Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Chocolate is good for my heart, my mind, and would certainly be good for my soul if I believed I had one! This afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of savoring a single nugget of dark chocolate, which is a pleasure I've not enjoyed since the beginning of the new year. Upon reflection, this seems an unreasonable amount of time to have gone without the savoring of quality chocolate.

Since I have been slowly reintroducing food groups (such as legumes, non-gluten grains, gluten grains, dairy products, and added sugars) since completing my Whole30 Challenge, I have thoroughly enjoyed tasting edamame, peanut butter, oats, and quinoa after nearly two months without them (I spent most of December eating mostly Whole30 compliant, in preparation for my strict Whole30 during the month of January).

They truly pale in comparison, however, with those purely simple two bites of dark chocolate. It's not the sort of chocolate that could be over-consumed or abused. I didn't want the first chocolate I enjoyed post-Whole30 to be something like M&Ms, as fond as I typically am of those. This was the type of tiny morsel that one might enjoy with a quality glass of wine periodically - not something you want in your daily diet, because it's just too rich and delicious.

When I was young, my older sister and younger brother and I would love to watch our favorite VHS tapes over and over, sometimes even playing them again directly after rewinding them. One day, our father came home with a new movie that he personally loved, called 'Hook,' and he set down an immediate rule that this film, unlike others that we loved, could only be watched once every year. This way, he was sure to never get sick of it (and we were doomed to age in ever-increasing anticipation of the next time we could watch 'Hook'). I think often of this great life-lesson he gave us, that some of life's pleasures should not be daily occurrences - they lose their value.

When I treasure something now, such as a warm bath with lavender scrub, I remember that I'll enjoy it even more if it's a reward following a difficult work-out session or particularly grueling day of teaching. And now that my Whole30 Challenge is complete, I'll consider setting up a little side table with wine and chocolate!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Whole30 Reintroduction Week 1

I haven't been doing the re-introduction phase exactly the way outlined in "It Starts With Food," but I have been following their general idea of introducing one type of food at a time, and then taking a couple of days to eat strictly Whole30, as I determine how that particular group of foods react in my body.

I began with legumes, because I missed them the most! Even up to a couple of weeks into January, I still thought I would miss dairy products and added sugars the most, but as the month went on and I noticed how great I felt without them, I wanted them less and less. Hooray for that! My doctor was very pleased with this, as well as the 15 pounds total I lost that month - wow! More than I anticipated losing, for sure. She recommended waiting to reintroduce dairy products in small amounts for at least a couple more weeks, as she thinks they could be contributing to my ongoing headaches, and I am in this unique position currently where I haven't had them in my system for over a month. So I only reintroduced legumes - mmmmm! Edamame! Peanut butter with my apples and hummus with my veggies were amazing additions to my meals, as well.

Instead of having a bit of legumes with each meal for one day, then going back to the strict Whole30 for two, I included small amounts of legumes with my meals for two and a half/three days, then did the strict Whole30 for two. After the first day, I hadn't noticed anything different, so I wanted to lengthen that reintroduction phase, without going overboard on quantity. So I only included a little bit, but with each meal, and after a couple of days I felt more aware of how that addition was affecting me. Really - it only gave me a bit of gas, and doesn't that happen any time anyone eats beans? I don't really mind that, as long as I don't eat them right before an important social event! I did notice I broke out with one tiny zit near my nose (when I hadn't had any breakouts during the Whole30 at all - amazing, btw), so maybe I'll limit soy products, but not too strictly.

The next group I've reintroduced so far has been non-gluten grains (corn, oats, quinoa, rice). This one I did only reintroduce for 1 night and one day (4 meals total) because by the end of the full day, I was noticing some slightly painful indigestion. I had a can of corn split between two meals, 1/2 a can in the evening then the other half for lunch the next day. Also a bowl of steel-cut oats with ghee, raisins, and cinnamon for breakfast. So by the end of that day I felt like the gas/indigestion was different than it had been with the legumes, but it mostly seemed to be because my body was saying, "Oh, I haven't eaten these things in a while. It's going to take me a minute to process them." I do think I will keep oats, quinoa, rice, and corn in my diet, but again, like soy, maybe in smaller quantities. They didn't bother me enough to cut them out entirely, that's for sure! None of the sharp stomach pains lasted long at all, and I didn't break out either.

This afternoon I was lucky enough to have lunch with a wonderful friend who has been so supportive of my Whole30, even though she wasn't doing the program - she's one of the few people who made me breakfast (eggs & veggies & tea) one of the mornings during the month I was on it! So this was the first time I've eaten at a restaurant while trying to follow the plan, and it went really well! We went to Mimi's Cafe and I ordered the "Bacon & Blue Cheese Salad" - with no bacon or blue cheese! - which really made me laugh with the irony. It was a mixed green salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, tomatoes, and sliced strawberries, which didn't make me feel deprived at all without the meat (because I don't know from where they source their bacon) or dairy (because I'm not ready to reintroduce that yet). I asked for the "balsamic vinaigrette" on the side, and did allow myself to add a small drizzle of that, even though there were likely added sugars in it. So far this month, I don't think I've had anything with added sugars, but the Whole30 plan says that some added sugars will likely be in some of the things you start reintroducing, in small amounts, and that's alright. 

The next item I reintroduce will be one that the Whole30 plan says is optional - and it certainly will have some added sugar content - alcohol! I'm planning to have just one glass of red wine on Thursday evening, at an event with the Humanists of Utah, and one more on Friday evening, at an event with the Unitarians. I haven't had even a sip of alcohol this entire year so far! And really, I only had wine once or twice during December, as well. So I am looking forward to it, since I really enjoy having a bit to drink socially.

And there you have it! Overall I'm guessing I will still continue losing weight this month, because I have added 10,000 daily steps of walking & running to my daily routine, which I wasn't consistently doing while on the Whole30. I'm still keeping up the good habits of planning my meals, and taking time to prepare and eat them mindfully.