Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Whole 30®

I am queen skeptic when people tell me they are going to cut something out of their diet (especially dairy, whole grains & legumes). And completely cutting out sugar?? That’s what leads people to hide in closets with a fork and a sheet cake.And then I decided to do the Whole 30®

What is the Whole 30®?
Healthy airport breakfast. PS: I skipped
the chicken - not sure of it's source.
It’s a battle of wills. No, not really…their website breaks it into easy YES & NO categories. Tons of FREE resources, even though I recommend buying the book.

YES! Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.

NO! Read your labels closely and be on the lookout for added sugar of any kind (real or artificial), grains, legumes, soy dairy, alcohol (even for cooking), carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. Follow the link to their website for more 
information and I 100% recommend buying the book.


Why Did I Do It?
I am plagued by inflammation issues. My ankles and calves become stiff and the doctors have ruled out any medical reason with tests out the wahzoo.


We already eat fairly healthy, but lately I’ve been grabbing peanut butter crackers on my way to the gym or having a hot chocolate in the afternoon, or grabbing dinner on the way home…way too often! Could this be a factor?


Then I thought about my brother’s upcoming wedding. Pictures last forever, you know. And my dress is sleeveless.

Last Tuesday (May 3rd) was day 30. I blogged about it every few days here to hold myself accountable and to make sure I didn’t miss anything when it came time to share my results.

The Struggle? It’s Real.
But completely different than what I expected. I was frightened at the thought of no dairy (I eat yogurt every single day) and the idea of saying “no” to a traditional beer & dog at the ballpark when we went to see the Royals play on Day 5.

Neither of those ended up being an issue….but grocery shopping sure did. Sugar is in 98% of shelved items. Lemon Pepper seasoning – yup!, Dijon mustard – there, too!

I had a splitting headache for the first 3 days. Black coffee (the usual) and water are all I drank on the Whole 30,  but that's the same as every other day; I am sure it is a withdrawal symptom, so be prepared if you try it. But when the headache subsided I was ready to do cartwheels down the street. SO MUCH ENERGY.

Seriously, though. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought –that KC game I was worried about? We didn’t go (whew! dodged a bullet!). Knowing it was only 30 days helped, too. Even today is Day 38 and I still haven’t craved a cookie. I suspect I won’t very often.

What I learned

1. Healthy options are everywhere. And easy. And affordable!
2. But it’s not just about healthy foods. It’s about the healthy foods you choose. 
3. Learning what works for you = amazing energy for workouts. No heavy legs and I suspect it’s because….
4. My kankles are likely a food intolerance, not the result of years of bartending and running. Apparently swollen ankles for days do not have to be my destiny.
5. Reading labels is so so so so important. Nutritionists have been telling us this for years. LISTEN TO THEM!
Did I really make it?
Meh. Sort of. I ate natural peanut butter. All month. Like 20 of the 30 days. (But I didn't realized until Day 27 it was non-compliant, must have blocked that part out)

I celebrated Passover with my family on Day 19, which included 4 sips of wine and 2 bites of matzah covered with a couple of TBSP of Pesach. Scroll to day 22 here for more info.

Can you even believe I didn't have one of these???
Days 26 – 28 were my Rumspringa.   I had 3 beers, 2 glasses of wine, 2 gummy worms and a whole grain roll over the course of 3 days. I refrained from the chocolate covered Oreos, peanuts and strawberries that taunted me on Day 26. I stayed compliant in all other ways.








No beer on the Whole 30. But I've learned it's
about the celebration - not the drink.
Where am I now?
After a week back in the real world, the only thing I’ve introduced back is dairy. I’m not quite as strict on the no added sugar and no alcohol. I avoid them when possible, but I had some dried apricots and sweetened carrots the other day. I had one 6oz glass of wine at a fundraiser last weekend and a vodka club soda on the deck last night.


My goals when I started were to look good for my brother's wedding and get back on track with my eating. 

I’ve more than achieved that. 


My goals moving forward are to be more conscious of my choices. To drink for celebration, not just for a night in on the couch. I’m a work in progress, so we shall see.






Bottom Line: The Whole 30 isn't about elimination or deprivation. It is about learning how your body reacts to food and adjusting accordingly. There's still room for the good stuff. And, to me, a beer with my dad after a 13 mile run is the good stuff! Cheers!


*Note on inflammation issues: After runs longer than 5 miles, it is sometimes days before my ankles emerge.  See below for what this diet did for my inflammation.


March 6, at the finish line. See my calves and ankles?
They are basically one swollen mass for 2-3 days following a race!
May 1, 2 hours post-run....look at those shapely ankles!
The day after the half...still no swelling!

  

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