) because I want meals I can set and forget after this month. But not really forget, because that’s how tragedies happen.

Day 23

T: I went out for my co-worker’s going away shindig and there wasn’t really a lot I could eat. So I literally got a Grilled Caesar Salad. Except no croutons, parmesan, or dressing. But added grilled chicken and olive oil and lemon as a dressing. It was basically lettuce with chicken. It was fine.

But I went out with some co-workers who didn’t know I was on it, and continued to have to explain exactly what W30 is (I guess this will never stop?). However it was also nice because the co-workers who do know of my W30 gave me kudos for keeping up with it for this long. Which was nice. I don’t take compliments well, but it’s lovely to have encouragement from people every once in a while.

M: I continue to avoid telling people what I’m doing unless absolutely necessary because I worry they’ll think it sounds obnoxious. We all know that one person who gets evangelical about their green juice and yoga routine (or no carb and cycling, or carb loading and marathon training…). It’s easy to pull off not mentioning it since I already don’t eat meat, and people don’t remember what I’m weird about and just assume that it’s, like, all of it. All of the foods.

Day 24

M: Question: if you don’t post a picture of your shakshuka on social media before the 30th day, did you even do the Whole30?

Anyway, here’s my shakshuka:

I see why all the W30 people make it: it looks cool, it’s quick to throw together after work, and it’s absolutely delicious. I recommend this recipe. The creamy spinach and avocado pairs so well with the spicy harissa. Also, the ingredients are inexpensive, making it a great weeknight meal.  The only thing that’s not in my normal pantry lineup is harissa, and I’m still working through my jar from the portobello tacos.

By the way, when I was grocery shopping for harissa I could not for the life of me remember what it was called, but I knew that it was something like Mariska Hargitay. Pretty much if you forget the name of any W30 recipe or ingredient, chances are it sounds something like Mariska Hargitay.

T: Shakshuka: a dish that’s delicious but I’m never inspired to actually make. However, there was Mariska Hargitay in my cabbage/carrot/potato slaw from Blue Apron that was also delightful.

I really need to get a hold of this reintroduction phase that’s coming up. We’re only a week away!

Day 25

T: We were provided lunch at work today – tater tots, pita wraps, mini sausage sliders – but I had none of it. I literally got a bowl of pineapple. On top of that, we also celebrated my boss’ birthday, so there was tons of red velvet sheet cake. But here’s the kicker – it looked disgusting to me. Too much frosting. And I was just thinking that the only think I could probably have in that cake are the eggs.

I also bought TJ’s organic carrots, and for some reason, they tasted super sweet to me. I didn’t look at the ingredients, but I’m p sure TJ’s isn’t pumping sugar into their organic carrots, but who knows.

M:  The baby carrots were cheaper than my usual adult carrots this week. Traci’s right, they are super sweet.

Two silly things I’ve done w/r/t all these eggs: first, I’ve been buying two cartons a week. The 36-egg pack has a lower unit price and I’m clearly using 36 eggs before they go bad. I finally leveled up to the family pack because a family can be anything, even one single adult woman on a nonsense diet. Also, I had one batch of really hard-to-peel hard-boiled eggs. It took DAYS before I realized I could do the messy peeling process at home and pack them in a container instead of clawing, caveman-like, at an egg at work. Live and learn.

Day 26

T: My co-worker offered me part of her blood orange and I don’t think I’ve ever had a straight up blood orange ever before. Again, it tasted super sweet to me. It’s crazy that my taste buds have gotten so used to not eating sugar that a red alarm bell goes off in my head saying, “DANGER. SUGAR IN YOUR SYSTEM. ABORT.” Biology is crazy, yo.

M: You killed your sugar dragon! (I think W30-speak is ridiculous but am also kind of tickled by it.) Blood oranges were on sale this week, so I got some too. They’re good! I like an orange with an aesthetic.

Day 27

T: Today is my birthday. I knew this was coming. But I opted to forge ahead anyways. I didn’t really want to go all out in the first place, but I managed to find a dinner place that I wouldn’t have to order a caesar salad with nothing on it but chicken. And for those of you who remember the free non-compliant foods I was given last week, it happened AGAIN, except this time with a free glass of champagne (because our waiter was apologizing for running out of artichoke. ARTICHOKE!). There must be some sort of “I’m on Whole30 but give me free stuff I can’t have anyways” smell on me.

And of course, no cake. I apparently think it’s revolting anyways.

M: I went to dinner and on the way there I thought “maybe if there’s nothing I can get there, I’ll just order something non-W30 since it’s almost the end.” Of course, we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. I got a spinach salad minus the bacon, bacon dressing and croutons. So,  spinach with egg. My profile picture should be me holding hands with Humpty Dumpty.

Day 28

M: I hit up Trader Joe’s on a whim and I couldn’t get over how everywhere I looked there was a different sweet snack. The whole store, lined from floor to ceiling with sugary snacks! I should have felt disdain but I just kind of wanted them all. I bought some fruit bars which go against my ‘only eat bars you make yourself’ policy, but I am just so tired. I realize eating a plain apple is better than eating an apple reconstituted into a bar but it’s nice to have something in my purse in case the Hunger Monster attacks. (Not sure if W30 uses the term Hunger Monster but I feel like it would.)

T: Before I read Molly’s Hunger Monster clause, definitely thought it was a real book term.

Another Sunday, another day of cooking. I made a bonus breakfast – that Sweet Potato Apple Cinnamon concoction I found earlier. And in addition to the two dinners I made, I spent nearly 5 hours in the kitchen. To reiterate, I will not miss this.

