Last week I began the Whole30 program, a Paleo-based dietary re-set. I found out about it at the beginning of November from some good friends of ours, and since checking it out was determined to do at least one. I poured over their book, It Starts With Food, in just a few days. But the timing just wasn't right, considering that it would overlap Thanksgiving, then Clark Family Christmas, then Christmas, then a two-week visit from Trevvor's family... so FINALLY here in the middle of January I began.
I'm a week in. And I haven't cheated. Not even when I went to Mason-Dixon Gluten Free Bakery. Not even when I went to the mall. Not even when I went to a vegan meet-up with my parents (rice and honey in ALL the things). And not even when I got mastitis and felt queasy and just wanted some saltine crackers, for cryin' out loud.
Unless you know me really well, you don't understand how big of a deal that is. I've started ways of eating, some more drastic than others, for years, only to slip a few days in. It's a vicious cycle, cliche as that is, and each failure convinces me that I just don't have will-power or self-control, I'm just bound to fail, I'll never be able to consistently eat like I know I should, etc.
So this is big. This whole cheat-less week.
I've really enjoyed eating this way. I feel good, I'm sleeping better, I'm not as moody or lethargic, the food is delicious and filling, and my jeans are getting slightly too big (which is just a bonus, not a goal). Plus I know that my milk is healthier for Charles and that, since he eats off our plates, his solid food is healthier too.
So what is the Whole30? What exactly can I eat, and what have I eliminated for this period?
Well, my breakfasts have included eggs, avocados, berries, coconut milk, and fresh veggie juice (though not all on the same morning). Lunches are often a whole chicken that I crock-potted (like that verb there?) the night before and eat for several lunches in a row, plus a veggie-stir fry or a salad. Dinners I've been alternating between red meat (roast, steak) and fish (salmon, mahi mahi, tilapia), and usually include some combination of sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Snacking usually means some nuts, coconut milk, or fruit.
Basically, you can eat eggs, meat, all vegetables, and fruits and nuts (the latter two in moderation).
You CAN'T eat:
- grains or corn
- sugar: natural or artificial (including honey, syrup, molassas)
- artificial colors/flavors/preservatives
- white potatoes
They encourage you to have three meals a day with a protein, some veggies, and a fat source at each one. Nursing/pregnant moms or folks who do some extreme exercises may need more meals or altered ratios. The hardest part for me isn't food cravings for bread or sugar; it's trying to get all three meal components at the same time--with Charles around, I'm used to just munching throughout the day!
The program may sound extreme, but when you prepare food at home, it's not that difficult. It's going out to eat that's the hard part! But they don't expect you to eat like this forever--just the 30 days (or however much longer you think you need to detox). Then you have a period where you re-introduce foods every few days to see how your body reacts. (I plan to reintroduce corn and oatmeal pretty quick!) But obviously sticking to a diet as close to this as possible long-term is ideal, and that's what I plan to do.
There's a lot more info at the links in the first paragraph, and at Whole9 Life. I've loved the forums there when I've gotten stuck a couple times. I love how great I'm feeling even more!
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