It's been one week since I started the Whole 30 Program. Prior to this point I had anticipated one of two things happening: Sugar cravings out the wazoo, causing me to run out to sprouts and buy every carton of gluten free coconut ice cream I could get my hands on or my hummus addiction taking over my life. I had actually thought this Week One post would be called, "I Hummust Be Going Crazy" because that's just how much I love hummus. If it was legal, I would marry it, then divorce it, then marry it again just to prove my love for it.
But no. I'm actually...okay. Better than okay. I'm really freaking fantastic. This week has reminded me just how much I love the Paleo style and why I love it. It reminded me of a lot of things I needed to be reminded of. Like how healing this lifestyle is. How easy and rewarding it can be.
I originally started this whole shebang as a way to challenge myself in a way I hadn't in quite some time. I realize that everyone has a different idea of fun and that I, crazily, find this to be fun. I want to take a moment to respect anyone who is dealing with a challenge that may not be so fun. Challenges come in a lot of different forms and no matter what yours may be, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can face the challenge and conquer it. After that step, you can accomplish anything. Even the good folks at Whole 30 agree, as you'll soon see.
I truly enjoy the Whole 30 Daily emails that I get each morning. Each one is full of tidbits of incredibly helpful information and support, plus recipes, ideas, and things that make me go, Hmm. I don't want to give all of their awesome advice away, especially since you're supposed to pay for it and I'm not one to go Robin Hooding these good folks, but here are some of my favorite reminders and pieces of info from each day of the week:
Day 1: "As a rule, we think the foods that are good for your body should also not mess with your mind. And we think the psychological effects of your food choices are perhaps the most important factors to consider during your healthy-eating transformation."
Day 2: "There is a term in the health-behavior-change world called self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to succeed in specific situations. To put it plainly, in order to complete all 30 days of your Whole30 with no slips or off-plan choices, you need to believe that you can complete all 30 days of your Whole30."
Day 3: "As much as “diet experts” tell you to listen to your body, until you’ve been eating Good Food for a while, you simply can’t always trust the messages your body is sending you. Right now, your hormones are still out of balance, your brain is still craving, and your energy levels probably aren’t where they need to be. This keeps your hunger mechanism out of whack, which means you may need to override it for the time being. If you’re always hungry, it’s okay to eat more, because all of the food you are eating is healthy!"
Day 4: "One of the most important and life-changing goals of the Whole30 is to change your tastes, change your habits, and change your emotional and habitual response to craving. The worst thing to do when you’re craving something sweet (and actually hungry) is to satisfy that craving with sugar, even if it is from an “approved” source. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a Snickers bar and a dried-fruit-and-nut bar… All your brain knows is that it threw a sugar tantrum, and you gave it sugar."
Day 5: "Socialize with friends outside of food. Go for a hike, hit a fun exercise class, or take a class together – but make the activity time something that doesn’t involve desserts or drinks."
Day 6: "One major goal of the Whole30 is to get you out of “sugar-burner” mode, and make you “fat adapted.” A sugar-burner is one whose body is used to running on carbohydrate for energy. A constant excess supply of carbohydrates will tilt your metabolic “preference” toward burning what’s most plentiful—sugar— when fuel is needed. The Whole30 takes you out of sugar-burner mode, and transitions you into being fat adapted—efficiently able to utilize fat as energy. This process starts in just five days, but can take weeks to really kick in to the point that you notice the effects. When it does, however, your body will begin to utilize fat as fuel more readily, helping you avoid between-meal cravings, energy slumps, and brain fog."
Day 7: "Be sure to take a moment today to celebrate your first week of success. And by “celebrate,” we mean raise a glass of sparkling water to yourself in a celebratory toast, not “fall face first into a cupcake.” Because isn’t that often how we used to reward ourselves?
Now is a good time to learn to reward yourself with something other than food. (Food should not be reward or punishment!) Take an hour of quiet time to read a good book, take that fun new exercise class you’ve wanted to sign up for, treat yourself to a massage, or watch a movie with your family."
