Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Whole30 Experience

Enjoying my first mocha latte since whole30!

Why, hello! A and I made it to the end of whole30 and we feel ah-mazing. It was seriously such an accomplishment for us foodies who like to devour everything delicious in sight. My whole30 experience was a lot different than I thought it would be  but I honestly would do it over again (and probably will at some point). January was such a loooooong, crazy month for us; A traveled a lot, my mom came to visit, and I juggled work, a few classes I have been interested in, and was forced to slow down and pay attention to my health a little more. 

This past month was spent reflecting on some future goals, naming some fears, reading some deliciously wonderful books until my eyes hurt, and then painfully realizing that my eyes were going to continue to hurt (and twitch) because I lost my reading glasses. Not the best timing to lose those guys when I have so many books on my to-read list. 

BUT, I lost them in the coolest way possible: sitting on top of my car at night on the side of the highway at Port Canaveral, about 12-miles away from the launch pad of NASA's Atlas V rocket. My nerdy husband and I were freezing until we saw that yellow glow rise; it was like a ball of fire bursting through the clear night sky and you could hear the rumble  oh, you could hear the rumble! It was magic. When you watch something that looks like fire take a satellite into space that will orbit at 22,300-miles,  you instantly forget that you're cold. In fact, you feel quite small. I'm guessing that's when I became careless with my eyeglasses.... I remember trying to take it all in, removing my glasses from my face as if I could feel the rumble and warmth. Yes, I suppose that's as good a time as any to lose something. 

We've been trying to be mindful this month, especially when it comes to food. Whole30 helped us to appreciate the natural sweetness in REAL food, opening our eyes along the way.

A few personal disappointments of committing to the whole30 challenge? 

  • My skin never really cleared up like I hoped... but I had some major stressors this month
  •  I never felt like I had tons and tons of energy. I was hoping to become an early riser and feel more energized throughout the day, but it just didn't happen. My theory is that I didn't eat enough protein during breakfast. I'm never really hungry in the morning, so I have to force myself to eat something. This article in the Huffington Post talks about the importance of breakfast, adding that your metabolism is like a log fire: if you don't put anything on it in the morning, it's going to be a measly flame burning very little calories during the day -  plus energy lulls will resort in cravings for high calorie foods. I desperately want to be a breakfast lover - and I think I will get creative with non-paleo meals  but I was getting so tired of eggs. I should have taken Mel's advice  and eaten more soups, or anything out of the ordinary. *sigh.* Oh well, I tried.
  • The $$$ - Oh my gracious, we spent so much money on meats and organic foods. I'm not saying it wasn't worth it, and we will most likely continue to spend a little extra to keep our health a priority, but it still stings.
  • Difficulty traveling.... I didn't have to experience this, but A was miserable traveling with these food constraints. 

A few personal perks of committing to the whole30 challenge?

  • A better understanding of my relationship with food and why I stress-eat or eat emotionally
  • Nipping day-long/night-long snacking in the bud. This was a hard one, especially because I work from home, but a success!
  • Lost cravings (for the most part  hey, if I think about Krispy Kreme donuts, I'm only human!)
  • Enriched love for mindful eating and meals at the table with my love. 
  • An overall positive cooking experience. It was fun experimenting with Aaron in the kitchen. Who knew sunflower butter and coconut aminos could be so good?!
  • We finally caved and bought a crock-pot. I am eternally grateful for this - three words: Italian pork roast.
  • I lost more than 7 pounds. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but two weeks in I had a doctor's appointment that confirmed I had already lost this much, so there's no telling how much I lost the following two weeks. I'm convinced it's making me a better and stronger runner!
  • I learned about my lactose intolerance, which is actually dreadfully sad and not a perk, but at least I know. 
  • A rekindled love for fruit. When you are on whole30, fruit is like crack. I'm serious, if you aren't a "fruit person" now, just wait until you try a mango or pineapple during this program. Mmmm. I discovered a love for blueberries too and I'm never going back. I seriously think I will continue to prefer fruit over junk food. 
  • Knowledge of what's actually IN the food I eat, and how food corporations traffic addiction and call it "cravability." This is a profound understanding that I learned through the Whole30 recommended reading: It Starts With Food. During my month, a friend also showed me this illustrated short video featuring famous foodie and author, Michael Pollan, and it really says it all:

All in all, the perks far out-weighed any possible disappointments, and I have seen how whole30 has completely transformed my family and friends. What a journey! I can honestly say this program changed my life, even if I stray from the "paleo path" every now and then (which I intend to do; cocktails on Park Ave are calling my name). Happy weekend, friends!

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