Sunday, August 23, 2015

Our Whole Thirty: Wrap-Up and Assessment

     Over thirty days have passed, and I'm happy to say that we not only survived but thrived. Ray has been taking less insulin, I've had learned a few things, Lydia has had more energy, Alex healed a canker sore in a day, and we think we've figured out why Victor breaks out on his arms and back sometimes.

     Ray is now taking almost half of the insulin that he was taking. He also learned that most of what he thought was hunger throughout the day was actually cravings for carb-y things. This makes sense when you learn about how hormones play such a huge role in our hunger signals. I like to think of the brain as being like my dad, and I'll explain: one day, I had to take a reading comprehension and speed test (which is a pretty harsh thing to do to someone with dyslexia). This particular article was about the health benefits of tomatoes and the discovery of lycopene. I went home and told my parents about what I'd learned, and my dad would not believe it. He said that while tomatoes were tasty, they couldn't be good for you because they were too acidic. It wasn't until he read this information himself that he decided this was a huge discovery and had to tell me all about it. Our brains are just like that. We can look in the mirror and at the scale and see ourselves getting fat, but until the brain gets this information from leptin (which it cannot do if the brain is swimming in too much sugar and cortisol), the brain will ignore what it sees in the mirror and on the scare and insist that we're too thin. These signals from the brain are so much stronger than our willpower that it takes restricting carbs from sugars and sweeteners and only getting carbs from our fruits and veggies to get these hormones back into balance. If you want to learn more about this, I highly suggest you read Melissa ad Dallas Hartwig's It Starts with Food.

     I've learned that my stomach and head do not handle chocolate well, be in in the form of cacao in my chili or 75% dark chocolate yumminess. I've learned lots of new information from my new books. And I've learned that even though I'm fat, I'm in better shape than some of my smaller co-workers. After the tornado, we worked really hard to get our store up and running a week later. We were in the heat and moving heavy stuff, and I was barely breaking a sweat. I kept hearing various people say that it was man's work, or we needed men over to help us, or other misogynistic things, and I'd just pick it up and move it. I was throwing around 35 and 40 pounds of sugar and dog food, and after getting back into the pharmacy over a week later, I was asked how my back felt after all that, and I said, "Fine." The only ill effects of working that hard for that long was that I was exhausted at the end of every day.

     Lydia says that she thinks the Whole 30 was worth it because of Ray, but that she didn't notice a difference. I say that I noticed a difference. She was waking up earlier and with ease, and she had more energy throughout the day.

     The boys would go to the grandparents' house to have some cheese sticks and the occasional piece of chocolate, but they did pretty good. We were even able to identify what was making Victor break out on his arms and back pretty easily because it was only happening after he ate the cheese sticks, and Alex was able to heal a pretty bad canker sore that appeared on his gum within a day after taking and with one dose of L-Lysine. They say that felt pretty good, but that they feel so good most of the time that it was hard to tell. They did crave a lot and constantly asked what day we were on.

     So my examination of the rest of Melisa Joulwan's "30 Reasons to Whole30" in her Well Fed 2.
  • "You'll learn about yourself." I definitely learned about my appetite triggers and even more about what I can and cannot tolerate.
  • "You'll slay the sugar demon." I'm the girl who ate dessert with her meal, and felt I had to have something sweet at every meal, so if I can get over my sugar cravings, anyone can.
  • "You'll make new friends." I've definitely gotten more follows on Instagram, but I wouldn't say I made new friends. I would say that the friend I did this with became a better friend, and that's better to me than a new friend.
  • "You'll positively influence others." I don't know if this is true. I definitely don't feel like I've influenced anyone, but I did sell a friend on my new dressing recipe which should appear on my other blog: A Geek Girl's Guide to Love, Life, and Happiness pretty soon.
  • "You'll learn more about how your body works." I feel I explained this adequately earlier.
  • "Your skin will be brighter." I don't know if this is true, but I do feel like my skin was a little better during the Whole 30.
  • "Your hair will be shinier." I've gotten so many compliments on my hair lately, and I'm not sure if it's the Whole 30, my new shampoo, or a combination of the two.
  • "Your tummy will be flatter." That will be revealed in just a minute. Be patient. Stay with me.
  • Your workouts will feel invigorating." I didn't get a lot of workouts in, unless you count what I did at work, and I do, so I'd have to say that this is true. Cleaning up after a mild disaster is pretty invigorating.
  • You might get a pr." I guess my personal record for this Whole 30 is being able to sling around up to 40 pounds of product for hours, even at the end of a really long day.
  • "You'll feel accomplished (or maybe even smug)." I do feel very accomplished. I did something that scared me to death. I went 30 days without eating a bunch of sugar.
  • "You might lose weight, or gain muscle, or both." Again, I'll reveal that in a minute.
  • "Your body image will improve." I don't, at this moment, really feel any better about how I look than I did when I started. I know I look better than I did 5 years ago, and that makes me happy, but I'm still far from where I want to be.
  • "Food will become both more important and less important." It is more important to me that I get tasty, nutritious food, and less important that I fulfill every craving that crosses my mind.
  • "You'll stop dieting and just eat." I don't count calories, and I haven't since I started eating Paleo. I just eat real food, and I know if I've done pretty good or pretty bad by the way that I feel.
      Now for the reveal:

