The 5 W’s of My Whole30

Hi, my name is Holly and I am on Day 4 of the Whole30. (Hi Holly.) Anyone that knows me, knows that my love for all things carbs and sweet is a passionate love. So how and why did I find myself in this crazy food challenge? Keep reading, I’ll break it down for you.

Who:

Me, duh. But, you can join me! Let’s be Whole30 buddies.

What:

THE Whole30 Program – “a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” Over the next thirty days, I will be eliminating sugar (no honey or agave nectar or anything that you can’t pronounce), alcohol (gasp), grains (which includes corn, like wtf? really.), legumes (no soy, no hummus, no peanut butter) and dairy from my diet. You are already thinking, “What the hell are you going to eat for 30 days?”  Oh, just some of my newly favorite things: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and natural fats. And, definitely no pancakes. (For some reason, the authors of the Whole30 are aggressively against pancakes, making me crave them for the first time in my life…)

After the initial 30 days, you slowly re-introduce each of the no-no food groups into you diet and see how they affect you.  The Whole30 is only 30 days, not forever. But the goal is better understand your body and it’s relationship with food.

When:

Well. The next 30 days. If you see me eating pancakes in the next 30 days, I give you permission to kick me.

Where:

At home, at the office, in the car, after the bar, out to dinner, all the places.

Why:

Because it will “change my life”. At least that is what I am told. And also because my mom won’t stop talking about. The Whole30 proclaims to heal  a variety of lifestyle diseases and conditions, but I was sold when I stumbled upon the looooong list of “non-scale victories”:

  • Glowing skin
  • No more under-eye circles
  • Stronger, thicker hair
  • Leaner appearance
  • Fewer PMS symptoms
  • Fewer seasonal allergies
  • Fewer migraines
  • You’re happier
  • You’re more patient
  • You’re less anxious
  • You’re less stressed
  • Improved attention span improved memory
  • Higher productivity
  • You sleep more soundly
  • You no longer need to hit the “snooze” button
  • You awaken feeling refresh
  • No more mid-day energy slump
  • More energy
  • You feel more athletic
  • Your balance is better
  • Healthier relationship with food
  • Don’t use food for comfort or reward
  • New cooking skills
  • You maximize your food budget

Guys, this is only a fraction of the list. I’d be lying if I said that weight loss isn’t a key component of  this new adventure. I got a lot of weddings in my future and a whole lot of groomsmen to kiss. While I’m a bit hesitant that this new approach to food is going to be the magic cure to every complaint I’ve ever had, maybe all these Whole30-crazed (my mom) people are onto something…

Why 2.0

After determine why I was jumping on the Whole30 bandwagon, I needed to know what was so wrong with sugar, alcohol, legumes, dairy and carbs. A bit of science coming in hot.

Sugar

Sugar is bad and gives you cavities, we know this. But it can also promote overconsumption leading to hormonal and metabolic weirdness, as well as digestive issues and inflammation. Inflammation = bad.

Alcohol

I like drinking just as much as the next girl. But we all know that alcohol is essentially poison that we voluntarily consume so that we are brave enough to give the door guy your number, again. I’ll never give it up forever, because I enjoy that sweet, sweet poison, but I am weirdly excited for four hangover-free weekends in a row.

Grains

I also know that carbs are bad. But they are so good. But, grains also cause inflammation in the body, which we now know is bad. And other things like, overconsumption, hormonal disruption, phytates and yeah.  (I’m annoying myself right now.)

Dairy

The main beef with dairy is the inflammatory proteins which can cause all sorts of annoying things (bloating, digestive issues, and yup, you guessed it – inflammation). The hormones in dairy can also interact with our immune system which could cause an increase allergies and acne. blah blah blah. Khloe Kardashian gave up dairy and she looks hot as hell, so count me in.

Legumes

Ok, got it. I understand why the rest are bad, but BEANS. I can’t even eat beans! My friend Katie, of Healing Whole Nutrition, explained that legumes aka beans (and peanuts and chickpeas and SOY) can be hard to digest and improving digestion is a key aspect of the Whole30 diet. They also contain “phytic acid, which binds to nutrients in your stomach, and basically ‘steals’ them so your body can’t absorb and use them”. So goodbye, legumes. See you in 30 days.

How:

After listening to my mom, who taught me to love Vodka Sodas, rave about the program, I promised to give it a shot and got the book. It all starts with the book. I had to understand the science before I could say goodbye to my favorite things in the world (in no particular order): cheese, alcohol and carbs.  I spent nearly 30 days mentally preparing for the subsequent 30 days. I read the book cover to cover and started pinning recipes.

The day before my challenge, I outlined my plan for the week, built my grocery list and traveled to 3 different grocery stores. I stocked up on some of my Whole30 essentials – coconut aminos (because unbeknownst to me, I eat a lot of soy sauce), coconut milk, eggs, La Croix, LaraBars and Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burgers.  I spent more money (and time) than I normally do on groceries, but without weekend PostMates, Taco Tuesdays and bar tabs, it will likely be much cheaper than my usual week.

I spent the rest of my Sunday prepping my food and praying to any god that would listen for strength during the next 30 days. Part of that prepping also involved me banishing the illegal food items from my kitchen (goodbye half-eaten pint of Ben and Jerry’s, RIP). Now I have a kitchen full of healthy meals already prepped and all the necessary ingredients at my finger tips to whip up Whole30-compliant snacks (major key: plantain chips and guac).

Finally, I am supposed to “go public” with my Whole30 plans. The more people that know about my personal challenge, the more guilty I will feel going off plan (right?).  And what better way to do that than to share with the internet full of my friends.

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Follow my day-by-day Whole30 musings on Snapchat @holyyyschnikes or on Twitter @hollyschnicke.

 

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