Doing this Whole30 is reminding me of last year, and I’m seeing how different my life is now compared to then. Of course, that one was one year and about a month ago, so it was colder and more February..ish, but there are big differences in my work life, and most of them are positive. Although I’m not enamored of my job (or rather, my compilation of three mini-jobs), and although I have to budget a lot more carefully this year than last, I’m just so much less stressed than I was. I have time to do stuff to unpack my brain, and that makes a huge difference in your quality of life. We did make Whole30 work, then, but that was all we could do on top of managing workload. I could not also be doing any other creative or health projects at the same time.
I’ve started a running.. thing. Well, so far it’s not running really. But I’m trying to stick to a “Couch to 5K” plan. Eight weeks to 2.6 miles seems like about the right pace for me. So far, I don’t love running, but I am finding it less painful. Running, I hear, is good for your brain (as is taking long walks, as is eating lots of fats… yes please?). I’ve also struggled in the last couple of years with poor circulation (typically in winter) and occasional weird feelings in my chest/heart area (not pain, more like a weird flip-floppy feeling like my heart is beating out of whack for just a beat or two). I’ve never had good endurance, so I’ve also never worked on it, leading to a perfect circle of no improvement.
Anyway, on to Whole30, week 3!
Day 16 (a Sunday, 3/19)
A couple of quick eggs and some fruit is breakfast, and then Scott and I go out for a scramble (for him) and black coffee (for us both) at Red Bicycle.
For lunch I munch on a short stack of mini-okonoms, because dinner is going to be big.
Whole30 can make it hard to go to restaurants, but I actually called around to a few places to see if anyone would be able and willing to accomodate my crazy diet for Scott’s birthday dinner. I settled on Rolf and Daughters, a place we know we like, because the hostess assured me on the phone that they had a chicken dish that I could definitely eat. Honestly, all I was looking for was one thing, so that I could participate (and not sit there with a weirdly empty plate having pre-eaten my dinner at home ahead of time) but Scott could have whatever he wanted.
Our waiter was solicitous and helpful, and it turned out I could eat several things on the menu. We enjoyed the hell out of some butternut squash with salsa macha (cheese on the side) and some beef tartare before going to town, Scott on some mushroom mafalde, me on some “non-dairy” made chicken (normally made with butter, but they cut it for mine).
Their menu changes with regularity because they do seasonal dishes and are always inventing stuff, so here’s a snapshot of what we had on offer:
The chicken liver dish (aka “meat butter” to us) was clearly different than the other times we had been there, but Scott confirms that it was just as awesome. The waiter told me they could do a non-dairy alfredo too, but I declined because.. pasta (although they were also talking about gluten-free stuff.. I tuned it all out because for now at least, grains are grains). Anyway, major props to RAD for making our night out not only compliant but also delicious. You should know that we have never had a bad dish there, and their drinks are also always on point (though I did not experience that this time). It’s in Germantown, 700 Taylor (in case you’re in Nashville and want a kickass meal). Although watching Scott eat his dessert was like a study in mindfulness…. no itch is eternal. Observe your own sensations and desires… acknowledge them and yet do not compulsively indulge them. Whole30 is like meditation! I stared wide-eyed and sipped my decaf black.
The chicken dish is literally half a bird (a small one, but still), so I took some of it home with me.
Day 17 (a Monday, 3/20)
Back to life, work, and reality… But still, raspberry bradycakes for breakfast! Leftover chicken from the night before is lunch, along with the last of the mini-okonoms. I have curry-powdered some of my homemade mayo, and it’s a good topping for these.
Sweet-tater hash ‘n eggs again for dinner… this has become a solid standby, quick, easy, and all on hand when all else fails or other ingredients have run out. We normally go to the store on Sundays, but not this week. Scott picked up a few things on the way home, but I’m working on a massive list with lots of contingencies (get this, but not if it’s crazy expensive, and if not getting this, then skip this, this, and this because they are supposed to go together…). It’s a project.
Day 18 (a Tuesday, 3/21)
Breakfast was a smoothie with the last of the applesauce, and….
Today I make my own sausage! Because it doesn’t have to be a mystery what’s in the meat (and lots of them have sugar involved, go figure). I picked this recipe because it had the shortest ingredient list. I get that spices are part of what can make a Whole30 not only bearable but actually great, but I’m also wary of spending a lot of money on something I won’t use all that much or am not that familiar with. Basically, I’m skittish of spices despite loving them. So a sausage recipe that calls mostly for stuff I have already is gold.
