What I Ate Days 7-9: Veg Whole30

I’ve hit the point in the Whole30 plan where 2 things are happening: 1) I am bored out of my mind having so few protein options (so much so that I actually felt a bit jealous of meat eaters for a minute last night), and 2) I’m about ready to cut a b… for an ice cold, fountain poured diet coke.

The diet coke might have an explanation. Long story short, last night I had about 3 gulps of a drink that had artificial sweetener in it…. from my probiotic/greens powder. I was a few sips in when I thought to myself, “This tastes WAY too sweet to be natural…” Sure enough, I checked the ingredient list and it had maltodextrin, a starch-based food additive/sweetener with an astronomical glycemic index. I poured the rest of the drink down the drain, but the degree to which I’ve been craving a diet coke today is probably the fallout of those few sips. Ce la vie. As stated in my modifications post, I am not following the rule that even accidental slip-ups require a start-over. I will check labels on EVERYTHING from now on, and move forward.

Other than that, I’m feeling fine. I need to sit down tomorrow and plan out some new food options, though, because the boredom is going to lead to catastrophe next week if I try to repeat this week’s meals.

I am STILL getting 100% sleep quality every night! How is that even possible?! I don’t think I have ever in my life gone 9 days with even 90%+ sleep quality (at least not in the last thousand-ish days that my app has tracked). I definitely want to pay attention once I start reintroducing foods to see if it’s a caffeine quantity/timing issue or something else.

Let’s get into the eats, shall we?

Day 7

Whole30 Breakfast

Breakfast was not exciting: paleo muffin (I’ve got to make more of these, because they totally hit the spot in the morning and I’ve only got 3 left), banana with almond butter, and plain greek yogurt with unsweetened raisins. Chai tea on the side.

 

Whole30 Dinner

I didn’t bring a lunch to work (again), so next up was dinner. I did get to the store to grab some more zucchini to make zucchini noodles. They only had 2 green zucs so I got 2 yellow squash, too, and figured they’d be the same. I didn’t really like this version as much as the zucchini-only version, so I think I will stick to green zucchini for noodle purposes. I threw some pesto on there, and had 2 scrambled eggs and strawberries on the side.

I did eat a Larabar in between work and dinner (the fruit-and-nut-only ones). Definitely check the ingredients, as some of the newer flavors are not so simple on the ingredient lists.

 

Day 8

Whole30 Breakfast

I’m sure you’ve caught on to my breakfast variations by now. I don’t really need a lot of variety with breakfast. I like a handful of things and I can enjoy them repeatedly. The deciding factor on the protein is whether or not I have time to make eggs or made extras the night before. This meal had one paleo muffin, 2 scrambled eggs (with heavy cream = heaven), and a banana with almond butter. Black chai tea on the side.

 

Whole30 lunch

I actually had lunch! (Working from home on Fridays = yay, food!) This was leftover from the sweet potato and leek frittata from the other night, with strawberries.

 

Whole30 dinner

I cooked a couple of things for dinner that were supposed to last me a few days, but unfortunately, they didn’t turn out great. The first was a paleo flatbread. I have no idea how long the open bag of tapioca flour in my pantry has been in there, but I’m pretty sure that’s why the flatbread was a dud. It’s edible, but nothing to write home about. The second was even more disappointing: a crock pot full of what was supposed to be a cauliflower bolognese sauce. It’s just… blah. I really don’t like cauliflower. I don’t know why I keep trying.

So, this meal was organic spring mix with half an avocado and that amazing Tessemae’s dressing (doggone it! I forgot to grab another bottle when I was at Walmart tonight!), zucchini noodles with pesto, cauliflower bolognese, and paleo flatbread. I didn’t finish it all, not because I wasn’t hungry, but because it was just… meh.

 

Day 9

Whole30 breakfast

Breakfast started with a fresh batch of eggs of the gods, a paleo muffin, strawberries, and black chai tea.

 

Whole30 dinner

No lunch today, for no reason other than I wasn’t hungry for lunch. This was a sad, sad dinner. I knew I had nothing but blah leftovers, and I wasn’t in the mood to run to the grocery store, so I just put together what I had: unstellar paleo flatbread with a scoop of blah cauliflower bolognese, and a sweet potato that I hoped wouldn’t kill me because I had just thrown out the rest of the bag because they had scary looking black patches on them. I had cooked them last night (the steam-in-bag ones), just purchased from Walmart, and I had an inkling when I grabbed the bag in the store that they weren’t the freshest things in the world, but did the old, “Awww they’re fine!” and brought them home and cooked them. This is the only one that looked like I could eat around the bad spot, so I did. If I die of spotted potato poisoning tonight, you know why.

