Whole 30 Thoughts – Day 12
Happy Friday! I’m currently sitting on my couch, in my slippers and yoga pants, watching a baby tear apart my house. In almost all respects, t’s a typical Friday evening. There is one thing that is NOT typical though. I’m hungry. I’ve been hungry in the evenings now for almost exactly 12 days. I don’t want to tell you how many of those days I’ve just skipped dinner. The reason? – I’m doing a Whole 30.
Now before anyone gets up in arms about how there is plenty of good food out there to eat on the Whole 30, and there’s no reason that I should be skipping dinner and sitting around hungry, please just stop. I know there is. I’m a vegetarian, I live off of veggies and pretty much every other healthy food group you can imagine. The problem isn’t that there’s nothing to eat, I am starting to think it’s more of a mental battle. I’m not hungry for carrot sticks. What I’m craving is a massive bowl of creamy spinach and mushroom and black bean pasta. With Gluten. And Beans.
When I decided that I wanted to give the Whole 30 a go I was fresh off of a 28 day reset that I did with Blogilates PIIT 28 day Challenge. It was an awesome experience. Even though I didn’t loose much weight, I saw a huge difference in my skin and mood and just felt good all over. The challenge focused on being healthy. Not just with what you eat and how you workout, but mental health as well. There was a very short list of foods to avoid (dairy, added sugar, gluten) and they were all foods that I already either completely avoid (dairy) or eat in moderation already. It worked great, sure I started to crave a slice of bread about halfway through, but I stuck it out, and am happy I did. I was itching to try another reset as soon as I got done with that one, thinking, if one is good, two is better – right?
I’m not so sure now. The way I see it, the Whole 30 is an exclusion diet at it’s core. It’s not about focusing on mental and physical health, but it’s all about focusing on what you can’t have. And for me, I’m not so sure that is healthy. As part of a healthy meat-free lifestyle I eat a LOT of legumes, grains, and occasionally soy products. You could actually say, in addition to vegetables and fruits, those are my other three food groups. Taking out over half of the HEALTHY foods that I am used to eating has really thrown my body for a loop. More and more I find myself craving something good and filling, and instead have to satisfy myself with 20 sticks of celery dipped in almond butter. More calories, and much less of a diverse nutritional profile than a big bowl of quinoa, beans and veggies would have supplied!
Even worse, I have actually started craving sweets, something I almost never even thought about before. My body is so used to getting the filling, dense carbs and sugars that it needs from whole grains and legumes, that now that it’s not getting them it’s like it’s going into shock. It doesn’t care where the sugars come from now – just fill me up! It’s a strange feeling to have to be honest, and it was one of my first warning signs that maybe this ‘cleanse’ wasn’t for me.
One of my life motto’s is, all things in moderation. I don’t eat sweets every day – or even every week, but if I want to, I do. I don’t make myself feel guilty for eating something unhealthy. I just accept it and move on. I know what my goal in life is: to be healthy and happy, so I don’t consider eating a dark chocolate truffle here and there wrong – it’s just part of a balanced lifestyle. 🙂 I apply this principal to all aspects of my life: I’m not going to go out and drink every night, but if I want an occasional drink, I have one. I don’t drink milk, and try to stay away from cheese and butter because I don’t support most of those industries – but if I eat something with butter in it, or have a slice of pizza with some cheese – I’m not going to beat myself up over it! There’s too much else going on in life to hyper-focus on these minor events. I love to eat, and I love to cook, but at the end of the day, my life isn’t about eating and cooking, it’s about my husband and kids and job. Anything that takes my focus and attention away from them, or causes strife, s something that I don’t need in my life.
I’m not trying to say that the Whole 30 isn’t a great program for lots of people. Please don’t take it that way! I’ve read the success stories – heck, that’s why I decided to do it! But it’s not a healthy, or sustainable lifestyle for me – whether that be for 30 days, or the foreseeable future. Perhaps, if I had been accustomed to eating tons of empty carbs and sugary treats, this would have functioned as a much-needed ‘reset’ to bring my body back to a state where I could start to retrain it. Seeing as I already started from a spot of healthy-eating and confidence in my food choices though, there were no ‘unhealthy’ habits that needed to be kicked (at least not food related lol).
So to sum up. Do I regret this journey? Not at all. I learned a lot, and I’ve come to be more in-tune with my body, I’ve learned that I do depend very strongly on legumes, and probably more than I’d like to on soy. It’s given me a lot to think about. Am I going to finish it? Well yes, I am. I’ve gotten through 12 days already, I’m just about halfway done. I am still going to finish the job, and who knows, maybe there’s still more to this that I haven’t seen yet. I’ll never know unless I finish, right? But at this rate, I probably won’t be doing one of these again!! I miss my black beans, my quinoa, and my pasta!! <3