WHAT I LEARNED DURING WHOLE30 (PART I OF III)

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Last month, I took part in the Whole30. Many of you already know this because I posted everything I ate during the Whole30 online. If you didn’t know or have no idea what the Whole30 is here is my short description.

Whole30 = No added sugars in your diet. You eat meat, fish or eggs for protein. A whole bunch of veggies. Also, some fruits for natural sugars. Nuts, oils, ghee and other natural fats. Every meal should consist of these things. (No dairy, legumes, grains or non-gluten grains included).

After thirty days I had lost about fifteen pounds. The problem was once I finished my Whole30 I did one week (instead of two weeks) of reintroducing non-compliant foods: Beans/Legumes, Corn/Non-Gluten Grains, Dairy and Gluten/Grains. After that I went full rage mode and ate all the things I wasn’t able to eat during the Whole30: Pizza (twice), Burgers, Ice Cream, Cake, Cookies, Chips, Cheese, Tacos and everything else. I think I re-gained about five of those fifteen pounds. (It is now two weeks later, and I’ve slowed down on full rage mode. I weighed myself and was back where I was on Day 30).

Now, I’m hoping to find a healthy balance of Whole30-ish eating and my regular diet. The point of Whole30 is to eat using basic ingredients to reset your body, next you reintroduce the “non-compliant” foods to see how they affect you. You are basically turning your body into a walking science experiment (Whole30 made me a scientist!). Once you’re done, you may continue to eat whatever foods make you feel good, but no one is perfect so you also eat the foods that don’t make you feel good from time to time.

So, what did I learn during my Whole30?

[1] I DON’T HAVE A “SUGAR DRAGON” IN ME. I HAVE A SUGAR DEMON!

Melissa Hartwig, creator of Whole30, talks about our “Sugar Dragon” a whole lot in her books and on her website. The “Sugar Dragon” is basically when you eat something sugary, your brain wants more and more sugar until there is nothing left in the house. It’s a whirling dervish of sugary delights.

I was extremely strict and faithful to Whole30, not eating any added sugar during the month of April. All the sugar in my diet came from fruits, and I didn’t have many cravings other than “Sugar Nightmares” (on a few nights I dreamt that I was eating sweet treats and other non-compliant foods. In one of my “Sugar Nightmares” I ate a whole pizza from Papa Johns). However, once April was over and I did finally eat sugar I went back to full-rage mode a few times. But since then I’ve calmed down a bit.

Once I eat one Oreo cookie, the rest of the Oreo cookies aren’t safe. I will eat all the Oreos I can find (or at least one row at a time). And once they are all gone I will move on to the next sugary treat until nothing remains. And that is why my SUGAR DRAGON is actually a SUGAR DEMON.

[2] NO TV BEFORE BED, BUT YES TV WHILE EATING.

Some Whole30 habits you are encouraged to practice aren’t entirely diet related. In her Whole30 books, Melissa says don’t watch TV while eating. She wants you to enjoy each bite of your food. Eat slowly and kind of meditate while you eat. I do yoga and stretching for meditation and there are way too many TV shows on my list to not watch them while I eat. I even watched Ugly Delicious on Netflix (a pizza documentary with David Chang, while eating my Whole30 meals. I watched it three times in April).

Another Whole30 “rule” is no TV before bed. Before Whole30 I would leave my TV on until I fell asleep (That’s why the gods created sleep mode). This made it harder to fall asleep, and harder to wake up in the mornings. In the beginning of Whole30 I would even wake up with a headache, which I’m still not completely sure if that came from having the TV on at night or if it was my SUGAR DEMON telling me it needed sugar. One of Melissa’s tips is to read until you get tired. I started doing this most nights, and now I’m continuing that habit.

Reading before bed is like an even more natural form of Melatonin. I read until my eyes become heavy, then I turn off my lamp and fall asleep almost instantly. With the TV on it would take me much longer to fall asleep.

[3] SLEEP. A LOT.

