That’s the advice my medically-recommended masseuse gave me the other day when he handed me a tennis ball. Anytime, but best when I need to be in a static position for a while anyway, I should place this tennis ball between me and whatever I’m resting on or against. I should position the tennis ball such that I feel a similar pain to when I receive my deep tissue massage. So, when I was driving the other day, I put the tennis ball behind my hip. Sure enough, the next day my hip was feeling much better.
There’s something deeply satisfying about experiencing intense pain now to solve lingering pain later. I suppose anything that solves lingering pain is satisfying, but the fact that I can feel pain and use it as a guide that I’m doing something good for me makes the pain bearable. Wait, bearable is not the right word, it’s great. I like the pain. It hurts good.
Somehow this psychological effect hasn’t quite made it to exercise. I like to think it’s getting there, though. Sometimes when my morning push ups start to get enervating, I gasp “HEALTH!!!” This has been enough to keep me going, but it doesn’t make exercise as fun as having a tennis ball grind into my musculature.
I want to admit here that last post was exaggerated. I say this because I heard that some of my poor readers we’re very upset. Let me apologize. In fact, I was not descending into Lovecraftian madness from the food I’d been forced to eat last week. Nevertheless, I was more than happy to hew closer to recipes this week. This week I had hamburgers with avocado mayonnaise and mustard every night. Those were the only three ingredients. Sometimes I used kale as a bun, other times I used slices of green tomato I had mistakenly bought based on a recipe that was in fact calling for green onion. I think the huge amount of animal fat gave me a resurgence of acne. During the day I had roast vegetables and chicken. The vegetables were flavored with the fat I had drained from the hamburgers and from the chicken, so they tasted pretty darn good.
I’m going to make a Whole30 chili using the broth I made from my colossal number of chicken bones. I finally agreed to take my sister’s advice and not include onion skins and cruciferous vegetables, and my broths now taste delicious instead of deathly bitter. I can admit that Rachel was right here because I’m confident she will never read my blog. It’s as good as a diary.
There are two days left until I can start experimenting with adding things back to transition to an eating lifestyle. I’m not supposed to measure my weight or my waistline, but I’m glad that I got into the habit of wearing a belt years ago, because none of my pants fit anymore. I’ve also had more energy and felt more positive. It’s not a panacea by any means, but I do think it’s had a marked impact. I’ve also been doing lots of other things – exercise, yoga, sleeping on a mat on the floor instead of my too-soft bed to name a few, so it’s hard to isolate one factor. If I can keep up all of this, though, why not? It’s not critical to know the exact details of what’s helping the most.
Adding things back in the last phase of Whole30 works as follows:
- Add exactly one banned item back for one day
- Pay attention to how you feel for the next three days (including two completely Whole30 days
- Note your reactions for later consultation when planning your lifestyle moving forward.
You’re not actually adding things back one by one to gradually leave the diet, which surprised me. While experimenting, you should only have one exception to the rules at any given time. Let me put my schedule down here.
November 20th: Grains (Non-gluten) – This is quinoa and rice. These should never be a huge part of a diet, since they’re carbs, but they do make it easier to extend other foods and they taste so good. The official recommendation is to do this after legumes, but legumes will be important for Thanksgiving.
November 23rd (Thanksgiving): Legumes – this includes peanuts, which are pretty much my favorite food. Also, it includes all beans. Why this and not grains? Well, I figure at my father’s family’s Thanksgiving everything with grains is likely to have added sugar or something else bad as well. I know my mother is bringing hummus, so legumes will give me access to that high-protein option, and maybe there will be a peanut-oil fried turkey, although fried food introduces so many other problems it probably should be a category to itself. Dairy would be the next best option, but that might not open up much more than mashed potatoes and a few butter-cooked veggies. Soy is also on this list. Legumes is a huge category! Soymilk is my number one priority. I can do a lot more with smoothies when soymilk is on the table. Almond milk is allowed on Whole30, but has the disadvantage that it tastes repulsive. Soy sauce will also be welcome back, and miso as well.
November 26th: Dairy – Cheese should never again be the mammoth in my diet it once was. Unbanning it will open various options. Of everything I’ve given up, cheeseburgers have been what I’ve missed the most. I don’t think I want to lose cheese in my life.
November 29th: Gluten – The crown king of foods for short term bad health. The last time I thought I reacted poorly to gluten, my gastroenterologist told me I should just stop eating like a maniac and I’d be fine. So, I will not buy a whole La-farm loaf and attempt to eat it all in one day, I will not force a reluctant pizza shop employee to fill a calzone with ricotta cheese*, I will not see how many meatloaf communion wafers I can fit into my mouth at once. Honestly, I don’t think meatloaf communion wafers are actually a thing, David Perlmutter be damned to Catholic hell.
Then on December 2nd, I’ll be off the diet. It’ll be about moderation rather than exclusion from there on out, much to the relief of the growing number of people who have plans to cook for me.
*This is not one of those crazy-sounding things that tastes surprisingly good. I could not finish it. I do not recommend it
Featured image credit: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Sir_Harry_the_Tennis_Ball