Sunday, December 18, 2016

Whole Family Whole30 - What We Learned

I feel like we started the Whole30 a lifetime ago.

We decided to do it because Liza had several skin issues. I had taken her to the doctor and found that the thing on her inner elbow was eczema. She also had molluscum, a virus that you can't do anything about and can take 1 1/2 to 2 years to clear up... and it spreads if you itch it... and it's itchy. And she also had what was looking like the beginnings of psoriasis on her elbows.

Our hope with the Whole30 was that the skin issues would clear up as we got her body healthier.

While we didn't see as much of a change as we had hoped for, I believe we have definitely seen some progress!

The most surprising is that the molluscum has completely cleared up! She had several spots of it on her arms and legs and it's all gone. Except two spots in the middle of her eczema... if they are even actually molluscum.

The eczema hasn't completely cleared up, but I believe it is looking much better than it did a month and a half ago. Here are some pictures that I took throughout the Whole30. The first is two days in when we were still using the prescribed cream. When we started using the cream it flared up real red. We stopped using it. The second picture is midway through. The last picture is from the last day of the reintroduction phase. I think the eczema doesn't look as deep, if that makes sense. The little bumps in the middle of it are getting smaller. And actually, it appears that the entire thing is getting smaller.

The psoriasis (or whatever it was) on her elbows also seemed to go away.

The bad news is that we ended up dealing with a completely new rash. It was all over her face and arms. (Maybe it's still psoriasis?) The doctor didn't know what it was. It seems to come in waves... she gets really red and the skin gets dry and tough. Then it fades and the dry skin peels off. A week later, it comes back. This has happened three times now. We are clueless.

So that's what happened with Liza's skin issues.

The question I have been asked the most is "was it worth it?"

Was it worth it to make the whole family do a whole30? To do all that thinking and prepping and cooking? Was it worth it?

Absolutely yes!

Sure, there were days where I wanted to collapse on the kitchen floor, curl up in fetal position, and never face the dishes ever again. (I really need a dishwasher!) But it was worth it.

We learned so much.

Liza and Jason learned what a healthy stomach feels like.
They learned that they feel more awake when they eat healthy.
We tried lots of new foods.
The kids learned that they actually do like several foods that they thought they didn't like.
They also learned that they can do something really hard if they make the decision to do it, and then stick with it.

Liza and Jason learned how good it feels to follow through, to not cheat, to do it right. There were so many times that they were faced with tough situations... birthday treats at school, pop at church, birthday parties... and I could just see on their faces how proud they were of themselves.

I think they learned just how strong they are.

So yes... even if we didn't see any improvement in Liza's skin issues... it would still be worth it... simply for the invaluable lessons my kids were able to learn at 8 and 10 years old.

We have all been enjoying being able to eat a variety of foods again... maybe a little too much. Between the kids' Christmas parties at school on Friday and two Christmas parties yesterday... we all feel gross. But since we have done the Whole30 and we all were able to recognize how good our stomachs felt... we are now able to recognize just how gross too much of the wrong foods make us feel, and we don't like it! Hopefully this will help us as we move forward with making healthier choices more often.

And that's the end of our Whole Family Whole30!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Whole Family Whole30 - Reintroduction

We have spent the past two weeks reintroducing foods that are cut out during the Whole30. I figured we aren't going to do a Whole30 again for a loooong time so I better take advantage of the opportunity to find out if anyone besides me has immediately noticeable issues with any of the foods.

When reintroducing foods you have one food group at a time. So day 1 of reintroduction we did dairy. Then we did two days of strict Whole30. Next we did legumes. Then two days of Whole30. And so on until we were done.

Here is how it went for us...

