My Quest to Eradicate Cheddar and Become a Healthier Me

Tag Archives: It Starts with Food

I used a random number generator to pick a winner for the It Starts with Food giveaway!

And the winner is….Rachel Ball!

Congratulations Rachel!  Send me a message on Facebook or email me at cuttingthecheeseblog@gmail.com so I can send you the prize 🙂

Thanks for entering everyone!

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My birthday is Friday (yay!), and I wanted to do a giveaway to celebrate 🙂 I was trying to think of the best thing to offer you all, and I realized I needed to go back to my roots…my Paleo roots that is 🙂 So…I’m going to give away a copy of It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, which outlines how to do a Whole30 which I did last year. This book literally changed my life, inspired me to start this blog, and has gone so far as to inspire me to learn more about biochemistry, permaculture, meditation, and farming practices! (WHOA!) And this all comes from a person that grew up in the suburbs of Chicago! Now, Dallas and Melissa clearly state that the basis for the book is health, not necessarily the ancestral/paleolithic way of thinking. So if you’re not interested in that angle, which is fine, this book is still a great way to think differently about your overall health.

So please hop on over to my Facebook page, Cutting the Cheese, like it, and comment on my giveaway post. This contest ends on Friday, 9/6 at 10pm CST!

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Well I did my abbreviated version of a Whole30 with success. It’s been almost a year since I did my first (and only) Whole30, and I forgot (and was reminded) of some things.

1. Eating out. One lesson I was reminded of was how hard it is to eat out! Regardless of the quality of meat restaurants use, one thing that really gets me is the oils they are probably using. I’m usually too skittish to ask, but I’m guessing most restaurants don’t use Organic Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. I guess that might seem like I am really snobby, however, I feel that I have good reason to be picky about this. Also, it is very likely that there might be hidden sugars in food. The best bet is to order a salad, dressing on the side (or request olive oil and balsamic). On many instances, I did eat prior to eating out since I knew I might be limited. I learned that even though I’m afraid, I do need to ask questions when eating out.

2. I love sugar! I really do, well maybe just my brain does (same thing?). The first couple days were pretty challenging in this regard, however, after that it wasn’t too difficult. Fruit provided a perfect sugar fix that didn’t make me feel like total crap afterwards.

3. Variety exists! When I started this journey last year, it was difficult for me to think about variety. In the past year, I have experimented with different types of meat and seasonings, and variety is much more common for me. I have experimented with vegetables like chard, bok choy, kale, etc instead of sticking to lettuce and spinach. I experimented with lamb and pork, which I was very frightened of last year.

4. I feel great. That is a given. I knew I’d feel fabulous when I did this, even though it was only 7 days. My stomach felt at ease, I slept well, my sinus problems reduced, and I didn’t wake up feeling fat 🙂 The funny thing is that even though I can afford to lose a few more pounds, it wasn’t my main goal. It was an added benefit, but I’m so glad I am less focused on this aspect. As one of my favorite podcasters Jason Seib from the Everyday Paleo Lifestyle & Fitness podcast says “Healthy by choice, hot by accident” 🙂

This goes to show that doing something like this, even for a short time, really proves that changes in diet can impact health and happiness. If I did this longer, it would have made even more of a difference!

I do want to do a Whole30 again before the end of the year. I’m thinking I will do it the month of my birthday (September), so stay tuned 🙂

 


So…that might sound kinda weird right? Isn’t the Whole30 for 30 days? Well it is, but many people change it up after they have actually done a Whole30. I’m choosing 7 days because I know next weekend I will be in some situations where it’s inappropriate for me to eat meat, and, I really just need to do something right now.

So my Whole7 starts TODAY, and I really think it will give me a jump start. While I have mainly stuck to my new eating lifestyle, I have been sneaking in sweets here and there. A couple days ago, I went a little too overboard, and I felt awful at night and when I woke up – physically and mentally. Now I have the tools to help me in these situations as opposed to just feeling sorry for myself!

I just wanted to get my new commitment out in the blogosphere to keep myself accountable! Who knows, it might become a Whole8, 9, 21??? For now I will commit to a week and see how I feel.

That’s it for now!


So as I mentioned in my last post, I intended to introduce food groups one at a time back into my eating regimen.  Well…that didn’t go to well.  I only added dairy for the first 2 days, but then on the 3rd day I went to a Chicago Air and Water Show party.  The spread of delicious food was amazing!  There were unlimited drinks and desserts galore!  I think I got a little too excited.  While the desserts were gluten free, I definitely had other foods that were not along with many other sugary delights.  For me, it was really hard to just do one food group at a time because my body just started craving more “bad stuff” once I started!  I hadn’t felt like that in over a month, and I did NOT like that feeling.

