Knock, knock. Who’s there? Whole30.

Wow, that came up quick. Let’s all have a moment of silence for 2011’s September, because it had a short, fast life. October is coming, and I’m on the record as saying that I would start a Whole30 in October (see details here). So why am I so worried?

Not my method. Unless it's laundry or dishes.

Well, you should know this about me: I don’t do anything half-assed. Except maybe the dishes and laundry. I’m cool with putting the dishes in the dishwasher, but I always leave the hand-washables out for my husband. As for laundry, it makes its way to the washer, then the dryer, but has the darndest time making it back into my closet…oh, what?

See what I did there. I’m STILL trying to avoid acknowledging this Whole30.

I’m going into my ninth month of eating Primally. I’ve lost about 14 pounds, acne, anxiety, digestive issues, and joint pain. Everything is easy and I feel great. So why mess with success?

  1. I’m curious about going dairy-free. I never eliminated dairy from my diet, believing that I’m not intolerant. However, when you cut out foods like cereal, oatmeal, and sandwiches, your dairy consumption naturally goes down. I would say I usually treat dairy as a garnish, although as we’ve gone into fall, I notice I’m craving a creamy taste and texture more, as evidenced by yesterday’s recipe. As I’ve discussed before (here), I’m not thrilled that I consume so much pasteurized dairy, so maybe the best course of action is to have none at all. The toughest part of going without is that I’m not sure what I’m going to do about my morning beverage. I drink chai every morning with milk, cream, and a bit of honey. Coffee isn’t something I can drink every morning, though I may switch to that with some coconut cream in it for the month.
  2. The sugar beast bites me sometimes. I almost never had sugar cravings before going Primal, possibly because my body was getting a steady stream of it anyway. But occasionally, I find myself going through phases of having a Larabar a day, dreaming of the muffins I’m going to make, or treating myself to these fun little candies I found in my co-op’s refrigerated section made out of coconut oil, almonds, coconut, cocoa powder, and agave syrup (I just had one while I typed that sentence, they’re delectable and melt in your mouth.) So while my sugar consumption is way down, it could stand to go down a little more. As mentioned above, I have honey in my tea every day, so it’ll be interesting to observe what happens when I have none at all for a whole month.
  3. Too much alcohol. Not in any problematic way (isn’t that what all the addicts say?), but I’ve been going about it in a less-conscious way. I also suspect it may be messing with my body composition and keeping me from being as lean as I’d like. I’m curious to see if this will pan out. In addition, I feel like I’ve become more sensitive to alcohol’s effects since going Primal. Anyone else notice anything similar?
  4. I welcome the challenge. I’m committed to this lifestyle and I feel fine going the way we’ve been going. But I think there’s a natural human inclination to explore how far we can go with something. Lately, I’ve been curious about foods that are as unadorned as possible. Not bland, but just as pure and free of ingredients that have labels on them as possible. In addition to dairy, I feel like another crutch of mine is the whole genre of uncured convenience meats: lunchmeat, bacon, salami. I’m not going to include sausage here, because to me, it’s a bunch of ground meat with spices, especially the stuff I buy locally (I’m not talking about those Aidell’s ones in the package, they would qualify as a convenience meat). Every commercially available bacon out there I’ve been able to find has sugar in it, and while I’m okay with a negligible amount that doesn’t even register as a gram of carbs, for the purposes of this month, I won’t partake.

Some concerns I have:

Not the look I'm going for.

  1. I’ll lose more weight. I certainly don’t need to see the numbers on the scale go down. Which isn’t to say I don’t need improvements, I’m just not sure I want to get any lighter. I’m thrilled with where I am, even though I am still the proud owner of Dumpy Butt. It’s much improved, but the transition from butt to back-of-the-thigh isn’t as distinct as I’d like. This may be a genetic destiny sort of thing, though I seem to still have some fat stores on my lower body in general which has surprised me.
  2. Restaurants. Obviously. My husband has a conference in San Francisco and our plan was for me to stay with him in the city at his hotel one night so we could go out on the town while our little one stayed with the in-laws. This was going to be a perfect opportunity to grab some Vietnamese food, hit the open bar at one of his conference events, and have a heckuva date night. But alas. I will have to suffer through super-exciting medical schmoozey gatherings sober.
  3. No lazy cooking for convenience’s sake. No tamari. No Worcestershire sauce. No fish sauce. No ham. No bacon. No cheese. *Sigh* A lot of this stuff adds great flavor, but I will just have to fall back on my old friends garlic, mustard, olive oil, herbs, lemons/limes, and damn fine ingredients.

My gameplan:

  1. Commit completely. What’s the point of doing this, only to not do it? I can do anything for 30 days. Any sidestep puts me back where I am on a daily basis, which is great, but it’s not a Whole30. No rationalizing.
  2. I’ll journal the process on the site. I’ll post my daily food intake and exercise, along with any observations. I’ll try to keep these brief so they don’t bore you—they’re mostly for me anyway. But at least you can see what one person’s Whole30 looks like in process.
  3. Mmm...doesn't that look...silver?

