In an effort to get my body in shape from the inside-out, I am embarking on a 30-day food challenge.
Whole30 was developed by husband and wife team and authors of It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways (2012), Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The program functions to redesign your diet through a strict process of elimination and reintroduction of certain foods. In doing so, it is expected that participants will experience either and/or all of weight loss, improved quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food, not to mention stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significantly, many participants have reported the "magical" elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions.*
Sounds good to me.
I just finished reading the book a couple of weeks ago and although this is not the first time that I'm hearing about the program, I think that this time I'm actually convinced to give it a go.
I think that a lot of us aren't really sure about how we're supposed to feel on a day-to-day basis and so long as we're not vomiting bits of ribbon and gold sequins (true story: my cat puked up craft supplies last week), we think we're doing just fine and that there's no real reason to alter our diets in order to help us either feel more alert in the morning (or at 4pm) or rid of allergies or avoid gut rot and bloat. After all, that's what caffeine, over-the-counter medications, and lying on our bellies is for. However, having lived with lupus for the past several years and experiencing first-hand what the effects of consuming particular foods can have on our health, I have learned about the importance of diet. That said, even ten years after first being diagnosed, I still have a lot to learn about what foods I should be consuming more or less of as my symptoms persist.
For the next thirty days, I will consume only whole foods. This means no grains, no legumes (including soy and peanuts), no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, and no processed foods. The foods that I will be feasting on are meat, fish, nuts (and other healthy fats), and tons of vegetables and fruit. Now, while I do not consume a lot of dairy, sugar, alcohol, or processed foods to begin with, I do see this as a challenge. No dairy means no cheese (my go-to "cheat" food) and no sugar means not even stevia.
Although I don't usually like to have any expectations when starting a program like this – just because tens of thousands of participants have had positive experiences, doesn't necessarily mean you will, too! – I do hope that I am able to benefit from the Whole30 in at least one way (fingers crossed?), whether I discover that a particular food or food group aggravates my lupus or I field a healthier relationship with food in general. But, let's get real. I've already fluffed the extra pillows in the linen closet, so that when I experience ice cream withdrawal or get an uncontrollable desire to eat a brick of cheese, I have something soft and comforting to scream into.
So, here I go.
So, here I go.
Join me as I embark on this whole food adventure! Today marks Day 1.
Stay tuned for updates about my progress and overall experience, including meal ideas and recipes.
*to learn more about the Whole30, visit Whole9