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March 2017

Food Lifestyle Whole 30

Whole 30 Week 4 – Sharing My Results

March 16, 2017
Whole 30 Week4: Sharing My Results

I’m going to wrap up my series about my first Whole 30 by talking about Whole 30 Week 4 and my results. Week 4 both the easiest and the hardest week of Whole 30. By week 4, you have a good idea of which recipes work and which are flops. You have a better rhythm and are used to the whole practice. It’s also the closest to the end, so there’s a sense of “almost there, almost there” throughout all of Whole 30 Week 4. Technically, you’re not really done after week 4, though. You still have to go through the reintroduction phase (which we sucked at).

Let’s go back and look at my goals for Whole 30 Week 1

The Goals:

-Better Sleep

-Better Skin

-Lose inches

Things did not always go as planned on Whole 30, but I think that we did quite well, given the circumstances. We did not overtly cheat at any time. There were a few times while eating out that The Hubs and I had to adopt a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy about whether the food had been cooked in the wrong oil or had any other mystery additives. I remember reading something by Melissa Hartwig saying that a completely perfect Whole 30 is pretty much impossible. I think we did the best that we could, which was pretty darn good.

Whole 30 Week 4: Sharing My Results

The Results:

-Better Sleep: Achieved. Both The Hubs and I were really able to dial in on our caffeine sensitivity during Whole 30. We learned that The Hubs performs best on decaf coffee. For me, it’s tea. We try to cut off the caffeine around 6:00 or 7:00 every night. I also think that removing sugar helped our sleep. I didn’t ever get the vivid food dreams that they talk about in the Whole 30 book, but I did sleep soundly.

-Better skin: check. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really notice this one until I came OFF Whole 30. Since then, I have since suffered from a string of breakouts. I tend to have pretty standard breakouts right before That Time of the Month, but my skin was definitely better on Whole 30. There was was one patch of dry scaly skin on my leg that I was hoping would disappear with Whole 30, but it still there, unfortunately. I’d still give this a pass.

-Lose Inches: Holy wow, yes! I didn’t think I had that much to lose, honestly. I knew I’d put on a little weight, but I stopped weighing myself in high school and never looked back so I didn’t have a gauge for how much. Before Whole 30, some belts were tighter and some of my high-waisted skirts weren’t so comfortable anymore. After Whole 30, they’re comfortable again. Are you guys ready for the hard numbers?

Whole 30 Week 4: Sharing My Results

Before Whole 30:

Waist: 28 inches

Chest: 34 inches

Butt: 38 inches

Thighs: 21.5 inches

Arms: 10 inches

After Whole 30:

Waist: 25 1/2 inches!

Chest: 33 inches

Butt: 36 1/2 inches

Thighs: 20 inches

Arms: 10 inches

Let me tell you, my waist had not been that small in a while. I’m pretty sure it’s back up to something around 26 inches now, which is fine by me. I didn’t think that my weight loss had been super evident, but The In Laws kept telling me to eat a cheeseburger by Whole 30 Week 4, so maybe it was more noticeable that I thought. That could just be The In Laws though… The Hubs also said that upon revisiting some earlier pictures of me that he could see the weight loss. I do feel better, but I honestly just didn’t want to have to buy new clothes.

Now that I’ve been off Whole 30 for a bit, I can see why people stay on it. Rules are easy. Navigating my own choices, sans Whole 30 guidelines is hard. There is a comfort to the black and white system of Whole 30 that makes it easy to make decisions. Off Whole 30, I have a greater tendency to go off track. For now, we are eating mostly Whole 30/Paleo,  having found that bread and milk generally don’t react well with us(Thank goodness Starbucks has started stocking Almond Milk!). We allow ourselves cheat meals on the weekends and when there’s a social function like an office party or a family birth day. We are planning to do another Whole 30 in May. I’m tempted to go back on it earlier just to clear my skin up, but it’s Easter season and the pink bunny peeps are out and I just can’t quit them yet.

Have you just finished a Whole 30? Tell me how you did! Thinking about trying it for yourself? Tell me what’s motivating you!

Whole 30 Week 4 Best Recipe:

Mel Joulwan’s Chocolate Chili. Serve over roasted sweet potatoes! Mmmm…

Whole 30 Week 4 Worst Recipe:

-Skirt Steak from the The Whole30 Cookbook. We are not adept at cooking beef!

Whole 30 Week 4 Tips:

-Trying to find your new favorite decaf coffee? Central Market lets you buy by weight, so you only have to get a tiny amount to taste. Don’t waste your money on a full half pound you won’t finish!

-Shop at Costco on a weeknight. You won’t face the temptation of all those samples, and it’s way less stressful. Our Costco staples on Whole 30 were: eggs, organic chicken, blueberries, chicken stock, Aidell’s chicken sausage, and Costco brand almond butter.

-Our favorite Whole 30 Breakfast is a baked sweet potato with cinnamon and nuts on top. We bake them the night before and just reheat in the morning.

