Well, I did it: my first Whole30 is officially in the unofficial record books.
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig have a humorous, tough love approach to explaining and guiding people through their Whole30 program. Which works. Because: it is hard. But: it's seriously not that hard. Even though: it is hard. The 30 days are 100% a challenge in mental stamina and preparation in the grocery store, kitchen, and weekly routine. If you can get organized, you can Whole30. Promise.
In quick summary, the Whole30 program is 30 days without dairy, grains, beans/legumes, sugar, and alcohol. But like lots of things with a quick summary, there is far more to it. From the fact that wheat and sugar are in everything you buy at the grocery store outside of the produce section (which is mind-boggling), to the emotional ramifications of this challenge.
Because, it is definitely emotional.
Like I said, going into Whole30 was an exercise in cleaning up my act. And that it has. I'm not overstating things to tell you that I'm a more patient mom, a more conscious yogini, a mo' bettah sleeper. That I have more energy, more appreciation for my daily routine, and a more authentic feeling of true health. That it showed me what my relationship with what I eat is really like. That it's changed my outlook on far more than food.
Even in 30 days, it's easy to get pretty clear on where and why you reach for certain foods. Bread and pasta to comfort, wine to relax, popcorn to rid the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out). To experience those situations (aka, life) and not use the food/drink crutch that you're used to and. get. through. it. anyway. is a game changer. You find out what you're made of in a more immediate way than when you hide out in a bottle of Chardonnay.
This past month challenged, stretched, and opened me in ways I didn't anticipate. I have eaten pretty healthfully for years, but there's a difference between leaning that way and really being strict about it. The lessons lie in that strictness. The difficulties and struggles lie there, too. But, wouldn't ya know, the difficulties and struggles hold even more lessons. And these are lessons in where you give yourself allowances and loopholes. Lessons in your habits and patterns. Lessons in self-connection, respect, and courage.
These are lessons in who you are.
There are few things that are as integral to your life as food. No matter where you think you stand with food and your current diet, I guarantee that a radical shift in your everyday schedule will shed a light on things you didn't know were lurking there. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to solve the thing that we think is the problem: the job, a certain emotion, the marriage, a specific fear. If you turn your attention to something as vital as what you're eating and go headlong into an experiment there, things with the so-called problem will undoubtedly start to untangle. You'll see things from a new perspective because you've put yourself in a totally new place by shaking up the charge for your physical body: food.
I get that Whole30 is not for everybody. But I think it should be.
A handful of recipes that I will keep in the repertoire post-Whole30: