Whole30: Week 1

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I’ve now officially started my second week of Whole30, and I’m happy to report that it’s going pretty well. There were some definite challenges this week, but I think mostly because I was already eating pretty well before I started the Whole30, I haven’t experienced some of the worse parts of the infamous Whole30 timeline, but just for fun, I’m gonna go through a mental recap using it as a guideline.

“Day 1: So what’s the big deal?” Yup. Felt that exactly. In fact, for breakfast day 1, I made the same thing I’d been eating for the whole week prior: bacon, mushroom, onion, and red pepper scrambled eggs. Breakfast scrambles are the best for using up any bits and pieces of random vegetables you have in the fridge, so that’s what I’ve been doing until I get tired of it. I also had leftover pulled pork and stir-fried veggies from the week before for lunch, and for dinner I ended up throwing some lamb shoulder chops on my grill pan and making a side of theclothesmakesthegirl’s silky zucchini soup. And, it did feel good to be consciously aware that I was making good choices.

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“Days 2-3: The Hangover” Not so much (at least not compared to the one I had the day before I started whole30). My breakfast continued to be my scrambled eggs, my lunch was leftovers of lamb and soup, and for dinner I threw together paprika roasted chicken thighs with pastured chicken we’d picked up at the farmer’s market a few weeks before and a wilted bacon spinach salad.

Not the greatest pic, sorry

Not the greatest pic, sorry

The only real challenge of these two days was  a pre-scheduled Austin Food Blogger’s Alliance happy hour at Sushi Zushi. I contemplated over and over again whether I should just skip it but when I saw that they had riceless rolls, I decided to go.  It was definitely difficult, and more than little disappointing to not be able to eat about 90% of the food they offered, but the shishito peppers and the riceless roll that they special ordered for me were both really really good.

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“Days 4-5: Kill ALL the things!” Again, not really. Or, at least, not sure, because these two days also coincided with a big deadline at work so I was already stressing out about that. My breakfast these days consisted of leftover bacon spinach salad with a fried egg and fruit and more scrambled eggs, this time with Mexican chorizo that made my week. I did, however, get tired of both my zucchini soup and lamb leftovers at this point though, so I used up some leftover sweet potato, cabbage, and bacon and made a sort-of stir fry that was very satisfying. And Friday Mr. Little Fish and I had a small, last-minute dinner party of grilled steak with caramelized mushrooms and onions, crispy salt and vinegar potatoes, and oil and vinegar coleslaw (that I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of). Our friends also brought sausage, cauliflower rice, and spaghetti squash. The whole meal was decadent and fantastic, and no one ever would have guessed that I had a particular “diet.” It did sort of suck not to be able to drink, but waking up without any of the aftereffects was kind of great.

“Days 6-7: I just want a nap….” This is an interesting one, because last night, having forgotten about this timeline, I was trying to theorize with Little Fish about why I was having such a hard time waking up this weekend. I thought it might’ve been because I’d started taking my allergy medication at night and it was knocking me out. But now I’m wondering whether it is indeed because of the Whole30. In any case, the food we made this weekend included a DELICIOUS Mexican chorizo, red potato, and spinach scramble for breakfast with a side of banana drizzled with some homemade cinnamon macadamia nut butter (heavenly).

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It also included some grilled salmon that I marinated in coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, but unfortunately for me, resulted in my only fail of the week when I accidentally burned it. It was still delicious; we just lost some to the pan. We ate it with leftover oil and vinegar coleslaw and cauliflower rice that I drizzled with some homemade ghee (see my instagram for some process photos)! I also made the happy discovery that Applegate grass-fed beef hotdogs are Whole30 compliant, so we rounded out the weekend with hotdogs and grilled onions and, you guessed it, coleslaw. And, of course, at some point I snacked on some apples and macadamia nut butter.

 

Overall thoughts: I know I’m not supposed to weigh myself and count calories and whatnot, but for me this is as much a fitness tool as it is a nutritional reset. So I’m pleased to say I lost at least 2 pounds this week and, even despite all the food I’ve been eating, I’ve continuously clocked in at below my calorie goals. I still get sugar cravings every once in a while, but I’m actually pretty impressed with my willpower, especially at the sushi happy hour. I am sort of preemptively sad that  I won’t be able to enjoy a nice, fun meal out for my birthday next week, but Little Fish and I will be scheduling a birthday dinner for when I get back from Mexico so patience I must have.

Whole30 Ready, Maybe

By December of 2014, I’d gained back about 10 pounds of the 30 I’d lost the year before. I’ve run the gamut of emotions on that one, but one of those, luckily, is a tepid sense of accomplishment, because, even though I weigh more on the scale, my measurements have more or less remained the same (everywhere except my hips; thanks, Latina side of me). I know I have weightlifting to thank for this, as I have actually been consistently going to Bodypump (weightlifting classes) with a good friend/coworker of mine since last summer. I went from barely being able to carry my own groceries to seeing visible, measurable muscle on my body that I’m actually pretty damn proud of. It turns out, I like being strong. Like, really like it. And it also turns out that my body likes building muscle (and still mostly hates cardio).

