It’s January 15th, which means I am now at the halfway point in my Vegetarian (not-quite) Whole30 experiment. I figure it must be time for an update on how it’s all going. As a quick reminder, here are some notes about how I’m approaching the vegetarian take on Whole30:
I am avoiding all:
- added sugar/sweetener
- bread/flour/most grains
I am mostly eating:
- some nuts
- organic tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- some beans
My modifications that render this the “not-quite” Whole30:
- I am not “properly preparing” my beans according to Whole30 standards, which would involve…fermenting, or something? Nope.
- I am allowing myself certain whole grains if desired, though I haven’t had any yet. (Quinoa, brown rice, oats?)
- I am adding store-bought almond milk to my coffee — Silk Organic doesn’t have any forbidden ingredients, but some folks say you still have to make your own almond milk if you want to use it. Add “making my own almond milk” and “fermenting beans” to the list of things I’m not willing to bother with!
- They say not to step on a scale all month. I honestly don’t care about this rule. I will weigh in whenever I please, and I do so weekly. I have lost weight — I’ll report more on that at the end of the month, though, when we see how it all shakes out.
So, how is it going? Well, it’s fine, really. For the most part. Eating whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding dairy — these are all things I know very well how to do already (thank you, years of veganism!). In fact, with the exception of grains, this is how I normally would be eating, as far as meals go. (I mean “meals” as in “not dessert” and “not booze,” you know?) A lot of the meals I’ve been preparing are things that already had a pretty frequent presence in my rotation.
- Breakfasts: fruit smoothie with hemp protein powder, or some variety of eggs with vegetables (scrambled with tomato, spinach, and mushroom, fried over a pile of kale, etc.)
- Lunches: big salad with tofu/tempeh or a poached egg on top, fruit/vegetables and nuts, smoothie, snack plate of all sorts of little fruit/veg/nut/pickle/edamame-type items
- Dinners: endless combinations of roasted or grilled vegetables, greens, tofu/tempeh, salad, baked sweet potato, etc; lettuce wraps with homemade salsa, avocado, and tempeh; I’m going to try a stuffed acorn squash soon…
Granted, this was NOT how I’d been eating during November and December, when pie, cookies, cheese, crackers, wine, beer, chips, nog, and all kinds of candy made their way into my diet. It feels really good to move away from the holiday junk food extravaganza and back toward something that feels more normal.
All that being said, I am finding myself faced with some challenges. I’m really missing being able to wind down after a long day with a glass of wine, or being able to share a pitcher of beer (or a few!) with my friends when we go bowling. CW and I went out to Mellow Mushroom for dinner last weekend, which I chose because they have the awesome build-your-own salad option with almost any vegetable you can name, plus tofu or tempeh available as proteins. It’s a great choice for vegans and Whole30 participants, right? Well, sure. If you can stand being surrounded by the aroma of baking pizzas, all crusty and cheesy and yeasty and delicious. Not to mention the dozens of beers on tap — all your favorite brews! — and wines by the glass and the pretzels and bruscetta and garlic knots and all the other items you can’t partake in. My salad was excellent, to be sure, but it was also torture.
It’s nice to know I can get through situations like that without giving in to temptation, but it can be a little exhausting when one small part of your brain is whispering over and over, “What would it hurt to order just one glass of wine? Try just a bite of the crust; no worries!” and another small part of your brain is busy trying to squish those thoughts in their tracks. It only leaves a little bit of brain left to carry on witty dinner conversation, you know?
I am missing sweets a bit, too, but I am finding that I’m able to compensate for my after-dinner treat by having another serving of fruit or something. This is going a little easier than predicted, I think. I will admit, however, to eyeing the chocolate croissants here at this coffee shop with a longing glance that might have made the counter guy a little uncomfortable. That’s his problem, though, am I right?
As far as how I’m feeling physically, well…pretty unremarkably normal. The icky results of eating too much dairy and sweets over the holidays faded quickly. As far as my workouts go, though, I’ve been having some difficult runs lately. I’ve often felt that my effort wasn’t translating to pace appropriately — I’d feel as if I was really gunning it and working hard, but look down at my Garmin to see what should be an “easy” pace for me. I ran in a slightly hilly neighborhood on Saturday morning before yoga class and my legs have never felt so fatigued. The Quad Squad did NOT report for duty! Let’s not even talk about how painful it was to try to hold warrior 2 pose in class after that, sweet fancy Moses.
Is muscle fatigue like that normal? I don’t know, and I don’t like it. It may be that I was pretty lax about my PT (or any strength training at all) throughout December. Or it may be that I’m not eating grains. I’ll pay attention to this aspect of my workouts more closely for the rest of the month and see what, if anything, changes.
And this, readers, has been your Vegetarian (Not-Quite) Whole30 Midpoint Report. More than you ever wanted to know about what I’m (not) eating. Hit me up if you have any tips, advice, or questions!