October 21, 2012 by Darlene McC
It’s been 5 weeks since I took on the personal challenge of completing a Whole30: 30 uninterrupted days of nothing but Good Food as defined and described by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig in their book “It Starts With Food“, and I would not have expected it to wind up here: hubster & I just spent 5 hours scrubbing our kitchen top to bottom, I’ll be investing in some fine cookware this week, and my first pot roast is in the oven at the moment. Whole30 has transformed me into a home body. And I kinda like it.
Phase In… & Out
If you’re just picking up my thread on Whole30 you’re starting at the end – and the final bit of Whole30 is reintroducing the things you thought you missed while on it. In 4 weeks without grains, alcohol, dairy, legumes, sugar or seeds I thought I’d miss a lot more; but as I shared on Monday I really only wanted to add back in yogurt, peanuts, and chocolate. Wednesday totaled day 31, so it was go time. My plan was to use yogurt & fruit as my recovery from my workout; but with my shoulder a little banged up I had to skip the workout on the advise of my doctor. Okay, so maybe I’ll just have less?
I’m a little disappointed to admit that my first meal of reintroduction fell short of expectation; not because I reacted to the yogurt poorly, but because I ate twice as much as I intended. Even though the food I was having was naturally sweet (dried cherries, banana, and almonds) it didn’t matter. The old sugar demons were back and before I knew it I’d eaten two portions of the stuff. Back to the drawing board on impulse control.
On Thursday I ordered curry without rice, believing it would be okay if I took out the white potatoes. This was my first dry run at peanuts; but when I woke up in the morning my hands were swollen again. Damn. But wait! How do I know there weren’t grains in the sauce!?
So I isolation tested peanut butter last night (one of my missed foods) and while their’s no inflammation response today I realized something else: it isn’t nearly as good as I “remember”. If I don’t miss it, I don’t need to eat it. No real need for pb here!
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any chocolate that I want to eat that isn’t sweetened with some bullshit sugar that I don’t want. But I’m sure I’ll live and want to avoid the impulse-control problems of the yogurt.
So that’s it, right? Guys? What now?
It looks like I’m off to create my own successes or failures at this point. I’ve talked it over with my husband and I’m planning to build my long-term nutrition on a simple philosophy that Dallas & Melissa build their system on:
Food either makes you more healthy or less healthy.
Their is no “in between”; no gray area. There is no “eat this, not that” because you’re having whole, healthful food; or you’re not. The weight of “should I have 2% or skim” type questions is removed: eat whole or not at all. If it could make you sick it isn’t worth it.
My intention is to only indulge in something that would fit into the “less healthy” category when the situation or food itself warrants that – my grandmother’s pie on Thanksgiving is a good excuse for added sugar; having something from the “juice” bar at the gym is not.
I also don’t intend to pick grains back up any time soon; though my husband pointed out that means none of his homemade pizza or pancakes for the foreseeable future.
Perhaps we’ll have a “One Weekend a Month” rule like the National Guard.
In keeping with the desire to avoid temptation, alcohol, and the confused eyebrow raises of my friends I’ve been making dinner at home a lot; occasionally inviting same friends to join me. I spent the second decade of my life playing ball-based sports and driving too fast, rarely finding myself in a kitchen and almost never enjoying it. I NEVER expected to grow into my late 20’s and day dream about cooking for a house full of kids or looking forward to having a home where I can finally host Thanksgiving (what will I use for stuffing!??!). Last night I turned down an offer to go out so I could come home and make burgers and this week I even started reading Bon Appetit!
Whole30 has changed me in ways I never anticipated. I feel more mindful; more intentioned. By planning my meals I’m connecting with my husband at the beginning of the week for where we plan to go each 7 day cycle. I’m sketching out my days and winging it less. I’m becoming more adult – and more the adult that I’ve wanted to be.
This sounds heavy for what food is capable of; but it’s real and true to me. By changing what I’m supplying for the building blocks of my internal structures I am inherently changing myself… for the better.
I feel a shift in path – the road has been forking a little and this experiment provided some much needed clarity. I went in hoping for a reduction in pain and found much more: a mapping of outside built from within.
I don’t know that everyone out there has a deep, profound experience in this way (I kinda hope most do); but if you asked my “professional” opinion on whether this experiment is right for you I would (with the rare medical exception) say yes. Please consider taking a look at it and finding what lessons may be therein for you.
Best of luck and in good health,