Whole30: Day 1 or There is Garbage in Everything

Well, folks, I’m back from a lovely trip visiting friends down in Georgia and, just as I said I would, I ate a whole lot of stuff that is verboten during the Whole30 challenge.  For instance, yesterday I had a bowl of Lucky Charms and then a bunch of Oreos for “breakfast”.  I put that in quotation marks since I didn’t get out of bed until 12:30pm or something.  And also, Oreos don’t count as breakfast if you don’t put them into a bowl and pour milk over them Cookie Crisp style.  I was dipping them into milk…in a glass…so, clearly it was a snack.

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Somehow I misinterpreted when we were going to arrive back home yesterday and, since we walked in the door after 10pm, there was no way I was going grocery shopping.  As such, I didn’t want to fail at the challenge before I even started, so I decided to stop at the store on the way into work for some compliant rations.  It was then I learned how tricky getting compliant stuff might actually be.

I started out in the produce section.  That was easy, obviously, since I was just buying some fruit and veggies to snack on and make salads with.  I was impressed looking around the surrounding area how little I could even look at.  Luckily for me, after a weekend of indulgence, the last thing I wanted was crap and though I was hungry I wasn’t drawn to the bread or bakery items.

Unfortunately, if I only purchased fruit and vegetables, I likely would want to die by noon, so I went off in search of other categories.  Readily available protein was my first order of business.  I was limited today because I needed to get stuff that didn’t need to be cooked or particularly prepared.  Generally, lunch meats are out because they’re all preserved and/or cured, which often means added sugar and certain “banned” preservatives (sulfites, mostly).  I didn’t find any already hard-boiled eggs, and my other usual go-to alternative to meat protein sources aren’t allowed (soy milk and peanut butter).

My first idea was to find some raw cashews.  The Shoprite didn’t have any of those and all the roasted ones I initially saw were all roasted in vegetable or soybean oil (which are things I’m supposed to avoid).  Finally I found some dry roasted cashews that only listed cashews as an ingredient. Next I had the idea that canned chicken or tuna was a good call.  I assumed when they said “packed in water”, that was it.  As I found out, all the canned chicken contained sulfites and soy and some other crap.  “OK, fine,” I thought, “tuna will be champion.” Well, nope. Every major brand of canned tuna contained sulfites and soy also.  I finally found a brand that didn’t.  It was, of course, more expensive than the others but whatever.  It’s a 30 day “caring about things that I probably don’t have to actually care about” extravaganza.

Why am I so callous about that?  Well, I have theories about what things make me feel lousy.  My hypothesis is that carbs found in grains do the most damage to me feeling full of energy.  In the past, I have felt best when I have had a more protein-centric diet.  I am, however, interested to see if any of these other categories of food also tends to make me sluggish.  And, as I said, I get headaches a lot and though they are not usually severe, they get in my way.

The Whole30 program has a certain amount of ridiculousness to it and I call bullshit on some of their claims.  However, the underlying nutrition ideas aren’t bad ones.  Basically, my biggest goal in this is to teach my body to crave healthier sources of nutrients/energy when it needs something.

So, so far so good.  The first day is not the hardest when you’re doing stuff like this.  Although, I woke up with a headache and felt like garbage until I had a lunch time salad.  As soon as I had some tuna and simple veggies (with olive oil and coconut vinegar), I felt a lot better.  Having some melon and pineapple helped too.  It’s moments like this that remind me why I keep coming back to experiments like the Whole30.  I feel honestly better when I eat in a way resembling this.

It’s just that I really like cheese and creamy mashed potatoes and crusty French bread.  And wine.  But my hope is that I can treat those things as once in a while indulgences for special occasions and feel good, healthy, and energetic the rest of the time by making better choices for myself.

Tonight I’m heading to Wegmans where they have all the fancy things and I will have time to look at things more carefully.  I’m going to get some coconut oil because coconuts are apparently the super food of compliance for this thing?  I haven’t played with that before so new horizons!  I found some recipes I want to try that make big batches (like slow-cooked beef tips in green Thai curry…YUM).  I’m also going to rediscover the wonderful world of frozen vegetables because sometimes you just want to eat a bag of steamed broccoli (and frozen veggies are great additions to meals like the Thai curry).

So, I’m still in the excitement “I Can Do This” phase of this little experiment.  Hopefully that will last more than a day or a week.

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