At the beginning of January I started a new journey to try and regulate my health and hormones through a program called Whole 30. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s eating real, whole foods for 30 days.
Before starting this program, I thought I was eating great. I’d have real food — even veggies — for breakfast lunch and dinner, and if I got hungry in between (which was almost always), I’d have either a protein shake or a quick snack.
I wasn’t understanding why I was having such trouble sleeping, have a sugar crash every afternoon and why I was still having hormonal imbalances. Quite frankly, I felt like I’ve been doing everything under the sun to make my system right. Gym at least five days a week, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears going into feeling better.
I’ve been trying to prep for this Whole 30 journey for awhile, because I could only read a couple of pages a night, and I wanted to understand the science behind WHY so many people are seeing life-changing results with this diet change. (If you’re interested, the book is called It Starts With Food, and it’s absolutely worth reading.)
After having a bad infection last summer and living on meds for awhile, I decided enough was enough and just decided to take the plunge in January. I spent the first week with baptism by fire. Ill prepared and hangry at every turn, I forced myself to search — and cook — only real foods.
The gist of the book is to ditch all allergens and inflammation-inducing foods from my diet, and then after 30 days slowly add back in each food that was eliminated and see how my body reacts to each food. So I’ve given up dairy, sugar, soy, wheat, grains, legumes, bad oils (canola, vegetable, sunflower), additives/chemicals, carageenan (found in a lot of organic food), alcohol, and probably a few others that I’m forgetting, but you get the gist. I gave up easy food.
What can I eat? Vegetables, high-quality organic and/or pastured meat, wild fish, healthy fats and fruit. (I used Melissa’s for my produce – great quality, organic, fresh!)
Why? Because quite frankly, my life DOES depend on me eating by design. The more clean I’d eat, the more allergies I was discovering I had.
Why? Because if I discover what real food looks like, I can teach my kids.
Now I’m almost done with the program and it’s been hard. It was hard on Day 1, and it’s hard on Day 25, but I’m hooked. It truly is a lifestyle. If you’re looking for a quick way to lose weight, this is it, but more importantly, the only way to sustain that weight loss is to make it a lifestyle.
I heard someone say “eat like you’re diabetic, even if you’re not” – regulate those blood sugars!
I’m actually afraid to reintroduce anything because I’m so happy with the results from this dietary shift.
The results I’ve seen with this diet include:
- Weight loss (down 8 lbs)
- Clear skin (something I’ve been fighting for a few years)
- Hormonal regulation (Despite my pituitary tumor, cyst, adenoma – whatever it’s called)
- Consistently sleeping through the night (I haven’t done this since I was a teen)
- No sugar crash
- Feeling full between meals (I’m down to 3 meals a day)
- Emotional regulation – more consistent feelings of contentment
- Less cravings (not gone, but certainly less)
Did you know there is a close link with gut health and mental well-being? I learned that recently, and think more people should know this.
Anyway, this 30-day period is not for the faint of heart. It’s a commitment to better health. It’s a commitment to ask what you’re eating if you dine out. It’s a commitment to hunt, gather and prepare high-quality food that feeds health.
I’ve wanted to break down and cry a few times. Weekends are the hardest – all I want is to go out to dinner and not ask a question about what I’m eating. Instead I’d research restaurants, plan out a few days in advance, and stop at a grocery store if I was starving.
Now that I’m on my last few days, I can honestly say that this has changed my life. There is never a good time to start a life-changing habit. But I’m glad I took the plunge into doing it; even if it was hard to overcome obstacles, I learned that it is possible, no matter what the circumstances.
Where to buy:
Organic vegetables and fruit: Try Melissa’s
Organic, pastured meat: Try 5280 Meat