Awareness, Behavior Change, Health

Simplicity of Whole 30

I Did It!  I Finished the Whole 30 Reset!

Two and a half weeks ago I celebrated the end of my Whole 30 journey.  It coincided with the week of  Valentine’s Day and I decided to reintroduce dairy with ice-cream from Dairy Queen. I ordered a small cup of vanilla knowing immediately that the serving was too big (even for a small size).  Unfortunately even though I knew it was a little too much I decided to eat the entire cup anyway!  While I enjoyed this time with my family where I can actually have icecream instead of just sit there and stare at them, the aftermath of it was less than enjoyable.  My stomach hurt and I knew I made the wrong choice.

Image credit to Yelp

Thumbs Down for Dairy 🙁

When I initially read about the Whole 30, I thought ‘Whoa this is too restricted! No way I can make it through 30 days.’ If you’ve never heard of this elimination reset diet, it requires you to avoid a number of major food groups – dairy, grains, legumes as well as sugar, alcohol,and preservatives. It does sound tough especially if these are the main staples of what you’re used to eating.  But if you think about it, it actually makes meal prep more simple!

Less choices = More Simple

I was at a Super Bowl party and got into a conversation with someone who was wondering about Whole 30.  I know I should have initially addressed what I can eat instead of focusing of what I couldn’t, but that’s exactly what I did.  Her response which didn’t even occur to me beforehand was ‘Well, that sounds simple enough!‘  And she was right on point.  With Whole 30, you have less choices.  When mealtime came around, it’s usually plenty of vegetables, a protein, either chicken, fish, pork and the occasional steak cooked in some type of fat.  Do you agree when you have less options, it’s easier to take action?

Image credit to Breaking Fad

The Whole 30 also focuses on three meals a day so you won’t have to think about what to have for a mid-day snack.  I admit, this is what I struggled with the most.  As a runner, I needed to have something as a post-recovery snack.  However, it did have an exception to the rule with regards to more active individuals where it allowed snacks after the activity.  What I noticed was when I don’t eat enough during lunch, I definitely feel hungry for something a couple of hours before dinner.  A bad habit of mine I’m trying to break is I tend to multi-task when I eat lunch whether it’s reading or browsing websites and lately it’s been viewing presentations from the online graduate classes I’m taking.  When I don’t take the time to taste the food I’m eating, I tend to have cravings later in the day.

Food shopping is also less complicated.  I spent the most time shopping in the fruits and vegetables section, even sampling vegetables I’ve never had.  I’m not sure why I’ve never tried it before, but I discovered roasted spaghetti squash with marinara sauce is just as tasty as pasta with marinara sauce.  Ok the texture is different but I couldn’t really taste the difference!  Here’s a simple recipe I found on Food Network – Spaghetti Squash with Marinara recipe.

…Except when you Dine Out!

Then the Whole 30 becomes more challenging.

I learned the hard way when I forgot to ask if there was added sugar in the almond milk I requested for a latte at my local coffee shop.  The second I took a tiny sip, I immediately knew it contained sugar.  I had to ‘reset my reset’ back 5 days!  Lesson learned is to always ask for the specific ingredients which can become a hassle.

You also need to plan out in advance where to go so you can look at the menu beforehand and see if there’s anything Whole 30 compliant.  As a family we frequented a few Asian restaurants – which all served some type of rice-based dish.  I disappointed my kids when I suggested our usual spot (which had nothing for me to eat!)  and explained why, but reassured them it was only for 30 days.

To me, it felt like an inconvenience to the server when I had to make specific requests to suit my needs.  I had a recent interview on evoke STRONG live with a woman who had many food sensitivities where she talked about how she carries a card with a list of food she can’t eat.  Amazingly, many of the restaurants she visited were more than willing to cater to her preferences.  I guess all you have to do is ask!

The New Normal

Being on the Whole 30 made me realize how I didn’t miss the types of food I normally ate beforehand.  Like cheese for instance.  It used to be a snack staple but avoiding it for a month ascertained it’s not something I really needed in my diet.

Ok ok I admit, I did miss eating pizza.  When I finally had several slices of my favorite pizza, I wasn’t over the top excited about it.  And I didn’t feel too good afterwards either.  Again, I know it’s something I can live without.

Let’s be honest though.  I know there will be days when I won’t be eating as clean as I want.  At least now I know the consequences of my choices.  It’s about my choice of whether or not I want to feel good or not.  Not every decision will be the right one, but I’ll be fine with it.  On occasions, I will truly savor a sweet treat for pure enjoyment.  However, for the majority of the time I will eat for the sake of my health.

Image credit to Foodmatters.com

Less choices is more simple – agree or disagree?  Has your choice of food affected you in a positive or negative way?  Please share in the comments.

