Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Whole 30: Non-Scale Victories

If you've been reading my Blog and Facebook posts, and if you've ever read anything about The Whole 30 elsewhere, you know by now that embarking on a Whole 30 is not a diet in the sense of "Let's lose some weight".  Although the founders of The Whole 30  acknowledge that the vast majority of people do lose weight, they stress over and over and over again that one should ditch the scale during the 30 days (in fact they suggest hiding it!) and to seriously consider disregarding it as something that doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot after the 30 days.  This is why, upon completion of a Whole 30, you are encouraged to focus on what they refer to as "non-scale victories"; improvements in a variety of areas including physical (both outside and inside), moods and emotions, brain function, sleep patterns, exercise and lifestyle.  As you can see from the pictures below, the lists are fairly exhaustive!

Mr. B and I sat down last night (while sipping on our celebratory Champagne) 

and went over these lists so we could ascertain our own non-scale victories.  As we perused each item, it was obvious many simply did not apply to one or both of us; case in point under Physical (Inside):  "Fewer PMS Symptoms" certainly isn't something Mr. B would expect any improvement in, and as for me, that ship left the harbor a long time ago.  And in all honesty, when I first looked at the list, I was fixated more on the ones that didn't seem to apply than those that did.  However, just now I went through them again and made a mark next to the ones I felt reasonably applied to one of us or even both, and was surprised when I tallied them up to see it was about 40% of the total list.

Here, then, is a representative sample (note:  sample; some are just TMI!) of our non-scale victories:

Physical (Outside)
  • Leaner appearance
  • Rings fit better
  • More defined muscle tone
Physical (Inside)
  • Less shoulder/back/knee pain
Mood, Emotion and Psychology
  • You're happier
  • Fewer cravings (after that bizarre third week, LOL!)
Brain Function
  • Clearer thinking
  • You fall asleep more easily
  • Fewer night cramps
  • Energy levels are higher
  • You need less sugar or caffeine to prop up energy levels
Sports, Exercise and play
  • You're outside more
Food and behaviors
  • Learned how to read a label (scary, scary stuff in some of our foods!)
  • No longer afraid of dietary fat
  • Listening to your body
Lifestyle and social
  • New recipies
  • People come to you for health, food, or lifestyle advice

My Father asked me probably the best question of all:

"Do you feel better?"

Answer.  Yes.  Definitely yes.  Moreover, I also believe this is a sustainable way of eating, much like when Mr. B and I went low-carb two years ago.  We can now more of less stick with Whole 30 eating habits, while allowing back in those foods/food groups that don't cause us any issues.  Our first foray, as mentioned previously, was alcohol.  As far as I can tell, there were no ill-effects (it did make my a little sleepy but then again, it was also 9:00 when we had our Champagne).  Next up is legumes, then non-gluten grains, followed by dairy and then items containing gluten.  There is no specific reintroduction for "no added sugar", or artificial anything, and I guess it's because generally speaking, they are to be avoided as much as possible without being ridiculous about it.  I have to ask myself why I'd even want to eat stuff with artificial anything in it (I discovered that some artificially flavored coffees have the same chemical as what is in antifreeze).  As for added sugar, that might be a once in awhile indulgence because, well, one must still eat dessert from time to time!

As for the question I've been asked more than any other while on The Whole 30:  Have you lost/did you lose weight?
Mark and I weighed ourselves the morning of Day 1 and did not step on the scale again until yesterday morning.  I was on the fence as to whether I'd weigh myself because I knew it was much more important to focus on the non-scale victories.
In the end, however, I was just plain curious.  Mark lost seven pounds and I lost six.   

Oh Whole 30, you've been an experience!  I'm betting we'll probably meet again sometime in the future, like after our October cruise!

Mrs. B

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Whole30 Day 27: All I Can Think About is Wine

Total honesty here.  Aside from the several days a week or so ago when I was feeling downright grouchy, this Whole30 experience hasn't been bad at all.  I've been lucky, of course, that my husband not only signed up for this journey with me (albeit a tad grudgingly at first), he's jumped right into the spirit of, well, "the whole" thing.  As I speak, he's busily preparing yet another breakfast recipe that is Whole30 compliant.  Seriously!  Not only is he making it, he went on-line to purchase the odd-ball ingredients that are virtually impossible to find in a normal grocery store.  Can you say "he's awesome"?  He is.  This one is some sort of compliant "cereal" with apples and date syrup.  A few mornings ago, he made a phenomenal breakfast casserole with sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onions, an entire package of bacon (which he drove to Whole Foods to acquire) and eggs. You might be thinking, "Yuck!"; let me tell you, it was anything but.

So, yeah.  We've experienced a lot of new recipes, figured out how to modify many of our tried and true ones, and spent a lot of time together these past days talking about food, shopping, and hanging out in the kitchen together.  We've brought our parents along for the ride and I haven't heard any of them complaining about the fare we've served them. We do not know for sure if we've lost any weight (weighing is not allowed until Day 31 (which is "The End")), yet, I can see Mr. B's lost weight by looking at his face and I know that it's very likely I've shed some myself.  