Day 29

T: We are so close to the end. But really, not. I had it in my head that Whole30 meant 30 DAYS, not 30 Days + Some extra. But I had the following thought today: “Whole30’s probably not that hard to continue for a while.” But I shut it down real quick after thinking about the 5 hours I spent in the kitchen and not laying down on my bed watching Grace and Frankie.

Oh, and yet again, there was free lunch today at work from a local Mexican restaurant. But I continued to be eating almonds in the corner and not delicious tacos.

M: In an effort to jump-start my reintroduction process, I made spicy red lentil chili. I’m doing the vegetarian adaptation that includes some legumes, but I only made them once so I realized I should reintroduce them. If any meat eaters are calling ‘no fair’ on this rule, just imagine this: the whole time you were doing the Whole30, every single time you ate meat, I had eggs instead. But every time you had eggs, I was also having eggs. Which when you really lay it out there, is just one of the many reasons I am not sold on W30 for me.

I’ll discuss the negatives of Whole30 today so I can end on a positive note tomorrow. Others have summarized my main issues with this plan better than I can.  I started with a balanced*, unprocessed, vegetable-based diet and was already on the lower end of the healthy BMI scale** with no health problems. Switching to a restrictive diet in my circumstances was unnecessary. But if you have dietary habits you want to break, don’t already cook from scratch, could stand to eat more vegetables, are hooked on sugar or carbs, have some weight to lose, or have health problems you’re trying to get to the bottom of, you might find W30 more worthwhile. It’s a definite Good For Her, Not For Me (TM Poehler) thing. For me, W30 was I guess a fun hobby and challenge …  but that’s about it. Also, not to harp on the egg thing but YEESH.

* Where balanced = I make my meals from scratch and they’re ‘healthy,’ but if there’s a quality restaurant meal or treat to be had I won’t say no to it. And I like making bread.

** I get that BMI’s not all that, but what else would I do, put my actual weight here? I’m a lady sometimes.

Day 30

M: After today I can eat frozen leftovers again! THIS is what I’m excited about. Not the food groups I’ve cut out, but the fact that I won’t spend my whole life in my kitchen. I said I’d say some nice things about Whole30 today, so here they are:

  • While I don’t think it was necessary for me to cut out all of those foods, it didn’t hurt. Doing so gave me the opportunity to try out a whole bunch of new recipes, almost all of which were really good!
  • After some shopping missteps left me with enormous grocery bills, I learned a few lessons about frugal meal planning.
  • I learned that I can decline food without most people caring. This is handy in the future when, for instance, there’s cake and I don’t actually want cake.
  • According to how-old.net I looked 22 when I started, 18 in the middle, and 15 now. I am two times 15… plus some… so obviously how-old’s algorithm isn’t great, but maybe all the healthy eating did something there.
  • I wasn’t doing this to lose weight – which is good, because I barely did – but I had to buy smaller work pants and I’m not not happy about it.
  • I can eat eggs for breakfast. Let me explain. On weekdays I eat breakfast within 20 minutes of waking up. The idea of eating savory foods like eggs and vegetables that early turned my stomach. I’d have oatmeal, yogurt or toast with fruit, nut butter, and/or nuts, and save the egg and veggies for weekend breakfast. Honestly, though, the eggs were fine. Now that being said, I’m SO tired of eggs and cannot wait to have some oatmeal.
  • …And I guess if I was trapped in a chicken coop for a solid month I wouldn’t starve.
  • Would I do it again? … Maybe. If I had a vacation or holiday season where I got into some bad habits, I’d consider using it as a reset button.

As for the reintroduction: I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do the whole thing where you wait 3 days between food groups.  I wasn’t having any health issues before so I might fast-track it as long as I am not experiencing any problems. Although, our friend Tori half-jokingly suggested having a meal containing all the noncompliant groups and if nothing happens, you know they were fine… and the more I think about it, the better that sounds. Adios, Whole30!

T: I can’t believe this is the end. It feels like forever ago I ate bread, but also seems like I started this experiment just yesterday. And for me, that’s what this entire Whole30 experience has been – an experiment. Like Molly, I didn’t really have health/stomach issues prior to this, so it was more a test of will and how by body would react to W30, as opposed to how my body reacts to certain foods.

We actually had similar experiences throughout this entire journey, but here are some of my pros to W30:

  • I wake up with more energy. I started W30 the day after I came back from the east coast and thought I was just waking up earlier because of my internal body clock. But turns out it didn’t stop. I have 6 alarms to wake me up and press snooze on nearly all of them. However, for the past month, I wake up by the second alarm and don’t press snooze as much. This is one of the best things to come out of W30.
  • Melissa (creator of W30) said not to step on the scale at any point because “W30 is about so much more than weight loss”. I lost some pounds. Which is great. But my suggestion: if you’re really wanting to drop some lbs, don’t do W30.
  • My face is softer. Is it because I’ve been moisturizing more? Probably. But I feel like W30 definitely helped in the fact my skin feels better and clearer than before.
  • I’ve become the “all these artificial flavors, GMOs and added sugars are no good for you” girl. If anything, I think I’m going to be super strict on reading food labels and ingredients moving forward, because WHY ARE WE PUTTING SO MUCH CRAP IN OUR FOOD?!
  • Would I do it again? … Also a maybe from me. Like I said earlier, my diet (in the truest definition) became the new normal, so the routine itself I got comfortable with. But the hours in my kitchen and inability to just choose whatever I want off a menu while eating out is frustrating and obnoxious and worth me saying no to a second time around.

Because I’m *that* kind of student, I’m going in on this reintroduction phase. I think I’m starting with dairy and taking it from there. I’ll be doing this until mid-February, but the good thing is that you won’t have to read about it from me again!

Thanks for joining us on our W30 Janu-journey! (I made that up. It’s dumb. I need cheese).

 

 

 

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