Saturday, May 25, 2013

Whole30, Paleo and other stuff..

this is long and all about food so only read if you give a flip, otherwise, skip down to the post about a 'peek into Nora's brain''s way more fun.

We did it.

30 days of happy meat, nutrient dense veggies, a few fruits, nuts and olives.

No sugar (no honey, no agave, no stevia, no nothin' in anything), 

No legumes (except snap peas and green beans), 

No dairy (not even in regular butter, clarified butter/ghee are good though), 

No grains (of any kind, no rice, no gluten, no corn, no quinoa...nothin')

No alcohol

No crazy ingredients you can't read/aren't natural (so soy lecithin, sodium nitrate, carrageenan's - even though they have natural roots, they have been processed beyond recognition so they were out - or anything like them)

No faking (no 'gluten free flour' to make muffins or sweet potato pancakes, 'cause that is like a cookie after you haven't had sugar in a while, or tricking of any kind to make yourself think you're eating a sweet or grain)

It was just lots of veggies, meats, fruits, nuts, olives and any nut butter except peanut butter and as long as it was sugar free.

Simple in the brain, harder in execution....but not the whole time, just the first two weeks.

And by happy meat I mean well taken care of animals - pastured, fed well, loved, respected for what they are to us, meat.
Veggies - organic or at least close to it.
Fruits, nuts, olives - same thing.
All healthy fats are a go, with in reason - but no cooking with olive oil, at high temps it has adverse health ramifications so lots of coconut oil and ghee flowed in this house!
I did make homemade mayo with olive oil though and that is YUM...that's a no turning back. Once you've made homemade mayo there's no going back!


People in this Paleo world are serious about their spices.
I love me some spices so I was right at home.

My typical eating day looked like this:

(this stayed the same every. single. morning.  I am a creature of habit in the morning, I LIKE to eat the exact same thing every morning for breakfast - takes out one more decision of my day)

2 fried eggs
1 piece of sausage
3-4 cups fresh spinach (sautéed, which means it was like 1/4-1/2c sautéed spinach)
1/2 apple
2 tbs sunflower seed butter or almond butter
1 cup tea
4 tbs pure, whole fat, coconut milk (like, the kind in the can, as long as it is ONLY coconut milk, no other separating agents or sugar or preservatives)


3-6 oz protein
fill the rest of my plate with veggies
1/2  piece of fruit or a few strawberries
some healthy fat (avocado, olives, nut butters were my go to's)

Like last week, several times I had this:

1 microwaved sweet potato with ghee 
(ghee is clarified butter cooked longer to give it a smoky flavor, it's sooo yum!)
1/2 c. BBQ beef brisket that I'd made in the crock pot over the weekend
3 tbs. chopped cashews sprinkled on top
1 pear
Mixed Berry Tea with Lemon and Lime slices

or, if we picnic, this has been what we take:

grilled Tri-tip steak cut into slices (we like this's so dang good)
homemade guacamole
red pepper sliced
cucumber slices

we dip all the elements (except the apple) into the guac and are in heaven.
we have taken that combo camping, we have eaten in sitting on the water's edge looking out at Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge and we took it with us the other day to our fav' swim hole in the Yuba River.
Jake even took it to a baseball game in Oakland, he was worried he'd be made fun of for being the dude with guac and veggies but when he got there, he remembered we now live in California - people did not make fun of him, they were jealous of him or were doing the same thing themselves.

one more example of a lunch?
I took this one on a picnic too:

Sort of a Cobb Salad:
3 cups fresh spinach
crumbled bacon (hard to find with NO sugar but it's out there - turkey bacon sometimes has no sugar)
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
handful of olives
chopped red peppers and tomatoes
diced avocado
A Cilantro-Avocado dressing I made
strawberries on the side
Perrier water (bubbly water)


Same as lunch.
some protein, fill up the rest of your plate with veggies, throw on some healthy fat.
that was my mantra for the last 30 days.

Example dinners:  (and many many many of these were used for lunch the next day)

Grilled Chicken w/ homemade BBQ sauce
Mashed Cauliflower with ghee 
Sautéed zucchini in coconut oil with salt, pepper and Greek seasoning


Chocolate Chili
(I added chunks of sweet potato the first time I made this and shredded carrots into it the second time I made it)
Steamed broccoli with ghee, salt and pepper


Spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded
Spaghetti sauce (sugar free!) and ground beef over the top.


Sheppard's Pie w/ ground lamb (use mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes)
Roasted brussel sprouts and grapes with thyme, salt and pepper (gah, this is SOOO good.)


At first I really needed snacks to get me from lunch to dinner.
but after about two weeks, that was gone.
I wanted it in my 'head', just out of habit,  but my stomach and body felt fine and didn't 'need' it - so I'd grab a cup of tea instead after a while.

