Why, hello! It’s Day 18 of my Whole30; can I take a moment to point out that I haven’t missed a single blog post or update thus far in my nutritional adventure? I’m pretty chuffed with that. And apart from one hiccup on Day 1, I’ve even remembered to photograph every culinary creation. Props to me!
I’m sure you’re all desperate to hear about my day. You shouldn’t be; compared to the last few days, it was pretty dull.
I started out this morning pretty mildly – I was still pretty sleepy when I pulled myself out of bed this morning (I’d been waking up and dozing on and off for a couple of hours, which is not the most restful experience), and didn’t really feel 100% physically. I wasn’t ill or anything like that, just felt a bit exhausted/knackered/shattered. I wasn’t really surprised, as I’d had a series of pretty great runs where I’d pushed it pretty hard, plus a lot of running around the city like a madwoman, so – Whole30 or no Whole30 – it would inevitably catch up with me. I still pulled on the sneakers but kept it to a decent walk, which my body seemed to appreciate. Didn’t figure it was worth the post-workout hardboiled egg when I got home, so I left it.
Still, without the endorphin-buzz that my run usually induces, I felt a bit “blah” this morning. I made my black coffee, I checked my emails, I did all the usual things but I didn’t quite feel “settled”. I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted for breakfast, for the life of me! I ended up going with:
A bit of a mish-mash: some fried tomato (stuff I’d chopped up last night but not ended up using), some sautéed kale (I’m still working through the massive bunches I bought over a week ago ridiculously cheap), some fried sauerkraut (which I’m quickly becoming used to and coming to enjoy) and a couple of fried eggs (both of which ended up with broken yolks – humph!). It wasn’t the most creative breakfast, but it used up some of the perishables and got me a good serve of veggies, protein and fat, so it can’t be that bad.
This morning we ventured out for a grocery shop, hoping to get in before any Australia Day rush. I’ve become a lot more laissez faire about groceries since we moved; I used to be the totally uber-organised, “nothing-but-what’s-on-the-list”, “every-single-meal-planned-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life” girl, but now I’m much more of an “Eh, let’s go and see what’s on special and I’ll figure out what to do with it when we get it home” type. It’s definitely freeing, and it suits the weird kind of limbo that we’re living in at the moment. I think it’s also becoming a more economic way to shop, as I pay much more attention to price and value (in fact, I’ve even started a colour-coded spreadsheet to track prices at the merchants we frequent, to give me a better idea of what’s a reasonable price and so forth – clearly, the uni student part of me hasn’t retired yet!). It opens me up to a lot more creativity in the kitchen, and a lot more spontaneity, so that’s good too. The Dude I Live With agrees that my improvisational cooking has improved quite dramatically since I loosened up.
We had a pretty good haul today; we’d done a massive shop a couple of weeks ago, and some of it was still going strong, so it wasn’t a huge load. Found some organic and free-range meats at prices I liked, and even a few cuts I haven’t cooked with before, so I’m quite excited for creating dinners this week (spoiler alert: turkey shanks!!).
When we got home, I was desperate to try out a recipe I’d come across: Cauliflower & Avocado Soup! (You can see it here: http://thingsmybellylikes.com/2013/01/09/cauliflower-avocado-soup/)
It was quite a dreary morning (I’d even pulled out the warm hoodie!), so it was perfect weather for soup. I’ve made other cauliflower soups previously that have been delicious, so I couldn’t see how delicious soup + one of my favourite foods (a.k.a., avocado) could possibly go wrong. As per Whole30 guidelines, I used ghee (clarified butter) instead of butter, and I only had brown onions on hand instead of white, but other than that I went with the recipe “as is”. As the creator points out, you are drinking green soup, so you have to reconcile that in your brain, but otherwise it is pretty great! I think I might slightly tweak my quantities next time (more avo!!), but it was still quite delicious and definitely something unusual.
I didn’t quite feel satiated after the soup (there wasn’t very much protein), but I thought I’d wait and see how I felt rather than reaching for something else straight away. I felt okay and forgot about it for most of the afternoon, but I started to get pretty peckish around 4:30pm. This was a bit unusual – as you’ll probably recall, I haven’t really been experiencing any hunger between meals during the most recent Whole30 phase – so I definitely think I should have added something a little extra at lunch (maybe some nuts or something – some chicken breast would probably have been ideal, but we didn’t have any on hand).
Anyway, I did manage to hang out til dinner, and boy am I glad I did. Seriously, I’m so chuffed with this meal, I think it deserves a proper drumroll.
Introducing… Sheree’s Lamb Riblet Roast!
The first time I’d ever cooked lamb riblets, and it couldn’t have gone better! I seasoned them with salt and pepper, then coated them with some garlic, dried rosemary, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I stuck them in the fridge for a couple of hours, then pulled them out and whacked them on the roasting tray over a bed of sweet potato (coated in olive oil for good measure). Into the oven for about 45 minutes at about 190C – and look at the deliciousness that came out!
But, that’s not all – here’s how the finished product came out:
You’re totally thinking I “cheated” on my Whole30 here: I didn’t! What you’re seeing is a plate of riblets and sweet potato, with a side of… parsnip mash! Ta da! Doesn’t it look like legit mashed potatoes?
