Category Archives: whole30

Food and Religion

Wow, am I glad January is almost over.

About two weeks in, I realized this was the Worst Month Ever to Whole30.  But I committed.  So here I am on Day 26, with a plan to indulge in something non-Whole30 Friday night (Tacos with SHELLS?) or Saturday morning (pancakes?).  I haven’t decided, and no one else but me cares, really.

Another reason for the Whole30 this year was this looming appointment I have with my gynecologist, who is best known for her Conversations About My Weight every time I see her.  Even after I dropped 50 pounds, she’d “like to see me weigh less.”  So, of course, after the holidays when I added ten more pounds to the number that she saw in October.  Well, up a creek, as they say.  I haven’t weighed myself since I started on Jan 2, but my appointment with her is on Thursday, so we’ll see what kind of progress has been made.  Gah.  Stress.

Ooh, on another front, I’ve been going to church.  I KNOW!  Let’s see.  I’ve visited the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, and most recently this weekend, the Episcopalians.  I was leaning Lutheran until I hung with the Episcopalians on Sunday, so I’m going to go there for a few weeks and see how I like it.  Super Plus Bonus points for having an amazing choir, a robust presence of children, and getting communion from a lesbian priest.

They were a bit over the top, though, those crazy Episcopalians.  So many people in the procession.  So many robes and shiny crosses and chalices and shiny shiny big, loud, kneeling church!  The Lutherans were more low-key, both in size and in practice, BUT I didn’t connect with the pastor as well as I did with Lesbian Priest.  The Episcopal kneeling was kind of challenging – kneeling while balancing ones-self while holding the program and reading the prayers.  That’s a lot of multitasking on a Sunday morning.  I thought it would be more like the Catholics, but it kind of wasn’t?  I totally needed the program to know what on earth was going on.

The Presbyterians had a nice choir and a lovely pastor, but there was really no “down time.”  It was all pray, preach, sing, over and over.  I like a little quiet reflective time in my church.  Plus, when they did pray, it was kind of slow and droning.  C’mon people – it’s church!  Perk up!

I’ll keep you posted.  Fun religious times!

A Cabin in the Woods

That sounds kind of like a horror film, hm?  Anyway.

In nine days, RR will be three years and seven months old.  In all that long time, my wife and I haven’t spent a night together without her.  Sure, there have been trips when one of us has been away (conferences, sick/dead mom, etc.), but in three years, and nearly seven months, if we’ve spent the night together, RR has been close by.

Apparently grandparents do things like… watch your kid while you go away for a weekend.  WHO KNEW THIS?!  And furthermore, if you knew this, why didn’t you TELL someone?

So one weekend in February, we’re headed to a cabin about 45 minutes north of town, but by ourselves.  Just me and my wife.  It’s like a hybrid Valentine’s Day/Anniversary mini-vacation.  We’ll go up after bedtime on Friday, and come home Sunday afternoon.  I’m ridiculously excited.  The last time we went away together was March 2010, just a few months before RR was born when we went to the beach for a week to celebrate our anniversary.

Alone time, especially in the wake of having people at your house ALL THE TIME… well, I just can’t fathom it.  “Whaaaat?!  No way!” as RR would say.

Speaking of people in your house all the time, the in-laws have been spending a lot of time fixing up their new house. Which would be totally more exciting if they did this while we were home, but they do this all during our 9-5’s. Somehow, someway, they make it home before we do every night.   Curiouser and curiouser…

It’s a lot.  It’s hard to be your best self all the time.  Sometimes, I just wanna come home and not be my best self.  It’s exhausting.

But then again, M’s mom hugged her last night when she got home from work, and I was kind of (really) sad that I can’t hug MY mom anymore (sad trombone) so I suppose all of this family time is good.  Plus, RR hugged both of them last night before bedtime, which was the Very First Time she’s hugged her grandfather.  Slow to warm, that one.

It’s day 15 of the Whole30, so I’m technically halfway through.  Notable discoveries include the fact that I’ve learned that I like brussel sprouts and it is feasible that I can actually tire of eating eggs every morning.  Thank goodness for Primal Fuel and smoothies.  And bacon.

Also, exercising willpower is actually a THING.  As in, the first five days, it was hard to pass the rice at the dinner table, but yesterday it was actually pretty easy to carry down a huge tray of leftover sticky danishes and pastries for another office to devour.  Oh, and I’m beginning to like the taste of black coffee.

