Friday, August 31, 2012

Whole 30 Review

I mentioned in my 10 things post that I have been on a diet called the Whole30 for the last month. I finished my 30 days on Thursday, and here is my take on the Whole30.

Introduction: After having my little girl our diet pretty much went out the window. I was exhausted with the new mommy responsibilities, and cooking our meals from scratch just wasn't on the radar for awhile. We ate out a lot and had a number of meals given to us. I didn't even go grocery shopping in the first month. My primary goal was to eat plenty and establish a good milk supply. I was not cleared to exercise until 8 weeks postpartum, as my body needed time to recover. I'd gained 40 lbs of baby weight (50 if you count the fact that I lost 10lbs in the first trimester, and the got that back plus the 40lbs), and was in the worst shape physically that I've ever been. When I realized 6 weeks post-partum that I was struggling just to climb the stairs to our apartment I knew it was time to start focusing on health.

It was about this time that I heard of the Whole30. It reminded me a lot of the GAPS diet, which had been good for both hubby and me, and so I ordered the book It Starts with Food. After reading the book I discussed it with hubby, and he was on board. We started August 1.

Methods: For 30 days I eliminated dairy (except ghee, which has milk solids removed), processed foods, grains, legumes (including peanuts, soy, and soy products), alcohol, and all forms of sweeteners. Instead I focused on good amounts of protein in the form of eggs, meat, poultry and seafood; healthy fats (coconut oil, avacado, nuts, olive oil); lots of veggies (I used the higher carb veggies--such as sweet potato--sparingly), and fruit. I was 99% compliant (I did have a few pieces of bacon mid-month that I found out afterwards were cured with sugar. Also some nuts that I later realized were prepared with soybean oil. Other than that I was completely compliant).

I added exercise--gentle walking the first week until I was tired (first exercise since Tirza came, so I wanted to ease into it). About a mile each day. Second week I was up to two miles and jogging some. Third and fourth week I used a cardio exercise DVD that was VERY challenging.  (and if we're talking calories burned here, nursing did help)

Results: In 30 days I lost 10.7lbs (5 lbs the first week, and about 2lbs each following week). I no longer crave sweets, have learned new and healthier recipes, changed my tastes and became fat adapted. I lost at least one dress size (I don't really know because I'm not sure what size I was to begin with--it's been a year since I've been the same size for more than 6 consecutive weeks. But I know some things that were FAR from fitting in the waist/hip area at the beginning of the month, now are fitting pretty comfortably).

Discussion: I'm really impressed with the Whole30. Weight-loss was on-par with GAPS, but I feel like the 4 weeks I spent on Whole30 was more effective than the 6 weeks we spent on GAPS (I believe this had more to do with how we applied the diets, rather than the diets themselves. GAPS was good--just not as effective for us). I learned new recipes, and now think of salads in a completely different way. Sugar cravings are completely gone. I was surprised to realize a couple days ago that as I was browsing tasty and beautiful dessert recipes on Pintrest, I wanted to make the food more for the artistic experience than the culinary experience. Who makes a pretty cake just to give it away??? I totally could now. I've found that natural fruit tastes much sweeter than it ever has before--a favorite "occasional" dessert this month was plain coconut milk (which is semi-solid when cold) with some berries and freeze dried mango bits mixed in.

What's next: I've really enjoyed the food this month, and definitely will be keeping many of the recipes. Overall I'd like to continue this way of eating. There are some things that I've really been looking forward to eating once the month is passed, but now I'm not so sure. I've found a good system now, and I don't have cravings that are driving me to change it. On one hand I'm not sure the foods I'm thinking of will even taste as good as I remember. On the other hand, I'm afraid if I start too far down the "re-introduction" road it will be difficult to get back to where I am now. Is it worth it? I haven't decided. There are some things I plan to reintroduce, but I am going to do it gradually and evaluate as I go.

Specifics on reintroduction:
legumes: We don't use beans very often in our house, and in fact, our last meal before starting the Whole30 involved beans and both my hubby and I felt bloated and sick afterwords. Keeping these at a minimum will be neither challenging nor much of a sacrifice.  
Alcohol: We don't drink alcohol (my first glass of wine was when I was in labor-and I didn't like it :P). We occasionally use cooking wines. As that adds up to once or twice a month, we'll probably keep that as is. Use is minimal.  
Processed foods: I'm not going to go crazy reading labels, but I'm also going to avoid processed foods in general. Nearly all our meals are cooked at home from scratch, so this won't be a huge change. I kinda don't think processed foods will taste as good now anyway. 
Grains: This will be re-introduced, as I happen to be very fond of grains and am just not ready to give them up for the rest of my life. BUT they will be special-occasion only, especially while I'm still losing baby weight (I can't loose weight and eat lots of breads. It doesn't work). The only exception is I'm really hoping I can do granola in the mornings and still loose weight. I'll start experimenting with that in a couple weeks. I'm sick of eggs... :P 
Dairy: I will be reintroducing dairy, and hoping it goes well. We'll see. :-)

Final analysis: I'm pretty impressed. The Whole30 is an achievable cleansing diet that really does reshape eating patterns. I will probably make it a regular thing to do a Whole30 following the birth of a child, starting somewhere between 6-8 weeks (whenever I feel up to it). It's also an effective way to break sugar cravings, and to get a jump-start on a healthy lifestyle.


