a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Mar, 2018

Whole 30: Day 12 update

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

I should begin by saying that I haven’t fallen off the wagon or cheated. I’m still here; still going. (!) We’re almost at the halfway mark!

A lot has been written about sugar lately, and how it affects our brains and waistlines. I know for a fact that when I eat sugar I crave more sugar. (I really enjoyed this piece about sugar on the New York Times website. You might like it too.) The addition of sugar, in all of its forms, in All The Things, is stunning. A few of you Fishies may remember our family “Sugar Fast.” We cut out desserts and foods with added sugars in them for a week, and it was very hard to do, especially with kids who like ketchup on their meat and dressings on their salad. The big takeaway: it isn’t until you really read the labels that you realize that some form of sugar is added to almost every processed food. Case in point: I bought frozen shrimp the other day and was looking forward to eating them with seafood sauce… because seafood sauce can’t POSSIBLY have sugar in it, right? WRONG. So wrong. When I got home from the grocery store I checked the label, and sure enough, there is sugar in seafood sauce. I thought seafood sauce was just tomato sauce with herbs, spices, and horseradish?

So for the past little while I’ve been making my own mayo, dressings, dips, and sauces. Most of them have been pretty good too.

I’m not having too many difficulties keeping this up but as I mentioned in my Whole 30 Day 9 update, it is a lot easier to focus on the foods I’m enjoying rather than the foods I might be craving or missing.

“You know what I’m craving,” announced my dear husband the other night (who is ALSO DOING THIS WITH ME), “a big cheesy pizza.”

Ha. Well. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to banish the thought of cheesy pizza from my mind for the duration. I’m choosing to REALLY enjoy and dwell upon juicy grapefruits, perfectly seasoned salmon, and ripe avocados, and reflect upon how fortunate we are to enjoy these fantastic foods.

Grapefruit for breakfast

Speaking of fantastic, I had ribs for breakfast the other day. Ribs! It is a bit unorthodox but when you need protein on your plate and there are ribs in the fridge, this is what one has to eat. I cut the meat off the bone and threw it all on the frying pan, along with an egg. As I was about to take my first bite I felt like I was really forcing the issue (“food is fuel!”) but then I relaxed and actually found myself enjoying the meal. Who knew?

Isn’t it weird that in North American society, the meal we eat in the morning consists of just a small group of foods that we’ve collectively decided to categorize as breakfast foods? Why bacon and sausage for breakfast, but not ribs? Why ham but not chicken? Why fried potatoes but not cauliflower? It doesn’t really make sense when you think about it, so I’m trying to get over these preconceived ideas of what breakfast is supposed to look like.

I’ve also thought a lot about the structure of our meals and why they look like they do. I suppose most of this falls under the category of cultural food traditions. Why do we feel we need to eat a big baked potato with steak? Why not just steak and vegetables? (Perhaps it’s because once upon a time, potatoes were considered filler, especially since the cuts of meat were probably smaller.) Why serve bread with a pasta dish? Who said there needs to be bread at breakfast, or at almost every meal? Who said there should be dessert every night after dinner?

I can make my own mealtime rules, ones that involve fewer calories and less sugar/flour/etc. and benefit me and my health. I certainly don’t need to follow a script. I can eat ribs for breakfast if I want to!


8 Responses to "Whole 30: Day 12 update"

1 | Misty Pratt

March 13th, 2018 at 2:00 pm


I read that NYT article (the one about reducing your sugar?) and went to check a few things in our cupboards. I was happy to see the Farm Boy pita crackers my girls love have no added sugar. But the organic tomato soup I buy for them in Tetra packs (they take it to school in a thermos and I add macaroni to it) – 13g of sugar! What the heck!?

Now I need to figure out how to make my own tomato soup that my kids will actually eat…

2 | Amy

March 18th, 2018 at 2:47 pm


A friend of mine makes tomato soup by taking a can of tomatoes, blending them a bit, and thickening it with flour or cornstarch.

3 | Claudette

March 13th, 2018 at 5:30 pm


I also prefer veg to fruit in the morning.

The other day I was watching an episode of a cattle farmer and they don’t eat anything until 10:30 am so or, after their morning chores (feeding the cattle) is done. Then it’s all full-on protein and veg. Not sugar. So eggs, steak or ham or bacon, side of tomatoes or mushrooms, other veg…not donuts or granola or milk products. Fascinating.

I could eat like that I think. :)

4 | andrea tomkins

March 14th, 2018 at 10:48 am


Food traditions are so interesting! I could continue to eat like this, but meat is my stumbling block. I would prefer to eat less of it, not more. I could easily be a vegetarian if it wasn’t for bacon!

Misty: your comment inspired me to check the label of my favourite brand of crackers and it contains sugar as well. IN A CRACKER. It’s crazy. I wonder if it really adds anything to it. How differently would that cracker taste without it? Would I be able to discern a difference?

5 | Lisa from Iroqouis

March 14th, 2018 at 2:07 pm


I have no problem with ribs for breakfast. I love leftovers in the morning. No fuss no muss. Isn’t that what leftover Chinese food and pizza is for? But your post brought to mind a childhood memory, some days in winter my mom would serve us cheeseburgers…. she says it was protein, dairy and some veg (tomatoes and pickles count I guess). In her view a perfectly good way to send us off to school when we had a long cold walk ahead of us. Those were the days that there was no school bus if you were less than a mile from your school.

6 | andrea tomkins

March 16th, 2018 at 9:56 pm


Lisa, I just LOVE the idea of cheeseburgers for breakfast. Sounds like the perfect hot meal, especially for growing kids!

7 | Amy

March 16th, 2018 at 8:06 pm


I’ve recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s made me take a lot harder look at all the sugar in my diet. Even though I was trying to eat healthier since becoming pregnant, there is so much sugar in processed food, plus adding a few sweets I made, it ends up being quite a bit. And I already make a lot of food from scratch, lots of produce. I can’t imagine how much sugar people who rely mostly on processed food would eat.

For breakfast I’ve started frying up some hearty salad mix like broccoli slaw or kale/ brussel sprouts salad with some leftover meat and an egg, coupling that with an almond flour pancake with mashed banana on it. The banana seems super sweet now that I’ve cut out other sugar. Not sure if the protein is helping me stay full, I’m pregnant so I’m still starving by about 9:30. :)

8 | andrea tomkins

March 16th, 2018 at 9:54 pm


The amount of sugar in grocery store products is positively astounding. Caesar salad dressing! Pita crisps! Ketchup! Battered fish! I wish I had a better understanding of why manufacturers add it.

Amy, your breakfast sounds delicious! Healthy and filling too (at least for me!) :) You make an interesting point about bananas tasting sweeter once sugar is cut out of the diet. It’s so true! I had a bowl of berries tonight and I felt like I was eating candy. And is it just me or does everything taste 1000% better??

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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