Day 9 – Revisiting my goals

“My three major goals for the next 30 days are, 1) cook most of my meals (although this is daunting!), 2) figure out how to fit food prep into my schedule (I’ve been using “busy” as an excuse to grab nutritionally-deficient meals for too long), and 3) eat more protein and veggies (refined carbs have got to go).”
10/1/17 webpage post

Before getting back into my routine I wanted to revisit the goals I established back on day 1. I understand that the mission statement of Whole30 is to cut out potentially inflammatory foods (sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes) from your diet for 30 days to determine whether their absence will improve your overall health. The potential benefits from this program vary depending on the participant, of course, but the website says that Whole30 will, in general, “change the way you think about food.” This is exactly what I was going for. Before this month rolled around I had cooked almost nothing for a full year. I was reaching for grab-and-go options or eating out close to 100% of the time and I was sick of it. So when my good friend Natalie suggested starting Whole30 on October 1st (so we could be done before in time for Halloween!) I thought it sounded like a great idea. But since I was a bit skeptical of the promises of such established regimens I decided to personalize it a bit for my own purposes. If you reread the goals I posted on October 1st they have more emphasis on my daily/weekly routine than sticking to a rigid elimination diet. As far as I know I don’t have any major food sensitivities or allergies so I wasn’t worried about completely removing forbidden ingredients like soy sauce or honey from my meals. I even confessed my Whole30 sins at the end of every day so it wasn’t like I was having a bowl of ice cream every night and keeping it to myself. I am not trying to hide these non-compliances. I’m simply not too concerned about them negatively affecting the results of whatever you want to call this 30-day experiment. At the end of the day I am doing something beneficial for my body and that makes me happy. Back to more mundane descriptions of my meals tomorrow!

Day 8 – Marathon #4 survived

Today I ran the Long Beach Marathon. Marathon #4 for the year. I can’t say I was fast, and I can’t say it was all that enjoyable, but I crossed the finish line on my own two feet and that’s what really matters. I spent most of the last six miles hating running, races, myself, and basically everything else under the sun. And crying. There was a lot of crying. But when I rounded that last corner and the end was in sight (a very timely downhill stretch, thank goodness) I was incredibly proud of myself. This time it wasn’t pain or exhaustion or nausea that got me choked up, but knowing what a monumental accomplishment it was to run 26.2 miles and still be upright afterwards. (Granted, immediately after getting my medal I went to my running group’s tent and lay down flat on the grass for a few minutes. It was something I just had to do.) I know that marathons aren’t as much of challenge for everyone, and that a majority of runners finish at a faster and more consistent pace than I did, but as a good friend reminded me once, “Everyone gets the same medal at the end.” And I’ll cherish that medal because I had to work so hard to earn it. I run not so much because I love it, but because it’s a challenge. It’s certainly not an activity that comes easily to me. I struggle a lot (way more than I’d like to admit, actually), and I have to train very hard to be successful. I redefine my goals every time I line up to start a race. Maybe I want to finish in a particular time, or maybe I want to run a comfortable, steady pace, or maybe I just want to have fun. I’m not competing with anyone but myself so I set the rules. It’s my life and I do whatever it takes to make myself happy. And tonight I’m happy because the Long Beach Marathon is behind me and I have the medal to prove it.

P.S. My diet today included a lot of sugar. During the marathon I had Sports Beans (Jelly Belly has made my long runs so much tastier), Gu gels (new s’mores and toasted marshmallow flavors), and three 10-oz bottles of Pedialyte (apple, grape, and strawberry). I needed all of it to survive, even at my slow running pace. After I got home from the race I ate whatever I wanted during my marathon recovery. Now my stomach is all weird, though, so I’m looking forward to getting back on the healthy diet bandwagon tomorrow. Stay tuned for more super exciting news about my daily menus!

