Saturday, August 2, 2014

Taking the First Steps

"If you want to find the answers to the BIG Questions about your soul, you had best begin with the little answers about your body" George Sheehan

  I hope that you can relate to the first nine days of my journey on the Whole 30 Plan. I've read many diet books over the years and most of them lay out a detailed plan as to exactly what you can eat and can't eat. They also require money and sometimes lots of it. Many of the "healthy diets" have turned out to be not so healthy and require medical supervision. What appealed to me about The Whole 30 was it's simplicity (no measuring, no weighing, no portion control, no special supplements, etc.) AND that I was able to determine for myself how my body reacted to different food groups. I do not believe that we are  all "engineered" exactly the same; we are like snowflakes with subtle differences in the way our bodies metabolize and utilize food. This plan made sense to me and I liked feeling empowered to take charge of my own body!

 So, without further adieu: My physical and emotional adventures of "Doin' the Whole 30"!

Days 1-9

 Unfortunatley, I decided to start  keeping a daily journal of what I call the Whole 30 “Experiment” (curse the word DIET) after I was already over a  week into it, but I feel that it is not too late to relay the benefits and the trials that I have experienced from this way of eating thus far. From this day forward I will  continue to write daily about the positive and sometimes less desirable effects of  The Whole 30 Eating Plan.  

IT...STARTS...WITH....FOOD....DISCOVER...THE...WHOLE ...30 AND ...CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  Now that is a pretty big promise to make.... that I am going to be beautiful,skinny, radiant, successful, rich, kind, sexy.....the person that everyone wants to be with or even be??? Wow!  Well, this is a book that I must read. So, I read the book with jaded enthusiasm.  I have a nursing background and there are some pretty big difficult-to-understand words like prolamin, phytates, and casomorphines which I do not hear on a regular basis (if ever), but there is enough information relayed in this book so that even the non-medically trained person can understand that a lot of what we eat is KILLING us or making us SICK (diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, thyroid malfunction, metabolic disease, depression....yes!!! Depression....a life-long struggle for me) . This is not the first book that I have read on the subject of food and how it impacts my well-being  as I have always had a somewhat sick fascination with food and my relationship with it....(mostly how much weight can I lose in a week to look drop dead gorgeous for that class-re-union) but, I digress. Now, I am being honest here: the REAL reason that I decided to give the Whole 30 a try was because I am going to Kauai in 3 weeks and I want to get into a bathing suit and look like I did when I was 50 ( I unusual age, but I did a body building competition and I think that I looked pretty hot....more about that later in my blog) .Yes, this is a sad commentary on my relationship with food. One,perhaps, more noble reason that I wanted to give this 30 day experiment a whirl was to see if I could actually be rid of those achy knees, shoulders, hips, in the hope that I can avoid the surgical knife under all circumstances as well as the ability to stop tossing those anti-inflammatory drugs like lemon drops in to my stomach which in reality are more toxins with which I stress my poor liver. 

 Lastly...IT IS ONLY THIRTY DAYS....I can go back to my old ways and habits right? But, honestly, if I look “hot” in my bathing suit lounging by the pool in sunny Kauai  then those 30 days were all well worth it! At least that is what I am telling myself.

 So, days one through nine; how did they go?  I started with enthusiasm and determination to stay the course so days 1 and 2 of eating healthy proteins, a variety of gorgeous multi-hued veggies and a more petite size portion of fresh fruits 3 times a day kept me satisfied for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  About day three I was really longing for the highlight of my day : Cocktail Hour! There is always a good reason to have cocktail hour: "I had a shitty day, I’m exhausted, I’m so excited about my new shoes, the dog pooped in the house, Ron got our new master bedroom closet installed, someone said I looked like I was 54 instead of 59 "(I would have never imagined being thrilled over such a compliment....but, as my Mother would say “You never know until you get there”). I’m sure everyone has a million good reasons to look forward to cocktail hour.  (BTW, I did not know that alcohol packs twice as many calories as sugar which shamefully scares me a lot more than the fact that I chose to ignore : it has absolutely no nutritional value)!

 However, with my Mom’s Texas style determination and grit I stuck to my guns and tried to find new ways to satisfy getting thru cocktail hour with substitues: herbal tea( sorry, no substitute), hot water with lemon (better), sparkling water in a wine glass (the best) and focusing on one of my favorite pastimes :cleaning house. Right...I'm not that desperate yet!

