Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Started A Blog

In 2010 I started a blog.

I called the first entry "Peer Pressure" because my friend Katie kept suggesting that I take my writing to the interwebs.  It became very therapeutic and fun, but it also opened doors I hadn't anticipated.  It led me to writing classes.  It introduced me to other bloggers who became friends.  It created opportunities for writing outside of the blog -- primarily about dating, but also about my past and the crazy chain of events that led me to today.

I've changed jobs.  I've maintained friendships, and discarded others.  I've traveled some.  I've lost my precious puppy.  I've learned about my body and feeding it in every way imaginable.  I've found love.  I've gotten engaged.

In 2010 I started a blog.  Coincidentally on my love's birthday.  And now it's time to retire this one and begin the next chapter, so to speak.

I welcome more change.  I look forward to more challenges.  I'm ready to enJOY new learning opportunities and anxiously await even more growth.

Welcome to 2016, gentle readers.  Join me on this new adventure.  My Liberated Adventure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Whole30 Reintroductions: Grains

Whole 30 Reintroductions: Grains

I have often joked about sporting a "carb baby" meaning that after eating too much bread, I worry that someone on the train will offer me a seat assuming I'm 5+ months pregnant.  So this was the scariest reintroduction for me.  These were introduced slowly over a 4-5 day period starting with gluten-free grains (corn, rice, millet, quinoa, etc).

These grains were very non-invasive for both Andrew and myself.  I definitely felt a sense of fullness I haven't experienced in a long time, but no pain, stomach issues, sinus issues, or fatigue.  Simply required putting the fork down earlier and not clearing the plate.

Morning:  Nothing extra was added for breakfast, though I considered making steel-cut oats
Afternoon:  Chipotle bowl with rice, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole, and corn chips
Evening:  Popcorn at the movies!!
Snack: Oatmeal "cookies".  I put "cookies" in quotations because they weren't real cookies.  In fact, they looked pretty horrible.  But man, were they tasty!!

Sad, edge-burnt "cookies".  Simply cut the edges off, and somehow cut them into bite size pieces.  Tasted delicious :)

We gave ourselves the next day to enjoy Easter dinner with our urban family and not stress too much about what we were ingesting or how things were prepped at the restaurant.  Lunch was amazing, and the company was even better.  Then we went back Whole30 the next day to do a little reset.

Yesterday we reintroduced gluten.  "It Starts With Food" suggests to save this for last since it has so much stuff in it that so many people don't handle well.  But it's also allllll the good foods.

Morning:  Green smoothie (I wanted to start my day as cleanly as possible)
Afternoon:  Blueberry muffin
Evening:  Turkey sandwich with spinach and tomatoes
Snack: Chocolate chip cookies (the best cookies ever)

So delicious.
Like the gluten-free grains there was a definite feeling of fullness, but thankfully neither of us experienced any stomach issues or strong negative feelings.  I was, however, EXTREMELY tired at the end of the day.  We went to bed earlier than normal with no energy whatsoever.  I also struggled waking up this morning even after a full night's sleep.  Plus, I noticed a mild skin breakout and some itchiness that I haven't had before.

I'm going to give it the rest of the day to make sure I'm not just imagining it, but I think the Whole30 has been an incredible success.  Tomorrow I'll post our final observations and some thoughts on the whole process!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Whole30 Reintroductions: Legumes

Whole 30 Reintroductions: Legumes

As a kid I did NOT eat beans.  In fact as a 3-year-old I went to daycare, and at lunchtime there were baked beans on the plate.  I ate around them making sure nothing entered my mouth that had been touched by a bean.  When it was time to clear our plates and go outside to play, the teacher told me I had to eat them or miss out on recess.  So I simply sat back down and quietly stayed in the lunchroom, where I stayed for the REST OF THE AFTERNOON.  When my mother came to pick me up, she was told, "Joy didn't get to participate in the afternoon's activities because she refused to eat her beans."  My mother responded, "well, she doesn't eat beans."

30-something years later, this was not a difficult thing to give up.  Until it hit me that legumes are more than baked beans from 2nd Baptist Daycare in downtown Little Rock.  No soy, no peanuts, and no hummus in addition to no beans.

*Disclaimer: Whole30 does allow snow peas, green beans, and sugar snap peas since they are in the pod

I was excited to reintroduce them, but I had a feeling some of them were not going to be the best for my system.

