Friday, October 07, 2011

Whole30 - holy crap! Handcrafted Life Plan, Part VI

As I mentioned before, I had been following the new Atkins plan, which was a radically different way for me to eat. I'd always been stuck in the high-carb/low fat mode of dieting and it sort of worked when I was *really* strict about it, but mostly didn't.

Atkins worked great when I was focused on counting and tracking carbs, and not making small allowances for breading on chicken, or a little sugar in BBQ sauce, etc. I lost about 10 lbs and have kept it off, but have completely fallen off the wagon with respect to tracking my carb intake online.

And a few times, I have completely crashed and burned by eating horrible sugary or bread things I didn't even want in the first place. I'm all for consciously eating treats as a once-in-a-while special occasion gig, but eating the rest of the organic Ritz-like crackers left over from T's birthday party? *So* not necessary.

I've been floundering along for the past couple of weeks, still doing pretty well about not eating empty white carbs and focusing on protein and salads. Not awesome, but still, much better than I was doing pre-Atkins.
But my Starbucks chai (Sugar City) habit has caught up with me again (and I'm guessing even the 1-pump, whole milk option is not really doing me any favors.)

This week I was struggling with what to cook for dinner. BabyT is pretty adventurous when she wants to be, so I don't like to deliberately cook something she can't eat due to her dairy allergy. I've been leafing through my cookbooks in an uninspired way, looking for something that doesn't have dairy, but also isn't pasta, potato or bread-based.

I posted my dilemma on Google+, and got a most excellent suggestion to look into the Paleo diet. Personally, I don't give a rats ass about what our caveman ancestors ate - I think that's a handy gimmick to market this way of eating. It's very similar to many of the "low/slow/no empty carb" diets. But upon looking closer, it addresses some of the things I wasn't really comfortable with about Atkins:
1. No fake sweeteners
2. No marketing of shakes, bars, and other fakey diet foods
3. No need to count or track anything, as long as you keep to decent portion sizes.
4. Fruit is ok to eat daily, in small portions (Atkins suggests eliminating it entirely for the first phase and only introducing a tiny bit of berries later.)
5. Sweet potatoes are ok.  Carrots are ok.  I miss those things.

What scared me about it?

1. No more Splenda or stevia in my tea.
2. No more cheese (wah!). No dairy at all, actually.
3. It requires a LOT of cooking. All whole foods, nothing from a mix or a box or prepared by the grocery store.
4. No legumes (including soy). I'm not yet convinced about this one but I understand their rationale about getting more protein from high quality animal sources.

Since I'm already halfway there, having dropped the empty carbs and sugar from my diet, I figured the transition might not be too rough. And then I found this:

Whole30 eating plan
It's a 30 day challenge to eat only whole foods. No grains, no dairy, no sugar, no fake sugar. I'm a sucker for short challenges, because after doing Atkins Induction phase successfully for 14 days, I know I can do this. Then I can re-evaluate after the 30 days, right? And the site discusses introducing some of the restricted things back into your diet, like cheese (yay!).

Even better, I convinced TJ to give it a try. Which makes it easier for me to justify all that cooking. And since it's no dairy, T can eat everything I'm making, which is awesome.

I know I'm going to feel really good once I get into this style of eating. About 2 weeks into Atkins, I felt AMAZING. Seriously, this is not an infomercial. I didn't need to nap mid-day anymore. I slept well at night. I felt more clear-headed than usual, and with tons of energy. But once I started to slip and let in more little carbs here and there, that awesomeness went away :(
Last night, I made up a huge grocery list of what we'd need to get us through the next week or so. I knew I'd need to go to at least 2 stores to find everything, but I remembered my old friend Amazon Fresh, and placed an order for most of it online. Now I just need to make another short trip to Whole Foods to get some of the remaining items and I'll be ready to go! (And $100 poorer, I suspect.)

So, as T says, "here we go mama!". Wish us luck.


  1. Good luck! I...couldn't really bear with giving up cheese or lentils, but I haven't had any fake sweeteners in about ten years and I don't think I could go back. Unsweetened tea is actually ok, surprisingly, once you get used to it.

  2. Good luck! My son also has a dairy allergy so I'm looking forward to any great recipes you find. is where I admit that I eat a LOT of carbs...but if I find something in my recipe book that I think will work, I'll send it along.


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