The Sugar Tantrum

I told my boyfriend that I have felt like these past few days have been a “make-it-or-break-it” time for me with this lifestyle. I’ve been tired, the smell of anything sweet has been driving me crazy, and I’m having cravings like crazy. Not for anything specific – just for sugar in general. I think even a piece of plain bread would have calmed my body down. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on until I visited the Whole 30 website to try to find some answers.

If you have never been to the Whole 30 or Whole 9 websites, I highly recommend that you go. There is a wealth of information on those sites that will give you all of the tools you need to live a healthy life. Plus, they have the 30 day challenge, which is great. Basically it is eating strict Paleo for thirty days. If you don’t feel better after thirty days, go back to your old habits – it is that simple.

So I was going through their website looking for information about how I was feeling, and I came across a blurb about “sugar tantrums.” Basically this is when your body has had it with not getting any sugar and makes you feel like crap until you give it some. I think that it is an off and on process that your body goes through until it gets used to the fact that it will have to use stored body fat and the food it is getting as energy. The key to getting through the sugar tantrum is willpower and good fats.

I think that on some level I knew that this was what was happening, but I’m not sure that I have handled it the right way. I cut down on my vegetable consumption simply because I wanted guacamole – I started getting fajita filling for lunch from the Mexican place down the road from where I work (basically the meat, peppers, onions, and guac). Not entirely bad, but not a good choice for three meals out of the whole week. Especially since I don’t know if they make their guacamole in-house or not. It could have all kinds of preservatives and crap in it. I would be much better off getting a salad and putting some avocado slices on it.

Then there was the coffee episode from the other night. That will never happen again! Cream is so out after that episode. And I think it will be a while before I want any bacon again.

So I feel almost like I am starting over, although I have done very well. I give myself many props for not putting anything with gluten into my mouth, and having the smarts to look up these issues that I’m having. After all, knowledge is power. The more I know, the easier it will be to power through this.

So I do need to make a few changes. No more fajita filling! Not for a while, anyway. It was supposed to be a one-time treat a week ago and it turned into the three time treat. That is just insane. Coffee may also go for the time being, so that I can focus on being as healthy as possible and getting my body over this hump. Although…I may think about the coffee some more. Coffee isn’t all that bad; it is the stuff we put in it that is bad. Caffeine isn’t all that good, though.

I am going to go back to my salads for lunch. My body was doing really well with that. If I feel the tantrum coming on, I’ll get an avocado. And I may keep some fruit on hand like I was doing, also. That will probably help, also.

Wow

Well, I have done pretty well. I think that my eating has gotten off track somewhere because I have started craving stuff again. I think it started with the chicken spaghetti fiasco. I’m not sure if I had too many tomatoes going on, or what, but the cravings have been bad. So much so that last night I had breakfast for dinner: bacon, sausage, and eggs. I even had coffee…with heavy cream.

Big mistake. I couldn’t sleep last night because of the caffeine, and when I woke up this morning, my stomach was a mess because of the cream. Not only that, but the bacon tasted so salty to me that I couldn’t even enjoy it. It was a mess of a dinner.

I’m trying to figure out what I did, where I went wrong. I haven’t actually cheated all that much. The cream yesterday is all of the dairy I’ve had, and I’ve fought the cravings I’ve had for the bread. But the smells of the stuff at work (I work at a daycare, and sometimes the smells of their snacks can get to me) have really been bothering me! Yesterday it was sugar cookies, and today it was animal crackers. Not good enough food to make me want to give in, but I hope no one comes in front of me with a muffin!

So I’m trying to do some research tonight to figure out what is going on with me, and I’m trying to drink a lot of water, too, because I think I’m not getting enough. Hopefully I’ll have some answers by the next time I post.

Day 7

So day seven went pretty similarly as the rest of the week, except for a huge experiment I tried for dinner. I had been checking out all of the Paleo spaghetti recipes. Now, usually recipes that try their best to not be Paleo (such as Paleo pancakes) get on my nerves. If you are trying to walk away from bad habits, why would you try to incorporate those habits into your new plan? No matter – everyone is different, and everyone does Paleo differently.