In other news, my Christmas lights are still hanging from my gutters.  Gotta get on that.


Hey January.  I have mixed feelings about you so far.  Let’s hash this out, hm?

Whole30 update.  It’s day 8.  I’ve managed to have meals at two restaurants (a Cracker Barrel and an Outback Steakhouse) and managed to eat cleanly (enough) both times.  Screw you, biscuits and bloomin’ onion!  (Not really.. I mean, I’ll see you later… just right now’s not a good time for me and you.  You are delicious and handsome as always.)

Let’s just put this out there:  I don’t know how Whole30 people do this with people in their house (in this case, my father-in-law) who are simply unsupportive of the Whole30.  Or, shit, anything having to do with making choices that don’t involve saying yes to pizza and ice cream.  Let’s also point out that 99% of the time, I am a go-with-the-flow person.  You wanna do that?  Sure, let’s do it.  Wanna go there?  I’ll drive.  You may never meet a more amenable person.

Except if I’m in the middle of Whole30-ing myself.  It’s a commitment, yo.  It’s only 30 days.  That’s the fucking point.  The reason, for me, that it “works” is tied directly to the strictness of not only the food, but the timeline.  “Works” not necessarily to lose weight (although that helps),  but to manage my tenancies to overindulge if given the opportunity, and to manage the avalanche of over indulgences that often follows.

If for booze and dessert alone, doing the Whole30 again was necessary.  I cannot drink a double bourbon seven days a week.  I cannot have dessert every night after dinner.  And without reminding myself that I have the choice to not do these things, I simply don’t have the willpower to resist.

January initially felt like totally the wrong month to be doing this.  Wrong as in, the hardest.  The fact that two more adults and three cats are living in my house for an undetermined amount of time is a breeding ground for beer and pie therapy.  One of these people also actively refers to the Whole30 as “That Stupid Diet” in the same tone that he speaks about Obama while watching Fox News.

But then again, January seems to be the perfect time.  It’s almost like, a militant training ground for willpower, which is something I struggle with during the Whole30 Off-Season.  I mean, c’mon now.  I sat right by the man while he crunched popcorn (popped on the stove in Crisco) and sipped a frosty Pepsi.  Was I totally irritated?  Yes.  Did I cave?  No.  Did I leave the room?  I thought about it.  But did it make it easier to cut RR a piece of that weirdly sweet brown Outback bread last night, spread butter on it, and pass it on down, and not want to shove the whole thing in my mouth?  Yeah, a little.  Progress.

I mean, I’ve already lost custody of my couch naps, my recliner, my remote control, and walking around the house naked.  What’s one more comfort, right?

I’m also coping with my mother in law, who insists that she’s doing the Whole30, too, but totally isn’t, as she orders the salad covered in blue cheese dressing and candied pecans.

January isn’t just about food, but how M and I are coping with our new roommates in general.  Oh, and how RR spent the last week of December and first of January being a totally unrecognizable child – partly due to being out of school for two weeks, and also having grandparents around.  Thankfully, this week, she has resumed to being a much more reasonable kid now that she’s back in school.

In roommate news, they closed on their new house yesterday.  They don’t plan to move into it for a long while (floors to be sanded, furniture to haul across the country, etc.), but it’s something.  It certainly is something.


Did you know that if you sit long enough at the dinner table with Us All* after dinner plates have been cleared that desert will be put in front of you.  Any kind of desert.  Ice cream.  Cake.  Pie.  Something sweet you didn’t even know was cooking.  A Tupperware of cookies (during desperate times).  As if the meal cannot possibly “be done” if this doesn’t occur.

The alternative is to glance around and wait for everyone to be done.  But don’t be obvious about it.  People don’t like to be rushed.  You also, interestingly enough, cannot rush awkward silence.  But… as soon as the “that was such a good meal” and “thank you for cooking!” is uttered and the forks and knives are crossed on the plates, you can start your silent dessert-avoiding negotiations.  This means, though, that you are either on table-clearing and/or kitchen cleaning duties.  Or, worst case scenario, both, with a side of “Bring the desserts out!  We’ll clean later!”

I’ve started the Whole30 again today.  I decided I would do this back in December, before I know about Dessert Complications.  My mother-in-law has decided to do it with me, but we all know that her version last time involved having “bread only once a week!”



