Inner Voices
1Aug/141

My Whole30 Journey, the good and the challenges *Part 2*

Welcome back in this second half in which I share about my Whole30 challenge journey. You can read part 1 right here.

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The good...

My overall inflammation seems to be almost gone. And trust me, when something became your new normal, once it changes you notice it easily.

My sleep has improved. I suffer from restless sleep, and usually wake up tired every morning; suffice to say the nights I simply can not sleep before 3 or 4 in the morning. I wake up in less pain (in the past months, I had my husband massaging my legs before being able to function and get up), and way less tired. This is HUGE.

You may know by now that I am a true foodista and that food/cooking has a big place in my life, always have had. Well… after a while of «I eat only because I have to, but would not be mad if I could just skip it», it sparked this curiosity flame all over again. It allows me to explore a new way of looking at what I put in my body and why.

… and more challenging.

I have to say «no» when I don’t know what exactly is inside a meal or a food. Therefore, it is difficult to go eat outside, if not impossible (good for the wallet though). It is part of the good as well: you have to check every.single.thing. you buy. So plan ahead: your trip to the grocery store will take more time because you’ll check every label to be sure there is no sugar, no wheat, no potato or corn starch etc. But you’ll get used to it (and we should check our food labels anyway…), you begin to know what you can and can not get so it becomes easier. Be prepared that frustration may be your companion for a while (if you follow me on social media, you may have read about my meltdown because no bacon was sugar free, and I spent at least 10mn checking every brand in the aisle).

The amount of meat I have to eat to avoid any carence. Since January, I was actually meat free… and can’t wait to go back to it ! But I don’t feel too guilty, it is temporary…

I told you in part 1, but you are not allowed to step up on the scale during the thirty days of the challenge. And for me, used to weight myself twice a day (don’t give me that look, I know I am not the only one doing this stupid thing), changing my routine and resisting to the temptation every morning is not the easiest.

What the hell did I eat…

… if I skip «all the good things» (I am quoting Koala, my 7yo daughter) ? Well, the key is to eat everything that is not processed or as little as possible (and with this, no labels to decode ahah).

My fats of choice are coconut oil, ghee (ie clarified butter) and sometimes very good olive oil.

I bought a spirulizer to make zucchini noodles and still enjoy what feels like pasta. My tribe is a huge pasta eaters, they could eat pasta at every meal for the rest of their lives (me… not so much, except if it is in a japanese dish).

I love cauliflower and will soon finally try the famous «cauli-rice» and will even dare make sushi with it, to see if it can cut the craving.
Almonds and cashews are becoming more and more my best allies as well. It was already, as we use it a lot in vegan cooking but as I want to keep grains out of my diet the more possible, but still want to enjoy «bread» and crêpes and good things like it, I need to find new ways of cooking them.

I usually seasonned a lot with tamari or gluten free soy sauce, but Whole30 equals no soy of any kind. So instead, I use coconut aminos (and no, it does not taste like coconut at all).

A few samples in images:

My favorite breakfast: a banana with blanched almond butter, sprinkled with cinnamon (cinnamon is good for you):

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Another breakfast: nut banana porridge (from Against All Grain):

IMG_20140717_092445 (ptitpaladin@gmail.com)

You have to know that salad does.not.have to be boring:

--> Butter lettuce, pan seared coconut shrimp, pineapple salsa, cherry tomatoes, homemade vinaigrette, nutritional yeast

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--> Butter lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, bacon bits, homemade vinaigrette, nutritional yeast. Fresh figs on the side.

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--> Butter lettuce (yes, it IS my favorite variety...), cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, black olives, masago, cold smoked salmon with pepper. Always with our homemade vinaigrette and a big sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

IMG_20140722_123612 (ptitpaladin@gmail.com)

Some of my other favorites: spaghetti squash, cauliflower, one-pot meals such as ratatouille, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon (check for sugar first though), avocadoes, anything from coconut, nutritional yeast...

And what about the after Whole30 ?

I think that I will go as much grain-less and sugar-less as possible. I do not want to over stress about it, and will still indulge now and then. However, I know now that both are triggers for my inflammation, and therefore that if I want to stay as healthy and comfortable as I can, I need to keep them away from me. I will keep checking my labels. This is the positive side of all this Paleo frenzy: lots of recipes to pick from…

It also means that I will need to manage to cook even more than I used to. I am okay with that, just need to have things ready and to be prepped. For example take a few hours every Sunday to prep our vegetables for the week, maybe prepare some fruits bowls, cook what can be cooked in advance etc. I know we did it in the past so it is up to us to take this matter into our own hands, maybe have the girls help as well (they need to be educated and to learn to cook, too). My ideal vision would be to go back to a certain vegan diet, on the long term…

I need to continue on the fitness side as well. My husband and I may do the DDP Yoga program together, which I a pretty psyched about. I do the Doctissimo Fitness Master workouts that a friend suggested to me, a different one every night, I hope it will get easier ;) I need to add muscles to strengthen my body now *and avoid plastic surgery*.

I weighted myself this morning and I have not been that «light» in about a decade (I even checked the starting weight of my first pregnancy, I was 19, and I am now several kilos under this).
I lost about 9kgs this year (this makes ±19 lbs). It takes a huge commitment, I love food, but I know now that it is essential for me to take care of my health at almost 29 years old than when it will be too late. We can all take it in our own hands and find what works best for us. What are the triggers.
I wanted to add something that might sound weird: it is not that easy to make peace with my body. It changed a whole lot in the past 18 months or so. I see bones I actually forgot where even there (well… except those like collarbones that I did not see but felt when a flare-up was about to hit).