*I already know I have issues with dairy so I did my own thing on this day. I had a salad from a restaurant that I like to get to see how I felt after having it. I was fine! Thank goodness there is still something good I can eat! I also had the dairy free ice cream I get. Not worth it. I felt so incredibly disgusting after eating it. I hated my stomach and my stomach hated me. I was up all night with cramps. It's helpful to be able to name exactly how I feel after eating something. I think I'm finally ready to break up with ice cream completely. I'll miss it like I miss cheese... but sometimes we have to say "not worth it" and move on.
*Mike and the kids had yogurt for breakfast. You would have thought it was the world's best dessert with all the MMmmmm-ing coming from my little people.
*Cheese for lunch. Ice cream for dessert after dinner. Again... you would have thought my kids were visiting heaven.
*I'm the only one with obvious dairy issues. I'm glad no one else noticed problems... but... no fair!!!

*Peanut butter on a banana for breakfast. I think Liza and Jason would have ate the entire jar if I would have let them. They sure do miss their peanut butter! Almond butter is good... but it's just not peanut butter!
*Peas for lunch.
*Chili with beans for dinner. Mike and I both realized that our stomachs didn't feel quite right after this meal. Those beans were definitely affecting us. I was all crampy and bloated. Go figure. Just another thing I have to watch when eating. Food is really becoming not so fun for me! I like chili!

Gluten Grains

*This was another day where I already knew my issues so I again tried some different things that I like to have to see how I feel after eating them. I get a gluten free granola cereal once in a while... not worth it. Not fulfilling at all and just felt heavy in my stomach. I really need to find a breakfast food other than eggs!!
*The others had a bagel for breakfast. The night before you would have thought it was Christmas Eve. Liza and Jason kept saying things like, "I can't wait for tomorrow!!! Bagels for breakfast!!"
*Pasta for lunch.
*Hamburgers WITH A BUN for dinner. Jason said, "I think I'll just eat the bun plain." And as he was eating he said, "I can't believe I've gone a MONTH without this stuff!!" Oh the torture I have put my kids through!
*I had a gluten free bun. It's just not the same. But I didn't feel disgusting after having it so woo hoo! Something I can still eat!

Non-gluten Grains
*Oatmeal for breakfast... with a little bit of sugar, because plain oatmeal isn't that exciting. Actually, I hate oatmeal, so I didn't have any.
*Corn for lunch.
*Rice for dinner. It was soooooo nice to have a side that isn't potato! I need a break from potatoes.

And that wrapped up our Whole30 experience!

Today is our first day off the Whole30.
Yesterday when Jason woke up, the first thing he said to me was, "Last Day!!!" And Liza spent her morning singing songs about how happy she was that she would be able to eat food the next day. As if I haven't been feeding her for the past month and a half!

Tonight we are ordering pizza for dinner. (A salad for me because pizza is no longer on my foods I can eat list. I miss it!!) I'm tired of cooking. And the kids deserve a treat. They did soooo good!

Speaking of treats... around 7:00 last night I looked at the kids and said...
ME: Guess what time it is!?
THEM: What? Huh?
ME: Sugar time!
THEM: *confused* What? Sugar? NOW!?!?!?

We let them have some candy. They were as giddy as could be.

I ate some of the dairy free chocolate that Aldi has and immediately felt gross. Another not worth it thing. I had been craving it for two weeks and was so excited to have chocolate again... but it didn't taste nearly as good as I remembered it tasting. And I wasn't able to sleep well because my stomach hurt and cramped all night. I guess I have to break up with my dairy free chocolate too.

You would think with all the things I can't eat... crackers, cheese, pizza, chocolate, etc... that it would be easy for me to stay skinny. It SHOULD be easy! But somehow I always manage to just put the pounds back on. But speaking of pounds... I lost 8 doing the Whole30 and that has me motivated to not go completely off the rails during all the Christmas celebrations.

This is long enough. I'll write again tomorrow with my answer to the question I have been asked the most... Was it worth it?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Whole Family Whole30 - We made it!!

