whole 30: almost halfway

We've just wrapped up twelve days of Whole30 and I'm pretty excited that we're almost halfway done. I'm surprised to hear myself saying that it actually hasn't been that bad...but at the same time, I think this has been the longest two weeks of my life. ;) Let's start with the bad and end with the good.

A favorite lunch of mine: chicken, apple, blueberry salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Usually strawberries are in there somewhere too.
I'd say the biggest pain so far is the inconvenience of not being able to grab food from a restaurant or even the grocery store when we're short on time. (Granted, I haven't explored our local Earth Fare or Costco yet, and they may have more convenience options than our regular grocery store.) For instance, last Tuesday I went to vote around 4:00 and surprise! It took a lot longer than expected. Thankfully Deric was home with Jake so I just texted him and asked him to get dinner started because its not like I could stop and pick up a pizza or something. We're trying not to let Whole30 get in the way of invitations from friends, etc. but we have noticed that its made it harder to get together with people over a meal. We're lucky to have a lot of restaurants nearby so when the invitation is for a meal out, we ask if we can pick the place and choose somewhere that's got a lot of salad options. At the restaurant, we just ask them to grill the chicken only in salt and pepper and then we bring our own salad dressing. Not impossible, but definitely hard when they also have pizza on the menu. ;)

Another two big inconveniences: the ridiculous amount of dirty dishes in the kitchen every.stinking.day. I cook dinner at home basically every night but add in cooking breakfast and sometimes even lunch and oh my gosh, I don't want to do any more dishes. Sometimes it's nice just to pull out some cereal or a sandwich and leave the pans in the cabinet. Second thing: our grocery bill is gonna be sky high. I've kept the receipts for this month but haven't glanced at them in summary yet and I  almost don't want to. Instead of my weekly Monday morning trip, we're getting groceries probably twice a week and its much more expensive when your cart is mostly fresh produce and meat. It'd be even more pricy if I bought compliant deli meat and bacon but that stuff is close to $6 per half a pound so its not happening (at least until the last week when we're about to scream if we have to eat any more chicken or eggs.)

I think Deric and I would both agree that we feel hungry all the time unfortunately. I'd heard that protein fills you up faster and lasts longer than carbs but I'm pretty sure I eat about double what I was before and still feel hungry. I could be wrong though, because if I've learned anything about pregnancy its that you can no longer trust your stomach to send you clear signals. I could be hungry/full/constipated/baby could be sitting on an organ...who knows.

Mixing up salad has become a necessity. This was salmon, hardboiled eggs, avocado and cucumber with Italian vinaigrette.

As far as how we're feeling, I've noticed a mild improvement so far. We're not yet at the stage of "Tiger Blood" (when all the energy kicks in) but my energy levels seem to be more stable than before. That can pretty obviously be attributed to the lack of sugar highs (and then lows) I usually have throughout the day. No more afternoon handfuls of chocolate over here. I actually slept terribly the entire first week, which was unusual for me. I can only assume it was a result of diet change but that wasn't a side effect I'd read about so I'm a little unsure. Thankfully though that's over and when I wake up in the morning, I don't exactly jump out of bed but I don't feel like I need half an hour just to open my eyes completely.

About a week in, I added dairy back into my diet after talking with my doctor. I had mixed feelings about it at first: I was a little upset because I felt like I was cheating the program (but doctor's orders, so you know). But then I got pretty excited thinking I could have all these foods again but because we're still not doing refined sugar, the dairy is actually limited to only milk and cheese, unless I want to suffer through plain yogurt. No thanks. This does make omelets an option though, which I appreciate. (And TMI: thanks to the addition of dairy after a week off, I now know what slows my digestion down, if you know what I mean. Glad to identify the culprit.) My cravings for anything sweet or breaded subsided for about a week but for some reason they're back with a vengeance right now...although more than likely, this could be attributed to breaking the habit of snacking and eating dessert.

Whole30 has pushed us to try new foods--or at least try foods prepared different ways--and I've learned to make mayonnaise and marinara sauce. We've tried salmon cakes from the Whole30 book and even cooked an entire turkey over the weekend. It was perfect--about a month ago, turkeys were on sale for less than a buck a pound. I bought one even though we've never roasted a turkey before. We used the turkey recipe from the Whole30 book, made mashed potatoes and green beans and enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner in March. Deric's been eating leftover turkey every day since and I think he's grateful to mix up the sheer amount of chicken we were consuming.

Turkey and mashed potatoes with homemade gravy (yum!) and sautéed green beans.

Even if we come out of the thirty days with no major improvements in health (which is unlikely), its been a big eye-opener to how much I use food as entertainment and to cure boredom. I'm no stranger to baking chocolate chip cookies after Jake is in bed just to have something to look forward to at the end of the day. Unfortunately eating out is one of only a few options for things to do in the winter months around here so Deric and I have struggled to find something to do on a date or just on the weekends as a family. Whole30 would be much easier in the summer for two reasons: more activities to do outside that don't revolve around food (swimming, hiking, parks, etc.), plus growing veggies in our garden and cheaper produce at the store would definitely lighten the grocery bill.

Moral of the story so far: I needed to push myself to do something very inconvenient and I'm glad I'm doing it...but I can't wait until its over. ;)

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