That beverage on the side is a smoothie made of homemade almond milk (I don’t strain it, so it’s nice and frothy and contains the whole nuts), a ripe banana, some frozen pineapple, and plain greek yogurt. I needed a protein somehow and didn’t feel like cooking more eggs. I thought I had whey protein powder but… yep, it’s got sweetener in it. So no protein powder in this one.

I’m definitely a little bit cranky about my dinner options.

That’s it for now! Tomorrow, I will browse the cookbooks again and come up with a plan for next week.

What I Ate Days 4-6: Veg Whole30

I’ve made it through day 6! According to the Whole30 timeline, I should’ve been a murderous sleep zombie these last few days, but… nope. I’ve felt fine. This is also my back-to-work week after the winter break (university schedule), so I did hit some stumbling blocks, but they were logistic and not the result of cravings or lack of energy.

So far, I’m feeling fine and I’m still recording 100% sleep quality every night. My guess is that not having a ton of caffeine in the afternoon is helping; I generally have my tea in the morning, instead of 32oz of diet coke with every meal into the night.

The only negative issue so far has been random muscle cramps the last few days. I’m drinking more water than ever (no less than 64oz a day), but other signs do point to dehydration. I’m surely consuming far less sodium than I would with all of my usual processed food meals, so I’m not sure what’s causing it.

I demonstrated very clearly to myself this week that in order to have a lunch to eat at work, I have to pack it the night before. Even when I got up a few minutes earlier to pack said lunch, every single day this week, something has come up and I’ve run out the door with no lunch. I’ve only got 25 minutes between classes (if I’m lucky; I’ll inevitably be stopped in the hall or visited in my office during that little window of time) so there’s no time to go out in search of food. I have to bring it with me.

One fun discovery this week has been the most awesome scrambled eggs. You’d swear there’s cheese in them, but no. 4 eggs, scrambled with 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (check the ingredient lists – a lot of whipping creams have carrageenan in them; avoid those!). Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low-ish heat (my stove has #6 as medium; I use #4), stirring constantly. It’ll take 8-10 minutes for the eggs to set and cook, but it is so worth it. That’s 2 servings for me, and if you have a big enough pan, I’m sure you could double or triple the recipe. They’re freaking amazing and they will be the reason I can stand to eat so many eggs over these 30 days.

Here are my eats for days 4-6:

Day 4:

Whole30 Breakfast

Hello again, paleo cranberry banana muffin, plain greek yogurt, pineapples, and strawberries! I just can’t stomach vegetables in the morning. I am happy to report that these muffins freeze perfectly well. I just pull one from the freezer, nuke it for one minute, and it’s ready to devour.

 

Whole30 Dinner

I had no lunch on Day 4, so here’s what I had for dinner: a romaine salad with a new Whole30-approved dressing that I found at Walmart of all places (whaaaaaaat???) in the produce refrigerated section. The brand is called Tessemae’s and it’s got the Whole30 logo right on the label. The ingredient list looks clean. It was $5 for the bottle ($6.50 on the manufacturer’s web site), but the expiration date was in 11 days. No worries; I will definitely finish the bottle in time! It’s delicious. I got the zesty ranch dressing, but they have a wide variety of dressings and sauces. I’ll take any time savings I can get!

I also had a slice of leek and sweet potato frittata, a recipe from the Paleo for Vegetarians 28 Day Meal Plan book. Delicious. And some strawberries.

It was a lot prettier before I cut it up:

Sweet potato leek frittata Whole30

 

 

Day 5:

Whole30 Breakfast

Breakfast joy! Behold, the magical scrambled eggs! So creamy and good. Plus a paleo muffin and a banana with almond butter. Chai tea on the side.

 

Whole30 Dinner

Big dinner. I was starving after no lunch. Salad had tempeh cubes and half of an avocado with the Tessemae’s dressing. Sweet potato leek frittata with a dollop of pesto on top, plus a sweet potato (there’s no such thing as too much sweet potato), and strawberries. Water to drink.

 

Day 6:

Whole30 breakfast

Breakfast: those glorious scrambled eggs (they’re not as pretty when you make them the night before and reheat them, but they were still delicious!), a paleo muffin, and plain greek yogurt with pineapple and raisins (because I was low on pineapple). Black chai tea on the side.

