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When Your Students Can’t Spell…

…it’s often good for a laugh. Boy am I glad I read this after school and not during.

We wrote cinquains today. This one was too funny not to share.

We wrote cinquains today. This one was too funny not to share.

Parent / Teacher Conferences

I finished my parent/teacher conferences today. That’s always a good thing to get through. Now that I’ve been doing this for three years, I feel like I have it down and don’t get nervous like I did my first year. Still, each student is unique and there are always new things to tackle. For example, I had my first experience recommending retention to a parent. Not an easy thing to do, but I felt good about how I presented it and the parent took it graciously, although whether she will heed the suggestion remains to be seen.

I also have a few students struggling academically, so I recommended supplemental resources for the summer. This year, though, I actually took screen shots from Amazon.com of specific workbooks that I thought would be useful for the students. I printed out the picture of the workbook and gave it to the parents. They seemed appreciative to have something specific to look for rather than me leaving it to them to Google “summer workbook” and wade through all the choices.

Meanwhile, I’m still in the process of reintroducing foods from my Whole30. Today was dairy, and boy was I excited to have cream in my coffee. Imagine my disappointment when I got to school and discovered there was no creamer! But my sweet husband surprised me with a latte.

No side effects so far from anything I’ve eaten. I’m not surprised. I’m made of hearty Norwegian stock and can eat anything. Which has been my problem. Which is why I’ll probably stick with Whole30 eating for the most part, even once this official process is finished.

Family Whole30 finished…almost

Well, we did it. We completed our Family Whole30. Now we are in the ten day process of introducing some food groups back into our diet to see how our bodies respond. Yesterday was legumes. Now it’s back to two days of Whole30 eating before we can try non-gluten grains.

I wish I could report that I feel like a totally new person after thirty days of Whole30 eating. Some people report incredible energy AKA Tiger Blood, clear eyes, glowing skin, drastic weight loss. I, alas, can report non of that. However, that doesn’t mean I’m dissatisfied with my results or that I don’t think this experiment was a success. I did lose nine pounds, which is a great jump start to my much-needed weight loss. (My husband lost in the double digits. Bastard. I say that lovingly.) I also fall asleep faster than I used to. I feel healthier. And I never had to hide a single thing that I ate this past month. (Unlike the hidden wrappers for Oreos and Reese’s peanut butter cups that I stumbled upon from my pre-Whole30 days.)

Best of all, the whole process was remarkably easy. Sure, the first week was challenging to figure out what to make for meals. But we all quickly figured out what worked for us and what we liked. I enjoyed the food I ate. I easily resisted sweets. And I can see myself continuing to eat this way, for the most part.

One of the nice side effects of doing this is that I have, without setting out to do so, inspired others to try it. That feels good.

I thought I’d end this post with one of my favorite breakfasts. Breakfast seems to be the meal that Whole30 folks struggle with a lot. It’s easy to get sick of eggs. And, yes, these “crepes” are eggs, but you’d never know it. They’re made with eggs, coconut aminos, and cinnamon. That’s all. Sometimes I add a mashed banana and splash of coconut milk.

My favorite Whole30 breakfast.

My favorite Whole30 breakfast.

I ate this several times a week and will continue to do so. Yummy!

Family Whole30 Check-In Day 13

Day 13 of the Whole30 and holding strong. My eldest made it through her four-day band trip without too much trouble. A few friends teased her about withering away to nothing, but then, they were guys whose life isn’t complete without two cheeseburgers per meal. The girls who roomed with her, who saw practically everything she put in her mouth, actually commented on how much she ate.

My thirteen year-old called me from the birthday party. Remember, the one where she was going to have a Lara Bar instead of cake? They didn’t have cake. They had build-your-own sundaes. I don’t know many thirteen year-olds who could turn that down, including mine. But guess what? When I picked her up she told me that not only was the sundae not as good as she thought it would be–“It’s not that they didn’t have good stuff. It probably tasted like it always did, I just didn’t like it as much.”–but she also didn’t feel very good after she ate it. I confess, I was thrilled.

Now, though, she’s a little worried because she’s in a play at the end of the month where she has to eat. She’s Goldilocks of The Three Bears fame. She’s afraid of feeling sick onstage. I think the director has her convinced that she’ll have to eat a lot more than she actually will. There’s only so much food you can really eat while acting and saying lines. Watch Downton Abbey. All those scenes around the table, and when do you actually see anyone put a bite of food in their mouth? I rest my case.

They sip wine and cut meat, but when do you ever actually see these actors take a bite?

They sip wine and cut meat, but when do you ever actually see these actors take a bite?

