As you may remember, this paleo cleanse was part of the comprehensive strategy to tether myself to some sanity immediately post-stillborn, while I was still on leave from work and life turned frighteningly sad and shapeless in a hurry. My eating habits had degenerated into nightly homemade ice cream saucers in lieu of any real dinner and fatty diner breakfasts replete with cheese, bacon, and fried potatoes. All the self-prescribed and clandestinely procured ‘medical marijuana’ (coping strategy #11…after your baby dies) proved to further exacerbate the downward spiral of my overall health and my general feelings of self-loathing while getting dressed each day – expanding muffin top, baby weight but no baby – so I instituted something drastic to wrench myself back on the path to relative normalcy. Here’s a look, in pictures, for folks who were wondering:
Life without dairy, grains, and processed sugar is not as earth-shattering as it seems. You relearn how to eat the things you love in adapted forms, like a Bubba burger without the bun…or the cheese…and mustard instead of ketchup…in a butter lettuce wrap. Does this look like suffering?
Meals at home seemed to involve an extraordinary amount of ‘zucchini noodles,’ so much so that upgraded my spiralizer to avoid further gashing my index finger on this weird metal protrusion inside the one I was initially using.
I highly recommend having frozen shrimp on-hand for when you forget to defrost something for dinner because your former life in which you could “just pick something up” is a distant memory. These can quickly transition from the freezer to your plate without all the drama, especially if the grocery store happened to stock broccolini (yum!) that week. A little toasted sesame oil and a few dashes of coconut aminos, and voila – a totally respectable stir-fry on the fly.
Or a quiche, as eggs and coconut milk will also become your best friends when you’re trying to cook something that makes sense without trekking to the store. I should also mention that prosciutto becomes the new bacon, since bacon is usually cured with sugar. Throw it on a little parchment paper in the toaster oven, and it crisps up just the same. Dallas and Melissa won’t leave you stranded to starve and then binge in shame. There’s a halfway decent app that offers daily encouragement and a few recipes. I made these stuffed peppers with an adapted version of their “almond porridge” to substitute as filling where I would normally use rice, mixed with zucchini noodles that I salted to drain out the excess moisture. They were tasty!
That’s arugula salad with lemon and olive oil in the background. I loved that long before Whole 30. As far as carbohydrates go, potatoes are technically allowed, but orange is preferred over white, which you should limit significantly. Accordingly, I broke out my favorite mashed potato alternative: cauliflower and celeriac puree, featured here with lemon roasted salmon and green beans.
Celeriac (or celery root) is ugly on the outside, but simmered in chicken broth with the cauliflower and mashed with roasted garlic, it will add this perfectly earthy quality to the puree, sparing you from missing the potatoes so much.
In sum, I lost a little weight, but nothing groundbreaking. However, it did a fine job of purging my system of the bloat, and I emerged flat-bellied and energized. As far as all the other claims about using this as a miracle panacea for a gamut of chronic conditions, I did not experience that. To really deal with my nagging IBS, I’ll probably have to quit drinking coffee again, and I’m just not ready, dammit! (In fact, that 4-day bout of suffering is scheduled for the end of the month, when I am done with work and diving headlong into transfer endeavors.)