From January 12th through February 11th, I’ll be participating in The Whole 30 Program.
Day 0: Saturday, January 11
- Breakfast: Nutella bombolini. Tea. Double chocolate cookie.
- Lunch: Sangria. Chips (pita, tortilla, and Fritos) and dip (Jalapeno Greek yogurt, cucumber salsa, and nine-layer). Lemongrass grilled chicken. A quarter of an elk burger patty. Roasted vegetables. Cheap chocolate. Pear and salted caramel tart.
- Dinner: Homemade pizza (using Trader Joe’s pizza dough, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella, eggplant, mushrooms, jalapenos and spinach).
- Snacks: Half of a HoneyBerry gelato-stuffed buttered bun.
“Day Zero” is supposed to be the day you prepare yourself for the Whole30 — cleaning out your kitchen, stocking up the pantry, taking deep breaths. Needless to say, I did not do this. Rather than throwing out forbidden foods, I opted to eat everything in sight: donuts, cookies, pie, chocolate, ice cream. Worse yet, I went to a friend’s barbecue where there was junk food galore. Not the ideal way to prepare for clean eating. Silver lining: I did feel noticeably horrible following these junk-food-eating sessions, and took note of this to hopefully remind myself of said consequences in the future.
I also didn’t overhaul my kitchen as is recommended. Jay and I both live with housemates, so this wasn’t totally feasible. It’s true that temptation is easier to overcome when it doesn’t exist in the first place — but I’ll just have to get used to being around untouchable foods for the time being.
Day 1: Sunday, January 12
- Breakfast: none – I slept in.
- Lunch: Shakshuka (two eggs).
- Snacks: Small mixed fruit bowl. Apple chips. Sprouted sunflower seeds.
- Dinner: Tri-tip steak. Mashed cauliflower. Stir-fried brussels sprouts.
- “Dessert” (oops): Grapes. Apple chips. Sprouted sunflower seeds. Decaf mint green tea.
This program still didn’t feel quite real. I’d been talking about it so much and preemptively eating all the things so much… but now I’d actually have to abide by these self-imposed rules.
Jay and I only began meal planning on Day One — and now see why the program recommends preparing ahead of time. Shopping was a total nightmare. Not only did we go to Costco on a Sunday (always a bad idea, given that the entire world goes grocery shopping then), but now their overflowing boxes of snacks and stress-alleviating free samples were off-limits. Jay, suspiciously quiet, would pick up some seemingly healthy food, listlessly scan the nutrition facts, sigh, and place it back on the shelf after shooting an accusatory glance in my direction. It was a bad/hilariously sad time, y’all.
Our moods perked up considerably once we peeled out of the Costco parking lot and ripped open the bag of the apple “chips” we bought. Technically dehydrated fruit is Whole30-compliant, but I’m realizing that they are chock-full of natural sugars. If my goal is to take control of my sweet tooth, then I’m going to have to try to cut down on all foods that, in Whole30 terms, “feed the sugar dragon.” It’s all too apparent what power sweetness holds over me.
In any case, we were fully restored once we had a delicious, full dinner in our tummies. Of note: Jay observed that he had a desire to over-eat when carbs and other food groups are forbidden. We prepped meals for the next few days and went to bed early and soundly. Not bad!
From the first day alone, it’s been interesting to note how emotionally attached we get to food. Isn’t it true that attachment is the root of sorrow? Why do we desire certain foods so much — so much that it makes the idea of only 30 days so impossible? Food (hah) for thought…
Day 2: Monday, January 13
- Breakfast: Leftover steak. Cauliflower mash.
- Lunch: Crockpot chicken. Piperade.
- Dinner: Roasted mushrooms and brussels sprouts.
- Snacks: Apple chips. Sprouted sunflower seeds. Grapes. Carrots. Cucumbers.
I haven’t noticed any real changes in how I feel, other than being a bit bloated and tired. I’ve been exhausted each night of this program and have slept deeply, but nowhere near long enough (about 7 hours). I woke up today desperately craving more sleep.
I’m pretty proud of myself for getting through a very busy day (including a 3.5-mile walk to work, a full day of work, an evening class, and a friend’s Bachelor viewing party at night). I made sure to pack a ton of food and finished everything.
I also had maybe two or three cranberries with added sugar before registering the sweetness level, checking the ingredients list and realizing my mistake. Oops. I’m a bit disappointed that I accidentally had refined sugar, but at least I can recognize overly sweet tastes.
Day 3: Tuesday, January 14
- Breakfast: Frittata with kale, carrots, and tomatoes.
- Lunch: Crockpot chicken. Asparagus stir-fry.
- Dinner: Salmon salad. 50/50 salad.
- Snacks: Apple chips. Sunflower seeds. Grapes. Celery sticks.
Oh no. For some reason, I chose to overlook the meal planning template, which specifies portion sizes for three square meals and discourages snacking. Up until this point, I’d been eating whenever I felt hungry, including lots of naturally sugary fruits. Time to adhere to the plan more closely.
I’m now feeling significantly more tired. By the time 2 o’clock hit, I was a walking zombie. I stayed pretty low-energy for the rest of the day. Jay also reported grumpiness — I fear he is growing restless!
On a positive note, however, Jay and I have been prepping bulk meals in the kitchen almost nightly. It’s actually an incredibly calming, intimate ritual — each of us at our respective stations, working on our own dishes and helping each other here and there. When Jay and I first started dating, cooking together often led to conflict (demonstrating why restaurants have hierarchies!). Now, though, we’ve hit our stride. It’s been so soul- and relationship-nurturing being in the kitchen together.