The Whole 30 (http://whole30.com) is based on the book, It Starts With Food, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Going a month without sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy is supposed to help boost energy, kick the sugar craving, alleviate pains, and more. The book shares that many of our symptoms are revealed through the foods we eat. If we eliminate those foods from our diet, the symptoms can disappear.
This was a tough journey, but over the course of the 30 days, I learned five important life lessons:
1. Self-discipline: Anything can become an idol in our lives if we let it, and I was always craving for another treat or more food. Sometimes the thoughts of ice cream or chocolate would cloud my mind and make me lose focus on what is truly important. I would eat when I was bored, or I justified a milkshake because I had a bad day. I realized I needed self-discipline in the small things so I could also have it in the big things. The Whole 30 requires self-discipline. It required me to decide if I was going to give in to my flesh or if I was going to stand strong and win. It would have been easy to give up and go back to my old ways, but I knew they weren’t getting me where I wanted to be. If nothing changes, nothing changes. The cool thing about the Whole 30 is that it is a 30-day plan, and it only takes 20 days to create a habit. Now a lot of what I learned is ingrained in my daily routine.
2. How to cook/prepare meals: I am not a cook. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t even want to be in the kitchen. I hate the time that it requires. I hate the mess that it makes — I could go on and on. Starting the Whole 30, I quickly realized that cooking is necessary to change things up and not have the same boring meal day after day. I needed to learn how to add different flavors to things so I could savor my food instead of crave something unhealthy. In order to eat whole, clean foods, I needed discipline to plan and prepare my meals. In doing so, I learned that it’s not as bad as I once thought it was, and it actually became somewhat enjoyable. I found myself on Pinterest daily looking for yummy recipes to try. The key for me, however, was to find simple recipes for tasty meals. I have had fun finding out how to use spices in meals to spruce things up, something I’ve never done before. I learned it doesn’t have to be fancy or take hours to prepare in order for it to be a family favorite. Now I have chosen to plan ahead for the week. I have a sheet that I write down what we are going to have for dinner, and I stick to it. It helps keep us within our budget when I grocery shop, and it helps me to stay focused. It keeps me on guard at all times. A game plan is good.
3. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet: A diet is all about what you’re limited to — you can’t have this, and you can’t have that. Count the calories. There’s too much salt or too much fat. The list goes on. I don’t want that! I want it to be about what I can eat and why it’s enjoyable. I want to see my meals as something to look forward to. I wanted to retrain my brain to know what this isn’t about being on a diet or restrictions. It’s about eating what’s healthy for me and having those “other” things in moderation. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says our bodies are God’s temple, and that comes down to the food we use to fuel our bodies. I don’t want mine to be backed up and unusable. I want to be able to be a vessel and a light to others.
4. Real foods can make great treats: Banana ice cream, frozen berries, smoothies — all great, delicious choices for a sweet treat. After the Whole 30, I haven’t had many treats, but I’ve noticed just how sweet they are. Fruit has become sweet enough for me now, and that makes me happy. Does that mean I don’t eat any chocolate or cookies? Nope. It just means I will no longer let the thought of dessert control me. I will enjoy treats in moderation and still be proud of how far I’ve come.
3. It’s going to be OK: If I crave chocolate, and I don’t give in to my desires, it’s going to be OK. If my flesh says I need more, and I don’t cave, it’s going to be OK. I thought I needed all the treats and pastas and breads to be fully satisfied, but I don’t. I don’t need any of it. Food is a tool to fuel my body, keep me healthy, and give me the ability to fulfill my call in life. My life is about giving glory to God. I want my thoughts to be centered around Him and not around my fleshly desires. And if I put Him in the center, then I know everything is going to be OK.
My journey is only beginning, and I know I have a long way to go, but it is worth it, and the refining process is good.
I’m addicted – to sugar.
I have the sweetest sweet tooth and love a good treat! But my addiction needs to end. I need to say goodbye to sugar and hello to a healthier me. I believe treats are just fine in moderation, but my cravings have gone too far.
