Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What? Whole30 Again?

shaking my head--yes.

I'm not sure if I was thinking clearly or not, but I decided to rope in a few folks at the gym for Whole30 in September. You know, start the school year off right, make a preemptive strike on the holidays. It's a great idea.

I've got a lot on my plate, and all the food prep for the Whole30 does add just a little bit more to it, making life a tad less flexible, but I'm hopeful.

I've invested in something that is bound to revolutionize my cooking. It's this:

Right now on Amazon it's half price. I suggest you buy one immediately, then subscribe to NomNom Paleo who has amazing recipes written specifically for this gizmo. You'll want to cook the Kalua Pig first. Trust me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Whole30 Day 30: That's a Wrap (a gluten-free wrap, of course)

We finished! Tomorrow when I wake up in the morning I will be able to have cream in my coffee if I want. Alas. I don't have any, so I guess that means I'll stick with the Whole30 drill...I will be adding some stevia. Okay, I confess...I've been putting 3-5 drops of stevia in my coffee all along. I just. couldn't. (I did cut the stevia dose by half, though from what I normally use) I tried, I really, really tried. The good news is, though, that I cut back my coffee consumption considerably, simply because I woke up feeling so much better and didn't need it! One cup of coffee in the morning was all I had most days, and a second if I was feeling cozy, but not because I needed to caffeine-launch myself into the day.

I know I've lost weight. I know I'm healthier. I know I'm actually enjoying vegetables again. I know that I can do this for the long-term. Of course I'm going to eat chocolate again, and the occasional paleo treat that I make for my family that includes honey or maple syrup, but the clean eating style of Whole30 is what I and my family need. I'll keep it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whole30 Day 23: What is Fitness, Really?

I've been thinking about fitness for two and a half years now, or nearly. I have gone from what I would describe as being completely "unfit" or "out of shape" at the beginning to having (for me) a reasonable level of physical fitness--one that the conventional medical community would probably sign off on, but in my own opinion needs a lot of improvement. I want to improve my core strength, my running skills (when this foot heals up, which is taking a long time), and increase my endurance. I want to continue to reduce my body fat percentage. Thankfully Whole30 is helping in that department, but I still have quite a way to go. But I'm describing here things that only pertain to bodily health.

My experience has shown me that physical fitness is only one-quarter of an equation that I would term overall fitness or well-being. All four areas must be attended to if one wants to be considered truly fit. In order of importance they are: spiritual life, emotional health, material stewardship, and physical fitness. This is not to imply that one must be mastered before another--rather, they are like spinning plates that all must be kept spinning, but at different times one or another may start to wobble. As our skills develop, we are able to tend to more plates more efficiently, but even so, they must be started at some point, and if I were to choose the focus of what must be started when, that is the order.

I place spiritual fitness at the top of the list because really it is the only thing that matters when you lay your head on the pillow at night, not knowing if tomorrow is another day or not. Are you at peace? Are you in right relationship with God? Do you know that you know that you know that your life is secure for eternity? It is from this point that all of the other elements flow.

I place emotional health second because that is a direct link to our spiritual life and every relationship that surrounds us. Are you in right relationship with the people around you? Can you look everyone in the eye without judgment, regret, or pain? Can you forgive others when they wrong you? Do you feel comfortable in your own skin, when you are all alone, or when you are in a crowd of people? Are you at peace with people? Why is this second to spiritual life? The answer is simple--When you are in right relationship with God, right relationship with people follows. When we are constantly striving to find our validation from others, to compare ourselves to others, or to compete and best others, we are worshiping what we are and not who God is. Other humans are not going to sign the admission ticket to eternity. God is. When we see ourselves and others in the proper light of who we really are according to God, it is actually very easy to be at peace with others. The cool thing is that God really, really loves you. and them. even the ugly difficult ones. So stop whatever it is you are doing to try to be better, or work harder. He really doesn't care and neither do those others--God and those other people just want you to be yourself and love them. The great part is you will hold your head higher and sleep better. You will be at peace.

