March 11, 2017

Whole30: Days 16-22

I have 8 days left. 8 days. Tomorrow, it will be 7. I'm down to single digits. Hallelujah.

This has been one of the most stressful weeks of 2017 so far, and it seemed to get worse as it progressed. If ever there was a time I needed convenience food, this was it. And if it was like day 6, I probably would have caved, but I figured I have this much invested, I may as well keep going. Unfortunately, this led to me barely eating for three days, and that's one of the major downsides to this plan for me.

Day 16:

Day 16 wasn't a great one. I woke up feeling kind of sick, and that feeling lingered all day. I wasn't home for most of the day, but I did manage to eat a little bit of leftover chicken and a banana for breakfast. At one point, I was in Tractor Supply looking at baby chicks, and I'm pretty sure they started to look like little Chick-fil-A nuggets. At another point, I was in a Publix I don't usually go to, hunting down a certain kind of chicken, and I couldn't stop staring at the Mexican restaurant in the same strip mall. I wanted Mexican food. Real Mexican food with cheese.

It was just right there in my face.

That night, I didn't feel much like cooking, but I had some chicken thawed out, so I threw into a marinade of coconut aminos, garlic, and ginger. After an hour, I threw it on the stove, and then I ate it chopped up in lettuce wraps with angel hair cabbage and green onions sliced on top. It was actually really good for something I just came up with off the top of my head.

These Asian lettuce wraps were good for something I just came up with out of the blue.

Day 17:

This was a 4 am day, and while I felt better when I woke up, I still didn't eat breakfast. At this point, I know I'm missing the psychology part of the Whole30, but I'm doing good with sticking to the ingredients for now. I will definitely do it again some day — hopefully, when I have a kitchen. I know I've mentioned that a time or ten. I had to go pick my mom up from a medical appointment around 9:30, and she asked me to stop and get her and my dad some biscuits for breakfast. That turned into an ordeal, and by the time we were finished, I wanted some breakfast, too, but there's just not anything out there for me to eat. Bummer.

Anyway, I came home and snacked on whatever I could find for lunch and then headed upstairs to try to get some work done. I ended up falling asleep and sleeping for most of the afternoon. When I woke up, I made sweet potato chips and more egg white crust pizza. It was a delicious meal, and I could probably just exist on that for the duration of this Whole30 journey, but I'd go broke buying the compliant pepperoni and bacon!

These egg white pizzas are fabulous.

Day 18:

I woke up on this day with a massive headache. It's actually the first headache I've had since going through the initial withdrawals during the first week. Typically, I get a migraine at least once every two weeks lately, and I think part of me was hoping this change in eating habits would solve that but no such luck. That leads me to think my migraines are more about hormones than anything I'm doing, which is both a disappointment and a relief in a way. It also leads me to think that hormones are why I've felt so bad all weekend after feeling so great last week. Since I'm trying to avoid all caffeine during this period, I couldn't take my usual migraine meds, so I opted for Tylenol instead. It dulled the ache enough that I cold get some work done, both writing and in my garden.

My original plan was to get up and put some chicken soup in the Crock Pot, but my lovely mother was already using it, and I didn't feel like digging the other one out of storage. For breakfast I had leftover Asian chicken wraps from Friday night. For lunch, I had an apple and a hand full of potato chips.That night I was hungry but too tired and overwhelmed to cook. I had two leftover hotdogs from a few nights before, so I just ate those plain and cold.

This was quite the sad meal, especially since my mom was making cheesy garlic bread while I ate it.

Day 19:

Day 19 was actually pretty relaxed. The calm before the storm, I suppose. I got up early and made a big Crock Pot full of chicken soup, more broccoli slaw spaghetti, and dog food. My goal was not to have to cook for a few days so I could get lots of work done. I had some of the spaghetti for lunch. The soup smelled amazing cooking all day and I couldn't wait to try it for supper that night.