 

Whole30 Dinner

Missed lunch again, so dinner was a big romaine salad (tempeh and half an avocado, plus Tessemae’s ranch), sweet potato leek frittata with pesto, green beans, and a sweet potato.

That’s where I’m at as I get ready to wrap up week 1! I miss peanut butter.

Veg Whole30 Days 1-3: What I Ate

I’m wrapping up day 3 of my modified vegetarian Whole30. The rest of the Peanut Butter Runner group starts tomorrow, but I knew with my schedule (I go back to work after winter break tomorrow) it would be pretty nutty to try to juggle it all. I’m glad I have a few days under my belt starting back to work.

This week is going to be crazy busy for me, and I suspect the theme is going to turn out being, “Just put some pesto on it.”

Day 1

Whole30 Vegetarian

Breakfast was 2 scrambled eggs with dill, strawberries, and a banana cranberry muffin (recipe from Paleo for Vegetarians 28 Day Meal Plan). Before you go off on a SWYPO rant, I’ve explained my planned modifications to the Whole30 and I will consider sticking to my version of the plan a success. (I’m going to try not to constantly note my disdain for the tone and attitude of the authors of Whole30, but… even the whole SWYPO approach to describing their rationale annoys me. /end rant).

 

Whole30 Salad

Lunch was a big ol’ salad. I prepped two salad proteins for the week: tempeh cubes fried in coconut oil with salt and pepper, and balsamic glazed tofu. I also made a paleo ranch dressing from cashews and coconut milk. I suspect there are better recipes out there, but this one was easy and tastes fine. The rest of the salad is romaine with carrots and half an avocado. I couldn’t finish it all.

 

Dinner involved a spiralizer, woohoo! And… a pesto spill. womp womp. I spiralized 2 zucchini to make zucchini noodles, then mixed the noodles with baby spinach and heated it with some basil pesto (and then spilled some more on there). This is one zucchini worth on my plate. I ate a whole freakin zucchini. Note to self: buy 4 next time so you get more than 2 meals from this. I also had a baked sweet potato and a tub of plain greek yogurt with pineapples on top. For a beverage, I tried kombucha for the first time. It was nasty and tasted like straight up apple cider vinegar. Is that true of all kombuchas, or should I try a different kind?

 

Day 2

Whole30 Breakfast

Day 2 started out with 2 scrambled eggs, another muffin, and plain greek yogurt with pineapples.

 

Whole30 Lunch

For lunch I had a smaller salad – same ingredients as yesterday, but with the tofu on the side this time – and a baked sweet potato. An hour or so later I was still hungry, so I had a banana with almond butter.

 

Whole30 Dinner

Dinner was the rest of the pesto zucchini, balsamic tofu, green beans, and a sweet potato, with some chai tea on the side. A couple hours later I was still famished! My stomach was growling, so I scrambled up 2 eggs with pesto and had that. I didn’t go to bed full, but I wasn’t starving. I just felt hungry all day.

 

Day 3

Mmmm this one was yummy. Breakfast was 2 scrambled eggs (with pesto hiding inside there!), a paleo muffin, a couple strawberries, and a banana with almond butter. Black chai tea on the side.

 

Dinner was 2 scrambled eggs with pesto (again!), green beans, plain greek yogurt with pineapples, and a small romaine salad with tempeh cubes and half an avocado, dressed with oil and vinegar. Where’s lunch, you ask? For as hungry as I was yesterday, I just wasn’t hungry today. I had a banana a couple hours after dinner, but it was more for a brain boost than anything. (I had to do some programming – which normally prompts me to go buy 2 chocolate long johns from Dunkin Donuts, but today, prompted banana consumption).

 

How Am I Feeling?

These first 3 days haven’t been particularly hard, though it is fairly annoying to be so strictly limited in my food choices (not because of the actual limitations, but because most things require preparation, and I’ve only prepped what I can eat before it goes bad – so I can’t have many options on hand at any given time). I’m sure I will get more creative as I go.

Mid-day-2 I was nearly on the, “F- it, I’m going to order a pizza” bandwagon, but I talked myself out of it. I was a bit cranky and headachy (and friggin starving all day).

Day 3 (today) I felt pretty great. I felt like my head was clear all day and into the evening.