Day 22
*Liza and Jason have been counting down the days to Thanksgiving... to stuffing and dessert! So I took the opportunity to talk to them about how they feel when they eat well. They both acknowledged again that they like how their stomachs feel... but Liza surprised me when she said, "I feel more awake!" Jason admitted that he did as well and we realized that Liza has been waking up a lot easier in the mornings. We used to have to kind of drag her out of bed, but now she just pops up and is ready to go. Or she is already awake when it's time to wake up.

Day 23
*They seriously can't wait for Thanksgiving dinner!

Day 24
*I didn't end up having any cheats because I already know the effects of gluten and dairy and just stuck to things that end up being whole30 approved anyways. But Mike, Liza and Jason all enjoyed the full meal and dessert. I thought they were going to lick their dessert plates.
*Mike and Jason claim they felt fine after eating everything. Full, maybe bloated... but overall fine. Liza's stomach got crampy. We'll have to sort that out in the reintroduction and see if it's something specific.

Day 25
*Liza's feet are bothering her today. Achy and restless feeling. Could it be a result of something she ate last night? Who knows. I do know that when I reintroduced dairy after my last w30 that my legs got really achy. It's a feeling I had been having often, but haven't had since going dairy free. Again.... looking forward to what we learn during the reintroduction. 
*While we were grocery shopping, Jason pointed to an eggplant and asked if we could get one. We never cooked one up before. But for 99cents?? Why not! I love that Liza and Jason are more adventurous with food. Trying so many things that they never would have tried before. Asking me to buy things I normally don't by so we can try them. This has been an interesting experience!

Day 26
*Our town has an awesome Christmas parade, so we spent our evening at that. Last year was the first time we went, but tradition was started. Go to the parade, collect tons of candy, come home, have hot drinks and sort the candy while watching a movie. We had to have hot tea instead of hot chocolate, and they were definitely tempted while playing with their candy. But it's all sorted and hidden with their Halloween candy.

Day 27
*Is it over yet? I am sooo tired of cooking. And packing difficult to pack lunches. I just want food to be easy again! I want some meals that aren't a lot of work. And I REALLY want someone to come do my dishes for me!!

Day 28
*I've been unusually tired. That's odd for a w30. I usually sleep really well when I'm eating well, but I think stress is winning this week and keeping me from sleeping well... and causing the exhaustion.
*We are all really wanting some good snacks... like chocolate. Liza and Jason can't wait for dairy reintroduction day because they get ice cream!

Day 29
*We decided we'll be going a few extra days. I want to do dairy reintroduction on Sunday when we don't have anything else going on. Then legumes mid-week, gluten the following weekend, non-gluten grains mid-week. Then we will be done... just in time for the Christmas parties!
*Mike cooked up the eggplant today... so good! Breaded with almond flour and topped with crushed tomatoes and some seasoning. We had burgers tonight too... no buns. But I found that the eggplant on top of the burger is delicious! I'm so excited to have a new side! Jason and Liza thought it was good too!

Day 30
*Jason came home from school today, looked at me with his sad face and said, "During Global Learning Lab the teacher made a meal from Brazil (they've been learning about Brazil all quarter) and I couldn't eat it." I asked if it was hard and he said yes. But he loves how strong he feels for sticking to the plan instead of giving in. He's been amazing. I think he has had the most challenges of all of us and he has stayed strong each time!
*Liza faced the same challenge at school... but she remembered that she had an extra Lara Bar in her backpack for occasions like this and was allowed to eat it. Jason was really bummed that he didn't think of that!

Day 31
*Still going.
*I didn't think it was possible... but I'm getting tired of potatoes. We have potatoes as a side nearly every night. I want rice. Or quinoa. Or something other than potatoes!!! 

Day 32
*Now that the 30 days are officially over we are finding it harder and harder to stay motivated. I sent Mike to TJMaxx to hunt down the last packs of potato chips that fit w30... even though w30 discourages snacking. But all the ingredients are compliant so we ate... or more like devoured the small bag.

