Another Whole30

February 4, 2013

Whole30

First, for those of you who are unfamiliar with The Whole30 it is strict 30-day paleo “reboot” that reduces inflammation in your body, promotes a healthy immune system and improved digestion, kicks cravings, levels out your energy, balances your hormones, and makes your skin look like that of a baby. Or a glittery vampire in the sun. Eating a paleo diet typically means that you’re eating meat (Jeremy and I are pescatarians, so we only eat fish during our Whole30), vegetables, fruits, eggs, healthy fats like avocado and coconut, nuts and seeds. It means that you are not eating sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes. You can read more about paleo and my personal history with it here.

Jeremy and I did our first Whole30 after a month abroad of eating nothing but bread, cheese, sugar, butter and beer. It was quite a journey and I learned a lot. Afterwards, we continued to eat paleo about 85% of the time. I never anticipated doing another Whole30 but after a sugar-laden Christmas I was feeling it. On January 1st we started our second Whole30.

Here’s what I learned on my second Whole30 – and some ways in which it was different from our first:
• If the first time was all about ditching grains, the second time was about ditching sugar. Wine, caramel popcorn, dark chocolate, cookies, pies… it was a good holiday but it was time to put a halt to the sugar monsters.
• Eating Whole30 isn’t just about paleo ingredients / Sugar is hard to kick. You can make lots of cookies, cakes and even ice cream using technically paleo & Whole30 approved ingredients. But if you’re eating coconut & cayenne truffles after every meal you’re doing yourself a disservice by feeding unhealthy cravings and addictions. So here’s where I’ll admit that I made these a few times on our Whole30. We also eat smoothies a lot at lunch – for us there aren’t any unhealthy connotations here (meaning, it wasn’t replacing any sort of milkshake habit).
• The second time is a lot easier than the first. I suppose because we were already eating strict paleo 85% of the time we already had a routine in place. There was a lot less mental drama about what I couldn’t eat this time around.
• Eating seasonally will affect your Whole30 experience. Jeremy and I try to eat seasonally. So while our first Whole30 was all about fish, summer squash and fruit our second Whole30 was all about leafy greens and starchy root veggies.
• Ditching coffee for tea helped. During this Whole30 we weren’t drinking coffee. I think it may have made me a bit more emotionally stable and less anxious, in general, especially around my food choices. There was a bit of confusion in my post about quitting coffee. So just to clarify I have not quit drinking caffeine. I still enjoy black and green tea which have significantly less caffeine than coffee.
• We ate a lot less fish this time around. That means a lot more vegetarian meals with eggs or vegan meals using more avocado or coconut oil for adequate calories to fuel our lifestyle.
• We eat a lot of coconut. I think 50% of my caloric intake comes in the form of coconut. Coconut chips, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut butter. I probably overdid it on coconut and other nuts during this Whole30.
• Hydrate. One of my four words for 2013 was “hydrate”. Doing this Whole30 made me feel so hydrated, in a literal sense – which is rare in the cold and dry winter months.
• We were a lot easier on ourselves. I was slightly less concerned about what kinds of oil my food had been cooked in the couple times we went out to eat. And I had a few drinks while at Alt Summit. So this wasn’t even a Whole30. Melissa and Dallas of Whole9Life say: “You’re either doing a Whole30 or you’re not. It’s kind of like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t.” The competitive perfectionist in me would feel terrible for not making it a legitimate Whole30 but guess what – I feel great and I look great with a 95% Whole30. I feel more balanced, especially socially & mentally, when I’m a little easier on myself and not completely preoccupied (or unhealthily obsessed) with my food.

Moving forward I will continue to strive towards optimal health by consuming things that aren’t just “not bad for me” but by fueling my body with flavorful foods that nourish my body and mind.

I’ll often take snaps of what I eat on Instagram. You can follow me here. 

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