Whole30 Challenge Starts Today Jan 7th 2013 – Whole Foods for 30 Days.
Today marks the first day of my Whole30 challenge where I will eat all whole foods and unprocessed foods for 30 days. This means no grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes, sugar, or sweeteners for 30 days. No slips. No cheat days. And no scales. Just whole, pure food. You know, the food we’re supposed to be eating all the time?
I learned about the Whole30 Challenge through some friends at my former gym and internet pals who eat paleo. If you are not familiar with the paleo diet, it’s basically the same thing as the Whole30 challenge – meats, nuts, seeds, lots of veggies, and little fruit. The difference is you cannot “paleo-ify” desserts because part of the Whole30 Challenge is getting your mind weened off of the psychological impacts of food and dessert is one of them. Whole30 has a great online community where you can get support, tips, and tricks during the program. The founders of Whole30 also recently wrote a book called It Starts With Food which can serve as a companion guide while you are on the program.
If you would have asked me a year ago to go on the Whole30 challenge, it would have been extremely hard for me to do this. The thought of not eating sugar, bread, or drinking alcohol for 30 days wasn’t just unappealing, it just didn’t seem possible. But now after being gluten-free and sticking to a diet like this for 60-70% of the time anyway, I feel like it’s not going to be such a huge adjustment for me. I’ve already crossed most of these hurdles and weened myself off cravings months ago. I taught myself how to drink my coffee black and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. However I still have my indulgences. And as you can see from the pic above, we had plenty of processed crap in our fridge that I was happy to get rid of. Here is what I do think will be hard for me to give up food wise for the next 30 days on Whole30:
- Cheese I like it. I like it on crackers, I like string cheese, babybel mini cheese, and I enjoy it as an appetizer at parties with gluten-free crackers. It’s one of the indulgences I’ve had since going gluten-free. But it has also hurt me (more on this below). This is one of the big reasons why I’m going on Whole30 – I need to cut the cheese (literally).
- Gluten-Free Crackers Another one of my guilty pleasures. There are so many yummy kinds now and they just taste so good with cheese.
- Ice Cream While I don’t eat a ton of it, I do enjoy the occasional Pinkberry or trip to Yogalicious
- Wine This is by far the hardest thing for me to give up. I love wine. I enjoy coming home from work on a Friday night and opening up a bottle of wine with my husband and watching a movie. I don’t drink beer at all anymore and wine is my go-to drink of choice, specifically red wine. And we just got several new bottles of wine that I’ve been wanting to dig into. But it’s going to have to wait…for now. I’ve got some healing to do first.
Now some of you may read the above and think, Why is she doing Whole30? She already eats healthy. Why Whole30? Well, here’s why:
Since becoming gluten-free I have lost 20 pounds and feel great. However, while my weight is down I still have work to do. When I became gluten-free I introduced red meat back into my diet after 20 years of not eating it. I felt like because I was giving up so much I had to bring something back in. My doctor encouraged it and I was willing to give it a try. However, now I find myself with a new problem I’ve never had to deal with before: high cholesterol.
I found out I had high cholesterol right before Christmas. This came as a huge shocker to me because my cholesterol levels have always been normal and I didn’t eat much meat. Before I found out I was gluten intolerant, I thought I was lactose intolerant so I stayed away from cheese and dairy as well. Well, I guess I have been eating too much cheese because my cholesterol skyrocketed over the last year. Ugh. In addition to this, I now have an elevated homocysteine level in my blood which puts my health at risk. My doctor asked if the meat I’d been eating was grass-fed and I said sometimes but not always. He said I need to stick to only grass-fed beef because of the cholesterol issue.
I know there’s a lot of debate over meat vs non meat in the whole foods diet. For example, paleo principles show meat as being a key component of diet. But then I just watched a documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives and they say a plant-based diet of whole foods is best. One thing is for sure – a whole foods diet rich in vegetables IS good for you and CAN reverse disease.
If you have not had a thorough blood test or physical examination recently, I highly suggest you do so and see where you stand. I thought I was in great health since I had lost 20 lbs. But your blood work is a blueprint that will tell you all you need to know. So I am going to try and reverse this myself with diet and see how it goes. There was a quote in Forks Over Knives that I want to share because it inspired me:
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine.” – Hippocrates
I like this quote because it’s so true. Most people who find out they have something wrong with them turn to medicine. They turn to pills, antibiotics, and who knows what else. While I am not against these things, I do believe in going straight to the source: diet. There’s another great quote from Forks Over Knives that sums this up beautifully:
“He that takes medicine and ignores his diet, wastes his doctor’s time’ -A Chinese Proverb
So true. For the next 30 days my goals will be as follows:
1. Eat for my health and no slip ups
2. Not to step on a scale. I will however, take my body measurements.
3. Lower my cholesterol and homocysteine levels in my next blood test.
4. Lower my body fat and lose the last 5-7 lbs.
I am committed and dedicated to making this happen. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to sharing my journey over the next 30 days with you.
What about you? Have you Done Whole30? Would you ever try it? Do you know where you stand health wise today? Post in the comments and let me know!