A few months ago I did the impossible and became a Whole 30 warrior!
What is Whole 30 exactly? Basically its a total cleanse, designed to help discover how your body responds to different foods. By cutting out different inflammatory inducing foods, you are able to better understand how the body responds to them. Before getting diagnosed with UC, I was hoping this would help me to better understand my tummy troubles a bit better.
The harsh part: no sugar, no legumes (including soy products), no alcohol, no grains of any kind, and no dairy and no scales for 30 days.
- Perhaps the hardest part of these 30 days was the rule preventing me from weighing myself. While it was difficult to not quantify my progress, I gained a sense of “scale freedom” and actually paid more attention to when I was actually hungry and what nutrients my body was craving.
Better Relationship with Food:
- By the end of the 30 days, there is no question that the girl who used to count every calorie no longer felt obligated. Because I was eating real food with ingredients I could pronounce, , I didn’t feel like I had to spend a day compensating for a pizza and beer binge the night before. Every day was about healthy choices, none of that food guilt the day after. I actually found myself craving green juices. The best part of cutting all the processed sugar out was that fruits became so much sweeter, grapes tasted like candy and berries and coconut milk became a dessert I looked forward to at night. I also became disgusted at the sight of fried foods; when I was almost done with the Whole 30, I went out to dinner with Chad’s family who ordered fried mac n’ cheese, buffalo wings, and fries as appetizers. For the first time in my whole life I was not even tempted to snag a fry. This is when I knew how effective Whole 30 was.
- The most exciting part of Whole 30 was the physical changes that cam with a clean diet. I had lost a decent amount of weight without trying and my skin was clearer than ever. I had lost the bloat that processed food often leaves us with. While I cannot say I had more energy since I was in the middle of a UC flare, Chad who did most of Whole 30 with me, remarked on his increase in energy and was able to wake up each morning more easily, even without his morning coffee.
- You don’t realize how often our society places social events around food. Simple happy hour meet ups, trivia and nacho night, and late night walks of ice cream were all suddenly no-go’s. There were a few occasions where I had to go out to dinner while on Whole 30. One of the most refreshing parts was the much cheaper bill since drinking was off limits. Eating out was far from impossible but I did have to grow a major pair of balls because no matter what I ordered needed some sort of modification. Sometimes it was as simple as asking for no butter to be added to the top of the steak. Other not some simple dinners out involved having to call ahead to find out what ramen included soy products and subbing all veggies and extra protein for noodles. I was still able to go out with friends and not feel deprived. I simply felt annoying with my many requests, but so worth it in the long run!
Frequent Grocery Trips
- For many this is a flaw to Whole 30, personally I love the grocery store and would go every day if I could. And I basically did on Whole 30. However, this added up financially very quickly. Eating such fresh foods means having to buy them more frequently since they go bad much more quickly. I also found myself eating full pints of raspberries, over a dozen eggs a week, and killing tubs of almond butter regularly. Chad and I were able to rationalize our expenses since we were going out to eat much less and not drinking any alcohol. Financially, it probably evened out in the end. Not to mention it was a huge investment in our overall health.
Reading Labels and Planning
- Whole 30 caused me to become even more of a “Type A Planner” than I already am. Lots of meal prep, research and planning happened each week. I would make sure my veggies were chopped, each food label was free of sugar (and other contraband) ingredients, and my proteins were prepared. This took lots of time but for only 30 days I could not complain too much.