You can get the how-to here: http://fastpaleo.com/parsnip-mash/
I didn’t have any of the fancy oil, so I just used my usual olive oil, with a bit of garlic powder and dried parsley for a hit of flavour. It’s amazing – it still tastes parsnip-y, but it looks and feels (texture-wise) EXACTLY like mashed potato. Om nom nom!
Honestly, that meal was so unbelievably delicious. I’m drooling just thinking about it now, and I only finished clearing my plate not one hour ago…
Anyway, enough of patting my own back. I thought I’d give you a bit of an idea of where I’m at in my Whole30 mindset. I’m passed the halfway point now, and I think I’ve definitely overcome some of the initial hurdles. I’ve managed to balance out my fruit and nut intake, I’ve got a bit of a rhythm going in terms of when I eat, and I’m getting much better at making sure I’m getting a good mix/ratio of the macronutrients (carbohydrate/protein/fat) at each meal. I no longer instinctively reach for dessert in the evenings, I no longer compulsively snack in the afternoon and I’ve transitioned away from every beverage that isn’t water (plain water, I’ve even done away with the lemon-or-lime!) and the occasional herbal tea. This way of eating is starting to feel a lot more natural now; I guess it’s like wearing in a new pair of shoes – it’s uncomfortable at first and you’re wondering if you made a mistake with your purchase, but before you know it they feel like old friends. I’m feeling much more adjusted to my “new normal”, I guess.
That’s not to say I feel everything is travelling along perfectly. Physically, I haven’t seen many of the changes I thought I would. I guess my skin is a little clearer (though that’s quite a subjective observation, and prone to error), and I do seem to be making quite good progress with building up to my pre-move fitness, but I certainly don’t feel like a brand-new person, I don’t feel much slimmer (though I usually feel less “puffy” – most of the time), I don’t feel like I’ve unleashed a new energy monster in the depths of my soul or anything like that. So I’m not sure whether I’ve reached the pinnacle yet or not; I feel like I’m still waiting for the final fireworks show. Still, I undoubtedly feel better than I did the day before I started, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction. I don’t doubt that Paleo is the right way for me to eat and nourish my body – I’m just not sure if the Whole30 specifically has been the god-send.
Also, I wouldn’t say that my quote-unquote cravings have completely abated; sure, they’re better, but they’re not gone. I’m quite susceptible to advertising – I acknowledge and accept this about myself – so it makes walking through shopping centres a bit of a nightmare (“Ooh look, donuts! Oh my God I want a thick shake! What about that pizza place? Oh wow, that sushi looks SO GOOD! And how about that box of chocolates?”, etc. etc.). The one thing that I’m rreeeaaaaaalllly hanging for is some fresh raw honeycomb:
(Image Credit: rooftophoney.com.au)
I saw some in my local grocer right before Christmas, and it looked SO good, but I convinced myself not to make a silly impulse purchase and to go back after Christmas to get it. Little did I realise, the grocer would be closed after Christmas, and wouldn’t re-open again until I was well into Whole30 territory. Terrible! So, essentially every day I’ve been whining about how I can’t wait to be done with this Whole30 business so I can sink into a vat of honeycomb and die there. I’ve been so incessant that I’m pretty sure The Dude I Live With will soon shove some honeycomb in my mouth while I sleep, just to shut me up. Either way, I know what I’ll be reaching for as soon as I think I can handle it.
There’s one other aspect of the Whole30 that’s been dancing around in my brain a bit lately, so I thought I’d bring it up. I’ll probably do a full blog on it, sometime post-Whole30, as it’s a pretty big subject, but here’s a preview, just for you One of the “conditions” of the Whole30 is that one should not step on a scale or weigh oneself at all during the 30 day period. Now, this guideline is pretty openly flaunted by a lot of Whole30ers on the inter-webs – particularly first timers. I’ve long been a “weigh myself every single morning without fail” kind of gal, but I was determined to follow the Whole30 recommendations to the letter. The first couple of days felt really odd – like I’d forgotten something vital. It’s only now, a little later in the game, that I’m starting to realise how much that little number would shape my morning. Of course, I had a very rational and logical cap on, that would bleat in my ear about how muscle weighs more than fat and weight naturally fluctuates and it’s not about a number etc., etc., but I think there was a very irrational and illogical voice deep down telling me to feel good or bad about my body based on that number. Not knowing the number is scary in some ways – perhaps that’s why I don’t feel like I’ve made much physical progress on the Whole30, because I don’t have the hard proof in any way that can be quantified. But, on the other hand, I’ve realised I’m now paying much more attention to my body. I’m observing my body and evaluating it from the inside, rather than using an external measurement to judge and assess, if that makes sense. How I feel is becoming a far more important indicator of how I’m doing than what I weigh. I still haven’t decided if I want to go back to weighing myself daily once the Whole30 is complete, and I want to do some more reading up on what the Hartwigs say about it (I have a few of their blog posts flagged in my Reading List), and what other bloggers and authors have to say. So, eyes peeled, hopefully I’ll be able to consolidate all of those thoughts into a post for you sometime soon
That’s about all for now – I’ll be back tomorrow with more updates (and, hopefully, more delicious dinner successes). Ciao!