**Note for nursing moms: My only concerns in starting the Whole30 was whether it would cause an unhealthy detox (which would be passed on to Tirza) or effect my milk supply.The only time I noticed a drop in milk supply was when I didn't eat enough. The diet itself didn't seem to have any effect on supply. Tirza never seemed unhappy with the taste of the milk, or have any stomach-aches resulting from my diet. **

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Books I've been reading

I originally heard about The Vow because I was interested in the movie (by the same name) that came out a few months ago. When I learned that the movie not only came from a book, but was based on a true story, I knew I had to check it out.

This story is about two young people who fall in love, get married, and 8 weeks later endure a terrible car accident. The husband is badly injured, and his wife sustains head trauma that results in a complete loss of 5 years worth of memories. This includes all her memories of meeting him, falling in love, and getting married.

The road they travel is a rough one. They take life day by day as they depend on their stalwart faith in Christ, the support of their family, and their commitment to a vow that only one of them remembers. This is a fantastic story about the power of God in difficult circumstances, and I highly recommend it. Why read a fictional romance, when there's a true story better than anything on the fiction shelf?

I started this book with some misconceptions based on other's reviews of it. I expected it to be a harsh version of childrearing that involved a lot of "crying it out" and forcing the baby to conform to the needs of the family, without regard to the baby's own needs. I was definitely wrong.

Babywise emphasizes Parent Directed Feeding. The basic idea is that as humans we thrive on flexible routines and schedules. Babies are the same. A baby will be healthiest and happiest if they have a set routine and learn to live life in context of the rest of the family.

This does NOT mean that the  baby's needs are ignored. One of the most repeated phrases in the book is, "If your baby is hungry, FEED him!" Regardless of where you are in the routine. The routine is merely a set of guidelines, there to be a help, not a burden.

I found this book to be very useful, and referenced it often in the first two months following Tirza's birth.

Similar in content to Babywise, Baby Whisperer is my favorite baby book. A British nanny, Tracy Hogg seemed to work magic with babies earning her the title of "the baby whisperer." In this book she passes her lessons on to her readers.

Tracy emphasizes showing your baby respect and treating them like a "human being." In other words, your baby has feelings and opinions also, and they count. She points out that all humans do best when on some sort of a routine, and strongly encourages parents to provide their babies with an orderly environment and routine.

In several places she has charts which are very helpful. I found the charts describing various baby cries to be particularly useful, and referenced them many times in the first few weeks after my girl was born. If I could only recommend one book to a new mother this would be the book I'd recommend. If I could recommend two I'd pass on this one and BabyWise, as the two are generally complementary.

I picked this book up because I'd heard John Medina's original Brain Rules. I enjoyed this book as well. Medina had some interesting suggestions that I never would have thought of doing with my little girl. He also had some wonderful insights into the developing brain of a baby from conception through toddlerhood. This book is definitely worth a read, before birth if possible. If your baby is already older, though, that's fine. All parents of littles will find this useful--even if your little is a little bit older.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Things

Here are a few things that have been going on in my Mommy Nest the last little while:

1. Baby Girl
 Tirza is almost 3 months. How can that be?? It seems like she's been here forever, but at the same time it's hard to believe it's been three months. We officially started using cloth diapers last month, which has gone well. I've had to work on cradle cap a couple times, which has been funny (see picture). I think we've seen the last of it now, but we'll see.  She's lying here beside me on the bed as I type, absolutely fascinated by the sounds and colors and shapes of the world. She's getting to be such a "big" girl!
Her hair has always been crazy, but it's even crazier when
I'm using coconut oil to work on cradlecap!
2. Exercise
 I've started officially exercising again. At first I was climbing up and down my apartment stairs or going on long walks with Tirza. When I  made it to 2 mile walks I switched and now am exercising to a workout program on my computer. It whips me every single time, and I'm doing the easiest possible level! It is good to "finally" be able to handle "real" exercise, though. It seemed to take forever postpartum for my body to be ready for a challenge.

3. Diet
 I started a Whole30 at the beginning of August. Essentially the Whole30 eliminates dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol, sweeteners, and all processed foods for 30 days. Instead it focuses on healthy amounts of veggies, protein, fruit and good fats (think avacado and coconut oil). At the end of the 30 days the eliminated food groups are re-introduced one at a time (or not. It's up to you).

I'm on day 23 today. Yes, it's been 23 days since I've had any form of sugar other than fruit. Yes, it has been hard, and I've had quite a few food fantasies (visions of cream topped waffles, granola in milk, hamburgers with a bun, and pizza have danced through my head). But I've stuck with it, and am seeing the results!


