If At First You Don’t Succeed…

It is a new month, which means I have a new header.  It’s a bit of a departure for me, art-wise, and very…caveman-ish.  There’s a reason for that.

For the last couple of weeks, my Young Diabetic Friend and I have been whipping each other into a bit of a frenzy.  You see, today begins a Whole9 sponsored Whole30 to celebrate and promote the release of their new book, It Starts With Food.  I haven’t bought it (yet), but from what I understand it is an in-depth explanation of their nutritional philosophy and is meant to be a sort of guide and companion for those who embrace the Whole30 plan, either as a 30 day nutritional “detox” or as a lifestyle.  At any rate, I’d been pondering it ever since they announced it about 6 weeks ago, and once I got my Young Diabetic Friend to jump on the bandwagon, I figured – why not?

Of course, my first two attempts were not exactly what I’d call “blazing successes” but if you think that will deter me from trying again, well, you just haven’t been hanging around here very long, have you?

The basics of the Whole30 are this:

  • No sweeteners of any kind – no honey, no maple syrup, no coconut sugar, no evaporated cane juice, no date sugar, no stevia.  If you’ve been reading here for any time at all, you know this is going to be hard for me.
  • No alcohol, not even to cook with.  Once, this would have been very hard, but not any more.  Well, except for the cooking part, but I’ll deal.
  • No grains of any kind.  Not a problem.
  • No legumes.  The occasional spoon of peanut butter is out, but I won’t miss it, and the rest of it has pretty much been off the menu for awhile anyway.
  • No dairy of any kind.  Dairy has become more and more of a problem for me lately – pretty much ever since I came down with pneumonia.  I’ve been avoiding it more and more lately, so avoiding it completely for 30 days shouldn’t be too hard.
  • No white potatoes.  Yeah, we’ve been eating them lately because they’re in season.  But they’ll still be in season come August 31, so I’m not going to stress over it.  I won’t buy any at the farmers market, and what we get in our weekly CSA share, I’ll just feed to The Young One, and Beloved, if he wants them (he often doesn’t).
  • No carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.  No problem, since I avoid these anyway, especially MSG.  The coconut milk I use is carrageenan and BPA-free (Native Forest, for those of you who might be curious).
  • No “legal” junk food.  For me, this means no gluten-free goodies – the waffles, pancakes, muffins.  Which is just as well; I’ve been making them far too often lately.

For someone with a food blog, this presents some interesting challenges – especially me, since the whole premise of my blog is that a “restrictive” diet (mostly gluten- and dairy-free, but also free of processed convenience “foods”) isn’t really restrictive; it’s quite doable, in fact.  Most people doing a Whole30 just have to worry about what to eat; I have to worry about providing the recipes they potentially use.

Can I do it?  Of course I can.  The better question is will I do it?  Well, that remains to be seen.  I’ve considered documenting everything I eat here on the blog, both in words and photos (very much like what Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo does).  If I do, it won’t be on the main page; I’ll set up an extra section and link to it (and provide a separate RSS feed if you’re bored interested enough to follow every day).  It never hurts to have an extra way to motivate and keep yourself honest.

As for why I’m doing this, there are a couple of things I hope to accomplish over the next 30 days:

  • Get my blood sugar on an even keel.  I’m prediabetic, and my blood sugar has taken me on a roller coaster ride lately.  Not encouraging…not encouraging at all.
  • Strictly curb my sugar intake.  Part and parcel of the previous goal.
  • Better sleep, one of the benefits you’re supposed to reap from the Whole30.
  • Get into the habit of regular exercise.

The last is not a requirement of Whole30 participation, but it’s something I need to do.  So much so that my Young Diabetic Friend, who has become a Crossfit enthusiast in the last couple of months, has presented me with an additional 30-day challenge.  For every day I exercise, even it’s just walking, at the end of the Whole30, he will do a burpee; if I exercise every day, he will do an additional 15.