Day 7 – Long Beach Marathon preparation

As usual I’m completely exhausted. I got up this morning at 4:30 AM so I would have time to throw a pork roast in the Crockpot before leaving for the Aquarium of the Pacific 5K. While looking for some new Whole30 compliant recipes I ran across this one for slow cooker carnitas (sweetened only with fruit juice!). So last night I seasoned the roast so it could marinate overnight in the fridge, and then this morning it started cooking in my Crockpot while I was at the race. My apartment smelled delicious when I got home a few hours later. I’m sure I will enjoy it as part of my lunches next week. It’ll add some much-needed variety to my midday meals. As a side note, after shredding the whole 3.5 lb pork roast I realized that I don’t own enough Pyrex and Corningware containers to refrigerate and/or freeze all of the food I’ve been cooking! This situation was exacerbated by the fact that I also made two other dishes today. I put my second Crockpot to work to whip up a batch of my favorite slow cooker marinara. I figure it will go great with chicken and any variety of roasted vegetables. You’d never know that I was supposed to be resting in preparation for the Long Beach Marathon tomorrow, but that didn’t stop me from also making a batch of pumpkin chili during the disastrous Florida football game this afternoon. I needed a distraction because somehow the Gators managed to lose their homecoming game by blowing an extra point after a touchdown. They lost by that one point. Good times! The only positive outcome is that I’ll have plenty of chili to enjoy for my dinners next week. Cleaning up after all of these ambitious cooking endeavors is another story. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t wash all of the dishes yet. Some of them, but not all. The rest will have to wait until I have enough energy to get up off my couch after the marathon tomorrow. But for now I need to go to bed as quickly as I can. My alarm is going to go off really, really early tomorrow morning!

P.S. I’m not going to even go into what I ate today. Let’s just say refined carbs were involved – both grains and sugar. And I regret nothing. If anyone objects to my carb-loading methods you can find me at the finish line of the Long Beach Marathon tomorrow!

Day 6 – The calm before the Whole30 storm

It’s been a good day, but a busy one. First of all, I somehow managed to cram 8 hours of work into half the time this morning because I had to leave at 11:30 AM. My running buddy and I were going to pick up our Long Beach Marathon race packets at lunchtime and I had a work deadline fast approaching. Fortunately I got almost everything important done before departing. Getting the bibs, shirts, and other necessary items for the Aquarium of the Pacific 5K tomorrow and the Long Beach Marathon on Sunday went smoothly. As you can see from the above photo, I got three new running-related shirts today. Not that I need more shirts, but I’ll still wear them! (Well, maybe not the unisex one from the 5K, but I haven’t decided yet.) I had to go back to work after picking up all my race stuff, but only for an hour. I still had most of the afternoon off. Due to the fact that I don’t want to exhaust myself tomorrow trying to cook all of next week’s lunches and dinners when I should be resting before the marathon I decided to get started today. After a trip to the grocery store (one of many this past week – Whole30 requires more produce than I ever imagined) I went home and began preparations for several dishes I want to cook tomorrow. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Right now I’m drained and I just want to go to bed.

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with diced vegetables and chicken apple sausage (cue the egg puns)
Snack #1 – Apple (honeycrisp!) and mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios)
Lunch – Salad with shredded garlic chicken, cucumber, red onion, yellow bell pepper, celery, nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter
Dinner – Tomato soup with Italian sausage

Today’s notes: Lunch was late today (3 PM) so my mid-morning snack was basically a double serving. As far as everything else goes, I am perfectly aware that my meals are getting really boring. As delicious as everything is, I’m getting tired of eating (and writing about) the same things over and over again. But don’t worry, I will have lots of new things on my menu next week. I have some great stuff queued up to cook this weekend. And besides that, the next two days are going to be a bit of a roller coaster. Buckle up, because these will be Whole30 days like no other!

Day 5 – Whole30 not for runners?

