Jul 31, 2012

Day 29 - Whole 30

Second to last day!!!

I'm so excited to be coming to the end of this challenge. I honestly had no idea if I could actually do it for thirty days and although there were some rough days and I had to tweak some things as I went along, I'm so thrilled with the outcome.

Breakfast: whey protein powder, water, coconut milk, spinach; coffee with light coconut milk

Yep - spinach. I was thinking of ways to get more vegetables and then remembered Green Monsters.

Lunch: green bean salad (cooled, steamed, green beans, olive oil, lemon juice); orange chicken (chicken breast sauteed in olive oil/orange segments); strawberries

Dinner: homemade meatballs (pork, ground beef, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, oregano, basil) in homemade sauce (crushed tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, red sweet pepper, mushroom, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil) with green been salad and watermelon.

I feel better today. I think I was dragging from caffeine withdrawal the last few days. I was down to one cup of coffee per day but I had forgotten to buy coconut milk so I hadn't had any since Saturday. I know caffeine is a crutch and now I'm past the exhaustion stage, I think I'm ok. I drank a ton of water and ate lots of vegetables.

Jul 30, 2012

Day 28 - Whole 30

I woke up exhausted this morning and just could not turn it around all day. Mid morning, I had a splitting headache and my blood sugar was low. I haven't had any episodes of low blood sugar since starting Whole30 before today. I drank lots of water and had some plain almonds. That seemed to help with the headache and the blood sugar but not the tiredness. Maybe I just didn't sleep well last night?

Yesterday Liam and I went to Costco and I asked him to get us drinks. He knows I've only been drinking soda water or plain water so I was expecting him to get that. He handed me my drink and I took a sip. It was like eating sugar from a spoon. It was Coke Zero. I'm not counting it as going off plan because I threw the rest out and it was one sip at almost the end of my Whole30. It really did taste like pure sugar, though. It's amazing how fast our taste buds change.

I have quit artificial sweeteners before and don't remember feeling that way when I went back to them the other times. Maybe because I also cut out all other sugar this time around?

Breakfast: whey protein powder, coconut milk (I ran out of light and used regular, it tasted too rich), water

Snack: almonds

Lunch: pulled beef and chicken; coleslaw with oil and lemon juice; apple

Dinner: chicken; green beans

Jul 29, 2012

Day 27 - Whole 30

I am failing the last few days at eating three times a day. I'm not going hungry, I'm just not feeling hungry.

I know some of it is related to being more satiated but also some is stress. My normal response to major, life changing, stress is to withdraw emotionally and also to have no appetite. I thought I was doing better, but I guess not.

I had to make a concerted effort today to eat three meals and I also got out for a walk with my friend Tina and her dog Sadie at Bayfront Park in Hamilton. Getting out also took my mind off my problems and the fresh air and company were very welcome. My friend, Guenther, loaned me his car as well so I could do a Costco trip and stock up on staples - chicken  breasts; strawberries; blueberries; almonds; haddock fillets; baby spinach, yogurt, cheese etc. Surprisingly they don't sell coconut milk - just coconut water. Then I got another walk in from my friend's house to home.

Day 27 Eats:

Breakfast: whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk

Lunch: pulled beef and chicken; coleslaw (oil and lemon juice); cashews

Dinner: more pulled beef and chicken; more coleslaw; strawberries

Three more days til I have to decide what to do next!

I can see the difference….can you see the difference?

Enz photo (8)

April 29 2012

July 29 2012

photo (9) image

This is the shirt I got for The Chocolate Race on April 29, 2012.

The left side is the day I got it, the right side is today. The scale doesn’t always tell the whole truth my friends.

The tee shirt is much looser today and there is less of my “bubbly tummy” showing through the thin fabric! It is also looser around my arms, the sleeves were really tight before and would ride up. And I think my collarbones are little more pronounced.

Jul 28, 2012

Some stuff goin' on

I have not become a hermit, I promise.

Like I said in my last post, I'm working on a project that is preoccupying my time but it should mostly wrap up this week and I promise to tell you all about it then.

Since about April, life has been throwing me curveballs and I keep catching them and throwing them back. To be honest, I'm getting tired and need a break from the game but the  balls keep coming and there's no end in sight.

I haven't talked about a lot of these issues on my blog because I really do try and keep it as health/fitness related as possible and keep my personal stuff out of it...but the personal stuff definitely affects the health/fitness stuff one way or the other, doesn't it?

About two years ago I got a job with an organization that is managing a 15 year, 9 billion dollar transportation project. Over the last year, the political situation around the project has changed significantly and my organization is no longer managing this project as of the end of September. So that means, as of the end of September, most of us who were hired for this project will be unemployed. I, along with almost everyone else, received their notice this past week and although I had been looking for a new job for a few months, I now need to kick that effort into overdrive. Two months is not a lot of time. I'm not in a situation where I can afford to be not working.

Simultaneously, I'm trying to find a less expensive apartment. Our apartment is nice but is on the higher scale of rent for this area and if I do not find a job right away, this rent is going to be difficult to afford, even if I do find another job it may not pay as well as the one I have now - either way, it would be prudent to cut my expenses as much as possible.

I am still walking every day and running 2-3 times a week by myself. It's hard to keep up and my motivation to run alone requires constant refuelling. I'd like to get back up to 4 times a week but when I get home from work these days my first priority is looking for a new job and I'm sure you know that is almost a full time job in itself!

Thankfully Liam is on summer break so he only requires feeding and watering (j/k - he's pretty self sufficient).

I am doing ok with food and trying hard to stay on an even emotional keel through this.

Eventually, everything works out for the best - it just takes some time to see that :)

Day 26 - Whole 30

Wednesday is my 30th day!

I'm thinking of extending my Whole30 to Whole37 or maybe Whole45. The first two weeks I wasn't feeling well at all. My stomach was in turmoil pretty much the whole time and although I had days where I felt amazing, I also had days where I was falling asleep standing up as well as feeling nauseous much of the time. It wasn't until I started taking the digestive enzymes (at the beginning of the third week) that my stomach settled down and I was able to eat meat without gagging or feeling like throwing up right after and I lost the feeling of heaviness and bloating in my stomach.

