Whole30 Week 1

Disclaimer: Despite being motivated, I failed my Whole30 on Day 6 and have not regained my momentum since. More on why I think I failed later in this post.

Three years ago I successfully completed a Whole30. It was wonderful and I felt great! I did not, however, follow a proper reintroduction and despite eating well-ish some of the times. I backslid into a typical SAD diet, got pregnant, let cravings run rampant, ate a ton of fast food, had complications breastfeeding, multiple surgeries, got pregnant again, committed to cooking healthy meals at home, had a healthy pregnancy and complication-free delivery, successful breastfeeding, and lost all of my second-baby weight in two months without dieting or exercising. I by no means feel like a failure and am very proud of my progress overall. I knew that this was an incredibly difficult time to attempt a Whole30, but I was feeling so frustrated and like a victim to my hormones and my obsession with food. Here’s how my week went:

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I made myself a nice batch of egg muffins with sweet-potato bottoms (starches are supposed to help keep milk supply up) and had three for breakfast. Lunch was Cuban pork wraps, mustard-mayo sauce and a lime slaw and dinner was meatballs I found at Costco with zoodles and a spinach-walnut pesto. I drank my coffee black and found it difficult to finish. My milk tanked… like 7oz for the day instead of my usual 11-12oz and I was a little upset that I had to throw in extra pumping sessions to make up for it. Other than that I felt pretty good all day long. No serious lethargy and I never got crazy hungry. (If you are familiar with breastfeeding needs you know why my milk tanked but at this point I wasn’t really sure and needed to experiment).

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Day 2 I drank significantly more water and managed to get my milk back to 9oz, but still not what I needed. Breakfast was the same three egg muffins, lunch was a buffalo chicken salad with a hard boiled egg and homemade avocado ranch and dinner was THE BEST THING I’VE EVER MADE! I had a jumbo spaghetti squash from my csa and my husband hates spaghetti squash (it’s a texture thing). I’ve tried them as pad thai, stuffed them, put them in casseroles, etc. and he’s hated it all. I finally tried these spaghetti squash fritters from Real Food with Dana (omitted the bacon and made my own sauce) and they were a hit! We used them as buns for a shredded chicken sandwich. Mine had homemade russian dressing, spinach, shredded chicken, and sauerkraut and his had bacon and spinach. He ate four fritters (in the form of two sandwiches) and my toddler ate an entire fritter himself plus a few extra bites. What a major win for mom!D86398DA-37BA-4E40-AB2A-F86A73D86143By Day 3 I was beginning to suspect a lack of calories was the reason for my milk supply issues and I added in a fourth meal plus some extra fat with my breakfast (half an avocado). When nursing I need about 2,000+ calories per day without exercising to keep up my supply (I generally log daily with MyFitnessPal) but logging on the Whole30 is a no-no and I was trying to stay within the guidelines. Breakfast was three muffins again, lunch was chicken shawarma with a cauliflower tabouleh and a tahini dipping sauce, and dinner was my husband’s favorite combination: tapioca-starch coated meat fried in avocado oil, steamed veggies, roasted cauli-rice, and whatever sauce I feel like making. This meal-type is a regular rotation in our house with things like sesame chicken, bang-bang shrimp, orange beef, teriyaki chicken, etc. This one was a combination of coconut aminos, sesame oil, red chili flakes, and rice wine vinegar. My fourth meal was one can of tuna, a scoop of homemade mayo, Cholula, and lime.

If you’re trying to stay sane on the Whole30 then you repeat a lot of meals. Days 4 and 5 get a little repetitive in that sense. On Day 4 we had family over for our weekly dinner and my husband smoked dry-rub ribs, roasted asparagus and I made a ranch mashed potato with coconut cream and mayo. With family around I often forget to take a snap of my food (plus it’s kinda a weird thing to do at a table full of people) so I’m using the picture of my leftovers-taken-for-fourth meal instead. Lunch both days was more buffalo chicken salads and breakfast was more egg muffins with avocado except I also added some spicy kraut to make it more interesting for my tastebuds. Friday is usually pizza night, but we opted for some oven roasted wings instead and I ate sooooo many because they were delicious. Pizza and wings are my all-time-hands-down favorite food.

