Yup, it's over. Thirty long days that went weirdly quickly at the same time.
I weighed in this morning and found that I am down 7.3 pounds. At first, I was kind of upset. I had really wanted to see Biggest Loser type numbers but as my brother so sagely pointed out this morning, this is a lifestyle and not a diet because diets are bad and don't work. And also, like he said, something must have changed internally for the better over the past 30 days. I can't know what it is because I (sadly) don't have x-ray vision, but I do know that I am sleeping (and waking up) better, am way more even-keeled when it comes to my kids and am generally in a much better mood than I have been for a long time - and those are all totally worth it.
I began a second round of Whole30 this morning, but this time I am including exercise.
Why all over again?
A bunch of reasons, but mostly because I have not yet slain my sugar dragons. I still want what I want when I want it and what I want is mostly chocolate and brownies and just plain handfuls of chocolate chips. And while logically I know that those things are not good for me, I still know that they taste amazing and make me feel better. And therein lies the problem. I don't want those foods - or any food - to make me feel better. I want food to be just that: food. No strings attached.
More than losing weight, I am looking to sever the emotional ties that I have to eating. And those ties are very deep-seated and very rooted into who I am. This is something that I have been struggling with my entire life, something I will most likely struggle with forever (although hopefully to a lesser extent) and something that I worry about a lot when I look at my daughters, and my sons too. They're still so little and they have so much living to do, and I don't want food to follow them around like an emotional noose. Food is just food. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not a reward, it is not a hug, it's just fuel to make a body run.
I explained to my seven year old who sometimes has trouble knowing when he is full and should be done eating that G-d put us here with all these yummy foods so we can eat to live and not live to eat. He didn't seem to fully understand it the first couple of times (many adults don't), but the other day he uttered those words back to me after dinner, after not finishing all his food and what can I say? It made my heart smile. And he smiled back and walked away from the table when because he was full - and that's more than I ever could have said for myself thirty days ago.
Maybe, if I can conquer my issues, my kids can avoid these issues all together. That, I think, is my dream.
Oh, December 11th, how I've been waiting for you.
Tonight marks the end of day #30 of this Whole30 experiment.
I have been surrounded by chocolate Chanukah gelt, jelly donuts and many many homemade treats this week, but you know what? I was really okay with my clementines. Shockingly, a clementine provided enough sweetness so that my brain was able to decipher the "end of meal" message. Tomorrow morning, I weigh in. I'm, at the same time, both terrified and super excited.
Tonight also marks the fourth night of Chanukah. And in case you ever wondered what a living room looks like when four kids receive lego at the same time, well, wonder no more.
Not to change the subject or anything, but what comes to mind when you hear the word Chanukah?
I mean besides
Yes, very good, latkes and other assorted items that require frying. And grating. I hate grating vegetables. But as we were having dinner company tonight, I kinda sorta had to fry something, so like the good wife that I try to be, I made potato latkes (from a box and no one said a word - ha!) and I made corn latkes
, a special request from the husband.
Josh has also dropped many hints this week regarding sufganiyot, also known as Chanukah jelly donuts. There's no where around here to get real sufganiyot (and jelly donuts from Dunkin Donuts are not the same thing) and I think Josh thought that I might make some. From scratch. Are you laughing? Cause I am. I mean, it a calm world where all I had to do was make dessert, I would absolutely try and make donuts. But see, here's the thing. The amount of frying that went on here today between the regular and corn latkes was, in my opinion, obscene. But I did want the hubby to have sufganiyot. So I found a recipe for Jelly Donut Muffins
I only made one switch in the recipe and that was to swap almond milk mixed with
a tablespoon of vinegar for the buttermilk because I wanted to keep the muffins
pareve. Otherwise, I stuck with the recipe as is - and they were great, or so
said the people who actually like jelly donuts. Everyone else ate leftover sugar
Happy fourth night!
A Farmer's Market opened up near our house a while back. And I capitalize Farmer and Market because it's not actually a farmer's market where locals come to sell their eggplant and squash; it's an actual store called Farmer's Market.
I really like this store because it forces you to shop the perimeter, as nutritonists like to recommend. The whole store is the perimeter - all fruits and vegetables and more fruits and vegertables, with a few aisles at the far end of the store with all kinds of overpriced canned goods. I don't visit those aisles, except to grab the weirdly cheap milk they carry. And it's horomone-free milk too, so I'm not really sure why it's the cheapest milk in town, but I am not complaining.
So why am I telling you all this when the title of this posting clearly indicated that some cookies should be coming to town? I'm sharing the wonder that is my fruit store because as I ran through the store ten minutes before pick-up at school this afternoon, I noticed that the cauliflower looked very nice and was very on sale. So I bought some.
And when we all got home, I made cauliflower soup, a yummy soup that has been a staple of my journey through the Whole30.