The main problem I had was not sleeping enough. I always try to do too much before bed, whether it’s writing, drawing, reading, watching shows or trying to beat God of War. I end up getting into bed at eleven or midnight even though I’m trying to wake up at six or six-thirty to write or run. One thing I need to get better at is going to sleep early when I want to wake up early.

Melissa talks about “Tiger Blood” a whole lot (It’s something Charlie Sheen said in that interview where everyone thought he was a crazy person. I think his “Tiger Blood” came from cocaine and drugs, but Melissa’s version is when you’re eating super healthy so you feel awesome in your mind, body and soul). I don’t think I ever fully felt the effects of “Tiger Blood” and that’s probably because I didn’t sleep enough.

I did have way more energy throughout the day while eating Whole30. Before this I would eat sandwiches and bread-y things for lunch which would make me want to lay down after work. With Whole30 meals I would get home with enough energy for boxing, yoga, stretching, biking or some other activity.

[4] EVERYTHING HAS SUGAR IN IT.

During April I learned that everything has sugar in it. Every sauce, every frozen meal and most things you would order at a restaurant have some form of sugar or fake sugar in them. That’s why I had to cook about 98% of my meals from scratch, which I don’t really mind, because I enjoy cooking.

Even my Ice Breaker mints (and pretty much every type of mint or gum) were non-compliant with the Whole30, because they have some kind of “science sugar” in them. (A “science sugar” is something that’s made in a lab to sweeten foods without adding calories so people think it’s healthy. Coke Zero is full of science sugars that haven’t yet been discovered, and also probably contain tons of cancer and other diseases which we will find out about in the year 2020).

Thrive Market was a good place to find special Whole30 versions of sauces (Just make sure to cancel your subscription before you get charged the insane monthly fee. Also, they are real annoying about letting anyone cancel their membership. I had to chat with some dude who kept trying to throw in another free month, until I finally told him, JUST CANCEL IT MAN!).

It took me until week two to finally find a bacon with no added sugar. I had to go to Whole Foods in Downtown just to find some bacon. Early on, I found Prosciutto, Jamon Serrano and some other Italian and Spanish deli meats with no sugar or other non-compliant ingredients. The trick is to find deli meats that say, “ingredients: pork, sea salt.”

[5] FRUITS TASTE BETTER WHEN YOUR SUGAR DRAGON/DEMON IS ASLEEP.

In the Whole30 books I read that my taste buds would change from not being overwhelmed by all these sugary and processed foods. This is true and I know this because before the Whole30 I couldn’t eat a whole orange. The flavor was too strong and I could only handle about one slice. But now I love oranges, grapefruits, kiwis and tons of fruits I’ve never even tried before (I had only tried the artificial versions or flavors of most fruits. The fruits in my diet used to come from Starburst and Skittles).

Before Whole30 all of my dessert and sweet choices were all made with chocolate, peanut butter, nutella and milky/sugary goodness. I hope I will try more fruity sweets (or just straight fruits as dessert). Even just cooking some apples and pears in ghee (or clarified butter) with some cinnamon is a delicious (and nutritious) treat.

If you are someone who had Whole30 questions for me, I hope this helped. These are just some of the things I learned during my Whole30. My next post will be my TOP 5 Whole30 DISHES (recipes included) for people who are on the Whole30 or those who would like to test drive some recipes before committing to the program.

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WEIGHT GAIN & RUNNING

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One thing I learned this week was that it’s much, much easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight. Since the end of November, I’ve been running three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). I started a running program that would hopefully get me to run TEN miles (all at once) over this coming weekend.

After making  it to SEVEN whole miles (all in one run), two weeks ago, I decided to take a week off from running. I don’t know exactly what I did, but it felt like I broke my back. After the SEVEN mile run, I had to lay in bed for two hours with a heating pad on my back just to be able to leave my house that night. During the whole week that followed I also used the heating pad at least twice a day, once when I woke up in the morning and once again before going to bed (sometimes somewhere in between those two times).

Each day, for about a week, I woke up with back pain. That’s why I decided to take one week off. I didn’t run or do any exercise for a whole week. I even abandoned my semi-healthy eating diet (Which wasn’t really a diet at all. I just sometimes would tell myself things like, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t eat a whole calzone for lunch today.”)