*If you’re interested in being a part of a community for women who want to build sustainable healthy habits, join our closed Facebook group, EVOKE HEALTHY HABITS

Evoke Healthy Habits is a community for women to receive support and guidance from one another while going on a journey of change towards a lifestyle of healthy habits. We have weekly challenges, recipes, workouts, and tips to help you establish healthy habits for the year!

Click on this link and request to join: facebook.com/groups/evokehealthyhabits

 

 

 

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Behavior Change, Books, Health

Time for a Reset! Inspired by Food Freedom Forever

I never thought I would ever try a food RESET.  It’s been in the back of my mind as I’ve read articles about it, but I was always hesitant in trying one.  After reading Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig, I realized a reset was the next step to optimize my health.

Disclosure:  This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  For more info, visit the Disclaimer and Affiliate Disclosure page.

What is a RESET and why is this important to me?

You may or may not be familiar with Melissa Hartwig’s Whole30 program.  It is designed to eliminate foods that impact your cravings, metabolism, digestion and immune system for 30 days.

During the 30 days of elimination, the focus is to pay close attention to these following areas and see if there are any improvements – “Energy, Sleep, Digestion, Mood, Attention Span, Self-Confidence, Cravings, Chronic Pain or Fatigue, Athletic Performance, and Recovery and any number of other symptoms or medical conditions”.  Once 30 days are up, the foods eliminated are re-introduced in a systematic way to determine which ones are problematic.  With the knowledge which food has a negative impact, it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to eat the ‘unhealthy’ foods given the consequences without the guilt.

The Whole30 is one example of a reset program.  Other types of reset are further discussed in Food Freedom Forever.  It’s up to you to select what type of reset that will work for you best.  What attracted me to a reset is because for the past several months, I’ve been feeling something is off with my body.  It could also be relegated to stress (which is another topic for a future post) but if I can optimize the way my body responds through proper nutrition, then why not give it a try?!  It’s only for 30 days.

I made changes to the way I ate a couple of years ago when I surprisingly found out I was borderline pre-diabetic. You can read more about it in My Journey of Change. But I’ve never done a complete elimination reset so it should be interesting to see the results.

Benefits of a Reset

If you’ve contemplated a reset before, there is a myriad of benefits that might convince you to try it. And none of them have to do with weight loss at all.

During the 30 day reset, the scale is off limits! The emphasis is on what is termed as ‘non-scale victories’. There is a downloadable list of 100 non-scale victories on the Whole 30 website found here https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-nsv.pdf.  After looking at the list, it’s no wonder so many people have gone through this reset.

One problem I’d like to resolve is knowing if a certain type of food is causing adult-onset acne.  (Yes, I can’t believe at age 41 I would be dealing with acne like I did back in high school). Other benefits I’d like to gain from the reset revolves around Mood, Emotion, Psychology – handle stress better, less anxious – as well as the Inner Physical functions -less fatigue, less lower back pain to name a few.

The Reset Plan

I decided I will follow The Whole30 reset with a few add-ons.  Here is the list of ingredients I would need to avoid as part of the program:

  • ADDED SUGAR
  • ALCOHOL
  • GRAINS
  • LEGUMES (including peanuts and soy)
  • DAIRY
  • MSG, CARAGEENAN, SULFITES
  • NO BAKED GOODS, JUNK FOODS or TREATS with the approved ingredients

I’m adding nuts to this list because I think I may have developed an allergy to certain types of nuts like cashews and possibly pecans.  So I will also be nut-free for 30 days.

The most challenging for me would be to avoid grains (and nuts) but the rest seems doable since I rarely consume them nowadays.

Create Healthy Habits

Melissa Hartwig specifically wrote the book Food Freedom Forever to those who have a difficult time adjusting to the aftermath of the Whole30 program.  It’s about having a strategy so you’re in a place where you feel in control of your decisions of what you put in your mouth.

This is how Melissa defined Food Freedom:

..it means finally feeling in control of food, instead of food controlling you.  It means indulging when you decide it’s worth it, savoring the experience without guilt or shame, and then returning to your regularly scheduled healthy habits.  That’s real food freedom.

Are you ready to set your own food freedom?  Have you tried a reset before?    

My reset starts on Monday 9Jan and ends on Tuesday 7Feb (elimination portion).  The reintroduction phase may take a couple of weeks.  By the end of February, I should know which types of food aren’t the best for my body.  If you’d like to do a reset with me, leave a comment below or request to join the Evoke Healthy Habits Facebook group.
Whole 30 Resources:
whole30.com
The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom
The Whole30 Day by Day: Your Daily Guide to Whole30 Success
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