Friday, August 28, 2015

Whole 30

"What was I thinking?" some of you have asked. There have been days I asked myself that same question. At the beginning of August I started the Whole 30, a "diet" which you do for 30 days (hence the name) and during which you avoid the following:

- dairy
- legumes
- grains
- sugar
- alcohol
- fun

The last one is not an actual part of the plan, but an addition by myself as a way to stick to the plan. Because going to a very fun birthday party on Day 10 where they are serving broccoli salad, cupcakes, wine and cheeseburgers is extremely hard. Excruciatingly hard. It certainly put my willpower to the test, as did the second birthday party the following day where there was a homemade peanut butter and jam ice cream cake with a peanut butter cookie crust. That's right, a peanut butter cookie crust! I ate a salad I brought from home that day, and died a little inside.

I did the Whole 30 for a few reasons. I finished nursing Baby Macaroni in the spring, however I still hadn't finished eating like I was nursing by mid-July. I was also feeling bloated all the time, and every time I saw a photo of myself I cringed. A friend had been talking about the Whole 30 over the past few months and I kept coming back to it. Checking it out on Instagram, reading the website, unable to shake my interest.

All of sudden I decided, "I'm doing this. Now." And I did. I borrowed the book from the same friend. I checked to see if my almond coconut was Whole 30 approved (it was, a rarity) and I have the most tempting sweets to my husband to hide from me. I did not purge the entire house of every sugary treat and carbohydrate. Other people have to live here too. I asked my husband if he would be on board for the dinners, which he agreed to. If I was cooking something a little more out there (spaghetti squash as noodles), then I also cooked regular pasta for everyone else. I stocked up on groceries and that was it - Day 1 on August 3rd.

Today is Day 30 and I have learned a lot about myself over the next 30 days, so I will sum it up in a paragraph or two ;)

I have strong strong willpower. Halfway through the 30 days we took a trip to Vancouver Island to visit family. I packed a cooler full of food for me, but one day we hit up a local beach and The Babe was sitting next to me eating a Kraft peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread and I have never wanted to rip a sandwich out of someone's hands and devour it in two bites more than in that moment. There was also the aforementioned birthday parties. My husband sitting next to me in bed powering down a bag of Chicago mix popcorn had me almost tackling him for a sweet caramel kernel of goodness. But I drank my club soda and pure cranberry juice, munched on a few cashews and took deep breaths.

I have an amazingly supportive family. The same husband as above got up early one weekend, the weekend I was running an obstacle race with a team, and made me a Whole 30 compliant breakfast, right down to the cooking oil. He never complained about the lack of grains at dinner, and he is a carb guy. He told me he was proud of me. A lot. When travelling to visit my family, I told them about my diet and offered to make meals for everyone, not wanting to be a pain in the ass. To my pleasant surprise, not only were they supportive, they all planned meals I could eat during my whole trip. It was amazing, and definitely helped me to keep going.

I learned with enough protein and veggies and good fats, I don't need snacks in between meals. It was so interesting to get to 4pm and think, "oh! I can wait until dinner to eat!". This has not been the case prior to the Whole 30. I always thought I needed to eat small meals 6 times a day to keep my blood sugar up. Turns out, I just need to stay the eff away from Tim Horton's. Seriously, I can never go there again. That place is my kryptonite.

Lastly I learned that I can avoid alcohol for awhile but I definitely enjoy a beverage with friends and I also really miss sugar. I had two cheats over the 30 days and both were alcohol - one night it was two tall vodka sodas on a much needed Mom's night out and there was one post-obstacle race cider. But that was it! No other cheats! As for sugar, I have decided even though I have gone without for a month, coffee is still better with sugar. I will definitely be incorporating that back in. 

Want to know more? Wondering which recipes I am going to keep in the rotation? Just ask :)

Above: fried plantains from a recipe at Nom Nom Paleo. I love her site. 

~ H

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The dreaded toy purge

Ugh. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it.

We have a boatload of toys in our house. Big toys, little toys, stuffies, McDonalds happy meal toys, musical instruments, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the 80's, a dress up box, a play kitchen, a play workbench - the list goes on and on. Some of the toys are in a daily play rotation and some are collecting dust. But whenever I suggest to The Babe that we possibly give a few toys to other kids, I'm met with a resounding "Nooooooooooo" and tears. And so the clutter becomes more clutter, the toys begin to stack up, and I can feel the space shrinking by the minute. 

The thing is, not only does she not have a favourite toy, she also has an excellent memory. I pulled out a stuffed toy she had not put hands on for at least 6 months and as I put it in the donation pile, she began to cry and told her dad that I was giving away a very special gift someone had given her over a year ago. Seriously?!? How do you remember that, but not what you had for lunch today? The clutter problem is compounded by the fact that we have another child, also a girl, who may want to play with these toys in a year or so. So I go back and forth on what to keep and what to donate. Sometimes sneaking things out under the cover of night when The Babe is asleep and stealthily putting the boxes in the trunk to drop them off, where she cannot see them. 

I will say that our message to our family to buy our children less stuff has been heard. Recent holiday and birthday gifts have been more along the lines of memberships for activities, movie tickets and gift certificates. It's hard to give people ideas for non-stuff gifts. Clothes can be good, but only for the older one as the younger one has more than enough hand-me-downs. 

Back to the purge, sigh. How do we do it? We can tell her the old toys are helping other kids, but how do we show her where the toys go and how they can help? She's 3, not 10. Will she really understand? She doesn't understand why she should share with her sister, or why Annie's Bunnies cannot be eaten for every meal, so I'm not sure she will grasp the concept of service and goodwill.

Share with me your tips, tricks and funny stories about how you deal with the toy clutter and purge in your house.

~ H