One excellent side effect so far is that I’m sleeping phenomenally well – 100% sleep quality these past 2 nights, according to my sleep app – and that’s in a bed with 4 cats! To give you an idea of how good that is, relatively speaking, my average sleep quality over the past 6 months has been 82%. (I’ve got over 1,000 nights logged since 2013). Granted, I sleep pretty well overall (the US average is 72%), but I do have bouts of insomnia that last a couple weeks at a time. Knock on wood, I haven’t had one in a while. My sleep could also be improved because it’s the tail end of 3 weeks off work and I’ve just finally unwound and de-stressed; we’ll see about that when I go back to work tomorrow.

That’s it for Days 1-3! Time to hit the hay and get back into the swing of things.

 

My Vegetarian Modifications for Whole30

I’ve started a Whole30 diet vegetarian-style, and since modifications to the original Whole30 plan are required in order to make it vegetarian, I’m going to lay out my planned modifications on Day 1 and stick to them.

Here are the “rules” I am modifying:

Protein

The original Whole30 advocates meat and animal proteins as the primary sources. I have never eaten seafood and I no longer eat meat, so I will not be eating those on my vegetarian Whole30. For protein, I will eat organic eggs, tempeh, tofu, and Greek yogurt (see below).

Dairy

The original plan says no dairy, but recommends pastured, organic, fermented dairy sources like yogurt or kefir for vegetarians. I will eat plain, unsweetened organic Greek yogurt for protein. I plan to avoid cheese, but will not consider it a failure if I change my mind. The plan also recommends whey protein powder, which I may use.

Grains

I will avoid gluten grains and vital wheat gluten, as recommended. Quinoa is listed as a possible option. I don’t plan to eat it though I won’t specifically avoid it. Quinoa is OK but I tend not to like it when I make it myself.

Legumes

I plan to avoid legumes as recommended, though I will decide as I go when it comes to chickpeas. They’re a staple protein source in my salads and I don’t like getting so much of my protein from soy. If I decide to eat chickpeas, so be it. I’ll start out without them, and make them from scratch with soaking if I do add them.

Baked Goods & Smoothies

The plan does not allow for re-creation of baked goods, even with approved ingredients.”A pancake is still a pancake, regardless of the ingredients.” – It Starts With Food. Ummmm…. true. The word “pancake” describes a form and method of cooking where ingredients are formed into a cake that is often flipped in a pan. How does shaping an ingredient into a cake shape and flipping it in a pan make it evil? I completely disagree with the concept here. I will eat things shaped like cakes that have been flipped in pans, assuming they are made with approved ingredients.

The program also recommends against drinking smoothies. I will not be following these rules. I require portable breakfasts, as I eat breakfast in the car on my way to work most days, in the form of muffins or breakfast sandwiches or smoothies. This will not change. I will use approved ingredients to make them Whole30-compliant.

 

Slip-Ups

Another modification I plan to make is with regard to the start-over rule. If you slip up on the program, even accidentally, you’re supposed to re-start the 30 days. I won’t be doing that. I am a busy human. Busy humans are busy. Busy humans make mistakes. Busy humans don’t have time for ridiculous punishments for landing on the Whole30 naughty list. (See previous post; I really can’t stand the condescending attitude of the authors… but the premise of the program seems sound, so I’m trying it. Be forewarned: I will not be masking any snark). Bad vegetarian. Bad!

Etc

I plan to adhere to the rest of the rules (no sugar or sweeteners, no alcohol, no peanuts, no carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites). I will also refrain from weighing myself, taking measurements, or counting calories/macros, as recommended.

Those are my planned modifications! If I stick to this plan, I’ll consider it a success. If I change the plan along the way, so be it. My goal here is to get back to cooking and eating whole foods and kick the junk food. I have no gluten or dairy sensitivities, but will eliminate gluten and most dairy for the sake of experimentation. That’s not my primary objective, though.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Whole30!

I'm doing the Whole30

I’m Doing the Whole30 – Vegetarian

Yep, it’s the start of a new year, and I, like so many others, am once again jumping on the bandwagon to attempt to make some positive changes in my life this year. Initially, I was not planning to diet to kick off 2017. I’m at a point in my life where I accept that I will never maintain a size 6 (heck, I’m doing great when I can maintain a 14), and my focus now is on keeping my blood pressure in check and other health markers a-ok. What I eat has a lot to do with those things.

So I’m going to tackle a Whole30 (vegetarian style) and reset some of my eating habits. If I lose some weight, bonus.

If you’ve never heard of Whole30, it’s a whole foods based eating plan that eliminates wheat/gluten, sugar, and processed foods. It is paleo-ish but not low carb; the estimated macro breakdown is 35% fat, 40% carbohydrates, 25% protein – though the program specifically advises against counting calories and macronutrients. The idea is that you eliminate things that could be causing inflammation, sleep disturbances, etc, and once you’ve completed 30 days, you reintroduce various things slowly to determine how they impact your body, and develop  your future eating plan from there.

