Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Whole30 evaluation

So... I did a Whole30 back in August and never actually got around to writing an evaluation. Oops.
[Later: What the hell? I thought I had published this?! Gawdammit.]

And there's a good explanation for that! I got quite a lot of evening gas about halfway through so I thought I'd wait with an update until I had that figured out. And after I fixed that I just didn't get around to writing everything up. See? Totally good, unpleasant, TMI explanation.

But beginning from the beginning. I wanted to do the Whole30 for a couple of reasons. First of all because I felt like my ability to taste sweet had become impaired as well as my ability to resist crap, factory-made treats at work. I also realised at some point that I hadn't actually started paleo with a Whole30 but just said "Oh okay, that makes sense. I'll eat paleo from now on" (though it was definitely inspired by Melissa and Dallas). I can't really recommend 30 days of superstrictness when that wasn't what worked for me, now can I? And finally I wanted to see if there was anything I had missed out on.

One obvious problem was that in late July I ate more treats / crap than I usually do because I had a looming sense of deprivement (apparently not a word btw). Starting out eating healthier by eating worse than normal is dumb. I have no idea how I tricked myself into that. That aside Whole30 isn't that different from how I usually eat and drink apart from no dairy and no alcohol. If you've read earlier entries you know that there were some milk cravings the first 10-14 days (I don't like cheese and rarely eat cream so it was just milk I wanted). Which surprised me a lot. I'm pretty sure that there have been plenty of times where I haven't had milk for ages simply because I hadn't bought any. But then again memory is a tricky thing. I did however get a sense of why dairy can be a huge problem for the obese (the Danish word is 'mælkedranker' and was previously only used for kids who got most of their calories from milk but is now also used for adults that hide rice pudding in the bookshelves and sneak out at night to buy milk - I don't know how prevalent it is though and I've only heard stories like this about the guy in the link). And the third problem was that I was kinda unhappy. The whole "no dried fruit, no nut butters, no paleofied treats, no alcohol" was not beneficial to my happiness. And that feeling didn't actually go away. I drink maybe once or twice per month normally (which is a bit sad really - I should go out more) and I think there might be treats about twice a week (if you don't count nut butter - I've been trying to put on some weight and coconut butter is spectacular for that). I should do a post on what constitutes treats for me and how I handle them at some point soon. Basically, I think my life was missing hedonism during the Whole30. If I had had a sex life (this is getting sadder and sadder) then it might not have been a problem. Just something to get the ol' dopaminergic neurons firing. Fourth problem (besides the lack of sex life) was gas. Halfway through I started getting a lot of gas just when I ended my work day. First I thought it was because I was putting in a concious effort to eat more fat and maybe I wasn't digesting it that well. Or perhaps I didn't produce enough digestive enzymes first thing in the morning to really digest real food and a real food breakfast was one of the things I was doing differently. So I bought some NOW Super Enzymes because they had lipase and bile salts and they seemed to help a bit but not terribly much (possibly a placebo effect). It kept being a problem after August so it wasn't because I had cut something out. Finally I realised that most days I was eating half a head of tenderheart cabbage and sometimes more (usually in some variation of this recipe but often without nuts and with either cumin or baharat). And cabbage is a typical fart-food. So I laid off the cabbage (and leeks too for safety's sake) and I went back to normal. Ta-da! Nothing to do with Whole30 besides that I was eating breakfast every day so I had to find more things to cook. Which ended with a cabbage rampage.
So to sum up problems with Whole30:
  1. Unhealthy eating before start date
  2. General uneasiness which I attribute to lack of hedonism
Cravings went away on their own and gas was not due to the Whole30.

Let's get to the good things!

I didn't lose any weight or strength (gained a bit of strength) despite no whey shakes. I found out that I don't need milk but it doesn't hurt me either (as far as I can tell - to be serious about this I should have had a high-sensitivity CRP-test before and after). Nice to know since, let's be honest, milk is a really cheap and yummy source of calories. Yes, if you aren't a fatty calories can actually be considered a good thing (despite government advice: "Everybody needs to chill out and eat/drink fewer calories. Everybody."). The fact that I get cravings when I give up milk... Well, as long as it isn't hurting me, right? I don't know...
Eating a proper breakfast was really nice. A bit much work sometimes but if I spent less time in the shower then it would probably work out the same. I just need to keep focus off the fact that it's something I like and not something that I have to do. Because you don't have to eat breakfast. There was a study recently where the test subjects ate 20% fewer calories at lunch when they had breakfast. And it was a 750 kcal breakfast. Based on that the researchers recommended that people eat breakfast so they won't eat as much lunch. Their lunch would have had to have been 3750 kcal or more for the breakfast to actually reduce their calorie intake. Scientists are idiots (yes, me too) and this scientist apologies for going off on a tangent. So to recap breakfast is nice and helps me hit my calorie target.
Ohhh right, my initial, primary goals were to improve my ability to taste sweet and not automatically eat crap that co-workers brought into work. That went splendidly! My dad was visited towards the end of the month and we had some berries after dinner and he gave up on the blackberries because he thought they were too sour. I thought they were lovely - they were tart and the sweetness didn't dominate but there was all kinds of flavour in there. And when I had a try off some sweet someone brought in after I was done with the Whole30 it was unpleasantly sweet. And it's weird because it hurt my teeth and it wasn't nice but in a way I both wanted and didn't want more. Does that make sense? Bits of me was saying 'more' and bits were saying 'yuck'. Anyway, it's November now and I think I have pretty good self-control. I decide what I want and what I don't want.
So to sum up the awesome with Whole30:
  1. Got over my fat phobia (seriously I started using like three times as much fat in my cooking which almost brings me up to level with one of my very good friends who is a great cook)
  2. Didn't drink milk but didn't wither away
  3. Sweet things are sweeter
  4. I decide what I eat
  5. Renewed passion for breakfast
tl;dr Well too bad for you!

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