Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Whole30: The Good, The Bad, and the Sad



So, my Whole 30 (the elimination of grains, dairy, legumes, additives and added sugars for 30 days) has turned into a Whole 15. Yep, I am done. (No, I have not had a glass of wine yet, but it's on the horizon, woohoo!) So, why did I stop? 

I had a phenomenal run (after the first couple days of tummy aches). The sleep was amazing, I wasn't desperate for an afternoon coffee, and I was keeping up with our busy schedule and loving it. I never tired of the food - there were so many options and I was having fun playing chef. And then, Day 13 hit. Along with it came fatigue and bad symptoms. Kind of scary bad, but I'm a lady so I won't go into them here. The next day was the same. I was super conflicted - I did not want to quit. Max had to listen to my internal struggle: I'm not a quitter! I gave birth to our son - without drugs! I can do hard things! And sweet Max finally pointed out that there's a difference between quitting and walking away from something that's bad for you. In this case, I'm pretty certain it was the program that was the cause of my symptoms (though I really don't know for sure). I referred to my books, and they did say weeks two and three could bring side effects, and they advised to ride them out for a couple more weeks... um, which would cover the entirety of the program. I thought back to the original reasons I started the program, and the main one was to feel my best - the program was now doing the opposite, so for me, it was time to go. 

Would I still recommend the program? I do have good things to say about it...



The Good

There's the obvious - phenomenally deep sleep, extra energy - feeling "light" (this was my favorite). But it's also really eye opening as to what you are putting in your body. I'm much more aware of ingredients now (after having to read every single can, package and box for two weeks) and alert to the extra added sugar in so many things. It opened me up for a new way of thinking and eating, and it stretched my cooking creativity. Similar to when I did my juice cleanse, it gave me a newfound appreciation for all the foods that were off limits. 


The Bad

1. It's Expensive
The books do try to point out ways to save money, and economical choices. But the fact remains - it's infinitely more expensive to fill a plate up with veggies and meat than it is to fill it up with rice or pasta. Especially when the veggies are supposed to be organic and the meat is supposed to be pastured, local and grass fed. Eeek. Your grocery bill will increase significantly. Plus, if you want anything fun at all (compliant mayo, salad dressing, almond milk, coconut or almond flour) you'll have to shell out extra for those. Whole Paycheck, anyone? On a side note, a few days into my Whole3015, we had a bad storm and lost power. And what was I most concerned about? Losing our refrigerator worth of Whole30 compliant food, lol. (Luckily the power was back on in just a few hours so nothing spoiled.)

2. You'll be swimming in dishes. One of the comments I heard most from Whole 30ers was about the food prep. They said they were prepping and cooking all. The. Time. And this is true - I don't think I've ever cooked so much in my life. But what everyone somehow leaves out is the mess and the dishes that come along with Whole30ing. Y'all, the program needs to be called Whole Dishes. Think breakfast - a bowl of cereal topped with fruit would have dirtied one bowl and one spoon for me pre-Whole30. Compare that to a veggie scramble with bacon, and eek! There are the knives, the cutting boards, the bowl to whisk the eggs (and the whisk), the frying pan, the spatula... and oh yes, the actual plate and fork. Dishes for days. And there are no off meals - each meal needs meat and veggies, each meal is a big production. I did get a better hold on things as the days went on, simply out of necessity because I was cooking all the time. I tried prepping veggies ahead of time (like cutting all onions, peppers and squash and housing them in the refrigerator to be used a bit at a time). Another time saver was cooking up a big batch of something, for example I boiled up a whole bag of baby red potatoes. All week, I grabbed them (now refrigerated and already cooked) for dishes - one day it was a big boiled egg and potato salad, then I crisped more up with peppers and onions for a breakfast hash, and finally served the rest with stew for dinner. There are short-cuts for sure, but for the most part, expect dishes. Lots of dishes. 

3. You'll be desperate for a break from cooking. 
I cook semi-elaborate dinners almost every night, but I usually take it easy at breakfast and lunch. On the Whole30, there was no break. So. Many. Meals. And eating out really wasn't an option because it was even more difficult. This brings me to the sad...

The Sad

There's the obvious - no glass of wine while you're prepping dinner, no popcorn on movie night, no ice cream before bed. But the saddest part was socializing and dining out. So many social situations revolve around food and alcohol. Sipping cucumber water at a 40th birthday bash instead of enjoying a beer with everyone else? #sad Not wanting to dine out with your family because ordering a plain dry salad makes you feel silly? #sad And while husby was super, super supportive, I know he missed me baking (I did whip up a from-scratch cake for Father's Day, but I wasn't about to do any other for-fun baking when I couldn't even try a bite!). 

So, would I do it again? Possibly. To be honest, the "detoxing" was much, much easier as a juice cleanse. True, you don't get to eat on a juice cleanse. Boo. But, you spend infinitely less time prepping. Infinitely. Instead of shopping, you just pick up your juices, and instead of cooking you just pop them open. Easy peasy. Plus, juice cleanses are over in just a few days! 

However, I feel I didn't get the full Whole30 experience and thus all the benefits. I really enjoyed my time on it when it was good (before the bad), so I'll still keep it on my "maybe/perhaps" list to try again. 