The thing that’s getting to me with this new way of eating is the constant flow of dishes piling up in the kitchen. Pouring a bowl of cereal was so much simpler than cutting vegetables, cooking meat, scrambling eggs. And that’s just breakfast. We’re constantly running out of clean cutting boards and counter space. And when we don’t keep up with emptying the dishwasher and putting dirty dishes directly in it, we don’t have room for meal prep. The kids help, but I’m tired of having to ask, and the whole “Feel free to notice what needs to be done and do it before you’re asked” point hasn’t produced results. I’m thinking of implementing a system along the lines of how I keep track of whose turn it is to be Teacher’s Pet in class. I’ll post when I figure it out.

Last, a few days ago my weight started going UP. Yes, I know, you’re not supposed to weigh yourself on Whole30, probably so you don’t freak out when this kind of thing happens. But as wonderful as this will be for my health, energy level, blah, blah, I primarily started this journey because I want to look good. And that means losing fat. (And, no, I haven’t been doing a lot of weight training that could result in more muscle which weighs more than fat. I know all that! This isn’t more muscle.) Fortunately, it was only a pound and it’s heading back down after three days, but I’m going to keep my eye on the scale, Whole30 rules or no. Because if the number on the scale is going to keep going up I may as well be enjoying a fresh-baked bagel, or at least a glass of Cabernet.

Family Whole30 Check-In Day 9

We’re into our second week on the Whole30 and, while we all agree it’s been easier than we thought, it’s still been a lot of work transitioning Whole30 into real life.

My kids are starting to get sick of eggs, so breakfast is presenting more of a challenge. The book this whole plan is based on, It Starts With Food, recommends thinking of your meals as Meal One, Meal Two, and Meal Three so you don’t get locked into limiting yourself to foods you traditionally thought as breakfast-y. But my kids just roll their eyes at this trick. I don’t blame them. Who wants to eat roast beef or pad Thai for breakfast? (But the egg portion from the pad Thai recipe mentioned here makes a wonderful breakfast “pancake” when served with berries.)

Yesterday I was hit with a sudden wave of fatigue right after lunch. My energy level had been fine while I ate my salmon lunch during my teacher meeting. Then I went back to class and was hit by the kind of mental fog and fatigue usually reserved for a Monday morning when I’ve stayed up too late watching Downton Abbey and any related videos offered on the PBS website. It took every ounce of strength and professionalism I had not to tell my students to read The Secret Garden on their own and wake me up when they’d finished the book. That would have been a great nap. They were on chapter three.

According to the Whole30 timeline, I’m only a day off schedule. The title for days 6-7 is “I Just Want a Nap.” Today I’ve moved on to Day 8-9: “For the love of Gosling, my pants are TIGHTER!” Of course the bloating didn’t come on until I was sitting around with all my skinnier-than-me friends at book club. They’d had lentil soup, salad, crackers and hummus, shrimp dip, BREAD. All I’d had was the salad. Yet I was the one sitting with my arms crossed over my belly wondering if Tums is Whole30 approved.

Still, we all feel healthier, our food is yummy and attractive, and my scale is going in the right direction. My youngest (you remember, the one who wanted to buy the goldfish crackers on our first day so we’d have them when this whole thing is over?) is heading to a birthday slumber party tomorrow with the intention of staying true to the program. (“I can have a Lara bar instead of cake.”) And my eldest took off on a four-day band trip today with a bag full of food supplies as her Whole30 backup plan. I’m proud of them.

Family Whole30 Check In Day 2

The second day of our Family Whole30 is at an end and we’re holding strong. My husband is in the kitchen making almond butter as I write this because giving up his lifelong staple, peanut butter, has been the thing he’s resisted most. But I’m pretty sure, being the creative chef he is, that he’ll view this whole transition as a challenge.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing all the cooking (which is not the usual way of things.) After all, I foisted this change on everyone. Plus, I’m on winter break so I have the time. So I’m feeling a lot like a one-woman restaurant, making and serving three meals a day. But I figure it will pay off next week when we’re all back at school and making our own breakfasts and lunches. In fact, I even served lunch to the kids today in the containers they pack for school so they could see how it could work.

Roast Beef Roll-ups with veggies and oranges

Roast Beef Roll-ups with veggies and oranges

They were watching a movie so they didn’t give a lot of feedback other than “thanks,” but everything got eaten. Well, except for some of the pepper strips.

