Whole30: Why I started.

This will be my first post in a long time. Moving forward you will find posts and recipes relating to the Whole30 diet (and a few Paleo). But to begin I wanted to share my motivations for not only starting Whole30 but also this blog.

First, what exactly is the Whole30 diet (briefly). Whole30 is a diet designed to eliminate foods that are deemed unhealthy and have proven to promote cravings, bad habits, disrupt your metabolism, damage your digestive tract and upset your immune system. It was designed as a 30 day plan to eliminate added sugar and artificial sweeteners, all alcohol, all grain, legumes, and dairy. The purpose of this is to totally cleanse yourself of the foods that can have negative effects on your body (and your life). In doing so, you gain control of your diet and your life, and when the 30 days are up, you slowly reintroduce the foods you have eliminated allowing you to fully understand the effects they have on your mind and body. That way you are free to decide for yourself what you want to incorporate into your diet long term. Making you in control of your food, not the other way around.

I was introduced to this diet by my Mother. Her and her husband started it back in January to get healthier and to see if it they didn’t have some positive changes for an upcoming doctors physical. She was so pleased with how she felt that she shared the diet with my sister and I. My sister and her husband jumped right on board and began their own Whole30, I on the other hand remained unconvinced. You see, I’m a bartender and craft beer enthusiast. My boyfriend and I were eating out at least 5 days a week and I was drinking at least one beer or drink everyday. I enjoyed starting each day with a large Soy Latte and most days my meals consisted almost exclusively in cheese, bread and beer. But I couldn’t deny that I often didn’t feel great. I was the heaviest I had ever been, pushing the boundaries of what I deemed to be an acceptable number on the scale and I felt uncomfortable everyday. Constant stomach pains, aches and pains, headaches, fatigue and a completely sedentary lifestyle. After seeing my sister and brother-in-law succeeding on Whole30 I began to feel like I should take some steps in the same direction.

My first small step, I cut out soy. ALL SOY. For me this mostly meant my daily soy latte. After discovering how soy can mimic estrogen in your body I became unnerved with the idea that soy could be effecting my mood and behavior in ways I was unaware of. Before Memorial Day I headed up to my Moms for the long weekend and had my last soy latte. I put a plan in place to start making my own cold brew coffee at home. Over the coarse of that weekend I ate almost entirely Whole30 given that everyone else in the house was on the diet, and I was surprised at how good the food was and by how good I felt. When I returned home I started my own plan. Unable to give up entirely on my craft beer/bar going lifestyle I decided to limit those unhealthy (albeit fun) habits to weekends only, going 100% Whole30 during the week. Although I caught a lot of flack from friends and co-workers upfront, once I explained the diet and why I was doing it everyone was very supportive, and my “cheat days” on the weekends aloud me to still participate in all the summer bar-b-ques and activities. I was surprised at how fast I started seeing results and feeling the effects of specific foods on my mind and body. I felt the withdraw as my body was coping with the lack of sugar, I felt the intense week long cravings after I cheated with just a few Doritos at a weekend party, my mind was aware of the acute depression I felt days later after having a few too many drinks. I also felt an immense amount of energy. On the days I was sticking to the diet I was waking up at 7 or 8am (and for a bartender anything before 11 is exciting) I found I had so much energy that I had to go for a jog, kayak, anything to be active. I began a positive cycle of healthy eating and activity which bettered every part of my life. I wanted to cheat less and less on my allowed days because I knew I wouldn’t feel as good. For the first time I was happy to say no to food I thought I once loved and craved.

I have been doing this adapted version of Whole30 for two in a half months now and I have decided to get this blog up and running to share my story. I have had many people in my life already who have asked me about it, perhaps seeing how much better I look and feel, (or perhaps because I cant seem to shut up about it!) so this will hopefully be a place to answer those questions and share my excitement.

I have also decided that starting September 1st I will begin my official Whole30 journey, no cheat days. Although I feel I have gained so much from this diet even with my modifications and cheat days, to fully endorse the diet I want to try it for real, as it was intended. I hope you enjoy my journey and that you can find your own food awakening, even if you have to start slow, as I did.

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