Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Whole 30 Program

The Whole 30 Program
What is the Whole 30?
This will explain it better than me: http://whole30.com/
This website has great information, printables, recipes, and answers to any and all questions.  Their book It Starts with Food is also great and I feel it’s necessary to get the most out of the program.

Simply put, it is a way of eating for 30 days (no diet talk here). Eat solely some fruits, tons of vegetables, and protein.  No sugar, grains, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, legumes, or fake food on the plan.  For 30 days.  Lots and lots of healthy fats are pushed in this program.  After the 30 days, you slowly introduce grains, dairy, etc to see where your triggers are emotionally and physically.  The goal is to retrain your body to use protein and fat for fuel rather than carbs. 

Why we wanted to do it.
I heard about this on Instagram from a friend who was reading the book.  I started researching it, checked out the book from our library (couldn’t finish in the 2 weeks, so I had so I bought the book!) and talked to my husband about what this kind of change could do for us.  We already eat pretty well, but could use a tune up in a lot of areas.  My husband has issues eating grains and dairy already so we don’t have much of them in our diets.  We also follow an eating plan from our chiropractor which incorporates most of these concepts.  Find out more here: http://www.maximizedliving.com/.

We figured it would be a good idea to try and see if we couldn’t feel better, fix our afternoon food and caffeine crash, and cut out grains in general.

Resources I used to prepare
I read a lot of forums, blog posts, Pinterest recipes for the plan, and a few books.  This is what I recommend and am using during the program:

            This book opened my eyes to the effects grains have on our bodies, and specifically, our brains.  Several studies cited in this book link grain and sugar consumption with Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, and dementia.  Sugar causes inflammation and this inflammation goes to the brain causing problems.  Great, great read.

Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso - http://everydaypaleo.com/books/
            This has been my go-to cookbook for The Whole 30.  It is Paleo based which refers to eating as the Paleolithic era ate.  There are only a few tweaks needed to make this 100% Whole 30 friendly.  She offers great recipes for kids too and a cross fit workout you can do on your own.  Plus, the Whole 30 book endorses her book in theirs!

What I did to prepare for the program?
If I’m being honest, the book suggests starting the program right now.  Right this second.  Go throw out your bad food right now!  Okay, I wanted to fully prepare for it, so we picked a day (after a good friend’s wedding weekend b/c we knew we’d want alcohol) and got ready for that day. 

I ate a lot of junk.  Mostly to clear it out, but mostly b/c I had to say bye bye to it for 30 days.  I ate the donuts in the teacher’s lounge.  We got more ice cream throughout the week.  I got my free Chick Fil A meal for Teacher’s Appreciation Week…and didn’t feel bad about it.  So whether or not that’s good or bad, I did it.  I didn’t go crazy.  I just ate what was available if I was hungry. 

I also food prepped.  I researched which stores at the best deals on food, stocked up on chicken, beef, and fish. I grated cauliflower (used as rice replacement) and froze it and grated zucchini for pasta dishes.
Oh yeah…these happened. 

My goals
Overall, I don’t expect to never eat French fries again or never drink alcohol.  Not realistic.  But here’s a few things I am shooting for:

1.       Not rely on carbs so much.  I didn’t realize how much I was eating in the late afternoon.  Stop the grazing!
2.      Shake the afternoon crash feeling when I reach for caffeine and crackers, cookies and sweets.
3.      Get my hormones in check like cortisol which can surge if you drink too much coffee and cause the body to store more belly fat. 
4.      Not need sweets after my dinner meal.
5.      Stop eating after 7 pm.
6.      Get better sleep.
7.      Complete the 30 days!  - I turn 30 this year so what better way to feel better and help my body than with the “30” challenge!

My challenge to you….
I realize this would be very hard for most people.  We are at an advantage b/c we incorporate a lot of these principles already.  But here’s what I wish would change…

This is my grocery cart at Wal-mart.  Hormone free, grass-fed chicken, fish, fresh veggies, eggs, and unsweetened applesauce.  This cost me $85.  That’s a lot of money for not much food.  But what you get from real, authentic food could save your life. 

This was the cart in front of me.  Sickness right there on a conveyer belt.  Prepackaged food, condiments, soda, frozen dinners.  You name it.  And it cost him $384, and the government helped pay for it.  The system is broken.  I don’t blame him or his family.  He’s probably doing the best he knows how to do with what little he may have.  But, that’s why those of us who can and are able should seek to educate and inform.  Hear me…not condemn.  It starts at the top.  I know how I would eat if I didn’t have the right people in my life to teach and encourage me.  Coming from someone who lost a parent to an incurable sickness, something has to give.
I’m more and more convinced through reading and research that our sicknesses, ailments, inflammations are all largely related to our diets.  So, our family chooses to pay into preventative health care over doctor visits, bad food, take-out, etc.  Before you think I’m acting all high and mighty, we do drink alcohol, we do eat fried food (occasionally) and we eat bread (sometimes).  We don’t claim to be perfect, but we are paying more for sick people these days and I feel the foods we/they eat are keeping them sick.  We can change this with little small changes.  I want the best for my son and his future and that starts with food…ha, see what I did there?!
Follow my blog for updates week to week as we do The Whole 30!

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