We've established new rituals to replace our 6:00 cocktail hour and sipping on wine while watching Game of Thrones. Now, we walk Hesed a bit after 6:00, then come home and prepare our dinner. If we watch a movie or a TV show, tea is our "treat".  You may have picked up on a little of my waning enthusiasm on this point.  I MISS MY WINE.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  For anyone who drinks on a routine basis (more than occasionally), I think it's a great idea to, every once in awhile, forgo it.   Frankly, this probably isn't a bad thing to do for anything we may wonder if we have an addiction to.  Who wants to spend their life with happiness, satisfaction, joy or (fill in the blank with your own desired state of being) dependent on a substance?  Ok, I'm not judging those who have bona fide addictions here; I'm talking about the majority of us who think we cannot go without something, but, we really can.

Off soapbox.

So, yeah.  I'll be glad when I can drink my vino.  Vino with dinner, some good vino shared while having a long conversation with my Mom or my friend Syb, enjoying a special bottle of Zin with Mark, sipping on wine while playing cards with Mom B.  Not to mention, I will have two months worth of wine club wine waiting for me at Cheers to Wine!

Four.  More.  Nights.

Other than my bizarre cravings for ice cream and donuts last week, I've been lucky in that I've not experienced an urge for something I routinely ate but had to give up.  However, yesterday I was fumbling in my purse pocket for my phone, which seemed to be really crammed down in there more than usual.  I finally got it yanked out, and along with it came a myriad of purse lint:  hair ties, five thousand ball point pens, a crumpled tissues (I hope it was clean), and a lone miniature size bar of Hershey's Special Dark.  I stared at it, while images of Richard from the movie "Somewhere in Time" gazing in horror at a penny he'd pulled from his pocket ran through my mind. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you'll have to check out the movie.

For those who don't know, I could exist on:  Red Wine, Cheez-Its, and Dark Chocolate.  I saw images of myself unwrapping the chocolate and gobbling it down, looking guiltily about me to see if anyone had seen me.  

Thankfully it came out of the purse wrapped, otherwise, all bets may have been off; the few seconds it took me to consider unwrapping it were enough to bring me to my senses.  Back to Day 1 for a tiny piece of stale and partially melted chocolate?  Nah.  Sorry, Richard. I had a choice, you didn't (but, seriously; how did you manage to get back in time with a 1970 penny in your pocket?  Script-flaw).

Four more days (and nights) to go and we'll be in Reintroduction Mode.  This is when we'll need to be brutally honest with ourselves: Does anything we add back cause us to not feel so great?

More to come!

Mrs. B

The cereal, along with apples and date syrup, is yummy! Sorta like Cream of White minus the wheat and the cream.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Whole30 Day 22: TIGER BLOOD!!!!!

Finally, finally, finally!

And I'll I'm gonna say right now is...


Mrs. B

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Whole30 Day 19: This Really Blows AKA Where's MY Awesome?

I'm smack in the middle of hating this program.  What makes it even more irritating?  This is what is supposed to happen around Day 21 (I'm an early bloomer, apparently).  According to the book:

Day 21 (Interlude)
You've solidly settled into week three of the program, but despite the benefits you're seeing, you went to bed last night dreading breakfast. You weren't much excited about it this morning, either.  Come to think of it, you're so un-thrilled with any of your meal options right now that if Iron Chef Bobby Flay were to waltz into your kitchen and ask you what you wanted to eat, you'd probably just say, "Ugh."

It goes on to say, in essence, that the primary culprit right now is food boredom; and the advice is to "Rekindle your appetite and your enthusiasm for the program by making something new..."

Frankly, I just want to smack her!

Food ennui aside, what is supposed to be primarily going on during Days 16-27 is called Tiger Blood; and, I quote, "...someone flipped a switch a turned on the awesome."  My energy is supposed to be "through the roof" with little cravings and I'm supposed to feel "unstoppable"  Of course, there are all the usual disclaimers; everyone's different, blah blah blah.  Don't worry if you're not there yet, etc. etc. etc.

I realize I could be experiencing emotional fall-out at this point in time from the recent experience with Hurricane Irma, and that The Whole30 Program has nothing to do with it. Somewhere in the back of my brain, I know I need to just push on past this stage as there is less than two weeks to go now.  I really DO want to know if there has been something I've been eating that hasn't been doing me any favors. Mostly, I don't want to have gone through these 19 days for nothing.  So, I'll soldier on.

Mark and I HAVE been eating some tasty dinners and breakfasts haven't been bad (but I am kinda-sorta getting burned out on eggs and have recently been craving apple cider cake donuts).

