The first four days of Whole30 have gone surprisingly well! That's minus discovering that additives are literally in everything and that chia pudding (at least as I tried to make it) is not going to work as a breakfast meal. But despite the little hiccups here and there (why does Imagine Organic have cane syrup and organic soybean oil in its kosher chicken stock but not in its regular one? why?!), I have made it through the past two days feeling full and pretty unfazed by the diet. Let's get down to business.
Breakfast: one of my biggest concerns about doing Whole30 was what I'd eat for breakfast. Typically, I eat a small amount of plain, low-fat yogurt with 1/4 cup of granola and some fruit — an easy and healthy meal that I can prepare quickly. I did some research and thought chia pudding soaked in almond meal might be a good alternative, especially since I couldn't fathom cooking eggs every morning. Too bad chia pudding is the worst thing I've ever eaten. I can't even think of a metaphor to describe how gross it was. I could barely choke down the whole bowl — 1/4 cup chia soaked in 1 cup almond milk over night and topped with blueberries, coconut flakes (unsweetened), and almond butter. The only thing that made it remotely palatable was the almond butter and I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be eating almond butter constantly on this plan. I was also not at all full after consuming a bowl, so I had a small piece of egg sausage casserole before heading out the door.
Lunch: more sweet potato & beef chili topped with 1/2 of a very small avocado
Snack: after realizing that the almond butter packets stocked at work have sugar in them (ughhhhh), I headed to Whole Foods and purchased another brand so I could eat it with a banana. Also picked up some herbal tea without soy lecithins added in!
Dinner: chicken salad (chicken breast mixed with celery, onion, capers and mayo) with mixed greens, tomato, 1/4 avocado, cucumber, hard-boiled egg and homemade red wine vinaigrette, plus a bowl of butternut squash, carrot, sweet potato, ginger soup I'd whipped up the day before. (I did a variation of this recipe, using some squash, 1 sweet potato, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 small piece of ginger, and 4 cups chicken stock, with 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk added in at the end. Delicious!)
Breakfast: more egg, sausage & butternut squash casserole (with some salsa and hot sauce, Valentina is making this bearable), plus a little bit of almond milk
Lunch: sweet potato & beef chili with 1/4 avocado, baby!
Snack: apple & almond butter
Dinner: more squash soup, more chicken salad, more mixed greens with cucumber, tomato, egg, radishes, and cucumber, plus some leftover potatoes from Monday's dinner dipped in a little sauce I made with mayo & salsa
• Like I said earlier, so far this hasn't been too painful, mostly because with the exception of breakfast, most of what I've been eating feels close to what I already eat, although I would likely be adding things like chips or crackers to "round out" the meals. It's interesting to be full and realize I don't actually need to eat bread, for example, to get full on chicken salad. My mom always serves this salad with sour dough bread on the side and butter. Mmmm, sour dough and butter. OK, I don't want to talk about it.
• Granted, despite not eating bread (or chips or crackers or beans or whatever), I do feel like I am eating a lot, at least at dinner. Otherwise, I managed to get through the day pretty well without any really insane cravings. I think maybe it helps to be so focused on doing this, and planning to have an herbal tea sometime after 3pm and a piece of fruit after 4. A few years ago, I read a great book called Lean Habits and broke the snacking habit and found my hunger (and "hanger") was waaaay easier to manage between meals. Prior, I'd always felt a little hypoglycemic but after reading that book definitely got in the habit of getting full at each meal and being "ok" with a half hour-to-hour of hunger before each mealtime.
• I was going to the bathroom like craaaaayzaayyy on Tuesday and seem to be going a little bit less. I've slept better each night, although last night I woke up thanks to a 4.7 earthquake hitting the East Bay!
• I'm finding it motivating to keep collecting recipes with ideas, even though I doubt I'll be able to use them all during Whole30. It makes me feel like there are tons of exciting options to try out; I still have lots in my fridge to cook up over the next few days (including roasting a whole chicken, cooking up a Thai shrimp curry, and roasting some Brussels sprouts) and may not really need to get that much from the market this weekend (although I do have fair amount of cooking to do!).
• On that note, I'm pretty sure one reason people lose weight on this is not only are you cooking a lot, you're also washing your dishes and kitchen constantly! I don't have a dishwasher and feel like I've done nothing but stand at my sink washing up the whole time. I also have barely enough food storage containers to keep everything I've made in the fridge. Also I could use an even bigger fridge.
• I haven't really craved sugar or any off-program food yet, but maybe that will start to change when I run out of steam. I also haven't been in any situations where French fries or cookies have been staring me in the face — although I did have to ignore the table of free bagels at work on Tuesday morning.
• I have made a couple mistakes but am forgiving myself: the soy lecithin in Tuesday's Bigelow Cinnamon Apple Tea, the sugar in Tuesday's almond butter packet, and the organic soybean oil and cane syrup in the chicken stock I used to cook my soup. In the case of the chicken stock, I'd spent time researching compliant brands and grabbed a box of "kosher" chicken stock off the shelves at Whole Foods, not realizing that that variation contains off-program additives. Aaaaaaah. Again, not ideal, but hoping this is not going to render the whole attempt useless, it's not like I'm using it as an excuse to chow down on a carton of Oreos or something.
• I am actually excited to keep trying out new recipes! And I'm determined to figure out a way to prepare chia seed pudding that tastes good ... that's my next task!
If you have any fave Whole30 recipes, let me know in the comments!