Today I realized that either Whole30 is not for runners or I’m not eating enough compliant carbs. My training runs this week have not been stellar, which I initially attributed to just having a bad day or two. But when I got really fatigued running only 5 miles tonight I finally realized that my lower carb diet might be causing my difficulties. I plan to increase my fruit consumption from now on, and include potatoes in more of my meals to see if that makes a difference. That will probably help on a daily basis. However, this Sunday is the Long Beach Marathon. There is no way I’m crossing that start line with so little energy and 26.2 miles to run. I’ve always planned to have a nice plate of pasta for dinner on Saturday night in preparation for the marathon, but I might take it a little farther. A McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffin might be on the menu for breakfast too. I don’t want to go overboard and negate all of the progress I’ve made over the last 5 days, but I am certain I can’t run a marathon on my current diet. I’m certainly healthier after 5 days of Whole30, and I think I’m even slightly slimmer, but long distance running required more carbs!

Speaking of fatigue, I’m going to bed now. Maybe one day I’ll get around to writing about my Whole30 lunches, but it’s not going to be today.

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with diced vegetables and chicken apple sausage (so many eggs)
Snack #1 – Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios)
Lunch – Teriyaki ground beef, roasted broccoli and carrots, and roasted diced potato and sweet potato
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter (before going running)
Dinner – Tomato soup with Italian sausage, cashew cookie Larabar

Today’s notes: Last time with the confession about the teriyaki ground beef in my lunch. It was the last serving I had in the fridge and now it’s gone. But don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll find other Whole30 cheats in my diet to talk about. And as I said on Tuesday, the tomato soup has a little flour in it for thickening. Obviously I need more variety in my diet because these notes are getting repetitive. Finally, I’m not sure Larabars are technically acceptable on Whole30, but with only dates and cashews in the ingredients list I’m allowing it. I needed something sweet after dinner to close out the day.

Day 4 – A Whole30 win

I want to start today’s blog post out with a little story. At a staff meeting this afternoon we had a cake for someone’s work service anniversary. Obviously I’m not allowed to indulge in cake on Whole30, but I figured if it today’s cake happened to be a carrot cake I would grab a piece and save it for the weekend when I have a few cheat meals planned (more on that when the time comes). Turns out it was indeed carrot cake and the smell was intoxicating. I managed to not touch the slice I was given during the meeting, but on my way back to my desk my resolve weakened and I had a couple small bites of frosting. After that I was absolutely certain that if I held on to that cake I would be unable to resist eating the entire slab within five minutes. I weighed my options for a second before coming to the conclusion that I didn’t want to throw out four days of healthy eating for a momentary sugar rush. Not worth it. So I did the sensible, if wasteful, thing and threw the piece of cake in the trash. Now I call that a real Whole30 win!

I’m putting off the discussion of my Whole30 lunches for another day because I’m really tired. I got up at 4:45 AM this morning to walk with some ladies in my running group. We walked for an hour and I was still home before sunrise. Add a full day of work and a 3-mile run tonight on top of that and I’m exhausted! More exciting Whole30-related insight tomorrow!

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with diced vegetables and chicken apple sausage (if it ain’t broke…)
Snack #1 – Banana
Lunch – Teriyaki ground beef, roasted broccoli and carrots, and roasted diced potato and sweet potato
Snack #2 – Apple sliced with almond butter (before going running)
Dinner – Salad with shredded garlic chicken, cucumber, red onion, yellow bell pepper, celery, nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Today’s notes: See Monday’s notes for information on the non-Whole30 nature of my teriyaki ground beef. I have one more serving of it in my fridge so you’ll be reading a similar note again later this week. Also, besides the couple of bites of super sugary frosting I had today before my willpower set in, there was also a little honey in the balsamic vinaigrette dressing on my salad. Like a teaspoon or less. I’m not too worried about that.

Whole30 day 3, briefly

I was planning to write a post about my Whole30 lunches, but someone from my running group just asked me to go walking with her in the morning. This means an early bedtime and an even earlier wakeup call for me. I’ll regale you with tales of my array of midday lunch choices tomorrow!

