Wow, so I’m really not great at this blogging thing… I’ve been away for a bit wallowing in my own self pity for a couple weeks, and finally decided I need to put my big girl pants on and get back to life. So when I started this blog, I did so with every intention of sharing all sides of my journey to better health. Not just the highlight reel of my wins, but also the raw, ugly truth that is struggling with an auto-immune disorder, especially IBD. I went into sort of a “panic mode” after realizing that this IS the internet. Whatever I write is out here forever, potentially for all the world to see, from complete strangers, to *gasp*, even worse, my co-workers, friends, and family. I have finally crawled out from underneath my rock and have gotten back on my “blogging horse”. So, as I said, this blog is meant to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately the past couple of weeks have been mostly ugly… so if you are interested in the truly ugly stuff I’ve been dealing with, then feel free to keep reading (just don’t say I didn’t warn you). If not, or if you have a weak stomach, then stop right now.
How fitting is it that Day 29 falls on the last day I will be ever be 29? Tomorrow at this time I will officially enter into my thirties AND complete Day30 of my third Whole30 challenge. Wow, that’s kind of a tongue twister. I will say that I was hoping to be able to write that I’m feeling so awesome due to all the Whole30 tigerblood pumping through my veins right now. That my mood is great, that my energy is through the roof and that my outlook is super positive about what the future holds in regards to my health. Those were the feelings I had after completing my last 2 Whole30 challenges. Unfortunately I just can’t write those words at the moment.
So here I am over halfway through my Whole30 and I have no idea how I got here… seriously the time is flying by! Just a few things I’ve discovered so far:
1.Bullet proof coffee is my JAM! This has seriously saved me some mornings when I’m just too busy to make a “real” breakfast. The combinations of caffeine and healthy fats keeps me surprisingly satiated and satisfied all the way until lunch. (I love unintentional alliteration by the way)
2.Any veggie cooked in bacon fat makes said veggie automatically 37x more delicious! After a couple weeks of making steamed veggies almost every night, I got bored and decided to switch things up. I’ve had a jar of bacon fat in my pantry for a couple of months (leftover bacon drippings) that I just didn’t know what to do with… one day I got a crazy idea to cook my broccoli in a skillet with a little melted bacon fat. Oh. My. Lord. Literally heaven in my mouth. I did the same thing the next morning with my spinach and egg omelet. First I wilted the spinach in a little bacon fat, then added my eggs… amazing. I think this was a dangerous discovery because I’ve already gone through the whole jar because I’ve been cooking all the vegetables in it… you name it, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, the possibilities are endless.
3.Im not as great at this blogging thing as I thought I’d be. So when I first started this blog, I had visions of posting every night. You know, like with a recap of my day, what I ate, how I’m feeling. But then I remembered that I am me, and I was also the same 13 year old who always dreamed of keeping a hidden diary, so I’d start writing a few days in a diary, then the entries would get further and further apart, until I just gave up altogether. Only to decide 6 months later I wanted to try again, beg my dad to buy me ANOTHER journal (because I HAD to start fresh) and repeat the whole process over again. I swear I had at least 4 diaries with less than 7 entries each. Yeah, much hasn’t changed I guess. Here I am
16 17 days into my Whole30 and this is my first update post. Oh well… it’s a work in progress. Good thing is I’ve been spending my time doing more productive things at least.
4.I had my first “forbidden food” dream. I knew this was a possibility when doing Whole30, as it tends to be a “thing” with people doing the Whole30. But, on Day 12, it still surprised me when I woke up as I tend to stick to a pretty strict diet anyway due to my IBD. The culprit? Peanut M&M’s. Seriously I was going to town(!) on a handful of those colorful chocolate candies and I swear to you, I could TASTE them it was so real! I was relieved when I woke up and realized it was only a dream… but I’m not gonna lie, if I can get a taste of peanut m&ms even if only in my dreams, I’ll take it!
