3 Reasons I Didn’t Do the September Whole30

Why didn’t I do the September Whole30? Here’s why.

If you know me or have been following my blog for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the Whole30. I’ve done at least 5 rounds in the last few years and will probably do more. And I always recommend it to others who either want a better relationship with food or who are trying to learn more about how specific foods affect them.

A couple times a year, usually in January and September (September is the new January), there’s a massive group Whole30. It’s great for people who aren’t ready to go it alone, as they share tons of resources and support, and there’s literally thousands (or more) of others doing it with you.

I briefly considered doing the September Whole30 this year, but decided not to for several reasons:

  1. Until recently, I’ve really struggled with my energy levels. While eating Whole30 would certainly help boost my energy, I was worried all the planning and preparation that goes into it would zap any energy I did have.
  2. I wanted to focus more on the things I know I’m sensitive to already without limiting too much else. That meant avoiding dairy, eggs, and gluten, but being free to eat things like rice or corn tortillas (because tacos are basically a food group in our house).
  3. I also wanted to be able to eat at places like Chipotle when I was too tired to cook (the only compliant meat they offer is the pork, which I’m allergic to). Not doing a Whole30 also means I can have store-bought, egg-free mayo because I haven’t found a homemade recipe I like (I buy Just Mayo—it has sugar in it, so it’s not compliant).

After a tough summer struggling with depression, low energy, and almost no exercise, I wanted to focus more on the baby steps: exercising, eating mostly healthy, and doing as little meal prep as possible so I have plenty of time to actually rest and recharge.

I imagine I’ll do another round of Whole30 later this year or early next year when I’m ready for another reset.

Have you ever done (or thought about doing) a Whole30? Did you do the September Whole30?

How Do You Fuel?

Today’s question: How do you fuel for your runs? What do you eat before and/or after your runs?

I’m most curious about what you eat for breakfast if you run in the morning. Do you eat before or after your run in the morning–or both? I’m even more interested in your answer if you have food allergies like me.

I’m on day 19 of my run streak, and almost all my runs have been in the morning before work (usually between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m.). I’m having a hard time figuring out what to eat.

Unfortunately, I have several food allergies, which makes traditional breakfasts more difficult, including: pork (so no bacon or pork sausage) and egg whites. Last week I made a couple sweet potatoes and ate them with some turkey sausage and fruit.

That seemed to work pretty well, as it kept me full long after my run. I know I’ll inevitably get bored with that–even if I’m making small changes like eating different fruits.

I’ve been known to eat salads and other non-breakfast foods for breakfast, but I do enjoy having a meal that feels more like “breakfast”. I used to love savory breakfast meals like sausage and eggs or an omelette. Now that those aren’t an option, I seem to crave them even more.

I do eat turkey and chicken sausage regularly, but I found out the hard way that a couple chicken sausage links just aren’t enough to hold me over until lunch.

So tell me: What do you eat before and after your runs? Any breakfast recipes you’re willing to share?

—AB

Marching On

Despite being a short month, February felt incredibly long. While I managed to make some progress toward some of my goals for this year, I fell behind on others. I completely stopped my strength training and went from doing yoga every day to doing it just two days a week (if that). At some point at the end of January I messed up my shoulder and more than a month later, it still hurts. I’ve tried taking ibuprofen, icing it, stretching, and mobility exercises only to find temporary relief.

I’m giving it another week with some new exercises and more ibuprofen before I give up and go to the doctor. Because I need my shoulder working properly. I already have bad knees! I can’t have a bad shoulder too–I have big yoga goals this year…like doing hand-stands and whatnot. I need strong shoulders for that!

So on the exercise front, things are not going so well. I haven’t had a ton of energy lately. It seems to take me everything I’ve got just to get out of bed most mornings, despite getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.

I did manage to make more of an effort to work on some personal writing projects in February. In the past month I’ve written and revised a new poem and wrote and article I’m hoping to submit to an online publication pretty soon. Re-dedicating myself to creative writing has really sparked my motivation. I’ve got some great ideas for some future projects that I can’t wait to work on.

I have pretty much completely cut out all the foods I’m allergic and/or sensitive to, including dairy, gluten, and eggs. I’ve been doing dairy-/gluten-free on and off for several years now, so that was never a huge deal to me. But throwing eggs in the mix has been a huge source of frustration. My options for eating out are so much more limited, and breakfast options are pretty much non-existent.

What’s even more frustrating is that even after cutting all this junk out of my diet, I still don’t feel great. I was hoping I’d have more energy, fewer breakouts, etc., but no. I seem to wake up every other day with a new pimple or zit, the eczema on my toes won’t go away, and I’m as tired as ever.

We’re looking into gym memberships so my hubby and I can start working out. Our thinking is that if we’re paying for it, we’re more likely to use it. And I’m hoping that if we go to the gym together, we can motivate each other and keep each of us accountable. I know once we get going, the energy and motivation will come back. It’s the getting started part that’s the hardest.

As far as my goals for budgeting/saving/paying off debt goes, we’ve made some progress! I paid off one credit card last month and put my entire paycheck from my second freelance gig toward another. It was a really good feeling. We’ve also been setting aside money in three separate savings accounts: Emergency, Vacation, and Car Repairs/Home Renovations.

We booked our next vacation, and we’ve been using money from the Home Renovation account to slowly but surely make some necessary upgrades in our house. Most recently, we installed a new toilet and vanity in our master bathroom, because what was in there looked ancient. We have a long way to go with our house, but it’s a start. And we are more committed than ever to putting money into savings (or towards debt) when we have extra. We aren’t quite budgeting, but we have a system right now that seems to be working pretty well for us, so I’m not gonna mess with it.

