Well, hey! Turns out it’s difficult to work, run, workout, have a social life AND write a blog. Who knew?! Yet here I am, reporting back on my Shred10 experience… only about 2 weeks after the fact.
There were ups and downs, coffee headaches and late-night cravings. I powered through, ponied up, and stayed strong for the most part. The biggest takeaway? It’s truly remarkable how you can control your energy, digestion and brain power by what you choose to put in and what you choose to leave out of your body.
By the way, it’s a CHOICE. Anyone can do it.
If you missed the Opening of a New Door to My Health Journey, Part I, you can read it here.
Otherwise, let’s cut to the chase.
My Shred 10 Experience
Shred10 lasts for… you guessed it… 10 days. However, I started a day early because overachiever. No, really. I started a day early because:
1) I already bought all the food,
2) I ‘m easily excitable, and
3) because we are imperfect human beings, I knew that inevitably I’d screw up at some point in the 10 days, so why not add some cushion?!
Recap of the restrictions: NO gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, eating after 6 p.m. The lack of coffee and eating dinner before 6 p.m. were the hardest parts. (You’re supposed to have two smoothies per day and you’re allowed to have your second smoothie after 6 p.m. if you workout in the evening, which happened a couple of times.)
I made so many delicious salads, ate two too many energy balls and even taught myself a few new recipes.
***Please remember that Shred10 is not a weight loss diet and Juice Plus+ are not weight loss pills. I’m an avid runner who also happens to enjoy push ups, lunges, dumbbell workouts and spin class. And a big eater to boot! I did NOT skimp on calories during this week and a half. If anything, I ate more calories. I definitely did not lose weight. But I did gain a little bit of myself back since the cheese board fiasco. I started feeling better overall, my digestion improved and energy returned.***
Blah, blah, blah. Let’s get to the good stuff – let me tell you about what I ate!!
Shred10 falls over a weekend, and I was home in Goldsboro over that weekend. Family and friend time lends itself to breaking rules.
This is where I stayed strong.
Even at a cookout Saturday night, I withheld from red wine, delicious pimento cheese, and homemade chocolate cake. So good to see friends, log some miles on my old running routes and catch up with my parents.
Smoothie bowl after a 7 mile run with my buddies:
A few of my Girls from Park Ave, but missing a few key players:
Energy balls = love (recipe on my instagram) *photo by my cute cousin, Laney Tarr
Back to my parents. We occasionally get into iceberg lettuce wars. They love iceberg lettuce. I tell them they are basically eating crunchy water. They tell me I’m a snob. I sneak a kale leaflet or two into the salad and call it a day.
I’m glad to report that I successfully made encouraged my parents to eat kale TWICE over the short weekend. And they liked it!! I figured out that they like finely chopped kale. Can do! Here’s one salad I made for them with all the leftover veggies from the week:
(Kale, radishes, organic carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, avocado, bell pepper, mint, olive oil and lemon juice)
Sometimes you fail
Former UNC basketball star, Eric Montross, once said, “there are three things you do with failure: (1) admit it, (2) learn from it and (3) forget it.”
Enter: Co-worker’s extravagant birthday cake on Day 6 of Shred10:
By now, you’ve already guessed that I ate the cake…
I knew it was wrong. My first mistake was falling for the “it’s VEGAN, so no dairy, you’re fine” line. Okay, no dairy. But it definitely had SUGAR, not to mention GLUTEN. This was the same day I accidentally left my Juice Plus+ capsules at home. UGH.
Here’s an excerpt from my food diary that day:
Rock bottom was around 2:45 p.m. when we sliced into Lauren’s vegan birthday cake. Somehow because it was vegan, I felt like it was OKAY. No eggs, no problem. Right. Keep telling yourself that, Helen. That cake was delicious. Full of sugar and gluten. Bad for Shred10. Also, I can tell I haven’t had sugar this week because my heart immediately started beating fast and I got a little headache. Your body is truly a wonderland. Lessons learned: 1) keep one set of capsules at work and one at home, 2) we are imperfect, one slip up is not a total failure… put it behind you and get back on track the next MEAL! Not the next day. The next MEAL!
Check me out, Eric Montross.
Admit it (I ate cake),
Learn from it (it didn’t make me feel good)
Forget it (next meal, I’ll do better).
Keep it moving, people.
1. Coffee is here to stay. No coffee was definitely the hardest part of Shred10. A daily coffee drinker since age 18, I’ve never gone more than a day without it my entire adult life. I did not drink a sip of caffeine for 11 straight days! But you know what? Drinking a cup or two of black coffee every morning works for me. It doesn’t hurt me. I’m glad I cut it out for the diet, just so I know I can do it, but coffee is here to stay.
2. Pay attention to the ingredients you put in your body. It’s a lot of work to think about every single thing that goes into your body. I realized that I need to train myself to pay attention like this ALL of the time, not just for 10 days. I think a lot of us do not pay enough attention to ingredients in our foods. For instance, I wanted granola from the nut bar at Whole Foods on the last day of Shred10, but every single granola option had wheat (gluten) in it! Who knew?! So many things have gluten! And don’t even get me started on sugar. Being mindful of the ingredients in your food takes a lot of work. It’s worth it.
3. Tricks of the trade help you stay in control. There are tricks to cravings. I started drinking decaf herbal tea because I missed holding a hot mug in the morning. That helped the coffee cravings, especially when the temps dropped a bit. I craved toast, so I bought gluten free bread from Trader Joe’s that was delicious and satisfying with an egg and avocado on top after a long run. I’ve also figured out a few tricks for my sweet tooth, like a scoop of almond butter or adding banana and cacao powder to my afternoon smoothie.