Stewardship of our money and possessions is third on this list because with our spiritual and emotional health in place, we can have a completely different perspective on our money and stuff. If you are living for an eternity which does not rely on our wealth or possessions then those things suddenly mean much less than they did. If you are living in right relationship with people and loving them as you should, what you have to give is yourself, not money and junk. Of course possessions are part of life and we have actual physical needs for certain things, but when we get down to the nitty-gritty, it is so much less than we trick ourselves into thinking we need! We can begin to redirect our resources to meeting the needs of others and showing love in a new and different way rather than self-medicating ourselves with possessions, shopping, alcohol, food, or anything else that we tend to indulge and wallow in. These things ultimately become the proverbial albatross around our necks that we later struggle to rid ourselves of. Getting our financial houses in order helps us to order our priorities, learn to live with less, save for the future, and give to others from our abundance.

Don't assume that because physical fitness is last on the list that I believe it to be unimportant. Quite the contrary. It would be difficult to separate it from financial stewardship in its value simply because it is also a matter of stewardship. 

How we live in our body affects every other aspect of our lives. It is the mirror that reflects how well we are managing the other three aspects of our existences, and it is the plate that must be kept spinning if the others are to function properly. When the body is healthy the mind is clear, the emotions are elevated, the perspective is brighter. When we are in good health we are able to actively attend to our spiritual health our relational health, and our financial stewardship. Every day that we are upright and moving we need to be contributing to the continuation of that state, for every moment invested in our physical well-being will pay dividends. Even in the event of a sudden loss of health, a better level of physical fitness will help in recovery or even enable us to mentally deal with whatever may come. A person who is spiritually and emotionally fit will long to live an active, disciplined life that is productive and changes the world for the better. Physical fitness is vital to the equation. 

So go ahead--spin the plates. Start somewhere, but start. The sooner you start the sooner you can build the skills to have a truly fit life.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Whole30 Day18: Are We There Yet?

Okay, I'll admit. I'm a little bored of this at the moment. I really want a "paleo" muffin. I mean, come on...every ingredient except for the honey (and the fact that it is indeed a muffin) is W30 approved. Just a muffin? Please?

I could not begin to log today's meals if I tried. I know I ate a Lara bar and awholelottaolives at one point because I was in and out of the house at weird times with no time to prepare a decent meal and no leftovers! It's been a busy week.

Even so, we're still staying on course with all W30 approved foods, even when we have a day when the schedule or meal planning is a tad off--like today. I have doggedly refused to step my toe over the line into "illegal" territory.

Sunday is Easter. Our traditional meal every year is rack of lamb with a garlic yogurt sauce. I may have one, tiny, snakey lick. I've already decided that I can't have wine or any desert for Easter, which is typically a paleo feast for us, except for the yogurt sauce. I can turn down desert. Lamb and yogurt sauce on the other hand.

What am I going to do?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Whole30 Day 15: Halfway There!

Whole30 is halfway done as of today! 

I didn't log or blog anything last week--I totally stayed on plan, but was simply too busy and forgot to write things down. I also took a week off from WODs so as to rest my foot. Even though I had done no running or jumping, my foot was feeling pretty battered from going back to my previous workout schedule, and I guess it was just a little too much. I felt like I had a hot stick in my ankle and heel all week. Ugh.

The busy week did run me down a bit, and by Friday I was ready for a break from cooking. We decided to venture out and try to find some food that was as close to Whole30 compliant as possible, and I had a 1/2 cobb salad. I forgot to tell them no feta, and so it wasn't 100% clean, but very, close I think. No ill effects as a result.

This weekend I made a delicious pot of vegetable soup but ran into a problem when I remembered that my mixed vegetables had both corn and peas in it. It's something I never gave much thought to, but then this program is making me think about every ingredient I ingest. I subbed it for just green beans and okra. It went something like this:

10 cups homemade turkey stock (made from a happy turkey who lived a pastured life)
1/2 head green cabbage
4 lg. carrots
4 stalks celery with leaves
1 medium onion
2 lg. cloves garlic
28 oz. diced tomatoes
2 small white potatoes
1 16 oz. bag green beans
1 16 oz. bag okra
1 tsp (approx.) herbs de provence
2 tsp palmfuls thyme 
2 bay leaves
2 - 4 dashes hot sauce
dash of coconut aminos (optional--I almost ruined the soup by adding too much)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook until all vegetables are tender and then add shredded cooked chicken. 


