Whole 30: A journey of food-deprivation and self-awareness

I believe that once upon a time I told myself that this blog would consist of all my food and travel adventures. You must be thinking this girl is really a bore if these are her only stories to tell. HA, who am I kidding – I know the readership of this is minimal, if not non-existent. But, I started this for me. It’s sad really, I frequently say I’m too busy to post, but then I regret not capturing those moments in a more permanent fashion. The answer probably lies in my short attention span. My attention span is actually a good transition to the premise of this post.

In December, a close friend was discussing her new ‘diet’ – The Whole 30 (this will be the only time I refer to the Whole 30 as a diet). Now for those of our unaware of what this is, let me give you a brief explanation. Whole 30 is a program that focuses on getting back to eating ‘real’ food (also known as Paleo). It focuses on the fact that much of what we eat can be linked to a number of heath problems. The goal is to not necessarily lose weight, but to achieve a ‘Lifestyle Change.’ y stripping your diet of all those icky processed foods, we are supposed to change our cravings and habits. Oh, and you do this for 30 days!

Now for the list of things you can’t eat:
– Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
– Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
– No Grains
– No Legumes…and NO Soy
– Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. (does this mean no Chinese?)
– No Dairy
– Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients

My friend proceeded to explain this to me as I noticed myself gulping down my wine in fear that it could be taken away. I thought she must be nuts… and seriously what the hell is she going to eat. I love cheese – I pay good money for a delectable Goat cheese! I love Sushi even more. Most importantly, I love wine! I’d never be able to endure the agony of stripping all the yummy things in the world. Besides, I thought I ate pretty healthy. I had been trying to cut back my sushi from 4x to 2x a week. I nearly cooked veg home. Although I might have been an alcoholic in denial (kidding! I had been cutting that back from the college years for a while and I accredit that to my fairly responsible BF). I went into the Holiday season ready to indulge and still thought this Whole 30 thing was a little extreme for me.

Fast forward a month or so …

I’m on Day 23 of this Whole 30 saga. Or maybe it’s a fast, or a death trap, or a rollercoaster. Whatever it is, I haven’t figured out what sparked me to commit to the crazy ‘lifestyle change’ for 30 sober, sugar-less days. I think I wanted to do something for me – something that I had complete control over. I wanted to prove to myself that I had self-control and that I could do something really hard. I mean obviously I’m a little awkward to start, so why not be the girl on the weird diet lifestyle change.

I prepped for my 30 days my reading the official Whole 30 cult book, “It Starts With Food.” Then I made sure the day before I started was full of brews and brunch! I rolled in, thinking I’d quit in 3 days…4 days tops. Remember… low attention span.

Now, what can I even eat. So Much!
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

My first challenge was basically eliminating eating out. No more Yats. No more Taku. Few restaurants in town have enough options to make eating out worth it. Iceberg lettuce with grilled chicken should not be a diet staple. Ultimately, this made me cook more…and really learn to cook more elaborately. I’m a master quiche chef and am still perfecting the egg with an unbroken yolk. Low dexterity is a real bugger sometimes.

I had to learn to read labels. Holy shit everything has sugar in it!! Why is there sugar in tomato sauce, uncured bacon and vinegar salad dressings? Too many times have I seen an organic, all natural product… but there’s still sugar! I have weird shopping habits in the grocery to begin with, but now I spend an excessive amount of time throwing products hazardously back on the shelf after reading labels. I have probably been eating more meat, but I always opt for grass-fed, wild caught and free range.

I’ve made it sound like it’s not that bad. Let me tell you a few downfalls.
– I still go to the bar, but I drink water – automatic assumptions that I’m pregnant.
– My dearest friends try to peer pressure me to cheat (I’d probably do the same).
– I can eat guacamole, but not chips. Eating guac with a spoon sometimes gets weird looks.
– Restaurants say they don’t mind if my order is difficult and then deny my requests for spinach over iceberg.
-I’m Sober all the time! Bad day, sad, birthday shots? Too damn bad – none for me!
– People offer you tasty treats at work that you have to politely decline. I’ve caught myself saying I’m gluten free to ward of questions.
– I’m often Hangry! This is a real life issue!
– My dad, who loves to cook with loads of butter, thinks I’m weird. But, I will say he has adapted man meals.
– I have been a class A bitch a few times and I accredit that to withdrawal and general crabbiness of working in the winter.

Yes, the past few weeks have been hard! I’ve nearly cheated too many times. Heck, I may still cheat. I’m proud of myself for sticking to it. I can’t say I’ve had any transformational changes in the way I feel. just as the book predicted, it has been a lifestyle change! I’m completely aware and in control of what I eat and drink. I save money by eating at home. I can be social without drinking. My body feels better in general. My motivation to try new things is pretty high. The list goes on…

If anything, I can brag about how I partook in one of those excessive, cult lifestyle-changing programs. I’m fine with that.

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