Whole30 Days 7-9

Collect MomentsCravings. I thought I was immune, thought my resolve and excitement for this round would keep cravings at bay until week 3 or so. But they struck in full force, and no amount of fruit eating or tea drinking were sufficient to convince myself that they weren’t real.

I ate pistachios and willed them to be pistachio ice cream.

I ate chicken cauliflower curry and willed it to be a stack of naan bread with hummus.

I drank a black americano and willed it to be a mocha.

None of these things came to pass. So I cleaned my kitchen.

It’s not done in the strictest sense–I’ll post pictures later, when I’m prepared to say it is. But in an effort to minimize my kitchen to the most useful and cherished items, I unpacked every cabinet and only put the most loved and used essentials back in. I’m left with lots of open cabinet space, surprisingly coherent drawers, and fewer dishes to wash. It’s almost magical.

Today, while thinking about pizza almost constantly, I turned on some George Strait and donned a bucket, a mop, and a scrub brush and set out to scrub the kitchen floor. It’s amazing how disgusting wide, white grout lines can get in the course of a year–especially when two one-year-olds consistently sling at least half of the food we put in front of them.

My knees started killing me about ten square feet from the end. When I changed later that I realized I had worn blisters into both knees through my trusty yoga pants. I also came to the conclusion that I hate our tile floor.

If only I could minimize my floor. Coat it in a glass-smooth resin that could be easily mopped, maybe?

If you come over to visit and find the kitchen floor covered in tarps, it’s because tarps are remarkably painless to clean no matter how far pureed blueberries get slung.

Either way, my mantra for this week (and my attempt to drown out the call of pizza, naan bread, and hummus) is to focus on collecting memories, not things–and to get rid of the burdensome stuff that’s taking up space in life without adding value to it. It turns out that’s an awful lot of stuff. And apparently I’ll be doing it all with bandaged knees, because progress isn’t always pretty.

Whole30 Day 6

Today is Day 6. Biggest lesson from today? Don’t mess with the twins’ nap schedule. If they miss their one and only nap around 10 or 11 a.m., the rest of the day is miserable. For. Everyone.

Yeah, not Whole30 related, I know.

The big meals of the last couple of days were shepherd’s pie and spaghetti squash with homemade marinara sauce. The shepherd’s pie should happen very, very often. I used half gold potatoes and half yams for the topping, a ton of garlic, one pound of organic ground beef and a ton of frozen mixed veggies from Costco, plus a handful of spices. It made a full 9×13″ pan, which is already gone.

Lessons in Whole30’ing

Farmer’s markets are amazing. Today I needed to drive up to Cook Farm, the dairy where I get unpasteurized milk for the boys, so I decided to stop in at the Northampton Winter Market.

I love Northampton. Everyone is quirky and weird, there are kitschy little shops around every corner, Webs is there, and it’s home to some of the most impressively improbable architecture in the form of big, old Victorian homes.

Their Winter Market doesn’t disappoint, either. It was crowded–too crowded for a stroller, but I had no choice but to wear one kid in the Tula and push the other. Among the vendors were little creameries selling cheese, ghee-makers demonstrating DIY clarified butter, mushroom-infused soaps, handwoven alpaca scarves and blankets, hot lentil soups, freshly-baked breads and pretzels, winter squash, potatoes, roots, and hothouse greens, handcarved wooden spoons and bowls, and a troubadour with a 12-string guitar.

It’s worth the 35-minute drive to make that a regular stop–even if I can’t indulge in the breads, soups, and cheeses on the Whole30. I spent a while admiring the alpaca wares, Micah charmed a handknitted finger puppet from a vendor, and I bought a dozen eggs before heading to Cook Farm and then home. If I hadn’t already had a refrigerator full of food for the week, I would have stocked up on a ton of the beautiful produce. As it was, I left inspired by the whole farmer’s market atmosphere and the huge availability of real, local, organic foods in this area. Such a switch from Guam. I need to rethink my wintertime grocery routine and make it a point to hit more shindigs like that one. It’s definitely more fun than a trip to Stop ‘n Shop.

