i promised leather pants and a headband

Thank you for tuning in for today’s riveting conclusion.  In  yesterday’s post I reflected on what I have learned and gained from my 30 days without caffeine.  Today I will share what my future plans are with caffeine…

For the past week I have been giving a lot of thought as to what I’m going to do now that my 30 days are up…In my brain, I cannot get Axl’s voice out of my head screaming, “where do we go now…ooooaaaoooaaa.”  In Sweet Child O Mine (in case you didn’t get that reference), Axl is singing about his tumultuous relationship with a woman –  Likely a woman who is rough around the edges sporting red stilettos,  teased hair and 2 distinct tones of eyeshadow.    I can relate to Axl.  Coffee takes me away to that special place… reminding me of a time when everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky….and over the past 30 days I have found that if I stare to long, I will probably break down and cry.   Alas, now I need to make a decision – do I go back to my love affair with coffee or do I move forward with fond memories of our time together?

I have seen so many benefits from this experiment, but I need to be honest with you.  I REALLY MISS COFFEE!  THAT BEING SAID, I don’t miss the jolt.  I don’t miss having trouble sleeping or feeling like a zombie when I wake up.  I miss the taste.  Herbal tea is just not cutting it for me.  I need that rich, strong flavour that only coffee can deliver.  Fortunately, there is a happy median called Decaf. Yes, it has some caffeine in it – only 15mg vs 180mg in a comparable coffee.  I do not think this low level of caffeine will do anything for me, so it is a safe alternative.

I AM SO READY FOR THIS! Yesterday I bought Kicking Horse Decaf and a mini Bodum to brew my own coffee (because FPH is still drinking the real deal).  I have the beans ground and ready to be brewed.  I am counting down the hours until I get reunited with my favourite hot drink (T-minus 12 hours).  I am going to stick to decaf and see how things go.  I am going to pay extra attention to my sleep and how I feel in the morning to make sure I am not compromising the way I feel.  Can I promise that I will never go back to regular coffee?  No.  But I am definitely committing to never falling back into my excessive habits.  I am now well aware of my tendency to rely on caffeine for energy and I am going to avoid using it for this purpose.

Many people have told me that, “they could never give up coffee for 30 days.”  I was one of these people too.  When I attended the Whole9 seminar in August, Melissa and Dallas told me they were embarking on a Whole30 +no caffeine and I gave them the same response.  “You are crazy.  There is no way I could do go without caffeine.”    But I did it and I am so happy that I was able to stick with the program.  My advice for anyone looking to do their own 30 day challenge (whether it is food related or something different) is to share what you are doing with everyone around you.  Not only will they give you praise and support, but it also gives you some accountability.  Having this blog made me commit to finishing the 30 days….there is no way I would let my readers down and be defeated by failure.  Without this blog as my outlet I’m not sure I would’ve been motivated to stick with it.    Thank you to my readers and fellow Whole30’ers.  And a BIG thank you to my readers who also did 30 days without caffeine!  You guys rock!

How are my comrades?  What are you going to do now that 30 days is up?

paging... quintessential Dr Drew pouty face

Paging Dr. Drew…I have completed my 12 steps and  think it is time for our final session because IT IS DAY 29!!  1 more day until I have completed 30 days of Whole30 + no coffee.  It is time for me to reflect and share my thoughts and learnings from this process.

How do I feel?
I feel awesome.  Disclaimer: I am writing this on a good day so don’t think that everyday was awesome.  I finally feel ‘normal’ when I wake up in the morning and don’t notice the lack of caffeine.  I have realized that you are not supposed to feel like ‘night of the living dead’ when you wake up.  It is not normal.  Normal people (who have never been reliant on caffeine) feel energized and alert when they wake up.  I know… that seemed so wrong to me too.  Now I know what this feels like.  I am able to have a coherent conversation when I wake up and actually look forward to being out of my bed.  My productivity has gone back to what it was when I was jolted on coffee.  When I get up for the 6am class, I feel good (as good as one can feel at that hour). I also feel like I’ve been hitting my workouts with more intensity and drive which is making me very happy.  I feel like I am able to push myself to 100%, whereas before I just couldn’t do it because I felt sluggish.    Energy + drive = awesomeness.

I have had problems with sleep for as long as I can remember and I even have prescription sleeping pills that I occasionally used.  I did not use my sleeping pills AT ALL for the past 30 days.  This is HUGE.  I have never gone that long without having to take 1 to get to sleep….I don’t even think I ever went a week without taking 1.  OK, I realize that synthetic sleeping aids are the farthest thing from being Paleo and I might get patronized for admitting this  –  but I also knew that lack of sleep did awful things to my mood and mental functioning, so I took them when needed.  I saw it as the lesser of 2 evils.  The fact that I can sleep with no issues now is the biggest ‘wake-up call’ (no pun intended) that I had issues with caffeine.  I used to think that it was my mind keeping me awake, but now I realize it was the coffee.   AND, I never drank coffee past 9:30am.  This means it was metabolizing in my body for more than 12-13 hours.  That is not cool.  I hope to never use my sleeping aid again.