If you’re not impressed, you didn’t click the link.

And wish me luck, because weeeee’re off!

15 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed…”

  1. We got this, Jan! Each day is a new day, but we got this! Let’s stay positive and knock this one out of the park!

    With that being said, the list (and said challenges) for me in the restriction are as follows (based on your list above).

    – Sweeteners are going to be a little problem, only because of the diet soda and 5 hour energy. But we’ll power through.
    – Alcohol – NO problem. I cut back on my alcohol intake months ago. I may have something every few months, if that.
    – Grains – NO problem!
    – Legumes – not really a huge deal (although I have been known to destroy a can of mixed nuts), but I do need to curb the intake of nuts, in general. I ate entirely too many almonds last night!
    – Dairy – This is an interesting one. I dont consume a great amount of it (I cant drink milk because the lactose screws with the blood sugar), but I do consume some cheese and sour cream, as well as cream cheese. This one is important from a health perspective for me, due to some gastro issues in the past.
    – Potatoes – Meh, who the hell wants to eat potatoes when there are so many other good foods out there? In all seriousness, not a problem. I stopped eating potatoes years ago. The last potato I had was a homemade french fry back in April.
    – MSG, sulfites, nitrites, etc – This is a potential issue for me, as I dont pay as particular attention as I should. I have never claimed myself to be pull paleo, but more of the High Fat/Low Carb group. The main reason for this was because my whole motivation for this lifestyle has been about my blood sugar.
    – Paleo Junk Food – The only thing i make that is considered junk food is pizza. I dont make it often enough for it to be a big deal (cant have the dairy anyway, so whats the point of a pizza with no cheese).

    My goals through this are simple – more control over the blood sugar and to learn more about how my body handles certain things. I have found the understanding of my body to be a valuable tool in making decisions, which have helped me significantly curb my med intake (I’ve been off the insulin for about a month and am still taking meds as needed [>150 mg/dl blood glucose]). The ultimate goal is to be off the meds and stable.

    I’ve only been doing Crossfit about 7 weeks and burpees are quite challenging. As much as I can’t believe Im about to say this:

    “Jan, make it so I have to do 45 of the damn things!”

    The burpees will commence the weekend following the Whole30 challenge (Sept 1st or 2nd). There may or may not be video to follow of said burpees.

    Lets get after it!

  2. By the way, to answer your question on “will you do it”. The answer to that is also “YES!”

    I would highly recommend documenting as much as possible (even if you dont post it online….which I am actually planning on doing in some fashion). This will give you a LOT of feedback for future adjustments. For example, the things I want to document (There’s so much really)

    – Blood sugar (I check 4x per day, pre meal and before bed)
    – Exercise – I always try to document my Crossfit WODs and lift data. If I do anything beyond that, I at least document what it was I did (Example: last night, I walked 2 miles, sat in the bottom of a squat for 1 min, held a plank for 1 min and did some stretching for my arms and shoulders).
    – Food intake – This can get tricky, as you can be as detailed or as general as you like. The more detail the better. Include snacks as well. Drink intake is probably a good one too, although I havent been doing this.
    – Sleep – sleep is hugely important and not something we tend to focus nearly enough on. Probably wouldnt be a bad idea to at least know where we’re at.
    – NOTES – this is a good idea for periodically documenting how you feel through the day. Potentially document triggers toward certain things (bad food, stress, etc).

    Ultimately, the more documentation, the better you’ll be able to analyze and adjust your habits. Im still considering how much I want to document so far.

  3. I’ve recently been thinking I should do a whole30. I went paleo a year ago and could definitely use this to get me back on track. I do pretty well most of the time, but occasionally when I go out with friends I’ll indulge in those tortilla chips and instead of having a more paleo cocktail, I’ll go ahead and get that sugary margarita (and then another). Then of course I feel like crap later on. The hardest thing for me to cut out is sugar. I love it. And I really need to STOP loving it. I think I’ll follow along with you. And I think that you should document what you eat like Michelle does…for my sake! I need ideas! Ha!

