I’m not here to bash Whole30, it taught me a lot and there were some huge benefits, even though I told you yesterday I won’t do it again.

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How Whole30 helped me:

  • I started eating real food and by real I mean not something out of a box filled with chemicals, or food that pretends to be healthy, but isn’t, like a Lean Pocket.
  • I stopped eating things like Quest Bars and ate a piece of Salmon instead.
  • I stopped being afraid of eating a good amount of food on a regular basis. My plate was always filled and I never felt guilty because I was eating healthy fat, vegetables, fruits, grass finished beef, etc.
  • My taste buds changed. I started to enjoy foods that I hated as a child. Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Sauerkraut, and more. These foods and others weren’t things I was trying to stomach, I liked them and preferred them over other less nutrient dense foods. I felt like I could “taste” foods more – if you have done Whole30 before this will likely make sense.
  • I eat sitting down at the table. Long gone are the days where I eat standing at my kitchen counter, or stuff some grapes in my face with the fridge door still open. I don’t eat while I’m driving. I try as much as possible to make when I eat, a small event of sorts. I use a nice place mat and sit down in a specific chair. I focus on the foods I am eating. I pay attention to how they taste, how I feel and if I am full before my plate is empty.
  • I eat breakfast. I’ve gone back and forth over the years with breakfast. The best I felt all day was before I started eating, so I tried to delay the process for as long as possible. I would eat lunch, but it still was less than I probably should have been eating because I didn’t want to have that icky full feeling. Once dinner rolled around all bets were off. I ate to the point of feeling stuffed, but that was okay because “I had run that day” or because I soon planned to go sit on the couch and watch TV. Note: If you have to grab a pillow and put it on your stomach while you watch tv in order to feel comfortable, you ate too much {if you know what I’m talking about, you know what I’m talking about}.
  • Whole30 taught me that I needed to eat more earlier in the day, so I wasn’t as ravenous come night-time. Eating more in the morning meant I actually ate less over the course of a day {and yes I calorie counted to see}.
  • I learned to love fat. I cringe when someone says oh but I can’t have an avocado there is so much fat in that. Fat is not the enemy, we need it. I’m not talking about McDonalds fat or canola oil fat, I’m talking about healthy fat – fat found in EVOO, Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, Avocados, Olives, nuts in moderate amounts, as well as things like bone broth.
  • I started cooking and love going to grocery stores to find new to me foods. I still won’t say I can “cook” but I do know my way around the kitchen now and can make meals that are healthy and actually taste good.
  • I started to eat more meat and enjoy it. Though I should note that you can do Whole30 if you are a vegetarian.
  • I made bone broth. Enough said.
  • I learned about fermented foods and why they can be good for gut health.
  • I discovered what the nutrients and macronutrients were in the foods I was buying and eating. Who knew that Jicama was high in carbs? I didn’t even know what Jicama was before Whole30!
  • I became an advocate for my health. After reading It Starts With Food, all I wanted to do was read more. I wanted to understand why some of us get fat, while others don’t. I wanted to understand how foods contribute to how good or terrible we feel. I wanted to learn more about how to heal issues I had with natural remedies. I wanted to learn more about herbs and what people did before doctors just gave us a “pill for that.”

All those benefits aside….

The single way in which Whole30 hurt me the most was that it made me afraid {for lack of a better word} to eat anything at home that wasn’t part of the plan. When I was finished with a round of Whole30 I would feel guilty eating things like corn chips or rice. I do not want to feel bad about rice.

When we would eat out, I could eat {mostly} whatever I wanted and not feel bad. I didn’t know what oils foods were being cooked in, or what type of butter they had used preparing something. I didn’t know what sneaky ingredients might be in a piece of chicken, it was just chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I was still paying attention to what I was eating, I just wasn’t freaking out that the chicken at Chipotle was cooked using rice bran oil.

At home I paid attention to every ingredient, even when not on Whole30. I knew that the can of coconut oil spray had soy lecithin in it and Lord knows no one is going to die from a little soy lecithin every once in a while. So I would cook my eggs or what not using coconut oil or ghee. If I wasn’t eating a salad, meal times became stressful. Stressing over food is not exactly the best way to get healthy.

Eating a treat or a splurge made me feel like I had failed at life. In actuality I see nothing wrong with eating a gluten-free-vegan cupcake. The fact that I have access to gluten-free-vegan-cupcakes and feel bad about eating them is an absurd first world problem.

Coconut Oil

We started to eat out more as a result of my eating at home stress. Most health advocates will tell you that you often eat more when you eat out, or that your caloric intake is higher than you perceive it to be. Throw in the fact that even though I tried to not let myself have a pass because “I ran” today, it still seemed okay. Giant helpings of guacamole, who cares about the calories, I ran today.

Last weekend I found myself stuffing my face at my nieces going away to college party. When my mother in law said, wow I have never seen you eat so much, I said – I ran 14 miles before I came here. Not exactly the best way to set yourself up for getting rid of unwanted fat. I’m not saying you have to count calories or that I believe it’s as simple as calories in calories out, but on some level if you are eating too many calories, healthy or not, it’s going to catch up to you. Not eating enough and then eating too much is a terrible cycle to fall into, I can tell you from experience.

While some Whole30/Paleo people will argue that if Whole30 did not cure you of behaviors like this then maybe you didn’t do it for long enough {here is a good article on Why Whole30 Didn’t Work For You}. I would argue that Whole30 isn’t a one size fix all for everyone no matter how long you do it. And really….you aren’t broken….you don’t need fixing….we are all on a journey in life and our ups and downs are all part of it.

Whole30 made me become obsessive about what I was putting in my body, in maybe a not so healthy way.

The other day I went on a hike with my mom and Chloe. I packed a blanket, water, books, but no snacks. My mom brought a big bag of trail mix type stuff, that had nuts, cranberries etc. I checked out the label because I wanted to know if there was added sugar in the cranberries, but found out that the nuts had canola oil on them. I wanted to spit the one out that was in my mouth. That is ridiculous and is an all or nothing behavior that I no longer want.

There is a happy middle when it comes to food and I’m on a journey to find where my middle is.

Do I regret doing Whole30? A firm no. I just won’t do it again.

I firmly believe that food should add to your life not take away from it.

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the amazing dinner they made for us at Gaia Herbs earlier this summer

In upcoming posts I’ll be taking about why a NO FAT diet would have been a terrible idea as well as what to make of the allergy report I posted in yesterday’s post. Questions?

Thanks for reading another forever long post and for all your constructive and helpful comments on facebook!

 

Note: I’m not a doctor or even a nutritionist. This is my story and should not be taken as medical advice. I’m not judging you if you loved Whole30 or are Paleo – I am all about every one finding their own personal path to wellness, if the paleo lifestyle works for you that is fantastic!

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