Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hoppin' on the Bandwagon

About two years ago, in an attempt to shed a few (can you say muffintop?), a select few in the family embarked on an experiment to eliminate gluten from our diet.  In all honesty, I didn't expect to see any drastic results, mostly because I wasn't convinced that gluten was the cause of any ailments we might have.  Or it didn't appear to me to be.  So, I was completely unsurprised when I didn't see drastic results as what we  ended up doing was finding a substitute for gluten:  potatoes, rice, etc.  So, TECHNICALLY we went gluten free but no, we saw no visible effects (AND discovered it was difficult and expensive).  It got me to step outside my box in an attempt to be sneaky which I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing (I guess it depends on what your goal was...so for me...bad...very BAAADD).  For example, I made chicken strips but used masa harina (corn flour) instead and cooked them in peanut oil (in for a penny in for a pound) and they were DELICIOUS:
So, being as how the weight isn't going to lose itself (would that it could), I was on the look out for something that would get me pointed in the right direction.  Then last year a friend/comrade in arms mentioned doing the Whole30  (in the event you choose not to click the link, what that means is for 30 days you cut out of your diet all of the following: all dairy, grains, legumes (yes, that means peanuts), sugar (even honey), processed oils like canola, corn, vegetable (olive, avocado, nut oils are ok).  Now here is the "funny" part:  I had actually toyed with going Paleo and I'll be honest it probably would have been easier because at least they allow for some naturally occurring sugars (honey).  My reasoning for Whole30 was, selfishly, the timeline.  It's a 30 day commitment and one in which I am requiring the whole family to be "all in".  The purpose, as I understand it, is to reset your body.  Kinda like creating a clean slate.  Or a baseline.  You now know how your body SHOULD act and you can introduce the "forbiddens" gradually to see if they are causes/triggers for issues you may have concerning your health and adjust your diet accordingly.

I started prepping a little before new years by limiting my coffee intake.  That was going to be something the others didn't have to deal with but for me, it was gonna be a biggie.  OH, I get, I CAN have coffee, just nothing in it that makes me WANT it. (aside from caffeine). 

Today is day 4 and even though I'm still in the throws of pizza cravings, I'm going to attempt to describe how the process has gone so far.  For me,  it's been a lot of work.  Mostly because my family can't think outside of what is readily available and therefore whines incessantly about what they can't have instead of seeing what they can.  So if I don't have things packaged up and ready for them, think breakfast that doesn't include yogurt, cereal, toast, bagels, pancakes or waffles...or lunch (have you SEEN school lunches?) then they come close to meltdown.  I'm also feeling my way through this process.  Like how much fresh vegetables will we eat in a week (yeah...EPIC FAIL there...the answer?  a freaking truckload). SSLLLOOOWWWLLLLYYY they're coming on board.  My youngest, who I can rarely get to eat breakfast has been eating monkey salad (bananas, cashews and coconut flakes) almost every morning.  But only if I make it for her.  See where I'm going with this?

Did I mention that there is planning involved?  Yeah, LOTS of planning.  Luckily I was a little prepared.  Not where I should be but a little.  I made mayo.  Yes, you read that right.  Some avocado oil, an egg yolk, some lemon juice a little dry mustard and salt and pepper and VOILA...mayo.  OK, it's not VOILA and my whole arm cramped  in the process but I.MADE.MAYO.  And I made it as part of a dressing for lunches for the week.  I had a bag of broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, sliced red and yellow peppers, red onions and several broiled chicken breasts cubed that I mixed together and tossed with a dressing of homemade mayo and red wine vinegar.  I had romaine leaves they could either use to make "boats" with for lunch or just eat as is. 

So, day one, I made a sausage (made my own seasoning for the pork), spinach, pepper and onion frittata.  It wasn't done before the husband left for work, which was too bad because it was delicious:
 But the nice part was that I was able to cut it into servings and it was available for the next couple days.  The girls, of course, since I had something ready, they didn't want that.  See where this is going? 

Lunch I had all boxed up into little containers:  the above salad and apple slices with almond butter.
 Dinner was a bit of a fail.  I bought rockfish at Whole Paycheck Foods and made roasted potatoes with fresh herbs, broiled rockfish with ghee and almonds, and a salad  with home made Italian dressing (that EVERYONE, to my shock, loved).  I didn't care for the rockfish.  Lesson learned.
Lots of water, tea without sweetener.  I have fruit and veggies and raw nuts available and some Larabars for "emergencies"* and day one is over and I realize...I SO haven't planned this well.