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with diced vegetables and chicken apple sausage
Snack #1 – Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios)
Lunch – Shredded garlic chicken, roasted broccoli, and leftover peas and corn
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter (before going running)
Dinner – Tomato soup with Italian sausage

Today’s notes: Yep, more Whole30 cheats. Get used to it. This morning when I grabbed my lunch out of the fridge and saw that it included chicken I thought I had a 100% Whole30 compliant meal for a change. But then I saw that I’d rounded it out with the some leftover peas and corn. I still consider it healthy even though it broke a couple of rules! Also, I have to admit that the homemade tomato soup (technically a bisque, but I omitted the half-and-half) I had for dinner has a little bit of flour in it for thickening purposes. If I’d had almond flour when I was cooking this weekend I would have used that instead, but no such luck. However, the homemade Italian sausage I made was perfectly within the Whole30 guidelines, and it was delicious! I’ll be using that recipe again soon.

P.S. After three days of Whole30 that banana with almond better tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten.

Day 2 – Whole30 breakfasts

Breakfast has never been my strong suit. Most mornings during the week I would grab a Slimfast shake, protein shake, or granola bar as I was rushing out the door to get to work. And on the weekends McDonald’s was my go-to morning meal, usually after running with my Galloway group. But since none of those options are available on Whole30 I had to completely rethink my breakfast habits. So yesterday morning instead of my usual pre-race Slimfast shake I ate a banana before the Aloha 5K. I was disappointed to have to miss out on most of the post-race goodies – chocolate milk, Hawaiian rolls, and chips – but I was committed to starting Whole30 off right. Luckily one of the other tables had apples so I did take one of those home with me for later. After I got home it had been hours since I had that banana so I was really hungry. Before I even showered I scrambled three eggs with diced onion, bell pepper, and celery (the leftover vegetables I had in my crisper drawer) and gobbled them up. It was a delicious meal. I’ll confess that I used regular butter rather than ghee to cook the eggs because, 1) I don’t want to make clarified butter myself, and 2) I refuse to spend money on ghee when I have plenty of regular butter in my fridge already. Just another little Whole30 cheat! I’ll probably have a million of them by the time these 30 days are up.

This morning was slightly more complicated because it was a weekday. Last night before I went to bed I diced up a ton of vegetables and cooked some Aidell’s chicken apple sausage (surprisingly Whole30 compliant!) so that I could quickly and easily whip up my breakfasts before heading to work each day. As exhausting as it was, all of that prep really paid off because it was a breeze to scramble two eggs with veggies and sausage this morning. Don’t worry, I know I’ll get sick of scrambled eggs really fast, but for now I’m still enjoying them. Over the weekend I’ll work on adding more variety to my morning meals.

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with diced vegetables and chicken apple sausage
Lunch – Teriyaki ground beef, roasted broccoli and carrots, and roasted diced potato and sweet potato
Snack #1 – Apple
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter (before going to boot camp)
Dinner – Chili with beef, onion, bell pepper, beans, corn, and peas

A couple of notes: First, I didn’t have my usual mid-morning snack because I was stuck in meetings until almost 1 PM. That’s why it looks like I had two snacks back-to-back. The apple was eaten while I was still at work and the banana was consumed at home an hour before my boot camp class. Second, the teriyaki ground beef in my lunch contained two Whole30 banned ingredients – soy sauce and honey. Gasp! But, like I said yesterday, I wasn’t about to let perfectly good food go to waste just because I didn’t eat it before October 1st. And third, my dinner also broke several Whole30 rules since beans, corn, and peas are not allowed on the program. But after somehow avoiding all of the candy in the snack bar at work today I consider a delicious bowl of homemade chili to be a relatively healthy dinner choice. Especially since I’ve been known to eat handfuls of crackers straight out of the box for dinner. I’m kind of establishing my own rules for this challenge and I’m OK with that.