    Weekly challenges. I will try at least one new food every week. Maybe it’ll be liver or heart or fish roe or bone broth or sardines…the options are endless. There are a few things about which I’ve been dragging my feet since hopping on the Primal bandwagon (see here) and it’s time to just get it over with already. In addition, I’ll set a fitness goal for myself. I’m not expecting these to be earth-shattering or difficult, but more like ways to shake up my routine or track my progress.

  4. Cooking in bulk with lots of leftovers. I’m hoping this will save me from that dreaded “Oh crap!” moment when you open the fridge for some lunch and there’s nothing there that can be eaten without cooking. One of my favorite do ahead items is making my own roast beef using Mark Sisson’s recipe from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook with a bison tri-tip roast. And I’ll just bump up the portions on dinners.
  5. As far as restaurants go…I will do my best. It’s pretty easy to order a simple steak and vegetable if you pick the restaurant right. The thing I’m more worried about are all the vegetable oils they hide in there. I suspect I won’t be eating out very much this month, which actually isn’t all that different from any other month.

It’s going down October 2 – October 31. Who’s with me?


12 Responses to “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Whole30.”

  1. Count me in. I did… well – let me rephrase that… I REALLY tried to do a Whole30 back in July. It did not go as well as I hoped. Since that experience though, I’ve been really interested to give it my 100% best shot.

    I figure with a bit of planning, it’ll be smooth sailing. I too have to figure out the morning beverage… I’m a coffee girl. I’ve done coconut milk in it… but I always seem to go back to milk.

    I also need to reign in the alcohol – like you – nothing crazy, but I’d like to be more cognizant of when I indulge and why. And, also as you described, alcohol affects me WAY more now that I’m Primal. I notice that usually after 2 drinks, I’ve had it – and the buzz seems to hit and be gone in a flash. Not that I’m complaining… it’s just an interesting observation.

    Alright lady, let’s do this!

  2. Hello ! i eat paleo for a few weeks, feel much better than before, but i know that i eat way too much dairies and nuts. i could feel much better in my opinion. The whole30 seems a good idea, you can count me in.

  3. jen annan house Reply 09/29/2011 at 7:47 am

    I’m in, too. I’ve been trying to be Primal since June with some great results, but, like you, I am curious to see how far I can take this. I figure I could lose at least 5 pounds. I don’t like eating much meat but am very happy with fish. The coffee in the morning is right now a “gotta have” although I have cut my consumption. And I’ve cut my wine consumption as well, I think as a result of the Primal lifestyle. I’m very excited you are doing this – I see it as a great learning exercise!

  4. Oh, girl…I’m in, too. I tried to do this at the end of August, but wasn’t mentally prepared to do it while cooking for the hubby and two small kiddos. Alas, I had some rice with nagiri one day and it was all over. :( SO, I’m really looking forward to having some support throughout this process and can’t wait to read/see/hear how your month is progressing as I do mine in tandem. We’re heading to SD for a week from the 8-16th to visit the fam (the HUGE wine-drinking fam, I might add… ;), so should be interesting to see how I fare throughout that time period. Alas, I wish you were still here for many reasons, one being that we would be fantastic support for each other (oh, and our kiddos would be fantastic friends! ;). Thanks for starting this up and can’t wait to see how I do in October! xoxo

    • Yay! Bummer you guys will be gone when we’re there. :( But have a great time in SD! I’m a little worried myself about how to handle social gatherings…I figure I’ll just say something like, “I’m torturing myself for a month with strict eating” or we can just call it a cleanse. :)

  5. I’m in! We are starting a biggest loser contest tomorrow at work and this is how plan on winning! I tried a Whole30 in July but scored a serious fail. Two big family vacations and my birthday… Anyhow, I haven’t been able to get back on track fully since then. And recently it’s been even worse since I knew our challenge was starting. The sad thing is, I feel so crummy when I eat non-paleo. Why do I do this to myself?

    Regardless, I’m eager to begin and have someone else to walk with me on this journey. I look forward to your posts!

    • Good for you! I’ve known two people who have done these, and they both lost when they didn’t take my suggestion to do Paleo. One of them had money on the line. :/

      I’ve never had any major food issues (thanking whatever needs to be thanked for that) but I’ve found with the mild pings I get, that just rerouting the thoughts around it is so helpful. I think to some degree you are actually rewiring your brain, so it has to be reinforced with consistency. So if you find yourself having trouble sticking with it, just remember that every time you avoid the cookie (or whatever), you’re reinforcing healthy pathways and suddenly one day, it’s not as hard.

      But I know exactly what you mean about things getting worse as we go into the Whole30. Tonight’s menu: Ribeye steak with a red wine, tamari, butter sauce. :)

  6. I’m with you! I’m starting mine tomorrow (the 1st), however, and extending it until Halloween. With my multiple dairy allergies, I won’t need to eat all that yicky candy anyhow. Maybe by then, I won’t even want to!

  7. I’m in too! I started yesterday. I looked at my calendar and the month of October had the least amount of obstacles. There will be two hard parts for me. One – my nice big glass of ice cold raw milk to wash down my eggs and bacon in the morning. And two – the adult beverage at the end of the work day. But it’s only 30 days! And I’m hoping to see a big difference in my belly fat.

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