I've stayed on the program the whole time and made some huge changes in the way I eat; adding meat/eggs to 2 meals a day (instead of 3-5 meals as week!), eating less fruit, eating  fat and more vegetables with every meal; eating 3 times a day instead of 5-6 as  well as cutting out all wheat, sugar (including artificial sweeteners), grains, legumes, soy, dairy and white potatoes. Although it is getting easier to make this my "normal", I don't think I'm ready to loosen the reins yet and as much as I miss dairy and my brown rice, I don't want to add them back too soon and undo the last four weeks. I haven't decided yet, but I think I'm leaning towards doing another strict Whole30 week (to bring me to Whole37) and then reassessing.I've got 40+ years of habits and preferences to undo, I don't think it's gonna  happen in just 30 days.

Breakfast: whey protein powder; cold coffee, ice, light coconut milk - blended (I decided to do the shake and iced coffee together this morning)

I found whey protein isolate  unflavoured, unsweetened, un-anything at a heath food store in Buffalo the other day. Its not as flavourful as the one I was using previously, but it doesn't have the additives and is more "clean" and I'm finding this is still the best breakfast for my digestive system and my lifestyle than any other food.

Lunch: iced coffee with light coconut milk; dates; almonds;veggies with salsa; cold chicken

I was in a munchy mood for lunch so I just threw a bunch of stuff on the plate and had a mini-smorgasborg.

From reading Mark's Daily Apple, I've learned that the other part of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle is exercise and although I walk every day and run (semi) regularly, I don't "lift heavy things", so I'm  starting to think about how I can incorporate that into my life as well. My Whole30 ends on Wednesday and I think for my next stretch - I'm going to start focusing a little more on the exercise side as well.  I still believe that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is more about the food you eat and that exercise helps, but it cannot undo an unhealthy or excessive diet. As I feel more and more in control of eating, it seems natural to think more about exercise.

Day 25 - Whole 30

This has been a crazy week. I have lots to process and think about hence not blogging much the last few days. There will be some life changes coming up again and I really think that doing this Whole 30 has made it easier for me. I am not anywhere near as stressed as I 'should' be based on what's going on and  I am not turning to food or ignoring my health and well being as I struggle through this transition. This is a huge change for me!

Breakfast: whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk

Lunch: chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, onion; baked sweet potato fries

Dinner: none

I ended up falling asleep reading last night. I got up around midnight to go to the bathroom and then went back to bed. I didn't realise I hadn't eaten until the next morning.

Jul 27, 2012

Day 24 - Whole 30

Eats for Day 24:

Breakfast: whey protein powder; water; light coconut milk

Lunch: grilled chicken; mixed vegetables stirfried in olive oil

Dinner: steak brushed with olive oil and grilled; steamed brocolli, zucchini, carrots

Jul 25, 2012

Day 23 - Whole 30

One week to go! I'm so psyched that I have stuck with this. Some days are easier than others, but overall, it is much easier than I thought it would be when I started. The days are flying by! I've been neglecting my real blog so once this is over, I think I'll merge these posts into that one and my plan is to continue eating as close to Whole 30 as possible all the time, with some lessening of the restrictions for when I eat out or at someone else's home, although I've managed eating out pretty well so far so it may not be as much lessening as I think. I will try adding back small amounts of dairy like sour cream, cheese on a burger or salad, some yogurt with berries etc. I'll have to test it and see how I tolerate it and how it affects the rosacea and my stomach.

I really wish someone had told me about digestive enzymes a long time ago!

Although I overslept by about half an hour this morning, I am feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.

Should I be worried that I am never hungry in the evenings? My endo used to tell me that when someone didn't feel hunger it meant their metabolism was shutting down because I used to be able to go all day without eating and then once I ate, I'd be hungry all the time. Now I know that is the effect of insulin and blood sugar but what is causing it now?

Eats for Day 23:

Breakfast: protein whey powder, water, light coconut milk; iced coffee with light coconut milk; banana

I woke up hungry this morning, probably because I didn't have any real protein last night so I added a banana to my breakfast. The protein shake has 35g of protein so it's more than enough to balance with the banana and the coconut milk has lots of fat!

Lunch: salad (spinach, romaine, red onions, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, red/green peppers, 1 egg with olive oil/lemon); orange; 2 dates

Dinner: 2 eggs; pork belly rashers; mushrooms; onions; green peppers

Jul 24, 2012

Day 22 - Whole 30

Today was a long, emotionally exhausting day and when I finally got home I wanted two things; a hot bath and an icy cold drink.  

Liam was out for the evening so I didn't have to cook for him. Pre-Whole30, dinner would have been a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwich or some cheese and crackers. I can't say tonight's choice was "better" and I wasn't really hungry but was afraid I would be later and just wanted to get to bed early.

So after the hot bath I made an iced coffee (cold coffee, lots of ice, light coconut milk - blended) and bowl of watermelon and a handful of almonds. That was dinner.

Then I settled down and watched back to back episodes of Big Bang Theory followed by Brad Meltzer's Decoded. Yep, it was a night for brainless TV and no emotional energy required.

I will be in bed by 9 and hoping tomorrow is a less charged day.

Breakfast: protein whey powder, water, light coconut milk

Lunch: burger, lettuce, tomato, onion; baked sweet potato fries

Dinner: almonds, watermelon, iced coffee

Jul 23, 2012

Day 21 - Whole 30

Day 21 - let's recap. 

21 days of:

No sugar of any kind
No artificial sweeteners - this means no Coke Zero, Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi!
No grains
No legumes
No alcohol (ok that was a freebie since I don't drink)
No dairy
No white potatoes

Yeah I'm bragging just a bit. 

Easy? No.  As hard as I thought it would be? No.

Eats for Day 21

Breakfast: pulled beef/chicken hash (like yesterday); fried egg

Look Ma - no protein shake!!! I didn't enjoy the hash this morning as much as I did yesterday. Today's version had a mix of chicken/beef - maybe that was it. Or, I just wasn't feeling meat so early in the morning.