Anyhow.  For those of you keeping track at home, food-wise, today for breakfast I had some black iced coffee and smoothie with some Primal Fuel, spinach, fruit, and whatever else my wife put in it to make it delicious.  Lunch was a spinach salad, two hard boiled eggs, and an avocado.  Tonight’s dinner is pork chops, kale, and apples, with a side of Dessert Avoidance.

Regarding this morning’s smoothie, RR mentioned though that she also “wanted food” for breakfast.
“Mama, this is a drink.  I’d like some food.  Some oatmeal food.”

This will be my first Whole30 going solo.  I was also a little loosey goosey with my dairy last time, so I’ll try to keep that shit in check.  This also means that at the end of January, my bottle of John Bowman will be waiting to give me a big, warm congratulatory hug.

*M, M’s mom (who, admittedly has “issues with food”), M’s dad (who doesn’t talk, except to ask for the salt, pepper, and/or butter), RR (who prefers to be addressed through Mr. Fork or Mr. Spoon, depending on the dinner she’s eating), and Moses (who sits Very Nearby as the Official Dinner Supervisor.)

Day 25

Whole30: Day 25

Well, folks, this might be the last official Whole30 blog update!  I know, I know – it’s only Day 25.  I might try to write again tomorrow, but we’re soon heading out of town for a bit, and the idea of writing anything longer than “kthxbai” with my thumbs on a mobile device makes me twitchy.  This doesn’t mean I won’t try!  It just means that sooner, rather than later, you will be reading more and more about (literally) crap like RR peeing in the potty.  Lucky YOU!

For all of your hard work reading about my salads and meat, I give you a little side-by-side – the left from 2/21 (aka Day 4) and the right one from today.  For consistency’s sake, I tried to look as amusingly surly as possible, as I did on the left picture.  Grrr.


Subtle differences, perhaps.  A little more pointy of a chin, more of a squared jaw, less cheek, maybe.  Meh – it’s not like OMG WHO ARE YOU, but the gentle hue of BLOAT is gone.  And I feel an ass-ton better, that’s for damn sure.

Thanks for reading and listening and commenting and waiting patiently for this to be over.  The next time we Whole30, it will certainly be nice to have this to re-read and follow along with.  I wished we had kept some kind of record of it the first time we did it, certainly.

So coming up will be the much-anticipated update about my children’s music endeavors, my upcoming adventures as the Logistics Chair at the ButchVoices conference this August, RR starting Montessori school, and my wife and I report back from Staying in a Bed and Breakfast with a Toddler and Living to Tell About It.  And I promise you never have to ready about a salad again.  Pinky swear.

Day 24

Whole30: Day 24

What does it say about me that I’m writing here while eating a baked (well, microwaved) sweet potato WITH MY HANDS.  Nothing good, probably.  It is tasty, though!

And, while catching the elevator to my floor (with my sweet pot in hand) a lady I work with said to me: “Well, it looks like you’re eating plan is working!  You look like you feel great!”  Which is kind of the best compliment – a) because she didn’t call it a “diet” (even if it was implied), and b) She didn’t comment on my actual appearance, but the appearance of how I feel.  Diplomatic, that one!

Truth is, though, today I feel less great.  It has nothing to do with food, and everything to do with this looming date of March 15th, which will mark a year since my mom’s death.  Ugh.  I don’t even wanna write about it, so this might be all you get.  I don’t really know what else to say.

So I’ll talk about food instead.  Yay food.  Or my outfit.  If yesterday, I looked like a hobo, then today I look like I’m going to a wedding.  After work, we hit the Shop-O-Rama, as RR likes to call it, and I bought a pair of non-hobo jeans a SIZE LARGE button-up shirt.  That is some seriously crazy shit.  Anyhow – so today, I look nicer.  And less like someone might give me their spare change.

Food – last night we had beef with broccoli and cauliflower fried “rice.”  Again, I was totally surprised by its deliciousness.  Who knew cauliflower could be so good?  Not me, dude.

Tonight is breakfast for dinner!  Bacon, eggs, almond flour (sans honey) pancakes, and more bacon.  OK fine, probably just a little bit of bacon.  But bacon’s bacon, y’all!

Day 23

Whole30: Day 23

Seven days left – can you believe it?  Nutso.

Now, let me tell you a story about mushrooms.  At 35 years old, I have spend approximately 30 years of my life avoiding mushrooms.  I thought I hated them.  Well, the secret is, I thought they were in a spaghetti sauce that made me sick when I was, like, eight years old.  And I haven’t forgiven them since.  I MAY have spent several years lying to people and telling them I was allergic to mushrooms.  Lies!  Turns out, when I was eight, I probably just had a stomach bug.

