Friday, September 26, 2014

And the results are in...

This morning I got to weigh myself and have a milk kefir smoothie.  Both were largely enjoyable experiences.  I've lost just over 13 lbs in 30 days, which is quite a lot for me.  Previously on a moderately Paleo diet I averaged about 5-7 lbs lost per month.  However, probably a few pounds were due to water/bloat loss - but still, that's pretty good.  I can fit pretty much all of my clothes that I was wearing just before I got pregnant with my little monster, so even though I have no idea how much I weighed then, I would say it's a safe bet that I'm within 5 lbs of that.  I rediscovered a pair of skinny jeans that stopped fitting me right after I bought them, and they fit really well now.  That was a nice surprise.


I also feel a lot calmer and confident about food.  At lunch today I had miso soup and that was a real treat.  The lunch was just all over a treat, though - chatting, uninterrupted, while people brought me food - LUXURY.  One doesn't really appreciate restaurants until one has a toddler who keeps one out of them.  (I think I will, however, start smuggling coconut aminos into sushi restaurants.  It's just that much tastier than soy sauce.)


Dinner tonight features cabbage cooked in BUTTER and I may not wait until the family gets home to dive into that.  Also, a little bit of baked potato with butter.  I'm going to see how the fermented dairy and butter suits me before diving into cream in my coffee and cheese, though.


So overall, I call the Whole30 an entirely feasible, successful experiment.  I have no desire to reintroduce sugar or grains to my diet, but I may try some beans or lentils at some point, and probably most forms of dairy.  I will see how that goes.  I would strongly recommend this to anyone who is having issues with feeling yucky, or control over eating.  It's done me a world of good on both counts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nearly done...

Tomorrow is my last day of the Whole30.  With a few teeny tiny exceptions (wasabi, vanilla extract) I complied 100% for the whole thirty days.  Yay me.  I'm going to take this opportunity to call bullshit on the prohibition of every single teeny bit of alcohol (eg, vanilla extract) though because the program DOES allow kombucha and water kefir and they both contain small amounts of alcohol.  So pbbbbbttttt Whole30 I don't feel bad about that little bit of vanilla in my better-than-oatmeal breakfast.


Anyway.  My insides are telling me they want dairy-based kefir again so I am going to have some first thing Friday morning, and it will be delicious.  The coconut milk kind of screwed with my kefir grains (well, my fault for using cheap coconut milk) so I've had them resting in milk since then. 


But, I think that will be the only dairy I allow back in for a while.  I do still miss cheese, but I can see how I eat a bit too much of it sometimes.  And I am totally fine with coconut milk in my coffee (which has turned out to not affect my sleep at all, which is good.)  Although, it is conceivable that cream might have fewer calories.  I will have to check.  Not that it's a significant part of my daily caloric intake, but every little bit helps.


I definitely do not feel like running out and eating donuts.  I will go back to a fairly moderate paleo diet with some dairy (butter, cultured dairy, cheese if someone forces it down my throat), the odd bit of soy sauce, and the occasional potato. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Weeks: Eating Out

Wow three weeks of no dairy!  I'm impressing myself.


This week my dear mama came to visit so there have been some attempts to eat out.  The only real eating-out attempt was successful food-wise, not so much happy, peaceful dining-wise, thanks to my littlest monster who is at exactly the wrong age for eating out, especially in a food court with no high chair in which to contain him.  We got the build-a-salad at Roast (at the Victoria Public Market) and it was GREAT - totally possible to do a good meal that's completely Whole30-compliant.  Since the meal ended rather badly, with the older child following the small one as he careened around and finally bringing him back screaming his head off, we have avoided the restaurant scene.  But my darling mumsy wanted to treat the family to a meal so we got take-out.  I opted for Messob Ethiopian in Cook St. Village and the nice lady there put together an awesome plate of veggies (potato/carrot mix, spinach, and cabbage) and spicy beef and it was amazing - and completely Whole30-compliant. 


I wasn't aware of it until today (when I actually re-read the rules) but the Whole30 allows for industrial vegetable oils when eating out, so you don't have to be a complete PITA when you're at a restaurant.  Some cuisines are better than others, obviously... Asian restaurants are mostly out due to the soy and sugar (you could do sashimi & salad if you smuggled in your own dressing and coconut aminos), fully upscale like Camille's would be totally fine, probably the majority of the stuff on the menu would be okay.  In-between, anything that offers meat and veg is doable.  I wish we'd been able to go to Skinnytato, the Polish restaurant, because it's fantastic and I could get a really, really yummy and Whole30 compliant meal - but the allure of a potato pancake filled with sausage and sauerkraut does not quite cancel out the potential horror of my darling offspring flinging food all over the restaurant and screaming "DOWN!!! DOWN!!! DOWN!!! BOOOOBIES BOOOOBIES!!!!".  It's a small restaurant and nobody needs to have their lunch with that kind of entertainment going on. 


