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Why Whole30?

I'll consider Monday my trial-run (although this proved a bit devastating for Charlotte). I didn't realize that pasture butter was only okay if clarified (milk solids are a no-no) and that pretty much all bacon has added sugar.

I procured the book from the library and dug in. Let me just say, this book feels like it was written by real people. There's a whole chapter dedicated to walking you through how you'll probably feel from day to day and I really like that. It reminds me of pregnancy books that tell you how your body may change each month and how your baby is growing. It's helpful to have an idea of how you may react to the changes and why.

"Day 4 to 5: Kill all the things 
...You walk into the kitchen and, upon being greeted by the smiling face of your significant other, you are suddenly overcome with the desire to punch them in the face for being so darn cheerful this early in the morning."
They know me.

Having done every diet under the sun and swearing off of all diets for good, I feel the need to justify this one, especially considering how extreme it is. So here goes:

1. NO TRACKING

I HATE tracking my eating. Ugh. No.
It doesn't work because I don't do it.
No tracking points.
No tracking calories.
No tracking steps.
Huzzah!

2. FOOD GROUPS AREN'T GONE FOREVER

With many diet trends lately, there's this idea that entire food groups are making us all sick. I just watched "What The Health" on Netflix and was nearly convinced that I needed to go vegan. Nearly. (Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead almost pushed me over the edge too) Many friends swear by Paleo and I'm sure it has huge benefits for them, and several of them are gluten free and have changed their lives. But I'm not on board with waking up one day and deciding that it must be my bread that's ruining my life. How am I supposed to know?

What I like about Whole30 is that you are basically Paleo for 30 days, not FOREVER.
It's an opportunity to detox and then to reintroduce foods to see if they are actually a problem for you. If I can digest rice and beans, I will eat rice and beans when this is over. If gluten actually does make me sluggish, I'll actually know it rather than assuming and I'll choose whether I prefer to go without or not. It doesn't matter what my ancestors ate. It matters what I eat and how it makes me feel.

I know with most diets, once you give up (and you always give up) you gain weight again and you feel even worse than the last time. After I establish what I want to eat (did you read that? WANT to eat, not HAVE to eat) to feel my best I can always do a whole(x) to reset and no one is making me do anything. The rebel in me needs this kind of personal accountability. Which brings me to:

3. TOUGH LOVE

I've never responded well to eating programs that have lots of wiggle room. If I can use my points to eat a bag of potato chips, I will do it out of spite and then I will proudly confess at my next meeting.
I don't even like potato chips.

This whole 30 business allows ZERO room for error. If I screw up I start over. Simple as that. I can't know how my body will react to inflammatory foods if I don't first let it completely heal from those foods. So it's on me to decide if it's worth having to start over.

4. SAFETY
There is a whole chapter dedicated to doing this program while pregnant and another one about doing it with your kids. WITH YOUR KIDS. If your kids can eat this way, no one is going to end up on a feeding tube or with major nutritional deficiencies. Honestly, I've eaten more vegetables and lean meat in the last two days than I have in weeks, and my kids have too. My daughter ate a salad. A whole salad. She has nearly made herself vomit in the past from eating salad. And she ate salad. I'm still recovering from the shock of how much my kids have changed their eating in two days. TWO DAYS.

5. HABITS

Whole30 stresses that you really think about your relationship to food during your 30-day purgatory. Yes, paleo pancakes are within the limits of the foods you can eat. But why do you need pancakes? Why not just have a scrambled egg and a banana? And are you reaching for that banana because this is the time of day you usually crave sugar? Are you actually hungry or just bored? Yes, root chips are on the ingredient list. But if I binge on a bag of root chips, I'm missing the point. This is stated over and over again throughout the book. I am a major stress/emotional/hormonal eater. Like at an eating disorder level. I ate 20 pounds back onto my body when I lost my job a year ago. I need to break the cycle of thinking that this is a reasonable thing.

6. NO SNAKE OIL

Lastly, no one is selling me anything. No one is getting rich off of me on this program. Yes, if I wanted it, I could purchase a meal plan with recipes, or buy exclusive website content. And the book is very helpful in understanding the why behind the how. But I could still do this program without any of these things. The basics of the program are freely available through the website. In fact, I printed a list of approved foods that I put in on my fridge along with the list of parameters for free from their website before I got the book to get myself started (which I got for free from the library).

There's a small index at the end of the book with some products that are more convenience while on Whole30 like ghee or spices and this is only 2 pages out of 420. I'm glad they included these pages because it's harder to find some things with approved ingredients than I thought it would be. They aren't selling me a Whole30 product line.

7. HEALTHY FOOD

With so many diet programs it seems insane the kinds of foods that are justified as being healthy. I did Atkins when I was in high school. It got a bad rep for people having heart attacks, including the creator himself. If you actually moved past the ketosis stage, it wouldn't have been too bad. This stage was only supposed to be two weeks and you were supposed to reintegrate carbs back into your diet. But most people didn't. And most people ate mostly meat and didn't bother with the fruits and vegetables that were allowed. The ratios were all off. In the last two days on this diet I've eaten:

Coffee
Unsweetened Iced Tea
Kombucha
Ground Turkey
Pork Tenderloin
Chicken Tenders
Tuna
Bacon (whoops!)
Eggs
Ghee
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
*Kale
*Chard
*Spinach
*Pea Greens
*Red Bell Pepper
*Snap Peas
*Carrots
*Bean Sprouts
*Onion
*Cremini Mushrooms
*Shitake Mushrooms
*Cucumber
*Avocado
*Garlic
*Ginger
*Apples
*Bananas
*Grapes
*Watermelon
*Spaghetti Squash
*Cherry Tomatoes
*Basil
*Sweet Potato
Coconut Aminos
Fish Sauce
Salt

All of my meat servings could fit in the palm of my hand. I took the liberty of *ing anything that was fresh produce. Compared to what I normally eat, this is a hell of a lot more healthy.


So there's my summary of why I'm justifying such an extreme diet change. Hopefully, this answers a few questions about why I'm a crazy person who does crazy things!


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