  4. I’m in with you… for me this isn’t too far of a stretch either with the exception of “paleofied” things such as muffins and breads and maybe the occasional healthy dessert and dark chocolate…but I’ll deal with it. It’s only 30 days…
    I’d love to see your daily eats…although I know that’s a lot of extra work! Oh, and I just finished reading It Starts With Food and although the info is a lot of what we already know…I learned a ton of “science-y stuff” in easy to understand terms…it’s a great read and a worthwhile investment!

  5. I like the header. I need to eliminate a few new things from my diet too. I’m waiting till after vacation though because I know I’ll be drinking a lot of mai tais while I’m gone. : )

  6. Jan, I’m in!!
    I have never successfully done a Whole30 all the way through. Something seems to always get in the way (usually a martini). I’m going to be blogging mine, are you going to blog yours each day? The hardest thing for me will be giving up cream in my coffee. But like they say…Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.

    I hope to be able to do one burpee by August 31st.
    @TC PLEASE do a video!! (It would be very inspirational, really!)

    1. Sara, the wonderful thing about Crossfit is that everything is scalable. My burpees dont even compare to those in the video. Im not all that flexible, so instead of jumping my feet up, I walk them up. It takes a little longer, but it has helped in improving my mobility.

      I did talk to Jan about the video and she claims her camera will shoot video, so we’ll see once we get there.

      You’ll do great on the Whole30. Just stay positive, take it one day at a time! No excuses!

  7. Oh, yay! Wishing you and YDF a ton of success!! I don’t think I could do without honey. I use it to sweeten EVERYTHING I make for Sprite these days like the oatmeal breakfast cookies she likes. We’ve completely cut sugar out of our house, but I do dive for the stevia packet when my coffee is ready (even though I like it fine just lightened.) Oh. Coffee without milk or cream?
    That’s going too far..
    I support you anyway!

    1. Its amazing how much we’re not willing to give up some of the littlest things in our diet. I used to say for years that I would never give up pasta or potatoes, that I bled carbohydrates. I haven’t had a potato in 4 months and cant remember the last pasta I had. Sweeteners are gonna be the biggie for me, although prior to the Whole30, I had severely cut back my soda intake from about 4-5L per day down to around 2L (My first CrossFit workout actually made that decision for me, as I got really dehydrated after my first workout and couldnt stand for about 15 minutes, which is how long it took to drink 3 bottles of water).

  8. Good luck Jan!! I’m considering doing something similar once I’m done traveling this summer.
    Things have gotten a little too lax and it’s starting to show, booo… it’s the novelty of eating different things while traveling that really gets me. I’m not great at moderation!

  9. Please, please do document (and post) your food and recipes during your Whole30. I’m starting one with a friend right after Labor Day – unfortunately out of town guests will make it hard to join in on this one. I definitely need inspiration and Whole30 compliant ideas – and your recipes are always great! I did just purchase “It Starts With Food” – it is really very well written and made very easy to understand a few of the concepts I’ve been trying to digest for the last year! Highly recommended.

  10. I’ve been paleo for 4 or 5 years now, but only recently dropped dark chocolate as a treat (I was eating it way too often). I know I still do too much of little bits of sweeteners, and that keeps my taste for sweets alive. I’ve also never made it past the first few days of a Whole 30 successfully before something stressful made me reach for a sweet of some kind. This time I signed up for the new “Whole 30 Daily” service. So far I’ve received three newsletters (Day 0, 1 and 2) and I’m impressed with the content and the motivation I’m getting from it. At the end of each day you click on a link that says “I did it”, or a link that says “I made some bad choices today…let’s start my Whole30 over”. I think trying to avoid that second link is great motivation, but they also have cute “rewards” for the “I did it” link (so far they were links to cute videos).
    I wish success to everyone, and I know I’m going to make it this time!

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