Later in the day, Scott came back proffering some asparagus and a frozen grouper filet, so I cooked them both in the evening. (Didn’t have a shallot, so just threw in most of a red onion… of course the fish recipe you switch out butter for ghee, and you’re good to go.)
I’m finding that when I eat, I feel really satisfied. Of course it may just be that I’m smug in the knowledge that I’m eating superiorly… or else, it may just be that I’m truly satisfied because the stuff I’m eating is flavorful and nutrient-rich, so my physical response is a genuine satisfaction in it. I don’t even want dessert today.
My energy levels seem really good, nice and even. Whole30 has not fixed my natural awkwardness (which is actually exacerbated by my working from home and spending most of my talking time with non-English speakers… also, I have never read any claim of Whole30 amending awkwardness), and I was about to say it hasn’t fixed my crankiness, but actually I think that’s more even-toned (though not gone). That is to say, I’m still in a rut in most of the life stuff, but it’s not existentially threatening. I’m aware that the rut is no fun, but also that I hate change, but also that change is inevitable in life, so I’m kind of screwed either way and also sure to get out of this rut either way. So… there you are.
Day 20 (a Wednesday, 3/22)
Sausage and eggs and banana for breakfast.
I’m getting worse at writing this stuff down, because I’m obsessing about it less. I eat what’s around.. leftovers if there are some (That reminds me! Lunch was leftover fish and asparagus!), and if not, I grab a can of tuna and an avocado, or else a sweet potato and an egg. When I am hungry, I eat something (sometimes small, a banana, sometimes big, a whole can of tuna + two avocads on greens).
I find myself a pretty trustworthy judge of whether or not I’m actually hungry. For the most part, I’m responding less to habit-cravings and more to actual food needs. Though sometimes I do just want to snack on stuff because I want to, because it’s midafternoon and I’m bored, or I want something sweet.
But I don’t miss muffins today. Weird, huh? Not that I won’t be glad to have them back, I’m sure… just doesn’t feel as important right this moment.
Day 21 (a Thursday, 3/23)
Bradycakes again! Raspberry… apparently I don’t get tired of stuff easily. Or, I like routine.
Lunch is tuna avocado on some tore-up greens from the farm stand, yum indeed.
Dinner is the rest of the avocado mess on some more greens plus a fried egg with runny yolk (on top of the avocado mess), and a microwaved sweet potato with pumpkin pie spices (that is, all the spices I bought when I made pumpkin pie from seed — cinnamon, cloves, mace, ginger [not this time], allspice, cardamom — I often use these in oatmeal with dates for a yummy low sugar breakfast [when I could eat oats, remember then?])
Day 22 (a Friday, 3/24)
Bradycakes and sausage for breakfast, and some chicken (roasted by the grocery store) for lunch. Clearly not enough, so I end up eating a Larabar in the afternoon because so hungry!
Today I made beef and onions in a combination kind of similar to larb beef that I order from Thai Esane when we go, in an effort to catch a gustatory glimpse of a dish we had in Luang Prabang, Laos. This is the recipe, although I made it without cabbage (..?) and with shiitakes instead of buttons… also, I still maintain that anything that claims to be a lettuce wrap is just as good if you make it a ‘lettuce plop,’ and throw it on top of shredded greens. This dish was quick and fairly easy, also tasty. Probably better with cabbage.
I still haven’t been to the grocery store myself since I got back from Georgia, so I’m just cooking up whatever Scott brings home when he hits the store after his workout event or roaming the town.
Day 23 (a Saturday, 3/25)
Breakfast as usual, lunch of leftovers. I’m almost bored by this and uninisterested in trying to make anything fancy.
I do head downtown to the finish line of the Ragnar race to see if I can catch my friend who ran in it. I miss her, but I find a stand selling what they are calling “Whole30 approved” smoothies, so I get one, and it’s cocoa-banana and I can tell it’s unsweetened, but it’s kind of amazing.
I polish off the rest of the pseudo-larb for dinner. A sweet potato with spices and ghee rounds out the evening.
Day 24 (a Sunday, 3/26)
Breakfast is a quick egg with shiitakrooms, because it’s grocery store day! I went a little nuts there, but now I can start making cool recipes again.
At lunchtime, we attempt to do egg-in-an-avocado-hole baked in the oven, and we also nom down some leftovers. Later I whip up some butternut squash puree along with some squash cake… batter? for later.
Tonight’s dinner is awesome. I bake up some halibut and toss a side of red cabbage slaw. Re-interested in cooking, I try to figure out what my schedule will be in the week ahead…