4. Weight Loss
 As a result of 2 and 3, I've started loosing the baby weight, finally! In the last three weeks (since the 1st of the month) I've taken off 8 lbs. I have 19 left to go before I'm at my goal. My target weight is a little more than my "pre-pregnancy" weight, but I think this is reasonable as I've always leaned to the "too-low" end of the spectrum. Also,  I'm nursing, which means I'll naturally need just a little more weight. In a couple non-scale victories, a skirt I bought a month ago is now too big. Also, the pair of maternity pants I've practically lived in for the last 6 months (and which were starting to get VERY snug), are now fitting quite loosely. Hurray!
My "Pounds lost/pounds to go" jars. Each 1/2 lb gets a pink or clear stone,
every 5 lbs gets a red one. As I loose weight I move the stones from
one jar to the other. As you can see, I'm about half-way. I always thought
these were cute, now I have a reason to use it! :-P  
5. Home-making
 I've been doing "spring" cleaning in August. The house is far from perfect, but I'm quite pleased with the progress. I walk through the house and see different "battlegrounds" where I've had "victory" over the clutter dragon. It's very satisfying, although I have plenty of work left to do.
You should have seen "before." (I forgot to take a picture)
Hubby added shelves for me, and now it looks awesome!
6. Nursery
 I'm getting the nursery together. What, you ask? Didn't I just say my baby is nearly 3 months old? Well, yes. She is. But I decided not to focus on the nursery pre-birth, because I figured we had enough baby things we needed, and she'd be in with us anyway. But now it's time. She's outgrowing her bassinet, and it's time for the crib. I've had a TON of fun planning the nursery. I originally wanted to do gender neutral  so I could use it for all my children, but I just couldn't resist all the wonderful girl things. So it's going to be an over-the-top curly-girly nursery. But that's okay. When I have sons, they will have a knight nursery, and it will be just as awesome.

7. Fun stuff (Pintrest!)
 I discovered Pintrest. And have been generally inspired in every area of creativity, but especially around the home. It's been great. Creativity is oozing out of my pores, and I evaluate nearly everything with the thought: "I bet I could make something neat with that!!" I'm planning a several around the house projects, you will be seeing how-to posts as my projects are accomplished.

8. Just us girlies
 Hubby went on his first out-of-town(state) business trip last week. It was just overnight, but we missed him!! He brought back a cute monkey for Tirza--her very first stuffed animal (or doll). We weren't sure if she would appreciate it or not, but as soon as she saw it she struck up an animated (grinning) conversation. Too cute!

9. Back to the "grindstone"
 The baby-moon has been amazing, but real-life is starting up again. Keepers is starting. Church ministries are starting. School is starting. I'm planning a couple different parties, and already thinking about Christmas. It feels like a lot (it IS a lot) but I'm feeling ready for it. We won't ever go at the breakneck pace we had pre-baby (she's got her own schedule, and bedtimes, and to a certain extent that keeps mommy and daddy's pace reasonable), but I'm finally feeling ready to tackle "life" again.

10. Weather
The weather. It's been AMAZING!  We've had a cool-spell in Texas in August. And when I say cool-spell I don't mean that tongue-in-cheek way that Texan's often do. You know, "Yeah, we've been having a cool spell. Only 110 degrees outside--I'm gonna need to bring a jacket!" No, I don't mean that. I mean, Tuesday it didn't break 80. EIGHTY.  In Texas in August! I hope someone had an outdoor wedding that day. It would be a shame to waste such perfect weather. `

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LillaRose Web party!

Lately I've been seeing some really cute hair accessories at church and while I'm shopping. I've wanted to try them out for awhile, because they look both useful AND gorgeous. Back in the spring I found out that Natalie, a friend of mine, sells these lovely hair accessories and we planned to throw a party together so I could try them out. I didn't move quite quickly enough, and ended up having my baby before I had the party. Oh, well. 

BUT this is a good thing for everyone! Turns out that LillaRose is doing a promotion and if you place an order of $20 or more through a party this month you can get free shipping! That's right--shipping is totally free if you order through a party! I asked Natalie how often this deal comes around, and she said the last time she'd seen free shipping offered was January--so we probably won't be seeing this deal again for awhile!

As a girl who keeps her eyes out for a deal, I was thrilled when Natalie told me that not only could this promotion be used in a home party (which I plan to throw in a few days) but there is such a thing as a web-party. Yes, indeed. A web party. And the free Shipping promotion works with web-parties also!

What's so cool about a "Web Party?" I'm glad you asked. You can browse through the website at your leisure without sacrificing your time. You can view Styling videos and sizing charts and see the complete line of Lilla Rose Hair Accessories; Jewelry, Badge Holders, Hair Pins, Hair Sticks and the most comfortable, durable and beautiful Hair Clips ever!

All orders can be placed on my Party Website below. Your order will be shipped directly to the address you provided at the time of purchase. Shipping is free on orders of $20 or more. 

PARTY DATES: BEGIN - August 20, 2012 and END - Aug 30, 2012

This is a great opportunity to try a Lilla Rose.

I hope you can join me for my very first web party! 

(Oh, and do make sure you order through the party link--you won't get free shipping otherwise)