Our 30-Day Eating Challenge | Week 4 & The View from the Other Side

We are officially done with our eating challenge, and though it wasn't at all what I expected, here's the final week, and thoughts from the other side:

The Plan, updated:  The original idea was to follow the Whole30, which entails cutting

  • added sugar
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • grains
  • alcohol
out of your diet.  Our plan is to {mostly} cut these out of our diet for 30 days.  As I mentioned last week, we adapted our plan a bit to include some whole grains.  The jury is still out as to whether  grains made a huge difference, but overall (when not cheating), I added quinoa and brown rice to my diet.  

 I really thought this week would either be ridiculously hard or ridiculously boring and I'd be itching to be done, but it just kinda happened.  

Lessons Learned and Favorite Foods:

  • Suddenly I am craving grilled cheese (like the plain old white bread with American cheese version) and Annie's shells and white cheddar with hot dogs.  Don't ask where those came from.  o.O
  • Thinking forward to the finish when I could finally have that super sweet, syrupy coffee beverage I've been craving the WHOLE TIME, I actually don't really want it anymore.  That was weird. 
  • My new invention this week was chicken tenders made with almonds instead of bread crumbs!  I dipped thin tenders in tapioca flour, then egg with almond milk, and finally the leftover almond meal I had from making some almond milk.  I seasoned it with a little red pepper, black pepper, and salt.  Then I baked them for 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Although they weren't just like regular chicken tenders, they were pretty tasty, and definitely a good swap. 
  • Still living on avocado, fried eggs (over hard), the occasional smoothie when I swim in the morning, and tuna fish.  
  • I still need to work on getting my water consumption going.  It's week 4, and I don't think I've really improved in that particular part.  That's something to continue working on.
  • This week's salads in jars consisted of balsamic vinaigrette, almonds, grapes, quinoa and baby kale.  The grapes really made the salad.  Quinoa is a liiiitle messy in jar salads though!  

The View from the Other Side:
So here's my chance to look back and see what changed and how things went.  Let's see. 

Would I do it again?   Maybe.  Someday I might try a stricter version when our lives are a little less busy and there are fewer days to work around/make exceptions for.  More likely, I'd take 30 days to work on my relationship with food, and set less specific rules.  Probably, I'd keep the no added sugar rule, but otherwise, it'd be focused more on broadening my horizons and reflecting on my reasons for eating what I'm eating.  Things like that.

That being said, what did I learn? 
  • I definitely learned that carbs don't make a great breakfast.  One morning this weekend, I did have a mostly-carb breakfast and was hungry by 11 am.  I found that didn't happen as much when I was having eggs, avocado, bananas and other protein-heavy meals for breakfast.
  • Also, I learned that I can say no to sugar, dairy and peanut butter for 30 days.  Give or take.  And I didn't really miss the yogurt or oatmeal once I started making salads in jars for lunches.  And yes, peanut butter really is important enough to my diet to have its own category.  
  • Food can have a major impact on my emotions/moods.  I am not sure how I feel about that.
  • I would like to continue making eggs and smoothies for breakfasts rather than reverting to so many carbs. 
  • Also, making salads in jars and hard boiled eggs on Sunday night for the week's lunches!
  • Not having chocolate after every meal! 
  • Looking for veggies and proteins to have for snacks instead of my go-to carbs and sugars.
Today's meals were a bagel, paninis, and potato chips.  And half a brownie.  Talk about a carb-heavy day.  But it was totally worth it for a celebration day!  


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