Mark smoked a port butt covered with a plan-approved Southern succor (basically all the spices and no sugar) and he made a vinegar based BBQ sauce to go with it.  The result was just phenomenal.

We were able to make a favorite recipe of ours; pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and chorizo, and we've also had unstuffed cabbage soup, Cajun shrimp over "grits" (mashed cauliflower with garlic), and several other decent entrees. We have many things planned to get us through the next two weeks.  I pity the person on this program who does not like cauliflower or sweet potatoes.

No dinner isn't the problem, nor is breakfast; it's the noon time meal that's given me trouble.  I'm usually too full from breakfast to eat much more than some fruit and nuts; maybe a hard-boiled egg. Not to mention, I'm typically running around doing errands this time of day so I'm not at home to eat.  Trying to eat guacamole and carrot sticks, or a wrap of turkey lunch meat and fruit, etc. etc., while driving is difficult. I tried one of the plan-approved Larabars; in a word, gross (although I've been assured these begin to taste better the farther south you get from your sugar-addiction and that some flavors are a lot tastier than others).

Thankfully I have STRONG will power so I'll get through this. I do know that when it's all over, I'll definitely be making adjustments to the program that better fit my lifestyle.  

In the meantime, I'll keep hoping for that awesomeness.

Mrs. B

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Whole30 Day 15: Blame it on the Hurricane!

As I posted on Facebook Saturday night, "We interrupt this Whole30 for wine".  Yes, the anxiety and stress due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma drove us to drink wine over the weekend. Technically, this calls for a re-set and beginning again at Day 1.  We say "pooh" to this, however; especially since we've kept all other restrictions faithfully and we will refrain from drinking again until Day 31 (which will now be extended by the number of days we drank).  This will be our punishment!

So, the drinking aside, how are we feeling?  Fairly decent, all things considered.  And, I'm not just saying this because I don't want to give up wine forever but, adding the wine back in this weekend didn't seem to cause any issues for either one of us; rather, it certainly did a world of good by cutting the tension.  Still, I'm good with giving it up again for another fifteen plus days.

In all honesty, I'm not sure which way is up right now.  I'm discombobulated due to the craziness of this past week. However, right before it got totally nuts, Mark said to me he didn't see why we couldn't continue to eat this way for the most part from now on.  He's probably right.  I'm not really craving anything in particular from our "old way of eating", and in fact was overjoyed to have roasted potatoes the other night (it's probably been three years since we've made regular potatoes at home!)

I am, though, experiencing cravings for things I wasn't even eating before we began; namely, Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.  Go figure!

Mrs. B

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Whole30 Day 8: One Week In!

Yeah, yeah; I've skipped blogging for several days.  Sorry!  Life has been quite busy with a variety of non-Whole30 activities going on.  Plus, The Whole30 itself continues to keep me occupied with planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and eating!

So, here we are in the morning of Day 8.  An entire week has gone by since we began.  I'm betting many of you are curious as to how we're doing, thinking, feeling; about all of this craziness.  1.  Can we see any results yet?  2.  Are we more energetic?  3.  Have we spent our entire life savings on ghee?  4.  Are we still eating eggs and avocado?  5.  Have we slipped up and gone off-plan?  6.  Is this really worth it?

Answers:  1.  Mark says he can see a change in my body; I don't see it.  I do, however, see his face thinning out.  

2.  Short answer is no.  We have not yet hit the "tiger blood" phase whereby we are (supposedly) going to feel like, well, Tony the Tiger:  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT. Mark had a headache pretty much all week.  I was extremely irritable and grouchy on Day 4. Neither one of us are sleeping well.  Why?  I'm not sure why but they suggest if you are waking up in the middle of the night you may need to eat a portion of protein about an hour before you go to bed.  There is some scientific rational behind this; all I can think is, "MORE FOOD?  UGH!" Seriously, eating a hard boiled egg or some salmon or tuna or whatever at 9:00 at night DOES NOT APPEAL. But, it's either this, or give up the coffee.  Yes, apparently coffee consumed in the morning can still cause disruption in sleep patterns in some people at night.  Why was this never an issue before The Whole30?  Well, in all honesty, it was; it's just that since we usually had a few drinks in the evening, we fell asleep quickly and stayed asleep longer but eventually we'd both wake up and do the whole barely sleeping on the surface thing.  I have to admit, if I'm going to be waking up in the middle of the night, I'd just assume have had my glass of wine. But, that'll be an issue for Day 31. Ok, that was a long, not short, answer for #2!

3.  I cannot believe how expensive this ghee stuff is!  I have a few friends who have told me it's cheaper at Indian places or Trader Joe's; unfortunately, we don't have either of these places close enough to make the drive worth it.  We do have a Trader Joe's in Sarasota but that place is a total madhouse.  I found some ghee on-line that wasn't too terribly expensive, all things considered.  Mark says he can make it (all it is is clarified butter) but he really doesn't have the time and no one wants to trust me with this culinary feat.  Other than the ghee, however, I'm pleased to report that we are actually spending less money at the grocery.  I shop the perimeter of the store to get produce and meat and eggs.  I only venture into the center of the store for approved canned goods, toiletries, or pet supplies. Obviously we are saving money on not purchasing beer or wine.  