5.Why is my skin literally GLOWING you ask? Because Whole30, that’s why. Definitely one of my favorite “side effects” of the Whole30. Ive had problem skin my whole life. I naively thought that once I hit my twenties I’d grow out of my teenage acne phase… nope. My teenage acne phase has only matured to a more stubborn, persistent, twenty-something acne phase. But Whole30 gives me better skin results than all the over-the-counter scrubs, harsh astringents, face peels, and prescription acne medication that I’ve ever wasted money on in my entire life.
So there you have it, my top 5 Whole30 takeaways so far. I’ll try to check in again before my Whole30 is complete, but, ya know, life. Have any of you done a Whole30 before? Did you have any crazy food dreams?
I must admit, I’m not the best when it comes to sharing recipes… I hardly ever measure and I never really make the same dish twice. It’s actually one of my hubby’s pet peeves. If I happen to make a meal that he really loves, he will always say, “This is delicious, do it EXACTLY like this next time!” Ummmmm, yeah, that’s gonna be a problem. Even when I follow a recipe, I can never just follow the recipe. I have to throw in a pinch of this, a spoonful of that, and maybe add an extra shake of salt just because it feels right. Is anyone else like that? Just me?
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus is one of my favorite go-to last minute “fancy side dish” options that literally requires no thinking, no measuring, and no fancy ingredients and turns out the same every time I make it. With just 10 minutes of prep time and an additional 20 minutes in the oven, this is a great side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! If you’d like to know step-by-step how I make this delicious dish, then keep reading!
Why Whole30? As I mentioned before, people take on Whole30 for various reasons, while I have always been pleased with the various “side effects” when embarking on Whole30 (better sleep, clearer skin, less inflammation, weight loss, and tiger blood) my “reasons why” include a much deeper motivation. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at 20 was definitely a game changer in my life. At the time, it was normal practice for doctors to tell patients that there is “absolutely no correlation between IBD and diet, so don’t waste your time and energy on diets that won’t do any good.” You can still hear old school doctors repeating this awful advice to their patients today as well. Yeah, I know right? It sounds backwards even to a person who hasn’t paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and spent a decade studying for a medical degree. At the time, I trusted that advice and never looked any further into healing my gut through diet and just trusted that general medicine would keep things under control.
So, here I sit, literally 30 days away from turning 30. What better way to close out this chapter of my twenties than by completing an official Whole30 challenge? I fell in love with whole 30 about four years ago, and have followed the principles that I’ve learned from that experience ever since. There are many different reasons people take on the Whole30 challenge; some do it because they’d like to lose a few pounds, some do it because they’d like to feel better, some do it because they’ve heard the amazing benefits that their friends have experienced such as better sleep, clearer skin, and tiger blood! “Whole30 is NOT a diet, it isn’t a quick fix, and it isn’t even a weight loss program. The Whole30 is designed to change your life.” And change my life it did. I found Whole30 because after years of battling an auto-immune disease and suffering the increasing negative effects of very strong medication…. I needed a big change.
As I mentioned in my first post, I found Whole30 about 4 years ago. Since then, I have completed 2 full Whole30 challenges and each time, I learned something different about how different foods affect my body, my skin, my energy, my moods and ultimately, my health. Whole30 helped jump start my journey to better health by way of food. As a result, about a year ago, I happened to stumble upon a book entitled “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall B.A., M.Sc. This book outlines the dietary tools that a person needs to reclaim their health when battling Chrohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Celiac Disease, Cystic Fibrosis and even Autism. It is within the pages of this book that I have found a way of eating that works to not only control my symptoms, but also heal my damaged gut.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ (otherwise known as SCD) is very similar to Whole30 in that it is an elimination diet that gives your body a complete rest from inflammatory foods. Like Whole30, when following SCD a person completely cuts out ALL Grains and ALL Processed Sugar. In their own way, each diet has their advantages (example: Whole30 allows all potatoes while SCD does not, but hey, SCD allows wine, sooooo??) I recently made a commitment to follow the principles of the SCD for two years…. yes, your read that correctly, two YEARS! According to the creator of the diet, a person who suffers from Chrohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis must commit to at least 2 years on the SCD in order to see true progress in the healing process. In perspective, SCD makes Whole30 seem like a cakewalk (mmmmm, cake).