Weight before and after:
173.1 - 169.8 Loss of 3.3 pounds
Waist before and after:
43" - 42" Loss of 1 inch
Chest before and after:
44.5" - 42.5" Loss of 2 inches
BMI before and after:
30.66 - 30.08 Loss of 0.58 points

Weight before and after:
264.3 - 251.8 Loss of 12.5 pounds
Waist before and after:
49.5" - 48.75" Loss of 0.75 inches
Chest before and after:
49" - 46" Loss of 3 inches
BMI before and after:
37.01 - 35.25 Loss of 1.76 points

Monday, August 10, 2015

Whole 30: Day 22

     I'm exhausted, but I'm trying to chill out before bed. I got up this morning so early and had some delicious bacon onion quiche. Then it was off to clean up the store. One side of the store is in good shape, so they got it cleaned up and put up a partition.

     The other side is a complete disaster, and there's a huge hole in the roof. My friend confessed that it was her fault. She got hulk angry and grew into the 50' tall woman and put her foot through the roof.

     She and I had lunch together. They've been bringing lunch in for those helping out, so she grabbed one of their chicken sandwiches and sat with me in my car while I ate my nori wraps and melon. Then it was back to hot, sweaty, filthy work. Apparently when the tornado opened up the roof, it set off the sprinkler system. Everything is wet and dirty and mildewed. And some things fell off the shelves, so there's some broken glass, too.

     When I got home, I took a quick nap while Ray finished up dinner: roasted chicken with broccoli slaw. We decided to wait until Saturday to have pizza movie night. No pictures again. Sorry about that. Goodnight.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Whole 30: Day 21

     I have direction again. I'll be headed to work this week to assist in the clean-up effort. Someone posted a picture of our store where the hole is in the roof and stated that it looked like God stuck his foot in it, and I have to agree.

     I'll be going in early, so I'm going to go ahead and post. Today was vegetarian day, and we went grocery shopping, so I didn't take any pictures of my food, but I will finally post the menu for the last 10 days.

Day 20:
Eggs with breakfast bacon stir-fry
Cucumber, tomato, sardine salad with "cheesy" paprika ranch
Oxtails with onion jam and braised kale
Snacks: sweet potato fries, apple

Day 21:
Fruit salad, fermented carrots, pistachios
Roasted butternut soup
Eggs with sweet potato hash
Snacks: almond butter, apple

Day 22:
Bacon onion quiche
Sardine, avocado, chopped olives and fish roe in a nori wrap
Meatza and salad
Snacks: melon, apple

Day 23:
Egg and bacon salad with banana
Pineapple turkey burger
Eating out with Ray's family (grilled chicken salad and bringing our own dressing)
Snacks: homemade sweet potato chips, apple

Day 24:
Roasted butternut squash with cinnamon and almond butter; super sausage
Chicken, turnip, and bacon salad
Cacao super chili with olives, onion, and avocado
Snacks: bacon jerky, apple

Day 25:
Egg cups
Sardines with tomato and roasted eggplant salad with creamy Italian dressing
Chicken, broccoli, carrot, and mushroom stir-fry with Best Stir-Fry Sauce
Snacks: peppers with cauliflower hummus, apple

Day 26:
Scrambled eggs and bacon with olives, avocado, and fermented carrots
Cobb salad
Sweet potato aloo Gobi
Snacks: carrots with cauliflower hummus, apple

Day 27:
Fried eggs with apple cinnamon super sausage
Hamburger salad with Dijon ranch and pickles
Machacado and eggs with avocado relish
Snacks: devils on horseback, apple

Day 28:
Fruit salad with pistachios
Broc-cauli chowder
Eggs with sweet potato hash
Snacks: almond butter, apple

Day 29:
Huevos rancheros
Maki rolls
Barbeque beef tongue with fried cauli-rice
Snacks turkey roll-ups, apple

Day 30:
Green eggs and ham quiche
Bacon-crusted chicken strips
Chicken with braised kale, Dijon, lemon, and tarragon
Snacks: plantain chips with guacamole, apple

     The next few weeks are going to be full of challenges as we restore our store, and I'm glad we're eating Whole 30 because eating this way has made everything easier to handle. Plus, eating this way makes it easier to regulate your temperature, so working in a building with no air conditioner in August in Alabama will be a little more bearable, even though I'm still fat than it would have been when I was still eating SAD. I'll let you all know how it goes tomorrow. Goodnight.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Whole 30: Day 20

     I'm sorry that I've neglected my posts for two days, but it's been a rough 2 days. Thursday, I had a nightmare again in the middle of the night. It was more absurd than my last, my usual nightmare fuel of dolls coming to life, so it was much easier to go back to sleep. The entire day I spent at work, I felt like I was on the edge of a panic attack. Once I got home and had eaten dinner, it started thundering and lightning, and I had to jump in and out of the shower. The weather proceeded to get worse, and a tornado warning was issued, so we headed up to my mom's house to wait out the storm.