4.  Yes.  In fact, I am eating eggs, spinach, mushrooms, avocado (cooked in GHEE) this very moment.  Never underestimate the power and versatility of eggs and avocado.  In fact, you can even make avocado deviled eggs!  No, I'm not really sick of them YET, but, ask me on Day 17.

5.  No, with the only exception being we did have a tiny piece each of gluten-free cracker yesterday when we took communion at church.  We debated; we seriously did.  But in the end, Jesus trumps Whole30.  At least we went for the gluten-free cracker and not the yummy King's Hawaiian bread option.  Note:  The program rules do allow for communion.

6.  Honestly, I don't know yet how it'll pan out for us physically and if we'll discover that "something" has been bothering us/making us feel ill.  Obviously if we do, then heck yes it will have been worth it.  If we eventually start sleeping better, having more energy, start glowing; well, duh; yes, it will have been worth it.  It's just too soon to say on that front. What HAS been worth it so far is we've been spending time together preparing meals and that's been fun. We're also in the "We're in this together!" mode; which is bonding.  And, we both agree that, if a person drinks alcohol on a routine basis, it's a good idea to occasionally take a fast from it to ensure there are no "issues" there, if you know what I mean.  Yes, we miss our evening cocktails, or a beer after a long day's work outside, or, a celebratory drink after a big event.  I'm happy to report that neither one of us are climbing the walls or seeing purple dragons.  

Most of the meals we've prepared (out of The Whole30 book) have been quite tasty.  My favorites up to this point have been the Grilled Coconut-Curry Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and the Roasted Beet Salad with Grapefruit-Thyme Vinaigrette.  Last night we had Chicken Primavera over Spaghetti Squash which was also quite good (although it took me almost all afternoon to prepare).  We're about ready to tackle modifying some of our favorite pre-Whole30 recipes to make them plan compliant.  Frankly, this may be easier (and less time consuming) than making brand new recipes every day.

No more pictures of food on htis blog, however; it's too time consuming (you'll have to follow me on Facebook to see these!)

So, overall, we're doing ok enough to keep on going.  Frankly, neither one of us are quitters, anyway; so, there'd have to be some significant reason why we'd not continue.  I can't think of any, so....stay tuned for more of my adventures with ghee.

Mrs. B

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Whole 30 Days 2-3: This is VERY Time Consuming!!!!!

So, I was reading in The Whole30 "Bible" what, in general, we might expect to be feeling right about now, two-three days in.  This is what it says (edited down somewhat):

"The alarms rings on Day 2 and you pop out of bed expecting to feel great, just like you did yesterday.  Instead, you feel headache-y, a little sore, foggy...kind of like a hangover.  You're pretty sure you didn't down a fifth of tequila in your sleep, so what happened?  Let's revisit what you were consuming before you started the Whole30 (a list of a bunch of "bad stuff")...Here's a little math equation for Days 2 to 3.  The amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of junk you consumed before you began the program."

This likely explains why neither one of us feels necessarily "suck-y" right now, the morning of Day 3; because we were already on a low-carb diet (ok, we totally blew it the last month, but we'd been on it over 2 1/2 years prior) before we began our Whole30.

Personally, I'm thinking this is WAY TOO MUCH FOOD to consume day in and day out for the next month.  I'm also more freaked out by the amount of time we'll be spending planning, shopping, and preparing food than as to how my body is feeling (mind over matter; shut-up, body, THE BRAIN is talking now!)  I'm also wondering how much more water can I possibly drink in a day plus I'm already getting tired of eggs and avocado.

Yesterday I could not finish my breakfast of leftover chicken salad, so I had it again at noon, along with some fruit; all the while memories of me and my sisters sitting at our kitchen table when we were little kids until we finished our gigantic plates of spaghetti flashing through my brain. All those years ago, it took Ann one hour, me one hour and a half, and Kathy two hours. In all fairness to my Mom and Dad, it was likely more like 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes, but it seemed like FOREVER.

That's what yesterday was like; a never-ending plate of chicken salad (now I'm  thinking about Joan Crawford forcing her kids to eat cold raw meat for three days in a scene from the campy movie "Mommie Dearest".)

No more wire hangers EVER!  Oh wait, that's another scene

Note to self:  This is YOUR choice, remember?

In place of our evening cocktail hour, we took Hesed for a long walk and then returned to make our third meal of grilled steak, roasted sweet potatoes and onions, and blistered green beans with roasted cashews.  Ok, this was more like normal times as it's one of our standard go-to meals (minus the cashews in the green beans which we needed to add last night to get our portion of healthy fat). Also minus the bottle of red wine we likely would have consumed with the meal, but who's "wine-ing" (obviously  me).

