Sunday, December 12, 2010

168 hours of Whole Foods

Saturday, Dec. 4:
So for many years now I take an annual running sabbatical about this time of year. It's a nice time of year to do it - at the end of a long season of running and racing, my body is tired and needs a break, the days are short and cold, and it's the holiday season so that means I'll be eating lots of holiday snacky foods.

Well, this year I'm doing something different. I'm still taking the sabbatical, which entails one week of no physical activity, then maybe if my body feels like it I'll start hiking and snowshoeing a bit the second week. Usually at the end of week 2 I'm ready to start jogging a bit again, but occasionally I'll take 3 or 4 weeks off, and one year it was even 6 weeks off (that was the year I mapped out the original long course of the Rumble). It's really nice to give my body a much needed complete rest for however long it takes.
Shellburg Falls Trail Run, enroute to the Civil War!
So in addition to my running sabbatical, which started at 9:50 a.m. this morning when I finished the Shellburg Falls 7 mile trail race, I'm also going to eat and drink a 100% whole foods diet for exactly one week. That started tonight at 6:29 p.m. at the conclusion of a nice Mexican restaurant meal, complete with a blue margarita (the last thing was actually a cinnamon candy they put with the check).
Post-Civil War / pre-whole foods blue margaritas.
Hart kinda planted the idea in my head in March with his Whole Foods for a Day Challenge blog post. I didn't take him up on the challenge then, or ever, but have occasionally thought about it. Then in late October, after getting home from Chile, I decided I was going for the challenge. But a day is just way too short; I can do anything for a day - that's easy. So I decided to not make any drastic diet changes while I was still training and racing, but instead wait until my season was over.

Well, it's over and the 168 hours of whole foods has begun. I'm going to update this blog daily for a week, with plans to put exactly everything I eat and drink each day, plus how I'm feeling. Despite what Newman-O's Nordell thinks, I actually do eat a fairly good diet. I just want it to be healthier for a week and see what happens. Oh, and I'm only telling one person about this so I don't get any unsolicited advice from anyone. I'm doing it my way, and I'm doing it for me.

So, my diet so far for the last 3:50 has been 24 oz of water. Let the next 164:10 begin.

Sunday, Dec. 5:
I know I made the correct decision in not doing this whole foods diet for just 24 hours, as I didn't really even think about it. Of course I didn't eat much, either, but not because of the type of food, but just because I had a lazy day.

Number one on my agenda today was to go grocery shopping. I spent $67.75 on nothing but whole foods. It looks like I bought a lot, so I'm hoping this will last me the week. Here's a list of what I bought: 2.4# round roast, 2 chicken breasts, 4 broccoli crowns, 8 bananas, 4 avocados, 4 cucumbers, 4 green peppers, 1.75# of green beans, 2 green onions, 5 mushrooms, 1 red pepper, 4 bunches of radishes, 1 yellow onion, 3 grapefruits, 1# sunflower seeds, 1 white onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1.5# almonds, spinach, 4# granny smith apples, 5# carrots, 3 containers grape tomatoes, 6 sprouted bagels.
These are all of the goodies I bought for the week.
I have other food at home already that I'll also be using, including almond butter, potatoes, pepper (but the sea salt I have unfortunately doesn't make the whole foods cut), eggs, garlic, olive oil. I forgot to get jam, and as I eat ab&j pretty much every day for lunch at work, I'll be getting some whole foods approved jam tomorrow.

My menu today consisted of: banana, grapefruit, a few little carrots and celery, avocado, sprouted bagel with almond butter, tiny orange, 2 big bowls of beef stew, a couple cups of hot lemon water, and about 60 oz. of water. Not a lot, but I wasn't very active today, so I wasn't very hungry. No cravings for anything.

Monday, Dec. 6:
I was curious as to what my first "real" day on the diet would bring (real = work day). There always seems to be a candy jar full of chocolates, and people often bring in tasty baked goodies, so I wanted to see how my self-control was. In anticipation of said non-whole foods, I packed lots and lots of food for work.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks (all at work) - 1 banana, lots of carrots, lots of celery, 1 broccoli crown, lots of grape tomatoes, 1 bunch of radishes, 1 apple, 1 orange, 100 oz. water. I usually drink a gallon+ of water every day at work, but I noticed I didn't need or want to drink as much today, yet was peeing more than usual. I attribute this to the natural water found in all the food I was eating.

Dinner - big bowl of beef stew, avocado, a few carrots and green pepper slices, hot lemon water.

I didn't have any cravings at work, maybe because I was shoveling food in my mouth almost the whole day, but I did have a slight and short-lived sugar craving after dinner. It went away, though, when I started slicing and dicing tomorrow's work food.

