Half of a Whole (30)

I began the Whole 30 program on February 3, so I am now well over the halfway point. Aside from some logistics related to where I was staying for a few days, all has gone well, and I have stayed the course. My wife has added rice or bread as needed, but all in all she has simply eaten what I set before her because it is tasty and healthy. My particular implementation has also been quite cost-effective. Staying on the outside of the grocery store, and thus away from more expensive processed foods, has made meals quite economic. I do not think a single meal at home has cost more than $5 (for half a steak, a potato, and salad), and most less. This morning’s breakfast probably cost around 80 cents with some home-grown kale and oranges, but would not have exceeded a dollar in any case.

I usually focus on breakfast and dinner with lunch consisting of some almonds or pistachios, or else apple slices with almond butter. My go-to breakfast is hash browned potatoes, pan-wilted kale, and an egg or two, occasionally with fresh squeezed orange juice or vegetable juice. For years we have bought frozen hash brown potato patties, but of course, they have sugar. Whole 30 forced me to discover the simple joy of a potato shredded with a cheese grater, sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, maybe some cumin, salt and pepper, then cooked in ghee until crisp. This morning’s implantation substituted chopped garlic and onions sautéed in a bit of olive oil for the onion and garlic powder. Since potatoes have so much starch, they naturally bind into a whole when cooked (unlike grated zucchini!). One beauty of this meal is that is can be cooked entirely in one iron skillet, first the potato combination, then when crispy add the kale to the hot pan for a minute or so till wilted and beginning to brown, turn the heat off, remove potatoes and kale, add a bit more ghee, then plop in the eggs to cook as the pan cools down, with added heat as needed. The outcome is a plate of colorful and flavorful food to take me well into the day.

Dinners have also been quite simple, though we have made a few from the Whole 30 slow cooker book (but use our Instant Pot to speed things way up). Some of my favorites: steak, potato or sweet potato and salad with oil & vinegar; sliced and grilled chicken breast with a vegetable such as zucchini or asparagus; leek and potato soup. The night after I made the leek and potato soup, I grilled some sliced mushrooms and shrimp in the iron skillet, then added them to the left-over soup. Amazing! Last night I simply baked a large garnet yam and added ghee, salt, and pepper. I was totally full.

I don’t usually have dessert, but an orange does nicely when I want something else. When I had grilled chicken and asparagus with mushrooms and garlic the other night, I finished with a lightly grilled sliced Bosc pear drizzled with white balsamic vinegar. Perfect.

So what about the results? The main result so far has been a clear head. I am still not sleeping as deeply or as long as I would like, but sleep has been better. Perhaps I have lost a few pounds, but only the scale will tell at the end. Like sleep, I still don’t have as much energy as I would like, but more than before. I am hoping that both sleep and energy will kick in in the final two weeks. In any case, I know my body is detoxing from the food subtractions and that is a good thing no matter the other results.

Of course, another great outcome is the knowledge that I can “give up” things if I desire to. Not being able to signals addiction, and thus a type of slavery to the thing. True freedom is the ability to enjoy all things, but to eschew those things that are harmful to myself or others.

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