Looks so sad and lonely without its glass of red wine :-(

The meal was even more normal due to the fact that Apollo and Pete showed up to beg. Hmmmm....maybe they want to do The Whole30, too?  Apollo and ghee.  I can just see it.


This morning Mark made a spinach frittata with a side of jalapeno bacon.  I added chopped tomatoes to the top of mine (it would have been better if I'd just slathered it with salsa).  I took one look at the plate and said, "This can't be right, it's huge!"  Mark said, "It says "Serves Two!"   

Holy Cow!

Needless to say, I ate about 2/3 of it.   Mark doesn't seem to have any trouble cleaning his plate; he must have belonged to the "I Eat All My Spaghetti Club" as a child.  Actually, I know it's because he weighs roughly 40 pounds more than I do so he requires more fuel.

Case in point.  Now it's 12:30 and he's back in the kitchen making his lunch.  I'm like, "blech".  I know I need to eat something, though.

We've realized we simply can't make 3 meals per day, so, in general, we'll have a "Ploughman's Lunch" mid-day; hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, olives or nuts, carrot sticks, fruit, etc.  Maybe some leftovers.  Otherwise, we'll literally be in the kitchen cooking and eating more than half of the day.

How am I feeling physically?  Actually, pretty decent.  Maybe the train wreck will hit in a few more days?

Speaking of which, I'll be missing a few days of blogging since I have a lot of other things going on the rest of this week and into the weekend.

Signing off to go eat.


Mrs. B

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Whole30 Day 1: I've Got Food Coming Out of My Ears!!!!!

I woke up raring to go!  Seriously!  After over a month of planning, it's time to do this!

I leaned over and said to Mr. B:  "Happy Day 1!"  Grunt.

We did both brave the scale.  I didn't really want to (for many reasons, I typically avoid the scale) but I figured it would be good to know IF I lost, gained, or stayed pat during this experience.  The number was about what I expected having spent the better part of this past month on vacation, celebrating, and in general getting rid of everything in the house we are not supposed to eat (aside: we did give a lot of it away, too). 

First up; drinking my iced coffee with no creamer or sweetener.  And, no flavored coffee, either; just plain old coffee (Paul Newman Organic K-Cup).  STRONG.  I made do with a splash of plan approved coconut "creamer" stuff. I'm on the fence as to whether I'll continue to use this after the cartoon is gone as I could hardly tell any difference; the coffee was just STRONG.  No need to worry that I'll want more than the suggested two cups per day.  No way.

Found it at Fresh Market, although Publix has something similar 

Because I had a meeting at church at 9:15, this meant we had to eat our breakfast before I went.  I'll admit, I was not hungry in the least but knew it was right to do it, anyway.  So, turning to our trusty three day/3 per day meal plan, Mr. B rustled up our breakfast of eggs scrambled in ghee (if the sound of this grosses you out, all ghee is is clarified butter), topped with avocado and the homemade salsa I made last week plus Mark's sausage (which is in essence the Jimmy Dean recipe minus the MSG).  I ate it all and was totally stuffed.

Someone commented on Facebook that they thought this looked "disgusting", but it's really that I'm not a food photographer!

After my church meeting, I spent the better part of an hour preparing our lunch; chopped chicken salad using the chicken Mark had prepared last weekend and Whole30 mayo (in essence nothing more than egg, tasting olive oil, dried mustard, lemon juice, S&P).  I added additional lemon juice, garlic, and a bunch of chopped cilantro to turn it into Citrus-Cilantro Mayo.  I threw in celery and radishes into the chicken and tossed it all with the mayo.  We spooned the chicken salad over a bed of arugula, topped it with more avocado and we each had a side of fruit (him 1/2 a grapefruit, me a handful of cherries).

Pretty flavorful and something I might have ordered in a restaurant.  Next time, I'd add more cilantro to the mayo

We ate this at 1:00 and I almost immediately began to stress out about eating dinner at 5:45 (earlier than we usually eat as Mr. B had his own church meeting to attend at 6:30). Additionally, I realized the Meal 3 I'd planned wasn't going to work out because it called for Mr. B to grill steaks and sweet potatoes.  This also meant our Day 2 Meal 2 wouldn't happen because it called for leftover sweet potatoes.  So, course correction!  We opted for pork chops, Mark's sauce, and zoodles (the pork already having been braised in Mark's sauce as he made it last weekend).  

Roll me over, Beethoven!

Mark went off to church, I cleaned up the kitchen, played with Hesed, and then I took her for a long walk.

Believe it or not, two hours later, I was actually feeling the stirrings of hunger.  Nothing awful, just a small twinge.  And, honestly, I was really missing my evening cocktail (another reason I took Hesed out for a long walk; distraction!)

