Spicy Cabbage with Bacon, Shrimp and Tomatoes
Marion Cunningham's Boston Brown Bread Muffins

After The Whole30

After the Whole 30
Last Wednesday, my nutritional reset came to an end. I spent thirty days without eating grains of any kind, as well as eschewing dairy and soy and sugar and legumes (and alcohol and caffeine, which I rarely drink anyway) and, finally, it was over. Not five days earlier, I'd been crowing about the pizza topped with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes I was going to eat when the Whole30 was over. I couldn't wait to put milk in my tea again and eat yogurt for breakfast. But then the end came and went and that first bowl of yogurt? Actually made me feel a little lousy. And it turns out I didn't really want any milk in my tea after all - in fact, I didn't want any Earl Grey at all anymore. Toast? No, thank you. Pizza? Nah. Pasta, nuh-uh. All I wanted was to keep eating the way I had been for the past month.

You could have knocked me over with a feather made of fairy dust.

First things first: the results. I lost three kilos (six and a half pounds) during the Whole30, which brings me back to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is what I'd been hoping for. (Despite the weight loss, a lot of my old clothes just don't fit the way they used to, but such is life. In exchange, I got Hugo, so I'm definitely winning.) My joint pain didn't go away, but I don't think it has much to do with my diet now. And my insomnia did indeed get better. It took a while and it's not entirely gone, but it got much better. So, on the whole, I'd have to say that the Whole30 was, for me, a success.

Now. My thoughts. I don't know how people live like this all the time. For thirty days, it was fine. It was fun! It was challenging, but an enjoyable challenge. However, it burned a big hole in my bank account. BIG, people. Meat is expensive! As are nuts and organic fruits and vegetables and, seriously, how do people do it if they eat like this all the time? This is not a rhetorical question, I'm really wondering. I'm not a penny pincher when it comes to food, either.

Second of all, while I actually really enjoyed being forced to come up with new ways to enjoy meat (I think I ate more meat in the last month than in the entire previous year before that), I couldn't imagine being indefinitely deprived of all the variety of delicious foods available on our lovely planet. The textures and flavors and sheer versatility of grains and legumes and dairy products are such a delight! Living without them forever would be so sad.

(Also, I am personally of the persuasian that we humans should be eating a lot less meat and a lot more plants to do our part as environmentalists, so while a month of the Whole30 didn't mess with my conscience, I can't imagine continuing it for that reason alone.)

Now, I had been way too reliant on my daily sugar high before I started the Whole30 and I'm really glad that I was able to last the month without craving it at all. It was a bad habit that started in pregnancy and sustained me during the months of breastfeeding but then become nothing but an indulgence I didn't need anymore. So, while I don't want to live a life without bread and beans and yogurt, I really would like to eat less sugar. And I'm amazed to say that of all the things I'm "allowed" to eat again, cake (or whatever) is nowhere on the list of things I crave.

Things it turns out I love? Sweet potato fries made with David's sage-and-rosemary rub. Almond milk. Oat-free granola. Cashew butter. Homemade beef broth.

If you're thinking about doing the Whole30, my only advice is to really commit to the whole month. Don't give up after a week. Remember those fuzzy headaches I got? They disappeared after 9 days. I got struck with the grumps around Day 18, but otherwise I felt an incredible clarity of mind that lasted until the end. I stopped having exhausted slumps in the afternoon and I felt full of energy, even on little sleep. And while just five days before the end, as I mentioned, I was exultant about the Whole30 ending, by the time it actually did end, it turned out that reset was the right word. I felt totally reprogrammed.

The challenge now is to find my way back out of the Whole30. So tonight, there shall be oyster sauce on my bok choy! And tomorrow, I plan to stew rhubarb with some sugar! This is the life.

Happy Memorial Day to you folks in the States. I can smell your barbecues and freshly cut grass all the way over here.