However, that particular shindig caused the missed naptime and the ensuing excitement of manic, tired one-year-olds who tried to cram each other in the dog’s crate and then lock the door.

Lessons learned.

In other news, I can’t believe tomorrow is Day 7 already!

Whole30 Round 2, Days 3 and 4

Whole30 ChallengeI’m very happy to report that things are evening out in the meal prep department and I’ve fallen pretty well back into the groove that is Whole30 eating. After the headache and exhaustion of Day 2, Manny took both kids overnight (and both slept until 6 a.m., which is nothing short of a semi-miracle!) and I slept on the sofa for a blissful 9 hours.

Eggless Whole30 Options 

Breakfasts are tough for me with this meal plan, mostly because I don’t eat eggs. Can’t eat eggs. Won’t eat eggs. I find pretty much everything about an egg repulsive, from the appearance to the texture to the flavor, whether it’s fried in a pan or whipped into an omelet or a frittata. So I scramble eggs for the twins and their dad, and then have fruit–usually grapefruit–and Aidell’s chicken sausage (a Whole30 staple) on the side.

The Whole30 book’s advice is to toss your assumptions about what constitutes breakfast food and just think of breakfast as Meal 1. That has helped get over the mental hurdle of not having toast, oatmeal, or granola in the morning.

Big Meals:

On Day 3, I prepared a pot roast that was hearty and warming enough for the cold, rainy weather. On Day 4, I made this chocolate chili–even though I was out of onions and cumin, two pretty indispensable chili ingredients. If you’ve never put cocoa powder in your chili, it’s time to try it.

I’m already finding things that need to be tweaked. Like–less fruit, more veggies. Less dried fruit, in particular. When you’re on a Whole30, binging on raisins and dried mango actually becomes a concern. Also, Lara Bars. Those things are freakishly good and I can’t imagine doing a Whole30 without them.

This morning, I’m spending breakfast at Starbucks so I can get some work done.

I’m remembering how much I miss my lattes. Currently going through every form of Whole30 approved beverage that Starbucks offers, which shouldn’t take long. Today is iced (black, of course) cold brew. I’m hoping it’s better than yesterday’s Americano. I don’t know how people drink this stuff black on a regular basis.

The Feels

When you’re eating nourishing food, it’s easy to overlook how refreshing it is to go to bed at night knowing that you ate the best foods you possibly could. Normally I go to bed with a couple of diet-related regrets–like eating one (okay, four) too many of the kids’ graham crackers when the meal was already over. Or buying that candy bar at the store. Just being free of the mental burden of living with poor choices is huge, but it’s easy to miss the difference if you’re not paying attention.

I’m guessing this is because it feels so normal and healthy to go to bed without the mental and emotional luggage of poor food choices behind you.

Physically, my energy is back to pretty much normal levels and I’m feeling pretty good. My body tells me when I need to eat more, which is great because pre-Whole30 I didn’t necessarily get hungry (probably because I was overeating the wrong things). I could go most of a day without eating much, then realize I hadn’t eaten and overreact in the other direction. Three servings of pasta! Hurrah!

On the Whole30, though, I notice my stomach growling and my energy levels flagging a little about three hours after a meal. At that point, I’m forced to prepare and eat real food, if I haven’t already started the process. It feels very balanced. I even managed to squeeze in a run a couple of days ago, thanks to sudden warm weather that melted away most of the ice and snow.

That’s all for now. If you’ve read this far, I want to challenge you to go do something today that makes you proud. Something that will make you smile when you turn into night. Anything so you can say, hey, I did that thing, no matter what it was. Because going to bed with a victory behind you (even a tiny one!) makes for a much happier night of sleep and a better next morning than just going to bed with just the daily grind.

Whole30 Round 2, Day 2

Sooo this is going be short because I’m posting from my phone under a super cozy fleece blanket on a sofa that’s absolutely lulling me to sleep. 

