Monday, August 4, 2014

Whole 30 - It's a Journey.

Back in 2013, L and I decided to take control of our health and fitness. We tried various diets and exercise programs but nothing really stuck until we found Whole30. We did our first Whole30 in June (after wedding season ended for us!) and were amazed at the progress we made!

The basic idea behind Whole30 is that you only eat nutrient-rich, "whole" food for a month. You might argue that starving populations have survived on grains and potatoes for thousands of years, which is true. But, Whole30 isn't about surviving. It's about THRIVING. It's about providing your body with the ingredients it needs to be the best version of itself.

So a very brief rundown:
  • Don't eat sugar (or any other sweetner), legumes, grains, dairy, carrageenan, MSG or sulfites, alcohol, or junk food recreated with approved ingredients.
  • Eat three meals a day that each include a palm sized portion of protein, a thumb sized portion of health fat, and fill the rest of the plate with veggies. 
All of the exclusions are backed by peer-reviewed scientific literature which makes the scientist in me very happy and really, once you read the book that goes with Whole30, it all just makes sense. Food is excluded because it violates one of the basic tenants of healthy eating.
  • Promote a healthy psychological response (ie- doesn't cause cravings, like sugar) 
  • Promote a healthy hormonal response (ie- makes your insulin levels go crazy) 
  • Support a healthy gut (ie- beans, beans...) 
  • Support healthy immune function and minimize inflammation (ie- gluten is inflammatory) 
You can argue with me all day about whether or not this is a "good" diet (its not a diet at all, its a lifestyle) and I can pretty much guarantee I have a supportable response for all of your arguments.

The main reason I'm doing this is for the wedding. But, having been in Europe for the last month, I've notice some undesirable changes in my appetite. I've been craving pasta like crazy and I've also been craving snacks! Those two things are really my downfall when it comes to eating healthy. I've also been getting more headaches lately which had mostly subsided since the last Whole30.

I will say, with L gone, I'm not going to be perfect. I have a really hard time cooking for myself without all these restrictions, so there are a few things I'm going to allow so I don't go crazy.
  • I'm going to allow some processed sauces. The main reason you avoid these is due to the added sugar/sweeteners, but making replacements takes FOR-EV-ER. So, if I make meatloaf-- I'll use regular ketchup, if I need quick pasta sauce, I'll use the jar, if I need butter, I'm not bothering with Ghee. I'm not, however, going to be eating super sweet teriyaki sauce or honey BBQ. 
  • I'm eating corn on the cob. Technically its a grain, but is summer in NC and not eating corn is sacrilege. I'll only eat it on the cob though. 
  • I'm eating soy sauce. The replacement, Coconut Amnios, while very good, is way to expensive and only available at Whole Foods so its just not realistic. I am pretty anti-soy though because of the carcinogenic properties (it mimics estrogen) so I really only eat it on the occasional stir-fry and with sushi. 
  • Honey. I'll allow honey occasionally to sweeten things up some. Just not in my tea every single morning. 
  • Cheese. I'm not going to eat cheese. Except for the day we have burgers when L gets back. 
I've got a couple other goals to go along with Whole30.
  • Sleep 8 hours a night and get up in time for breakfast! My goal is 10-6 every night since I have to be at work early to make up for the time I was gone. 
  • Exercise. I'm not 100% sure what is a amount at this point, but I'm thinking at least 20 of the 30 days for at least an hour. This will be much easier when L gets home and I can join Carmichael again. We didn't really exercise much the last time we did Whole30 and it will be interesting to see how it changes the results. 
  • Prep Food! This is probably my biggest goal. I'm going to be super busy this month getting ready for the wedding and I'm not going to have a whole lot of extra time to be cooking. So, my plan is to do a lot more prep work than I've done before. I'll make a weekly plan for all my meals and do as much as I can on one cooking day/night. 
  • Drink water -- at least 3 Nalgenes per day.

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