     I awoke the next day to news that the store I work in was hit by the tornado. No one was seriously injured, but we're missing a good bit of roof. A good bit of the damage happened right in front of the pharmacy where I work, but the worst damage seemed to be over electronics where a good bit of the roof is missing. I was told not to come in Friday, and I haven't heard anything since. I had a lot of people ask after me, and I'm very grateful to know that they were thinking of me.

Alex's School Supplies
     I am feeling pretty lost right now - not as bad as when we got robbed or when Ray almost died, but still pretty lost. But as lost as I feel, the Whole 30 continues strong. In fact, Friday was the beginning of tax-free weekend, and I had planned on taking the kids to get their homeschool supplies after I got off work. Without our local store, we headed to Dothan to get supplies.  We were supposed to have oxtail, but we didn't think it would travel well, so we made some nori rolls to take with us for dinner, packed to cooler with nori rolls, filtered water, chopsticks, and napkins. We got almost everything we needed, even new shoes for the boys. The only thing we couldn't find was watercolor paper.

     The storm was the night of the 18th day. Yesterday was day 19, and I had planned on posting the menu for the next 10 days, but we didn't get home until late. Today is day 20, and it's been a rough day. The stress of everything, plus sitting in the car for over an hour to get to Dothan led to me getting a really bad gallstone today. It was so bad, I woke up with a headache, and I spent most of the day laying on the couch. It has passed now, and I am thankful, but I am also exhausted. Before I go, though, I'd like to leave you with pictures from breakfast and dinner.
Fried eggs with breakfast bacon stir-fry

Oxtail with onion jam and braised baby spinach

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Whole 30: Day 17

     Today was a lazy day. I could have slept in. I took a nap at lunch, and then I came home and took another nap. The weather was just that perfect lazy kind of weather that makes you want to sleep all day, but sadly, I had to work.

     Breakfast this morning was a quiche made with leftover mushrooms from our pizza last night. For lunch, I took a salad to work with me. While the salad was good, the star of my meal was cauliflower hummus with some paprika added in and carrots to dip into it.

Debra McVay's photo.     When I got home, I was greeted by the amazing smell of barbeque. Ray had made barbeque sauce to go on the chicken to go in the bake sweet potato. He also steamed some broccoli, and we had some homemade ranch.

     It's time for some more sleep now. Goodnight.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Whole 30: Day 16

    Another pizza movie night has come and gone, and I am happy and sad. I'm happy because I love pizza movie nights. The whole family getting together to watch a movie, taking turns to pick the movie, so no one feels left out, and eating pizza in the dark. It's comforting, and everyone loves it. I'm sad because it is over, and I'll be headed back to work tomorrow and the rest of the week to pull some really long shifts at the pharmacy.

    Today started out with a quiche made up of leftover kale and peaches. We never did get around to making coconut milk yogurt, but one day I will get over my anxiety and just make it to see what happen. After breakfast, we got some chores done around the house and got some playing in, as well.

    Lunch was avocado, tomatoes, and olives with pan-fried sardine dressing. After lunch, we took a quick nap before dancing to some pretty funky music: "Ring My Bell," "A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action," "Groove Is in the Heart," "Lump," and "Dare." Then it was time for a shower.

Debra McVay's photo.    We worked as a family to get ready for pizza movie night. The boys cleaned up their toys in the living room and got out plates. I made the salad. Lydia made the pizzas, and Ray made the "cheese" spread.

     It was Ray's week to pick the movie, so he went with Star Trek. The pizza, as always, was delicious, and I ate way too much, so my tummy is full, and I am sleepy. Goodnight.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Whole 30: Day 15

     Technical problems with my phone's camera mean that I only have one picture from today: dinner. Well, anyway, today was pretty good. I went an entire 9 hour shift without taking any ibuprofen, which is pretty impressive.

Debra McVay's photo.
     The day started ham and butternut quiche. Lunch was Caesar salad. And dinner was fried liver with apple-plantain fritters.

     So today is the halfway point, and I'm pleased and a little surprised. I'm pleased that we've made it this far with few problems or setbacks and surprised that it's been as easy as it is.