On the Whole30, I really enjoyed that I never felt bloated and flabby.  I mean, wouldn’t you??  It was a great feeling.  However, I know that it might not always be realistic.  In ISWF, they mention that it may take a few times of re-entry to understand your cravings and know how to eat without going nuts after the Whole30 is over.  So…I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much.  But, getting back into a non-Whole30 diet definitely gave me perspective!   It made me realize that I am MUCH happier when I adhere to the Whole30 guidelines (I’m not gonna lie. One thing I am holding on to is my coffee with Splenda.  So far I don’t feel many negative effects from doing so).

While I wasn’t able to isolate how I felt with each particular food group, I can tell you that eating how I used to reminded me of how not so great I used to feel.  I got more sinus headaches (which I used to get weekly), stomach pain, not as wonderful sleep, and some irritability in terms of my temperament.  None of these feelings were fun, but I am happy that I experienced them.  Why, you ask?  Well, now I know how I CAN feel if I eat good, natural, unprocessed, whole foods 🙂  I am happier and healthier.  Sounds easy, right? 😉  Now when I eat something that isn’t as healthy, I have a full understanding of the potential consequences.

The Whole9 Facebook page had a really great post the other day:

The simple absence of grains or dairy or whathaveyou in stuff you eat doesn’t make it “Paleo”. A Paleo way of life is about choosing to partake in a “nutrient-dense life”, complete with deeply nourishing food, emotionally satisfying social relationships, and genuine interaction with the natural (i.e. outside) world. Embrace the spirit of the lifestyle instead of seeking ways to work around it. Relying on a blend of dried fruit and nuts isn’t “Paleo” – it’s just overeating trail mix.

This statement reflects the thoughts my original post about doing Whole30 in the first place. I really have been trying to embrace this lifestyle concept.  However, the greatest difficulty so far is to not look/seem like a “picky” eater or inflexible.  I never was picky with what I ate.  However, finding a way of eating that truly makes me feel good, actually GREAT, makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing!  Sometimes it’s hard to explain/make someone believe that I’m declining the cake, candy, bread, etc because I really don’t want it, not because I “can’t” have it.  It’s a work in progress.  I guess the point is that I’m not trying to convince others.  If I did that all the time, I would never be happy.  Also, if change were comfortable, it wouldn’t be so hard, right?

What types of things have you changed in your life for the better or worse?


As of Wednesday evening, I finished my first Whole30!  The reason I say “first” is because it was such a great experience, I plan to do it again.  I learned a lot throughout this past month.  I’m going to summarize my lessons and triumphs in this post, and I hope they are helpful to anyone that decides to follow suit!  Overall, you can see my progress on Pounds and Inches (between mid-July and now).  I definitely lost some pounds and inches while doing this!

1. BE PREPARED!:  There were a few times that I had to resort to making scrambled eggs for dinner.  I do love eggs, but I also have my limit 🙂  Cooking a big batch of food over the weekend and throwing it in the freezer is the best bet for preparation and to avoid temptation!

2. Ask questions:  While I did try to prepare my meals at home the majority of the time, there were some instances where I ate out in restaurants.  I always hoped that dishes would be perfectly described on the menu, but typically they were not.  I hated having to basically ask exactly how restaurants made certain dishes.   Typically, I’m not very particular with food, so I felt like I was probably perceived as being very nit-picky.  Then I realized that I’m doing this for ME.  It’s my health, and the only person that will really lose out is myself.  Before I ordered, I tried to ensure that there was no added sugar in dishes, and I always asked them to use olive oil for cooking.  Another question I typically asked is if they used any cream in the preparation.  I’m really glad I asked what was necessary because not only did it keep me Whole30 compliant, but it was also a great reminder that I’m doing this for my own well-being.

3. Hydrate!: I saw the least difference week-to-week when I was not drinking enough water throughout the day.    When I drank water, I was more full, and I noticed more loss on my body.

4. A Natural Glow:  A huge benefit from my Whole30 experience was how great my skin looked!  I’m really not trying to boast here, but it was easy to see the difference.  It looks brighter, healthier, and I had less blemishes.  Even if I forgot to wash my face at night (unfortunately, I’m guilty of this every now and then), it was still nice in the morning!  I even left the house a few times with no makeup, and I didn’t feel as “undone” as I had in the past.

5.  Well-rested:  I don’t really have trouble sleeping, however, I do typically wake up a couple times in the middle of the night and fall back to sleep.  In the past month, I truly felt that my sleep was very deep.  If I did get up in the middle of the night, it was usually after 4 am.  In the past, it happened a couple times between 1am and 3am.  The deep sleep did make it hard to wake up when I had to though.  BUT I did end up having…

6. More Energy!:  Once I dragged myself out of bed, I really felt like I had more energy throughout the day.  In turn, this increased my productivity and improved my mood.  I was also less irritable.  I really believe this was because I was putting whole foods into my body.