I love soup, but I don't like washing and peeling a bunch of different vegetables. Cauliflower soup is easy. Saute an onion and some garlic in olive oil, wash the cauliflower, cut it into large pieces and add them to the pot. Fill the pot halfway with water, season with salt and pepper and bring the water to a boil. Cover and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower pieces. Once cooked, let the soup cool completely. Once cooled, use your handy dandy immersion blender (you must have one of these. If you don't, go get one now. Go. It's okay, I'll wait for you) and puree the soup. And you're done.
Wait, you can make this even easier. Use frozen cauliflower. I do it all the time.
And my point here? I ate the soup while rolling out my Chanukah sugar cookies. Yup, I stuffed myself with two bowls of soup, which incidentally, is the right amount of soup to make you feel like if you eat even one cookie, you will explode. Works for me.
My new motto: I love cookies, but I love (almost-but-kind-of-not-yet-at-all) skinny more.
Next up: cookie decorating with the kids.
Day 23 went well - some more salmon, some more avocado, some more almonds. You know the drill, just an ordinary day on the Whole30.
I made a batch of sugar cookie dough last night and while it was chilling in the fridge, I moved on to chocolate sugar cookie dough
, a recipe I recently found in the Rachael Ray magazine. The recipe makes several different types of cookies, one of them being chocolate
pretzels. It had to be good, Rachael knows her cookies. But I'm guessing that Rachael does not talk on the phone while she bakes, which is probably why she has a tv show and I do not.
Yeah, I was talking on the phone and things happened.
I followed the directions exactly - except for the egg part, which I totally skipped.
By the time I realized the eggs were still sitting on the counter, it was too late. I didn't want to throw out the whole batch of dough, but I wasn't sure what to do. The dough was rather coarse and not coming together so out of desperation I added a few tablespoons of water and presto, change-o, it was cookie dough.
I left the dough in the fridge all night and because I forgot about it, all day today too. I noticed it as I was making dinner, so I rolled the dough into walnut sized balls and baked them at 350 degrees (sounds like a good temp for cookies, right?) for 10 minutes (a nice round number).
The cookies came out of the oven on the softer side but they firmed up somewhat after cooling off. They have a fudgelike consistency* and got two thumbs up from 3 of the 4 kids, which is really all I can expect with this bunch.
Moral of the story: don't talk and bake.
The other moral of the story: apparently you can
bake even if you run out of eggs. *Not that I tasted them, but this is what my seven year old said. Yes, he actually said 'fudgelike consistency". Where does he get this from.
Today marks three weeks since I began the Whole30 challenge
It's been very hard, exhilirating and boring, all at the same time.
Hard because I love chocolate, I miss chocolate and I think about it fondly and often.
Exhilirating because I am finally doing something for me and about me, and while I have no idea if I am losing any weight because weighing in is a big no-no until the 30 days are up, I feel better, sleep better, think better and eat better.
And boring, because I'm bored, literally bored with what I am eating.
There is only so much poached salmon, grilled chicken and diced avocados a person can eat. So for dinner tonight, I invented my own recipe and and it worked (it's okay, I'm shocked too).
It's super simple and very yummy.
And the best part, you can use as much or as little of any of the ingredients as you like.
And even better than the best part, if you have some chicken that has already been cooked sitting around in the fridge (and if you're Whole30ing, you really should have some), then you won't have to actually cook anything here, just chop, mix and eat.
What should I call this?
I think we're going to go with Citrus-Chicken Salad.
Romaine lettuce (or your favorite salad green), chopped
grapefruit, peeled, sliced and cut up
a handful of raw cashews
Toss the first five ingredients in a bowl. Add a little olive oil and salt. Retoss. Eat.
It was quite good, if I may say so myself. And there was also quite a lot left over, so I guess my dinner for tomorrow night is already done. Hooray.
And I keep thinking, Day 21 already, what am I going to do on Day 31? How and what will I eat. I'm getting nervous.
And because I seem to be the master of bad transition sentences lately, I'm now going to say that Chanukah is making me nervous too. There is still so much that I have not done. (See how I did that, with the word nervous in both sentences? Clever. I know. )
For the past fews years, I've been thinking about making a Chanukah bingo game for our family Chanukah party, but it always seems like so much work. I can make that first bingo board, no problem. It's the shuffling around of the pictures to make the other boards that throws me. So I've never done it.
I'm sure then, that you can imagine my delight when I found these free (free!) printable Chanukah themed bingo boards on Crayola.com
Just print and go.
And you can use chocolate Chanukah gelt as the pieces so even the players that don't win, win with all that chocolate. I think I'm going to be the bingo caller. I can't be trusted around all that chocolate. You know, the Whole30 and all. (See how I tied that all together like that at the end? I know.)