What have I learned?
My name is Summer and I’m a coffee-holic.  I knew I had a problem when I read the chapter on Stress and Cortisol in Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution – he includes a checklist of questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether you have potential issues with elevated cortisol.  I think I checked “Yes” to 8-10 out of the 12 questions.   I was shocked to realize that I (Mrs Perfectly Paleo, go to bed at 9:30pm and CF devotee) likely had issues with cortisol.  The bigger epiphany was that the reason why I checked “Yes” to these questions was because of my issues with sleep and caffeine.  Now when I read through the checklist, I answer “No” to all of these questions.  It is amazing what 30 days can do to transform you.

Will you be back for Season 2 of Celebrity Rehab?
I honestly think that coffee addiction is just like any other addiction…smoking, bread, sugar, crack.   It does not go away and you will always have that devil on your shoulder urging you to ‘just have 1 sip.’  This does not mean that I’m going to abstain from coffee…No, No,  let’s not get crazy here…I am no mormon.  But I am going to have a greater awareness of my reliance on coffee and make sure that I never fall back into my bad habits.

In the classic lyrics of Axl Rose, I have been asking myself “Where do we go now??”  Stay tuned for the riveting continuation tomorrow…leather pants and headband not optional.

It’s Movember!!  In case you haven’t noticed, there are many dudes sporting the ‘stache and since the ladies can’t (or at least we hope) we decided to throw a Mo’Meat dinner party.  I cannot take credit for thinking of this, as it was the genius idea of Sio, part owner of Crossfit Quantum.  There was Mo’Meat indeed with sausages, bacon, grass-fed beef and mo’bacon!  It was most definitely a meat-fest and all for a good cause.  Big thank you to Sio for hosting and providing the Mo’festivities!  Big thank you to The Healthy Butcher for supplying the beef (100% grass-fed goodness).   I cannot forget Fully Primal Husband, who spent Friday night peeling Rutabagas and Turnips with me….thank you!   Nothing like spending a night at the Peeler with your husband.  Thanks to FPH for grilling 20 sausages at 10am on a Saturday too.  Last but not least, thank you to everyone who came to support the cause and for everyone who sported a ‘stache! Ladies included (you know who you are).

I was busy in the kitchen and failed to take any pictures of the mouth-watering dishes.  If I can get my hands on some pic’s I will post them.  In the meantime, drool over this Burt Reynolds pic.  I have to admit that I’ve been very busy lately, so the dishes that I prepared are not my own.  I borrowed with pride.  Here are the recipes that I used:

Appetizers
Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms
– Assortment of Sausages (Hungarian and Chorizo) – from Green Gate Farms who are at local farmer’s markets around Toronto.  I see them at Appletree Farmer’s Market on Thursdays.  BTW, they also supplied the bacon… it’s from naturally raised pigs (hormone/antibiotic free) and it is the BEST bacon i have ever had!

Main
Braised Beef Blade Steak – this was the piece de resistance.  Braising sounds so fancy, but it is actually a very easy cooking technique and it resulted in melt in your mouth beef that was so moist and delicious.  
– Roasted Root Vegetables with Bacon and Rosemary – this one was actually my own creation and I’ll post the recipe soon.
– Fall Salad – this was inspired by this recipe i grabbed from the Food Network – I used raw shredded fennel and peppers, with roasted beets on a bed of arugula.  I also changed the dressing by adding some white wine vinegar.

Dessert
– Pumpkin Muffins – from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook.  Buy it!

Now onto the Day 25 update! HOME STRETCH!!!!! YES!!!!  I have to keep this short, but hope to write more this weekend.  Things have been going great!  I have to admit that pulling off Mo’Meat was not easy without my coffee or celebratory wine.  There were a couple points in the evening where I wanted to strangle FPH and Sio as they discussed the merits of a wonderful Malbec.  I ended up drinking so much Perrier that my stomach hurt from all the gas later (sexy).  How is everyone else doing??

I love Food Renegade and yesterday she posted a recipe for “Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Soup”.   She indicates that it is from Nourishing Traditions and I was like, “OMG, I’ve got that book!”  You must realize the book has >600 pages, so it is easy to overlook recipes.  FUN FACT: This book is actually part of my curriculum at school…I was very happy when I heard that.  Anyways, the soup looked so good and I was craving something Thai-ish, so I cracked open Nourishing Traditions (p198) and busted out this gem.  I’ve modified it to include chicken (as per Food Renegade’s version), kelp noodles and kale.  Another bonus….This recipe is SO EASY!  I think this would be really good with lemongrass too, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 1 whole roasted chicken – meat removed and shredded (i picked up a Beretta roaster from Loblaws)
– 1 L of chicken stock
– 1 and 1/2 cans of coconut milk
– 2 bunches of Kale – stems removed, leaves chopped
– 1 bag of Kelp Noodles – rinsed
– 1 bunch of green onions – chopped
– 1 Cup of chopped cilantro
– 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
– 1/4 tsp of chili flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat stock.  Once it reaches a simmer, add coconut milk, ginger, chili flakes and kale.
  2. Stir around and wait until kale shrinks (about 5-7 minutes).
  3. Add kelp noodles and chicken.  Bring to a simmer and let it go for 7 more minutes.
  4. Add green onions and cilantro.  You could top it with this afterwards, but I just added mine right into the pot.
  5. You may need to add more stock or coconut milk if there is not enough liquid or you prefer it soup-ier.
  6. Enjoy!