Day 1 – Whole30 goals

Whole30 is here! While I’m not completely unprepared for this challenge, I’m still incredibly intimidated. It’s no secret that I’m addicted to candy and soda, and I go to McDonald’s so often than the employees start making my Sausage Egg McMuffin as soon as I walk in the door. Obviously I have more than one bad habit that’s going to be hard to curtail, but I’m willing to give it a try. And I know I’m not going to be perfect. That part doesn’t bother me so much. There are definitely going to be days where I don’t strictly adhere to the rules of Whole30, and there are also going to be days where I completely throw those rules out the window. I’ll explain more when the time comes. But for now I figured I’d start this diet and blogging journey by talking about my purpose for taking on Whole30. For me, I’m planning to use this program not so much as a pure elimination diet, but as an incentive to fill my plate with whole foods rather than my usual fare of Subway sandwiches, Cheez-Its, and Coca-Cola. I’ve been eating out a lot this year and I want to finally change things. My three major goals for the next 30 days are, 1) cook most of my meals (although this is daunting!), 2) figure out how to fit food prep into my schedule (I’ve been using “busy” as an excuse to grab nutritionally-deficient meals for too long), and 3) eat more protein and veggies (refined carbs have got to go). You might be surprised to discover that weight loss is not on that list. Not that I wouldn’t like to see the number on the scale go down a bit, but I don’t want that to be my main focus. At least not yet. First I’m going to clean up my diet and then tackle other health issues afterwards. On that note, here are my meals for day 1 of Whole30:

Breakfast – Banana (before running the Aloha 5K), scrambled eggs with diced vegetables (after the 5K)
Snack – Mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios)
Lunch – Apple slices with almond butter (my second breakfast was so late that I skimped on lunch)
Dinner – Pre-packaged salad* with added homemade shredded garlic chicken, cashew cookie Larabar

*Note that the pre-packaged salad broke the Whole30 rules right out of the gate because it had cheese, dried cranberries, and some dressing that was sweeter than could possible be allowable. I’m not too worried about that, though, because in the end it was still a salad. It’s not like I went out and got a burger and fries or anything. I still call it a win! And I wasn’t about to let it go to waste just because I’d established October 1st as an arbitrary deadline. No salad left behind, I always say.

On the eve of Whole30

Wow, it’s been a long time since I updated my webpage! I basically haven’t posted anything since March which is crazy. I never even reported back on how the LA Marathon went! So much has happened in the last six months so I’ll have to try and write some recap posts soon. In the meantime, the reason I’m writing today is not to recount anything in the past, but to lay the groundwork for the near future. Tomorrow is October 1st which is the beginning of my favorite three months of the year. I can’t wait! And along with the arrival of the October it’s also the day that my friend Natalie and I decided that we’re going to start the Whole30 program. It makes sense because with the 30-day duration of the diet (which basically means no sugar, grains, dairy, or legumes for a month) we’ll be done the day before Halloween so we don’t have to feel guilty about indulging for the holiday. Actually, my big treat on October 31st will be at the annual chili cook-off at work, but it’s still an indulgence. Also, I leave on my trip to Orlando for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend on November 1st so I won’t have to worry about food restrictions then either. I definitely have some things to look forward to in the next few months, but until then I’m going to attempt the Whole30 diet. If I’m honest, it’s a little daunting trying to figure out what exactly I can eat for all of my meals and snacks while on the program. I’ve done a little planning, but not nearly as much as I should have. I guess I’ll have to take things one day at a time. Right now I have a fridge and freezer full of food (some Whole30-compliant, some not – more on that later) My goal is to update my webpage every day during this experiment to document my successes, my failures, and what I’ve learned from each of those categories. My schedule for the rest of the year is already packed, but I’ve really missed blogging. I’m hoping this 30-day challenge not only helps me develop healthier eating patterns (and breaks my ridiculous sugar addiction), but also gets me back in the habit of writing more often. We’ll see how it goes!