It sounds like a great plan, but I do have one bone to pick with the program. The book that kicks it all off is called “It Starts With Food.” The program heavily relies on animal protein (meat). They put forth some scientific evidence for their approach, which is fine, but a good 10% or more of the population doesn’t eat meat for a variety of reasons – medical, ethical, religious, etc. The book attempts to accommodate a vegetarian approach, but not before condescendingly pointing out that vegetarians are wrong (just read all the science we laid out for you!) and ethical vegetarians are wrong (just eat non-factory-farmed meat!) and… the attitude just doesn’t sit well with me. The authors repeatedly state that you can do Whole30 as a vegetarian, but you’re not REALLY doing Whole30. So, sure, you can follow along and pretend you’re doing our program, but you’re not really one of us. Just remember that; we’re smarter than you and healthier than you and you’ll never reap the full benefits of the program with your lowly vegetarian ways.

I’m only slightly exaggerating here! It’s so condescending that the first time I read the book, I decided NOT to do the program because, well, the authors seemed like jerks.

I changed my mind this year because a blogger that I follow, Jen at Peanut Butter Runner, is hosting a Whole30 Facebook group to kick off the new year. With a whole lot of people to bounce the experience off of, chances of success and enjoyment go up. And I would like to get back into cooking and eating more whole foods.

Since a vegetarian Whole30 requires modifications of the original Whole30 rules, I will be making some modifications. I plan to lay out my own “rules” at the outset and follow the plan that way. I’ll be sharing those modifications and some of my meals here on this blog, so stay tuned!

The official kickoff is Monday, Jan 9, 2017, so if you’re interested in joining this Whole30 group, check the link above! Happy new year!

pumpkin-sage-ravioli

After the Juice: 3 Weeks Later

I’m wrapping up my 3rd week post-juice. My plan was to eat vegan, cut out added sugar (no more than 6 tsp/24g per day, the recommendation for women), and kick the diet coke habit.

So far, so good! Jimmy John’s would probably disagree, as I went from eating there 5+ days a week to… none. I miss my daily chill-out sessions at JJ’s, but I’m fairly certain I’m eating healthier at home. I can’t seem to find any data on the added sugars in the #6 (I suspect there’s a bit extra in the bread and/or the avocado spread); it’s not on their nutrition labels. Comparing the lettuce wrap to the sub, and comparing the sub to a typical 8″ Italian sub roll, I’m fairly certain that one JJ’s sub would blow my whole added sugar allotment for the day. And the way my logic works, I enjoy the bread too much to go with a lettuce wrap, so if I can’t have it the way I love it, I won’t have it at all.

I’ve had a few bites of cheese on a couple occasions (when eating out), but kicking the sugar has been surprisingly easy, since I haven’t craved it (thanks to the juice plan). The biggest struggle has been, surprisingly, avoiding diet coke. I’m not explicitly avoiding caffeine, as I am still drinking tea, but I terribly miss the fizzy drink, and no substitutions have solved the cravings. I’m almost obsessed with it, and I’m fairly certain that I’m just going to cave and drink the occasional diet coke.

One unexpected benefit has been reduced food waste. In the past, I would go food shopping and buy produced based on things I thought I should have on hand to be well-stocked and ready-for-anything, but in reality, I threw away a lot of spoiled food. This time around, I’m picking one lunch and one dinner for each week. I shop specifically for those meals (and a few staples that I eat no matter what), and that’s it. I cook those meals on Sunday and then eat the leftovers all week. Every weekend, I go through my recipe stash and cookbooks and pick meals for the following week and do it all over again.

The first week after the juice, I made a walnut-lentil tacos and homemade cashew sour cream, and had tacos all week. They were surprisingly awesome, considering I really don’t like lentils.

The second week, I bought a pasta roller and tried my hand at homemade ravioli. My pasta skills need some work, but it turned out absolutely delicious – pumpkin sage ravioli. It was amazing and I was shocked that I was able to pull it off.

This week, I put together an old favorite (though I did skimp on the veggies and just doubled the spinach, out of laziness) – pesto veggie lasagna. I also burned half of my pine nuts when toasting them, and had to sub in a bunch of raw cashews. But it all turned out just fine and delicious (man I love pesto). I’ve been eating this with Tofurky Artisan Spinach Pesto sausages. They’re a little bit dry on their own (like most faux-meats) but they are very tasty, and the marinara in the lasagna solves the dryness issue.