Progress Report: After two weeks of eating the Whole30 way, I can say that I am still doing just fine. The most difficult part is having to have the endurance and forethought to plan and prepare every meal for thirty days straight. I don't want to have to succumb to the "need" to eat out which will most certainly cause me to make a compromise.

I continue to get the best sleep I've had in ages. Anyone who has ever suffered from insomnia understands that you cannot place a value on sleep until you can't get it.

Someone told me today that they can tell I'm losing weight. Cool. I don't know for sure yet, but my pants are feeling more comfortable and one pair is even feeling baggy. 

I am not suffering from any seasonal allergies, which is kind of a miracle for this time of year. 

My skin broke out last week (detox? could be hormones) but has cleared up nicely this week.

Overall, I feel awesome. 

Today's WOD:

1 RM back squat: PR at 190#

3 rounds for time:
   20 calories row
   25 pushups

time: 9:44

Monday, March 23, 2015

Whole30: Week 2 is Underway, I Can Take a Deep Breath

No really, I CAN take a deep breath. Normally at this time of year, I can't. Everyone around me is crying "allergies!" and I'm sitting around with my teeth in my mouth, breathing. My nose is not stuffed up, I'm not wheezing, my husband says I'm not snoring, and my head and eyes feel very clear.

Did I mention that I am sleeping so soundly? I think I may have.

Did I mention that my pants already fit more comfortably? No? Well they do.

But it is great to be over the hump of the first week. My biggest source of stress going into this was how I would manage all the meal planning and kitchen time. When I want a break, this is what I want a break from. It hasn't been so bad. The husband and I have been doing all of the meal prep together, which is nice, and it lightens the load. I'm also being very deliberate in my meal planning to be sure that we have plenty of leftovers for lunches and busy evenings when meals are not going to be easy to plan.

This week we have a Kalua pulled pork from Nom Nom Paleo on deck, a chicken to roast, extra steaks for lunches and steak and egg breakfasts, lots of veggies for salads, avocados to make the salads awesome, 42 cups of turkey broth, and some properly-caught tuna for quick and easy and I'm also really glad that we purchased a couple of boxes of Whole30 compliant Larabars. They have come in handy when I'm having a major craving for something sweet or on the way home from a WOD, but we are eating them sparingly. Suffice it to say that we're certainly not starving, and we're really not suffering.

If you are reading this and wondering about doing Whole30, know that you must go into with a plan. Use Pinterest, use blogs, really study the Whole30 website and inform yourself about what ingredients you cannot have. If you go in knowing that there is going to be a time commitment to food preparation and a mental commitment to not giving into cravings and temptations, the 30 days should be pretty smooth sailing.

Don't be impulsive. Don't think, "This is awesome! Real food! That's like, sweet potatoes and stuff, right? I'm going to do it!" and then fall on your face the first week because you didn't realize that there was actual hard time in the kitchen to be done. Isn't the point of this to get you back in touch with your food, anyway? To remember what it means to eat real, whole, nutritious food?

I am relearning a very important lesson that I discovered the first time I did a major food overhaul like this: to eat well requires me to be at home. Being at home involves spending time in my house--dirty or clean, and with my family--be they pleasant or unpleasant. It comes down to being where I'm meant to be with the people who need me most, meeting our most fundamental needs.

And I'm okay with that.

Day 8 Log:

B - BP Coffee, 2 eggs, banana, turkey broth with gelatin
L - smoothie, veggies, berries, banana, eggs, gelatin
D - steak, asparagus, roasted red potatoes
S - Larabar, almonds

*went a little heavy on fruit today with the extra banana and Larabar. I think I'm craving something sweet.

WOD - letting the foot rest and mobilizing. We'll see how it is tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Whole30 Day 6-7: Throwing Down wi' my Peeps! (CFW Open 15.4)

My favorite day of the CrossFit week is Saturday mornings. I try never to miss a Saturday. Today (and every Saturday during the CF open season) we did Open WOD 15.4, scaled and Rx. My kids did the kids' competition, and I participated in the scaled division. The best thing about Saturdays is the people. You get to see everyone, and people aren't in a big rush to get somewhere else, so they hang out and chat. My closest friends are here, and this is the place where I have measured significant physical changes in my health. It means the world to me.. 