Day 2 was great until about 5 p.m., when my body apparently realized it hadn’t had its daily dose of sugar/carbs/caffeine/whatever. Then came The Slump. They warn you about it, the Whole30 folks–that you’re bound to feel like crap for a couple of days, that it’s part of the process, etc. etc. 

Now, The Slump is one thing–but the accompanying headache is quite another. I can’t deal. So I’m seriously here to post the requisite update before I crawl back under my fuzzy blanket and pray that both babies sleep a very long time. 

I will note, though, that Whole30 food is delicious. Today’s chicken verde and sausage/fruit breakfast were some of the best I’ve eaten in a while.

Babies even approved! And I got some work done at Starbucks with only a little sadness that I had to swap my latte for an unsweetened passion tango iced tea. 

Whole30 Round 2 Day 1

Something has to be done.

It became painfully clear when I slipped into my comfortable, slightly-too-big post pregnancy jeans that usually make me feel pretty okay about myself and realized that they were no longer comfortable. Or slightly-too-big.

Breakfast: Sauteed spinach, slow-cooker chicken, and a banana--scrambled eggs for the boys and the husband.

Breakfast: Sauteed spinach, slow-cooker chicken, and a banana–scrambled eggs for the boys and the husband.

Weight and diet has always been a struggle for me, and it’s something I don’t talk about because (1) it’s personal, and I don’t share super personal stuff here or pretty much anywhere else, because it makes me vulnerable, (2) what if I fail? (3) it’s such a lame, first-world problem, and (4) it’s not cool to admit you have a problem, even when it’s obvious to everyone around you.

So I might as well be real with you guys. It’s hard. It’s a struggle. It’s basically always on my mind. It’s something I haven’t figured out yet. And sometimes I wonder why I even try because if I haven’t gotten it right by now, am I ever really going to? It’s easy to feel like you’re destined to stay on this slow, steady downhill path, especially with kids and age. It’s expected, even. But I’m tired of being okay with that.

Despite the fact that it seems mostly hopeless much of the time, since this is the body that I have to live with, I’m determined to take the time to get it right–to find a system for prepping healthy, real food meals that work for my family, and to find a workout groove that’s actually fun as well as challenging. I feel like I’m living right on the edge of a knife–between having it down and being totally out of control of my choices.

As a Christian–and, well, as a human being in general–it makes sense to treat your body well and to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. It’s a stewardship thing, and it’s an investment, even though it’s a temporal one. I haven’t always done that well, but I’m working on it now.

The Whole30 is a short-term diet reset. Manny and I did one together last May/June, and it was great–though we completely blew the reintroduction phase.

This year, we’re doing it again, doing the reintroduction properly this time, and this time I’m going to give myself permission to take as much time as I need to figure out how I want to proceed when it’s over. Meaning, I might stay pretty much Whole30 for long after these 30 days are up.

The twins were fairly unimpressed with Costco this morning.

The twins were fairly unimpressed with Costco this morning.

I want to simplify our life and our diet. No more shopping just to buy things, no more eating just to chew.

I want to teach the boys how delicious and satisfying real food can be, so they can grow up with quality, healthy food being the norm–not the exception.

I want to be able to go on a 10-mile hike up mountains without worrying about slowing everybody down.

During this Whole30, I’m going to try to post a short recap every day, along with what works, what doesn’t work, and recipes I loved and hated. If you’ve done a Whole30 before, feel free to send advice or recipes my way.

I’m also working through a Couch to 5K running schedule at a snail’s pace, which has been slowed by ice and snow that I haven’t yet figured out how to navigate safely. So there’ll be snippets of that here and there, too.

Yarning

img_1791I have a thing for fiber–and not the type that comes in salads. I love the type of fiber that grows on bunnies and sheep, alpacas and camels. The type that you wrap hands, neck, and ears in when it’s cold.