Mark came home and said, "I'm hungry.  Are you hungry?"  It was close to 9 so I didn't want to eat but he ate the leftover zoodles and sauce plus a small handful of cashews (that he'd roasted himself so we knew there was nothing bad lurking in them like peanut oil, a big no-no).

So, why so much food at each meal?  The basic rules are this.  Each meal you need to have:
1.  Protein
2.  Vegetables and/or a small portion of fruit (carbs)
3.  Healthy fat (avocado, approved nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut, etc.)

The proportions are to be a palm size or two of the protein, 3 1/2 cups of vegetables PER MEAL and then the fat; not over doing it (e.g., maybe 1/2 an avocado) but that fat is needed for sure.

Note:  Snacking isn't forbidden but you're really supposed to eat enough at each meal that you don't really need to.  If you find yourself hungry, you've either not eaten enough or not had all three components.

The likely culprit for why Mark was hungry last night was we didn't have any healthy fat at dinner (cooking fat, yes, but not that much).  And, if you have a snack, you need to have at least two of the three components.  So, some fruit and half a hard-boiled egg.  Or, some fruit and a handful of cashews.  Or, some carrot sticks dipped in guacamole.  You get the picture.

So, live and learn; don't forget the healthy fat (which, of course, runs counter to the way most of us have been eating since the late '80s (the whole non-fat craze)).

How am I feeling this morning of Day 2?  Ok.  I slept ok, not great.  My body was probably wondering what happened to my sugar-alchohol, so, I was a bit fitful.  Plus, I got up more than usual to use the facilities because I drank a lot more water yesterday than I am used to.

Breakfast this morning was a repeat of yesterday's lunch.  If you've not yet realized it, there is a lot of "make a lot of this and use it for several meals" or, "cook this item and use it four different ways".  Or, if you make a batch of something that can be frozen and saved for later, make a double batch." This helps so that you're not continually in the kitchen or at the grocery store.

Happy Day 2!  On wards!

Mrs. B

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Whole30 Day 0: Do I REALLY Want to Know How Much I Weigh?

Mark and I are about to embark on The Whole30 experience.  Tomorrow.  Gulp.  

What is this and why?

Well, our fitness trainer started gushing about this back in late June.  Ok, "gush" may not be the correct term since she was, admittedly, miserable when she first mentioned it to me; probably in response to my query, "Are you feeling ok?"  She told me she was on The Whole30 and was a little under a week into it and was "struggling", but was determined to continue because, after all, not being able to have creamer in your coffee is not life or death. Not imbibing in a glass of wine after work is not the end of the world (well, maybe for her, LOL!)  Because going without grains, dairy, legumes, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, any alcohol whatsoever, added sulfates, MSG or many other additives and preservatives was not as difficult as having a baby, losing a parent, or getting a divorce.

This is what she was spouting off to me, and I was like, "HUH? This sounds totally crazy and I don't want anything to do with it!"

Fast forward about two months and now I'm crazy, and I'm dragging Mark along for the ride. 

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this man?

Back to Michelle (our trainer) and The Whole30.  The next Friday she was looking decidedly better.  She said "Yeah, I miss my wine, but I've been amazed how great the food I've been eating tastes.  I'm not counting calories or weighing myself but my clothes fit like they should, I have a lot more energy, and I'm sleeping better."  At this, I felt the beginning tugs of interest since I can't remember that last time I've slept through the night.  So, I asked her to share some more, to which she replied by showing me a book called "The Whole30:  The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom."

You can eat more than you'd think on this plan (although maybe not what you think you want to eat!)

I glanced at it, and thought, "Well, the cover recipe looks decent."  I thumbed through it and checked out a few more of the recipes.  "Hmmm...this doesn't look too awful, I ventured." She jumped all over that opening, "No!  It's not.  What totally grabbed me and made me pull the plug and do it was the whole bit about how going without fill in the blank for 30 days is not hard compared to other things I've experienced in my life."  I was sufficiently intrigued that I went home that very afternoon and bought the book via Amazon Prime.  Ok, it basically sat in my kitchen for a month before I picked it up, but I DID buy it.  

The next week, now about two and a half weeks into her experience, Michelle was bouncing around and was positively glowing with good health.  Shoving down my misgivings about whether I could give up wine, Greek yogurt, beans, and chewing gum all at the same time, I went home and began in earnest to plant the seeds with Mark regarding our venturing into the world of The Whole30 "at some point".

I said, "We certainly won't start until after our vacation, because we'd never be able to do this on vacation.  We can start when we get back in mid-August!"  

Backtrack.  Mark and I have been down the "diet fad" path many times before in our 13 years together.  Most recently, as in two plus years ago, we went low-carb and have stuck with that relatively well.  Yet, the philosophy, research, and The Whole30 program rules pulled me in me because it all makes so much sense and is very difficult to argue with; and, not the least being, the mantra that most people who go on this repeat to themselves over and over again; "It's ONLY 30 days!"  

