Saturday, May 06, 2017

HalfAss30: the real work

Whole30 is part of the May reset.  I'm putting this out there because I'm sure it will come up over the next three weeks (as the testing turns to fire).

My friend Lindsay and I are doing this together.  Our original plan was to launch HalfAss30, which was going to take the world by storm.  It was a slight variation: we'd follow whole30 but eat rice, quinoa, corn (but not chips, my week staple), beans and honey -- keep it real with grits, tortillas, corn on the cob, hummus, and other small joys.  Losing D A G S (dairy, alcohol, gluten and sugar) seemed more than a gargantuan demand.

As we've gotten into it, though, we've become a little less half -- we axed beans and honey (except those coco dusted almonds from Trader Joe's...), corn, rice, and I may even drop quinoa...

So, the HalfAss30 has morphed into Near-Whole30 (I make chocolately smoothies -- illegal but made from all legal ingredients).  Week one texts reflect the texts of all the people who've ever done Whole30:

day 4 like a boss!

eating bacon

I'm hungry...

We can do this!

photo sauteed vegetables in skillet (emoji of muscle arm)

are french fries allowed?


how about sweet potato french fries?


photo sauteed vegetables in skillet (emoji of muscle arm)

still hungry...

Let's move to France and eat cheese and butter

fried eggs are stupid without toast

coffee without cream and sugar (emoji of sobbing face)

keep on! photo sauteed vegetables in skillet (emoji of muscle arm)

so much almond butter

stomach not happy

eating bacon with these photo sauteed vegetables in skillet (emoji of muscle arm)

still hungry 

what would I do without Netflix?

kids making brownies !(#$^#&@*

I didn't eat them! (emoji of 5 trophies)

photo sauteed vegetables in skilled  hate everyone

But we are doing it.  And six days in I have a few observations:
(they get deeper as they go)

1. Family problem: Maeve eats no vegetables.  Zero.  Not a carrot stick.  Not a friendly slice of cucumber.  Zero vegetables.  *Occassionally* I can make her a smoothie with kale, but it's a rare day she drinks a whole smoothie, so it comes out to probably a quarter of a leaf.  Maeve also eats no meat.  Zero.  Not a piece of bacon.  Not a hotdog.  Not a chicken nugget.  Zero meat.
I am eating meat and vegetables.  All day long.  Today as we were making tuna, Ben pointed out that there is no bread in the house.  And no cheese.  And no yogurt or corn chips or tortillas.  Apparently, I now only shop for myself.  He and Maeve are at the store .

2. I have apparently been dehydrated for months and months.  Welcome, water.

3.  Tea and I have gotten back together, and suddenly I drink it all day long like I used to -- morning into night.  (It's also chilly and grey here -- all the more reason).  Can one have too much tea?

3.  I am low-grade hungry All.  The.  Time.  (this is the important one).
I'm sure there's something about learning to eat without staples (and learning to like it -- turns out I only love eggs if they're on buttered toast or scrambled with Parmesan...), but there's more.

The first few days I felt hungry all the time, even after I'd just eaten a full meal.  What was that?  I actually wasn't hungry but my mouth really wanted me to put  a piece of buttered toast, some chocolate, or a bowl of cereal in it.  That made enough sense --  the deprived, craving, told-"no" parts of me were all rebelling.

But as the days have gone by and this background hunger's continued, I've had to ask the next layer of questions --> what's that hunger about?  If my body is sated, but my mouth is still asking for  a cappuccino with frothy whole milk/almond cake/avocado on toast, what in me is asking to be fed? Something.

When Lindsay and I were planning the HalfAss30, we were talking with friends about poor self care, and the word escape came up.  Were we trying to escape throughout our weeks?  We figured we'd check it out.  (And of course the answer was, yes).  That, apparently, is the real work of Whole30: trying to figure out what's happening at the gut level (not literally, though that may come up, too - ha).  What beasts in us are trying to be fed; what are the actual cravings?

SO, that's what I'm doing these days, tuning into the growling want of comfort, connection, and reward, and the impulse to eject from stress, boredom, expectations -- and I'm feeling hungry at the same time.

