Boom is right! I did it…. I completed the Whole30 healthy eating plan. Thirty days of higher awareness of what I was putting on my plate, and more importantly, what I was putting in my body. Following the guidelines from the Whole30 website, I am spending about 10 days after my first Whole30 evaluating where I am and reintroducing the forbidden foods, except for sugar, back into my diet to see if my body reacts negatively to them.
The evaluation part is easy. I feel great. I know….I know….I know that this is the very best eating plan for me, a diet that focuses on lean proteins, vegetables and limited amounts of fruit, and healthy fats such as avocadoes and nuts. That’s it. That’s so simple. It has not been difficult for me to get into the routine of eating this way. Every meal needs to have that combo, when possible. I keep staples on hand like walnuts and avocadoes, lean meats in the freezer, eggs….lots of organic eggs. I buy bags of chopped salad for convenience. I add a fresh, chopped tomato and half an avocado, chopped as well, and a diced egg, and I have lunch.
Even when I eat out I have done well. “Naked” meats, meaning no coating, grilled or baked. And veggies. Baked sweet potatoes, plain in a restaurant or with clarified butter, also known as ghee, when I’m at home, are so filling. Almond butter and sliced apples are my favorite snack with afternoon tea or if I get hungry in the evenings. I have found my craving for sugar has disappeared. As has my craving for bread and carbs. I lost almost 10 pounds on the Whole30, which is an awesome bonus. Primarily, I want to feel great by reducing inflammation in my body, regaining flexibility and maintaining high energy levels. I am doing that. My one test each morning is to flex the fingers on my right hand. No pain means I’m eating well. Pain or stiffness means I let something creep into my diet, usually hidden sugar.
I’ve learned to check labels for that pesky sugar, appreciate the flavor of foods as my taste buds detoxified, and drink my tea plain, without a splash of milk. Today I wondered if I should celebrate my accomplishment with a “forbidden” treat but then decided why do that? I couldn’t even think of something that I wanted badly enough to do that to my body.
In the reintroduction phase, foods on the NO list are tried, one food group at a time, for one day. Then the food is not consumed for two days. The idea is to feel with the body what the reaction is to eating the food again, and then avoiding it for a couple of days and checking in with the body again. Today, I reintroduced non-gluten grains. I’ll check for pain and joint stiffness tomorrow, or digestive issues, and then see how I feel after two days of not eating those foods. Again, so easy. Any food group that brings pain, stiffness, indigestion or bloating, goes back on the NO list. Any food that does not create inflammation can remain on the YES list and be eaten in moderation. Sugar is the exception. It is toxic to me. I already know that. I may occasionally have a small piece of birthday cake or a small ice cream cone, but again, I may not want to trade my health for that small, quickly eaten treat.
For that is the real benefit that I am receiving from eating this way….health….wellness. Last August, limping in Scotland with a sore, stiff leg due to an inflamed sciatic nerve, I learned an important truth for myself: to appreciate my body and all that it does for me, in spite of the way I nourish it and feed it. Even when it is in pain, it does the very best that it can for me. I’d never water down the gasoline for my car and then complain about the way the car chugged and choked along. I’d know the poor quality of fuel was impeding the performance of the car. And yet, I’ve done that very thing to my body, giving it poor quality food and nourishment and then complained when it struggled along. I am so grateful that this whole food way of eating keeps showing up in my life. To show the highest level of appreciation for my marvelous body, I want to give it the very best nourishment that I can. I’m on board for another 30 days…and another….and another….as this way of fueling my body brings optimal health. I will Keep Calm…and Whole30 On!