My other new obsession is a waffle recipe from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, of Post Punk Kitchen fame. It’s the Sinfully Wholesome waffle recipe from her book Isa Does It, but the recipe is also in her PPK forums – Sinfully Wholesome Waffles. They’re waffle perfection. Hearty without being heavy, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and just right topped with fruit or maple syrup. One recipe makes 5-6 large waffles, and I’ve been having them for breakfast or lunch. Smoothies fill in the blanks.

I’m also glad to report that the 10 pounds I lost during the juice week was not a fluke. I’ve kept them off, and lost a few more. I’ve also started doing a class at the gym called Body Pump. I’m enjoying it, and so far, my elbow is tolerating it well. I’m going to keep on keeping on with baby steps so I don’t injure the elbow again, and see how it goes.

The only thing I haven’t done is kept up with juicing. I intended to have some juices from the plan a few days a week, but I haven’t done a good job at planning ahead for those to make sure I have the proper produce on hand. Room for improvement!

Now, I think it’s time for a waffle…

 

Green Smoothie https://flic.kr/p/o1cTXv

Super Juice Me!

Last week, I stumbled foggy-headed into another day of post-travel recovery and back-to-work shell shock. I’d been living on Jimmy John’s, pizza, and egg and cheese mcgriddles for two months or so. (That was literally all I was eating, with a few stops at the ice cream shop thrown in for good measure). I’d gained 15# as a result, at a time when I could already stand to lose 30. Junk food was getting expensive, not only to my budget, but to my waistline. Of course, I wasn’t exercising. (That last C25K post never materialized into anything consistent). My elbow had me out of commission for a lot of activities, so I just did none.

As the new school year started, though, I really wanted to get back into a routine. Sometimes, I do great things when left to my own devices, and sometimes, I self destruct. It’s been a challenging couple of years, and this summer, I came out the other side quite a bit worse for the wear. I needed to quit the junk food, first and foremost.

The thought of getting back to clean eating (read: prepping and cooking meals) was almost nauseating in itself – not the food, but the labor. I just didn’t feel like doing it. At the same time, the thought of another fast food meal was unbearable. I just felt awful all around.

Then, in my Facebook feed, an entry popped up from Jason Vale, the juice master. He had a documentary out called “SuperJuice Me!” I’m a fan of Jason Vale. I’ve done his 7 day juice plan a few times, usually around New Year’s Day when I need to (again) kick the junk food. I watched the documentary.

And I decided to do the SuperJuice Me! plan.

I debated just using the 7 day app of his that I already had, but (spoiler alert) I’m so glad I bought the new app, because he really has mastered some of these recipes. They’re much better in the new program.

But back to the miserable version of me. It was a Sunday. I went to the grocery store and bought 3 days worth of produce. I didn’t want to waste food and money if I didn’t stick it out.

Day 1 was fairly miserable, due to caffeine withdrawal. Headaches suck, and I believe that was the 3rd time I’ve gone through full on caffeine detox (maybe the 4th?) It’s the worst. Every time I go through it, I swear I will never get back on the diet coke bandwagon again. Again, I swear… ugh. Never again.

Day 2 was meh. I didn’t feel good but I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t hungry but all I could think about was food I used to eat before I went vegetarian! The Mad Max burger from Outback Steakhouse… pepperoni pizza… this crazy cheeseburger at TGI Fridays that was a 3 cheese burger, PLUS a fried provolone patty of cheese… ridiculous things. Gross, really. I also had a bit of a pity-party meltdown in the evening, and watched a sad movie to indulge it.

Day 3 was the best day ever! Day 3 usually is. I felt great. On top of the world. Not hungry. Sleeping great. Feeling alert. No mid-afternoon sloth session. I also went back to the gym on Day 3, and tried my first Body Pump class. (I’m taking it slow so as not to re-injure my elbow). I will go back next week!

Day 4 was fine. Felt good. But I still had no desire to cook food, so the easiest solution was to stay on the juice plan. (Also, sore as hell from Body Pump!)

Day 5 was today. Felt great, slept great – according to my sleep app (which now has almost 3 years of data in it), I never sleep well at home. (Cats). I usually have to be on vacation with no cats around to get sleep quality of 90% or higher. But every single night on the juice plan, I’ve had excellent sleep quality. I used to blame the cats for my awful quality of sleep. Maybe I should have been blaming junk food all along.