So a couple of years ago, I ate a mushroom for the first time.  Sure, it was cooked in a ton of butter, but DAMN was it good.  My world of mushrooms opened up.

Last night, my wife made these Stuffed Mushrooms for dinner (picture of them before they went in the oven).  I think we also had other things, but I can’t remember, because the mushrooms were so good it’s erased my memory of eating anything else since.  One thing about the Whole30 that you can definitely feel missing is cheese.  Cheesiness.  Cheesy goodness.  Cheese of any and all kinds.  I could give a shit less about a glass of milk, but I do like cheese.

In the recipe was this “cashew ‘cheese’ sauce” which … dude, after 23 days, tastes JUST LIKE CHEESE.  I don’t know how.  Don’t ask me.  But my wife and took our first bite of the goodness and then stopped talking to each other immediately so that we could concentrate on each delicious bite.  Tears maaaay have been shed when it was all gone.

In other news, we’re all a little grouchy that the gym is closed this week.  One of the downsides to working at a University, and frequenting the less-popular gym.  The popular gym is open, but is nearly a mile’s walk away.  And really, at that point, can’t you just come back to your office and call it a work-out in and of itself?

Tonight is paleo beef and broccoli.  Lunch is carrot and ginger soup, with a spinach salad.  Today’s wardrobe is brought to you in part by ill-fitting jeans and a weirdly now-baggy sweater.  I look like a hobo.  An event coordinating hobo.

Day 22

Whole30: Day 22

Blah blah, I suck for not writing over the weekend.  I can’t promise I’ll do better next weekend, either, since we’re heading out of town for my wife to go to a conference.  This is me apologizing in advance!

So instead of telling you all about our food, and RR’s first bike ride (SUCCESS!) this weekend, let me tell you a story about how we came to be proud owners of a Vitamix blender.  On Friday (well, long before Friday), we had this long conversation about our lack of blending power in our house.  We have The World’s Shittiest Blender, that we use to “blend” things, which is using that term loosely.  We also have The World’s Worst Food Processor, which was gifted to us when our former World’s Best Food Processor broke.  Oh, and then there’s the immersion blender that failed.

Paleo doesn’t require a lot of blending, but blending makes a lot of things easier.  Like paleo mayo, or BBQ sauce, or smoothies and marinades.  So, thank you tax refund, we considered buying a Vitamix, which a lot of people (including my gluten-free co-worker) swear by.

So here’s where the story gets AWESOME.  So we looked at new ones, which cost a fucking fortune.  Dude.  But it was like… hmm, do we buy a blender OR get new windows for the house.  It’s around that price.  Then I found Ethel.  We’ll call her Ethel, cause that’s her name.  Ethel was selling a Vitamix blender on CraigsList.  I emailed her, and she just emailed me back saying: “Call me @ 555-5555, Ethel.”  OK, Ethel.

So I called her, and she told me all about her raw food diet that she couldn’t keep to.  Everyone told her that she needed a Vitamix, so she bought one and used it twice.  She really only bought it because it was red.  She named her price (a full $250 less than we were expecting to spend), and we set a time and place for the trade to go down.

So Saturday at 11am, we sat in the gas station parking lot waiting for Ethel’s arrival in a “Blue Jeep.”  (Side note:  Why does making public CL deals always feel illegal?  Or like a drug deal?)  About 15 minutes past 11am, a blue jeep with SILVER FLAMES painted on the front rolls into the parking lot.  I say to my wife, “I don’t know if Ethel sounds like a lady who drives a Jeep with flames on it?”  But then my cell phone rang, “I’m here!” Ethel says.  Huh.  I love this town.

So Ethel steps out, Vitamix in hand, and offers to plug it into an outlet near the gas station hut.  How she knows there’s an outlet, I have no clue.  But she does.  She fills it up with water from inside the hut and turns the sucker on.  She gives me the recipe binder and DVD, I give her the money, and here it now sits on our counter:


Behold the power of BLENDING.  We made a couple of smoothies this weekend and the thing just obliterates whatever you put in there.  Like, ENTIRE APPLES.  Then we made Nom Nom Paleo’s Sister’s Phenomenal Green Chicken (pictured here on our grill), which we then ate like savage beasts when they were done.