Are there any other Whole30ers out there? Did you complete the entire thing? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

California Love


Who loves California? Why, this little guy right here!


This of course makes me all sorts of happy. 

I might be a Southern Wifey right now, but my first twenty-six-and-a-half years were spent in the Golden State, so I love taking Parker there each year (this was in fact his sixth trip to California in his three short years). 


On our must-do list each year...


Visiting Mama's California friends (and their littles!)...


Exploring Stanford (where Max was attending grad school when we first met)...

Stanford 2016


Stanford 2015


This year, Parker was especially obsessed with the bell tower, and playing in the quad with his new soccer ball that we picked up at the Stanford bookstore. 


Also, I literally have dreams about Palo Alto's artisanal, tart Fraiche yogurt (we indulged twice during this trip, score!). 

Another must-do? The beach with SheShe and Ayah!

 Beach-bound 2014

Beach-bound 2016

After experiencing the Gulf Coast just a month prior, Parker kept commenting that the California beach was coooold! Knowing that we'd soon be returning home to hot and humid Alabama, I was happy to soak up some chilly temps!

We made our way to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk which was a bit warmer, and this dipped cone had my name all over it...


Enjoying a ride with his Ayah...

I just love the boardwalk colors.
 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 2015


 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 2016

This trip we also celebrated Cousin Kate's grad school graduation!

We partied all day and Parker was in heaven with ping pong, a bounce house, corn hole, taco and churro trucks, and tons of attention!


The fam :)

Since everyone lives in different states, this was the first time the grandparents had both their grandkids at the same time!

After a full day of festivities, Parker and I peeled off early evening to grab In-N-Out (our last California must!). Since we'd be flying out the next morning, we booked a room at The Hayes Mansion, close to the airport. It was our first time there, and I was pleasantly surprised with the grounds and accommodations for a modestly priced hotel (bonus points for being a historical landmark). I donned my hotel robe and we enjoyed our In-N-Out milkshake in bed (a vacation tradition in the making?).

 Milkshakes in Bed, San Jose 2016

Milkshakes in Bed, Seattle 2015

And then, we were off. Someone loves a room service breakfast just like his Mama!


A matchy-matchy cousin photo shoot before we headed to the airport...

And then this champ, riding the rental car shuttle bus headed toward lifetime flights #45 and #46... travel pro.

All the California Love!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gearing Up for the 4th!

It's almost July, which to me sends the message that summer is in full swing. And with our nation's birthday right around the corner, I whipped up a craft for Parker to get in the patriotic spirit...



All you need is:
White Paper
Red and Blue Paint (we like Crayola Washables)
Two Paper Plates (or reusable plastic ones)
Star Shaped Cookie Cutters

I just spread some paint on one of the plates (we started with the blue paint) and let Parker go to town stamping! He loved it and insisted on doing multiple pages :) We let the blue dry before stamping the red on top (you could probably do both at the same time but I didn't want the colors to all blend together). It was simple to prep for, and tons of fun for the little guy - a win, win in my book!


If you are looking for something a bit more intensive, click here for the tutorial on the flag art we made last year! It's probably my favorite piece Parker has ever completed, and I know I'll be bringing it out every July from now until forever.



I checked out every 4th of July children's book I could find at the library, but this one I ordered on Amazon is my favorite...



These sweet patriotic toddler swim trunks and pajams are calling out my name...



And how adorable is this pillow? At just $8, it's totally a steal...


Also, I might have to whip up this snack for Parker just so I can smell it (cream cheese and toast are on the Whole 30 absolutely not list, but they taste oh so good together, amiright?)...


How are you gearing up for the fourth??

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fri-Yay!

Happy Friday! We've been back in Alabama for over a week now, and we hopped back into everything summer as soon as we returned...

1.

Parker started and completed his first round of swim lessons at our community pool, and he'll do round two in July. We love being able to walk to the pool and our wagon is getting lots of use!

2.

We celebrated Father's Day with lunch at our favorite steakhouse located at the outdoor Bridge Street Town Centre; the weather was phenomenal!

3.

We tended to our garden, which had been a bit neglected while we were away.


4. 

We jumped back into our Monday summer night routine of walking downtown to enjoy the weekly concert in the park. Little Man loves everything about these Monday nights - the walk there, dancing to the music, dining outdoors, watching the ducks, and probably most of all, ordering his choice of shaved ice. Green Apple was the winner this night! I enjoyed a Whole 30-friendly unsweetened iced tea. 

5. 

And finally, we have found our favorite new pastime - bowling! Max and I used to love going pre-Parker (we both even have our own shoes and Max has his own ball). Last weekend after Sweet P's t-ball game, Max and Parker came across a new-to-us bowling alley while I was at barre class. They vetted it for Mama-friendliness, and Parker was obsessed. Didn't want to leave, wanted to play right then obsessed. So when I met them at home after barre, they piled me in the car (still in barre clothes, Parker still in his t-ball uniform) and we played our first games as a family of three. Parker was in heaven, especially with the kiddie ramp they brought out for him, allowing him to do it all by himself (even the picking up of the six pound ball, which is no small feat when you yourself are under thirty pounds). 


 Today was Max's off Friday, so we found ourselves there again, and we are even now proud owners of summer season passes! 

What's your favorite summer pastime?






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