The goal is not to graze, just eat three healthy sized meals and that is it. (and by healthy it's probably bigger than you think but just balanced so you get enough)

I am, by nature and habit a grazer so I was worried about this but now that I'm in the three meals a day thing I love it - I have that 'time' back worrying about what to eat in two-three hours, making it, eating it and then starting over worrying about the next snack or meal.


Workout snacks are different.
If you decide to do this it's written out for you but basically it's an easily digestible protein right before you workout (like 1 hard boiled egg), to signal your body you're about to do something and a healthy carb right after you workout to replenish (like 1/2 c. sweet potato)

Because many of my workouts are at like 6am, I'd do the egg before I go but then just eat breakfast when I get home - I wasn't great about following the carb thing but I feel good so whatev'.


That was the bones.
Here are the guts:

I lost 7 lbs....
which is good because although I didn't gain back weight during the move, I did after the move - so, now I'm down to where I left off, which feels good.

Some people loose nothing doing this, some people lose like 20's not about weigh loss so that is kind of a cherry on top (a cherry MOST people get but a cherry nonetheless).

It is about systematic inflammation. (whole body inflammation)
I am not an expert but here is my understanding:

Your body reacts to food it doesn't like and you may not know it.
Those foods cause inflammation all over your body....all over.
Your body tries to fight that inflammation and it very busy doing so all the time.
You may not realize it but it is happening - slowly, over time, it makes your body tired and distracted 
the areas of acute inflammation (injuries or aliments) get ignored by your body because it's busy and tired taking care of the whole body inflammation - it deems that more important, because it is.

Take away the foods that might possible cause systematic inflammation - legumes, grains, dairy, sugar - for 30 days.
It's like a flush or detox of sorts.

Then, one at a time, with several days in between, add back in ONLY what you missed during the 30 days.
Start with dairy...'cept I didn't miss that so I'm not even adding that back in. I already know it messes with my system so it's just out.
Good bye cheese....just, good bye.

Then grains...'cept I haven't really missed this too much so it will be a while 'til I add it back in.
(and this shocked me...I love bread as much as the next girl.  I do think about bread but not enough to add it in right away.)

and so on.

For me:
My hips will take more than 30 days to heal.
I knew that.
I have seen a slight decrease in pain but only slight.

I do know and can physically feel the decrease in systematic inflammation (it's WILD how much you feel this when it's down!!!! I never realized I was feeling inflamed until I was NOT inflamed!)....

I am also thinking now that I'm not systematically inflamed my body can now send more energy and blood cells to my injuries and start the healing there.
Way more than a 30 day process, I'm sure.
So, for me, I'm stickin' to a strict Paleo for more than 30 days - it will be more like 6 months for me (but maybe even life?)

Again, you only add back the things you missed so for me it will look like this:
wine is back.
I missed my occasional glass of wine - there, I said it ;-)
Sweets are a special occasion thing ONLY - holiday or birthday or anniversary - but limited to once a month.
Bread, not totally sure about this one but I'm thinking if I do eat bread it will have to be very special - homemade or something like that and only once in a while.

Other bennies I've seen?
I fall asleep the second I hit my pillow but I feel great through the day.
I never have that gross full feeling after I eat - I'm full but in a light yummy way.
My skin has been WAY clear.
I don't really feel that afternoon lull - I can just plow through with as much energy as I had in the morning! I love this!
My mood has been very chill (well, for me anyway ;-).

His inflammation was WAY OBVIOUS.
He had a pair of Toms that were (he thought) too small.
For a while he'd tried to stretch them by putting baseballs in them or getting them wet and wearing them but they were still too small.
He put them up for a while and just three days ago he needed to wear them...he slipped them right on his feet and they glided in.
His feet had been swollen and he didn't even know it, he just thought that was the size of his foot!!!!

He feels great and just loves to eat like this in general.
He loves not feeling gross after eating and he loves to make an event out of eating so this was good for him.
He too is just going to mostly stick to the Paleo thing.
(I think he's adding back in some dairy which is called Lacto Paleo)

tricks and tips:

I have done once a week cooking or once a month cooking for years now so this part of the plan was easy for me.
Because there are NO convenience foods for any meal you have to basically make your own convenience food once a week.

So, I buy boo koos of meat at the end of the week.
I brine everything I can brine because through this I've learned that I AM A FAN OF BRINING AND WANT TO TELL THE WORLD.
And then I hand Jake huge platters of meat (the usual: 1 tri tip steak, dry brined, 5-8 lbs of chicken, brined for 2 hours in a salt water and spices solution, and another meat that is different every week - pork chops, kabobs, approved hot dogs or chicken sausages) and he grills it all in one go.

I have a crockpot of something going and a stew/casserole thing going/ready for the week.

I make mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice pilafs to go with whatever.

