Three weeks into the science experiment

I was all prepared to say I wouldn’t recommend Whole30 when I turned another corner. Now that I’ve discovered Lara bars, have some days’ distance from the scariness of ketosis, am coming off a night of deep, cold-fighting sleep and a kick-ass midday yoga class, I’m feeling pretty good excellent.

This self-study science experiment has not been without its downs. Eating out, for example. It’s a giant pain in the ass. I recommend it to no one. To have to pick apart an entrée is exhausting. I have Whole30 friends that don’t even open the menu. That may be a more sane option, but who wants a naked piece of meat, a baked potato and a salad dressed in only vinegar and oil when dining in restaurants that you know provide fare that is so much tastier? Not me. TJ and I went out to a very expensive steakhouse Friday, thinking it would be a great Whole30 option. It was a buzz kill. Not only would we not normally choose a steakhouse when on a date, but despite having ordered extremely carefully, we felt crappy when we finished and even crappier when we awoke the next day. I’m not sure why. It could have been the richness of the sea bass, or maybe we both actually do have food sensitivities. I caught the starch added to wasabi before consuming, but I didn’t google “pickled ginger” until we’d both had a few bites with our tuna tartar; 8 ounces is made with a 1/3 a cup of sugar and a cup of rice vinegar. Who knows what was hidden in the supposedly compliant spinach and mushrooms? Though a little pissy, I had to giggle later when we were walking to our movie from the theater bar. A man stopped me to ask if I was really going to drink a vodka tonic of that size and attempt to stay awake in a movie. No sir, this is a club soda that I will sip while dreaming of popcorn.

Saturday was cold and gray and we had a family birthday party that included ice-skating and dinner at my favorite pizza joint. Great. I could be down with the ice-skating if I weren’t so cold and tired, but making it through a kids’ birthday party at Mama’s sounded daunting. But guess what? It was absolutely fine. Moreover, it was fun! TJ and I agreed ahead of time that we weren’t going to attempt to make anything on the menu Whole30 approved. We were going to enjoy the festivities and abstain from all but our beloved club soda. We would stop by Whole Foods on the way home and cook a late, gourmet dinner. Believe it or not, this experience out to eat with nine kids, pizza, games, presents and cake was probably better for me than it would have been if I’d eaten and had my normal glass of wine. Often times in these social and sensory-rich situations (those with neon signs, music, video-games etc.) where I am both parenting and partaking I start to dissociate. I feel like I start to float away from earth and I’m only going through the motions when I’m refilling glasses and passing out napkins. This evening was different. I really felt fully present. I’m not sure what I’ll take from it. Was it the lack of sugar from the wine, pizza crust and cake? Was it the lack of alcohol? Was it simply having one less task? I don’t know, but as I write I’m remembering  that I have recently discovered that I do much better (feel less spacey and I can stop at one) if I grab dessert as I walk out the door from a party than if I enjoy on the premises where one often leads me to three, or to the incessant and palpable wanting of another. I think I’ll start a formal list of these “notes to self”.

Another few notes I may add:

Lara bars, many of which are Whole30 compliant, are the bomb. So far I’ve had many Coconut Cream Pies (coconut, dates & cashews) and Cashew Cookies (dates and cashews). The Whole30 book says not to use them as meal replacement, sugar fix, dessert or snack, (only in the case of emergency) but they are also the same people who forgot to mention Ketosis in the book, so whatever.

Except for in the height of my ketone spillage, (a term which should absolutely be mentioned in the Whole30 book) my parenting is more patient.

I feel empowered. Not only have I given up sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes for 21 days, but I also have new skills. I have learned to prepare tasty pureed soups and baked fish. I am an all-star salad concocter. I can pack a lunch that includes multiple fats, proteins, fruits and veggies. I can whip out kale chips and sweet-potato fries without it being an event. And my kids love them!

My mediation practice is rock-solid. Not the kind of solid where I focus completely on my breath without deviance for 30 minutes solid, but the kind of solid where I look forward to it with longing, the kind where my body feels strong, limber and extremely supportive of the practice, the kind where I am sweet and kind to my wandering mind. I believe sitting those days with my heart pounding really helped take my practice to a new place. Sitting with the extreme discomfort gave me confidence that I can do it even when feelings or thoughts seem to be too much.

Taking field notes for my little science experiment has got me writing, something I’ve wanted to do more publicly for a long time. Sending them into cyberspace is scary, but doing it is also empowering. The number of texts and private messages I’ve received from others about their own dance with food and control is mind-opening. Thanks for sharing with me. There is no doubt in my mind that I am completing 3 weeks of this investigation strongly because of your support.

Thank you so much!


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