Late yesterday, I updated my Day 1 post with a new hashtag and name for the 30-day food journey I’m on, which I’ll explain below. I’m not giving up, and I’m not giving in. But I very quickly learned that for me to be successful over the next 30 (now 27) days, I must have a little bit of wiggle room. And there’s NO room for wiggling on Whole30. But I’ll get to that.
Yes, there’s a recipe in this post . . . after my very long venting session. If you want to skip the explanation as to why I’m not doing Whole 30 anymore, click here.
Day 2: Breakfast
I faced my first challenge to my willpower and commitment. We went to a restaurant called the Puffy Muffin . . . so you can well (and rightly) imagine that my choices were pretty limited, since I’m not eating dairy, grains, or sweeteners. But I planned ahead by getting on the website Monday night to review the menu. I ended up ordering a la carte: two eggs (over easy) and 3 pieces of bacon. I’m sure the bacon wasn’t compliant (i.e., I’m sure there’s sugar in the cure), but I’m not going to sweat it.
So now, here’s where I ran into a problem with Whole30. The paragraph above is almost word-for-word what I posted in the discussion forum on the W30 website. Unfortunately, it generated several discouraging and borderline negative responses from people listed as moderators. You know why? Not just because of the bacon most likely having traces of sugar in the cure (therefore, I shouldn’t have ordered it), but because the eggs were most likely cooked in vegetable oil. I wasn’t even worried about that because of what the Whole30 book says about whether or not vegetable oil is allowed:
“Vegetable oils: some, reluctantly (because sometimes, you have to dine out) While we don’t think vegetable oils are ever a healthy choice, we don’t expressly rule them all out on the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, because all restaurants use them in some form in their cooking. We wanted to create the healthiest program we could, but we also need it to be possible for those who travel for business or pleasure, or simply want to dine out during the month.”
But when I used that quote as part of my response, that just brought on further posts from the moderators berating me for not taking the program seriously enough to call ahead to the restaurant to find out what kind of oil they cook their eggs in or, once there, asking them to cook something off-menu for me [hard boiled or poached—yuck—eggs] or asking the server to ask the cook to use a different, more expensive ingredient, than the standard cooking method [olive oil rather than vegetable oil]. At that point, I was so emotionally overwhelmed by the criticism (which, yes, I’ll admit I’m overly sensitive to), I was ready to go into the kitchen and pull everything out of the “forbidden” cabinet and stuff my face. But then I reminded myself that I’m doing this for me, not for other people. So I “peaced out” on the forum and made the commitment to continue a 30-day challenge, just on my own terms.
Yes, I probably took these posts way too personally. But, I’m sorry, I’m not going to make a fuss at a restaurant about what kind of oil (which is scant to begin with) the eggs are cooked in. If I had a medical condition which required me to call ahead or make a fuss with the waitress about what kind of oil they use for cooking (if I were allergic or had Crohn’s or some other GI condition triggered by soy or dairy or sugar), then I’d either not go out, or I’d make the fuss.
But I don’t have a medical condition like that. And I’m not going to purposely develop even worse disordered eating than I already have and turn into one of those horrible people that makes everyone else at the table miserable and the servers’ and cooks’ jobs harder by demanding that they cook something off-menu just for me because I’m so afraid of a trace of the “bad” oil. My eating is already disordered enough without going to this level of obsession with it.
The reason I decided to do a challenge like this is to make better choices and eat healthy foods. But I need to be able to eat bacon without feeling guilty. And if I accidentally (or occasionally knowingly) eat something cooked with vegetable oil that might have a trace of soy in it, I’m not going to agonize over it. That’s not quality of life to me.
I’ve seen many people who’ve attested to being super successful by following the “letter of the law” on the Whole30 program. However, as I was thinking about this (i.e., obsessing over the responses from the moderators and fighting emotional food cravings) last night, I realized that one of the main reasons I was so successful with Weight Watchers six or seven years ago is because I had “wiggle room”—yes, I had a list of on-program foods that I was supposed to choose from and eat on the Core Plan. But I also had 35 “bonus” points each week, which meant that I could have that “souffle” pastry at Panera once a month, or a sandwich on 100% whole wheat + double fiber bread (for only 2 points). And never, in eighteen months on that program, did I ever use all of those points in a week. And while I’m not wanting to go to that extent of “flexibility” with this challenge, if I can’t meet up with friends for a meal out and eat what I know is a perfectly acceptable low-carb meal because I’m so worried about whether or not there might be a trace of soy in the oil used for cooking the eggs, there’s no way I can stick to that kind of a program.
So, that’s the long explanation of why this is now My Wholesome 30—because I don’t want to call it something that it isn’t.
Day 2: Lunch
After the oh-so-controversial breakfast (which I didn’t know at the time), I stopped at the grocery store. Which probably wasn’t the best idea—since I had no meal plan and, thus, no shopping list. But everything I got is a Wholesome food (fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, healthy fats).
