Last week I celebrated my completion of the Whole30 challenge. It was an experience I will never forget and while I had my share of ups and downs, my body has never felt so "awakened". The Whole30 is a strict Paleo diet that eliminates processed sugar, legumes, rice, gluten, dairy and a few other hidden foods like soybean oil for 30 days. For me, it was about ridding myself of my addiction to bread and processed sugar while also seeing if my diet could lessen my headaches. Losing eleven pounds was nice too:)
I can't remember everything I ate on this diet but some key staples for me were: sweet potatoes, turkey burgers, avocados, coconut aminos, tomato paste, marinated chicken, eggs (I'm sick of them now unfortunately), almond flour, sparkling water with lemon and green tea.
When I was forced to eat out, I had In-N-Out (protein style with no cheese, sauce or ketchup - add grilled onions, mustard wrapped in lettuce) or Chipotle - Carnitas on lettuce with pico de gallo and guacamole - which was weird to me because I don't normally eat pork. The vampire in me somehow blossomed and Brian marinated and grilled some awesome steak a couple of times. It was a real treat but also weird because I don't normally eat red meat.
I ate at an Italian restaurant once with Brian and the waitress was soooo patient with me. I ordered the steam mussels and asked her everything about the sauce. I even asked her if there was sugar in it (it was marinara) and she said, "Oh no! No way, we don't add sugar to our sauces." It was hilarious.
A struggle that I had on this diet which I attribute to my lifestyle was the amount of food I cooked seemed like it was never enough. The only exception was when I slaved on Sunday to make a ton of food and even that seemed to go fast. I think I need to get better at planning meals and buckling down on Sunday to cook. There were times when I did not eat until I was able to make something Whole30 approved and even though I notice that I'm able to go longer without eating, it still can be mentally frustrating.
Another struggle was having a performance and not using cough drops or honey. My throat was really dry and got really scratchy. For my second performance, I decided to use sugar free cough drops. I read so many forums about this but in the end, I decided that for my situation, cough drops were a must. Protecting my throat was a huge priority for me.
Now that I'm off, I've decided to follow a modified Paleo Diet. I understand that some people don't believe in the reward system but I think it works for me to have something to look forward to, something memorable. I like the idea of eating healthily for 30 days and then rewarding myself for it. That's my plan for now. The way I celebrated my Whole30 was drinking a little bit of champagne and eating from my favorite sushi restaurant. I treasured every bite and the meal was memorable.
The next day I was back on Paleo and have decided to follow a modified Paleo. I will include every once in awhile wine (Even though my tolerance has changed, the lush in me will never be silenced) hummus, possibly brown rice (I'm still in debate mode on that one) and honey. Certain things that have stuck with me are looking for no added sugar products such as ketchup, or salad dressing--mostly condiments that don't really need to have added sugar to taste good. Also, since I will allow myself every 30 days a meal of my choice, I'm sure chocolate's going to find itself in there sooner or later, so for me--my balance is modified Paleo.
I'm so excited to explore the different versions of foods that I enjoy in Paleo mode--I was doing a search on nachos and found so many recipes that looked delicious and easy to make. I found a recipe for Sweet Potato pancakes and made that for breakfast yesterday--Brian thought it was really tasty and that's saying a lot since he is "The Human Garbage Disposal", lol. I love pancakes but there was a freshness to these--they were so light and I didn't have food coma after I ate them.
So anyway, to wrap up this encyclopedia post--if any of you are looking to change your relationship with food - the Whole30 is the way to go. The first week, I cried because I honestly felt like for years, I've been killing myself with food. I wrote in my journal that this was the beginning of so many possibilities.
A new lens, a new light, a new idea, and a new me.