We'd already been to the cleaners, Target, the dollar store, the grocery and AC Moore this morning when I first realized I was hungry. This Whole30 is awesome - sometimes I actually forget to eat, but watching the little girl happily munch her way through a box of Target brand granola bars reminded me that I really did want something to eat. Sadly, my emergency bag of almonds was missing. Well, not missing for real. Just gone. As in eaten, yesterday, in another emergency situation. I really have to be more selective in my emergency situation designations.
Needless to say, by the time I got us and all the bags back into the house and put the little girl down for a nap, I was not only hungry, but cranky and in no mood to make dinner.
I had been planning on making meatballs and spaghetti, even though no one in my house likes spaghetti. But that's what your'e supposed to make with meatballs, right? What else could I do? But the thought of standing there and making the sauce and then mixing the meatballs and forming them into the little balls was way too much for me; it made me want to cry. So then I thought maybe I would make hamburgers. Much easier. But there were no hamburger buns in the freezer and my complainers, I mean my kids, prefer to have hamburger buns with their burgers. Okay, but I did have hotdog buns; I once tried to serve hotdog buns with hamburgers and the children were not pleased. Josh is much more adaptable. He just cut his burger in half to fill his hotdog bun. A pleasure to cook for, that one.
And then I remembered that when we were small, my mom, who really really didn't like to serve unhealthy things like hotdogs, would make hamburgers in the shape of hotdogs and have us make pretend. I believe we called them hotdoggers. And so that's what I did. So easy. Mix the one pound of ground turkey (or whatever you make your hamburgers with) with maybe 2 tablespoons of ketchup, around a quarter cup of bread crumbs or matzah meal and an egg. Divide the mixture into six sections and roll each one into the shape of a hotdog instead of a hamburger. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes on each side, or until they are golden on the outside and done on the inside. I don't have a meat thermometer so I just cut one open - the sacrificial hotdogger always goes to the mommy*. It's fine. I don't mind. Really.
I took less than five minutes and cut up a few sweet potatoes into smallish pieces and roasted them in the oven while the hotdoggers cooked. Defrosted the hotdog buns on the counter and hooray, a half-decent (dare I say, a three-quarters way decent?) dinner. And, and, it was so quick to make that I was able to sit and have a cup of tea and look out the window for a whole five minutes, 'till someone woke up. Heaven.
*Except this time. Because these hotdoggers are definitely not Whole30 approved.
Josh was right. About the library, that is.
For years, he never wanted me to get a library card because as a kid, he was haunted by late charges and apparently, he never got over it.
So for years, I did not visit the library.
And then, for one reason or another, I got myself a card and have been checking out and returning books ever since.
A few weeks back, before Hurricane Sandy came to town, I checked out an obscene number of books, including one that is sure to trip you up every time: the dreaded 7-day book. It goes without saying that I did not make it back to the library a week later and then the hurricane happened and then a million other things prevented me from going, until it got to the point where, when I checked the library's website, I learned that I owed $11.50. Not a fortune by any means, but disappointing and somewhat embarrassing when the whole point of the library is to read free books.
Anyway, I went back today, dragging my huge bag of books behind me. And paid the fines. I broke a twenty on those fine. I hate breaking twenties.
And the whole way there, I kept telling myself that there was no way I was checking any books out today. I was going to return our books and leave. And then we made the mistake, the little one and I, of visiting the children's room. Long story short, we are now the proud renters of 14 new books.
I had no willpower in the library.
But happily, I had huge willpower today - and completed day 8 with flying colors.
I had the same breakfast I have everyday.
Lunch was poached salmon and half of a leftover sweet potato.
Dinner was vegetable soup and some turkey.
And I reached my water quota for the day before I even picked the kids up from school.
I think I can almost see that halfway point of day 15 just up ahead!
The weekend went better than I thought it would, Whole30-wise.
I didn't try to get fancy with the Whole30 - I stuck with my nicely lined up water bottles, poached chicken and baked sweet potatoes. And some lettuce and avocado salad with oilve oil and salt as a dressing.
I did have a bite of challah on Friday night, but there was really no getting around that.
We had company for lunch on Shabbos and they brought brownies with them. I love a brownie. Or twenty. But I did not have even one crumb. It also helped that Josh cut up and handed out the all desserts because otherwise it would have been me and that pan of brownies under the dining room table.
Oh, and in case anyone is keeping track, I finally went to the fruit store today so we should be good for a week of roasted butternut squash and extra sweet oranges. Sometimes I make pretend that my orange is really a piece of chocolate. It's okay, you can laugh at me, my family did.
Tonight, I prepped for the next few days by poaching a few pieces of salmon, boiling eggs, cutting vegetables for a soup and defrosting a few chicken cutlets. I really feel like the prepping is the key, otherwise I'd be all over the place. And hungry. Not a good combination.