Morning:  Coffee with soy milk and a peanut butter Think Thin bar
Afternoon:  Hummus with tomatoes and pepperoni
Evening:  Chipotle salad with black beans, tomatoes, chicken (cooked in soy), and guacamole
Snack: Peanut butter and banana

Pretty quickly after ingesting breakfast, I found myself with a touch of heartburn.  It got better though and after lunch my throat felt ever-so-slightly closed off.  Dinner provided a sense of heaviness, but it was delicious.  And the snack gave heartburn again.  Just before bed, I had pain in the pit of my stomach telling me I had overdone it.  I felt a bit lethargic all day.  So from that, I'm taking away that legumes aren't my enemy, but maybe they're something I'll consume in small doses as a recipe calls for it, but I won't miss them on the regular.

I wonder if THESE kinds of beans will be ok!!! 

Andrew (again) did not have the same day.  Similar meals, but not the same reaction.  Black beans and chickpeas on his salad at lunch just felt right.  And after dinner he felt satisfied.  The peanut butter/banana combo made him feel a little sick to his stomach, but it could have been topping off a day full of legumes -- too much of a good thing.

Today we're back on Whole30 to reset our systems.  Tomorrow we're adding back non-gluten grains which I'm pretty excited about -- popcorn at the movies perhaps??  We'll report back how things go!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Whole 30 Reintroductions: Dairy

Whole 30 Reintroductions: Dairy

I love all things dairy.  For as long as I can remember I have had a glass of milk before bed.  I use cheese as the best kind of treat.  I've even more recently become a huge fan of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and use them as large chunks of my daily protein.  I'm so sad for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to casein.  Naturally when deciding to do the Whole30, this was my biggest obstacle.

I made the commitment anyway and threw out everything in the kitchen that contained traces of milk.  I replaced milk with unsweetened almond milk checking the labels to make sure to find the right one with nothing added.  I put unsweetened coconut milk in my coffee (until I decided to just cut the caffeine too since it's not really the coffee I love, but the milk).  I replaced the cheese in my salad with avocado to give a little creaminess.  I added an additional quarter of a banana to my smoothies to give it a little oomph to my water/kale concoction for 30 days.  And you know what?  I didn't hate it.

When discussing which food group to add back and test first, dairy was definitely my choice.  I was a little hesitant because in Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's book, It Starts With Food, they talk about how sometimes people try their favorite food post-Whole30 to find they don't like it much.  Then they essentially have to grieve its loss from their lives.  Stranger things have happened to me, so I was terrified that this would be it.  I planned my day out to make sure I didn't overload my stomach with all that creamy deliciousness too fast.

Morning:  Coffee with 2% milk and my regular green smoothie with Greek yogurt
Afternoon:  Salad with cheddar cheese added and the smallest amount of Ranch dressing
Evening:  Parmesan cheese/Greek yogurt chicken breasts and broccoli
Snack:  Vanilla ice cream

While getting ready for my day post-green smoothie, I began to have a clear and happy outlook on the day.  I usually just bust through my morning routine to get to the train before I really am alert enough to care about anything, so this was new.  The coffee was worlds better with the milk, but I found I didn't really NEED it -- I'm not as in love with coffee as I was a month ago.  The salad did not need the Ranch dressing and I won't do that again, but oh the cheddar.  It was like saying hello to an old friend.  My afternoon was SO productive and I felt amazing.  Dinner was good but the Parmesan was almost overpowering, and I've made that recipe a million times.  That part was nuts.  Who'd have thought too much cheese could be a bad thing?!  Then for the ice cream.  I had a few bites, found it delicious, and put it back in the freezer with at least 3/4 of the pint intact.  It was so sweet, I just couldn't do much more.  I felt satisfied, happy, and relieved that I didn't have any issues with my first love.

Andrew, however, did not have the same day.  Similar meals, but not the same reaction.  Within minutes of having his coffee with creamer and yogurt, he was feeling overly full.  He found the cheese in his salad extremely flavorful, but maybe a little too much.  By the time he got home from work, he was a bit sluggish and almost felt puffy.  He kept saying his face felt bloated.  He found dinner a little too seasoned/salty/overpowering.  And then he surprised himself by doing the same thing with his ice cream as I did (his was chocolate).  He put it away after only a few bites.  He really enjoyed it but felt like a quarter of the pint was more than enough.

Today we're back on Whole30 to reset our systems.  I actually can't wait to add back the dairy in moderation, while Andrew is pretty ok without it save a few treats here and there.

Tomorrow we're adding back legumes (Andrew's pick).  We'll report back how things go!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day.30. -- It Is Finished (since it's Holy Week?)

Whole30: Day 30

Readers.  It's Day 30.  Andrew and I made it.  We had next to no slip-ups.  We were incredible partners in this process.  And we did it.