The best part, though, is at the end of each day I login to my email, scroll to the bottom of the page of that days email, and hit the "I did it!" link. I feel so accomplished when I do that...these people are marketing geniuses, I tell you. When I click on that link it takes me to a big and very awesome CONGRATULATIONS! page, where I get rewarded with a picture or a video or some fun tidbit of info. Not only do I look forward to that every single day, but it's a good way to re-program what all of us have been accidentally programmed with: The congratulatory food award, as mentioned in Day 7. Like I once read somewhere (probably on Pinterest), "You're not a dog. Don't reward yourself with treats". Right, no treats. Got it.
Overall, the first week was pretty darn good. I do have some recommendations, though.
My first and foremost important recommendation is to avoid Pinterest at all costs. See how I bolded that there? It's that important. All those damn beautiful pictures with mouth watering recipes! It made me want to not only cheat, but cheat in ways no human being should. Yes, I would love to make those pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with the bacon dates and the orange creamsicle marshmallow pops. Let me just throw all of that in my crockpot together, grab a spoon, and eat it.
It's not safe, my friends, it's not safe. I pinned things to my board I'm not proud of, but damn it. Pinning isn't cheating!
Second, sleep. Then sleep some more. You're going to be tired, so just sleep. Third, tell your friends and family what you're doing. My mom almost talked me into gelato and instead, I talked her into trying the program. Also, a warning that you will indeed have weird dreams. One night I dreamt I was cheating the program by sneaking 5 pieces of popcorn and I felt so doggone guilty that when I woke up, I actually thought I might have failed and almost freaked out. This, I am told, is normal.
Now, a few fun things for you!
First, check out these cool apps. (Yes, Droid owners, you have access to these babies, too.)
HarvestMarket Food Traceability
You use this app to scan the barcode on your fruits and veggies, telling you exactly how far it travelled. You actually get a little report on where your food came from and, get this, if it's being recalled. Scary, but it happens more and more with our precious fruits and veggies.
CSPI Chemical Cuisine
Curious as to what all those long, fancy-schmancy chemical-y words mean on your food packages? This app tells you just what you're putting in your mouth, plus it gives you safety ratings. Awesome? I think so.
Second, (and apologetically, as I am long overdue on this) check out this fitness website, SlimKicker, that I absolutely love and that one of my lovely blog readers created. She was working on this baby for quite some time and her hard work shows. I mean really, you win prizes when you accomplish your goals and there is an awesome community of people there to support you. The site is available as an app (sorry Droid users, this one is currently just for iPhones) and has all kinds of fun things, like weekly challenges. I loved the 100 Plank Challenge, which I failed at, by the way. They have other fun ones, like Sprint Once a Week and In Silence, where you sit quietly for 15 minutes a day. Love these. Love them! I seriously believe this is one of the best, healthiest, and most helpful sites there is out there. Please check it out when you have a moment.
Here's a healthy, Paleo approved recipe for the week. For some reason I am now in love with brussels sprouts and I'm pretty thrilled about that. I hope you fall in love with them, too.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe taken and slightly modified from Chef David Chang
1 lb. brussels sprouts
5 TBSP's, total, olive oil
1. Preheat over to 400 degrees
2. Trim brussels sprouts, removing and discarding loose outer leaves. Cut sprouts in half through the core.
3. Cook sprouts, cut side down, with 2 TBSP of oil in large oven safe skillet (I had to use a cooking pan for the stove top and a glass roasting pan for the oven, but it worked just fine. Just more dishes, unfortunately) over medium high heat until sizzling. Add additional oil, if necessary.
4. Roast sprouts in skillet (or oven safe pan) in oven for 8 mins or until golden. Shake skillet (or pan) to redistribute sprouts. Return to oven and roast for 10-15 mins or until tender and bright green.
5. Place skillet on stove top (or put them back in skillet from the pan) on medium heat. Add remaining oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper, tossing to evenly distribute. Serve.
I've made these three times now and love them! I've decided a little crunchier is my preferred style, so see what works best for you.
How's everyone doing who participated? Keep going, gang. You can do it!
Monday Mantra: Challenge Accepted