Lunch: @Milestones. I met my friend Tiffany for lunch. I ordered this:

But I ordered it without sauce and noodles and with a plain chicken breast. It was good and filling since I requested extra greens in place of the noodles. Hmm..I didn't get a double breast though, I just noticed that!

Dinner: pork cutlet dredged in almond meal and pan fried; green bean salad (green beans steamed then cooled and tossed with olive oil/lemon juice, salt, pepper); fresh strawberries

I've been spending my time on my train ride home reading the forums and posts at Mark's Daily Apple and also the Whole9 site about using almond meal and other nut flours.  MDA seems to completely shun it because of the PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) content when nuts are cooked at high temps  and something to do with rations of Omega 3 to Omega 6...I'm still trying to get my head around that part.

Whole9, specifically for the Whole30 challenge says its ok to use it sparingly but its not a Paleo replacement for flour or other "bread" like products.

However, both sites have recipes using almond meal and coconut meal...so it's a bit confusing. And MDA links to another site for a recipe for Carrot Walnut Bread that looks and sounds awfully good!

Personally,  I know that if I start eating bready/cakey/sweet goods type stuff, I will continue to eat that stuff and it will be short leap off a almond meal muffin into a white flour, full sugar, chocolate cake. And it might be a leap I can't come back from again. 

There's no such thing as just one cookie in my life. It is way easier to have zero cookies than to have one and stop. Now, supposedly these recipes don't raise blood sugar the same way as wheat and sugar would and there should be no sugar binge type cravings, but some of why we (meaning me) eat the way we do is a conditioned psychological response. Something tastes sweet and  good and I want more.  The other thing that is a bit worrisome that I've not seen addressed on either site yet, but I may not have come across it yet either, is that these "treats" made with almond meal and coconut meal are soaring in fat content. These are ground nuts! Do you how many nuts it would take to get 1 cup of almond meal? Me neither, but I'm sure its a lot. I know the Primal/Paleo way of eating doesn't count calories, but I think at some point, you gotta use common sense too....no?

Having said that, I tried the almond meal on my pork cutlets tonight to make them crispy like a traditional breading would (flour, egg, breadcrumbs) to see what it would taste like. 

Verdict: Not bad. Not as crispy as the traditional breading and it doesn't stick as well. I pan fried in coconut oil so it also had a coco-nutty taste as well as the almond-nutty taste. And I had to watch them very carefully because they browned very quickly

Not ...bad...but different. Liam loved it. I swear that child will eat anything!

I'm not saying I'll never have sugar or wheat again and I'm not saying I'll never have a treat like food again either. I'm just saying for right now - its too much to gamble on.

Jul 22, 2012

Day 20 - Whole 30

I don't know why my posts look normal when I post them and then when I go back and look at them, they have this weird bolding/underlining in random places that I can't seem to get rid of. So frustrating and it doesn't happen with my other two blogs.


Day 20. 10 days to go.

Wow. That's all I can say.

Eats for Day 20

Breakfast: pulled beef hash; fried egg; cantaloupe

I used some of the left over pulled beef from yesterday and sauteed with diced sweet potato and my favourite trio of onions, green peppers and hot peppers just until the sweet potatoes were soft and topped it with a sunny side up fried egg. It was as good as any diner hash I've ever had and I didn't miss the toast. The yolk mixed with the meat and vegetables and was creamy and delicious. Liam LOVED it and wanted more but I had served what I made on two plates and there were no "leftovers", he asked if we could have it for lunch later! The cantaloupe was perfect for cleansing the palate after the smokiness of the beef.

There's a BBQ restaurant that we go to, Hillbilly Heaven, in Hamilton that serves humongous portions. We had lunch there yesterday and both had leftovers to bring home.  We paid $8.65 for each of our lunches, and we both had lunch, dinner and breakfast this morning and there is still some meat leftover. Insane! I don't know how they stay in business.  I like it there because they don't add anything to the meat except salt before smoking it and then they serve it smoked with sides of sauces and kaiser rolls so I can eat just the meat plain to meet the Whole30 rules and their coleslaw is creamy, but yesterday I  asked for some "raw" and I just ate the coleslaw mix with a little olive oil and lemon juice drizzled over it. Perfect Whole30 meal.

Lunch: cauliflower soup

Cauliflower, onions, hot peppers and garlic simmered in homemade chicken stock (made from bones), then pureed in the blender. Salt and pepper to taste. That simple. And that good! This meals needs more protein but since I was eating just before running, I only had the soup and decided to fill up on more protein at dinner. But..then we had a torrential downpour,  lightening, thunder, heavy rain that did not let up and now at 8 pm is still going strong so running never happened!

Dinner: two hotdogs, fried onions with mustard; coleslaw

Ok...so the hotdogs. True story. I was watching "You Gotta Eat Here" because it was featuring a restaurant that we used to go to as a family all the time, Flapjacks in Caledon, but the feature before Flapjacks was a hotdog restaurant in Alberta and they did hotdogs up in some crazy ways...and that got me wanting a hot dog! I am easily influenced apparently. Watching Flapjacks made me long for the time when my boys were little and we'd go there as a family on Sunday mornings and Iain would always order the same thing and Liam would always order something different and they would end up sharing.  Well..at least it didn't drive me to pancakes and banana bread!!

Jul 21, 2012

Just catching up…


I’m still here, I know I’ve not been blogging here much about anything significant. I’ve been working on a project that wraps up in a week or so and I just haven’t had much to say here in the meantime while I’ve been preoccupied with it. I’ll tell you about once it’s its over.

I’m just now starting to get my running groove back after a few weeks of first the flu, then crazy humidity and heat and bad logistics. I can’t say I “missed” running. I did miss the camaraderie of my running group and the rigid schedule it forced me to stick to and I missed the feeling of knowing that I was doing something good for me.

Here’s a link to my latest event – The Downtown Dash. I need to commit to a race for August now.

The job hunt and apartment hunt are still on and also taking up a lot of my free time. I’m heading into crisis mode, especially about the job situation, so I’m redoubling my efforts on that one. Looking for a job is a full time job in itself!