The problem here is that I don't really like soup. I love my mom's potato soup, and I like wonton soup from some Chinese restaurants, but otherwise, I could do without this particular type of food. Part of me forgot that, and part of me knew it and was ready to overlook it, because I was trying to find a way to eat more vegetables and hydrate because I've been slacking on water. Even other people questioned why I was making soup, because they know I'm not a huge fan. But that night, I sat down with a cup of it, and I ate it. More like forced it down. It was not good. I decided maybe I'd freeze it for a time when I got sick and couldn't eat. I went to bed hungry. I didn't even have any bananas in the house, which has been my go-to convenience food.  

It looked okay, but I didn't like the flavor at all.

Day 20:

Another 4 am day. Then I had to go take some new inventory to the antique shop where my mom and I have a booth.  I came home and took a nap with plans to wake up and get to work, but it was later than I thought, and I was hungry and had to get all of my little zoo fed. I put the bowl of spaghetti I'd made the night before on the table — with a lid on it — and went outside to feed the chickens. While I was out, my dad yells at the window, "Is the cat supposed to be eating this red stuff in this bowl?"  When I got back inside, I found that one of the two kittens I adopted in December was on the table, had removed the lid, and was eating my spaghetti. In the short time I'd been outside, she managed to lick all the sauce off the meat and broccoli slaw. No way I was going to eat it now.

I had to go get something in the basement after that, and I noticed huge puddles of water on the floor. That's when I discovered the hot water heater was leaking. The rest of the night was a bit of a downhill spiral. I worked a lot to try to keep my mind off the fact that I was hungry and couldn't cook with no hot water. I finally gave in and fixed a bowl of soup. I mostly just ate the carrots out of it. I was out of most Whole30-approved groceries (this was a Tuesday night and Wednesday is my grocery day), and I felt good despite the stress of the day. At some point, I may or may not have been dancing around the house and as I was dancing up the stairs, I tripped and twisted my knee. I hobbled to bed that night, thinking I'd sleep it off.  After all, I injure myself at least once a month.

Day 21:

This is the day everything kind of piled up on me, and I nearly drove myself straight to Chick-fil-A, but spoiler alert: I did not do any such thing.

I woke up around 9:30, excited because it was my last shopping day for Whole30 groceries. I had my menu, shopping list, and budget all planned out, and I was ready to go into the last eight or nine days and kick some ass. Unfortunately, life decided to kick my ass instead.

It started when I tried to get out of bed. The knee I twisted the night before was not so willing to support any weight, even though it decidedly has much less to support than it did 21 days go. It took me forever to get to the bathroom to get ready and then downstairs to eat the eggs and hash browns my mom had been nice enough to cook for me. She said, and I quote, "I saw you picking carrots out of your soup last night and knew you'd be starving this morning." So, living here is not all bad, I guess.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I couldn't stand to eat another egg because I've had so many in the last few weeks, but I was so hungry that I decided to try them anyway. They were amazing. She said she cooked them in olive oil instead of ghee, and I figured out it was the ghee I was having the aversion to, not the eggs.

We went on to three grocery stores. I only got out at one, and I could barely make it to the door on my bum knee. I was in so much pain that I decided I would go home and rest it for the remainder of the day. I had a ton of work to do, so sitting for the rest of the evening was not out of the question.

That was a joke.

The minute we got home, my aunt called and told my mom that my uncle was going to come when he got off work to help install the new hot water heater. We initially thought he was coming Friday and had no new hot water heater to install, so we hopped in the car and drove to a local plumbing place. On the way, I checked my email and discovered that the big work project I was planning to start that night was canceled out of the blue. It was disappointing and inconvenient, but I could live with it. I have other work.

We get home, and I decided to go ahead and get all the animals fed and cook something for myself (baked chicken and a baked sweet potato if you are curious). I hobbled out to the chicken coop, and they were dying to get out. I've been keeping them inside more lately because we're heard or seen coyotes daily for the last week and a half. Then I spotted some blood in the coop, so I decided to let them out so I could investigate. I'd be just inside the door cooking and could work on the porch for the rest of the evening to keep an eye on them. No one seemed to be in obvious distress, though one chicken didn't come out right away, but she's usually the head hen and does her own thing anyway.

