Did you miss me last week?
Some pretty monumental questions and ‘lack-there-of’ answers have arisen, as Blog Post #5 indicates. When someone is asking themselves ‘why they fear to dream?’ that’s some pretty heavy shit.
Blog Post #5 opened my eyes to some things: I can’t see the forest for the distractions. As long as I’m pissing and moaning about ‘these shorts don’t fit’ and ‘I drank one too many kombucha cocktails,’ I’m not going to smash through that ‘Go Tigers!’ banner and out onto the playing field of my life. The Big Picture.
Not to say that green drinks and vitamins and exercise aren’t important. But to focus on them is to focus on the band aid on the scabby knee.
I need to stop falling down.
At this exact same time, a good friend whose opinion I respect, and who had voiced concerns about similar habits in her life, announced to me she was on Day 45 of The Whole30.
Nonetheless, I asked “What’s The Whole 30?”
If you are curious check, it out. I am sharing only my impressions and experiences.
Although I have played a doctor on TV, I am not one.
What I think it is:
The Whole 30 is a 30 day eating program that removes foodstuffs known to be inflammatory to the human body. At the end of 30 days, a reintroduction one at a time will determine if these foodstuffs are causing ailments. To some it’s drastic, to some it’s not – depends on your current habits.
My friend said it was easy for her. The only time she drank was when she was with me.
The methodology: For 30 days “yes” to meat, eggs, fish, fruit and vegetables.
“No” to sugar, alcohol, grains, beans, dairy, certain oils.
The philosophy: Most of the maladies of which we complain – from achy joints, to Alzheimer’s, acne to adult onset diabetes, cancer to cirrhosis – can be tracked to inflammation in our bodies/brains/systems. Take away the inflammation, reduce or eliminate the malady.
Page seven in the book lists the 75 conditions “Related to Silent Inflammation.” Many of these are conditions for which every pharmaceutical commercial interruption on CNN is advertising a drug. When I saw all of my major physical, mental and health concerns listed on this page – that was my buy-in.
Why not give this a try? What can it hurt? Worst case scenario – I detox for 30 days and gain some measure of control over this downward-spiraling, runaway train called me. The Union Pacific Kelley.
That, and my friend was doing it and she liked it. So I thought I’d do it too.
Gear change: I was dubious about the beans and the grains. As a long time vegetarian/vegan/ fisheterian (officially known as pescatarian, I think), grains and legumes have always been a big part of my go-to diet. I don’t eat a lot of meat. In fact my system doesn’t tolerate a lot of complex protein.
I don’t eat a lot of enriched processed flour, gluten (The Big 3 – wheat, barley, rye). I eat brown rice, not white. I take the top off my sandwich.
I also didn’t really think dairy bothered me that much. I’m from the Midwest. I only use a little half n half in my coffee. Come on, do I really have to put myself through that? I love my coffee and my half n half.
Not a lot of sugar. What I do ingest is probably most present in the bottled salad dressings – which I love.
What I do eat a lot of is corn. I am a happy Californian – Tortillas, tortilla chips, salsa, tacos, burritos, guacamole. Arriba!
SO, except for the alcohol, I did not anticipate a difficult transition.
The book gives steps to prepare for the experience. Also coaching and encouragement. But I figured I’m not a fast food, fried food eating motherfucker whose discipline was going to blow and I’d wind up chewing the drapes. I just said ‘Go.’
Also, my husband chose to join me in this event as a show of solidarity which made things much easier. And we had a number of foodstuffs in our house on The Whole 30 hit list (a big carton of organic yogurt, a quart of half n half for our coffee, our favorite salad dressings). We decided we would finish them and not buy more.
(You know the price of organic yogurt.)
The first four days were not that difficult.
√ Green drinks – fit right in.
√ Vitamins – fit for the most part. It was hard to always take them all when I had not ingested enough food to absorb them which might lead to upset stomach.
√ Meditation – I didn’t obsess about it. It came naturally.
√ Fitness – I didn’t feel up to it. I let the dog walks stand. I made the deal with myself that this was enough, to see this 30 days through. My body was going through enough.
Morning pages have been essential, relaxing and deeply pleasing. Afterwards, I was often intuitively compelled to stay outside. All day. Gardening, weeding, creating. I found a little sake set given to me by a dear friend who traveled to Asia. This sweet set packed away in a cupboard, unused. I took it to the garden, glued it to a board, filled the tiny cups with tiny succulents and made a piece of art. All while being patiently guarded and observed by my husky, Angel. I spent a lot of time outside. The Land of The Intuitive.
Food-wise, I figured I would eat a lot of salad. However, the bottled salad dressing/sugar phenomenon became problematic. Once I ran out I couldn’t find anything I liked. And I would wait until I was starving to begin to think about what I was going to eat.
