Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Learning to listen to my gut, figuratively and literally

If you've been following me on Facebook or Instagram - here or here - (or both!), then you know I started a new "journey" almost a month ago. What you may not know is the background and what the outcome is so far.

I had heard of Whole30 in passing on social media before but had never really done any research. One day, I was just sitting here and clicked over to read some more about it. I posed a question on my private FB page as well as the blog page, asking if anyone had done it, or was interested in doing it. I got some great feedback and decided it was worth a try. I ordered the book It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and change your life in unexpected ways. We went on vacation and I read about half of it on the road trip. I was convinced that it was worth trying.

30 days of real fresh food.
No (added) sugar or artificial sweeteners, including honey and maple syrup - added fruit juice is the exception.
No alcohol.
No soy.
No legumes (beans/peanuts/peas/lentils).
No grains (wheat/rice/corn/oats, gluten-free or otherwise, no quinoa, etc).
No dairy.
No "vegetable" or seed oils.

What's left to eat? Meat, including chicken, beef and pork among many others, seafood, and of course eggs. Vegetables and fruits. Healthy saturated fats (read the book and you will understand HOW that is possible!!) like clarified butter/ghee, duck or goat fat, tarrow or lard (!), coconut oil/milk/butter/"meat", olive oil and some nuts and nut butters.

Not so bad!

For nearly 25 full days, I ate really good - minus day 1 when I had soy from my canned tuna, and one day last week when I made the mistake of ordering sweet potato fries at a restaurant. I say mistake because I had made sweet potato fries at home, baked in the oven, with coconut oil and didn't think about it. Of course they were fried at the restaurant, and my brain didn't catch up to my eyes seeing how yummy they looked. Oh well, I only ate a small portion.

I've had some amazing results so far. My digestion has been better, my skin is clearing up on my upper arms where I've had a rash-like acne for years, my shorts are fitting looser, my brain/thinking has been clearer and my sleep has been amazing! I went from having very bad gas as well as weekly issues with *ahem* diarrhea (sorry, TMI) to having little to no gas and not having to use any anti-diarrheal medicine! I've even been told by a couple people - including my awesome MIL - that they see a difference in my size. I honestly can't wait to see my weight at the end of this on the 25th.

I am eating more often, 3 meals a day, and in reality, bigger meals most times, but also so many more veggies and fruit. I feel full and stay full. No real snacking and my cravings are virtually non-existent.

When we started, and I use the word "we" loosely, as my husband and sons are eating most of the same stuff as me for dinner, but are also still eating dairy and grains (mostly at breakfast and lunch) and a little sugar, I thought it would be hard to give all of that up. Especially pop. I was drinking one to two 20-oz Pepsi's a day. Giving it up cold turkey normally gives me a gigantic headache by about day 3 and I give in. This time I did not experience any headaches! I can only attribute that to the fact that I was also feeding my body real food, good-for-me food and my body finally had something to work with. And no, I'm not drinking coffee or tea, either! No caffeine at all for the last 25 days.

As I said above, for nearly 25 full days, I ate this way.

Yesterday, we drove to our hometown in Ohio, and went to a benefit for a friend's mom who is battling cancer. Knowing there may or may not be Whole30 compliant food there, I chose to eat a Larabar before going, and then made the determination to just do the best I could.

At first, it was easy. Pulled pork and shredded beef were available (with bbq sauce on the side, so that was easier, too) and carrots, celery and olives. I had some of the pork w/o sauce, some carrots and a couple of green and black olives. On that note, I realized I do not like whole olives, they are far too salty for me, and I'd much rather have them in a dish or on a salad.

After watching my older two sons and the rest of our family eating the mac and cheese, baked beans, and of course dessert, I thought to myself "What harm could come from having just a little?" I went back for some more food, this time choosing some beef w/o sauce, a small scoop of macaroni and cheese as well as the baked beans, and a small slice of cheesecake. I ate all of it but half of the piece of cheesecake. I felt just fine and figured one meal is okay.

We drove home and I felt very sleepy, which isn't unusual during a car ride for me, and by the time we got home, I was ready for bed. After getting our youngest son changed into pajamas and in bed, and giving hugs and kisses to the older boys, I literally fell into bed.

Fast forward a few hours to the middle of the night, around 3:15. I wake up from a sound sleep in the middle of dream, thinking I heard someone crying. Nope, nobody else is awake. I was wide awake for about 45 mins, just before 4 and then fell asleep until 8:30 when little J actually was calling for us.

This morning, I am feeling the after-effects of eating those things I've abstained from for the past 3 weeks. I could barely open my eyes, don't feel rested at all, and am quite groggy. My brain feels cloudy, if that makes sense. Almost like I was drinking last night. My stomach is a mess, just not feeling 100% and definitely gassy and bloated. :(

While I don't like the way I feel, I am glad I have a little confirmation that certain foods do affect me negatively. It gives me incentive and a renewed drive to continue eating Whole30 or at least paleo.

Find us over on Facebook and Instagram as well as my Whole30 journey pics!