So, I go into the kitchen, sit down to read the recipe for the baked chicken I'm going to make, and I look out and see the hen in question come out of the coop. She's really timid, looking around as if she's scared of the other hens, and one comes by and pecks her. She turns around and I can see from the window that her backside is bloody. She runs and hides behind a bush. I run — not literally, keep in mind I can barely walk — out to inspect and all I see is blood. So, I'm inside Googling and trying to get in touch with my neighbor who has raised chickens for years to see what I should do. In the meantime, my dad and uncle are in the basement trying to replace the hot water heater, and it's not going as smoothly as they thought.

My neighbor suggested I get some straw and put the hen, Marigold, into a separate cage for the night. Catching her to do that was not going to be easy, as I don't hold my chickens, and they will sometimes let you pet them, but picking them up is out of the question. I decided to head to Home Depot to get some straw first. I had 30 minutes until sunset, and I had to hurry because as soon as dusk hits, the coyotes come out. I made it to the car and was halfway up the driveway when my dad says for me to come back and stand upstairs and turn water on and off while they mess with the hot water heater. So, I do that for 20 minutes while my mom sits with the chickens. Finally, my uncle decides he needs more tools and has to go to Home Depot, so my dad and I set out to catch the chicken. We finally got her settled in just as the neighborhood coyotes began to howl. My mom fixed her a little salad of lettuce and berries and I got her some chicken feed. I got her some well water, and we put the cage next to the big coop so the other chickens could see her but not peck her.

But then we couldn't wash our hands. Or cook. Because we had no water and wouldn't for a few hours. Long story short, I was exhausted and could barely walk. I was worried about Marigold and not sure how to treat her. My dad and uncle were having trouble getting the hot water heater installed. We were all ill and tired and barking at each other. We had no water. My dad normally goes to bed at 8pm and my mom and I both had to get up at 4 am the next morning. I have no idea what time they went to bed, but by the time I got the animals settled and finished the work I had to do, it was nearly 1 am. I gave up on eating anything beyond the breakfast my mom had cooked for me that morning and the pickle I had around lunchtime. On days like this, I find myself hating Whole30, but on this particular day, I was too tired to care.

Thankful I found these pickles. They are yummy.

Day 22:

After having what amounts to one actual meal in the last three days, I was starving all morning, but I got less than three hours of sleep, and had been on the go since 4 am. When I arrived back home around 10:30, I decided I was finally going bake that chicken. I needed protein. I needed food in general. I baked 7 small pieces of chicken, and I sat and ate every last one of them for lunch. I couldn't help myself. I felt stuffed after, and I had to boil water to wash dishes, but it was glorious.

I spent the rest of the day trying to get caught up on work, shopping for chicken hospital supplies, treating the chicken, treating the other chickens just in case something is going around, and helping my mom out because she wasn't feeling well. And I was doing it all on one leg, though I can almost walk again. My dad was on the way home from work, and he was nice enough to stop by my favorite barbecue place to get me some meat - no sauce - and that is what I had for supper. Well, half of it. I was so tired that night after the events and drama of the last few days that I was in bed by maybe 11.

Unfortunately, I woke up at 3:30 am with a dog on my head. Sadie is afraid of storms, and we were having one heck of one. Hail, 50 mph winds, and lightning that sounded like it was on top of the house. Once I realized what was going on, I got up to look out at the quarantined chicken and saw that her tarps had blown off her cage. So, I went out in the middle of the storm to secure them again and ended up being awake for a couple of hours trying to calm the dog down. Some days, I feel like I have eight kids instead of eight animals.

Next to bananas, sweet potatoes have been my crutch during this process. 
While I didn't exactly eat much during these days, I am proud that I didn't give it up when the going got rough. It would have been so easy to hop in the car and run to get something in a drive-thru, especially on the days we had no water, and I couldn't kick. But I didn't, and I'm pretty darn proud of myself for that.  

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