I could go on and on about the philosophy, research, and rules but I figure if you're interested in it, you can Google The Whole30 and read all about it.  My intent with blogging about it is to document my experience with it; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We initially picked August 23rd as our Day 1 (August 22nd being Mark's birthday and he did NOT want to be deprived of scotch and cigars on his birthday (BTW smoking is also not allowed on The Whole30)).  The weekend before, we removed everything from the house that was not plan approved.  We went out shopping and bought only Whole30 approved items.  I even went on-line and bought some Whole30 approved bacon.  We planned out our initial three days of meals (9 in total:  breakfast, lunch, and dinner whereby you eat for each meal protein, a lot of vegetables, maybe some fruit, and some sort of healthy fat like avocado or olives).  In other words, we PREPARED; a integral key to success.  I also went on-line and found all sorts of resources with the most helpful being The Whole30 Forum where you can find out with a few keystrokes if, say, that ferrous gluconate in your canned black olives is plan approved (it is but they'd prefer you find ones that don't have it (and they do exist)) or if you need to ditch your carton of chicken broth because it has yeast extract in it (you do).  That same weekend, Mark made homemade sausage, pasta sauce (which we'll enjoy minus the pasta but Zoodles are great), and stock from two whole chickens (added bonus being we now have a ton of plan approved shredded chicken).  

So, we were all ready to go, but then I got seated on a jury Monday the 21st that was scheduled to go at least through Thursday (it went through Friday).  We postponed (wisely) until August 28th.  Tomorrow.  Gulp.

Seriously, I am ready for this challenge because I want to find out if there is something I am eating or drinking that is causing me not to feel as great as I should be feeling.  I mean, I'm 53 and in pretty decent health and shape; it seems I should feel better than I do.  Maybe I'll lose weight but that's not why I'm doing it.  I'd like to know if the Stevia I used in my coffee is making me gassy (I know, TMI, sorry, my Blog).  Or, are sulfates causing my eyes to swell.
Or, is dairy causing roiling stomach issues or beans causing me to bloat and puff up.  I already know giving up alcohol can only result in positive results; physical, mental, and emotional.  

So say I now, today, Day 0.

Oh, and I probably will weigh myself tonight, as well as take measurements (after tonight, the scale and tape is off limits until Day 31).  I'm drawing the line at the "before" and "after" pictures, though.  

Stay tuned for the journey.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Some Differences Between Cats and Dogs

This is a re-post of a blog entry written soon after we brought Lucy home in January 2007. The original posting was on my "old" Blog.  It's a piece I enjoyed writing and, ten years later, it still relatively accurately sums up my thoughts on some differences between cats and dogs.  
Mrs B
July 1, 2017

Now that I own a dog (Lucy), I've been in a few positions (get your  minds out of the gutter) with regards to observing some significant differences between cats and dogs when it comes to their bodily functions.

First, the obvious.  Cats do their "business" in a cat box.  They do not like to be observed while doing this and (generally) will bury their evidence.  Dogs, on the other hand, let it all hang out and do their "business" in front of anyone and everyone who happens to be around.  They don't bury it (although they might sniff it or do a half-hearted back foot kick over it (if another dog is around)).

Eating.  For the most part, cats are fairly dainty.  They USUALLY won't scarf down their entire bowl of dry food in 30 seconds flat (although to be fair, Clyde does sometimes eat too much too fast and barfs it right back up).  Editorial comment from 2017:  So do Lily and Apollo.  Dogs eat their food right then and there.  In fact, I read that it's not a good idea to let them leave any food in their bowl because that is what an "alpha" animal does (the implication being that, because they are "alpha", they can leave food and no one will touch it).  If you want to be "alpha" in your house, don't let your dog do this.  Editorial comment from 2017:  Lucy had a food aggression and so we were not able to leave any food out for her.  Not that she would have left any food out in the first place.  Hesed, on the other hand, does not chow down all of her food at once, nor does she appear to care if one of the cats strolls by and takes a munch).  Don't bother worrying about picking up your cat's food if s/he leaves some as they are and always will be "alpha" in your life.

Barfing.  You know when a cat is about to hurl because it gives you plenty of advance notice by going through an elaborate process of making loud up-chuck noises.  They must start this about 5 minutes before they have to let it out because if you try to chase a cat off a carpet while it is doing this, it will run away from you and wait to heave until it's back on the carpet (one exception to this being sometimes when you chase the cat, it elects to projectile puke while running madly about the house, so rather than having one pile to clean up, there are now about thirty).  Dogs just hurl.  There are no preliminaries.  One second they are sitting there minding their own business, the next, about twenty gallons of stomach contents are all over the floor (or  the backseat of your car, or, if you are exceedingly unlucky, YOU).