In Melissa Joulwan's book: Well Fed 2, Melissa gives 30 reasons to Whole30, so I'm going to give my take on her first 15 here.
  1. "You'll sleep longer and more soundly." I've definitely noticed that I've been sleeping more soundly, if not longer. The only time I've woken up in the middle of night over the past 15 days has been when I had that nightmare.
  2. "You'll enjoy consistent energy." I've noticed this to be true. Over the past 15 days, I have not come home and passed out on the couch at all, which is something I used to do at least once a week when we were eating more sweet stuff.
  3. "You'll wake up feeling optimistic and alert." This is also true. I find I'm less stressed, even when I wake up facing a nine-hour shift, and I'm much more awake throughout the day.
  4. "You'll say goodbye to digestive distress." I really haven't had a lot of digestive distress since we switched to Paleo, which is good because I'm allergic to many of the medicines out there for stomach problems.
  5. "You'll be happier." Yes. I'm happier. Ray's happier. The kids are happier. Victor's been giving me lots more hugs, and everyone is calmer.
  6. "You'll be more peaceful." Without the ups and downs of sugar, this is easier to accomplish. My thoughts don't swirl and focus on the negative as much, so I just feel calm and go with the flow.
  7. "You'll be more clear-headed." I've definitely noticed less brain fog, which is a major plus.
  8. "You'll drink more water." I haven't noticed this because that's all I was drinking before we started Whole30.
  9. "You'll eat more vegetables." We already ate a lot of veggies, so again this isn't much of a difference from just plain Paleo.
  10. "You'll savor your food more." I can see this. We've been trying foods that we've never eaten before, and things love that are compliant, and I don't like eating plain, dull food. I love flavor and experimentation, so I want to eat delicious food that I can savor.
  11. "You'll feel the different between emotional appetite and real hunger." The first week, this was not so, but now it has become easier to tell the difference. When I'm really hungry, I feel light-headed and queasy, and I want protein. When I think I'm hungry, I'm usually craving something sweet.
  12. "You'll find new favorite foods." Oxtail, beef tongue, pumpkin porridge, egg and bacon salad, get in my belly.
  13. "You'll have fun experimenting in the kitchen." That's all the time.
  14. "You'll become more organized." I have not noticed this to be true.
  15. "You'll know true 'willpower'." I used to blame my cravings and giving into them on lack of willpower, but now I know that it was hormone responses and blood sugar spikes and drops that made it so hard to fight the cravings.
     I'm sad to say that it is very late, and I have a pretty bad headache that has developed over the past few hours after getting home, so goodnight.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Whole 30: Day 14

      The only thing that kept this from being a super lazy day is the fact that we were not wearing capes. Since the mattresses were already in the living room, we just had breakfast in bed. Fruit salad and pistachios are our usual go-to Sunday breakfast since Sunday is our vegetarian day.

     After breakfast, I had every intention of getting stuff done. I even made a list, but laying in bed all day and watching TV was just too tempting. We ended up just chilling out all day, watching Firefly. I did get up long enough to steam some broccoli and cauliflower for broc-cauli chowder for lunch. I even took a picture, but something went wrong, and I didn't realize until I was halfway through my chowder. After lunch, it was back to chillin' out.Even the boys got into the calm of the day and snuggled up next to me and took a nap. Since I could not move with them on either side of me, I decided it was a good time to take a nap as well.

Debra McVay's photo.
     After an afternoon of Firefly, the boys begged to watch The Lego Movie, so we put it on while Ray made dinner. When Victor went to the kitchen to be nosy, he was pleasantly surprised to find Brussels sprouts being cooked. Our kids love these veggies. We had them with onions and a creamy mustard sauce as a side to our eggs.  After dinner, it was back to business as usual, getting ready for work tomorrow, taking a shower, making food to take with me, making breakfast for the morning.

     It has been a truly lovely three-day weekend, but I must say goodbye to it and goodnight.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Whole 30: Day 13

Debra McVay's photo.     I slept in today, and it was lovely. We started our morning with egg salad with bacon, pickles, and fermented carrots. To this, we added tiny, little banana pancakes that are made from banana, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. You can't get any better than that. Lydia's already requested that we have this breakfast again, and I agree that it's a great idea.

     Ray went to the store to get our groceries for the week, and while he was gone, the kids and I made a pillow fort under the dining room table. We grabbed some pistachios and fruit and just had a great time.

Debra McVay's photo.
Debra McVay's photo.
Debra McVay's photo.
Debra McVay's photo.

     After groceries were put away, it was time for lunch. We mixed some ground turkey with eggs, onion powder, 5 spice powder, and liquid aminos together, made some patties, and placed a pineapple ring on each patty. We braised some kale to go with this, and once again Lydia requested a repeat of this meal.

     We got in a HIIT routine, as well.

     After a delicious dinner of chicken fajita wraps, the kids requested a sleepover in the living room, so we drug mattresses into the living room. So it is time for lights out. Goodnight.