Go Molly!

Push Press, not even sweating. yet.
Got home and prepped dinner tonight. Normally on Saturday evenings we have gluten free pizza and a movie, but since that wasn't an option for us, we decided to go with totally legit, paleo chicken wings, complete with homemade dressing. The next best thing.

I find it very helpful to have a vac-seal machine that can speed up the marinating process.
We've been using Tessamae's for a while. They put nothing offensive in their sauces!
Dinner is served

Saturday, Day 6 
B - BP Coffee, Smoothie
S - Larabar
L - Salad with ham, eggs, avocados, tomatoes, cukes, dressing
D - Chicken wings

WOD - 15.4

Sunday, Day 7 
B - BP Coffee, smoothie
L - leftover chicken wings
S - Almonds
D - Salad 

WOD - rest day

Really feeling the strong desire for something sweet. ugh.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Whole30 Day 5: The Sand in the Hourglass

Today is the first day I felt like I was missing out... The first day that I thought, "Oh, 25 more days feels like forever." And tomorrow I face more of the same. I will go to the box to participate in the CrossFit Open WOD 15.4, and afterwards everyone will have a beer and some yummy snack that won't be on plan. I am determined to be totally okay with this situation.

This morning I sat with two friends at tea. I took hard-boiled eggs with me so as not to be hungry while they sat and ate coffee cake and something like Indian donut-holes that smelled wonderful. All of it clean, or nearly. Certainly not bad stuff as these girls know how to cook real food, and have become quite adept at making food that reminds you of the good old days but actually tastes much, much better. In fact, it's kind of a new paradigm. The bad stuff doesn't appeal to me anymore, but who can resist a perfectly clean piece of coffee cake made with palm sugar or honey? Ugh.

Then this afternoon some friends came over and watched Henry V with us as part of their Shakespeare unit in literature. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but we made popcorn for the kids and it smelled so wonderful, and I couldn't eat a bite of it.

I griped a little about it, and as soon as I did, my friend who is currently on the autoimmune protocol (AIP), which is even more limiting than Whole30, offered a bag of something absolutely amazing...Jackson's Honest sweet potato chips with nothing other than coconut oil and sea salt!

I was tired, cranky, and a tad bitter that I couldn't have anything everyone else was having. I'm not sure if it was "legal" on a psychological level, but anyway, it saved the day.

I jumped online and bought a case for myself the minute they left.

Also today I hit a bit of the moody, tired, feeling that I was hoping to sidestep. It wasn't severe. It just felt like a dreary day all the way around.

In other news, I did officially ditch the scale. Hid it in the back of my closet. I may decide to check it again at the end, but for now, it's off plan. I will still have a smoothie after my WOD tomorrow.

Today's Log, Day 5: (believe me, there is nothing to be excited about on this one)

B - BP coffee, 2 hard boiled eggs
L - leftover steak. no time to prep veggies
S - sweet potato chips and a legal cherry pie LARA bar. I can say that I was unprepared for how much I would need something just a bit sweet. That fit the bill perfectly.
D - leftover artichoke chicken, salad, 1/2 sweet potato

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Whole30 Day 4: Pancake Salvation and the Timeline

Right, I get it. There are no pancakes for Mom today. There are grains and honey and all kinds of psychological no-nos associated with this breakfast classic, so I'm not consuming. Don't think I fell off the wagon that fast! Buuuuuuuuut....

Soon after I started giving up grains and eating a more paleo-style diet, we still found that we missed our Saturday morning routine of pancakes and sausage or what-have-you (read BACON).
I started experimenting with recipes for gluten-free or grain-free pancakes, and have developed this recipe that the whole family loves. We have never missed crummy, nutrient-void pancakes loaded with pseudo-maple-flavored-can-you-even-call-it-syrup again. This recipe will help the other members of your family make some positive changes while you are doing the same for yourself. If you have kids, these may well save your sanity.