Odors.  As much as I love cats, I've gotta give the gold star to the pooches in this category. In general, their fluids (note we are not discussing poop) do not smell as bad as cat odors. Dog pee, although there is typically a lot more of it, smells like not much because they drink so much more water.  We all know what cat pee smells like, and how hard it is to get rid of the smell once it's in your carpet.  Ditto with cat barf dog barf.  It is harder to clean up and it stinks.  Dog barf, although resembling some mutant alien creature, hardly smells and it mops right up.

So, there are a lot of differences.  About the only similarity I've discovered so far is that cat poop and dog poop and cat farts and dog farts smell equally bad.  Editorial comment from 2017:  No change here!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of LifeFalling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm at a place in my life and spiritual journey where this book meant so much to me and was so very helpful. I'm sure it also helps that my theology/spiritual beliefs seem to be closely aligned with Richard Rohr's; I found myself wanting to underline just about everything in this book!

A wide summary; this book discusses the purpose of the 1st half of life/first journey/first task, what life should be like when we've moved into the 2nd half of life/second journey/second task, and those things that must occur in order to move from 1st to 2nd half (note to those who are looking for a quick "self help" guide: this is not something you can control, sorry!)

Some (ok, more than some) highlights for me:

*We are summoned to it, not commanded to go...because each of us has to go on this path (towards the 2nd half of life) freely

*We are led by mystery or grace into spiritual maturity

*Those who walk the full and entire journey are considered...Elders

*The way up is the way down; the way down is the way up. Sacrifice of something...some sort of falling, necessary programmed into the journey

*We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. The demand for perfect is the greatest enemy of good

*The opposite of rational is not always irrational. It can also be trans-rational (bigger than the rational mind can process)

*You cannot walk the second journey with first journey tools

*We all need some successes, response and positive feedback early in life or we will spend the rest of our lives demanding it, or, bemoaning its lack from others

*2nd journey people both transcend and include 1st journey people. Jesus was a 2nd half of life man who had...the task of trying to teach and be understood by a largely 1st half of life history, church, and culture

*Most of organized religion is still living inside first half of life issues

*We can and will move forward as soon as we have completed and lived the previous state; by grace, and the old agenda shows itself to being insufficient or even falls apart

*You need a very strong container (constructed during the 1st half of life) to hold the contents and the contradictions that arrive later in life. You ironically need a very strong ego structure to let go of ego

*The only real Biblical promise is that unconditional love will have the last word

*The voice of our Loyal Soldier gets us through the first half of life safely...our Loyal Soldier cannot get you to the second half of life. You must discharge your Loyal Soldier = death of False Self, but the very birth of the Soul

*We will need authentic "soul friends" (Spiritual Directors, Elders, Truth Speakers, Contemplatives) to guide us the 2nd half

*Life is both loss and renewal, death and resurrection, chaos and healing at the same time. Life is a collision of opposites

*The tragic sense of life is ultimate and humiliating realism, which demands a lot of forgiveness of almost everything. Faith is simply to trust the real, and to trust that God is found in it

*God comes to you disguised as your life

*Jung: Neurotic behavior is usually the result of refusing legitimate suffering. Refusing this necessary pain of being human brings to the person 10X more suffering in the long run

*Your True Self is who you are objectively from the beginning in the mind and heart of God. "The face you had before you were born"

*God excludes no one from union, but He must allow us to exclude ourselves in order for us to maintain our freedom (free will)

*Either God is for everybody and the divine DNA is somehow in all creatures, or this God is not God by any common definition

*Without Elders, a society perishes. Socially and spiritually

*In the 2nd half of life, if you have forgiven yourself for being imperfect, you can now do it for just about everybody else

*Our (spiritually) mature years are characterized by a kind of bright sadness and a sober happiness

*You do not fight these things learn to positively ignore and withdraw your energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly. You fight only when you have been directly called and equipped to do so

*The Beatitudes speak louder to you than The Ten Commandments

*The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better

*Persona = diligently constructed in the 1st half. Not true; it is manufactured and sustained unconsciously by your mind

*Shadow = what you refuse to see about yourself and what you do not want others to see

*The movement to 2nd half of life wisdom has much to do with necessary shadow work. You never get there without major shadow boxing. Shadow work = Falling Upward

*Soulful (2nd half of life) people temper our tantrums by their calm, lessen our urgency by their peace, exhibit a world of options and alternatives when all conversation turns into dualistic bickering

*Soulful people are salt, yeast, light

*If your politics do not become more compassionate and inclusive, it's doubtful whether you are on the second journey

*(embrace) both and no longer need to divide the field of every moment between up and down, totally right or totally wrong, with me or against me. It just is.

*Non-dualistic wisdom = contemplation

*Great people come to serve, not to be served

*It is the freedom of the 2nd half of life not to need

*Being totally received as we truly are is what we wait and long for all of our lives. We who are gazed at so perfectly can pass on the same accepting gaze to all others who need it

Amen and Amen!

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