Today I am starting The Whole 30. It is going to be a challenge.
Let me give you a little background on the concept. The Whole 30 is basically like a “reset” button for your health. It’s a way to become really, keenly aware of what you are putting in your body daily, and asking yourself if it is helping you reach your goal of being healthy. It is a 30 day project to help you break away from unhealthy habits and create new, lifelong awareness of how what we eat affects how we feel. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are the geniuses behind Whole 9 Life and The Whole 30. I love their philosophy: “We have built our entire business around telling you what you NEED, not what you WANT.”
I can relate to that statement, because as a physical therapist, I spend my day telling clients what they need, not what they want. I am not being mean when I tell a patient that they need to lose 30 pounds if they want their knee to stop hurting when they go up the stairs. I am stating a fact – try it for yourself, carry a 30 pound weight up and down stairs 20 times, and see how your joints feel. You may not want to hear this; but, you need to if you want a real solution to your problem.
When I first heard about The Whole 30, I looked into it and decided that since I was already eating according to a gluten free, grain free, whole foods-based, Paleo eating plan, I didn’t really need to change anything else. (i.e. it looked like too much work when I was already feeling the best I have felt in my entire adult life). See, I’m human, too! I wasn’t sure that there was really anything else I needed to change about the way I eat and drink; but, as I kept interacting more with Dallas and Melissa via Twitter, Facebook, their blog and email I was intrigued. (Helped by the fact that every picture I could find of them was like a poster for healthiest man and woman alive! They both radiate health, beauty and strength from the inside out). So, when the buzz began to generate about starting the next Whole 30 on January 1st, I decided I had to give it a try. I also thought, “How hard can it be? I’m already mostly Whole 30 compliant.”
After exactly one meal, I see how non-Whole 30 compliant I am! The only three things I have to avoid for 30 days that will make me compliant are: 1) alcohol (no more NorCal Margaritas, my only drink of choice since going Paleo), 2) sugar in all shapes and forms (I thought I was nearly sugar free except the ½ tsp. in my coffee every morning – wrong), and dairy (the only dairy I have consumed for 6 months has been Greek yogurt, organic, grass fed cream in my coffee, and occasional cheese.)
When I went to make my first meal of the day, I drank my coffee black (I was ready for this. It’s disgusting). Then I went to make one of my standard Paleo breakfasts, bacon and eggs. I had to read the bacon label to check for sugar, and found it was sugar cured. Scratch the bacon. Eggs, check. I moved on to ground beef, thinking I would make a breakfast burrito. While cooking up the ground beef, I went to add a spice mix we like – sugar was on the ingredient list. Scratch spice mix. Make own spice mix. I cut up an avocado and went to mix it with our favorite, high quality salsa. Yup, you guessed it, sugar in the salsa. Scratch salsa. Trying to have a positive attitude, I steamed some butternut squash to go with it and tried to make the plate look pretty (I forgot to put the squash on the plate before taking the picture, so use your imagination):
By the time we sat down to eat, Dave was trying not to laugh at me. I mean, part of him thinks this is funny and the other part of him is seriously less than pleased because now this requires him to think even more about ingredients when he is cooking for the family. It was a huge shift in his meal planning and prep when we went Paleo, and he’s really not looking to make things harder on himself. I don’t blame him – I already have to think way more about food than I want to since eating Paleo takes lots of awareness and planning; however, I am going to give my 100% commitment to this for 30 days. If I can see problems with my eating after only one meal, I am sure I will finish this challenge with much more awareness of what I need to change on my road to optimal health.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I only have 6 hours to figure out what’s for dinner!
For more information about Dallas and Melissa, Whole 9 and The Whole 30 see the following links.
Addendum to Day 1:
After my workout, I made a smoothie (coconut milk, frozen banana, frozen blueberries, Marcona almond butter (no sugar, just Marcona almonds) and drank that bad boy down with gusto! Followed by lots of water.
Dinner was awesome, thanks to Dave. He made Taco Wraps – Yum – homemade taco seasoning mixed in with ground beef, onions, red and yellow pepper and mushrooms. We scooped it into lettuce and wrapped it up, BOOM! 1 ½ lb of ground beef never went down so fast before! (Wow, that sounds like a lot!) I drank my sparkling water and didn’t think about the red wine on the table.
All in all, a successful Day 1. Now, off to bed!