I was introduced to the Whole 30 by a friend, and it intrigued me enough to give it a whirl. The best part was that she would do this journey with me!
The Whole 30 (http://whole30.com) is based off the book It Starts with Food, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. It basically says eat nothing for a whole month, and I’ll be healthier. OK, not really, but that’s how I felt!
THE RULES: NO sugar, NO grains, NO legumes, NO dairy, NO cheating, for a whole month! Doing this is supposed to kick the sugar craving all together, and it is also supposed to help boost energy, alleviate aches and pains, or decrease allergies. Many of our symptoms are revealed through the foods we eat. If we eliminate those foods from our diet, the symptoms can disappear. The goal is to eat REAL FOOD.
I did start thinking I was nuts for wanting to go a whole month on just meat, veggies, and fruit. Could I actually have the will power to do this? Eliminate something out of my life that had controlled me for so long? It was worth a shot.
I had two goals in this process:
- Cut the sugar cravings for good.
- Re-mineralize my teeth
I’ve been doing research on how to re-mineralize teeth. Three pregnancies has been rough on my teeth, and a once perfect mouth now has five cavities. I am not willing to fill them if there’s a natural way. I really enjoyed the book, Cure Tooth Decay, by Ramiel Nagel, and many of the guidelines coincide with the Whole 30, so I figured I would do it all at once! I’ll do a post in the near future with more details on re-mineralization. I plan to see a dentist in the next month or so to get a second opinion and see if I’ve made any progress.
The first week of the Whole 30, I barely cooked. My two oldest boys (ages 7 and 5) did this journey with me, as they also have a big sweet tooth. We had a lot of eggs for breakfast and chicken with steamed veggies for lunch or dinner. Simplicity was key for me as I transitioned my eating.
The first 10 days were a hard transition. I’m not a cook — I actually used to despise being in the kitchen. However, I knew I needed to train myself to prepare and cook meals so we wouldn’t get bored or give up. It seemed like everything at the grocery store had some type of sugar or sweetener in it, and it was so defeating. I just wanted some easy-to-grab snacks or meals.
After 10 days, I felt energetic. I didn’t miss caffeine or any other energy booster for that matter. I was sleeping better, and I didn’t have that sluggish feeling early afternoon like I normally do. Between eating real food and going to the chiropractor, I went from someone who could only sleep a couple hours at a time to getting a 7-hour stretch one night! This was the longest I’ve slept since I can remember! My oldest boy had a rough first week and was in the bathroom quite a bit. He was eliminating so many things out of his system. The icky feeling he had went away by day 10, but the elimination continued.
After 20 days I realized I didn’t miss my almost nightly go-to treat — ice cream. If it wasn’t there for me to look at, I didn’t crave it. I was starting to find fruit sweet enough. I did still look forward to adding back in an occasional treat, but I didn’t miss all the goodies as much as I thought I would. I felt more energy and an overall sense of well-being. The boys were doing great on this plan. When we went somewhere that they were offered a treat or snack, they politely declined. I always made sure to bring along something for them so they didn’t go hungry. They did miss all the treats, but they were troopers.
By day 30, I was really excited to start trying new recipes that called for honey or maple syrup or just a bread-like food. I noticed my face was clearing, and I lost 10 pounds as a byproduct. That was not one of my initial goals — I’m small as it is — but I noticed more definition in my muscles. Overall, I felt better. My workouts seemed easier, the afternoon sluggishness was less frequent, my energy levels were higher, and I was enjoying this new way of eating and cooking!
The month wasn’t perfect, but I got it done and was proud of my boys for mostly following the rules with me. I now want to incorporate this way of eating into our daily lives with some additional foods and treats in moderation. The boys and I talked about a junk cereal day for them and keeping a pizza night. They were satisfied with those compromises. The boys learned what healthy eating consists of and why it is important. I learned that it’s OK not to know everything if I’m willing to learn. It’s a process. I will take it one step at a time.
I will do another couple of posts about my Whole 30 journey. I want to share some of my favorite recipes and meal ideas along with the five important lessons I learned throughout the month. I hope you’ll join me as I tie it all together!