In an effort to save money and save me the frustration of eating out multiple times a week (really hard when you can’t have gluten, dairy, and eggs), we meal prepped together on Sunday. It went by so much more quickly with both of us doing it together and we have plenty of quick and easy (and healthy!) meals for the week now! We are going to make more of an effort to meal prep together so we aren’t eating out as often.

This month, I’m hoping to spend a little more time exercising (providing the shoulder pain goes away) and a lot more time reading and writing!

How are your 2017 goals coming along? Have you run into any obstacles? How are you dealing with them?

Health Check-Up

I have not been eating super healthy so far this year. The chaos of the new year and a second job made it easy to eat whatever was most convenient, regardless of how unhealthy it was. After some nasty breakouts (due to my overconsumption of dairy, I assume), I have decided that what I’m doing is ridiculous.

I completely avoid peanuts, beef, pork, and lamb, because I’m allergic. But I’m also allergic/sensitive to wheat, dairy, soy, and eggs, and I eat those whenever I want. No, I don’t break out into hives or go into anaphylaxis when I eat these things. But they do make me feel pretty crappy. So why in the hell do I keep eating them?

Good question. Convenience, mostly. If I strictly avoid all those foods, I’m inconveniencing my husband, my family, my friends, and myself. Because I love dairy and I enjoy foods that contain gluten (hello pizza!). What I fail to focus on is that these foods are negatively affecting my health. And I shouldn’t be compromising my health just because it’s inconvenient.

I finally told my husband that it’s just nonsense that I completely avoid certain foods I’m allergic to and not others. So we’re going to start focusing on avoiding foods that have anything I’m allergic to in them. I’m not going to worry about whether what we’re eating is paleo or Whole30. I’m just going to focus on not eating the foods that make me sick.

What a revelation! To make it seem a little less overwhelming, we’re taking it week by week. No, I’m not going to die if I eat cheese or eggs. So if we end up at a restaurant or family dinner where certain things are unavoidable, I’m not going to sweat it. But I am going to make more of an effort to find restaurants where I can eat without having to make those compromises (if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!).

I have to stop saying it’s okay to eat these things whenever I don’t feel like inconveniencing someone. They don’t make me feel good, so I need to stop eating them. No, they don’t always make me physically sick. But they show up in other ways: Dairy makes my skin break out in nasty pimples and I get eczema on my toes and fingers. Too much gluten upsets my stomach. Eggs really upset my stomach. It’s too difficult to try to moderate how much dairy I can have before I start seeing its effects on my skin. It’s much easier to just cut them out of my daily diet altogether. So that’s what I plan to do.

Do you have food allergies? What are they and how do you deal with them? Any good restaurant suggestions?

More on Food Allergies

When I first got tested for food allergies, I asked them to test for beef and pork, as well as peanuts. They also tested for dairy and wheat, as I’ve had problems with those in the past. Apparently, they tested me for several “basic” food allergies. They made such a big deal about the peanut allergy and the beef and pork that I paid little attention to whatever else they tested me for.

When I got tested, I thought the scale was from 1 to 10. Some of my allergies were a 5 and others were a 7, so I thought my allergies were pretty serious. After some more investigation (more than two years later), I found out that the scale is actually 1 to 15. So what I thought were pretty serious allergies don’t seem to be as serious as I thought. Here are the foods they tested me for and the severity:

Beef: 7/15

Pork: 7/15

Lamb: 7/15

Peanut: 7/15

Egg white: 5/15

Soy: 5/15

Wheat: 5/15

Codfish: 5/15

Milk: 5/15

After all my Whole30s, I know how dairy affects me. I get eczema-like dry, itchy skin on my fingers and toes. And I tend to have more pimples when I eat too much dairy. Too much wheat/gluten upsets my stomach. Things on that list above that I neglected to really pay attention to were soy, egg white, and codfish.

Later, I broke out in hives after accidentally eating soy. So I assumed I was allergic. I didn’t even think to look at the list of things I got tested for. More recently, I’ve still been struggling with dry skin and some awful digestive issues. I decided to pull out my list to see what I have and haven’t been tested for and saw the egg white and codfish. I don’t eat much codfish (almost never as far as I know), so I’m starting to think maybe the eggs are part of the problem.

Now, I’m no saint. I go through periods of avoiding gluten and dairy and then sometimes I find myself bingeing on it (and feeling awful after). But I’m wondering if my failure to also cut out eggs from my diet is part of the reason I’m still not feeling as great as I could. So I’m going to cut out eggs for a while and see if it makes any difference in how I’m feeling.

Fortunately, I don’t eat eggs for breakfast all too often anymore. After my second Whole30, I was pretty well sick of them. More recently, I had been making frittatas, which was nice to have for a quick meal throughout the week. For now, I’ll be skipping the frittatas and eating leftovers or salads for breakfast.

Something I didn’t get tested for is nightshades: tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, and all varieties of peppers. All my research has revealed that nightshades are another possible culprit of conditions such as IBS. The idea of cutting tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers from my diet sounds horrifying. I did read though that peeling potatoes and making sure you eat cooked tomatoes and peppers can cut down on the alkaloids that are present in nightshades, which is what tends to cause problems.

So, in addition to cutting out eggs, I’m going to start peeling my potatoes (ugh) and avoid eating uncooked tomatoes and peppers to see if that helps. I’m tired of the skin issues and the digestive issues, and if this can help me feel better, then I’m going to give it a try. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but so is feeling bad all the time.