I've been a relatively stress-free person. So this was a new experience. I had pain in my sides, trouble breathing, a little to no sleep for weeks. Unable to understand what was happening to me, I quickly found an anti-anxiety solution: indulging in cheesecake and wine for 45 days.
At least I indulged in good company.
During my downtime on Stallion court, I stumbled upon a book I had bought for my father years ago, Whole30. It is an all-in-one guide to getting complete health via food (and lack there of). Which is something I totally believe in. But to get the benefits of the program, you must cut out dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, soy, alcohol and certain processed foods for 30 days. That leaves meat, veggies and fruit. Beans, hummus and wraps play a big part of my diet, so cutting out those left a significant gap.
However daunting it seemed, I was persuaded to do it once I returned to St. Martin for November. As I was discussing it with my island friends, two others jumped aboard.
So the three amigos took on Whole30 to see if this detox would really benefit us. I simply enjoyed the challenge of the program. It is not easy for me to pass up a glass of Merlot or a dark chocolate bar. It was a test of self restraint, and I think I did pretty damn well. Once you cut things out of your life, you stop forgetting how much you enjoyed them, and you move on.
The number one benefit I got from the program was sleep. There was but one night I faltered. And I have a history of sleep problems, so this was a welcomed surprise. Also, I did not have to cut out coffee in the detox, so I believe it was the lack of sugar (esp. in alcohol) that allowed me such rest. I did however, have to cut out coffee cream and sweetener. And what do you know... black coffee grew on me. You know it's not so bad? Simple can be good too.
Because we did not have grains, flours, breads, granola, quinoa (which are actually seeds), rice, etc., we didn't get full as easily. So we had to eat a lot of potatoes and cassava. For this reason, I gained weight. I am not used to eating so much. Ninety-eight percent of people lose weight during the month. Which is no surprise when you cut out sugar and alcohol... I was the lucky 2%. In conclusion, science is fake and alcohol is not bad for you. Cheers.
But with less dairy and beans came less gas. That, everyone benefitted from.
The second best part about this program is the cookbook. It is wonderful. I cooked about 95% of the meals listed. (I really got into it.) And now I know how to make amazing curry, baked chicken, gazpacho, chicken cacciatore, cauliflower mash, ratatouille, shepherd's pie... the list goes on.
I relied on sparkling water and kombucha to replace alcohol, which it did just fine. I fried plantains and other fruit when we needed a dessert. And we just got used to having savory breakfast. No more granola, yogurt and oatmeal– no problem.
But with all the cooking, came all the cleaning. Especially since in Whole30 you have to make all your own dressings. Ketchup, mayo, mustard, tomato sauce, roasted red pepper sauce, salsa, guacamole, vinaigrettes, etc. That takes time and space. And for someone who doesn't have a dish washer, it took muscle.
Never the less, we came out better for it.
Keep in mind I am not a food photographer. After all the shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning I'm not in the mood to take serious photos– also there was no wine to guide me during this time.
|Tuna salad with coconut mayo, grapes, almonds, avocado & celery.|
|Lemon curry sauce with shrimp.|
|Baked chicken, cauliflower mash, braised brussel sprouts & beets in a balsamic reduction.|
|Chicken chowder with sweet potatoes, broccoli, coconut milk & onions.|
|Slow cooked pot roast with carrots & broccoli.|
|Gazpacho with prosciutto & olive oil.|
|Butternut squash soup with grilled mushrooms & egg.|
|Salad with apples, cashews, ham & hemp seeds.|
|Crockpot spaghetti squash with homemade red pepper sauce & meatballs.|
|Tuna salad with yellow carrots & anything else I could find.|
|Average breakfast consisted of leftovers with a fried egg thrown on top & fruit.|
|Cauliflower mash, portabella strips & broccoli.|
|Scrambled eggs, broccoli, eggplant & tomato sauce.|
|Ratatouille aka the bomb.|
|Spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce.|
|Shepherd's Pie with sweet potato topping.|
|Cold Thai salad, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts & sunshine sauce.|
|Baked chicken, broccoli cauliflower mash & roasted mushrooms.|
|Sweet potato mash, creamed spinach & roasted cassava.|
|Scrambled eggs, peppers, tomato, ham & sautéed plantain.|
The idea behind the transition back into our old diets is to take it slowly. Try one food type and see how the body reacts. I've noticed that alcohol does in fact mess with my sleep. Pizza (it could be the bread or cheese or both) halts my digestion. Diary sometimes gives me stomach cramps– this was old news.
I am not sure what effects soy, peanuts, rice and some other foods have on me. But since science says they're inflammatory, we've basically cut them out. Almond butter rules the house. Coconut aminos replaced soy sauce. Cauliflower rice has my heart. Ice cream is still a work in progress. Cashew "cheese" is the next mission. Honey, which the vegans call "bee vomit" and say rots your teeth, has been untouched. In fact, the hardest thing to give up... was the easiest to keep at bay. We'll see if that lasts.
As Hypocrites once said:
"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food."