Also today… it clicked. I’m ready to start cooking meals, and they’re going to be vegan.

It’s amazing how powerful and addictive sugar and dairy are. I’ve always sort of scoffed at the use of the word “addiction” with sugar or dairy, because it’s not like I ever felt like I was a junkie running around the grocery store begging for a hit of cheese. But the moment I realized that I’ve actually beat them both – it’s so crystal clear. I went through this the first time I went vegan for an extended period of time (about 6 months), and it’s both amazing and saddening. It’s sad because it’s so easy to slip back into eating them, and before you know it, you’re hooked again. In my case, I end up making all of the apologies to the cows and excuses that I need my Greek yogurt for protein. But those are just excuses, and this time around, it seems so obvious that they work in the body like addictive drugs. Maybe there is no such thing as just this one donut.

The amazing part is that it feels so good to be in absolute control of my own health and wellness – and because my body is feeling fully nourished, I’m actually optimistic instead of miserable! The difference is like night and day.

I have enough produce in the fridge to juice through Day 7. I’m going to finish through Day 7, and this weekend, I will meal plan and prep for next week, vegan again.

I really feel like if I can avoid sugar and dairy, I won’t even crave it. If I slip and fall down the cheese rabbit hole, it’s going to be hard to get back on track. Right now, the thought of dairy disgusts me, and the thought of all of the sugar in processed food makes me furious. Did you ever notice that sugar is the one entry on the nutrition label that doesn’t show its corresponding percentage of your daily allowance? Yeah, because half of the time it would be like, “203%” in one silly little serving of whatever frankenfood it is. The more I learned about the USDA and our food regulations (way back in good ol’ 2009 when I started learning about organics), the more I distrusted it all – and now as I look at sugar and processed foods, I’m mad all over again.

The last time I was fully vegan, a few years ago, I felt like I ate like a king. I can’t wait to recapture that feeling and love food again.

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/o1cTXv

Vegetables https://flic.kr/p/8DTRNq

C25K Day 1, Again

A few years ago, I used the “Couch to 5K” plan to learn how to run. It worked. I ran regularly for 3 years, finished a couple dozen 5K races, 1 half marathon (13.1mi), and 1 25K race (15.5mi).

Today, I started C25K all over again.

I’ve decided to start from the beginning and do the whole 9 week program, even though I could jog a mile straight through on the struggle bus today. The hills of Virginia stymied my running efforts in 2012. I’d like to keep myself off the struggle bus for as long as possible, in hopes of finding a way to love running again. The hills haven’t changed, so I’ve got to change myself.

The other part of this is that I’ve got to start eating at home more. I’m not a good cook, mostly because I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a massive collection of cookbooks and can follow recipes fairly well, but I have zero knowledge or intuition of what to do when a recipe isn’t working for my tastes. That tends to lead to a lot of waste and discouragement, and then I just throw in the towel and head out for a sandwich.

To help on that front, I’ve signed up for online cooking lessons through a program written by the author of one of my favorite books, Foodist. The “class” is called Foodist Kitchen, and it’s 30 days of daily exercises and lessons on how to cook without recipes. I’m hoping it will help me fill in the blanks and figure out how to make food work for me.

Here’s to getting back at it!

Detour by Shannon Kokoska https://flic.kr/p/hx6K6

Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

I’m sad to report that I’m taking a break from Crossfit. I’ve had a nagging elbow injury that hasn’t improved (even after 2 months of rest), so it’s off to the doctors for MRIs and all that good stuff. The early diagnosis looks like probably tendonitis and a little arthritis in both elbows, and a partial tear on the left (the one that hasn’t gotten any better). So, more doctors, and a break from Crossfit.

I have “injured” my elbow twice since starting Crossfit. I didn’t consider either instance severe enough to label them injuries at the time, but apparently, they were. The first was my very first workout – the “try it for free” day, before I signed up. I did 40-some-odd push-ups that day (after not having done that many pushups, well, ever), and for 3 weeks after that, I could not do push-ups due to sharp pains in my elbow and bicep. The pain subsided, and once it did, I went back to including push-ups in my workouts. A couple months later, I had a great workout that included push-ups – one of the first workouts where I really felt strong, and I did great on the push-ups… and the next morning, I woke up to find my elbow had swollen to the size of a melon, and I couldn’t move my arm. That was about 4 months ago, and while the swelling subsided, I’ve had chronic pain in my elbow ever since. I can’t do push-ups, or lift anything heavy with that arm alone, or do any barbell move with a snatch grip, or unplug my hair dryer. I need to get it fixed.