4. You can create your own diet and modify as you go. Two weeks after completing Shred10, I still take note when I eat dairy, gluten or sugar. I try to limit these ingredients and stay away from processed foods. Guess what?! I feel a difference! That’s the whole point of Shred10. When people heard me say “I’m doing this thing called Shred10,” the response was something like, “you don’t need to shred anything, you’re a marathon runner!”
Let me be clear, Shred10 is not about shredding pounds, it’s about shredding ingredients, yucky foods, bad habits from your diet. Shred10 is about taking control of your diet and your body. Shred10 is about feeling good again.
By the way, no one paid me or told me to say those things. That’s my honest experience.
I will create my own diet and modify in the weeks and months to come. One week I may cut out nut butters because I eat them so darn much. Another week I may go no dairy. I ‘ll probably do Shred10 again (keep the coffee). Who knows! All I know is that I like having more energy, feeling more alert at work, popping up at 5 a.m. to run, going for an apple rather than ice cream after dinner. So why go back to old habits? Onward, people!
5. Juice Plus+ is bomb. Juice Plus+ is already positively affecting my sleep, skin, digestion and energy. Again, no one paid me to say this – I highly recommend these wholesome, powerful little capsules. Shoot me a message if you’re interested.
6. My food log. And finally, if you want to know exactly what I put into my body during Shred10, here’s my food log. Don’t judge how many energy balls I consumed. It got aggressive.
|DATE||BREAKFAST||A.M. SNACK||LUNCH||P.M. SNACK||DINNER||DESSERT|
|8/20/17||Ezekiel bread (1 slice), two fried eggs, avocado smash
(*later discovered Ezekiel bread is not gluten free)
|1 shrimp taco with black bean and mango salsa|
Almond cheese slices
|Lentil (French) salad w/ cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, mint, lemon juice, olive oil||Carrots/celery
|Wild rice grain mix + black bean salsa, cooked in half a can of coconut milk
1 energy ball
|Almonds||Salad: spinach + kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, half red pepper, half avocado, sprouts, hand full of white beans + chick peas; olive oil and balsamic vinegar||2 energy balls + apple + almonds||Smoothie|
Oatmeal + walnuts, cashew butter, coconut flakes, cinamon
|Almonds||Wild rice grain mix + black bean salsa, cooked with coconut milk
|2 energy balls + almonds||Guacamole + veggies and corn chips
36 min run
|1 slice Ezekiel break (oops, realized after the fact that it has gluten) + avocado
1 Energy ball
|Left over dinner from last night:
Guac + veggies and corn chips
|Almonds||Broccoli, quinoa tabuli w/ radicchio
50 min run
|Overnight oats in almost finished cashew butter jar w/ ¼banana, 1tsp cacao powder and chia seeds
|Almonds||Grain bowl from Yafo: cuscus, scoop of babaganoush, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, pickled onions, pickles and sautéed mushrooms||Spoon of almond/cashew butter||Broccoli, quinoa tabuli w/ radicchio topped w/ avocado
1 hour and 6 min run
A few post run push ups
|Green smoothie bowl topped with mango, blueberries, almond slices and chia seeds
Scoop of almond butter (maybe a couple scoops..)
|Celery and hummus
|The last bit of broccoli quinoa tabuli + wild rice grain mix w/ avocado||Two slices of vegan cheese||Grilled chicken, half of a chicken sausage, kale radicchio salad, quinoa, watermelon and mixed fruit, corn chips, olives||Smoothie w/ chocolate almond milk|
Almond butter + banana
|Pistachios||Kale salad w/ French lentils, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, cucs, green pepper, green onion, avocado + lemon, olive oil dressing
|Smoothie||Kale salad leftover from lunch|
55 min run
15 min strength workout
|Two slices of gluten free toast w/ avocado and hemp seeds||Smoothie||Guacamole + corn chips + pico
3 grilled red snapper corn tacos w/ arugula, pickled onions and lime
(no dairy, but definitely gluten and sugar)
|About 5 baby carrots and a smoothie
(stuffed from the cake. Bad decision)
1 hour, 7 min run + 3 min each: biceps, triceps, abs
2 energy balls
|1 energy ball
|Vegan lunch @ fern: curry white bean burger patty topped w/ peanut aioli, tomato chutney, lettuce and tomato. No bun. Side salad||Yet another energy ball…||Kale salad + black beans, peppers, cucs, hemp seeds, avocado + olive oil and vinegar dressing|
50 min speed workout + strength and abs
|Acai smoothie bowl topped w/ mango, almonds, chia seeds and coconut flakes
+ 1 energy ball
|Larabar||Spinach and arugula salad + beets, egg, carrots, olives, mushrooms, banana peppers, shrimp||Smoothie||Kale salad + black beans, peppers, cucs, hemp seeds, avocado + olive oil and vinegar dressing||2 energy balls|
45 min spin class + 10 min arms (dumbbells) and abs
|Green acai smoothie
+ 2 plain pieces of gluten free toast
|Kale & Lintel salad + cucs, peppers+ carrots and lemon, olive oil dressing||Apple
|Shrimp taco w/ black beans, mango, avocado + lime||Energy ball|
|9/1/17||Green smoothie + one energy ball and a hand full of almonds||Whole foods hot bar: broc, cauliflower, mushroom, tomato + green beans + cooked cabbage + steamed kale + small piece of cod||Smoothie||Fresh Market: edamame, chickpea salad + orzo salad w/ tomato||Peach|
Good talk. See you out there!
**Cover photo taken by the talented Jack Baddour Photography (and Jack is the person in the picture)! @jackbaddourphotography on instagram