So day 2 starts with yesterday's leftover potatoes with a couple eggs on them and the aforementioned monkey salad.  The husband took the frittata.  Lunch was the same for the girls.  The husband took the leftover salad with chicken (thank God I had the foresight to broil several chicken breasts to have on hand just in case) cut into cubes on top and the dressing (which he left on the counter).  For dinner I made Carnitas with cilantro lime cauliflower rice and a salad of avocados and tomatoes dressed with avocado oil, lime juice and cilantro.  This was FABULOUS (my girls were actually impressed with how good the "rice" was), but my error was in not realizing how little "rice" the cauliflower processed to, having to wait for my oldest daughter to get home and bring a second one.  Loved being able to throw the pork in the crock and just let it go:
Day 3 my oldest daughter was ready to throw in the towel.  She is nannying during jterm and the family is gluten free so you'd think easy-peasy for her right?  No, there were very few things that she could eat so had been coming home starving (which might have been why she loved everything so far).  I was ready for her with the frittata, chicken salad lettuce wrap and apple and almond butter.  The husband took the leftovers from Day 2 for lunch with an apple and almond butter,  the middle daughter I made a salad with power greens (spinach, kale and swiss chard), put peppers, tomatoes, avocado and chicken on top with the left over dressing the husband forgot from Day 2 and the youngest I made a waldorf-ish salad with chicken, apples, grapes, peppers, cashews, mayo and apple cider vinegar and fresh thyme.  We had signed up to do FMSC  at a mobile packing station at our church and knew we'd be getting out late and they'd be starving so I made a slow cooker taco meat with chicken breasts cut into cubes, and when we got home we made taco salads with romaine, chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocados and black olives (husband).  I had compliant salsa and also made a dressing with avocado oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and a jalapeno, which everyone seemed to love as well.
Today starts Day 4 and the girls have requested that I make them a recognizable carb.  By that I believe they mean hash browns,  with eggs and sausage.  And the husband requested steak for dinner which I can work into salads for the week.  So, I'm getting there.  

I have, in preparation, though, made 2 trips each to Walmart and Sams Club, one to Cub, one to Whole Paycheck Foods, and one to Trader Joes.  AND I'M JUST 4 DAYS IN.  We've gone through more food in those 4 days than I can remember with very little being thrown out.  I know the not throwing out part is good...actually it's great. But HOLY HANNAH, it's expensive.  Now I get that I'm not even doing this COMPLETELY right.  OH, I'm reading labels and discarding anything with added "see above list" that is not compliant.  I'm not buying grass fed organic meat.  Have you compared the prices?  And given the number of eggs we have gone through this week, I simply cannot afford to go with the pastured organic eggs that are hand fed by leprechauns.  Sorry, not in our budget.  As it is, just trying to FIND bacon with no sugar or nitrates (there was not ONE at Whole Paycheck Foods) has thrown me into a tizzy.  Flour...pfffttt...I can do with out.  Bacon?  Just shoot me.  And when I do/did find  it (US Wellness Meats), it turns out that they sell it for $17/1.5lb (and are perpetually sold out so SOMEONE is buying it) which puts a major dilemma in my court:  new glasses for the middle daughter or bacon for me?  What to do, what to do? *hears a voice whispering...buy the bacon*

Regardless, I'm only halfway through the first week and I AM committed.  I think a lot of my attitude stems from coming off sugar, flour, some caffeine (I've switched to tea which helps only with caffeine) and, yes, alcohol (although alcohol was another vice that I have already been cutting back on, NYE not withstanding), but I AM optimistic.  I'm hoping once the week is under my belt, I'll be better prepared and feel better.

OH, that's another point.  I also have a plan to start working out but wanted to wait and see what the first week brings, detox wise. My oldest daughter seems to have been hit the hardest and for now I'm going to assume it's the sugar.  She woke up this morning light headed, with the shakes.  She was pretty scared until she ate and I suspect it's her body reacting to the lack of sugar.  I told her to keep a Larabar on hand if she was somewhere and this came upon her but I think once we are through this week this will disappear as her body reaccustomizes itself to the lack of sugar.  While she didn't think she ate that much sugar, I have watched her eat an entire package of Twizzler Pull-n-Peel in one sitting.  This is an exercise for all of us to recognize what foods we are putting in our bodies.

So, I'll be updating what's going on here occasionally.  I'll try and post the fails as well as the successes.  One of the key points to this program is not to weigh yourself during the program.  I struggle with this but I understand how lack of needle movement can frustrate one to quit.  On the other hand movement in the right direction (that would be down) is a motivator.  For now, we're following the rules.

My goals for the next week include adding making my own nut butters because the $13.49 I paid for Nuttzo at Whole Paycheck Foods was, well NUTTZO.  Even if it was a 7 nut and seed butter.  Trader Joes  almond butter is delicious and compliant but it's a haul and I want to see if I can make it cheaper.  That way it's easy to have it on hand if I run out.  I also found a recipe for  zucchini hummus I want to try, because surprisingly, my children eat hummus.  Typical hummus has chickpeas as the base so it is a no-no.  This uses tahini (sesame paste/butter).  If I can find something for the kids to dip veggies into to make them "better", I can hopefully get them turning to it as a quick snack when they get home from school.

I think goals are good to have.  Making small changes, trying new things to see how they work, IF they work, and how you can incorporate them seamlessly into your everyday live is a positive.

Wish me luck.

*emergencies...walking in the door from school and being unwilling or unable (because, obviously your arms are tied behind your back) to cut up an apple, peel a tangerine or a banana.  THOSE kind of emergencies.

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