Day 19 - Whole 30

Wow...I am in the home stretch!!!.

Now that I have gotten used to eating meat/eggs for two meals a day (when before the Whole 30 I would them eat 4-5 meals a week) I think I'm ready to try doing it for breakfast - not every day but I'm going to try half the week for this week and see how it goes. I'd like to get away from all processed foods and the whey protein is the last hold out now.

This morning I created what I am calling "Sweet Potato Patties".

This is a very loose recipe as I just threw it all together in a bowl and hoped for the best.

about 1/2 sweet potato grated
red onion chopped as fine as you can
green pepper chopped as fine as you can
hot pepper chopped  as fine as you can
1 egg
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
just enough almond meal to make it stick together (it was about 1/3 cup)\
Mix well with a fork.

It made three generous size patties. They were still very wet and eggy but they cooked up ok. I pan fried in EVOO on med heat. Be careful because sweet potatoes burn very quickly because of the sugar in them. I turned  them a few times before they were done. They were golden crisp on the outside and soft on the inside...delicious. I think next time, I will just cook them on both sides for a minute or two to get golden them pop them in the oven to finish that way I don't have to watch them as closely.

Now this is not a high protein breakfast (with only one egg) but you could amp up the protein by adding some leftover precooked meat or having it with yogurt (after the Whole30).

We ate them with a side of bacon rashers and cantaloupe. To make the bacon rashers more palatable this time, I made a rub of cayenne, chili powder, salt, pepper and crushed garlic and olive oil  and marinated for about an hour. It still didn't taste like commercial bacon, but it tasted a lot better than it did the last time I tried it!

You know what else I've noticed the last week or so? We have way less recycling and much more organic waste than before. So this way of eating is definitely better for the environment too!

Eats for Day 19:

Breakfast: sweet potato patty; bacon rashers; cantaloupe; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: pulled chicken/pulled beef; coleslaw

Dinner: more pulled chicken/pulled beef; coleslaw

Day 18 - Whole 30

I forgot to post yesterday!

I turned my foot as I was getting off the bus and my foot was swollen right away. I iced and elevated it all night and it seems fine this morning - thankfully! 

Anyway -

Eats for Day 18

Breakast: whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk; chamomille tea

Lunch: chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, onion, yellow mustard; baked sweet potato

Snack: 2 dates; almonds

Dinner: almonds; cantaloupe

Another night where I had no appetite, but also because my foot hurt I couldn't really stand in the kitchen either, I could have asked Liam to throw something easy together but since I wasn't hungry, I didn't see the point in bothering.

This "not hungry" sensation definitely takes some getting used to!

Jul 19, 2012

Day 17 - Whole 30

Today’s Eats

Breakfast : Whey protein powder with light coconut milk; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch : Naked fajitas; banana
 I just took fajita fillings – grilled chicken/steak, shredded lettuce, diced  tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos and salsa (no cheese/sour cream/guacamole /rice/beans or tortilla!) and ate it all mixed up on a plate. Really delicious!

Snack: 2 dates; raw almonds

Dinner: green salad with chicken breast, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice for dressing

I felt good today. No hunger like yesterday, stomach issues are definitely improving.  I don’t’ know if it’s the digestive enzymes or just enough time, and I don’t care as long as it doesn’t get worse again.

I have less than two weeks left on Whole30. I honestly cannot believe I have made it this far and not broken any of the rules or eaten off plan. The protein powder is allowed on the vegetarian version – and if you knew how little meat I ate before starting this you would know that eating meat/eggs for two meals a day was a HUGE challenge for me.

I am considering this my 17th day of success and I fully intend to complete 30 days.

The Eaton Downtown Dash 5K race was fun. This was the goal race for my 5k Running Clinic with the Running Room. I'll do a proper recap tomorrow. The weather was perfect, the course was flat and wide and there was beautiful scenery.  I started out with my friend Melissa and saw my running girls crew at the end.  This was my 10th running event and my 7th Finisher’s Medal.

It was a really nice evening and a great way to jump back into running regularly.

Jul 18, 2012

Day 16 - Whole 30

What an odd day!

I was so hungry all day right up until about three o'clock.

Today's eats:

Breakfast: whey powder protein shake, water, coconut milk

Snack: cashews, apple

Lunch: two burger patties with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard - green salad no dressing; strawberries

Snack:  cashews, two dates

Dinner: cashews, two dates

Yeah so dinner sucked a little. After being hungry all day I came home from the Running Room, had a shower, a cold drink and some cashews and the dates and was done. No appetite. Nothing appealing to me and no mood to eat. So...unless I get hungry before bed, this is it for today! A lot of fruit today. Not intentional  but because I was so hungry, that was all I had at work with me.

Running Room 20 Minute Challenge

There was a great turnout for this event! Kids, families, dogs, experienced runners, walkers, instructors, clinic students, free run people. We ran 10 minutes down Cootes Drive (all downhill) then turned around and ran back up. It was 30C plus  humidity and this is the first time I've run since  the Canada Day race on July 1st. I've been walking because of the heatwave we're in. Anyway, I did well the first interval, how could I not, going downhill? Coming back up I made it to about 7 minutes and then started to feel nauseous. Most likely the heat. So I walked the rest of the way back. It was fun,  I got to talk to someone I've met before but never really said more than hi to and I saw  Leigh, Bev and Pauline for a few minutes as well as Leigh's little guy who has stolen my heart!

Prior to the run, I had walked about 1.5k from the bus stop to the Running Room in that heat in my office clothes, but thankfully I had about 45 min to cool down and drink some water before we headed back out.

And I got my free hat!
This is me, after the run, its rosacea that makes my face go bright red after exercise, not a near heart attack, I promise!

Jul 17, 2012

Day 15 - Whole 30 - Or Half Way There!

