Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Paleo Diary - Wrapping up My #Whole30 – Now What?

My Whole30 Challenge officially ended on January 30th.

To read my previous posts about this challenge and why I took it on you can check out:

And So It Begins
My Paleo Diary – Whole30 Days 1 – 5
My Paleo Diary – Whole30 Days 6 – 12
My Paleo Diary - Whole 30 Days 13 – 19

This last part of the challenge has only been 4 days long and was really just a continuation of everything that I had been doing all along… except that my cold symptoms are mostly gone so I am feeling better and very energetic.

I have all kinds of thoughts about where I go from here but first, let’s take a look at what I have been eating:


I like to make something a little special on Sunday mornings.    This is an omelet with some spinach and wild Pacific Pink salmon.  Yum. I have to say I normally make this with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese in it, and I did miss it.  Oh well.

Jan 27 salmon and spinach omelet 002

On Monday, I put together these little Ham and Egg Baskets and they were delicious. I cannot recall where I saw this idea and cannot take credit for it.   If the eggs are cooked long enough, you could even pick it up with your fingers and it could be picnic food.  I baked these at 350 F for 15 minutes and they could have cooked a few minutes longer... I liked them but The Captain thought they were a bit runny.

Jan 28 ham and egg baskets 004

My dear friend, Sharon, who lives in Nova Scotia recently started her own Whole30 Challenge and she came up with this Fruity Egg Cake, made with egg whites, coconut shreds, dates, dried cranberries, and some almond butter. I had to make it for my breakfast on Tuesday.

Jan 29 fruity egg cake 001

The simple omelet I made on Wednesday with some sliced onion and leftover cooked carrots was also pretty darned tasty.


Mostly veggie-ful this week… beef chili on roasted butternut squash… salad with my homemade mayonnaise and canned wild salmon.  I also made a wicked garlicky Babaganoush this week so I had that one day with a plateful of veggies, with some canned tuna on the side. 

Jan 29 Babaganoush 002

Then the next day had it again as a salad topper along with some sliced hard boiled eggs.

Jan 30 more babaganoush 001
One night I had a baked sweet potato topped with sauerkraut and lean deli ham.  Awesome.  And I have also had Coconut Chicken, this time with extra vegetables.
I made my Butterless Butter Chicken and had it over kabocha squash instead of farro or barley or brown rice, and I enjoyed it even more than I have before.   I used coconut oil to cook the onions, garlic, and chicken and I also subbed curry powder for the paste I would normally have used.  Did you know that you can eat the roasted shell of the kabocha squash too?  Yup, it is very thin.
Jan 29 Butter chicken 001
And one other night I had a good ole beef burger with homemade baked yam 'fries' and coleslaw, again made with my homemade mayonnaise. 
I made of of my banana ‘bowls’ with a chopped banana, some hemp seeds, some raisins, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds along with little splash of vanilla unsweetened Almond Breeze .  I would like to report that I have been very disciplined in my limited consumption of almond butter these past few days… I bought cashews to make cashew butter but it hasn’t happened yet.
Jan 27 banana bowl 001
And I have eaten a few cashews and almonds, some hazelnuts, and dates, too.  But I am snacking so much less than I normally would because my meals are so nutritious and so satisfying.
Exercise and Workouts
Beginning on Sunday morning, with a short run… and I have been energetic and raring to go ever since.  I am so happy to be exercising again after finally shaking my cold symptoms.  KAIZEN. I feel myself getting stronger and more enthusiastic.
Some Thoughts
So it is over…. this 30 days of ‘deprivation’ as some of my friends call it…. no grains or grasses, no dairy, no legumes or soy products or peanut butter, no sugar or artificial sweeteners and no alcohol.  I survived… heck, I thrived!
I weighed myself and I have lost 10 pounds… more than I would have liked, actually.  But here is the thing… I am eating nutrient dense foods. I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied and my body seems to know when that is and my brain listens.  I know I am eating a lot less overall…. fewer calories for sure but the proportions of the macronutrients has changed in my diet, dramatically.
I am now eating about 25% protein, a whopping 40% fat and only about 35% carbs.  I cannot believe I can eat that much fat and lose 10 pounds in a month, but I did.  Especially with the limited amount of exercising I have been doing.
I have no food cravings.  None.  And the 'hangries’ are gone.  No more lightheadedness, just real hunger pangs when it is lunchtime… and that might be 12:30  or even 1:00 p.m. these days… not 11:00 or 11:30 a.m. anymore… even when breakfast is early. 
And my fingernails and my hair are strong and growing like crazy.  My skin is softer.  Could the Paleo Diet be the Fountain of Youth?  haha
So where do I go from here?
A week or so ago I was quite nervous about getting to this point… wondering how I would be able to feed myself without the rules and restrictions that the Whole30 Challenge has laid down for me.   I am so good at rules.  They command respect.  They give me structure and take away some of the need to make decisions  I have made up little rules for myself all throughout my life…. even during my somewhat rebellious teen years… don’t hitchhike alone; don’t wear blue eye shadow!  And as I got older and was losing weight... don’t eat standing up;  don’t take that one cookie unless you really want 3 or 4 of them; don’t smoke on the street; wear your seatbelt… that sort of thing.
So I wondered what I was going to eat on Day 31, and how it would all follow from there.  I have thought long and hard about this topic.
I have read all the ‘sciency’ stuff about the benefits of following a Paleo Diet.  I already knew from my own experimentation, that I cannot have gluten.  I suspect that the inflammation in my head and in my ears is gone because of something I have eliminated this past 30 days.  My left leg is not swelling nearly as much by day’s end either so I am hoping that healthy food and good nutrition may play a roll in clearing up my low blood protein count, too. 
It might be easier and more concise if I share my thoughts in point form so here goes:
  • I  absolutely believe this line from It Starts With Food  “ The food you eat either makes you more healthy, or less healthy. Those are your options “
  • Food is fuel.  It is not my friend or my enemy. It is not good or bad.  I choose to focus on foods that nourish me and I shall continue to search and experiment to find out what those foods are.... for me... for my body.