Things don’t always go as planned. I hope to return to Crossfit. I love the barbell and I love the camaraderie. I hate the thought that my body might not be capable of doing all of the things I want to do in my mind.

For now, it’s back to running (and my ongoing struggle with my hatred of hills, which, in Virginia, are actually mountains).

running_lifting_shoes

Translating Crossfit’s Fitness

Before I started Crossfit, I did a lot of reading about it. One anecdote that came up over and over was how people would give up running or swimming or biking in favor of Crossfit, and then successfully complete a race in that sport with no specific training. I’ve read several tales of people running half marathons without training for the races – just doing Crossfit. They all seemed like tall tales to me.

I can’t speak to any long-distance efforts, but a couple of recent experiences are leading me to believe that those stories might be true after all.

I started Crossfit 4 months ago, in October. In the 3 months prior, I was a gluttonous lump on a log. And for the year or so before that, I was working out 3 times a week – running and swimming throughout 2013, but tapering to less intense things like long-distance walking by mid-2014 (5-9 mile walks). When I started Crossfit, I was completely out of shape in terms of strength and cardio endurance.

Until last week, I hadn’t done any workouts in the past 4 months outside of Crossfit. I’ve only recently started to feel a bit stronger and able to survive the metcon WODs. When snow buried me in for a few days and closed the gym, I got a bit stir crazy.

So I walked down to my apartment’s gym to go for a run. My plan was to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, for a mile. I warmed up and then started to run, and much to my surprise, I felt pretty good. I ran the mile straight through. 13:29.

That was Feb 21, 2015. The last time I ran a mile was March 1, 2014. My pace a year ago? 14:07/mi.

I dug back a little deeper, since that March 1 run was a bit of a fluke, tucked into a bunch of weeks of swimming. What was my most recent pace, when I was running regularly?

I had to go back to the summer of 2013, when I was running mostly 2 and 3 milers. They paced like this:

Running pace data from the summer of 2013

Running pace data from the summer of 2013

My current 13:29/mi looked pretty spot on, compared to a year and a half ago when I was running regularly. Even more wild – I weighed 20-30 pounds less that summer than I do now.

Could Crossfit alone have given me back my running legs and lungs? It sure looks like it.

Today, I decided to go for a swim. Work prevented me from getting in my third Crossfit workout this week, and my ankle is a bit sore from a slip on ice in the parking lot a few days ago. I figured swimming would be less stressful on the ankle than running, so I headed to the pool.

My last swim was July 15, 2014 – more than 7 months ago.

I swam 1600 yards breaststroke today. That’s my typical swim distance, and it typically takes me about an hour. My pace today was 3:11/100yds – 56:01.

My pace last July? 3:20/100yds.

Last July, I was on-again, off-again with swimming. I swam 3x/week from November through March, took April off, swam in May, took June off, and swam in July. As I compared today’s pace to July, I got curious. How would today’s pace compare to the months when I was very consistently swimming?

I had to go back to December 2013 to find when I was doing breaststroke regularly, and here’s what it looked like:

Swimming pace data, winter 2013

Swimming pace data, winter 2013

3:08 to 3:30/100 yards. So today’s 3:11 pace over 56:01 looks to be on the fitter end of things!

All from Crossfit?

There’s really no other explanation, because that’s all I’ve been doing the past 4 months.

It feels really good to finally be (slowly) transitioning to the point where I don’t feel like I’m dying in every workout. Near-death, maybe! But my lungs are finally starting to catch up, and that’s opening up more options for me.

I love a lot of things about Crossfit – namely, the community, the barbell work, and overall intensity and efficiency of it. I do think, though, that I will continue to run and swim. I doubt I’ll do any more long-distance running (it’s just not an efficient use of my time as a slow-poke), but I’d like to get back into running 5Ks and 10Ks.

There are 2 things I miss about running and swimming, compared to Crossfit:

1) choosing my own music

2) the long, slow, less intense work that lets me zone out and think

I knew I’d miss the solitude (I really do enjoy working out alone), but I didn’t expect to miss the long slog! I wouldn’t give up Crossfit for either of those things, but I think I’ll find the best version of myself in some combination of them all.

I have to say – I’m still quite shocked by the numbers. I’m performing just as well at two cardio-centric sports with zero recent sport-specific training as I was when training them regularly, at a much lighter weight.

I’ve got Rocktown Crossfit to thank for that!