We celebrated with a Circuit Party at MFF and are nervously (but pleasantly) looking forward to our reintroduction phase that starts tomorrow.  This phase takes a little over a week to see if we have any sensitivities to food groups.  These sensitivities can be physical (stomach ache, headache, joint pain, etc.) or nonphysical (moodiness, fatigue, happiness even, etc.).  Day 31 for us will be the reintroduction of my old friend dairy.

Oh, Dairy, how I love thee.

We'll continue to post about our reintroduction since I've had so many people interested in the process.  But let me just say, that right now I feel incredible.  I go to sleep pretty quickly and wake up without snoozing the alarm much.  My workouts have somehow been easy to the point that I'm thinking I need to reach for the next level of intensity.  My brain has been quite clear at work and in my various classes.  And I just feel...oddly peaceful.  Maybe it's the elimination, maybe it's the empowerment I've found in choosing foods that I promised myself I would for 30 days.  Maybe it's a combination.

Also... man, I have the best partner in the world.  He SLAYED this, kept me on track, and was the dishwasher to my cook (and vice versa) for the whole month.  I'm so fortunate to have found him.

Speaking of which, he says he feels great, learned a lot, and can't wait for some ice cream on our dairy day tomorrow!

No makeup on me.  No love for dishes on him.
Both so proud and excited for Day 30!!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Whole30 Final Week -- The Additional Challenges

Whole30: The Final Full Week

Days 23 through 29 provided an unexpected twist for this gal.  I started the week a bit under the weather, super lethargic, and just incredibly blah.  By Wednesday (Day 25) I had to leave work early to head to the local Urgent Care where they took a bunch of blood, and I passed out briefly.  Don't worry they gave me GATORADE.... ya know, the one whose 2nd ingredient is sucrose (table sugar).

When I pulled it together, I nearly burst into tears that I had ruined my 25-day commitment, but I didn't really have time to wallow because they were sending me next door for a CT scan of my abdomen to rule out appendicitis and get a couple of liters of fluid pumped into my IV.  Ugh.  So the good news was that it wasn't appendicitis or anything else that would send me to the hospital.  The bad news was a diagnosis of "possible colitis or just a stomach bug".  Clearly these are serious medical professionals.  I'm being a little rude -- they actually took great care of me in a quick way, and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the bill won't put me in the poorhouse.

The strangest part of the day, however, was the doctor who let me leave with the instructions to just eat saltines, dry toast, Gatorade, jello, and ice cream when I felt up to it.  I told her about the Whole30 and asked if plain chicken breast and a plain potato/sweet potato would be ok.  Her response was, "I'm sure it will be.  I don't really know much about nutrition."  

So there you have it.  Those sickly days were fairly lean on the food, but aside from the 2 sips of Gatorade at Urgent Care, I stayed on course.  But all of the meals were repeats from before.  And my computer barely came on except when I was working.

Needless to say, tomorrow is our final day.  I'm excited and nervous.  Stay tuned....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Days 21 & 22: The End of Week 3!!

Whole30: Days 21 and 22

As we leap into Week 4 we feel pretty amazing.  But I'd be lying if I said the thought of creamer in my coffee just a little over a week doesn't completely thrill me.  I'll talk more about the reintroduction phase as we get a little closer... I don't wanna get my cravings up for no reason.

Just a reminder...

Day 21
Breakfast: Sausage/sweet potato/bell pepper casserole and green smoothie
Lunch: Salad on the go on 6th Avenue (ya know... 'cause we got hungry walking around, so salad obviously.... who are we?!)
Dinner: Paleo Nachos (there was some discussion about this since there was no cheese)
Snack: Banana

Day 22
Breakfast: Leftover sausage casserole
Lunch: Applesauce
Dinner: Fiesta Lime Chicken and sauteed arugula
Snack: Green smoothie

Andrew feels torn about ready for this to be over and not ready for it to end.  As great as we feel he's growing weary (I totally agree) of EVERYTHING revolving around grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning up, and then deciding what preparations need to go into the next meal.  It's starting to become 2nd nature to make the right choices regarding food, so it'll be nice in 8 days to be able to just go to the diner, or make dinner, or whatever without reading EVERY.SINGLE.INGREDIENT.  But he is enjoying understanding more about what he's putting in.  So... basically we're in the same place.

This week's assignment in Soul Body System is to slow down (ha).  Specifically we are tasked with eating each meal without distractions like TV, internet, reading, or phones.  In addition to that we should make sure our conversations are not stressful topics and take 5 more minutes than we normally would to finish a meal.  The goal in this is to reduce cortisol levels during food consumption to maximize the nutrient benefits.  I'm both terrified and stoked by this.  I'll keep you posted on how this goes....