  • I do think that this style of eating fits me, is satisfying to me, and makes me feel good.  But I don’t like labels… I am not going to say “  I eat PALEO “  because I know I will not 100% of the time.  I will have some red wine or an occasional martini… very dry and straight up with 3 olives, please…  I will probably have chocolate again, and I may even indulge in the odd bit of Greek yogurt or popcorn … but not every day, or even every week.  

  • Please don’t advise me to do Paleo 83% or 92% of the time.  I don’t know what that means anyway. And please don’t tell me to eat Paleo but cheat occasionally. Cheat on whom anyway?  If and when I make unhealthy food or drink choices, it will be because I have weighed the options and I have CHOSEN to indulge anyway, with my eyes wide open…. and I will thoroughly enjoy it, and without the burden of feeling like I  am CHEATING.
  • I know, too, that there are a lot of people who are dead set against this way of eating because they don’t believe in giving up whole food groups or they think you have to drink cow’s milk to get enough calcium or they think that people who eat Paleo are living on unhealthy bacon.  I have heard it all. And I appreciate the concern, thank you.

  • I am not advising anyone else to follow Whole30 – I have some friends who have asked me about it and I have told them about the Whole9/Whole30 web site and named the books I have read and told them to check it out for themselves.  What is right for me, is not right for you. Everyone must blaze their own trail.

  • I am not going to be discussing this a whole lot more…  even if I decide to do another Whole30 somewhere down the road. 


  1. Great review - this whole way of eating fascinates me. I tried it and discovered my body needs the carbs, but I'll never tell you living on bacon is unhealthy. ;)

  2. First... these pictures all made me super hungry!!! And second, and more impotantly, I love that you gave this your all, and made the right decisions for you about where this challenge will take you. Kudos to you for trying it...

  3. So glad you did so well on the challenge, both with following the rules and with how it made you feel. I like all of your thoughts on it too, very real approach. I am enjoying my eating experiment but know that at some point it won't be so easy to follow, and yes I want wine and chocolate too!

  4. You stuck to this plan so well it's great to see the results you got! I have yet to find a plan that doesn't negatively impact my running.

  5. I love love love how you were willing to share all this too.
    Its taken me ages to find what works for me.

  6. I've been wanting to try the Whole30, but I've been kind of scared. I don't do well with eliminating whole food groups from my diet, but after reading the book I feel like I could really benefit from it.

  7. Wow--10 pounds is amazing! So is the fact that you feel so much better in so many areas. Good for you for setting out on this path and following it so well. Clearly it has worked for you.

  8. I love your recaps of this experience. So honest about the whole thing (pardon the pun!).
    And applaud your decision to incorporate as much or as little of the plan as you like as you move forward. I hate the labelling of diets; so many people out there will tell you you're doing it wrong!

    P.S. Still no blue eyeshadow, okay?

  9. Good for you for finishing the Whole30. I had to stop after 2 weeks. Have you noticed any physical changes?

  10. Sounds like you learned so much through this experience Elle:) Thanks for sharing it with us!

  11. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I enjoyed reading about them and seeing how they paralled my own experience. I especially enjoyed lurking for and making your recipe suggestions. (How did I miss that one from Topaz...must look into it,cuz it sounds yummy for sure) I am looking forward to occassionaly having some cottage cheese, occassionally. I used to eat it every day, and I have missed it (although not as much as I thought I would).

    Thanks again

  12. Great post & recap!!! Like others wrote, I really like that you are finding what works for you but don't expect others to do the same thing. Whether you enjoy a little treat away from this or not is only your decision!

    It is all about what works for you!

  13. Great recap and yummy food! I hope you enjoy your new path!

  14. Wow! You did it! I cannot believe it!!! I know I couldn't... ok I could... I shouldn't doubt myself, but wow! it looks hard!!!

  15. Congratulations on sticking to the plan for the whole month. And congratulations for feeling so great. And huge CONGRATULATIONS on your bullet point summary. I love what you say about 'cheating'. I hate that term when it comes to food.

  16. Elle, I really appreciate this post and your points. I am reading It Starts With Food now. I read the part about milk/dairy (I was drinking milk daily) and said, "Ugh. I could never LIVE without milk," but what I read struck such a chord with me that I have not had it since. And it has been about 2 weeks, which is amazing for me! I have not 'officially' started the challenge yet as I am still eating brown rice and some other things here and there. I want to do it though, I don't know why I have this weird fear of starting - maybe the fear of the unknown, fear of what to/how to cook? I'm not sure, but I need to figure it out. I think, given all of my medical concerns lately, that this way of eating can do nothing but help me (well, it at least can't make me worse!) and I have to do something. I just need to get the courage to ACTUALLY start instead of thinking about it or doing it some of the time. Thanks for giving me motivation and inspiration. I value the things you have to say and definitely am going to be using some of your food ideas.


Love it when you leave me a comment!