After months and months of a troubesome foot (along the lines of plantar faciitis) combined with 1.5 years of not being able to get my eating back on track I decided to try and kick start things with a 30 day "clean" focus for eating. I'm basing it around the Whole30 idea but of course the Whole30 programme relies heavily on meat which doesn't work so well for a vegetarian. The people who wrote the programme claim it helps with inflammation (the foot issue) and also with skin issues such a psoriasis (a genetic condition which I have).
I wasn't planning to blog about this but then I thought it might be interesting to keep track of how I feel each day and how my foot and skin is to track if there is indeed any improvement. Today is day 3 and I'm already sick of the food so we'll see how I go.
Rules: I can eat as much fruit and veg as I want (including potato) along with eggs, nuts, coconut milk and olive oil, salt and curry powder is also ok. That's it. No meat, no grains, no anything else.
Day 1 (Sat): Was fine. Didn't notice any real problems in the day. That night though I could not sleep, was starving (got up at 1am and cooked a full meal) and had a pounding headache (unusual for me). Finally took a sleeping pill at 4am. Hard to know if this was anything to do with the food or if it was jet lag since I'd flown in from the US the day before.
Day 2 (Sun): Didn't notice anything in particular. Took sleeping pills pre-emptively and made sure I ate a lot before bed. I'm definitely jet lagged.
Day 3 (Mon): First day of work. Vaguely hungry most of the day. Foot still sore, skin still the same but I didn't really expect to notice any sort of change this early on. Already feeling that my food choices are severely limited.
Day 4 (Tue): My poor body is so confused! First the jet lag and lack of sleep (last night took a sleeping tablet, woke at 12am, at 2am admitted defeat and took another one, then no surprise just could not get it together this morning), then the total change to the diet (especially on the heels of Christmas) and then to top it all off my period arrived today, early which is really unusual for me (and I suspect to do with the time change confusion). Anyway today I started off feeling like crap but after the first few hours it turned out to be a great day. My limited food didn't bother me and I didn't get hungry. Felt full of energy by late afternoon.
I'm interested to see where this is going. Once I'm over the jet lag (which will probably be at least another week, it hits me hard these days) and now my period has started I might get a clearer idea of how the diet is actually affecting me. Compared to the timeline they publish for the Whole30 I seem to be on a speeded up version. How I felt today seemed to match about day 8 on their schedule. So we'll see what happens. I'd be very happy if I could remain this satisfied with the food.
Day 5 (Wed): Pretty similar to yesterday, lousy night sleep, felt like complete crap in the morning. Feeling good by the afternoon although not quite as chirpy as yesterday. No noticeable difference in the foot or the skin.
Day 6 (Thur): Repeat of yesterday. Lousy sleep, felt like crap until around 1pm. Ok in the afternoon. On the bright side I actually cooked a delicious dinner and really enjoyed it which makes a change from most meals this week.
Day 7 (Fri): Less crappy feeling this morning. Maybe jet lag will actually pass... oh to feel alive in the mornings again. Had a super hungry day. The only extra thing I had to eat at work was nuts. That meant I ate a lot of nuts (I checked the cafeteria in hope of fried potato or vegetables or anything I could eat but there was nothing). Went to a party tonight. Parties are more fun when you can eat/drink. Left early because I was ravenous, came home and ate more nuts and a banana because I've not virtually nothing left I can eat. Tomorrow I'm going skiing, then when I get home I must shop for food or I'll starve (or worse, cave on the diet).
Week One Wrap Up: Well I survived! It wasn't fun but it wasn't too terrible. My weight is down 1.4kg but I know that's not a real loss. Last Saturday my weight would have been up because it was the day after I flew back and because it was a few days before my period started. If I can log another loss this coming week then I'll consider that my weight really is down. My foot is still causing me problems so that hasn't improved as far as I can tell. Skin seems the same. Because my diet is generally pretty good (not much processed food, junk food rarely, no alcohol) I wonder if I won't see the same extreme benefits some other people report. Oh well, only one way to find out, keep going.
