Changing My Life in 30 Days? The Whole30 Diet

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I’ve been writing this food blog for almost 13 years now, but up until now, it’s always been more of a personal food journal, a place to stow recipes, than a public-facing site directed at anyone besides myself. However, this month, I’m planning to do the Whole30 diet with my husband and I’m pretty sure the only way I can stay motivated is by documenting it obsessively and making myself publicly accountable. This diet involves cutting out a number of common “problem foods”–grain, alcohol, sugar, dairy, legumes–for 30 days, as sort of a cross between an elimination diet and cult deprogramming. From the official website: “Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the ‘reset’ button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making.”

A little background: my diet hovers somewhere in a pragmatic zone between SAD and chowhound. Your impression of my diet will be vastly skewed if you look through my blog archives–I don’t write about the Chicken McNuggets or mac ‘n’ cheese pizza I eat on a regular basis, but they’re there. My lunch on a typical day might be scrambled eggs with roasted vegetables, but it might just as easily be a bowl of ramen. I know I eat a lot of foods that are bad for me, but they’re also convenient and delicious. I’m food-obsessed and knowledgable about food, but I’m not really a food snob, so fast food and restaurant food make their way into my mouth just as often as high-quality home-cooked meals.

I’m not actually terribly enthused about the Whole30 diet, for a few reasons I’ll get into more in my next post. So why am I doing it? My husband Rahul got very enthusiastic about it after reading about our friend Josh’s experiences with the diet–currently on day 15 or thereabouts, Josh has been posting regular glowing reviews of it on Facebook. So Rahul really wanted to do the diet for various reasons–to quell various aches and pains, asthma symptoms, fatigue, sluggishness, and to lose weight. I reluctantly agreed to try it with him, although giving up grains, dairy, beans, alcohol, and sugar for a month in the middle of summer seems like pure torture. However, I’ve been feeling pretty fat and sluggish myself, having spent basically all winter and most of spring eating fatty foods and not exercising (we spent our winter break in Quebec, eating poutine and Montreal bagels, and Easter weekend in New Orleans, land of beignets and deep-fried seafood), and the thought of having the opportunity to press the reset button on my health and potentially change the way I look and feel in a short period of time, without crash dieting, seemed pretty tempting.

Still. 30 days without some of the most delicious things life has to offer!–dark beer, Greek yogurt with honey, sushi, deep-fried cheese curds, pad thai, barbecued pork buns, Haagen-Dasz Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and even some less obvious treats like the tempeh-and-white-bean vegan biscuits and gravy I make on Sunday mornings sometimes, or scrambled eggs with soy sauce and sugar–this is going to be tough. I don’t have that much of a sweet tooth, fortunately. I figure I can find savory indulgences far more easily than sweet ones on this diet. And thank God potatoes are allowed on the Whole30 diet.

We’ve made some preparations for the diet already–with my mother-in-law’s help, we made a jar of ghee from expensive grass-fed Kerrygold butter (this is the only dairy permissible, according to the guidelines); we bought some coconut flour and coconut butter, the latter of which I have already started eating because it tastes absolutely wonderful, like the inside of a Mounds bar; I ordered a spiralizer from Amazon because one of my favorite healthy meals involves shredding up zucchini and carrots with a julienne peeler and eating them with tomato sauce, and spiralized veggies seem even easier and better than julienned shreds, not to mention fun to make. We keep fresh veggies, eggs, and meat around regularly anyway, so we won’t have to do too much in terms of stocking our fridge with those.

This week I’ve been slowly saying goodbye to all the foods I’ll miss during the month of June, and resisting the urge to gorge on as many of them as possible in the limited time I have left. I made a kale pasta gratin to use up a bunch of our cheese (farewell, cheese and pasta); I ate a bowl of Greek yogurt with almond butter and coconut butter (goodbye, yogurt); we polished off a bag of Rice Krispie treats from my mother-in-law (so long, sugar and rice).

Wish me luck. I’ll post tomorrow about some doubts I have about this diet, aside from “OMG all the delicious foooooods I’m missing!” Follow the whole30 tag for all my posts about it.


Written by orata

May 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Posted in whole30

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