There are a whole lot (pun intended) of nutrition trends out there. As someone getting started on the healthy eating journey, I’ll admit that it’s a little overwhelming. Oh who am I kidding? I feel like I’m up a creek without a paddle. I don’t know anything about nutrition except that some foods are better for you than others and calorie intake can affect weight. So, I saw that one of my friends was following the Whole30 plan for 30 days.
I read up on it and decided to try it as well. Anything that could jump start me and spell out clearly what I can and cannot eat seemed the way to go. I did plenty of research before starting my plan. The great thing is that it’s MY plan. And I’m eating real food. I’ll admit that I’m somewhat skeptical of “diets” and my hubby is SUPER skeptical. Knowing that I’d have a tough sell I wanted to have my talking points ready to go. Here’s what I learned:
What is Whole30? It’s a 30 day plan established by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig in April 2009. They say that it is a “nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days.” The point is to reset your nutrition habits, help put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. Sounds great right?
What’s the catch? There’s always a catch. You have to eliminate sugar, grains (all grains), dairy, legumes and alcohol for 30 days. Did I mention that I have three kids? I now have to go 30 days without a glass of wine! Are Dallas and Melissa crazy? No grains? Seriously, whole grains are a part of every meal I eat. No cheese? What is life without cheese? Now I can’t have any??? I’m hyperventilating just thinking about it!
As far as I know, I am not lactose intolerant, nor do I have a gluten allergy (I love gluten!) and what’s wrong with beans besides a little flatulence? Aren’t beans good for your heart? My kids go around the house singing to me that they are. Why on earth would want to follow Whole30? Sounds more like ALotOfNothing30 if you ask me.
Well, I’m in my 40s now and things just aren’t what they used to be. Hairs are growing in new places, joints are creaking and I’ve finally realized that I am not invincible. I’m watching my parents get older and, while I don’t have health problems now, it’s just a matter of time before a doctor tells me my cholesterol is bad or my blood pressure is too high. I want to hold that off as long as possible.
Whole30 asserts that certain food groups can affect energy levels, aches and pains, your ability to lose weight, allergies and digestive ailments. All of this “may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff. If I “strip them from my diet completely for a full 30 days, let my body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing and push the “reset” button with my metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices I’ve been making then I can learn how the foods I’ve been eating are actually affecting my body.” It’s not designed to be long-term, nor does it promise significant weight loss (although it does say some weight loss should occur and that’s a bonus for me). Skin is supposed to look better. The biggest benefit they claim is a psychological one. We know it takes 30 days for something to become a habit. If I can break the hold that sugar has on me then I can begin to improve the relationship I have with food. I want to change long-standing unhealthy habits into conscious, lifelong, healthy habits. I want to eat a nutrient rich diet, not be on a never-ending cycle of diets.
I love food. I give people sweets all the time to say “I Love You.” I eat when I’m happy or sad. Most of my social interactions with friends involve food and drink. I love to plan big, holiday meals and try new recipes. I reward my kids with food. It’s food, food, food for me and mine. I’m not ready to break up with food. I am ready to embrace healthy food. With a family of five, I am budget-conscious so I don’t want my healthy lifestyle to break the bank. Here’s how my first 8 days are going so far:
I planned out my menu for the first week. I bought all my necessary ingredients and I set aside time to cook up some meals in advance so when I got “hangry” (Hungry+Angry) I’d have something I could grab quickly. I’m surprised at how easy it’s been. The first week, I cooked things like baked chicken with veggies. I made taco stuffed sweet potato for me and tacos for the kids. I made southwestern chicken soup and added the beans afterward for the rest of the family. Little tweaks have made it possible for everyone to enjoy meal time. I’m sweetening my smoothies with fresh-squeezed orange juice (I literally squeeze half an orange into the blender). My favorite smoothie right now is a mango, banana, spinach concoction I created. I love experimenting with spices. We had dinner at friends’ houses twice last weekend and I had to bring dessert. I managed to make something with Oreos and not eat any! I’d call this progress. Not sure my skin looks any different but my clothes are already looser.
I’m happy to share recipe reviews. The first one is a potato-sausage breakfast casserole. I thought it was really tasty. I put too many potatoes in it which caused the egg to bubble over the sides of my baking dish and land on the bottom of the oven in a big, brown blob. The house smelled like souffle. Luckily, it was salvageable and tasted great. I put some Frank’s on it (like the jar says, I put that sh*t on everything). My husband and son liked it too.
Thank you to Paleo Leap for the recipe. Get it here: http://paleoleap.com/potato-sausage-casserole-pie/
Look for recipe reviews and updates on my progress.