The secret is not in the stack of flap-jacks dripping with syrup, but in the leftovers. I made a huge batch of these this morning for two hungry kids and stowed the remaining pancakes in a container. Now tomorrow, for breakfast or snacks the kids can grab a pancake, smear it with almond butter or peanut butter, a drizzle of honey and bam! Tummy is full. It saves me a whole lot of suffering when they have a really healthy alternative to turn to and I don't have to be involved in the "Mom! I'm hungry!" thing. My kids are not eating a completely paleo diet. I do permit gluten free, nutrient dense (clean) foods such as this.

I didn't really feel tempted by the pancakes. Today. I had another hard-boiled egg. This could get annoying, but since I'm already not a huge breakfast person, hard-boiled eggs are normal fare for me anyway. I don't need a lot in the early part of the day. I'm also finding that adding a teaspoon of coconut oil and some unsweetened coconut milk to my coffee almost negates any need for breakfast. Today I was not hungry until 11:30 AM, at which point I ate the egg. But that's just me. I suppose for some it may be a very challenging meal to have to constantly negotiate.

So, it's day 4 and I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whole30 is kind enough to publish a timeline that tells you what to expect, and so far I'm having a very easy time of it. Day 4 is the "Kill all the things" phase. I didn't want to kill anything today, so I think that's, you know, pretty good. Maybe tomorrow something will die, but honestly, I felt pretty amazing. I felt a bit sluggish during my WOD and apparently forgot how to count to ten, but never mind. It happens. Here is today's log entry:

Day 4:
B - BP coffee, 1 egg
L - Chicken broth with gelatin added YUM! Steak and spinach
D - leftovers, so another taco sweet potato. no guacamole. sad.
S - almonds, 2 slices ham

2 RM power clean 105# (lame-o. It's all in my head!)
3 rounds with 9-minute time cap
   5 cleans
   10 knees to elbows
   15 KB swings
max burpees in time remaining: 17

Whole30, Day 3 - Oh, the Sleep, the Sleep, the Sleep!

That was my first thought waking on the morning of day 3. And for that matter on day 4 since I am writing this a morning late.

I had forgotten how sweet and deep a sleep I get when I'm not ingesting toxins! As much as I hate to say this, I know that wine is my biggest culprit, and two glasses of wine, if not timed perfectly in the evening will wreck my sleep pattern, causing me to wake at 3-4 a.m. and lose hours of sleep. Then why do I insist on continuing to do this? Which is more valuable?

There are these ceremonies in life, little markers of the day that on a psychological level, help me to pass the time. The first is my coffee ceremony in the morning. This is perhaps the greater addiction. I have clung to my coffee routine since my sophomore year in college. The problem that I have with this is that I cannot stand black coffee. In my younger years I needed coffeemate or loads of sugar (blech!) Since starting to eat a healthy diet I have gone to organic half and half or raw milk and stevia. Now I am learning to like bullet-proof coffee made with coconut oil and coconut cream. It's actually pretty good.

The wine routine is a little easier to deal with, but I still feel the loss. When I start to cook dinner in the evening and my husband gets home for work, I love the atmosphere of relaxed conversation, food on the stove and a glass of wine. There isn't really any substitute for what goes in the glass...pellegrino? meh. I'm okay with it, but yesterday for the first time I had to steel my resolve a bit and just allow myself to miss the wine. But when I wake in the morning, realizing that I slept so well and didn't wake even once in the night--the payoff is worth it. Everything is clearer and easier to deal with when I'm rested. That alone is going to be my motivation when I miss my little routines.

Day 3 Log
B - Bullet-proof coffee, 2 hard boiled eggs much later in the morning
L - 1 chicken thigh, green (leftovers from day 2)
S  - almonds (as usual!) though I allowed myself to get a little too hungry in the morning and ate a few too many almonds. When I saw that I was eating more than my serving size I quickly prepared lunch so that I wouldn't snack too much.
D - 1/2 sweet potato taco. This is a half sweet potato stuffed with chili (no beans), ghee, guacamole, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeƱo. It is an old standby that we have made since our first paleo challenge, and it is one of our favorite meals. 

WOD - Baseline WOD with my son. Had planned to get to the gym, but also wanted to do a simple baseline bodyweight WOD to measure any progress at the end of Whole30. Together we did:

3 rounds for time:
25 push-ups
25 sit-ups
25 overhead squats with a PVC pipe
time: 11:31

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Whole 30, Day 2

Oh my aching back! This has nothing to do with Whole30 except that I did a WOD yesterday and 40 heavy-ish deadlifts and 1000m rowing later--I'm a tad sore. Nothing injured. Just sore.