Knitting Mini Monday Tutorial Uncategorized

Mini Monday: Clean Color Changes in your Ribbed Knitting

March 13, 2017
Mini Monday: How to Make Clear Color Changes in Ribbed Knitting

Hello All! I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was too short, but involved brunch, so no complaints. Well, I lost an hour of sleep to daylight savings. So… one complaint.

Since we’re all a little bleary eyed this Monday, I thought I’d show you this super simple tip to make clean color changes in your ribbed knitting. As in, so simple that I generally forget it and have to look it up again each time. So this is for my own reference as much as yours!

I was finishing up an old UFO recently. It was a pair of socks for The Hubs that I started way back before we got engaged. I got a serious case of second sock syndrome with these socks. So when I got to the top ribbing of the sock I started right in with the K1, P1 ribbing in my contrast color. And it looked like poop.

Mini Monday: How to Make Clear Color Changes in Ribbed Knitting

Pictured: Poop

Look at all those purl bumps mucking up my color changes! It was not cute. On the other hand, I had sock #1 completed and pretty with no purl bumps. For the life of me, I could not remember how I did it, but then it hit me!

In order to make clean color changes in your ribbed knitting…

Knit the first row!

When you switch to a different yarn color, you can avoid the jagged transition by knitting the first row of every new color you add. Don’t start right in the ribbing, unless you want the purl bumps to show though, just knit the first row of the new color. I promise you wont even notice that there no ribbing on that row. Just look!

Mini Monday: How to Make Clear Color Changes in Ribbed Knitting

Go ahead! Try to tell me that doesn’t look better! Just clean, smooth stripes! I couldn’t even tell that the first row was just knit stitches when I went back and looked at my sock. I’ve seen this done on larger projects with bulkier yarn and still had a hard time seeing that it was knit all around. I hope this tip serves you well for all your stripey needs. Let me know how you use it! Show me your stripes!

Mini Monday: How to Make Clear Color Changes in Ribbed Knitting

Finished Object Knitting

High Pines Cowl: Pattern Review and FO

March 9, 2017
High Pines Cowl by Jared Flood

It’s finally happening. We are nearing the end of the honeymoon yarn. It makes me a little sad that I’ve almost used up all the yarn I bought in Austin. Doesn’t mean the honeymoon is over though…Not for the hubs or for the yarn. They both continue to be absolute rock stars. I imagine that The High Pines Cowl will stand the test of time as well. The color, the clean lines and the easy to wear shape all make this pattern a classic in my book!

The Pattern: High Pines Cowl by Jared Flood

The High Pines Cowl pattern, like any pattern by Jared Flood, is perfection. I swear, everything that man designs is family heirloom quality; High Pines Cowl included! The High Pines Cowl is a short, gently tapered cowl that features alternating bands of cables and knit-purl designs. The top and bottom are a twisted rib that show off the stitch definition of Arbor, one of Brooklyn Tweed’s newest yarns. The cables and sloping knit-purl designs are separated by clever little mock cables.

If there’s one thing I love about Jared Flood’s pattern, it’s that I always learn something new while knitting them. The High Pines Cowl Pattern is full of such great little details and techniques. From the cast on technique, which I talked about in my blog post on Monday, to the instructions for blocking, there is a sense of care and gentle instruction in the whole pattern. It truly makes you feel like you are making a piece of art rather than an accessory.

The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. If you’re a dunce like me, the knit-purl section might give you some trouble initially. I had such a hard time staying on track until I realized that every stitch in the column was just alternating between to knit rows and two purl rows. Once I could count down the stitch column and see the stitch pattern I did alright. In other words, once I learned to read my stitches, I could fix my mistakes.

The pattern itself is addicting. There’s always something to look forward to in the next few rows to it moves along very quickly. It’s never boring. It’s not too challenging to knit while watching Masterpiece Theater, unless you are an aforementioned dunce like me. It really was a joy to knit, though it owes much of that to…

The Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed’s Arbor (shown in Klimt)

Holy moley. This little yarn is the king of stitch definition! I’ve been drooling over this yarn since it was released. To the untrained eye, this may look like your standard, middle weight yarn. It is not. It is so much more. The range and clarity of the colors make me want to do colorwork. And I never want to do colorwork. The feel of the yarn is sturdy without being scratchy. I have a feeling that this yarn will produce garments that last a long time. I had a few issues here and there with consistency, where one of the plies had a little slub every now and then, but it was pretty rare. It’s not very noticeable in the finished product.

Overall it was a joy to knit with. I have about a skein and a half left and I can’t decide how I will use it. Maybe a nice hat like the Burnaby Hat… It could probably make some very sturdy fingerless mitts as well. Either way, this is not be the last time that I use, and love, Arbor. I highly recommend both Arbor and the High Pines Cowl to anyone looking for a beautiful timeless knit.