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Sharing some great resources.

Here are a few links, if you’re interested in knowing more and why not try it yourself:

Whole9 (the Whole30 founders' website).
NomNom Paleo
Everyday Paleo
The clothes make the girl
Stupid Easy Paleo
Against all grain

17Jul/146

My Whole30 journey, half-way through *Part 1*

Hello hello !

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Today, I wanted to share with you this journey I embarked on on July 2nd. After a while of consideration, and some good (and not so good) planning, I am in the middle of doing something called the Whole30.

I know you might wonder why I am sharing this on this space when it is not directly linked with anything creative but… it kind of is. See, being fully in my body, embracing who I am is part of my creative journey. And food is a side of creativity as anything else (and trust me, doing this challenge does require being creative, you’ll read why in a moment).

doing-the-w30-IG-300x300You may know by now that I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia almost three years ago now.
Fibromyalgia causes a general inflammation in the entire body, with flare ups coming and going as it pleases them. Plus the sharp pain that comes when it wants, where it wants, and the fatigue that sometimes peaks… no fun.
There are days I can barely move because even breathing hurts somehow. There are some days I just want to give up (no not die), and just lay in bed until it is over and until a better day comes.
But this year, I decided it was time to get back to who I am, to my true self. And to get there, it means I need to instore a good self-care policy.

What the heck is Whole30 ?

There is chances you have no clue what I’m about to talk about so here is a quick round up of what it is.

The Whole30 is an elimination diet (diet in the sense it has a time frame), I am doing to understand the correlation between the food I eat and the inflammation level in my body. It was created in 2009 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. They both have background in either nutrition or physiology/anatomy. You can learn more about how they came up with this Whole30 thing and created their Whole9 business in their book, It starts with food.

By now, you have probably heard about the Paleo diet. Well, Whole30 is basically a Paleo diet put to the extreme (I like to torture myself like that, yes).

You stop eating the following:

  • Grains (includes: rice, wheat, couscous, quinow, buckwheat, spelt, oats, corn, bulgur, etc. and the starch from them also).
  • Sugar (includes white sugar, agave syrup, honey, stevia, brown sugar, maple syrup, Splenda, coconut sugar etc.).
  • Dairy.
  • Legumes (yup… no beans). It means none of their derivated products either such as tofu, tempeh, humus, miso… no soy sauce either, and no peanuts.
  • All kinds of white potatoes (but sweet potato is your friend).
  • No alcohol, not even for cooking (but vinegars like red wine vinegar are okay).

Another important point (which may be the hardest for me…): you do not step on a scale during the entire challenge. Nor do you measure yourself *silent scream*. This is because this challenge is not about losing weight, even if there are chances that weight loss will actually occur.

It IS a lot to get rid of in your diet at the same time, I hear you. But it is only for 30 days, not more (well, you technically could. Some person do a Whole45 for example). It is intimidating and this is why planning it in advance is key to your success. Know what you can eat, know the food you have available in your home that won’t compromise your will power.

Why am I doing it ?

I have several reasons, to be honest.

First, as I told you: I need to see if eliminating certain foods can help with my health. Because I can go on like this. There is no cure to Fibromyalgia, but I am a firm believer that there is a link between what we put in our body, and how it responds to it.

Then, I have determination issues. I am aware of it. I can slip easily, find excuse even when I know they are excuses, and then the guilt tags along and I beat myself up for not comitting enough. Doing this is also a good way to prove to myself that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to, no matter how hard I some days want to give up, or how temptation to fail is everywhere if I focus on it.

Hold on, in part 2 I will share what I eat, the good and the «bad» I see in this challenge and what I envision for my «after»…

2Sep/134

Declaring September my «Into Wellness» month

If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram, you may have seen that I decided last week to challenge myself this month.

September is my birthday month, I always want it to hold something different, just for me.

After two years with fibromyalgia, a move across the planet from where I was born and raised to where my heart belongs, lingering depression and more that put my body into the heaviest I’ve been (yes, more than when I was actually 9 months pregnant ! shocker), it is time to go back to who I know I am.

It is difficult to look at myself in the mirror and see someone I don’t recognize. I do a lot of Soul Work, because it’s who I am. I am beginning to understand the link between my thoughts, my Spiritual path, and my body (because yes, they are intertwined together).

I jotted some ideas of what I want to focus on this month, knowing I can’t do well on something too rigid:

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Food is the major part of what I need to focus on, I can indulge too easily. I am an emotional eater, been since I am a teenager. I am aware of it, but sometimes awareness is not enough. By doing this publicly, I find myself kind of accountable. No Nutella this month (it is my nemesis, even if I know exactly the side effects it has on me every single time I have some).

One of my goal is to see myself differently, and also to find the food that helps if not eliminate, at least reduce the inflammation and exhaustion.
Self-portraiture is something I do for that purpose. Not out of narcissism, but I noticed how it helps me document who I am at a precise moment. It does not have to be a photo of my face. I won't necessarily share it on social media or here, but for this month of September, I will take a self-portrait everyday. And see what comes up at the end of the month…

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I know some of you expressed interest in this project, I would love to know what is your plan, even if it is just two-three things you want to do this month to get into a better health.

I use the hashtag IntoWellness, so if you post something related please feel free to use it as well so I can find you :)