Day 8 (Sat): Another hungry day but on the bright side I'm definitely feeling less awful in the mornings. Got up early this morning and went skiing. It was fun but I was HUNGRY despite eating 4 eggs (along with other stuff) for breakfast. Lunch was the first meal I've eaten out since I started. I had a salad (basically tomato and cucumber, it's a Bulgarian specialty that becomes less special when you get it made without cheese) and fried potato. Physically, apart from the hunger I also seem to have become slightly constipated. That is mentioned as a possibility in the Whole30 diary of what to expect but since I haven't really had any of the other symptoms they've listed up until now I'm not sure whether to chalk it up to that or not.
Day 9 (Sun): Another hungry day but ok apart from that. Spent a massive amount of time doing food prep ready for the week ahead. The Whole30 timeline suggests people are most likely to quit on day 10 or 11 so I want to be prepared. One interesting thing for today (again in line with what they have on their timeline) is that while sitting on the couch I had some really bad cramps followed by a pretty intense episode of diarrhea (thankfully not on the couch!) It only happened the once but it's definitely not normal for me so it does seem to be that I'm experiencing some of the expected symptoms.
Day 10 (Mon): Didn't feel any particular temptation to quit. Felt much better this morning than last week, the jet lag seems to have run its course. Got up at 5am and headed to the pool for the first swim of 2015. It was a bit painful, I took a nasty fall on Saturday and the after effects are worse than I was expecting. But I felt good about getting back into it. Was hungrier afterwards which was to be expected. Felt fine until the middle of the day when I started to get a very sore throat which is usually how my colds begin. Felt like crap by the time I got home, ate 4 cloves of garlic, took a few spirilina tablets and decided I couldn't face proper dinner. Ended up snacking on nuts, a banana and a potato. Not a great meal. Hard to seperate the symptoms of the diet from all the other issues I seem to have going on!
Day 11 (Tue): Woke up not feeling too bad, the garlic and spirulina must have done the trick! Ate breakfast and then swam which meant I was very hungry again. Apart from that day was fine. No real desire to quit so I'm not on the timeline but perhaps I'll skip that (hopefully) or it will come later (hopefully not). Nothing really of note.
Day 12 (Wed): Went running this morning and my foot was quite sore so the diet certainly isn't improving that (yet, there's still hope). Realised part way through the day that I was exhausted. Then my throat started to get sore and I started to feel all "fluey" again... drats, maybe I didn't beat the cold afterall. Can't tell if the exhaustion is due to getting sick or something to do with the diet. Finished the day with more garlic and spirulina.
Day 13 (Thurs): Repeat of yesterday. Feel lousy, probably getting sick but my body is fighting it. Ate more garlic and spirulina. Definitely no tiger blood happening yet!
Day 14 (Fri): End of the second week. I'm sick. Feeling grumpy and sorry for myself. Nothing particularly noticeable with the diet. Just plodding along.
Day 15 (Sat): Half way! According to the predicted timeline I should be moving into tiger blood phase about now and life should be sweet. Perhaps I am... but a tiger with a cold so the feeling isn't too awesome. My foot issues and psoriasis are still not clearing up but I feel like my face looks different, the wrinkles seem less noticeable. Or perhaps it's just the cold medication making me delusional. Went to a friend's place for dinner tonight and she very kindly prepared a meal totally inline with what I could eat. One of the reasons I would't want to be doing this forever is how inconvenient it is when you socialise.
Day 16 (Sun): Didn't leave the house. Lay around feeling gross all day. Didn't care much about the food, I ate but it didn't bother me that it's all repetitive. Did prep a minimal amount of stuff for the coming week but not as much as I usually did since I didn't want to leave the house to shop. Here's to hoping tomorrow feels much healthier.
Day 17 (Mon): Woke up coughing up a disgusting amount of phlegm. Called in sick (for the first time in over a year, I don't like taking days off). Stayed at home all day feeling sorry for myself. No real issues with food. At this point I'm not finding sticking with the diet particularly difficult although I do worry I'm putting the weight I've lost back on because usually I do quite a bit of exercise each day and right now I'm doing nothing.