Day 33
*Jason faced another challenge today... a birthday party. Pizza, chips, cake. He told me it was probably the hardest challenge of the whole whole30 for him because they had ice cream cake. But I sent him with some of his own food and when I went back to get him, some of the other moms that were there were telling me how they were encouraging him and surprised at how well he is doing with the diet. Jason is amazing! Liza might have just wanted to skip the party... She went out with Mike this morning and they stopped at the coffee/bake shop so Mike could get a coffee and Liza stayed in the car because she didn't want to have to look at all the yumminess.

Today starts the reintroduction!

I still can't believe we actually did an entire month... and then some! And that we are sticking it out for the reintroduction. Liza and Jason continue to amaze me with their strength. They have passed up birthday treats at school. They have sat by their friends at lunch watching them eat sandwiches and desserts and doritoes, and yet they remained so strong.

I didn't see as much change in Liza's issues as I had hoped for, but that doesn't mean the w30 was a waste.
1. We are more healthy.
2. I lost 5.5 pounds and Mike lost more. (Jerk)
3. We all feel really good.
4. We learned that we CAN say no to foods.
5. We have had great discussions about being healthy.
6. We found new foods that we like.
7. Liza's molluscum is almost all cleared up.
8. Her eczema is looking sooo much better and I hope it continues to heal.

The newest skin issue that started a week before we started the w30... it seemed to just take over her arms mid-way through the w30. It has been a bit discouraging because we were hoping for solutions and instead got a worse rash. But we are going to continue looking for the cause of Liza's skin issues and we won't give up until we find real answers.

I'm so glad we did the w30 as a family. It's been an experience and I wish I would have kept track of how many apples, bananas and potatoes we have gone through! I'm certain it's a ridiculous amount!

On to the reintroduction!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Whole Family Whole30 - Notes on Week 3

Day 15
*We made it halfway!
*We went to see a movie today. The theater we like is 50 minutes away and we always go to the early movies that start around 11:30. This causes a problem... when to eat lunch? 10:30 is too early. And after the movie is way too late. So we usually pack... and that's easy when you can just pack a PBJ and a cheese stick. W30 complicates things. We ended up with tuna mixed with salsa and homemade mayo, and cucumber slices to put it on. And then we ate on the way. Liza and Jason ended up making a bit of a mess... but it worked.

Day 16
*The molluscum on Liza's arms continues to get better and better! We are pretty excited about this!
*I am soooo over cooking. And doing dishes. If only I had a dishwasher!!

Day 17
*Liza and Jason are counting down to Thanksgiving when they will be allowed to go off plan for a meal to celebrate. They are talking about how they can't wait to feast!!

Day 18
*Honestly... I can't believe we have made it this far. When we first started I thought we might make it two weeks and then have to adjust. But nope. We are still rockin' the Whole30!!
*It helps that every morning when I look at Liza's skin issues I see more and more improvement! More of the molluscum is GONE!! This is really exciting to me and Liza.
*We are starting to repeat meals. I hope the kids don't mind.

Day 19
*I really REALLY wish I had a dishwasher. I am sooo tired of doing all the dishes that go with all the cooking.
*I'm an emotional eater and I have had sooo much stress lately and just want to EAT. Not W30 food... emotional eating food. It's been a struggle but I've stayed the course. But I really really want some chocolate.

Day 20
*Liza and Jason are eating foods that they used to always say they didn't like... foods like peppers and onions! And cabbage.
*Liza's skin issues keep looking better and better, but I don't think it will be all the way clear by 30 days. She also got a new rash a few days ago on her face and arms. It seems to be clearing but it's weird. The doc doesn't even know what it is.

Day 21
*Three weeks!!!!
*Everyone is starting to think about the reintroduction. And Thanksgiving. Jason just wants some bread!
*Mike gets laid off from roofing every winter. He started up his part time winter job today... at our neighborhood bakery! Talk about temptation!
*The new rashy thing that Liza developed is still a problem. It almost looks like it could be more eczema on her arms... but I don't really think that is what it is. At least I hope it isn't!!! Because the patch that has been there for a year is looking really good!