Good Change 
  • My nails and hair are growing like wildfire
  • My skin is clearer, less rosacea breakouts and the breakouts I have had are less severe
  • Deeper sleep, falling asleep faster most of the time
  • More energy most of the time
  • No acid reflux
  • No body aches in the morning
  • No blood sugar crashes
  • No cyclical cravings
 Hopefully Temporary Changes
·         Upset stomach, bloating
·         One or two days a week of complete exhaustion
·         Every now again craving something bread-y but it’s mostly a texture thing I think
·         Lots of prepping and planning
·         Lots of grocery shopping every few days for fresh produce
·         Higher grocery bill due to eating more meat than before
·         Eating out is problematic
·         Difficult to get condiments that fit the Whole30 rules (i.e. mayonnaise, ketchup etc.)
·         Not enjoying eating meat although it is getting easier to include it in two meals a day
After Whole30 – Now what?
The book suggests a reintroduction plan to see which foods cause reactions. I already know me and dairy are not friends, but strangely enough, it’s what I miss the most. Cheese in an omelette, sour cream on chili or sweet potato soup, yogurt and berries….cream in my coffee. I think I will try to introduce it in very small amounts 2-3 times a week and see how my skin reacts. Maybe if I can keep it to small enough, infrequent enough portions, it will be ok. 
It would be nice to stay away from sugar, artificial sweeteners and wheat all the time but it’s difficult unless I am eating at home all the time, so I am thinking to make it a hard and fast rule when I eat at home or when I take my food to work, but be less restrictive when I eat out or eat at someone’s home; depending on how I feel when I have it again.
I think I'd like to keep wheat out of my diet, but I will try brown rice and quinoa again after the 30 days and see how I do with them. The other thing is, I don’t want to start the craving roller coaster again.
To be honest, I can live without legumes. I was never a huge fan and only ate them as part of something else, or my favourite baked beans in a can with a good old English fry up!
I don’t think I’m going to stress about added sugar to some foods like bacon or deli meats because I only eat them a few times a month, or about food not cooked at home being fried in non-Whole30 approved oil. At home I can make sure I always use olive oil or coconut oil.
So I have lots to think about over the next 15 days before I decide what I’m going to do next and it’s definitely not set in stone – I can make it up as I go along and see how I feel and how my weight fluctuates with certain foods added back.

It is a scorcher again tonight so as soon as I got home I wanted something cold and frosty. If there had been Coke Zero in the fridge, it would have been mighty hard to resist! Instead, I made a Paleo Daquiri - ice, soda water, 2 strawberries and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice - blend. Heaven in a glass!

Today's Eats:
Breakfast: whey protein powder with water, light coconut milk; coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: 2 tuna salad  lettuce wraps  (tuna salad - albacore tuna, red onions, green pepper, hot pepper and lemon aioli); strawberries.
I found this lemon pepper aioli at Whole Foods, ingredients are olive oil, egg, lemon juice,  salt and pepper. Its a delicious substitute for mayonnaise.

Liam ended up eating my leftovers from last night before I had even put them away!

Snack: date; hazelnuts

Dinner: hot Italian sausage; peppers; onions; hot pepper; tomatoes

Sausage ingredients are all Whole30!

Jul 16, 2012

Book Review: Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler (Fiction)

Disclaimer:  An advanced reading copy of this novel was provided to me, free of charge from the publisher, to read and review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Dead End Deal is a very fast-paced mystery/thriller set around a doctor doing research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Jon Ritter (throughout the novel I pictured John Ritter as Jack Tripper as the character!) is a doctor who thinks he’s found a cure for Alzheimer’s using transplanted stem cells. Circumstances result in the loss of his funding and prevent Jon from doing human trials in the USA so he takes his project and trials to Korea to work in secret, hoping the success of the trials will allow him to come back to the USA and get further funding and, ultimately, find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

The novel involves Ritter running for his life from paid hit men, big name pharmaceutical companies and even his own past. Jon is not only a brilliant researcher and surgeon, but a very resourceful man who thinks quickly on his feet and has to change his plans constantly to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.

The action starts right from the first page when his colleague is gunned down in front of him and never ends until the very last page.

The story takes place in the USA, Korea and even our own RCMP get a short starring role – I won’t tell you if they get their man – you’ll have to read it to see!

I did enjoy this novel and although I was worried it would be too science-y and full of medical jargon, it isn’t and is easy to understand those sections. It’s also a fascinating look at the science of stem cell research and the applications.
The author, Allen Wyler, is a neurosurgeon and uses his expertise to ensure his novels are factual and relevant. He has two previous novels Dead Head and Deadly Errors as well as another new novel just released, Dead Ringer.

Day 14 - Whole 30

Last night was another one of those nights where I'm dead on my feet by 9 p.m. Unfortunately I didn't sleep well last night and had to drag myself out of bed this morning and really push myself to be functioning and alert. The "not counting calories" thing was really plaguing my mind last night and I'm not sure why it cropped up out of nowhere after over a week of not thinking about it.

I haven't weighed myself but I am pretty sure I have not gained weight and with my stomach upset all the time, it's hard to notice if I've lost any, and to be honest, at this point I am afraid to weigh myself because if I find I have gained - I know I will want to quit and not finish the 30 days. I'm not expecting to lose weight over the 30 days but I am also not expecting to gain. In volume,  I am eating far less than I did before starting the challenge but in calories....meat and fat have way more calories than what I normally eat so I am a bit worried.

Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust.
Then repeat.

I've been thinking over the last few days about some benefits I've noticed and I'll post those tomorrow - my half way point!!

I don't think I could have done this or stuck with it without seeing Andrea's daily posts and reading her enthusiasm every day - it definitely made me believe I can do it too.

I started reading Wheat Belly last night and finished it on my train ride home tonight . It is such a different book than It Starts With Food. First off, it's very, very medical/sciencey/technical. If I hadn't already read It Starts With Food, I honestly would have no idea what the man is talking about. It's also very repetitive and now and again he attempts humour which falls flat. It is not a book I would recommend to someone who wants to understand how wheat affects our bodies and hormonal systems - It Starts With Food is much more "user-friendly" and relatable.

Davies also focuses mostly on wheat and seems to grudgingly admit that sugar and dairy may also contribute to weight gain and metabolic syndrome. One of the many things he emphasizes over and over is that if you cut out wheat, you must replace those calories with real food  and not processed foods. In this area, his plan is very similar to Whole30. Go a month without wheat, eat real food and see how you feel. He does have recipes in his book for what is known as "paleo-fied" foods, carrot cake made with almond meal and even cheesecake!

