I decided to give Day 4 it’s own blog post. Day 4 is notorious on the Whole 30 Timeline as being the hangriest, most emotional day. Essentially, you are the Mr. Hyde to your Dr. Jekyll on Day 4. This time, I threw a pad of post-its across an empty room and then later used the words “Could you just shut up?!” in a meeting. Oops.
Let’s talk about why Day 4 is so terrible. Well, you haven’t had processed sugar, alcohol or any grains for three days….which means that you haven’t been feeding the infamously vicious, very demanding Sugar Demon.
First, let me just remind you that even your “whole” wheat fancy bagel is wreaking havoc on your system. That’s right. It is not just wine, Milk Duds and Junior Mints *wipes away drool* that are pumping sugar into your body. Eating two slices of whole wheat bread could spike your blood sugar levels more than if you’d eaten two tablespoons of pure sugar. And, I ain’t lying.
So, listen up Bagel Face, let’s just all agree we love sugar. Bread, candy, soda, wine…it’s all pure evil. Please allow me to break it down:
1. You stuff that sugar in your face. Don’t get the idea that because the sugar composition is the same in fruit and cake, they’re interchangeable. (Seriously, they’re not.) For one thing, fruit offers good stuff like vitamins, antioxidants and water, while candy, soda and desserts are nutritionally void. Fruit also tends to have less sugar by volume. And your bagel? Well, there is an argument that wheat is addictive. And what else is in that bagel anyway? Let’s move on.
2. It hits your digestive juices and your noggin’s reward system ignites, immediately unleashing dopamine.
2. Enzymes in the intestine make sucrose into fructose and glucose within seconds.
3. Glucose travels through your bloodstream to all of your funky fresh tissues, because every cell readily converts glucose into energy. In a nutshell, the human body requires glucose for normal functioning of the brain and other tissues. But you can get glucose through starchy vegetables, fruits (grapes, especially), yuca plant, potatoes and other better options. And, just like anything, you can have too much (and we do).
4. In contrast, liver cells are one of the few types of cells that can convert fructose to energy, which puts the onus of metabolizing fructose almost entirely on one lonely organ. Poor, poor liver. Over time, excess fructose can prompt globules of fat to grow throughout the liver, a process called lipogenesis, the precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Too much fructose also lowers HDL and causes chronic systemic inflammation.
5. So, your body breaks down the sugar to be used as some sort of fuel for some process. Sugar (carbohydrates) boosts brain tryptophan levels, which makes us sleepy. This tryptophan boost increases brain serotonin levels over time, which makes us feel content and satiated (“food coma”). But then your body wants more…and more…and more…and it takes more to trigger this reaction, over time. More food, more sugar…and your ass gets larger and larger and your sweet tooth gets bigger and bigger.
We are all sugar addicts.
So, here you are at Day 4, or maybe 5. And, just like any good addict, you are craving sugar and simple carbs. Your cells are *literally* screaming for that sugar high. So, the first human face you see on Day 4 is just someone else who is keeping you from your sugar fix.
I am going to leave you with my suggestion on how to keep hangrily murdering your friends and family in an attempt to find the dark baking chocolate that you were sure was in this cupboard-now-god-damnit-where-is-it?!…because that hasn’t ever happened to me…
Now, some people will recommend eating a banana. Or an apple. Something with a naturally high level of fructose, balanced out with some fiber to slow down absorption. How about this alternative…
Eat a fucking vegetable. And, maybe some good fats.
Vegetables are high in “complex” carbohydrates, meaning that they break down into sugar in your body steadily over a period of time, instead of causing quick sugar spikes followed by intense sugar drops.
My favorite thing to keep on hand are root veggies. They are starchy, easily prepared and typically pretty inexpensive. Slather them with some coconut oil or ghee, some herbs, and throw those puppies in your 450 degree oven. Have a few pistachios while they are cooking. Let them cool (or risk the ouch-that’s-hot-excuse-me-while-I-dry-vomit-on-the-plate scene) and pat yourself on the back. Make extra (for leftovers) so that next time you aren’t salivating in front of your oven.
We all know how to cook a sweet potato, so try out Roasted Radishes. Bonus: You can eat their greens. MOAR FOOD
2 bunches of radishes
2 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
salt to taste
herbs and/or garlic (I like thyme and garlic myself)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Trim the greens away and SAVE THEM. Trim away the very top and bottom of the radishes.
Put the trimmed radishes in a bowl or container with the fat and herbs. Mix it up, shake it, whatever.
Spread them out on the lined cooking sheet.
Roast in the preheated oven until tender but firm in the centers, tossing every 5 minutes, 15 to 20 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Let them cool because they are real fucking hot right out of the oven.
Note: you can wilt the greens over ghee. Just get the ghee hot, wilt the greens, squirt a bit of lemon juice, a dash of sea salt and bazinga! This takes like 3 minutes…so wait ’til the end of the roasting.