7. Confidence:  I really stuck to this program.  I thought people would perceive me as being extreme or picky because I was doing this.  The funny thing is, many people commended me for my commitment!  I really think that I set a good example for myself, and, in turn, it positively affected others.  I’m really grateful to whoever cooked me dinner in the past month and was kind enough to listen and comply with my requests.  I felt so confident about my ability to really stick to a plan at the end.  I always found a way to “cheat” with other diets or plans.  This really put my body AND mind to a test, and it only helped me.

As of now, I am starting to introduce non-Whole30 foods back into my diet ONE  food group at a time with the rest of my diet staying Whole30 compliant (so when I am done trying dairy, I will stop having dairy and try the next food group).  The point of this is to see how each group isolated makes me feel (Do I get a headache? Do I feel congested? Does it feel like my stomach is about to explode?).  For Days 1-3, I am re-introducing dairy, I plan on adhering to it for the most part with a few treats scattered about.  In accordance with ISWF,  I have been introducing certain food groups back into my diet to see how it affects me.  On days 4-6, I will have gluten-containin grains such as pasta and bread.  Days 7-9 I will have non-gluten rains including rice and tortilla chips.  Days 10-12 I will have legumes including peanut butter, tofu, and beans.  This is merely an experiment to see if one food group affects me more than others.  I’m looking forward to what I will discover through these little experiments.

The best part about this whole experience is that (1) I want to do it again (2) I felt so great that I plan to keep eating this way with a few “slips” here and there (3) I DID IT!


Whoops!  I know I have been a little MIA, so please do forgive me!  I’m in my last week of Whole30!  Time really has flown, but I’m excited for this post because it shows all the goodies I have been making!  As I mentioned in my last update, I wanted to try some new recipes to spice up my menu.  Sometimes it’s hard to find recipes where I can remove the butter, cheese, a soy product, dressings, or sugar, and be left with something tasty.  So where do I find recipes?  So far, I have used the following sources for finding new recipes:

1. Pinterest – If you haven’t used Pinterest, it’s time to join in on the fun 🙂  There are so many great ideas for recipes, home decoration, organization, jewelry, crafts, you name it!  It’s so fun and visual.  And of course, Pinterest has an iPhone app which I definitely use about 5 minutes before I fall asleep…which leads to an additional 30 minutes of being awake.  I have a board for Whole30 Recipes on Pinterest.  This week I’m planning to make these avocados with eggs in the middle from one of my pins:

2. It Starts with Food – This is the original Whole30 plan written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, outlining the reasons for living Whole30 lifestyle, and what you should do after 30 days.  It also has cool recipes in the back of the book!  While I haven’t made any recipes directly from the book, I have borrowed ingredients and made my own.  It does a great job explaining how to cook meats.  I grew up in a vegetarian household, so this was very helpful for me!  I made the Citrus Chicken recipe this past weekend:

3. Well Fed – This is another great book by Melissa Joulwan.  This is pretty much a straight-up recipe book.  I have made the olive oil mayo and roasted cumin carrots recipes which were both amazingly delicious!  I had no idea mayo could be made at home so simply!  I also didn’t realize the delicious flavor that cumin and cinnamon can bring out from roasted carrots 🙂  This book is really great, and it has beautiful pictures!  I made these roasted cumin carrots a couple weeks ago (yes, I used purple carrots).  This past weekend I made some more Olive Oil Mayo (it tastes like real mayo!), Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, and Nori Chips!

4.  Nom Nom Paleo app:  This is both a blog and an app!  I had “liked” them on Facebook, and saw that they had an app with lots of recipes.  It was $4.99 (I typically try not to spend too much money on apps), however, it had rave reviews!  I figured if I were to spend less than $5 on a recipe book, I would be getting a deal, so therefore I bought this app 🙂  I recently bought this, so I haven’t made anything yet, however, I can tell that it’s a winner.  It has great step-by-step instructions (with pictures!!) from making simple concoctions like bone broth to more more involved recipes like Stir-Fried Kelp Noodles.  It also has cool features including a shopping list where you can add ingredients directly from recipes and some Paleo 101 for those new to the lifestyle.  Also, the great thing about an app is that there are eventually updates!  So I’m hoping that more recipes and features will be added. After I got the app, I checked out the blog which also has great recipes (you can also read the blog directly from the app!).

5.  Whole30 / Paleo Blogs:  I have been enjoying reading other blogs from like-minded folks.  Oftentimes, they also have great recipes!  Some of the blogs I have been following are: Civilized Caveman Cooking; Smart, Sexy, Paleo; Everyday Paleo; and Mark’s Daily Apple.  This week, I’m planning to use my new slow cooker (YAY!) to make some Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers from Civilized Caveman Cooking.

So…this is how I’m venturing into a new world.  I’m 3 and a half weeks into my Whole30, and it’s been really great!  I think for my first time around, I’m doing pretty well.  However, I’m happy that I’m incorporating some more variety for this last week.  I’m looking forward to eating some of my new creations this week 🙂



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