Today's eats:

Breakfast: whey protein powder with water and light coconut milk; date; coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: green salad with dried cranberries, slivered almonds, cherry tomatoes, mesclun mix - no dressing; watermelon (I know, no protein, but I wasn't hungry and didn't feel like meat, the salad was the perfect amount of food for my non-appetite level!)

Snack: hazelnuts; apple

Dinner: roasted chicken  breast  marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic (I ate about half of half a breast); carrots; green beans

Dinner seemed like a lot of food to me and I was full long before my plate was empty. Leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Jul 15, 2012

Day 13 - Whole 30

I started taking the digestive enzymes today. Hopefully it will help. I read somewhere, I can't remember which site, that people without gallbladders have difficulty digesting meat products and fat and  digestive enzymes are recommended. I'll keep you posted.

Today's Eats:

Breakfast: Whey protein powder mixed with water and light coconut milk

Snack: cashews and 1 date

Snack: grapes and 1/4 apple

Dinner: homemade beef soup (cubed sirloin steak, green beans, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes simmered in homemade vegetable broth); iced coffee with light coconut milk; sweet potato chips (sweet potato sliced thinly, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until crisp)

With the soup I was trying reinvent my mom's beef stew that I have made many times, but leave out the thickening agent (Bisto) and the peas and potatoes.

The sweet potato chips were a request from Liam for "Veggie Stix", a commercial snack that is basically vegetables cut into matchsticks then fried. I thought these may be close enough for him to enjoy and I was right but getting them crispy without burning them is tricky. I don't consider these paleo-fying a food because I could have cut them into chunks and roasted them and they would meet the Whole30 rules, so cutting them into thin slices shouldn't violate any rules. It's still a whole food with an approved fat.

I feel like I ate hardly anything today, but I never felt hungry.

Jul 14, 2012

Day 12 - Whole 30

It's been a long day, up since 5 a.m and just got home from a Buffalo trip. Just going to list eats quickly - then shower and bed.

Today was the first day that I was really wanting to eat something sweet, something bready, something cheesy gooey. But I didn't. I had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, lunch at The Olive Garden. The smell of the breadsticks was overwhelming. I also really wanted my long time favourite, Chicken Parmigiana, but I didn't. Walking through the bakery and smelling the fresh bread and the sugar was very tempting to just give it up for one day. But I didn't.

Today's food wasn't as balanced protein/veg/fat but I did the best with the options I had.

Breakfast: 3 poached eggs

Snack: grapes

Late Lunch: grilled steak, grilled chicken, grilled zucchini; green salad (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives - oil and squeezed lemon)

Snack: 1 date

Day 11 - Whole 30

I was feeling a bit scatterbrained all day yesterday and ended up asleep by 9 again. I am turning into an old person.  As a result of last night, I was totally unorganized this morning and came without my lunch and snack and some stuff I needed for my overnight stay at my friend's tonight.

Since I didn't pack lunch I went to the Loblaws in my office building and went to their cold salad bar. It's a bit pricey but way cheaper than going to restaurant.  They have signs above the platters listing every ingredient and most of them are prepared with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, so it's perfect for lunch in a pinch! They also have all the mayo salads - tuna, egg and potato - but I didn't choose those.

Tonight I am eating out - I'm thinking Swiss Chalet is safe. Quarter chicken with salad.

Tomorrow I am in Buffalo all day. I will make it work!!

Today's eats:

Breakfast: whey protein with water and light coconut milk; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: chicken breast; roasted red pepper; cherry tomatoes; cauliflower; carrots and raisins; watermelon

Dinner: burger patty with lettuce, tomato, onion; green salad

Lunch - I shared the watermelon with a coworker.

Jul 12, 2012

Day 10 - Whole 30

One third of the way there!!!
Admittedly I had reservations, when I started, about seeing this through for the whole thirty days; about even making one week. The key is to wake up each day and just do it.
The first week was all about planning around leaving out grains/sugar/dairy and weaning off Coke Zero. This week it’s more about fitting in the good fats and eating more vegetables. So there’s a definite shift in attitude there.
Yesterday, I told my doctor about doing this plan and she was very supportive and encouraging. I also told her about the “digestive” issues I’ve been having pretty much non stop, although there is a day here and there where I’m ok, the next day will be worse. She said that the increase in fat and meat will take some getting used to and even suggested that I might not “like” meat because it just doesn’t agree with my body. She has recommended taking a digestive enzyme for the rest of the challenge to see if it makes a difference. She said they don’t work for everyone and I may not notice a difference at all, but it definitely won’t make it worse.
I will start them this weekend.
There’s a blog post on the Whole9 site about being meat-challenged. These are things I have done on a regular basis for as long as I can remember, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t…but they are all worth trying if you have texture issues with meat the way I do.
Will keep you posted!
Today’s eats:
Breakfast: whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk, 1 tsp cocoa
Lunch: leftover meat sauce from last night; raw vegetables (cauliflower, red pepper, green pepper, tomatoes, red onion), steamed rapini – tossed with olive oil; strawberries; 1 date
Snack: apple; almonds
Dinner: western omelette (3 eggs, ham, green pepper, hot pepper, onions, mushrooms); salsa; fried mushrooms

Jul 11, 2012

Food Porn

Pasta sauce made with ground beef, green peppers, onions, hot peppers and diced tomatoes over steamed julienned zucchini! 

The zucchini comes out the perfect texture of al dente pasta.

Starbucks Iced Coffee (black from them) with light coconut milk
If you just order "iced coffee" they put a sugar syrup in it...you have to order it no syrup/no dairy.

Day 9 - Whole 30

Starbucks Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk ~ ask for no syrup or dairy!

Looking over my meals the last few days I noticed I've let the vegetables slip a bit. The two meals that I ate out did not have as many vegetables as if I had made my own meals, so I need to get right back on that before I start feeling hungry and wanting to substitute with grains and dairy. I was even eating vegetables with breakfast for the first week.  Two meals today didn’t have any kind of vegetable at all. Plan better, Enza! And I am slacking on adding the good fats to every single meal – this is actually harder for me than cutting out the grains and dairy.