I’ve already noticed a progression in my kids’ open-mindedness, especially my 13 year-old who was the most resistant to this plan. We went to the grocery store yesterday, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do when you’ve just done a diet overhaul. To start, guess what was being offered as we walked in the door? Samples! And they were even what we, in the past, would have considered healthy: fruit, chicken, and broccoli salad. We could only have the fruit since the chicken was glazed with a sugary bottled sauce and the broccoli salad was bathed in dressing. You’d have thought we had to turn down free doughnuts.

Then, as we passed an end cap, my youngest noticed a giant box of Goldfish crackers. She picked it up. “This is on sale. Can we get it for when we’re done with the Whole30?” While I appreciated her astute financial sense, I said no. Next, she asked about oatmeal. Oatmeal! She doesn’t even really like oatmeal! Still, I saw it as improvement that she even asked. That was a first. Sadly, another “no.” However, by the end of the trip she was requesting pumpkin seeds and oranges. Yes and yes. That’s definitely an improvement.

Remember the outline I wrote to present my case to do the Family Whole30? That inner nerd that shone through? She came through again today via my refrigerator. I moved all non Whole30-approved food to our refrigerator and freezer in the garage. Then, I organized what was left. Mostly produce. I don’t know about anyone else, but our family wastes so much produce because we forget about it. It gets lost in the bowels of the fridge and isn’t found until it’s limp, brown, and dripping. We’re spending far too much effort and, let’s face it, money to let that happen to all the produce we’re now buying. So, I did this:

An OCD person's dream refrigerator

An OCD person’s dream refrigerator

Not only does this make it easy to find ingredients we need, and to know when we’re out of something, but it makes it easy for the kids to put away groceries in the proper place. With five people in the house, we all need to pitch in.

I didn’t think to take a ‘before’ picture of my refrigerator, but I did take one of my freezer, which was equally bad. Here’s what it looked like before I carted much of the food to the garage.

This was my pre-Whole30 freezer

This was my pre-Whole30 freezer

Notice all the bread. The Butter Braid near the ice maker. And that box on the bottom…Mrs. Field’s frozen pretzels. This thing looks pretty empty now that that’s all gone. But none of it is there tempting us. I suspect I’ll be glad of that in another few days.

Last, I have to share the amazing recipe I made for dinner tonight. It was a hit with everyone. Paleo Pad Thai from The Clothes Make The Girl’s blog. This will definitely be a new staple for us.

Family Whole30

I considered starting a new blog with this post. After all, what does my diet have to do with teaching? Nothing. And everything. Because it’s teaching (or, rather, the stress of adjusting to a challenging new career and a sort of mourning that I now work-full-time-when-I-was-a-perfectly-content-stay-at-home-mom) that is partially responsible for the current state of affairs. And because if all the hype is correct, after doing Whole30 I’ll have more energy, clarity, health, happiness, and fairy dust sprinkling everything I touch.

What is my current state of affairs, you ask? In a word…chubby. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been other than when I was pregnant. And I’m not all that far away from that weight. Being heavy makes me uncomfortable. Unhappy. Self conscious. And I DO NOT LIKE IT, Sam-I-Am! So, I’m doing something about it.

And dragging my family along with me.

I presented my case to the family last night, after first talking with my husband and getting him (grudgingly) on board. I was even nervous enough–and nerd enough–to write up an outline so I could hit all the points I wanted to make. Things like: we’ll “reboot” our bodies and get them and our digestion working properly again; we’ll have more energy (I reminded one daughter that she’s just starting rehearsals for the school play and the other one that she’s considering track); we’ll eliminate cravings for sugar and bread (current staples of our diet.)

The reasons I want to do this as a family are: we’ll feel like a team; we’ll commiserate and celebrate together; and we can support each other. And, although I didn’t tell them this one, it will be easier for me to stick to this thing if I have to set the example for everyone and I don’t have non-Whole30 foods sitting around the house.

My eldest bought in. Even my exchange student is giving it a go. The jury is still out on my youngest. I guess I’ll find out when she gets up and wants breakfast. Of course, the bread, cereal, and milk have already mysteriously disappeared so it may force her hand.

At least for breakfast.

As the leader of this journey I even got up and made breakfast for my husband and exchange student this morning. Sweet potato hash and eggs. It’s mid-winter break so we have five days to figure this out before we’re all back at school and they’re on their own for breakfast.

According to this Whole30 Timeline, today ought to feel great. And, yes, I am feeling positive in that today-is-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of-my-life way. I’m doing this thing! I’m going to be slim and beautiful! I’m going to be healthy and fit! I’m going to kick some a$$! (In a positive, can’t-keep-me-down sort of way. No bar room brawls for me.)

I plan to hold onto that positive feeling as long as I can. Like, until the sugar withdrawals set in. Which ought to be in a few hours.

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