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!

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