The moral of the story is – sometimes CL really pays off, as does calling people and not relying solely on email correspondence.  Don’t underestimate the power of a really good blender.  Oh, and also, don’t judge a Jeep by its cover.

Day 19

Whole30: Day19

This morning, I watched RR eat an entire hard-boiled egg, one tiny bite at a time, yolk and all.  I was so proud.

Also, I’m seriously grateful that we have power, and feel a little bad for complaining as much as I did for the, like six, hours it was out in our house.  I know some folks who may not get it back on until Sunday night, and that seems just plain shitty.

Breakfast sounds like a broken record – eggs (scrambled) and 1/2 a banana, with black coffee.  Try to keep your jealousy at bay.  Lunch was leftover Lime and Basil Beef Kebabs, which we had last night along with green beans, and mangoes that we tried to eat sneakily before RR noticed and ate them all.  Tonight, dinner is TBD, since it was supposed to be slow-cooker chicken, but we ate that when we lost power.  So… uh, plan B.

What else?  Oh, I was super handy last night and installed RR’s new bike seat on the back of my wife’s bike.  Hopefully, since the weather this weekend is supposed to be nice, we’ll get the chance to break it in.

Oh, and apparently RR is ready for dinner at 6:30pm SHARP every night, folks.  EVERY. NIGHT.  I don’t know how she’s gonna manage this whole Springing forward bit, so we’ll have to see about that.  But every night, it’s a race to get dinner on the table for all of us at 6:30pm, since that’s when she shows up into the kitchen and says, “It’s time for dinner.”  And then she climbs in her chair at the table.  It’s like living with royalty.  Well, royalty who likes to eat with her hands and won’t pee in the potty, but whatever.

Day 17

Whole30: Day 17

Do you know what is harder than Whole30-ing during… oh, I don’t know… the holidays?  Whole30-ing when you’re snowed in your house.  It’s probably more human nature than hunting and gathering to go out and stock up on beer, chips, soda, and cookies when faced with an incoming snowstorm.

Alas, we made it through 24 hours of not-leaving-the-houseness still keeping our Whole30 vigil.  Phew.

This morning, we woke up (well, we woke up a LOT during the night.  Not the snow’s fault, but the crying, restless baby with a headcold and cough’s fault.) to find 7 inches or so of heavy, wet, angry snow falling and taking trees and tree limbs down with it.

We managed to keep power until around 8am.  Between our awakening and then was just long enough to brew one cup of hot coffee and cook the bacon.  Mostly.  If you like floppy bacon.  Like me.  If you don’t, then you bite off the floppy bits, and give your wife the crispier parts.  True love, folks.  Thankfully, we had fruit (strawberries, blueberries, a banana), two hard-boiled eggs, cold brew coffee for my wife, and RR totally down with eating yogurt for breakfast.

RR played with her toys for a while until she got a bit bored around 10am, when we all bundled up and headed out for a hike.  (Aren’t we cute?)  Back to the house by 12pm in time to make RR lunch (crackers with peanut butter, a cheese stick, watermelon, and some pears) and eat our own lunch, thankfully courtesy of Steve’s Paleo Kits (to the rescue!), that had literally arrived in the mail yesterday.  Jerky, nuts, apples.  Yum.

We took turns shoveling, and watched the thermostat drop in the house.  We did crosswords and rationed our phone internet usage.  We got out more blankets.  We bundled ourselves and RR.  She had a successful-enough nap in her freezing room, wearing several layers of clothes and covered in a hundred blankets.  Soon after she woke up, the power came back on, and all was right with the world.  Snow was turning to rain, melting it on sidewalks and roads, and making it possible for the Papa Johns man to go racing down our street, his little car-hat teasing and taunting us.

Had we lost power until the night, we were actually prepared.  We got out frozen chicken breasts to (kind of) thaw, and I brought up the charcoal for the grill.  But thankfully, the power restoration allowed us to cook pumpkin curry chicken with cauliflower rice for dinner.  And hot beverages.  Ahhh.

So we resisted the temptations of microwave popcorn and walking up the street to the chicken shack that still had power.  I’ll admit it was hard, though.  The overwhelming desire for comfort food during hard times was almost too much.  But we powered through.  AND we have lunch leftovers for tomorrow.  Score.

Also – day 17 is nearly over!  We’re less than two weeks away from the end, which is nice, and proof that you really can do anything for 30 days.  Next time, though, I probably wouldn’t time it to occur over my anniversary and a snow-event.  Next time.