Back in late April, my sister in law had convinced my mother in law and I to take on a challenge in the way we eat and approach food. It was called the Whole30 challenge. Whole30 is a lifestyle that was developed by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig out of Utah. They are nutritionists and explain in their book, It Starts With Food, about the benefits of clean eating and the process of giving your body a nutritional restart. You do this by eliminating certain foods from your diet, like all processed foods, along with the list shown below. After 30 days you reintroduce items from the no list one by one, to see if you have a negative bodily reaction. Then you'll know what foods work for you and which ones don't. You also learn if you have an unhealthy relationship with certain foods, the kind that take you on a slippery slope of disaster and avoid those foods or learn to eat them in moderation.
That means I would give up many of the foods I love, especially soda, cheese, and bread. My sister in law asked me, "How many sodas do you drink a day?" I honestly did not know. We keep a surplus of soda at our house. We never run out. If we saw our reserve was getting low, we bought more. (That hasn't changed, I'm the only one not drinking soda apart from my two girls). I thought about her question. Let's see, 1 with breakfast, 1 or 2 with lunch, 1 in the late afternoon for a pick me up, 1 with dinner and maybe 1 in the evening. That's a total of 6. SIX!!! I would drink a six pack by myself a day. A DAY! Thinking about this now, I can't believe how much sugar I was consuming by drinking. It's gross. Really gross. I was worried. I read stories of the first few days being very hard due to headaches, fatigue and strong cravings. I had no idea what I was in for. With our grocery lists in hand, we went to the grocery store. I bought things I hadn't ever bought before like coconut milk, coconut oil, almond meal, tons of light olive oil, cases of water, reading labels on everything. Grocery shopping does take some time with all the reading but one of the things I loved about this program is that you don't even need to look at the caloric intake. As long as you are eating real food, there was no need to count calories which was a saving grace because I hate counting and math. I hate keeping track of what I have eaten but I do love a good snap shot of food.
One setback, other than craving a slice of pizza or a soda every now and again was the price of this program. I'm a frugal kind of gal and the first grocery bill was pushing $300 for the first week, mostly due to buying all those new ingredients that had promised to ease me into this way of eating. The grocery bills that followed we subsequently smaller but man, I got sticker shock! Now, it's average, like it was before. This tells me it's not too expensive to eat healthily!
One thing they mention at the Whole30 website and book is something called the Sugar Dragon. The Sugar Dragon has his hooks in deep with me. When we consume sugar, as we know, it can lead to more sugar cravings so the more we eat sugar, the more we want sugar; at least with people who have no self control. I am one of those people. I thought that since I didn't like desserts much, my sugar craving was in check but it really wasn't. Refer to the soda intake above. The first week of the program was hard. Really. Hard. I made it hard because I had convinced myself that I needed a soda to go with my awesome looking instagram worthy meals and I didn't let myself enjoy it. Plus, I had a raging headache that lasted for 3 1/2 days. Then it was my Gramma's birthday and she was making tamales and menudo and I was stuck with a salad. A lovely chopped salad with homemade ranch dressing and bacon and I still was pouting. I know, I'm a brat.
But by week two, I noticed something. I was able to fall asleep. I used to have to wait til 1 am to snooze. I was waking up at 5 or 5:30 and ready for bed by 9:30. Good restful sleep! I woke up with energy, whereas before, I would wake up tired with no desire to leave my bed but I have two kids that needed my attention so I got up. I was groggily and my attitude could be perkier. At week two, I woke up at least and hour and a half before my kids. Plenty of time to do whatever before they took over.
Days that followed up until now, my taste buds have changed. I notice how sweet fruit is all on its own. Flavorful marinades pack a punch with meat. I don't have to eat every two hours because I'm full. FULL! I didn't know I could eat one meal and be full. I drink water to stay hydrated but not to fill a craving. I learned about cravings! What is it? Am I head hungry or hungry hungry? Because if I'm hungry hungry I can eat nuts, fruit, a piece of chicken and not what I'm craving like cheese or a cupcake. There are so many sources out there for free when it comes to clean, healthy eating. Two being Nom Nom Paleo and The Clothes Make the Girl. Check them out!
I wish wish wish I had taken a day one picture and measured my body but I didn't. I don't think I wanted to even look at myself or see the real numbers that make up my size. I know what I started at on the scale and I'm proud to say that after Whole30, this morning I weighed myself. I lost 14.2 pounds. That's amazing! I'm pretty sure I lost some inches in other places because right now clothes are weird and my tummy is a trouble zone, (I feel like I'm shaped like an apple) but overall, I'm super pleased! I'm am glad that I completed this (with one minor slip up: who knew that a can of jalapenos had sugar in them?! I had one). I have never really stuck to anything that took self discipline and am so proud that I was able to teach myself, that I am capable of much more than I thought. Try it! 30 days. Clean eating. You'll find that going back to "normal" is scary.
Now that this is over, I see that this was a great jumping off point to a healthier lifestyle and a healthy me. Now to share some of my favorite dishes!
|Turkey meatloaf (with bellpeppers, onion and mushrooms), pan seared brussels sprouts, broccoli and bacon with mashed sweet potatoes.|
|Nom Nom Paleo's Chile Lime Chicken Wings|
|Pan seared chicken thighs, with a tomatillo avocado salsa, sweet potatoes and strawberries.|
|Baked chicken, roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes with mashed cauliflower.|