So, anyway, things are going well still.  No idea how much weight I've lost since weighing one's self is not permitted on the Whole30.  At this point though, I feel so good and I no longer even miss dairy, so I might just stay on the basic Whole30 plan except for extremely convenient things like soy sauce.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2 Weeks in on the Whole 30

I don't actually have much to report, besides the usual - my clothes fit better, I have more energy, my teeth feel awesome (a low-ish starch, zero sugar diet is GREAT for dental health)... also, food has started tasting a lot better.  Sugar really messes up your taste buds, I think - even if you *think* you don't eat a lot of it (for example, no candy or donuts) it's in pretty much every packaged product out there.  Mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, sushi (even the damn wasabi), bread, cereal, etc., etc. )  It all adds up and ends up influencing how you taste.  I won't lie - it's actually really, really hard to avoid all packaged food and sugar (and I haven't, I just read the labels obsessively... but there is very little out there in a package that doesn't have grains, some form of sweetener, some form of dairy, chemicals, soy, or industrial vegetable oils. And - full disclosure - I have allowed myself very tiny cheats in the form of the aforementioned wasabi (I used a pea-sized bit in some coconut aminos for dipping some sashimi the other day) and I have used a few drops of soy-containing sesame oil for flavour here and there.)  But there are definitely a lot of intrinsic reasons to go to the trouble to fully (or almost fully) eliminate the packages.  Right now I am munching on some kohlrabi with homemade guacamole and it is FANTASTIC.  It is exactly the same as a snack I had last month at some point but it tastes so much better.


In other news, I finally found a book on nutrition that I feel like I can recommend without much in the way of caveats: Denise Minger's Death by Food Pyramid.  (Don't get it on Kindle though - the formatting is screwed.) She's famous in the blogosphere for her take-down of the China Study analysis (and data collection methods) and is pretty damn meticulous. This book is reasonably thorough (not nearly as mind-numbingly complex and complete as her China Study posts), and includes a section on how to interpret scientific studies and how much to believe them, and that part at least is well-written enough that it should be adopted by schools and taught to kids from about grade 8 onward.  The history of the USDA food pyramid is okay - interesting, at any rate - but the real strength of the book is in looking at what the current science REALLY says about nutrition and taking the strengths of disparate diets or ways of eating and figuring out what the truly effective parts are of each.  I also like that she is about as unbiased as a person can be - she has her preferences, which she states, but leaves it up to the reader to figure out what he or she should actually be eating.  I also like that she understands and reports the nuances in the research - for example, that it appears that the context of nutrients matters (ie, saturated fat... good in a whole-foods, low-glycemic diet, not so good in a donuts-and-hamburgers diet).   It's definitely a should-read.  (And kudos to Mark Sisson's company for publishing it even though it contains some not-so-veiled references to diet programs that also sell supplements and rely on a personality at the head of them...) 



Tuesday, September 02, 2014

One week of Whole 30 - and I am seized with inspiration!!!

Still Whole 30ing nicely.  I am missing dairy less now, as I have replaced morning coffee and cream with morning roiboos chai and coconut milk, and have stuck the children with no cheese except orange cheddar, which is less than appealing.  Unfortunately I am now able to taste the chemicals in cheap coconut milk so this is going to get expensive, especially as I am also making coconut milk kefir (which is awesome in smoothies, and may just edge out cow milk kefir for flavour), and now I am going to have to shell out for the decent stuff.