You may be wondering why I haven’t posted any Fully Primal Husband testimonials as of late…we just haven’t eaten any of these meals together (plus, I often make these recipes for my lunches at work), so I’m not capturing his candid reactions.  I refuse to post his second thoughts.

Now onto the Whole30 + no caffeine update:

DAY 11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We are more than 33.333333% through!  WOOOOT!  I think I am finally getting accustomed to my zen state in the mornings and don’t notice the lack of caffeine as much.   I’m able to converse with co-workers and piece together sentences without stumbling on my words and drifting off into space (seriously, that was happening ).  My productivity at work has been better this week, although I could use an afternoon nap.  My AM workouts have been going well and I didn’t try to murder anyone with a kettlebell & skipping rope this week….this is also because I started bringing an herbal tea with me to class (thanks to my readers who suggested this!).  My sleep continues to be AMAZING.  I am hitting the pillow, passing out right away and sleeping solid through the night.  The real challenge is going to be this weekend.  Last weekend was HARD, so I’m bracing myself for a similar experience this weekend.  The weekend is tough because it is not just the lack of caffeine…it’s the fact that I’m not having my glass of red wine with my steak….Or my weekly dose of Healthy Butcher pulled pork (because I am certain there is some sugar in their sauce)…or my dark chocolate ( i usually indulge in a 80% bar).   grrrrrrrrrrrr.  I am hoping that this weekend will be better.

How is everyone else doing?? Any struggles??

My friend Amy sent me this picture and I had to post it.  I love it. I think it sums up my “before” situation very well:

I'm pretty sure this is how I may look on Day 1

I’m about to take on the craziest and most intense physical and mental challenge that I have ever done in my life.  It’s not a Crossfit Competition or a Marathon…no, this is much MUCH worse.  This is something that I may totally regret starting, but I’m going to do it and I’m going to finish it.  Ready…..

I’m ditching coffee for 30 days.  AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!  I know, crazy right?  Am I on crack?  Possibly.  This might be worse that Lindsay Lohan’s latest attempt at detox.  Especially given the fact that I’m about to start my Bio-Chem course.  I’m completely and utterly terrified to do this. 

Why are you doing this, you ask?  There are a few reasons:

1.  I am my own guinea pig…..Now that I’m doing Nutrition Coaching I need to be able to recommend things to clients that I have tried myself.  In my past, I have tried many different diets.  Today, I try different brands of supplements, various recipes, sources of meat and read lots of articles and books to understand both Paleo Nutrition and the garbage that ‘conventional wisdom’ still spits out.  It’s important to walk the talk and I cannot recommend things that I don’t truly believe work.  Thus, it is my duty to Haute Life and all future clients to endure these 30 days.

2.  Starbucks called, they want their coffee back.  Yes, I drink WAY too much coffee/americano’s.  My tolerance has skyrocketed and as a result, so has my consumption.  I probably drink the equivalent of an entire pot (12 cups) before 9:30am each day.  I don’t stop until my palms are sweaty and my leg is shaking.  I love that feeling….it totally feeds my Type-A personality to be ‘go go go’!  This is not good.  This leads to point #3…

3.  Detox.  I’ve been learning a ton about vitamins and minerals recently and one consistent theme is that excess caffeine consumption depletes important vitamins/minerals.  This is not good considering many of these important vitamins and minerals are related to mood and overall nervous system health.  I’m curious to see if I have a sensitivity to coffee and whether I feel better once it is removed.

4.  Paging Dr Drew.  I think it’ll make for a few good blog posts.  It’ll be like reading the transcript to an episode of Celebrity Rehab….picture me as that washed-up beauty queen who’s detoxing from meth and screaming at people to “bring me my juice!!” Except I’ll be saying, “Bring me my Fish Oil!!” and Dr Drew will be Fully Primal Husband sympathetically nodding with a pouty face and making me say affirmations every morning. 

Now that I’ve posted this, there is no turning back.  Day 1 is Monday November 1st.  I’m also doing a Whole30 , but that is not a big deal because I’ve done that before and felt great…in fact, I’m quite looking forward to sticking to 100% good food for 30 days. 

I should mention that I am still going to allow myself some green tea and other herbal teas.  I need the warmth. 

Sooo……WHO’s COMING WITH ME??!?! Anyone? Anyone??!?!  You don’t need to give up coffee like me….But if you want to do the Whole30 with me….hop on board and let me know that you’re with me!