Finding motivation to start the Whole 30 program wasn’t hard. Stress, combined with endless lavish dinners and wine, had me feeling out of sorts. Why was I starting a new diet regime in the midst of an enormous remodeling project and a move (among other complicated family happenings)? Glutton for
desserts, wine, pasta, bread, cheese, punishment that I am, I went for it anyway. I’d been stalking the Whole 30 website and following several Instagram accounts for recipe ideas for weeks. The official book had been on my nightstand for about a month, untouched. After a weekend of particular excess (if you follow this blog and my social media accounts… YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN), I decided I would be starting on Monday. So what if I never made it to the supermarket on Sunday to stock my kitchen properly? I would go Monday morning and wing it. And I did. Sort of.
As it turns out, despite all of my usual weekend dining damage, I already practice great eating habits during the week. I’ve learned a lot in the past decade about food, ever since my oldest son started a gluten free/casein free-mostly organic diet. Because of this, I was worlds ahead of most beginners when it came to food prep and overall knowledge of alternative food options.
What is Whole 30? Basically, you are to eat loosely following a template consisting of vegetables/animal proteins/fruits… in that order. With the exception of corn, all vegetables are allowed and the majority of your plate should be loaded with them. Meats should be, if possible, the best possible quality. Organic, grass-fed, etc. Fruits should accompany every meal, but not necessarily. Absolutely no sugar or sugar-like substances are allowed. Stevia? Agave? Forget it. Not even honey. No soy, no grains, no legumes, either. Needless to say, no alcohol either. How was I going to survive 30 days without wine? It’s not necessarily about losing weight, but more about resetting your digestive system and how one thinks about food. Weight loss is an added plus. You know the whole eat-every-couple-of-hours-to-speed-your-metabolism school of thought? Not here. THREE. MEALS. ONLY. Unless you are working out or have odd work hours…in which case, you can add a fourth meal (no, not Taco Bell) using the same meal template, just smaller. No snacks. This means that each meal has to be satisfying enough to hold you over. “The book” even encourages serving seconds if need be. Hmmm
There I was, Monday morning. Walked into Whole Foods with an idea of what I wanted, black coffee on hand. Yes, black coffee is allowed and encouraged. Thank God. I mean, honestly, I don’t think I could have done without that one. Thankfully, I already drink my coffee black. Those of you who can’t, can add coconut/almond milk. I had decided I would start the program at lunch time, but I was so inspired when I got home that I made a late breakfast (scrambled eggs with spinach and a handful of blueberries) and officially called it DAY 1. Turns out that’s frowned upon, but I didn’t know that yet. You are supposed to eat within an hour of waking up. I spent the day obsessing over “the book” and trying to organize my days, recipes, etc. All the while, real life was going on around me demanding equal attention. I might have had a self induced panic attack somewhere in there. Lunch was an easy tuna salad mixed with guacamole, sliced vine tomatoes topped with evoo and vinegar. Dinner was also easy thanks to Whole Food’s Organic Naked Roasted Chicken tossed with some spiraled squash and sliced apples. Phew. Survived. Just t w e n t y n i n e more days to go. Oh boy.
During the week, I started following the handy diary in the book listing what one can expect on a daily basis. It made me happy that none of really applied to me. The Hangover? Supposed headaches on Day 2 & 3, fogginess, and a sugar withdrawal? Nope. Not me. Day 4 & 5 Kill All The Things. Nope. Not me. No killer instincts to be found. Day 6 & 7 I Just Want To Nap. Nope. Not me. Oh, wait. All was going great. I had so much energy. I’m thinking this way of eating really agrees with me! Energizer bunny and all by week’s end I. JUST. CRASHED. I had to take a 5 pm cat-nap by Friday and woke up Saturday morning with a light headache. That damn sugar monster got me. Training my body to burn the fat and not use sugar for energy might not be as easy as I thought, after all. The good news is my headache didn’t last long. I was quickly back to having constant energy and feeling great. In addition, the heartburn and acid-reflux I often suffer from had not made an appearance since the “change.”
A few additional observations on Week 1;
- I need to stop eating so much avocados and tomatoes or I will never want to have them again after this is over.
- I really miss hot meals; I need to stop tossing everything over greens.
- Homemade mayo is delicious and I don’t think I can ever go back to store bought. After an initial mishap, I was able to conquer this in under five minutes. There’s something beautiful about using high quality ingredients in your mayo and tasting the final product.
- I survived eating out, not once, but twice. A huge thank you to Lost & Found Saloon and GK Bistronomie for making compliant entrees for me!
- I f*ing hate bread-less breakfasts. How can I survive just on eggs every day? “Eat your leftovers for breakfast!” the book suggests. Hell-to-the-no. Not happening. I attempted to do that during the first three days and I basically sat there absent-mindlessly chewing food I wasn’t sure I’d be able to swallow. Ew. Baby steps on this one.
- But hey, there’s always that energy for motivation! There’s also the college guys who hollered out of their car window that I had a “great ass” as I walked into Fresh Market. Pfft. Really? Insert eye roll here, but why was I smiling? Then there was the older gentleman who said it was too bad “I was married,” as I shopped around for survival food at Whole Foods. OK, surely God put these people on my path to help me smile. My great ass and I survived Week 1.