Hoping this is the learning curve...

Buying Deodorant with the Firstborn

A little over a year ago, Silas's cousin got her first stick of deodorant.

It was a family affair.  Everyone smelled it.  She seemed always to have it in her hand as she walked around the house.  Every child checked his and her armpits regularly to make sure they didn't, too, didn't need deodorant.  It was exciting.

The months passed.  The sweaty summer ended.  The move happened.  And no one thought about deodorant anymore.

Until a week ago.

Silas, freshly 11, walked into my room with his arms hanging at his sides but held awkwardly away from his body.
Mom.  It's so weird.  My sweat didn't smell but now it does.
No way!  Come here!  I sniffed, and lordy! he smelled.  Real deal BO.

The natural first step was a pilgrimage to the Ralph's deodorant aisle, just the two of us.

For those of you who haven't done this yet, beware of the dangers of over-smelling.  It's what happens when you smell them all trying to find a child-appropriate scent and end up no longer being able to distinguish among them and lose all perspective.  It's what happens when you come home with your childly proudly toting Old Spice because it "smells like laundry" and has  a picture of an octopus on the label and is called "krakengard" -- what is cooler?  So much better than the white Arm & Hammer...

It took all of one second standing in our own kitchen and watching my friend Amy look at the stick to know I'd gone wrong.  After all the smelling, I'd bought high-school-boyfriend!

No offense to anyone who wears Old Spice (Ben is often among you), and there is a place for high-school-boyfriend scent, I actually like it, but this, this tender time of first deodorant, was not the place.  #nogoingbackonceyouwearfakemanscent  -- This was a fail.

You may be able to imagine how instantly attached Silas had become to said stick and how much pride swelled in him when he looked at the octopus and unpronounceable name.  And you may be able to imagine how deep the disappointment ran when I told him we immediately had to go back to Ralphs to try again...

But, I held strong, and we did it.  Came home with Speed Stick in hand and the Kragengard in Ben's medicine cabinet instead.  On this road of inching toward puberty with the first born: Rite of Passage #1, check.

40: a Shift Toward Nourishment

For two weeks, it was Monday and then it was Sunday -- just like that.  Fast.
Sunday morning, I paused and sat for an hour.  What had I been doing during those days that had blown by?  Where was the creating? the writing? the movement? the stretching? the focused quiet? the vegetables? the water?  the board games with Maeve?  the swim lessons?

Kitchen happy hour had started early pretty much every night and lingered.  I'd fed my brain shows and stayed up late doing nothing.  I'd made lists and run errands and felt busy, even productive.  But by Sunday, I was starving.  The next week, too.

In the middle of this, Phil Wood, our preaching guy, talked about (this is worth listening to) the place deep inside us that can get off balance and start us spinning in that lopsided, momentum-driven, wobble-spin that's hard to even out, especially because it's deep.

This had happened.  And instead of quieting and doing the work of straightening myself out, I'd gone faster, crowded my days, planned things, made lists.  Yes, there were hormones involved.  Yes, my whole family had just come for birthday and Easter and left, but for the most part, the week was normal, and I was lost in it.  And again in the next.

When I hit raw imbalance, I'm always amazed by how little we really know about each other.  We people present well.  I presented so well that even I didn't know (the most alarming part) that somewhere deep, I was starving myself.

Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?  Gentle?

April was funny -- the best of times in so many ways: I turned 40 (more about that later!) and celebrated all the way through the last day of the month, deeply nourished by people I adore.  And also in there, between the celebrations, a slippery sense of self-neglect was growing.

Early in the morning when I wake up (or Maeve wakes me), I really have no choice but to get out of bed.  I can lie there and pretend round two of deep sleep will come, but it won't; I'm awake; the day's begun.  And so it is with my 40 year old self.  I'm awake and there's nothing to do but get out of bed, so May is my month of reset.  I'm not going to list lofty resolutions, because who wants to read that (or be held accountable!), but it's real.  In my first month of 40, I am awake.  I'm watching how I treat myself, way down deep, watching what I chase after and what I neglect.  At 40, it is time to step into the day and nourish myself, be well-fed, way down deep.