So here is what I see going on so far: In the past week, I have not had heartburn (a somewhat frequent occurance for me). I have not woken up with a headache even one time (a somewhat more than frequent occurence for me). And I have been able wake up earlier than usual and actually be productive before the kids leave for school (a huge change for me). And, finally, I have been much less hungry. Like in Friday, I forgot to each lunch. Forgot. In my life, I don't think I have ever forgotten to have a meal. And yet, on Friday, I did. At first I was concerned. And then I was happy.
If for no other reason than the whole lunch-forgetting thing, I'd say this has all been worth it so far. I will, however, be accepting invitations for a Dunkin Donuts coffee run in about three weeks. I already have one invite, but a few backup ones can't hurt. Just saying.
I'm sitting here, thinking about what I ate today. And then I am thinking how maybe this is a really silly something to be focusing on because it seems that Israel is at war.
I don't live there, but my heart does.
I'm having flashbacks to the Gulf War in '91 (that would nineteen-91 for those who are very young and confused). I was in 8th grade, and I distinctly remember sitting on the floor in my parents' room, watching, I guess, CNN. There weren't that many channels back then, so I don't really know. I remember that we had a Hebrew grammar test the next day that nobody studied for and everybody flunked.
I also remember the scuds, watching them fly through the night, knowing that my aunt, my uncle, my cousins and several close childhood friends, were in those sealed rooms, wearing gas masks.
And now again, so many years later, those gas masks again.
Sitting in NJ, I cannot begin to comprehend what it is like to live with rockets being fired towards my home. But I do know that there are maybe 15 seconds between when the sirens go off in the towns in Israel and when the population needs to be in their bomb shelters.
Fifteen seconds. That's nothing.
I found myself counting 15 seconds all day long.
I now know that it takes me 75 seconds to buckle all of my kids into the car.
I now know that it takes me 62 seconds to walk from my door to my van with a 2-year-old.
I now know that it take me 40 seconds to open a box of diapers.
I now know that it takes me 33 seconds to find Ninjago on the On Demand channel.
And I now know that it takes me 16 seconds to run to the kitchen, pull a chair up to the wall and take the screaming smoke alarm down.
But 15 seconds? To save four kids? I can't even pretend to imagine.
So I sit here, instead, sad, worried, with a heavy heart - and feeling a little guilty too because we have not yet made the move to Israel - hoping and praying that all of Israel stays safe tonight and through however long this lasts.
And even though it may be ridiculous, I did commit to this diet, so here is what I ate today on the Whole30:
Breakfast: a few almonds, 2 hard boiled eggs.
Lunch: ground turkey, sauteed onions and canned tomato puree, aka faux sloppy joes.
Dinner: I had planned on making a roasted vegetable soup.
I roasted a cut up butternut squash, cut up carrots, quartered onions, quartered plum tomatoes and a head of garlic. The kitchen smelled fantastic, but sadly, no soup for me. I kind of ate most of the vegetables as soon as they came out of the oven. Roasted vegetables will do that to you - you taste one, just to make sure and before you can reach into a cabinet for the soup pot, they're all gone. Oh well. There are more important things than soup right now.
Thankfully, day three went better than expected. I woke up very tired this morning, convinced that the whole day was just going to be draggy, but it turned out to be a rather nice day instead.
The best part - besides from having so much fun at playgroup this morning - is that three days have come and (almost) gone and now I have a chazaka. Yahoo. A chazaka?
Yes. A chazaka. The word chazaka, in Hebrew, literally means strength or strong. However, there is another meaning which is, (and I'm quoting here
), "what was, still is". Huh? I know, just bear with me for a minute. You see, a chazaka's magic number is three. So let's say you went running for three days in a row, you now have a chazaka and most likely will continue on with your new habit. Get it? What was
= the running of the past three days, Still is
= the running that you are doing and will continue doing.
But just to be totally clear, I'm not running anywhere. In fact, the only thing I like more than sitting is lying down. And since I have sat for three days in a row (many many three days in row), the likelihood that I will continue sitting each day is very high. So too, since I have completed three days of the Whole30, the likelihood that I will continue the Whole30 is also high.
But back to the original point. Day three on Whole30 was pretty okay.
Breakfast was the same as yesterday
Lunch was fried (not breaded) flounder and sauteed onions and mushrooms.
Dinner was the the leftover chicken from last night and the last sweet potato.
Snacks? I had a few cashews or olives here and there and half an apple at some point, but I was not that hungry. Very thirsty though. But that's okay, because then I remembered to actually drink my water, something I am very bad at remembering.
And the cutest thing - in an effort to help me drink all my water, Josh filled up three 3-cup water bottles for me last night and lined them up on the counter so I would see them in the morning. So nice. And Josh, if you're reading this, that would be a lovely gesture for the next 27 nights. Thank you.