Where am I at?
I'm tired of cooking.
I'm tired of doing the dishes.
I want to eat all the things I can not eat. 
I want to quit... but for Liza... I won't. I will continue through this w30 because my kids are rocking it like champs! They are so strong!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Whole Family Whole30 - Notes on Week 2

Day 8
*I had a total meltdown while cooking dinner. I was just overwhelmed with stress and I didn't realize how involved dinner was... and I lost it for a bit. But dinner turned out to be sooo good! A casserole... and it's been a loooong time since I've had a casserole.
*Liza realized that she had a small cheat yesterday. She didn't even realize it until today. Her math teacher rewards with mini laffy taffy. Liza said as she looked at the container of laffy taffy today it came to her... she ate one yesterday. I love that she was honest and it's also kind of funny that it took her an entire day to realize that SHE ATE A PIECE OF CANDY ON THE W30! :)
*I was really tired today. I hope the energy phase hits soon.
*I am wearing clothes that I wouldn't have dared to wear a week ago. It's amazing how different I feel without all those pounds of bloat!

Day 9
*Liza had a dream that she was eating a piece of cherry pie and realized that it wasn't something she should eat on w30... so we decided she could eat half of it and then it would only be half cheating.
*Me and Mike were discussing how well Liza and Jason are doing. It seems they have just accepted that this is what we are doing. They rarely talk about foods they wish they could have and they don't ask for snacks anymore. I believe it's because our meals are fulfilling and they don't feel like they need a snack.

Day 10
*One of the things I wasn't looking forward to was having to get breakfast for the kids every morning. They were always so good about getting a bowl of cereal or a bagel or making oatmeal on their own. I'm happy to report that they are back to being independent at breakfast! They have both learned to make the banana breakfast on their own and Jason makes his own eggs in the microwave. (It's how Mike does it and that's how Jason likes them now.)
*We had an interesting conversation today...
JASON: I can't wait until we can eat real food again.
ME: What do you mean? We ARE eating real food.
LIZA: Real food like pizza!
JASON: And bread. And cereal. And stuff like that!

Day 11
*Jason was invited to a play date today where there would be pizza and snacks. We ate lunch before we went and packed some w30 snacks so he would have something eat when everyone else ate.
*I've been liking having meals in the crockpot this week. Makes dinner time a lot easier.
*I can not tell at all if Liza's eczema is improving or not. Of course, it's still early in the plan so we'll just keep watching it.

Days 12 and 13
*Nothing to report. W30 is starting to feel normal around here.

Day 14
*While I can't really tell what is happening with Liza's eczema, I have noticed something else. She also has molluscum. We were told this is a virus and... basically it look like pimple type spots. Near her armpit. And it was spreading. We were also told that there is nothing you can do to treat it and it could take up to two years to clear up! BUT!!!! It's going away! Ever since starting the diet it's like they are just drying up and going away. There are some molluscum spots in the middle of her eczema and I read that eczema sometimes forms around molluscum. Those spots are getting smaller as well so we are anxiously waiting to see what happens as the molluscum continues to clear up.
*Today was a fun mail day for Liza and Jason. They got cards of encouragement and $5 from their grandma and grandpa for doing so good with such a tough thing. They also got tea and a note from a friend of mine that wanted to encourage them. They were so excited and immediately made some tea! They enjoyed having a flavorful drink... because sometimes water gets old.


Some recipes we loved this week...
Chicken Zoodle Soup
Roast in the crockpot
Turkey, Broccoli, and Mashed Cauliflower Casserole
Chicken Apple and Sweet Potato - Crockpot meal, the kids didn't really like it but I thought it was good!

Frozen grapes are a great snack.

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