Tuesday, Dec. 7:
If I thought like I was eating all day at work yesterday, that was nothing compared to today. Good thing it was slow so I could eat all of the tasty goodness I took with me.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana

Lunch, snacks - apple, handful of almonds, (sometime in the a.m. the boss gave us all a baggie full of chex mix; everyone else tore right into theirs, but mine went in a drawer), green beans, green pepper, grape tomatoes, cucumber, huge salad (3.3 liters worth of huge consisting of spinach, onion, radishes, green pepper, green beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, olive oil, pepper), grapefruit. All of the individual veggies were in addition to the veggies that were also in the mega salad (many duplicates).

Dinner - spinach, garlic, onion, and pepper all lightly cooked in olive oil, with 3 eggs over-easy over the spinach mixture. This was really good!

Dessert - apple

Water - 1 gallon today. In addition to the increased pee breaks, I've also been pretty gassy the past couple days. I thought it was processed foods that were supposed to do this to people, not whole foods.

It sure does take a lot longer to prepare all of this food than I'm used to. My cutting boards, knives, and tupperware are all definitely working overtime. I had a little bit of a craving for something more substantial not long after dinner, but it didn't last long. I was planning on chicken and rice for dinner, but since I changed my mind on that, today ended up being a vegetarian day (and if not for the 3 eggs, it would have been a vegan day).
I just thought another picture needed to be added in the middle of this post. Sascha and Lucie taking the scenic route down Black Butte.
Wednesday, Dec. 8:
Okay, I'm definitely o.d.ing on veggies here. After once again eating a gigantic salad at work, I decided I haven't been eating enough fruit and animal protein. That changed tonight with a big chicken breast and super tasty sweet potato. I decided that tomorrow I won't be taking another 3.3 liters worth of salad to work; instead more fruit, sprouted bagels, and almond butter, in addition to just some veggies to snack on.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana.

Lunch, snacks - handful of almonds, handful of sunflower seeds, fat salad (consisting of spinach, onion, radishes, green pepper, green beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, olive oil, pepper), apple. Once again my boss brought goodies to work, this time in the form of fudge. I'm seeing a trend here. Despite uncharacteristically not eating any of the treats, nobody at work has noticed and thus, haven't quizzed me about my eating habits this week (they have, however, stared in amazement as I chow down on the huge salads).

Dinner - chicken breast, sweet potato with cinnamon (super tasty!), strawberries.

Unlike the last 2 nights, I didn't have any cravings tonight after dinner, which I believe is due to the more substantial animal protein dinner I had (the chicken breast was pretty big). After dinner I felt pretty bloated. I contribute that partially to my dinner, but more to all of the water I ate via the veggies in addition to the 150 oz of water I drank.

Less than 3 days to go and everything is good. It might be a little tougher tomorrow night as I'm going out to dinner at Jackson's Corner for Darla's birthday. I've never really noticed if this "healthy" restarant has much in the way of whole foods. Guess I'll find out soon enough (they do, however, have super good cookies and cinnamon rolls!).

Thursday, Dec. 9:
Since I'm working 4-10s at work right now, today was the last day of work this week, so although that will help take away some of the temptations (today 2 girls brought in rice krisy treats for an office taste test), I won't have the eating structure the next couple of days that I do on work days.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana.

Lunch, snacks - apple, sprouted bagel with almond butter, orange, handful of almonds, avocado with sunflower sprinkled on top.

Dinner - Jackson's Corner for Darla's birthday and it was great. Andrea made sure everything I ordered was within my guidelines. Thai salad (modified dressing from the usual), cucumbers, beef. This was sooooooo good (although I think it could have used some salt) and filling. Andrea was nice enough to bring 6 fancy cupcakes for Darla, and Darla graciously shared with the crew for dessert. Yes, I was a little bummed to have not been enjoying the chocolate/peanut butter chip cupcake, but I didn't have any huge cravings for it.

Today was a good day. My lunch and snacks at work were a nice change from the overdose of veggies the past few days, and the beef in the Thai salad really hit the spot. I drank about 140 oz of water, so about normal for me. Also, I wasn't nearly as gassy as the past few days, which I think is a mixture of my body adapting to more veggies than it's used to, plus just not eating as many veggies today. I had a mild headache at work for about an hour. At first I thought it was probably a no-sugar headache, but that didn't make a lot of sense to me because if that was going to happen, it would have on Sunday or Monday (this was my first headache in a loooooooooong time). Andrea thought it was probably from lower calories than I'm used to (probably even lack-of calories). That theory sounds more plausible.

Friday, Dec. 10:
Day off from work, so I slept in then went for a long walk around town with Sascha, which including stopping at the grocery store so I could buy ingredients to make Chocolate Revel Bars for the CORK Christmas Party tomorrow night. I noticed I was feeling a little weak and had a stuffy nose. Blah. As is typical on days off, my eating was sporadic.