The last few days I have developed a decidedly un-appetite though. This usually happens to me when I am extremely tired, so I don’t know if that’s the reason or if it’s from cutting the grains. There have been days where I don't feel hungry at all. I never used to be able to go from breakfast to lunch without a snack. I would have my protein shake for breakfast around 730 and by 1030 I would feel my blood sugar drop and be hungry, if I could push it out to 11, I’d start feeling ill, light headed and ravenous. The shake was made with protein powder and water and has 5g of carb per scoop, so I could never understand it because normally when I eat more carbs I crave more carbs, this is was a low carb start to my day.  Since starting this challenge, I’ve been putting light coconut milk into my protein shake and I think that has made the difference in being able to get to 12 and sometimes later, without feeling hungry.

I hadn’t planned dinner again, which is always a mistake for me because I either eat the wrong things or eat nothing. I will spend some time tonight planning meals for the rest of the week. I had forgotten that this Saturday I’m going to Buffalo with some friends for shopping and that means 2 meals eaten out. Argh!!! I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this one yet – I need to think on it.

Friday night I am not going home and will instead, stay in Toronto with my friend so we can leave right from her place to go to Buffalo on Saturday. So now that’s 4 meals out. This is going to be a challenge and I need to have a plan to deal with all the salt/sugar/fat that is in oversized US restaurant meals!

I was reading parts of It Starts With Food again last night and it mentions that tiredness and sleeping more is normal in the first two weeks, so I’m hoping this is what I am going through and it will get better once I pass the two week mark. Although I am sleeping much better, I also want to sleep more and with my long work/commute days, going to bed early means I have little time for much else.

When I had lunch with my friend Tiffany yesterday, it was hard to order food and ask the server questions without telling Tiffany what I’m doing and I felt like I was deceiving her because we’ve shared so much during this weight loss journey, but I honestly feel like the more people I tell the more pressure I will be under…which is dumb because Tiffany is not judging me at all and has never been anything but supportive and encouraging – no matter how many times I “start over” or try something different.

I had two wins today. We had cupcakes for my co-workers birthday and I didn't even think about having one! I just passed the box to the next person. I didn't look at them, think about them, think about taking one bite, think about sharing one. DID NOT THINK ABOUT THEM!

For dinner I made the zucchini noodles with meat sauce but made pasta for Liam. To check doneness I put a piece in my mouth bit into it and then spit it out. My Nonna is probably rolling over in her grave.

Today’s eats:

Breakfast: whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: ham; cantaloupe

Dinner: meat and tomato sauce (ground beef, diced tomatoes, green peppers, onions, hot peppers) over zucchini “noodles”; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Zucchini noodles with meat/tomato sauce
Steamed zucchini is the perfect texture of al dente pasta!

Jul 10, 2012

Day 8 - Whole 30

One quarter of the way there!

My laptop works again. I am so happy, I missed it. I thought I didn't use it much anymore, but when I couldn't then I realized how much I do.

Today's eats:

Breakfast: whey protein powder with light coconut milk and water; iced coffee with light coconut milk

Lunch: @Milestones - grilled chicken breast; steamed vegetables (again even though I asked for no sauce on the chicken it was brushed with something so I scraped it all off and could not taste it so I think I got it all off)

Snack: apple; 10 almonds

Dinner: 2 Natural brand hotdogs, yellow mustard, fried onions (I know I needed to have real vegetables and lots of them, but really did not feel like eating at all!)

No appetite again after lunch today, hence the very light dinner. These hotdogs are "Natural" brand, no added sugar or nitrates - just salt, garlic, beef and vinegar- all of which are Whole 30 allowed. I had such a craving for Coke Zero today and soda water wasn't hitting it, but I powered through and did not give in. My goal is to have zero processed proteins and I managed that for the first seven days but if this is going to be successful for me for 30 days, with my dislike of meat, I need to improvise; which means my protein powder shakes for breakfast and occasional processed meats that don't have nitrate or sugar added.  It might not be 100% Whole30 approved but it is still way closer than I was eating before and I have not broken any of the major rules.

Last night was another night when I was falling asleep by 830 and was in bed and fast asleep by 9. And I'm not even running / exercising like normal right now and I am this tired. But it's a different kind of tired, its a real physical, I want to sleep, tiredness and then I do sleep.

Sometimes when I feel so tired like this, I actually can't sleep because my mind is so wired and my body hurts, but I'm not experiencing that this past week, I'm truly tired and I sleep well - this is a huge improvement!

I'm still waiting for the "amazing" feeling to be consistent but it's only been a week.

My two restaurant dinners for this week have been rescheduled which, I admit, is a bit of a relief, so I only had to navigate lunch today and I am home free for over a week. Restaurants are challenging, but not impossible. I have tried to order the simplest thing on the menu and then make it simpler with no sauce/seasonings etc...but the last two days it didn't quite go as planned, but it was doable. 

Stomach issues are getting better each day.

I want to spend some time in the next few days looking up new meal ideas, just different combinations of meat/veg that I haven't tried yet. I'm thinking of doing a bolognese sauce over zucchini noodles on Thursday night to satisfy my Italian roots. I've had zucchini noodles before but as part of a stir fry, so this will be an interesting way to try them differently. I once tried the spaghetti squash as spaghetti noodles and I didn't like it, but zucchini, as a vegetable flavour profile, fits better into in an Italian meal, I think.

I am loving, loving my iced coffee. 

As an aside, I just read about the death of Anthony Sedlak - he is one of my favourite Food Network stars. Such a sad thing when someone so young and talented dies.

Book Review: Naturally Pain Free

I was given this book by the Publisher, for free, to provide a review on my blog. My review and opinions are my own and not influenced by receiving the book free.

Naturally Pain Free
Author: Letha Hadady, D.Ac.
ISBN: 978-1-4022-6531-0
Pub: Sourcebooks Inc.