For myself, I’ve been pretty strict, to the point where, when I was contemplating Paleo spaghetti recipes, I decided to use shredded chicken rather than ground beef. I have no taste for ground beef any more. Even the thought of it doesn’t appeal to me. That may change in a while when I want a yummy burger (without the bun, of course), but for now I’m staying away from it.

The chicken spaghetti, complete with spaghetti squash, wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever cooked. It definitely needs some tweaking. I will probably try again in a few weeks on that. When I get it right, I’ll post a recipe.

I guess being strict has paid off; I lost ten pounds in the first week. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

Spices

This past week was my first week implementing a Paleo lifestyle. Because of the way I started (completely on the fly, without much information) I actually did my grocery shopping without knowing much about what I was doing. I knew enough that I didn’t completely blow my money on tons of processed food that I wouldn’t be able to eat, but I didn’t realize how important spices would be.

I have to say thanks to all of the bloggers out there who tell us all of their experiences and try to keep us on track. I read a comment yesterday on a blog (I always forget which one – I need to start writing that down) that said that the spices that we put in our food determine the type of dish we are eating. This is especially true when eating Paleo. There are no tortillas, cheese, or sour cream on the table to help you figure out that you are eating Mexican food. No noodles, pasta, and cheesy dishes to clue you in to Italian. When eating Paleo, the distinction is made by the spices that you use.

After I read that, I started thinking about it. There is so much that the Agricultural Revolution changed. When we read about the history of the world we generally hear that the Europeans traded in spices, and when they explored new worlds, they brought new spices and traded spices with those of the new worlds. Spices were coveted back in those days and used for trade. I remember thinking as I read that when I was a kid that perhaps spices were used as a sort of currency, but I could never figure out why they would use spices in that way. Now I know.

If I didn’t have several different spices in my cabinet I would be basically eating the same dish over and over again. It wouldn’t really matter what I paired together; it would all basically taste the same because there would be nothing to give the meals any distinction. Because of this, spices have become more valuable to me as a tool to add different flavors to my food. As I continue to experiment with different foods on my Paleo journey, I will also be experimenting with different spices to flavor those foods.

I have long contemplated starting an herb garden so that I can flavor my food naturally, but before I started this journey there very little point and it wasn’t a priority. Now, as I find myself ¬†experimenting with new recipes, natural foods, and spices, I am finding the addition of an herb garden almost a necessity. It will definitely save money on all of those spices!

Day 6 – And a Flounder Recipe

So this morning I had baked salmon with dill (very yummy) and broccoli for breakfast. My teenage daughter, in an effort to be helpful since I have been in bed all day resting my ankle, fixed me eggs and bacon for lunch. How could I say no to her? She was being so helpful all day, so I ate the eggs and bacon. I was hungry all afternoon, but it was okay. For dinner I fixed flounder. I had found a recipe on some website that I had to modify, but it came out very well.

Here is what I did:

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp dill weed

one lemon

four flounder fillets

sliced almonds

First you melt the coconut oil on medium heat in a skillet, and when it is all melted you add the dill weed. While the dill weed is flavoring the oil, apply the juice from the lemon to the flounder fillets (I squeezed the juice all over the fillets and let them sit in the juice while the oil was melting). After the oil is hot and the flounder has sat in the juice for a bit, put the flounder in the skillet and cook on both sides until the fish can be flaked with a fork (I don’t know how to tell you how long to cook it – I don’t time it, I just watch for it to get that “flaking” texture). After you have cooked all of the fillets, add some more coconut oil to the skillet and put the sliced almonds into the oil for a couple of minutes. After that, put the almonds on top of the flounder and serve.

I’m not sure that my boyfriend was crazy about the almonds on the fish, but he did say that it was good.

I also had an artichoke with my dinner. I’d never had one before, but I can assure you that I will probably be having another one in the near future. I got another butternut squash while I was at the store, so that will probably be my dessert tonight. I need something sweet!