For lunch, I went for a very “lunchy” meal—tuna, but with bell pepper slices instead of crackers or bread, with a side of baby carrots and a small orange.
Because store-bought mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, Whole30 and Paleo, the two main whole-food programs, recommend making your own using olive oil. Since I was already almost out of store-bought mayo, I decided to try making it myself.
It was SO easy.
- 1 large egg—room temperature*
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice—room temperature*
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.25 cups light-flavored olive oil (not EVOO—you want the oil for the emulsion factor, not the flavor)
Tools and Utensils:
- Immersion (“stick”) blender**
- 24- to 32-ounce tall/narrow storage container (mouth wide enough to fit the immersion blender head)
- Measuring cup/spoon
*In all the recipes I’ve read, to achieve maximum emulsion, having the egg and lemon juice be room temperature is of utmost importance.
**While you can make homemade mayonnaise using a regular blender or food processor and the five-minute drizzle method, it’s more than well worth the $20 to get an inexpensive stick blender, even if all you ever make with it is mayonnaise. Instructions for the drizzle method can be found here.
Add all ingredients to container. You might want to stir it with a fork a little bit to make sure the mustard powder and salt aren’t clumped up. Place immersion blender into the container, making sure it just touches the bottom. Turn blender on high and watch the magic happen.
Almost instantly, you’ll start seeing the emulsion cloud forming at the bottom. Keep going about 30 to 45 seconds without moving the blender, then slowly, gently move it up and down and around to make sure all oil is incorporated. When all is said and done, it might take about 90 seconds to get it to all come together. Taste. If you think it needs more salt, add it and mix again for another 10 or so seconds. If it’s not quite flavorful enough, you might want to add more lemon juice, but no more than half a teaspoon at a time. The original recipe called for the “juice of one lemon.” When I checked in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, the conversion chart equated that to 3 tablespoons. However, that made it too tart. (Which was pretty well remedied when I added the remaining store-bought mayo to it so it wouldn’t go to waste.) Cover and refrigerate until use.
Shelf life: Sources vary, but most say about two to three weeks in the fridge.
If you can’t have eggs or you’re worried about consuming the raw egg (always look for pasteurized eggs if you’re going to make mayo), here’s an egg-free recipe.
Day 2: Supper
For my second challenge of the day, on Tuesdays I meet a friend for supper and an hour of writing. We used to meet at Panera, but as their prices went up, and their quality (of food and service) went down, we decided a change was in order. Since the Publix grocery store nearby (I used to work not too far from where Liz works) has an in-store cafe, along with a salad bar, hot-food buffet-style bar, and hot food in their deli area, as well as free WiFi, it’s the perfect place to meet—and we can do our weekly shopping right after! 😉
For supper, I had a small salad (spring mix, romaine, carrots, cauliflower, bacon, cucumber, ham) with red-wine vinegar and oil (with added salt and pepper) for dressing, along with six chicken wings—two hot and spicy, two “Mardi Gras” (Cajun spiced), and two lemon-pepper seasoned.
So, Day 2 of My Wholesome 30 is in the books (as is Day 3 as I’m writing this). So far, no major sugar cravings; however, I do have the “hungries” an hour or so after each meal. I’ve been dealing with those by drinking hot tea—unsweetened, of course.
I enjoyed the explanation you gave because I can completely relate. I have tried to adapt to the THM way of eating. It takes some learning and definitely meal planning but have found the forums and Facebook “support groups” turn into what seems like bashing, lecturing, etc. So now I avoid those discussions and even if I am not 100% eating THM, I am more mindful of the food choices I am making. Every change makes a difference, no matter how small.
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I think being passionate about something is great, but just like with religion or politics, having someone be fanatical and telling me “this is the only way; you must comply” is the fastest way to get me to leave.
It’s sad to me that so many people feel they must have something so rigid, something so limiting and oppressive as the only way to get healthy/feel better. Sure, while there may be physical befits to following every single one of those rules to the letter of the law, for me it’s not worth the emotional damage that it would do to me. While I only worked in a restaurant for less than a year in high school, I’ve done tons of research on the industry for books I’ve written, and I regularly read a blog called Kitchenette, where food-service employees and alumni discuss—and complain about/mock—this very type of picky, make-it-special-just-for-me diner in restaurants; in short, they HATE them. I don’t want to be that kind of person.
After trying so many diets, I no longer want to find THE one. I want to glean from sources that make sense to me. We need to educate ourselves and then do what works for us individually. The “all in” way of thinking seems to eventually lead me to the “totally off” mindset.
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Completely agree! As I was writing that last night, I realized that the best thing for me to do was to take inspiration from Whole30 (the idea of cutting back to the meat, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats for a month and avoiding dairy and grains for 30 days) and apply it to what I already know works for me with low-carb. But I’ve got to make it about what I’m going to eat, not about what I can’t have. Because when a food plan becomes more about the can’ts than the cans, I’m out!
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