 I do love a good steak, hamburgers, chicken, turkey and BACON (oh, yes, I am a bacon whore.) And you know what? On The Whole 30 I could eat all of those yummy meats with one restriction, they preferably had to come from a healthy organic source or if not in my budget then the less desirable choice of meat had to be trimmed of all visible fats ( as factory farmed meats, and especially the fat, are loaded with toxins that will kill my good intentions.)  If I am going to stick to this plan and get honest results then I most certainly will not contaminate “the experiment” on my body with toxins! And just a little bit of self- encouragement....if I give up the alcohol and the processed foods, then for the most part I can afford to eat healthy organic food. It’s all about choices as "they" say. 

So, the  pitfalls that want to trip me up and make me believe that I am  treating my body unjustly: 

1)headaches( the achy temple sort)

 2)less energy and strength than usual (as witnessed by my husband as we snowshoed up a steep mountain that we have trekked up many times before.  For the first time EVER I could not make it to the top). "Oh, No! I must not be getting the right food to energize my body or I am getting old" my mind chatters at me! "Well, then it  is settled...I’m not eating right. Maybe I should reconsider this eating, the authors of the book said that I would have headaches and less energy in the first few weeks as my body would adjust to fat burning from sugar burning. Think BIKINI JoNell:))))) " "Alright then" I say to myself," I will keep on giving this a whirl, but if it doesn’t get better quickly, then, I am out of here and back to getting up to that mountaintop with the help of my wine, cheese, and chocolate!" 

 One other pitfall and perhaps the worst:

 3) Cranky (Oh, yeah, about getting my panties in a wad over the "my nu tay" of daily life ( “don’t look at me like that, what did you say”?( with testy attitude),”you don’t love me anymore”....waaaa. waaaa, waaaa. Just ask my husband ! It is not easy to live with someone who is addicted to sugar and alcohol and all of a sudden it’s not part of the program anymore.  Withdrawal symptoms are a bitch and I give accolades to my husband for withstanding the evil eye and nasty comments which occasionally spit forth from my mouth like a wad of chew to a spittoon. 

Last, but not least, (and unfortunately, the LEAST desirable topic for me to touch upon)

 4) my digestive system, my bloat, flatulence, my poop. This is a subject which is very unromantic and very difficult for me to talk about because, well,  “it’s private”. However, according to the most popular medical guru on TV who has no trouble talking about such tabu subjects , Dr. Oz....poop is a pretty good indicator of our inner health. In the first 7 days of following the Whole 30 I felt like my gut was waging war: cramps, unexpected and unbecoming farts, fits, and many trips to the bathroom. Eventually, after the first week my gut calmed down but something miraculous happened: my poop became a different color, shape and texture. It looked the way it said Dr. Oz said it was supposed to (S-shaped) :Oh MY!!!. And another thing my urine is almost the color of water which I know is normal, but mine always looked like honey and isn’t urine supposed to be yellow? No, I think I have read enough medical literature when it comes to pee-pee, it should look like a very pale straw colored water. 

Well, enough about the aspects of this diet that could possibly be enough to derail me. I want to talk about the wonderful things that have happened:

 1)I have dropped 4 lbs of that could just be some water weight, but it could also be a little fat as my tummy has definitely flattened out a little. Hello...bikini in Kauai...yes, I am still a slave to my vanity. 

 2)I wake up feeling energized and excited to start a brand new day! My mind clicks along a little faster, the grueling tribulation of learning how to conjugate french verbs is coming a little easier, the natural sweet tastes of a strawberry or a blueberry without added sugar are more prominent. I look forward to what I can create in my kitchen using only wholesome food from the Whole 30 recommended lists of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats. AND I can cook up a wonderful dish for lunch, breakfast, or supper with the snap of a finger! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but I don’t want to spend hours every day in the kitchen when I have so many things I want to do in a day like read, quilt, exercise, play with my dog, have coffee with a friend, talk to or see my children, create something wonderful with my hands, and last but not least spend some quality time with my beloved. 

3)  As far as my physical energy levels go it gets better with each day. My aches in my knees are a non issue when I go snowshoeing and I usually especially feel them when I am going downhill. My hips are not aching at night. The pain in my clavicle remains, but all in all, I see improvement. I don’t expect that this experiment will resolve all my physical issues...after all I am almost 59, but if I can help my body to do the best it can do for  my age by feeding it the right nutrients on which it thrives and performs at it’s best, then I have accomplished my goal!!!   PLUS I will look darn tootin' good in my bikini!

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