But, while I can attribute some of the weight gain to muscle, I know it’s probably not realistic that all of it is just dem gainz (despite how hard I tried to convince myself that I was eating so much because I was bulking haha). I knew I needed to get my eating back in check, especially after the decadence that was those winter holiday months. Don’t get me wrong, I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time. I am a big believer in the spirit of the paleo diet–meat and veggies and fats–and I’ve grown to actually really like those things. I don’t eat pasta or grains or most dairy not because I’m just blindly following some rules but because I actually don’t really want any of it. I like food, and I like a lot of it, and the amount of veggies I can for the same calories as a plate of pasta is truly astounding. To me, clean eating is nice because it appeals to my psychological desire for quantity.

But my one real weakness? Sugar. Oh sugar. Even with all I know about sugar (you should really see Fed Up if you haven’t already), even with as much rationalizing as I can do about it, it’s just so hard for me to quit it. Sugar is the one thing  I know I can actually trim from my diet and would help. I also knew that I needed to cut back on portions, and while I think the idea of intuitive eating is great, I prefer measurable data so I started calorie counting in January. It’s helped, some. I’ve had some losses and some gains, but with a bachelorette trip to Mexico approaching, it’s time to hunker down.

So, starting Monday, a couple friends and I will be starting our first ever Whole30 (which will turn out to be more of a Whole27 or so because we had a Supper Club meeting planned Sunday and rather than cheat early on, we decided to start the day after, but I digress). The good thing is that Whole30 (a pared down intro to the paleo diet) is really not that different from my everyday eating. But those few things I will have to actually change, mostly concerning my Badboy-friend Sugar, is gonna be hard. I will try to update you on the journey here so that it can help keep me accountable, but, as you know from my lack of blogging, sometimes it can be hard to sit down and write. In the meantime though, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever tried Whole30? Did you enjoy it? What were your results? Did it have any lasting impact on the way you eat? Are you interested in trying it down the line?

Welcome to Fish Food

Although this blog will be sometimes about fish and always about food, it is most definitely not about food for fish.  The name of the blog comes from my partner’s mom’s affectionate name for her son: Rybka, which is a Russian term of endearment that literally means “little fish.”

What does that have to do with this blog?  Well, Mr. Little Fish, with whom I live, is the primary audience/taste-tester/unfortunate soul who has endured all my cooking growing stages.  When we started dating, I was probably in the awkward teenage years of cooking: things were clumsy and didn’t always work the way they were supposed to, I was insecure and uncertain about myself in the kitchen, and I wanted desperately for all the food I was making to just look better.  I did eventually start to get more comfortable in the kitchen, but things didn’t really progress until I decided to lose weight.

Last year (2013), I lost 30 pounds (for a total of 50 pounds since I started law school!), bringing me from overweight to squarely into what is considered “normal” for my height.  Part of my weight loss was attributed to a diet I did that severely restricted the foods I could eat, and it turns out that that was exactly what I needed to nurture my cooking creativity.  In hindsight, and as someone who deals extremely well under pressure, I am not surprised this happened.  But during this time, my cooking soared, both in frequency and in quality.  I didn’t go out to eat for 3 months, and even then, I can count the number of times I’ve been out to eat in the last half year on one hand (OK maybe two.  Travel will do that.).

Which brings me to today.  Now that I am officially in Big Girl World, i.e. an adult with a full-time job, I revel in meal-planning and making sure I bring something home-made to work every day.  I stick to a mostly Paleo diet (great intro: http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/paleo-101/), in that I follow the general principles, but I would not call myself a true Paleo. I love peanut butter far too much for that.  And bread.  I am, however, a firm believer in balanced eating, which for me translates to eating mostly Paleo during the week, with meals that are veggie heavy with lean proteins, and relaxing a bit more on the weekends.  I don’t go crazy, but I allow myself to eat what I want without worrying about being “bad.”  Everything in moderation.  Weight-wise, this typically means that I am at my lowest around Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I creep up a pound or two by Sundays.  I tend to stay within a 5 pound range, but if I push the outer edge of that (see: Christmas season), I don’t sweat it.  I’ll get back on track soon enough.

All of which is to say that over the last half year, I have gained a lot of food knowledge.  I am by no means a nutrition expert nor have I ever formally studied anything, but I am an excellent researcher and reader.  For people who know me, this means that I often inundate them with information I’ve found or are telling them about things I made or are suggesting recipes they should try or kitchen tools they should invest in.  Perfect blog material, in other words.

So, here I am.  For now, I am mostly going to be using this website to keep track of recipes I’ve tried and liked, with the modifications that I now freely make.  If you benefit from my need for organization and my experimenting, then all the better.  Welcome to Fish Food!