I’ve been drinking coffee black lately. Even more hardcore? I’ve been ordering Americanos at Starbucks black. Me from one month ago literally can’t even with what is happening right now as she sips her grande vanilla latte.
(Side note, OMG Skellie the IG account @OMGLiterallyDead. You will die of the can’t evens.)
Today is day 17 of my #Whole30 food experiment. I cringe to call this a diet. I’ve really never been one to diet.
I mean, there was that time in 4th grade when I resolved to eat only Special K for breakfast because tweenage insecurities die hard.
Instead, we embarked on this not really for weight loss (though I can tell I have slimmed down, and that is a welcome and nice side effect), but to re-boot our relationship with food. As a family.
We got to a point where feeding ourselves and our kids was the MOST stressful part of our day. Can you imagine? We have 3 kids 6 and under, just moved to a new home, have the means to grocery shop when needed, have access to nutritious and healthy food, and the most stressful part of life is FEEDING each other?
No. That was not okay.
Over the years, I think we’ve just backed ourselves into a complicated corner with food. We tried to eat organic, but we knew that’s not always the best choice (organic processed granola bars are not going to be better than a non organic orange). We tried to eat local, but our options here are limited. We tried to cut back on meat and dairy, but we had no idea what to substitute it with.
We watched too many Netflix food docs, got overwhelmed, and we did what we do. We shut down. We didn’t want to meal plan. We didn’t want to research fun new recipes. Food was not an enjoyable thing for us.
Often (really very often) we just threw up our hands and went out or drove through somewhere. Opting to leave the tough choices up to someone else, ignoring their calorie counts and ingredient lists, and relishing in all the dishes that were not dirty in our kitchen. It wasn’t a sustainable plan.
Our kids were learning bad habits fast. I worked SO hard to establish healthy eating habits with Kendall. I made ALL of his baby food. We fed him a wide variety of foods from a very early age. Then things became more relaxed with Leyna and Lowell. I didn’t want to continue down that slippery slope into a mountain of processed foods anymore.
We had to force ourselves to do the hard thing- to deal with food, to re-learn what to do with it, and how it makes us feel. We had to stop ignoring it. I knew the Whole 30 plan would make us do just that.
For 30 days, we are committed to a plan that allows NONE of the following: Any kind of real or artificial added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy (with the exception of clarified butter), carrageenan, MSG, or sulfates.
This may seem limiting (and at night, when I REALLY want a glass of wine and some chocolate, it is), but it’s not awful. We have eaten some delicious, compliant meals the last 17 days. This does not feel like a diet.
Coconut BUTTER melted and poured over bananas and dates, y’all. I AM SERIOUS THIS IS AMAZING.
We’ve had to cook 90% of this stuff from scratch. I go to the grocery store every other day. We are constantly thinking about food, one way or another.
It does feel like and extreme test of my kitchen cleaning skills, which I mostly fail at every day, but at least all those dirty dishes are the result of food everyone in the family is loving.
Seriously, we’ve had fewer battles at the dinner table while doing this than I feared we would. The kids, of course, are not being held 100% to the rules of Whole 30. They still get chicken nuggets for lunch and some of their favorite snacks. But they’re also eating more veggies, and far less sugar. Mostly because it’s just not an option in the house anymore.
I’ve come to the point now, more than halfway through, where I’m not counting down the days to the end anymore. The first 12ish days were lonnnnng and not easy. The first week, I made the mistake of going off my anxiety meds. My prescription was out, and I didn’t intend not to refill it, but I was feeling so good with the change in food, I thought that might be the key to helping me get off of them.
Oh no. So wrong. Total nutcase by day 6, and back on the meds I went.
Now, I will say, in general, I do feel less anxious than I used to, even on the meds. And I think the change in food has helped my emotional wellbeing, for sure.
The best part, besides my slimming midsection because yes that is awesome, is how I’m able to wake up at 6:30 or 7 everyday and not feel like I’m going to pass out on my face while standing from exhaustion at 3 pm. I make it the whole day until I start to get sleepy at 9:30. My body never gets sleepy at 9:30!
The key to this so far has been 100% commitment on our part, right down to packing compliant snacks and drinks when we leave the house for outings and parties. Also, I can’t say enough good things about finding a group of people who are also going through it along with you. The support is so vital.
I’ve got 13 days left of never-ending dishes and no wine. And then? I’m looking forward to… not changing too much. (Except the wine, of course.)
I owe so much of this journey to my internet BFF Mandy, and you can follow her Whole 30 IG account @TeamWhole. She’s a Whole 30 food whisperer, and super motivational. The #Whole30 Instagram community as a whole (puns!) is pretty terrific.
I’ll do my best to answer any questions in the comments, but I’ll admit I’m learning this as I go along. If you’re interested in trying the Whole 30, the first thing to do is to dive into their website. Everything about this plan is free! If you want to get more in-depth (highly recommended) buy the book It Starts With Food. This isn’t some sales pitch, I just super believe in this.