Today I decided to mobilize and rest the tired back, and will hopefully get into the gym tomorrow afternoon.

Dinner going in
Day two of Whole30 has been good. Slept really well last night and from past experience, I can say that this is the thing I look forward to most in the coming weeks.

Breakfast: bullet-proof coffee made with coconut oil and unsweetened coconut milk
(This must have satisfied me for a while because I wasn't hungry for anything else until about 11:00 a.m. when I had a hard-boiled egg.)
Just out of the oven!
Lunch: ate fairly late and had leftover sweet potato and steak from dinner last night. Mug of organic green tea

snack: handful of almonds

Dinner: Baked chicken thighs with artichokes and kalamata olives with herbed lemon and olive oil, green beans, and salad.

This was really, really good.
I thought the biggest challenge would be not having half and half in my coffee, but that is not it. It's the SCALE!!! I am not sure why Whole30 doesn't want any stepping on the scale for 30 days--No, I get it, this is supposed to be about much more than weight loss, but come on! I want to get to see some progress along the way. I know it will happen, and it's kind of fun and inspiring to see those numbers go down. I'll admit that I couldn't resist the urge to see if maybe, just maybe, even after only one day...pleeease? I won't say what the outcome of that was because I don't want to tempt you.

So now we have two slight points of contention: smoothies and the scale. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Whole30 Live Blogging...Go!

Today my husband and I started Whole 30 - a month-long challenge to eat a strictly paleo, completely unsweetened diet. There's no wine either. Or half and half in my coffee. I can live without sweeteners. I can live without wine. I have a really hard time not having half and half in my coffee, but there's coconut milk, so I'll make it.

We've been tossing around the idea of doing Whole 30 for a while. Our box had a similar nutrition challenge in January, but I wasn't ready...What? Not ready? Our coach asked me today why I hadn't participated (I had even expressed interest at the time it came up), and he gave me that "oh, c'mon look" until I explained...

I just realized that my last post on this blog was nearly a year ago, in April 2014, when I talked about what I want out of CrossFit. It was a milestone of sorts, and it was timely. I didn't know that I was about to walk through a very difficult season.

That said, from that time until now has been a difficult season. My mother, who had suffered for some time with Alzheimer's endured some very rough medical issues, and then passed away in early October. Around the time of her death, in the midst of supporting my family, continuing to homeschool, and grieving, I found myself going through life at about half-speed. In November I injured my foot and have been walking around with a nice case of plantar fasciitis. Ugh. Just...ugh.

So I continued my workouts with about half my heart and brain caring. Then last week something snapped, and I realized that I'm done living a half-life. Weight that I had worked so hard to keep off has definitely caught back up with me, and I am not at all what I'd call in "fighting form." My strength is up, endurance is down, and I look and feel like I'm is time to start Whole 30. 

I chose Whole 30 because I learned of it when we did another paleo challenge as a gym during my first year called Whole Life Challenge. I did really well on Whole Life Challenge, but there was too much stuff you had to do to earn points, and competing with others for weight loss is not something I enjoyed. At all. With Whole 30, all I have to do is mind the food and read stuff. I don't have to log my minutes of mindfulness, mobility, workouts, etc. Just the food and drink. we go: Back to the Accidental CrossFitter, if the name still applies. It's been 2 1/2 years nearly since that first fateful post. I am not the same person in many ways, and CrossFit is a big part of that.

Coffee w/ coconut milk
Breakfast (Post WOD): spinach, carrot, some berries, 1/2 banana, diluted coconut milk, egg, and gelatin smoothie. (had to eat it on the run, so while they discourage smoothies, I'll just have to live with myself and break that not-quite rule sometimes.)
Lunch: Cobb Salad over mixed greens using this dressing, which is really, really good!
Snack: handful of almonds, 1 clementine
Dinner: Steak, 1/2 sweet potato, broccoli

2 RM back squat (high bar) 180# (PR)
4 rounds (scaled from double under because of my foot) 
- 250m max effort row
- 10 deadlifts at 155# (Rx)
Time: 9:41