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Day 6 is my sad day (Saturday). We had back-to-back birthday parties and I thought I was prepared. I ate a huge breakfast with potatoes, sugar-free bacon from Pederson Farms, spinach eggs and avocado. I also packed a Larabar “just in case” and I think that’s what caused my crash and burn. At the first party there was a taco bar so I helped myself to loads of marinated carnitas and chicken, scoops of homemade salsa, tomatoes, and lettuce for wraps. We managed to get our toddler down for a nap between parties but time was a crunch so I quickly ate Cashew Cookie (a beautiful combination of nuts and dates) and the sugar rush triggered massive cravings. When I got to the second party (a police academy graduation) there was a cake made from a mountain of donuts and I just couldn’t get it off my mind. Oddly enough I cheated on everything but the donuts. I had two jalapeno poppers, a taquito, (not cheat-worthy) boiled shrimp and raw veggies. The problem? Not what I ate, but what I felt. After this I spiraled into all my favorite things that I was avoiding (worth-it gourmet donuts, pizza, etc) and lost all the good feelings from the first week. Now I need to regroup, recommit, and plan a better time to try Whole30 again while making smart decisions (like lots of calories and more starches) that will support my milk production.

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Trolls Themed Toddler Birthday

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My oldest turned 2 on March 20th and I knew I had to throw him a Trolls-themed party. He gets one movie a day (usually as a wind-down for bedtime) and he almost always picks Trolls. In fact, I’m positive Trolls is the reason he started using more words and short sentences. He loves to sing and dance and hug and sing and dance and hug andsinganddanceandhug. He acts out multiple scenes from the movie including Branch’s hair whipping the spiders, Branch reaching out for “Grandmaaaaaa” as he falls and the “caw” of the crow-thing in BergenTown (clearly I’ve seen Trolls a lot). I am becoming one of those crazy mommies who cares deeply about what nutrition my son receives (which honestly shouldn’t make me crazy!) so I tried to maintain a solid balance at this party…

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We served burgers and all-beef hot dogs (toddler got his with no bun), mixed veggies with beet hummus, turmeric ranch, and guacamole, fruit tray, corn chips with salsa and potato chips with sour-cream dips. I wanted to provide a strong offering of grain-free options and by turning down offers to “help” I was able to keep almost everything home-made. The only battle I lost were the Ruffles and Sour Cream Dips (green onion and french onion soup from those packages with all the crazy ingredients). I knew I was going to have to provide the standard cake-ice cream-goodie bag combo because my mother-in-law is fiercely attached to the family traditions and expectations, but I don’t feed my kid a whole lot of refined sugar or really any sugar aside from that in fruit. So, I bought a Costco cake for the party goers, scraped off the decorations and made it Troll-tastic with rainbow colored sprinkles and icing Poppy:

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This was crazy-easy and although it’s not perfect looking (from having to scrape off the original decorations) I’m pretty proud of myself. I also knew my son would be going nowhere near this sugar coma inducing monstrosity so bring on the SPRINKLES! For him, and the other babies / people looking for a lower sugar option I opted for six honey-sweetened homemade vanilla cake and buttercream cupcakes decorated to look like the troll poop from the movie.

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I mean… the resemblance isn’t perfect but I was super happy with taste and the results. Despite all my efforts to make an alternate edible cake my toddler didn’t do much other than steal the raspberry, take one lick of the frosting, and run away to play. I, on the other hand, ate way too much of the crack cake and felt horribly sick as punishment. For the party itself, we played songs from the Trolls soundtrack plus other Disney music on the speakers, had the Trolls movie playing inside for anybody who hadn’t seen it or wanted to cool off (the party was mostly outside) and had a photo booth area with glitter backdrops and Troll props for party-goers to take selfies. This was by far my favorite part of the party and I managed to collect 15 awesome pictures of friends and family posing with the Troll hair to celebrate my son turning 2!

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How do you celebrate your babies’ birthdays? Do you have to fight family expectations on what food to serve? Or do you just go with the flow for this one day?