menu monday: my whole30 recap

This week we’re eating from the freezer again and it’s really simple.

Breakfasts: Salmon Cakes w/ mayo from Well Fed 2. I’m finally feeling like eating fish again for breakfast. I know this may sound weird, but if you’re looking for something less traditional for breakfast these are delicious.

Lunches: I found a casserole dish of bolognese in the freezer! I was so excited, no prep for lunches this week aside from squash to go with it.

Dinners: On Saturday I tried a new recipe for steak and potatoes in the crockpot. I love finding new uses for my crockpot and figured why not when I came across this post. It isn’t much of a recipe, but more a method. Sadly, we ended up with four very dry steaks. The potatoes cooked well (we skipped the corn), but I won’t be risking my good meat with this method again. For the rest of the week we’ll be eating salmon, the very last (finally) of the PreMade Paleo meals, and balsamic short ribs (another slow cooker recipe).

4th Meal: Since I made the switch back to eating a very clean diet, I eat A LOT. Instead of snacking all day, I’ve just incorporated a fourth meal into my diet. This week it will be egg salad with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and hot sauce.


The Whole30 Recap

On Wednesday I finished what I think is my 3rd complete Whole30. I’ve done several other Whole14s, give or take a few days, when I’ve felt the need to really get back on track, but this was a full on, 30 days of squeaky clean eating.


So how did it go? In a nutshell – fantastic. At the beginning I had set out five reasons for taking this on, which I’ve recapped below in addition to a few other insights and results from my thirty days. I believe how we nourish ourselves is of huge importance to our health but I also recognize that there are other factors. Where I made changes in addition to good food changes I’ve also included them.

Sleep. I am consistently falling asleep within ten minutes of getting in bed. This is big for me, who usually tosses and turns and has a very hard time getting to sleep. I do still wake up once (or sometimes even twice) to use the restroom, but I think we can blame that on Martian. I’ve also committed to getting of my computer by 9pm every night, no excuses. I spend about half hour straightening the house up and getting ready for bed, then get in bed at 9:30 and read until 10ish. 

Digestive issues. About two weeks in I declared myself digestive issues free. No need for details, but it’s a good thing! And nightly heartburn is gone! I got heartburn a handful of time during the Whole30 and each time it was after eating a piece of fruit on it’s own. Easy fix is to stop eating fruit alone. I added apple cider vinegar to my herbal tea almost every night. I love the tangy taste and it helps improve the acidity in my stomach. 

Eczema. My wrist is almost clear. Eczema takes a long time to heal and it’s super frustrating. I have about a one inch by one inch patch left that is very dry and no longer inflamed or itchy. I wish I knew exactly what caused it. My best guess is dairy, but I have no real desire to test that out. After being very stubborn for months, I finally took my Fitbit off my arm to allow the eczema to heal. I don’t think it was the cause, but I do think it was irritating the broken skin and making the healing slower. 

Lethargy. My energy is awesome. I’m waking up ready to go, working all day at my full time job, then coming home and building out my little business in the evening. I’m sure having something I’m incredibly excited about helps keep me motivated and focused, but there was no way I had this energy in the early part of my second trimester, before the Whole30.

Mama guilt. Greatly diminished! I have felt guilty for moving a heavy box, not caring about reading the million books every expectant mother is expected to read, and other such things. But I know that every single meal I ate over those 30 days provided Martian with the nutrients he or she needs to grow and that is a great feeling.

What I wasn’t looking for, but (happily) found: 

  • One thing that I noticed is how even-keeled I became over the thirty days. I’m not a highly emotional person, but I am very easily annoyed. My typical response is silence. I don’t want to deal with you, but I want you to know I’m annoyed with you. When things came up that would usually put me in this mood I just shook them off and moved on. Either there was no point in wasting my energy or there was a bright side to be found.
  • Stress didn’t get to me like it normally does. I work very well under certain stressful conditions, like deadlines. However, once I get to the point where I feel like things are out of my control I get very cranky and not nice to be around. October was insane. Between coming out of September where we were gone three out of four weekends, Greg working round the clock many nights, our entire interior of the house being painted, finishing my NTP program, and work getting busy, history states that I should have lost it. But I never did. I didn’t have a single “I can’t do this moment”. I just made a to-do list everyday of what needed to get done and did it. I credit the better sleep (nothing makes me more cranky than being tired), the increased energy, and the general even-keeled mentality.

The Whole30 and Pregnancy

Several people have asked me if the Whole30 is safe while pregnant. I’m honestly not sure how to respond to that because the only thing I did was eat real food for thirty days. I know that we live in a world of extreme diets and I can see why anyone, without knowing the details of the Whole30, might think this is just another crazy fad. But I get so discouraged when people ask me what I’m eating now that I’m pregnant, waiting for and expecting the juicy details of nightly ice cream binges, then look at me crazy when I describe the Whole30 and ask if that’s something I should be doing. My response is usually something along the lines of “I can’t think of anything healthier I could be doing.” Here’s a few reasons why:

  • I’m probably going to make a few people angry with this one, but I’m starting to question a lot the of the conventional symptoms of pregnancy that we’re just told are part of experience and that we need to deal with. Yes, my body is changing like crazy and that may result in a few aches and pains. But heartburn? Gone. Leg cramps? Gone. Back pain? Gone. Crappy sleep? Gone. Wrist pain? Gone. I mentioned all five of these to my midwife and my prenatal yoga instructor who both sympathetically nodded and said something like “oh, pregnancy”. Maybe the changes in my body made me more susceptible to the conditions but I just proved that (for me, only talking about my situation here) eating a nutrient dense diet fixed every single ailment. I’m getting close to soapbox territory here, which is not my intent, but I wish that pregnancy was handled very differently in our culture.
  • I’m about six months pregnant and my engagement ring is twisting around my finger. One of the (way too many) pregnancy emails this week told me that it might be time to take my rings off before they get stuck and wear them around my neck. Also, my boots are easier to zip up than they were a month ago. Real food wins, non-scale victories.
  • My twenty week appointment was on Day 2, followed by my 24 week appointment on Day 28. Between those two dates I lost one pound and Martian grew the exact number of centimeters that they want to see.

So what’s next….

I’ve started to eat out a little. I tried rice noodles in Pho on Friday night (felt fine). I don’t plan to reintroduce dairy or gluten at this time, but I will try a little sugar to see how I feel, mostly in preparation for the holiday season. I’ll probably try corn chips as well. Our marriage is built on Mexican food people, there’s only so much I can ask of Greg and giving up dinner at Rosita’s isn’t on the table.

The one thing I want to improve on is asking myself “is it worth it” when I want to eat something that I know isn’t going to make me feel great. It’s totally okay if the answer is yes sometimes, the part that’s not okay is not thinking about it and absent-mindeldly popping whatever in my mouth. I couldn’t find an article to link to, but I love the idea below (from the creators of the Whole30 program). Stop thinking about cheats and start thinking about choices. Own what you put in your body.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 9.01.45 AMWhole30 results are always better with photos, so here’s a little comparison. On the left is Greg and I at a wedding the weekend before I started my Whole30. On the right we are in our Halloween costumes this past Saturday, four days after finishing my Whole30. It is not a dramatic transformation (I am growing a human being, after all), but I can see the difference in my face. It is way less puffy, especially in my cheeks and around my eyes. Even my butt chin is back! #nonscalevictory

whole30bandaIf you’re interested in the Whole30, I’m more than happy to answer any questions in the comments. There is also a wealth of information on the website, including the rules and great articles on the blog. I highly recommend picking up a copy of It Starts With Food, which explains both the how and the why of the Whole30 in detail.


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