On the good side of things, tonight I figured out how to do awesome stir-fry without using any non-Whole30-approved ingredients (ie, every single Chinese sauce ever).  I found coconut aminos at Thriftys (very tasty, actually) and I've decided that the teensy amount of sugar in fish sauce is insignificant.  But I was still puzzling out how to thicken the sauce in a veggie stir-fry when I spied a container of baked sweet potatoes on my counter.  Sweet potato!  Is there anything it can't do??  I made up a quick sauce using a sweet potato, juice of half a lime, a few drops of fish sauce and a good big slug of coconut aminos.  Worked like a charm - perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty (and it would have taken some hot sauce nicely too, but one of my children has a thing about that so boo no hot sauce).  I am very relieved to have discovered this because stir-fry is what happens when my fridge is overstocked with vegetables, and it is that season when vegetables literally appear in boxes on my doorstep.  My mother-in-law made sure she was on the plane to Hawaii before I found out how many zucchini she'd shunted my way.  But I can deal!  One whole one went in some spaghetti sauce last night (just for the record, you CAN buy Whole 30-compliant spaghetti sauce in a jar at Thriftys, but it'll cost you more than $6.  Everyone agreed that it was the best spaghetti sauce ever though, so possibly worth it as a regular purchase.) Another one went in the stir-fry tonight.  At the current rate of one per day, I should get through them all before they rot, without resorting to baking, which is a kind of temptation I don't really want right now.

Anyway, I feel great, the pets and children are no longer in danger from me having sugar withdrawl, my button-up pants are fitting better and I am way, way less bloaty.  My insides seem quite happy with me.  So, all good so far.  Now to try out some new recipes...

Friday, August 29, 2014

No dairy is HARD

Oh cheese, I miss you so much.  You too, 18% table cream.  Sniff.


Aside from that, so far the Whole 30 is going well, 3 days in.  I have been a little cranky from the sugar withdrawl but my children are still alive and I haven't even kicked the dog, so it's not too bad. Tonight I made the Spicy Tuna Cakes off the Nom Nom Paleo site and they were a huge hit with everyone.  Yay!  They really were delicious. I left the jalapenos out of the kids' portions. I highly recommend this recipe as a pretty cheap and easy dinner for anyone, paleo or not.  They were accompanied by fresh (very fresh) bai chou (a Chinese vegetable similar to bok choy) from a friend's garden.  I stir-fried it and added bone broth, a splash of fish sauce (which unfortunately DOES have sugar in it - will read labels *before* adding, next time) and a squirt of lime juice for me, took my portion out, then I added some hoisin sauce and corn starch to make it more rice-friendly for the rest of the fam.  They had rice, I gave myself an extra fish cake.  Yum!


But one cannot live on tuna cakes alone (well, actually one probably could, but when one has to make the damn things, one would get awfully bored - it's not exactly a technically challenging recipe.)  So I have been eating a lot of raw vegetables, high-quality sausage & liverwurst & stuff (thanks, Whole Beast) and fruit.  These are all things I like to eat.  Oh and I roasted a whole bunch of vegetable things (a mix of tomato, cauliflower, eggplant, and peppers) and have been using it in dinner and omelettes and stuff.  Omelettes without cheese are okay.  I wish I could have cheese though.


Twenty-seven more days to go without cheese.  Soon, I will start writing bad poetry to havarti and brie.  I will not post it here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Whole 30 - starting tomorrow

My sporadic attempts to improve my gut flora have done nothing but possibly make me less susceptible to the ill effects of far too much wheat in my diet, so the last few months have been not so good, and I am feeling not so good, and it is time to get serious about this because I just had a birthday and am heading into that age range at which things like heart attacks are not unheard of and would occasion only "well, she was a LITTLE young for it" comments if such were to occur.  So it is time to give up the popcorn and donuts and bread and gin and tonics (sniff) and have a nice little detoxy kind of time.


I think I've mentioned the Whole 30 thing before.  I haven't actually ever managed it - prior to this summer I've had access to really good raw milk and haven't been able to justify divorcing myself completely from dairy.  And there was that time that I was doing really well and then two weeks in found that I was pregnant... so anyway, this will be a first for me.  At least 30 days without grains, legumes, vegetable oil, sugar or dairy.  Good thing it's produce season!  I stocked up today with piles of greens, fruit, cauliflowers, etc.  The Whole 30 now says potatoes are okay (not chips or fries, of course) so that makes for fairly normal dinners around here and the kids and the husband often have different breakfasts and lunches from me anyway.


It'll also be an opportunity for me to resurrect this sadly neglected blog and post some recipes, thoughts, and reviews of the many internet recipes I will be attempting, as I try to avoid one too many boring meat + veg + other veg meals.


Tonight, though, we feast!  I have a brisket roast slow-cooking on the bbq with some alder chips providing a bit of smoke, a nectarine & molasses bbq sauce to go with it on the stove, coleslaw in the fridge and squishy white buns ready and waiting for delicious drippy meat.  And my slightly delayed birthday cheesecake with the sour cherry topping is standing by for dessert.  No recipes, sorry - I just winged it on everything but the cheesecake, and that was made following the instructions on the cream cheese box.