Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Whole 30 Lessons and Getting Your Old Life Back after Two Kids March 3, 2013

Patrick and I tried Whole 30. For 7 days. Because then we had a sitter for the evening, and we weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves, so we went out to dinner and then had a glass of wine. That was more or less the end of the strictness. We did go the entire month without sugar (except what is contained in wine or beer) and without any processed/frozen food. We ate lots more fruits and veggies than we usually do, and we did a pretty good job with making grains and cheese side items instead of main events. We had a lot of food that was out of season–asparagus from Costco, for example. The boys will eat the heck out of asparagus and I like to use the leftovers in risotto or quiche. We had a lot of garlicky Brussels sprouts and Asian style green beans. I made more food than I usually do, and I was enjoying it more, I suppose. We had a big chili with beans and peppers and tempeh.

Mostly, though, we just realized that we were relying too much on convenience and cutting out the stuff that’s hard to do–prepping and cooking veggies. Now that the boys are older, they really like helping in the kitchen, so I can do more cooking. Yesterday we embarked on a long cracker making project and they actually were helpful. Gilbert even helped dry the food processor. I found a recipe that used semolina flour and a pasta roller to make olive oil crackers, and Seamus fed the dough through the roller. We also made goldfish crackers, but ours were more like cheez-its. They stuck with it for a solid two hours of cooking with minimal jostling each other for space. In this way, I made my own “processed food” but with fewer than five ingredients. Delicious.

Then we went to a birthday party, and Seamus asked the mom, “What are we having for sugar?” She laughed and said that there would be plenty of sugar. “Sorry” she said to us. I turned to Patrick and acknowledged that I wasn’t going to be dealing with any of it, because Liz and I went to see The Convert at Woolly Mammoth theater last night. Interesting! I might write more about it later.

The point is now we can do so many of the things we used to enjoy doing, and include the boys in our projects. I love big, elaborate cooking projects. Patrick put a new exhaust on his motorcycle and let the boys do all the screws and bolts. We can really work on our favorite things with them now. And then one of us can go out for a cultural event! Time is the key to getting the old life back with more rewards in sharing your passions with others.

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