Amazon link: Naturally Pain Free

Naturally Pain Free offers non-pharmaceutical alternatives to manage chronic and acute pain for many common conditions. This includes massage therapy, herbal remedies, exercises and diet advice.

I liked the way the book is set out in sections, which meet the need to manage pain but also the priority for avoiding pain in the first place. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, right?

Pain Prevention and Care
Heal Quickly and Painlessly
A Pain-Free Lifestyle

Topics covered include headaches, backaches, sciatica, arthritis, digestive issues, female issues, sports and computer injuries, skin and teeth pain as well as nerves and a discussion of what causes pain.
The writing style is easy to understand and not the least bit technical, in fact, its almost like a casual conversation which makes it easy to read. Despite that, the author packs a lot of information into each section

Some information was not new to me especially in the section of herbal remedies – my Nonna always prescribed chamomile tea for sleeplessness and peppermint tea for a sour stomach -  but I was intrigued to learn more about touch healing (Reiki). It was also interesting to me to learn the effect that diet can have as a source of pain and being a cure for pain management. This is something I have already started to research more on my own, as a result of having read this book.

The one criticism I have is that it would be nice to have more comprehensive index of specific ailments than the generic ones in the table of contents, so I could look up, for example, bruising and know where in the book this is addressed. With this feature, the book could also be used a reference guide afer completely  reading it.

If you live with chronic pain or are interested in having a healthier body and mind, then this is definitely worth reading.

Day 7 - Whole 30

I didn't want to get out of bed today. I was so comfortable and for once, not sweltering in this heatwave. There was a gentle breeze coming through my window, the sun just starting to rise over the mountain and I was just so comfortable and at peace.

But...Monday is a bitch...so I had to get up and get ready for work.

Thankfully I slept all night again and I am hoping that this spells the last the of the overnight stomach issues and hopefully the daytime issues will work themselves out sooner rather than later.

I spent some time yesterday re-reading parts of It Starts With Food as well as the forums on Mark's Daily Apple just to get some more info about nuts/seeds/vegetarian options. The whole PUFA thing is a bit confusing to me especially when they start to talk about cooking/heating nut and seed oils/flour/butters and rancidity. Rancid is truly an ugly sounding word isn't it? It's very sound tells you something isn't right!

Anyway, more research needed on that.

Today starts my "eating out fest" so I need to be diligent, focused and smart!

Lunch today was at Baton Rouge. Lunch tomorrow at Milestones and dinner on Friday at Grano (Italian).

Today's eats:

Breakfast - whey protein powder, water, light coconut milk; apple

Lunch - @Baton Rouge - burger with onions, tomato, lettuce (no bun), there was some bbq sauce on the burger that I had asked to be left off so I scraped off as much as possible but I could still "taste" it; green salad. The waiter checked with the chef and the burger had no fillers, just garlic salt and other spices.

Snack - apple and almonds

Dinner - homemade burger with tomatoes, onions, peppers; watermelon salad; iced coffee

I really enjoyed my burger at lunch so I decided to make one when I got home. I sautéed the veggies in coconut oil. It will take a bit of getting used to the taste, but I don't dislike it.

The iced coffee was amazing! Cold coffee, ice cubes and coconut milk blended. As good as an iced capp from Tim's!!!

One week down. 23 days to go!

Jul 9, 2012

Monday Ramblings

How do Mondays come around so fast?
The last few weeks I seem to have lost track of the days. For a few days I was very ill with the flu and I slept almost all day and night and since then I’ve not been able to get my head back in the Monday-Friday game. As well, with Liam home now for the summer, there’s no weeknight routine for me. I have to invent a new one!
Everything is out of kilter.
Running has been off schedule as well. My normal running schedule is :
·         Monday: Running Room Clinic
·         Wednesday: Running Room Practice
·         Friday: Run by myself or sometimes with other Running Room girls
·         Saturday: Run or walk by myself
·         Sunday: Running Room Practice
The week I had the flu, I went to the Running Room Clinic on the Monday night, then I was sick all week but did run on the next Sunday for the Downsview Canada Day Race  and considering how crappy I felt, I did really, really well – so this was in place of the Running Room practice.
I didn’t run the next day at the Running Room Clinic because the location was changed and it was going to take me almost an hour to get to the location for a 30 minute run and then an hour to get home again. So I walked 5k that day, it was also a really hot day.
Last Wednesday was just too hot to run so I ended up walking that evening as well.
Friday night I was out in the evening so did not run or walk, except for a really short walk to meet my friend Leigh to get a ride to dinner.
Saturday I walked.
Sunday I didn’t go to the Running Room again because it just takes too long to get there and back by public transit from my house. By the time I got out to run on my own it was super hot again so I ended up walking.
Today is the Running Room Clinic again but I can’t go because I have a medical appt after work and I can’t make it on time, it will be too late. I will have the same problem this Wednesday.
Mostly, I am managing without a car (with lots of help from good friends) but the location of the Running Room is awkward to get to by public transit from where I live. 15 minutes by car but 2 buses – with a short walk and a waiting time in between – make it 45-60 min to get there to run for 30-45 min and then transit it home again. It’s just too much time spent for something that is supposed to fit easily into my life. I had planned on doing the 10k Running Room Clinic in August but I am not sure now. I am going to have to be more committed/disciplined about running on my own again and sticking to a schedule. It’s easier for me to do that when I have someone to run with, but I have to find a way to make it work on my own. Running endurance and pace are lost really quickly and I’m already slower than average. And, I haven’t found anything to replace yoga yet either.
This weekend I am going cross border shopping on Saturday but on Sunday I want to explore my neighbourhood a little more and see if I can find access to the rail trail that goes up the side of the mountain from downtown. I know where it starts and where it ends (both are too far to me to walk to and then run and then walk back on a regular basis) but I’m thinking there must be an access from somewhere in the middle.
Food is going well and because of the heat I am getting in a lot more fluids than I normally do. I’m also on day 7 of no Diet Coke/Coke Zero/Diet Pepsi (or any artificial sweeteners). When the craving for fizzy and cold hits, I have soda water with lemon, lime or orange slices and lots of ice. So far, so good!