Ok, so let's talk Whole30! If you talk to me in person for more than about 20 minutes, I'll probably find a way to bring it up without even trying to (I’m sure it's highly obnoxious). That's because doing my first Whole30 quite literally changed my life. I came across this program at a time that I was in a lot of pain, I was anxious and tired, and I was desperate for a solution that didn't require me to take prescription medications for the rest of my life. I know it wasn't a coincidence that a Whole30 book basically fell into my lap, and I'm so thankful that God guided me to this resource!
Today is the first day of my fourth Whole30 (yes, fourth... and no, I'm not crazy). I like to go through the program again at times that I feel I've gotten lax with my eating habits (I'm looking at you, Christmas break), just to reset my body and reinforce all of the good and positive habits that come from the Whole30. I think I've had more sugar in the last two weeks than I did the whole rest of the year combined. So, what is the Whole30? I'm so glad you asked! Or maybe you didn't, but I'm going to tell you anyway.
Like I briefly mentioned in my last post, the Whole30 is a 30 day period of elimination, where you abstain from several groups of foods that are known to be problematic and inflammatory, followed by a short reintroduction phase, where each of those food groups is added back one by one to see how your body reacts. There is a HUGE list off issues that people have seen improvement with during and after completing a Whole30, some of which include anxiety, depression, skin issues, poor sleep, lack of energy, digestive problems, high blood pressure, diabetes/blood sugar, joint pain... just to name a few. The list goes on and on and on and on.
So at this point I'm sure it all sounds good, but now you want to know what foods you have to eliminate. So here are the things you avoid completely:
- added sugars (both real and artificial)
- all grains
- harmful additives (these are listed in detail if you look up the program)
- all processed "junk food"
I'm sure I've now lost several of you who might still be reading, but in my personal experience, the benefits of going through the 30 days without these foods far outweighs the difficulty of actually doing it. Does it seem overwhelming? Of course. But if I can do it, I'm highly positive that pretty much anyone can!
While my only hope was to see relief of my joint pain during my first round (which I did), there were several other changes and improvements that I never expected. My skin was so much clearer, the keratosis pilaris (aka "chicken skin") that had been on the backs of my arms for about 5 years started to fade (and eventually went away completely), I had so much more energy and I was sleeping better, and I had virtually no bloating after meals any more (can I get an amen). One of the most amazing changes that I experienced had to do with the pretty significant amount of postpartum anxiety I had that started after my second child was born, and became almost completely non-existant about halfway through that first 30 days (and it has yet to come back). And not to mention, I lost 13 pounds during that first round, which kickstarted a 55 pound weight loss of excess body fat that I had been carrying around after two relatively close pregnancies. But honestly, with all of the other improvements I had seen, that part was just an added bonus.
Anyway, THAT is why I'm sop excited about the Whole30, even the fourth time around. The picture I posted above was from my lunch today. Is it glamorous? Absolutely not. But is it helping my body instead of harming it? You betcha! And thats the whole point. I've learned first hand over the last couple of years that what we eat is highly connected to pretty much every function of the body, and that everything we eat is either leading us to health or to sickness (inflammation). This is what most of my meals look like, except with variations of the protein/veggie/fat sources. Over these next 30 days I'll periodically share how things are going, and how I get through when it gets tough. So happy new year, y'all! Here's to starting the year with good health!