Day 18 (Tues): This is getting monotonous! Nothing in particular to report. Made it into work but it was rough. Definitely no tiger blood. Still no exercise as just staying awake all day was enough of a struggle.
Day 19 (Wed): Woke up this morning and actually felt like I'm on the road to recovery. I was hacking up a disgusting (truly disgusting) amount of phlegm but I could tell that some change occured in the night and that I've turned a corner. I'm hoping once I've properly kicked the cold I'll be able to tell if I do feel any healthier. I still have psoriasis and I still have foot issues (despite having recently spent 3 days hardly moving off the bed which did help) so no miracles as yet. On the bright side someone at work told me I am looking thinner in my face, it would be nice if that was true - I've got a rather fat face.
Day 20 (Thurs): After feelig so positive yesterday about being on the road to recovery I managed virtually no sleep last night. I coughed and I coughed. I was fine until I lay down and then I just couldn't stop. I tried sleeping sitting up to no avail. I ended up emailing my boss at 4am and telling him I'd be late to work, I then went to a pharmacy as soon as it opened and stocked up on cough mediciene and strepsils. Sadly I'm sure both of them are not Whole30 compliant (ingrediants are in Bulgarian but it's sweet) but sleep trumps all. I am disappointed though that having made it 20 days through this programme I really haven't experienced anything except jet lag and illness. Nothing to report foodwise.
Day 21 (Fri): Three weeks done! Hard to believe it. Another poor night of sleep last night despite the cough medicines. I am a bit disappointed that I had to go off plan for those but I figure if that's the worst that I go off in 30 days it's certainly not too bad. I've gotten into a bad habit of eating a LOT of nuts. That's definitely increased over the course of the last 3 weeks. I probably should try and tighten up on that in the final week. Nothing else to report. Certainly no tiger blood, psoriasis still there, foot still sore. Will weigh in tomorrow and see how that's going.
Day 22 and 23 (Sat & Sun): I can really see why they lumped days together in the online version of the Whole30 diary. With Sunday over and done with I'm now into my final 7 days. My food for the week is pretty much prepared and I'm ready to go. I did seem to have a slightly dodgy stomach today but apart from that didn't notice anything. Managed a short (30 min) run today which was my first exercise in over a week. After being sick for so long (and still not 100%) I was happy just to get over the hurdle of getting out and running but I would have been even happier if I'd felt some tiger blood!
Day 24, 25, 26 (Mon, Tue, Wed): This week is just passing in a crazy blur. Work has been super busy. Largely because I'm just so far behind due to operating well under par for the last 2 weeks while I was sick. That and meetings. SO MANY MEETINGS. A lot of them are actually useful but they certainly chew up a lot of time. Anyway I've not really had time to think much about diet. It's pretty much just the normal for me now and I'm not having any problem sticking to it. Sunday is my last day which is a bit of a pain because I'm going away with some friends Friday night (to ski Saturday) and I'll still be on the restricted diet then (being vegetarian is already quite a restriction here). I haven't decided yet if I'll just finish 2 days earlier, it would be so much easier not to be a pain about food. While I feel pretty good now I've settled into the whole routine it's pretty clear that my foot and my psoriasis have not been helped at all.
Day 27 - 30 (Thur - Sun): The week stayed crazy and I didn't get back to blogging. Friday night some friends and I went straight from work up to the mountain and skied Saturday. I stuck with the diet and decided to stick it out for the 30 days. This final week I actually put a little weight back on. I must admit I'm a little disappointed with the whole experiment, no improvement in either my psoriasis or foot (if anything it's worse but that's probably partially because I did a lot more exercise this past week because I was finally over the cold). I did lose a bit of weight (approx 2 kg) and I do think my belly fat went down significantly (there's still plenty there) which does mean there probably is something I'm eating that's causing me to bloat. Anyway today is the last day. I'm planning to cook dahl ready to eat tomorrow once I can go back to having legumes... I think I'll splurge and have rice with it too!