Days 4 and 5

Day four went pretty good. This was the day that I actually stopped feeling hungry all of the time. Actually, I didn’t feel hungry at all, which worried me. I had leftover tilapia for breakfast, which took a strength of will to get over the mindset that you do NOT eat a dish like this for breakfast! I am pretty well over that mindset now, because the fish has kept me feeling more satisfied over the course of the morning than eggs have. I may be pretty well done with eggs for breakfast, except for occasions when I just want some eggs.

So I got off work early that day, something that very rarely happens, and I went to a Mexican restaurant and had fajitas, even though I didn’t feel hungry. Well, fajitas minus the tortillas, the rice, the beans, and the sour cream. I even told them not to bring out the chips! I felt silly ordering fajitas and asking them to not bring half of the stuff that makes them fajitas, but it was so worth it, with the extra side of guacamole that I ordered. Maybe it was all of that guacamole – I don’t know – but when dinner time came I still didn’t feel hungry. So I didn’t eat dinner. I did, however, go to the gym for the first time in a while with a friend of mine. We had fun working out, and then I went home, did a little homework, and went to bed.

Yesterday was flounder and sauteed vegetables for breakfast. (I am really getting used to the fish for breakfast!) I ended up going to Chick-fil-A with my daughter so that she could do homework before school started and I had no desire for anything there, except for some water. I was very proud of myself about that. Lunch was a salad with roasted turkey breast, olive oil, and some strawberries (strawberries taste really good with turkey, by the way). I’m not really a big fan of turkey, but it was a pretty good lunch.

And then, disaster struck. I was hanging pictures up in my classroom when I fell and rolled my ankle. I have been told to stay off of it all weekend. My boyfriend cooked dinner, which was really good: chicken breasts fried in olive oil with sauteed zucchini and squash.

I had been planning to go to the farmer’s market today so that I could get a lot of vegetables to work with this week, but that plan has gone out the window since I am stuck in bed and off of my ankle for the rest of the weekend. I was also planning to go to the park with a friend of mine so that I could get in some activity this weekend. No such luck. I won’t even be able to go to the grocery store, which is going to make cooking for the next week very interesting. I guess.

Things like this are what usually push me off of the wagon, but I’m liking the wagon so far, so I am going to try very hard to not fall off. Every book that I’ve read has said that when you “cheat” it is a decision – you make a decision about what foods to put into your mouth. I liked that and I try to remember that when I am planning every meal, or when I am tired in the evenings and don’t feel like cooking, or when I am sitting at a restaurant and I am tempted to order something that I don’t need to have. I have been feeling very well with this way of eating and I really want to make it part of my lifestyle, as well as part of my family’s lifestyle, so I am going to make conscious decisions to stick with it and do what it takes to do this right.

Day 3

Day three went okay. I had my huge veggie omelet which did not fill me up, so I went to the store and bought some shrimp from the meat department to munch on. I put the rest of it in my baked tilapia with mushrooms. They got a little overcooked with the tilapia, since they were already cooked, but they weren’t inedible. Lunch was another salad with chicken and olive oil.

Breakfast this morning was leftover shrimp and tilapia, with some sauteed veggies thrown in. It was kind of weird having that for breakfast, but since the eggs haven’t been cutting it I figured that I would try it and see how it goes. I wasn’t really hungry this morning, but I ate it because I really didn’t want hunger to hit in the middle of the morning and there be nothing I could do about it.

Yesterday afternoon was a little rough in that I felt so tired and worn down. I know that this is probably the carb withdrawal flu that I have heard so much about. I’ve never experienced it to this degree, which makes me wonder if there were quite a few things that I was doing wrong on those low-carb diets. I didn’t go to bed any earlier last night, but I’m thinking that I should have because I woke up tired this morning. It is going to be a long day.

Because it is going to be a long day and I’ve had a long week, I plan on treating myself to some fajitas from the Mexican restaurant for lunch – without the tortillas, beans, cheese, and rice, of course. With a side of guacamole, that should hit the spot and perhaps give me enough energy to make it through the afternoon.