Yes, there are many recipes in The Whole 30 book that look quite good and simple. (Even for salad dressing.) I made the assumption that since my diet wasn’t that bad to begin with I didn’t need their help. I see now I had not grasped preparation is key. Planning the meals of the day, since they’re mostly handmade (even salad dressing), is essential.
And yes, I was pouty a time or two cuz I didn’t get my Kombucha Cocktail, but what of it? I got through it.
Yet, even in light of the salad dressing debacle,
I felt different.
I was eating very little.
I was eating smaller portions because the food I was eating was more nutritious so I didn’t want as much.
I felt full longer because the food I was eating was more nutritious so I wasn’t eating as often.
My clothes were already starting to fit differently.
My skin was rioting but I figured it was detoxing too and that was just a temporary thing.
I was drinking a ton of water.
I wasn’t sleeping very well.
I was starting to dream. In the daytime. About my future. About what I might want to be now that I’m grown up.
Day #5 – Friday: I woke up with the worst headache I’ve ever had in my entire life. I believe this was sugar withdrawal. Even though I didn’t consume a lot, I consumed regularly. There was bound to be an impact when I stopped. (Also there is sugar in everything, 1 gram here, 27 grams there…) The Nutrition Facts on every package are quite eye-opening.
ALERT: I know this. You know this. We know we know this. We don’t – take another look at the Nutrition Facts.
My neck and shoulders were throbbing. I’ve felt this before when taking a hiatus from drinking. I don’t know if this is alcohol or sugar built up or the twelve hundred pounds of pressure starting to let up now that I’ve taken my foot off my own neck. It was release. That I could tell.
I was nauseous. Sick as a dog. Sour sour sour stomach. I believe this was a release of deeply embedded toxins. See, I thought no grains and no beans were overkill, and I didn’t think I took in much dairy. But that’s the thing – you can’t know until you know.
What I knew Friday is:
Clearly something(s) I ate pre-TheWhole30 was wrong for me.
I was globally detoxing.
I spent most of the day in bed. I watched Big Little Lies over again to see if it was as good as the book. (It isn’t. But get this.There was a whole bunch I missed because I watched it while I was drinking. How do you like them apples? Isn’t that a shame?)
The only things I ate all day were strawberries. They tasted so good. I drank green tea. (Iced.) It tasted so good.
And that day my husband grilled organic chicken breast strips, sweet potato coins, little teeny tiny organic beef burgers (Kelley-size) and made the most exquisite cole slaw – no mayo.
Now we have supplies.
I wasn’t entirely back on my feet until Sunday which was the day I discovered coconut creamer for my coffee. It’s almond milk and coconut cream – no sugar, no dairy. I love it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea – or cup of coffee as the case may be – but here’s the thing; truthfully, I always had a bit of an inkling that dairy might not be my friend. A little bit of a niggle every morning, a tiny tummy gurgle. Ick. Even the minuscule amount I consume. But I love my coffee. I can’t drink it without my cream!
Dig this: From my first taste of coconut creamer, it was the right thing. The gurgle ick did not occur. Whatever it was – Irritation? Bloating? Inflammation? – it’s gone. One sip of that coconut creamer proved to me dairy (in the form of organic cream in my coffee) was inflaming my bowel and stomach. I was astonished how effective & quick the experiment of reintroduction or removal of a potential irritant could be.
Just that simple. And I was just that wrong – at what I thought was going on. What I believed to be true about me.
Now it’s Day 12.
I have 18 more. To be in the garden. To be guarded by my husky. To be sober. To get to see all of what I’m watching on TV. To feel different, better, thinner, less full, less inflamed.
I started sleeping better last night.
I have been able to avoid an old habit of engaging in ‘bad’ activity when I see success – better known as self-sabotage. “Oh I feel so much better. My shorts fit, so it’s OK if I have that 12 pump mocha.”
My morning pages are the tell. No longer are they filled with self-loathing and name-calling and blame-assigning and wishes of nights spent differently, behaviors avoided. They are now filled with “perhaps…”, “what if…” “maybe….” Hope instead of denigration. Blog Posts.
I didn’t expect to appreciate this so much. (See Blog Post #1)
At the very least it is the demilitarized zone. Finnegan, begin again.
My M.O. is to hit the goal line – 30 days, 10 days, the end of the out-of-town play (see Blog Post #5) – and reward myself by falling back into old, familiar patterns, especially where it comes to my drinking habits.
The point of 30 days is a length of time sufficient to form a habit. I don’t really want to go back, go through this again. I want to be smart. I want to be free.
I have 18 days to think about that.