After a long weekend I’m back to talk about my Whole30 experience. Most of this week was a little off for me. I didn’t feel well, I was really tired, I had fierce chocolate cravings, and then some. Here’s how things have shifted and merged and, well, you can read for yourself.
Day 15: Black coffee with breakfast, and a slice of kale-mushroom quiche with 1 strip of bacon and sauerkraut. Later I snacked on 2 slices of leftover chicken breast and a grapefruit. Lunch after yoga was another golden beet salad, made with all sorts of veggies and leftover chicken breast. I topped it off with a blueberry banana smoothie, made with coconut milk, maca, matcha, ice, cinnamon and tumeric and a sprinkling of coconut and chia seeds. After a walk that afternoon I snacked on bell pepper strips and made dinner, all taken from Well Fed: North African spice-rubbed salmon with Turkish chopped salad over lettuce. To quell my fierce chocolate craving after dinner I made an unsuccessful and unpalatable coconut chia pudding with cocoa…it wasn’t delicious, nor did it sit well with my stomach. I self-remedied with mint tea and went to bed.
Day 16: Breakfast was black coffee, a half of grapefruit, and scrambled eggs with baby kale, roasted zucchini, parsnips, mushrooms and garlic. (Basically what I had in the fridge.) After an hour walk/run I snacked on jicama strips, then made lunch with leftover Turkish chopped salad and chicken breasts over lettuce, plus a bit of Andrew’s leftover beef stew. I enjoyed a hot cup of Tazo Zen green tea at Starbucks with my friend Abby, after which we both headed to the gym for a circuit workout. My workout was sub-par, as was my energy level, and I was zonked when I got home. The solution to that? Breakfast for dinner! I made eggs scrambled with a bit of creamy coconut milk and nutmeg, some bacon and local sausage, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, baby kale and parsnips, and half a grapefruit. We ended the night with mint tea and an early bedtime.
Day 17: Black coffee, omelette with 4 yolks and 1 whole egg, stuffed with a little jalepeno sausage, lettuce, parsley. I used the remaining 4 egg whites to make paleo macaroons from Everyday Paleo, made simply with shredded coconut, whipped egg whites and a little coconut milk. I ate two of those after breakfast. Lunch was a couple of homemade nori rolls when Andrew came home for his break – made with nori sheets, a bit of toasted sesame oil, smoked wild-caught salmon, cucumber, radish, avocado, kimchi, and a little dish of coconut aminos for dipping. Later I had a banana “parfait” made with a small sliced banana, coconut milk, a crumbled macaroon, cinnamon and a drizzle of almond butter. After an hour walk I snacked on some roasted sweet potatoes and half a kombucha, then browned a couple pounds of grass-fed ground beef with tons of veggies, stuffed it all into a kabocha squash to roast, and served with a side salad and sauerkraut.
Day 18: As per the recommendation of Liz at Cave Girl Eats, I started my day off with Brewer’s Yeast in a little water. Breakfast was a fried egg with roasted sweet potatoes and some PG Tips tea, followed up by an Americano and a short yoga session. Lunch was another golden beet salad with leftover chicken and veggies, and later I snacked on the rest of my kombucha, a macaroon, some roasted sweet potato coins with almond butter and an Americano. Then we were off for the weekend — to Austin! The drive was lovely but the rest of our evening was thoroughly frustrating — we had to wait for two hours to get our rental, we were so exhausted and hungry and angry and then disappointed by our terrible room…we didn’t eat dinner until nearly 10 p.m. Thankfully, where we were staying was right around the corner from The Clay Pot in downtown Austin, and we scarfed a beautiful meal of authentic Indian food. I had the Lamb Roganjosh and it was incredible. Only I hardly remember it because I ate it so fast slash I was falling asleep into my dish.
I was on the fence whether or not to continue my Whole30 challenge while in Austin with my husband. One part of me wanted to see if I could rise to the occasion and fight through the difficulties of traveling with diet restrictions. But the other part of me wanted to enjoy a carefree, relaxing vacation with my husband. That part of me was craving culture and ethnic foods, was craving a new taste sensation and the flavors of a new city. And that part of me eventually won, when I willingly and joyfully broke my Whole30 with this glorious creation:
This, my friends, is The Frankencookie at Frank’s just off S. Congress in Austin. It is a homemade chocolate chip bacon cookie, topped with locally made coffee ice cream and candied bacon crumbles. Andrew and I ate this with two spoons and enjoyed every crumb. Some other non-Whole30 delights from Austin included a six-course tasting meal at Uchi (mostly paleo, actually…), an authentic Czech kolache at the farmer’s market, 2 chilled glasses of sake, a Paloma at Star Bar on Sixth Street, an empanada and famous latte at Pacha, and chips and salsa for brunch.
On the other hand, I ate some incredible paleo food while in Austin: a yummy green juice, locally brewed strawberry kombucha, local spicy sauerkraut, the “Fit Cross” burger at Wholly Cow, incredible sashimi at Uchi, and the best brunch ever at 24 Diner — sweet potato hash with roasted jalepenos, local breakfast sausage, poached eggs and juicy Texas grapefruit.
It was an effortless weekend, a grand old time that got better as the days progressed. We ended out stay with a long run along the river on Monday morning, followed up with our favorite brunch and a pot of excellent coffee.
Am I sad that I didn’t complete the Whole30? A little bit. Part of me wanted to push through just to say that I could do it, just to say that I completed something big that I had started. What I certainly don’t regret, however, is that I didn’t pass up opportunities to make memories with my husband or really experience all of the flavor that Austin had to offer. I’m also grateful that, for me, the Whole30 challenge is officially over. Through my 18 days of participation I learned a lot about food and my body, cravings and nourishment, and what works best for me — additionally, I started to get a little neurotic about my food and because of that in particular I’m glad for the break. After I debrief a little more I’ll write a bit more about what I’ve learned and how I’m hoping to implement principles from Whole30 into my daily, weekly routines.
Meanwhile, to all of you out there still on the Whole30 path — I salute you. To anyone still curious about it — keep learning. To anyone still trying to clean up your diet and your life — keep trying, because it gets better and the results are good. This is all for now, but I’ll be back soon with a comprehensive list of how the Whole30 has changed my perspective and my health for the better. Cheers!