I’m just going to tell you right off the bat that I’m writing this on Day Eight. This allows me the perspective and sense of humor I absolutely lacked during the first week of the Whole30.
In my last post, I explained how relationships & general social anxieties (going to parties, restaurants, being around other humans) plagued my brain. I never once thought the actual eating plan would have a profound effect on me. Over the past few years, I’ve slowly weened myself off many bad eating habits: I swapped out Diet Coke for sparkling water years ago, I generally dislike pasta and rice, and am not much of dessert person. I was convinced I’d take to this “new” eating plan like a raindrop into the river.
This was going to be easy.
I woke up on day one expecting excitement. Instead, I felt panic. I also felt like hell from eating like a pig the entire pre-Whole30 weekend (you gotta binge before you get healthy, right? That’s normal, right?). For the past year, I’ve been eating a paleo-esque breakfast five days a week (cauliflower egg bake) but all of the sudden it occurred to me that my next 90+ meals would be strict Paleo. Uh-oh.
Luckily, I’d planned thoroughly for my day. I packed a good lunch (some salmon with dill, lemon and homemade mayo; a hard boiled egg and a salad) and my coworkers weren’t eating anything particularly yummy seeming, which helped.
At 1:30pm, when I’d normally have just a “small” bite of something sweet (what I’d previously believed was an inconsequential amount), my brain basically exploded. Total chaos. But I’d planned ahead! Instead of feeding myself sugar, I opted for snap peas, carrots and guac. About 20 minutes later, my bowels turned on me. Too much of a good thing? I felt awful, physically and mentally. C’mon, Whole30! Throw me a bone!
Immediately following work, I headed 40 minutes east for my stand-up class. Dinner that night was a chicken breast and salad, eaten in my car with my bare hands because I forgot utensils.
It was sad. I was sad. I went home and immediately went to bed.
I woke up at 6:30am and snoozed until I could snooze no more. Chalk it up to a combo of W30 & stupid, no-good daylight savings (can’t we just spring forward and leave it that way permanently?). At least I enjoyed my breakfast more this morning:
I felt much less anxiety than the previous day and even treated myself to a good coffee at my favorite coffee shop. Great coffee = no cream needed, and even if I got one every single day, that would still probably be less than what I’d normally spend on beer. Eek!
I was on top of the world… until I got to work. For those of you who don’t know, I work for this guy and spend all my days eating food, talking about food and writing about food. You know how you’re supposed to “plan ahead for potentially difficult situations”– like birthday parties or holidays? I realized every GD day at my office is such an event.
Girl Scout cookies, homemade granola and freshly baked chocolate chip/dulce de leche cookies from the Betty Crocker test kitchen (literally cookies that are scientifically engineered to be perfect. PERFECT, I TELL YOU!) littered our office. And it’s not like this is a big office where food magically disappears. There are only five of us. Food lingers here and it’s only ten steps away. Crap. At least I’d made some amazing grilled chicken with roasted sweet potato and onion mixes and asparagus:
I’d love to tell you what I had for dinner, but I honestly can’t remember. I also think I went to the gym. Who knows. This day was a blur.
Woke up with a headache. Arrived 20 minutes early for my 8:30am doctor’s appointment. Doctor arrived at appointment 20 minutes late. I wanted to kick her in the shins, even though I really do like her.
My boss saw my sad face when I arrived at the office and made me this, which actually helped:
Made a great dinner: butter lettuce tacos stuffed with Mexican-stlye ground beef, sauteed peppers and onions topped with chipotle mayo. Lime juice. Soda streamed water with cucumber (aka Paleo beer). Happiness.
DAY FOUR (aka Kill All The Things)
I woke up feeling like this, exhausted with a headache. I decided to treat myself to Grace Hightower’s Coffees of Rwanda, made in my lovely Chemex. That’s gotta help my bad attitude, right? Next thing you know, this happened:
I arrived at work at 8:30am. I went to set my lunch in the fridge only to discover a homemade Key lime pie (my coworker was testing the recipe for Food & Wine magazine). Key lime pie is my favorite dessert. In fact, it’s one of the only desserts I like (or more accurately, love).
Then, six pints of ice cream from Salt & Straw arrived courtesy of FedEx & our chef friend Jenn Lewis. I don’t normally go for ice cream, but I’ve been DYING to try S&S’s honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper. And here it is, in my office, four days into my Whole30. Eff. Adding insult to injury, Asher Miller (the chef behind Andrew’s Food truck, AZ Canteen), came in to test a recipe, which involved frying up big, fat slices of bacon in our non-ventilated office (hello, sugar).
However, the biggest challenge of the day reared its ugly head that evening. About a month ago, I’d told my coworkers I’d join them at Share Our Strength’s annual Cakewalk. Picture this: 20 of the Twin Cities’ best pastry chefs churning out perfect sample-sized confections, plus craft cocktails/wine/beer.
I thought I could skip it. Turns out the tickets were like $100. I had to go.
Carrot cake. Lemon curd. Chocolate cupcakes. Cake donuts. Cheese. You need to see the photos (courtesy of my coworker, Madeleine) to truly appreciate what I was dealing with:
I don’t even normally like these things (except the cheese. I love cheese). In fact, I wasn’t really even that tempted to eat them. But somehow, I wandered around the party just feelin’ blue.
When I got home, I cried myself to sleep.
I’m not being dramatic. That actually happened.
Since Day Four was such a buzzkill so let’s focus on the positive: I invited all my Whole30 compadres over for a potluck dinner… and it was amazing.
I made a paleo version of this (recipe hack coming soon!). We had a Brussels sprout salad, regular green salad, sweet potatoes, and these killer deviled eggs my pal Hilary made:
We were all psyched about the grub… including the three party guests who aren’t Whole30-ing it with us.
After dinner, we went to Wrestlepalooza, which is my favorite event of the entire year. I love wrestling & think it’s the pinnacle of entertainment. Even though it was sponsored by PBR (a beer I despise anyhow), skipping the beer was no big thang.
DAY SIX & SEVEN
No hangover (literally, three beers = hangover for me at age 31)! But wow, was I ever exhausted. Turns out, the W30 timeline is crazy accurate. It was a Saturday, so my beyonce, Josh, made me breakfast. Food tastes better when someone else cooks it.
I did a little cleaning, a little work and a lot of TV-ing, something I hardly ever do these days. It was a low-key day. I needed it.
The next day was equally chill. Dog park, coffee, grocery shopping, dinner with non-W30 friends (they knew about our eating plan and tweaked their menu to accommodate… so great!). By the time Sunday night rolled around, I was feeling psyched that we’d completed the first week (and with only a few tears to report!)
SPOILER ALERT: It’s only gotten easier & better in the days since this first week. My anxiety about this Whole30 biz has mostly evaporated and I feel fab.