January 5, 2015

Hellloooo Whole30!

I always find it interesting how suddenly in January everyone wants to be healthy. I get it - new year, new goals and stuff, but why such a big push for health once a year? We'd all probably be in a lot better shape if we kept that mindset more than 1/12th of the year. My gym is suddenly packed at the beginning of January, yet somehow by February, it's dwindled back down to the good 'ol regulars.

Sometimes we have to admit the hard truth - health is a year-round deal. No short-term program is going to produce long-lasting results. 

We work pretty hard around here to make sure our family has a healthy overall lifestyle, and we've definitely made significant changes in the last few years, following a modified version of the paleo diet most of the time. But there's room in the margin for eating out, eating with friends, holidays, etc. You see, I come from a cooking family, and there are some amazing cooks in it. I'm convinced my grandmother makes the best pie in the state. My mom rocks out the homemade caramels and pecan bars and my aunt is the soup and appetizer queen.

When we all get together for Christmas, there ain't no way I'm missing out on that!

So as much as I believe it's important to make healthy choices ALL YEAR, the weeks following Christmas do demand a little bit of a "restart." For me, this is also a time to test my body - what it can handle and can't, how it reacts to certain foods, what happens with massive nutrient consumption. I love experimenting on myself and I've learned SO much through that process. I've tested the limits with grain-free diets, eating only whole foods, avoiding sugar, and juice fasting.

This year, we decided the Whole30 would be a great compliment to our paleo-ish diet and the best way to reset ourselves after the holiday season. Whole30 focuses on what I believe is the key to health -  real, nutrient dense food.

No pills.

No supplements.

No expensive plans.

You don't need those. Real nutrition comes from real food. Nearly every aspect of your health is affected by your diet, both positively and negatively. Whole30 "is a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract and balance your immune system." (Learn more here)

Americans are always looking for a quick fix. A pill, a prescription, the easy way out. What we (and the medical professionals) need is to take control of our diet and figure out how the foods we eat affect us.

For 30 days, we will not:
• Consume any sugar or sweetener of any kind
• Consume alcohol in any form
• Eat grains
• Eat legumes
• Consume dairy products
• Consume carageenan, MSG or sulfites
• Recreate any paleo baked goods, treats, or junk food with "approved ingredients"

We will eat clean meats, wild-caught seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit and good, high quality fats.

People often wonder what we will eat and think it will be difficult. Honestly, it's not difficult at all, it just requires some planning. There's a million resources online, and a great many recipes that help make this really quite easy.

We're actually already on day 4. This was last night's supper...

Garlic and herb spaghetti squash with dried roma tomatoes.

Ever had spaghetti squash? You should try it. Delish.

Tonight was Asian ground beef lettuce cups...

Yep...we're suffering.

It's only been four days and we're already feeling better. Personally, I'm expecting to shed those extra holiday pounds, see my skin clear up (it was mad at me for all the sugar I ate over Christmas!), start sleeping better again and see a reduction in fatigue. I'm also hoping to break my somewhat addictive cycle of emotional/boredom eating. Jon is really experimenting with the 100% grain-free/sugar-free and is seeing how a full 30 days will affect his body.

Oh yeah, and there's NO CHEATING. Or you start back at day one. One bite of preservative-laden, gluten filled pizza crust and you're back at square one! That part is a little tricky, because we do have a few food-filled events to attend this month, but doing it together helps keep us accountable and we'll plan ahead for those events.

We've seen amazing changes when we carefully and purposefully change our diet based on what we've learned about ourselves from the foods we consume, and I'm excited to see what the Whole30 reset challenge will bring. I would challenge you, before you go spending your Christmas bonus on some magical program, take some time and make an effort to focus on cutting out foods that could possibly be causing problems, and adding more nutrient dense foods and high quality fats.

And if you're up for it, feel free to hop on the Whole30 wagon with us!


  1. Good luck! I look forward to comparing your experience to mine.

  2. Virginia! How are you?? We connected a while back when I followed your adoption journey and had just started mine. Now we've had our Emily home a little over a year, can you believe it?? So glad to have found your blog again. And this post made me laugh, the hubs and I are almost done with our first Whole 30! We need to meet in real life for real ;)
    I'll continue to follow your posts as we are on a journey to much cleaner eating. I just started a new blog www.oureastandwest.com about our next adventure, moving to Colorado from Florida! It's craziness over here but I wanted to get back in touch :)

    1. I remember you Erin! I have wondered how things are going for you. I have a very good friend in CO, so who knows, maybe we'll get to meet one day ;) I'll add your blog to my reading list for sure. Feel free to find me on Facebook and maybe we can keep in touch a little more regularly :)