In that one week of eating whatever I wanted and not doing any physical activity at all, I gained about ten pounds (It may have been only five pounds, but it felt like ten).It’s crazy that in one week alone I gained five to ten pounds. However, in the eight weeks of running prior, I had probably only lost less than five pounds (I don’t really know. I haven’t been keeping count). Of course, if I was on a strict diet, I may have lost more weight. But just running and eating whatever I want allows me to remain at the same weight (or lose some weight, very slowly).

This week I got back into it. I did some kettlebell exercises on Monday morning. Ran FIVE miles on Tuesday morning, did some yoga and stuff on Wednesday and Thursday I ran THREE miles in the freezing cold Miami weather (It was like 40 degrees out there). Friday is supposed to be a day of rest, but I will most likely try to do some Runner’s Yoga with Adrienne to get ready for Saturday’s EIGHT miler.

EIGHT miles will be the longest I’ve ever run in my entire life (all at once), and if I succeed it’s not over. I will have to attempt TEN miles next weekend, that’s if this EIGHT mile run doesn’t put me in the same position as the SEVEN mile run did (taking me out for an entire week).

All I really wanted to share is how I learned how much easier it is to gain weight than lose weight. If I really tried I’m sure I could easily gain ten or more pounds in one week (But I am not Morgan Spurlock, so I won’t test this theory).

 

What’s the most you’ve ever run (all at once) in your life? Comment below or say it to yourself out loud and maybe someone nearby will hear your answer.

What the Health?

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A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary What the Health on Netflix. I really only watched about 20 minutes of it, but that’s all I needed to form an opinion and write about it here. This documentary was created to inform us that everything we are currently eating is cancer, unless you are a full-Vegan (or plant-based vegan).

What I learned from watching about 20 minutes of this doc is that there are two types of people in this world, (1) those who get cancer, and (2) those who die before they realize they’ve got cancer.

According to the doc the animals we eat are filled with tons of carcinogens inside of their bodies, which is why every week on Facebook there’s a new article posted by some dum dum, that says “[This type of meat] gives you cancer!”

I gave the Plant-based, full-Vegan diet a thought, but then realized that I can’t take meat, fish, dairy and all of the other delicious things out of my life. I love pizza, tacos and Pretzel M&M’s! They did mention in the doc that human’s are the only animals that drink other animal’s milk, which when you say it like that it does sound kind of weird. We drink everyone’s milk: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, almond’s milk, coconut’s milk, soy’s milk and so many others. Most of these don’t even sound like actual milk.

What the Health also mentioned that the Health industry is trying to kill us. They feed us all of the unhealthy food to get us sick and treat us with their expensive drugs. This part I do believe. The drug cartels invented the food pyramid to get us sick and cure our diseases with their expensive drugs!

The health industry is kind of like that book or movie where the mom is feeding all the kids just a little bit of poison, so she can take care of them while their sick, because it makes her feel better. I think that’s a book or movie I’ve seen. If anyone knows the name please let me know in the comments. Maybe it was an episode of Dexter, or just part of the plot of Crimson Peak?

The reasoning behind all the animals having cancer in their bodies is because the animals are breathing in smoke and pollution from nearby factories. Guess what, What The Health, we are breathing in that same air, so we already have the cancer inside of us. If that’s the case, I’m going to continue eating my normal diet, but I may add some Plant-based meals here and there. And if I do it’s because I want to, and not because you told me to!

I don’t think I will ever finish watching the rest of the documentary because I already got what I needed out of it (this 500 word Learning). So thank you, What the Health. Now it’s time to go back to Life in Pieces and GLOW on Netflix.

 

*If you have any Netflix recommendations please comment below, that or if you know the movie or book I was talking about. Was it Misery?

**One more thing, I was going to talk about Joaquin Phoenix and his last documentary (or Mock-umentary, I’m Still Here), where he tricked us all in to believing that he had gone off the rails. Also, I am no scientist, doctor or food specialist, this is all based on my opinions after watching just 20 minutes of this documentary.