The longer I live in New England (going on two years now!), the more I find about New England to love. Like the fiber arts culture. Every respectable town, village, or suburb around here has a well-stocked yarn store–or so it seems. The Mecca of all yarn shops, Webs, is just forty-five minutes north of my home, and I make frequent pilgrimages in that direction.

Last weekend, the New England Fiber Festival drew me, though. Because I love all things soft and fuzzy, it’s more than worth the $7 admission fee and $5 parking just to pet the angora rabbits, to respectfully not pet the clearly somewhat miffed alpacas, and to feast your eyes on thousands upon thousands of skeins of handdyed, handspun loveliness.

You can’t leave without buying something. Last year, the twins were just over a month old when we went to the fiber festival for the first time, and they were wearing tiny little handknit sweaters (which received comments from practically everyone we passed). This year, the twins weren’t wearing handknits and neither was I, but one kind woman gave Micah a handknit hat for free (!), and I bought an incredibly smooshy skein of fingering-weight yarn that will make the perfect sweater to echo the blue in Davey’s eyes.

Manny and I have been talking about purchasing an angora bunny for a little over a year, so we took the opportunity to talk to the exhibitors with angoras and to find out more about their care. The whole experience has made me determined to find a hutch, create a cozy nest, and adopt an angora or two of my own. So don’t be surprised if, in one of the next posts here, you get to meet an extra fuzzy addition to the Jacoby household.

 

We Don’t Sleep Around Here

Davey has not been sleeping lately.

Correction: Davey has been sleeping in two- to three-hour intervals, often interspersed with 2-hour awake periods, all night long. Thankfully, Micah is taking up the slack in the sleep department by going to sleep easily and sleeping soundly all night. So we only have one yo-yo baby to deal with. I’m not sure how I survived the newborn weeks when we did this all the time with both babies.

Small Great Things

28587957So in the moments when both twins are actually asleep and the house is mostly together, I often light a couple of candles and collapse on the sofa, only to realize I have no idea what to do with that precious nugget of time. Clean? Do the dishes? Read? Write a blog post? Knit? It’s rough, folks.

In my last post, I mentioned that I picked up Small Great Things and intended to start reading it soon. Since then, I have indeed finished the book. Because I don’t trust myself to formulate a coherent few paragraphs about it, I’ll boil it down.

Things I Liked

This book made me uncomfortable. It forced me to question my own attitude about race issues, and it left me thinking that I might not be as unbiased as I’ve always thought. I haven’t read many of Picoult’s books, but I am finding that she forces her readers to ask themselves some pretty probing questions. That’s a hallmark of a great read, as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, there’s a twist at the end. I remember reading once that a fiction writer should put her characters in the hardest possible situations, just to see how they react. Well, Picoult does this in a very unexpected way at the end of Ruth’s trial.

Things I didn’t like

The ending. The ending and the epilogue both seem a little too deus ex machina, happily-ever-after, Disney storybook perfect for my taste (sorry if that’s a spoiler). As much as I wanted to see Ruth, the protagonist, win her court case and come out on top, I didn’t expect it to be handed to her with a cherry on top.

Overall, I loved it, and I did end up reading it in just a few sit-down sessions after the babies were in bed for the night and before Davey’s nighttime wakefulness sessions began. Small Great Things definitely has a new home in my home library.

Dabbling in Minimalism

In other news, I’ve been throwing stuff away like crazy. Basically, tossing or donating as much *stuff* as possible–the things that fill up nooks and crannies with “I might need this someday” intentions. Baby clothes, unused cooking gadgets, clothes that don’t fit me anymore, half-burned candles, trinkets that I’ve held onto out of a sense of obligation to whomever gave them to me. It’s all going.

The progress is slow–sometimes painfully so–but I’m simplifying, because life is so much more enjoyable when you’re not tripping over accoutrements while trying to live it. Also, when you have fewer things, there’s less to clean.

I’m thinking I might add a few books on simplifying, minimizing, and decluttering to my reading list in the next few weeks, so if anyone has suggestions on excellent books of that sort, please let me know! I will streamline and minimalize many things, but my library isn’t one of them.