Yesterday (January 1), I embarked on the crazy restrictive, supposedly-life-changing elimination diet known as Whole30. I first heard about the diet a few years ago from co-workers and thought it sounded pretty intense (no grains? no beans? no CHEESE?!), and had observed them all gritting their teeth through endless days of sweet potato-and-steak lunches, shaking their heads "no" to Friday happy hours and all the treats that seem to magically manifest in offices everyday. I can't say I was exactly inspired to embark on the same plan of deprivation.
But over the years I've heard about how much it really truly does change your relationship with food and that most people who commit to the program wind up feeling a lot better in 30 days. I'm super blessed with a happy digestive system and no food allergies ... but one side effect of this is that without any major aversions to any food groups, I can eat them all not just in abundance but excess! I'd given up sugar once for a month and alcohol for another and thought, why not combine all the elimination into one glorious month where I can break my dependence on getting full from bread and cheese, abstain from drinking and try to eradicate my sweet tooth in the process.
Without further ado, here's the recap of what I ate in the first two days.
Breakfast: Waking up on New Year's Day with a twinge of a New Year's Eve hangover (headache, sore stomach) was probably not the best way to start this plan. All I wanted was some greasy food and a bag of Doritos on the side. Instead, I fired up the stove and had two scrambled eggs cooked in a bit of ghee (along with some Trader Joe's salsa), a salad of mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes and pistachios tossed with homemade red wine vinaigrette, and half a potato fried in olive oil. Yum! Although to be honest my stomach was really wanting to be filled with something "substantial," namely bread and cheese.
Lunch: I went to a friend's to do a goal setting workshop, and she gave me some veggies she'd cooked the day before in coconut oil. I was starving by the time I got home, so I had some celery topped with almond butter and raisins. I then spent the rest of the day prepping food until I headed off for dinner, and had a piece of an egg casserole I made when it came out of the oven.
Dinner: New Year's is my mom's birthday, so I met my parents at the Seafood Peddler in Sausalito. I had examined the menu before and ordered a chopped veggie salad (sans the gorgonzola) and herb-roasted salmon with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes. It's possible there was some sugar in the salad dressing and the potatoes had butter but I decided that since I'll likely not be eating in restaurants much this month, to not stress out about this too much. I looked on sadly as my mom had a slice of lemon tart with whipped cream for her birthday ... just 29 days to go!
Breakfast: A big slice of an egg, sweet potato and sausage casserole I made the day before, heated in the oven, and 1/4 of an avocado with hot sauce.
Lunch: sweet potato-and-beef chili I'd made the day before in the slow cooker, with 1/4 of an avocado.
Snack: a cup of cinnamon apple tea and a banana with a packet of almond butter. (I realized when I went to make the tea that the brand that work carries has soy lecithin in it! Guess I'll be buying a different brand to keep at work for the month. My goal here is to do my absolute best and if I realize something has an off-limit ingredient to seek out an alternative until the end of the month. For me, the minuscule amount of soy lecithin found in one tea bag is a lot less important than going a month without bread, cheese and wine.)
Dinner: I took last night's leftover chopped salad and added a handful of Trader Joe's mixed greens, 1/4 avocado, cherry tomatoes, a hard-boiled egg, and some raw sliced almonds and tossed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and put the small piece of leftover salmon I had on top. I also had some of yesterday's leftover pan-fried potatoes and whipped up a little dipping sauce with a spoonful of my homemade mayo and Valentina hot sauce.
So far, I haven't found this too challenging, although I keep getting thrown by all the hidden sugar in things. (Nothing like spending time researching compliant chicken stock brands online, then getting them home to discover they actually do contain cane syrup as a second-to-last ingredient!) I am really tired, but I think that's more to do with not sleeping well last night (thanks, Wolf Moon!). Otherwise, what's been great so far is I have a huge amount of recipes I'm planning on trying out; earlier in the year I felt like I'd reached a real rut with my cooking so having the restrictions is actually forcing me to explore some new concoctions to put together.
I'm also shocked at how much is added to most food — and hey, I get it. We live in a modern world where we enjoy having a lot accessible to us at all times and putting shelf stabilizers in food helps them, you know, sit on shelves for a while without spoiling. And I want food that tastes as good as the next person. Still, does chicken stock really need cane syrup added? Does cinnamon apple tea need soy lecithin? When this ends, I'll probably revert back to some of my old lazy ways but it is definitely eye-opening.
All right, that's it for days 1 & 2! See you soon.