I make some homemade sauces or dips (BBQ sauce and mayo show up regularly and others rotate out - Sunshine sauce -a Thai peanut/coconut tasting sauce, Moroccan dipping sauce, Chipotle cream sauce...etc...)

I boil a dozen eggs for quick emergencies.

Every other week I made homemade sausage patties 'cause good luck finding those without sugar or chemicals!!!

I chop any and all veggies I can without making them gross.

It is several hours of work one day a week but then the rest of the week it's just heat up, pour on a fun sauce, sauté or broil or steam or microwave your veggie and you have lunch/dinner.

I have not had a disappointing meal at home yet.
YUM is the name of the game with this plan.

I could literally make this the longest post in history and just keep writing.
It has been NOTHING but positive.

Yes, I have wanted sugar or pizza or wine many many times.
But it only lasted for a few moments and then life went on.

It has been healing to me in a spiritual way, physical way and emotional way.
Spiritual - I knew I worshipped my food but taking it away exposed it even more - 
Physical - see above perks
Emotional - I can't turn to sugar or empty carbs in my loneliness or anger or boredom through this so I pray and use it as a fast instead - I am reminded to pray for someone else instead and that is freeing.

for reals....

the HARDEST moment I had was on day 30.
I needed to make cookies for four different reasons and had been putting it off 'cause I knew it would be hard.
I had all four girls helping so that I was not alone at anytime and so that helping them would distract me, if even just a little.
It had been a hard day anyway and I literally wanted to jump in the bowl and swim in the dough - 
It. was. hard.
Hard. hard.
But I did it.  No dough was lost to my mouth and no cookie was hidden in my stomach.  Be proud.

If my day had been easier or it had been the morning, I would have been better.
So, I learned that - no more afternoon/nightly cookie baking - or baking in general.  I need to do it in the morning until it's not as hard and having the girls there was really helpful, they've had fun (and been sweet about) this whole process.

I have changed a few things for them and they eat very similar to us.
No more pb&j's for lunch.
They get:

cut up chicken or pork chop or a sugar free, organic lunch meat rolled up.
Some veggies (usually carrots or cucumbers)
Some fruit (whatever they choose)
Black Olives
Peanut butter to dip their apples in (this is what they usually choose)
chunks of cheddar cheese
and once or twice a week - cheese puffs on the side

they are actually loving that.

Dinner is whatever we are having mostly - we already talked about that and that is still going GREAT.
They are doing fantastic.
We are talking, girls who swore off tomatoes are now begging for more tomatoes,  girls who swore off chicken are now gobbling it up - and so on.  I am so proud of them (and me, for growing a back bone).

They do get Quesadilla's and applesauce every Monday for dinner (that is gymnastics night and we get home late) BUT I make a ground beef mixture during my once a week cooking and put some sort of grated veggies/tomatoes in it and it goes in the Quesadilla with mashed black beans - they used to just want cheese quesadillas but I feel so much better when they load up the quesadilla with healthy proteins!  They hated that for the first week but are now loving it. I said, I could keep writing and writing.
This has been a HUGE change for us so there is sooo much to write about.

I'll end with some links I've loved/books that totally helped:

If you're interested at all, read this whole website first:


or just pinterest 'Paleo' and you'll be lost in an abyss.




Cassie said...

read it ALL.
i love learning about different diets. (and by diet, i mean what you EAT, not GOING ON A DIET)
nutrition fascinates me.
thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this! Isn't it amazing how much better you feel eating the foods your body needs!? We have done the GAPS diet to heal food allergies and that is wonderful and an easy transition to paleo from there. However, our newest little guy cannot tolerate beef, chicken, or turkey right now (through nursing) so I am basically eating as a vegetarian (and really, really missing meat!) We are going to Wisconsin soon for Seth's graduation and I will be making/taking almost all of our food.
--Tina H.

charlaruwe said...

I'm glad it is working for you!! We have made major changes in our diet too because of health issues. It is amazing how much better you feel when you watch what you eat!

the Knights said...

This is something I've been pondering for quite sometime. Though, my hurdle (per usual) how to start something so 'big'?! I'm off to read your recommendations now...

Team Summers said...

Such a good run down, thank you yet again!!!

i'm beccy. said...

Thanks for posting. I keep thinking need to do this, but had SUCH a hard time with just empliminating dairy from our family's regular meals... The feedback is so helpful. Thanks for sharing.

Tisha said...

Still here! Interesting!! I can't go all the way paleo, but I am going to implement some of what you shared, like the steak dipped in guacamole on picnics for example. :)

Courtney said...

read this twice. and made pat read it. SO interesting and love it. doing all kinds of research now. i KNOW i felt SO much better eating in this direction 2 lent's ago. i don't think we can go "all the way" paleo. but it's good stuff!! (sorry. but i'll prob be asking you some questions...)