On March 1, 2018 I started an elimination diet plan called Whole 30. I lost about 9 pounds in two months, which is not bad considering I consumed two jars of mayonnaise during that time. Since I was most eating meat, veggies, fruit and fats during that time, I cooked every meal from scratch and had to come up with some creative ideas.
One of my favorite tactics, was to mix 4 to 6 ingredients together with mayonnaise as a cold salad, and eat it on the go if necessary. So for example, I might take cook sausage or chicken, combine it with chopped apples and or fruit sweetened cranberries, along with some endive, perhaps some fennel, and some walnuts, mayo over the whole thing stir it up and eat it. Deelicious. I also got a spiralizer and got serious about spiralizing vegetables. I never been a big fan of zucchini, but spiralized zucchini does work well as a substitute pasta, or noodle type ingredient, mixed with meatballs, or tossed into a soup and cooked for a few minutes. Other vegetables I spiralized included yellow squash, purple cabbage, sweet potato, potatoes, cucumber, and something else I can’t remember what the heck it was.
I relied on various Whole 30 cookbooks of which there are several, along with recipes printed from the Internet, and the latest Nom Nom Paleo book.
Let’s take a look at some stuff I ate:
Spiralized potatoes, bacon and parsley
Frittata with mushrooms, carrots and more.
Chicken broccoli stirfry with cauliflower rice.
Spiralized potatoes and this thing that looks like a mushroom is actually the core and end of the potato after the rest has been spiralized.
So what was it like going a full month without any grains, dairy, sweeteners, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites, and alcohol? Well about 4-5 days in I went through withdrawal symptoms, probably mostly from nixing sugar from my diet, as well as rice and other high carb foods I had been consuming. The withdrawal symptoms felt like… I don’t know the flu maybe …kind of headachy and just overall blah and yuck. But when that faded I felt pretty darn good. The most impressive thing is how balanced and stable I felt. I wasn’t constantly riding the blood sugar roller coaster, doing stupid things like grabbing some chocolate, eating it, and then thinking “I don’t feel so good” and reaching for something else stupid like Doritos, and then wondering why I still didn’t feel good, just stuffing my face trying to feel better. Obviously the strategy was not working for me and I knew it so I wanted to turn over a new leaf and try this new diet, which is billed as a way to reset your habits. So on the 30 days of Whole 30, you’re not supposed to have chips, or anything that is a treat, like cookies, pancakes or muffins or anything like that, even if all the ingredients comply with the dietary restrictions. This is to help you overcome habitual eating patterns.
Oddly, the thing I missed most was simply some sort of bland white food that I could use as a base for a sauce laden meal, or a soup. I could not use rice, noodles, toast, crackers or anything. But I could use that “zoodles” (spiralized veg). So I made my share of “cauliflower rice” and “zoodles”.
Going in, I already knew that alcohol, sugar, wheat, made me feel sick in one way or or another. So when it came time to do the food introduction phase, I didn’t even bother with these. The first thing I did try was soy, specifically miso, figuring it would be just fine, and 15 minutes later my stomach was like “what the hell did you just do? “. Then I had some tofu. And I spent the next hour or so feeling like digestive disaster was going to occur. Actually beyond that first hour I didn’t really experience any problems. But I do feel a little wary of soy now and will do some more experiments in the future. I did not appear to have much trouble with the other ingredients I tested, except some excessive burping after eating cows milk yogurt, but I knew that was likely to be an issue anyway, as I have had that reaction with dairy products for several years now since my gallbladder trouble.
Now that I’m eating my regular diet again (minus sugar which I am not eager to get back to), the digestion has been working overtime, which is a little rough, but at least I can have a break from all this cooking. And now I know if I need a “reset” I have a plan that has a community behind it.
Random salad of endive, apple, spiralized yellow squash, walnuts and dried cranberries, with lemon juice and olive oil.
Cauliflower, bacon, tomato sauce and I forget what else.
Tomato stuffed with ground cashews and parsley.
Purple salsa: red cabbage, tomatoes, lime juice, red onion, salt and pepper. I couldn’t have any chips with it though so I ate it with ground beef.