For the past 30 days, I have been on the Whole 30 plan. It is a way of eating for 30 days, created by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig, where you eliminate all sugar, including alcohol, grains, legumes, wheat and dairy from your diet. What’s left to eat? Think fish, meat, chicken, eggs and lots of fruit and vegetables! After the thirty day period you spend the next 12 days gradually reintroducing all the eliminated food back into your diet, one food group at a time, and analyzing what impact, if any, these foods have on your health.
It was not an easy process but I felt that it was really life-changing. It started off just being a food plan with lots of food restrictions but as the days went on, I really felt the power of being thoughtful about what I was putting into my body. As I started to be able to breathe better, feel better, sleep better and navigate my days with a newfound calm with better-fitting clothes, I realized how much food had an impact on my body and performance. I also realized that much of my eating had been based on habit when I was at home and based on not wanting to make waves when I was out. I would just eat whatever and didn’t give to much thought to what I was eating or drinking.
The biggest breakthrough about eating “clean” was that I had no energy dips during the day. I had consistent energy from the time I woke up to shortly before I would fall asleep. This is the biggest reason that I would recommend this program. The benefits of not having an afternoon or evening slump made it possible for me to accomplish so much more, although much of it went to keeping up with meal preparation as you really have to plan your meals in advance in order to eat this way!
Whole 30 made me reflect on the lack of variety in my diet and the Whole 30 meal plan template gave me a structure which resulted in more varied vegetable choices, along with protein and fats at every meal. Eating this way just felt good. The meal preparation was extensive but so satisfying. I will definitely be cooking more at home going forward.
Going out socially was an eye-opener. The best quote from the Whole 30 site for eating out was, to paraphrase, “I am not doing this for other’s people’s opinion of what I am eating and drinking, I am doing this because I want to challenge myself to eat nourishing whole foods for 30 days.” It was mortifying to me when someone made a big deal about what I was not eating and drinking and I think that sticking to my plan, even when I felt really uncomfortable, gave me the insight that I am responsible for nourishing my own body and eating or drinking something so somebody else doesn’t feels uncomfortable does not reflect the person I want to be. Sometimes in a situation, I try to visualize what I would say to my own children in a similar situation and that helped me stay on track when I was feeling especially pressured to have a glass of wine or eat a dessert that someone had made from scratch. This is an area that I will definitely have to be thoughtful about, post-30, as my freezer is now filled with delicious desserts that I promised to eat when I am no longer on the program!
I didn’t weigh myself or measure myself at the beginning because I just went on this journey to be healthy but I think I lost around 10 pounds and around 2 1/2 inches from my waist. My husband has been inspired by my journey and will be doing a Whole 30 in September.
I was really love the Whole 30 community support and the Daily30 emails. This whole process has me wondering about what nutritional book/cookbook are out there for children that explains how food can impact emotions, learning, performance and our bodies? It would be wonderful to have something in a picture book format that teachers could share in the classroom! One of my favorite books in the food genre for kids was Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon by Jules Bass and Debbie Harter. Students would absolutely adore this story and it was a wonderful mentor text to teach character traits and critical thinking/discussion around the question of betraying personal ideals for personal freedom. After reading the book, we would always have a vegetable platter with dip. I recommend this green genie spread as a vegetable dip. So delicious!
So, what are your food thoughts these days?