Breakfast, lunch, snacks - banana, grapefruit, apple, cucumber, radishes, grape tomatoes, green beans, green pepper, broccoli (thankfully I was able to eat some veggies again today)

Dinner - 2 big bowls of big fat tasty stew again with round roast, white onion, green onion, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, potatoes, carrots, radishes, fresh ground pepper. While tasty, it was definitely a little bland. Usually I would put a can of El Pato Mexican tomato sauce in stew to add spice.
The second of 2 beef stews I made this week. Both were really good and hearty, but slightly bland.
Dessert - banana

The most difficult part of today was baking the Chocolate Revel bars. Not so much because I craved a bar (I didn't), but moreso because when cooking or baking I usually snack on the ingredients. I had to conscientiously tell myself a few times that I couldn't have those chocolate chips, or lick the beaters when I was done mixing it. I made it through the experience unscathed.

I only drank about 60-70 oz of water today. Less than 24 hours to go - easy schmeasy. On a side note, Andrea and I started watching the entire Lost series tonight. After 6 hours we had made it through 8 episodes.

Saturday, Dec. 11:
This last day really was pretty easy. When I woke up I felt light, so decided to weigh myself. I was down 3 lbs for the week. I definitely attribute it to the diet, especially since there was no running. After another couple Lost episodes, we took the dogs for a nice walk around Suttle Lake in super heavy, wet snow where I finished feeling like a popsicle. I'm not going to lie - a nice cup of hot cocoa in front of the big fire would have really hit the spot, but that wasn't an option. Instead I went home and finished off the stew.

Breakfast - 5-grain hot cereal with almond butter

Lunch - stew

The 168 hours ended in fine style at the Lava City Roller Dolls roller derby match. Anticipating the moment, I took a few chocolate revel bars in with me, and few minutes before the time was up, I bought a PBR (that fit nicely in the PBR beer koozy I had just won). 6:29 came and the first thing in my mouth was a drink of PBR followed closely by a revel bar. They both tasted good (okay, the revel bars tasted really good), but I didn't get a noticable sugar buzz or anything like that. After roller derby I went to a Christmas party and feasted on more non-whole food, including ham, pizza, and Pepsi, as well as Darla's delicious salad that I'm pretty sure was whole foods compliant. Anyway, again there was no noticable sugar buzz, and nothing tasted over-the-top awesome, nor did I feel sick from it.
First the PBR...
....then the chocolate revel bar.
So, what did I learn? Well, I didn't have any big epiphanies, nor do I feel like I'm now going to save the world or anything like that. It definitely takes a bit more time to prepare whole foods, especially all of the veggies I took to work vs. the few veggies I usually take along with a Clif bar. Making fat salads also takes longer to make than an almond butter and jam sandwich, plus the huge salads also take a lot longer to eat than the ab&j. But aside from the veggie o.d. earlier in the week, I enjoyed the whole foods week. 

I definitely don't think I'll ever go 100% whole foods. For me that's just not realistic, as I really enjoy things like nuun, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cheese fries. I don't want to give up those treats. But I do believe I will now be generally more conscientious about the food I buy and eat. I could see myself going to 80-90% whole foods; I think that is reasonable. I'm also glad I did this for a week as opposed to a day, as I really do think a day doesn't prove anything, nor would it allow me to get into any sort of routine. I'll definitely do this diet again, and I think 2 weeks would be an even better experiment (just not this time of year with all of the Christmas treats coming my way).
Post-whole foods breakfast at Chow. That's a breakfast sandwich filled with eggs, bratwurst, avocado and tomato with 2 pancakes used as the bread! I washed it down with a bloody mary.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Sean! You make me laugh! I just can't imagine giving up the margaritas! There a good "prerace, postrace" addition!

Jill ;)

Rooster said...

That was awesome and congratulations. You did prove that ultra runners can pretty much do anything because the decide to. A hard concept for lots to embrace. Especially when it comes to losing weight or changing eating habits. Change is tough but the excuses I hear for not making necessary changes are numerous. Of course, none of this applies to you but it does showcase that it can be done. And...you need more food. Next time eat more protein sources and more complex carbs like potatoes. Can you afford to lose 3 lbs. :).

saschasdad said...

Rooster, thanks for the potato suggestion. I had actually planned to eat some during the week, which I usually do a couple times per week anyway, but for some reason the only potato that made it in last week was a single sweet potato. I'll definitely add in more next time.
Trust me, 3 lbs this time of year is easily loseable (not quite sure if that's actually a word)!

sharmanian said...

Nice idea, Sean. I think it'd be a fun experiment to try and might even improve energy levels and general god feeling (compared to Diet Coke and snacks at work, this probably isn't hard).

Ian

Anonymous said...

Mt Mitchell for the first time? Bring your snowshoes- as a local who will be running again this year I can tell you it will be deep. Probably 3 to 4 feet on the mountain as of jan 12. Come enjoy some southern culture and one hell of a run!!

Anonymous said...

Wait you are not running the challenge you are doing the marathon. Why? All the fun begins when the marathon turns around, do the challenge!!!

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I think that it is a great idea to do so. Because you can heal your body and avoid any innecessary injury.