I bought Melissa Hartwig’s Whole 30 Cookbook an entire year ago. Sometimes I can be slow to move. I like ideas. I like the idea of what makes other people feel healthy and happy and free… but it can sometimes take a snails pace of progression to implement my own movement towards something. I like to sit back for a while, perceive what I deem to be authentic and/or inauthentic and then suddenly take action, similar to an obsessive stalker. No joke, I appear as all or nothing so very often, when in actuality I have been contemplating my future actions for quite some time.
Anyways, I read her book a long time ago. I then loaned it to two other people who then proceeded to take the Whole 30 journey themselves. And I watched their results, again like a freakish stalker!!! And finally at the turn of 2018 I decided NOW is the time for me to try it for myself! So I did it.
Week One: The first two days were all pomp and circumstance. I was taking Instagram photos of my shopping cart full of nearly every vegetable available at Fred Meyers Grocery. I cooked with vigor and focus, following a perfectly organized pre-planned menu. I played the Buena Vista Social Club in the background of the kitchen and drank Kombucha while I cooked.
Then two days into it became the hardest point of the entire journey. This was the moment when I realized, “WOW, I have way more sugar addictions than I would ever have admitted to or even realized that I had.” In the Whole 30 lingo world they call it the “Sugar Dragon”. It is no joke. In our modern go go go society, many of us are eating fast and hardly paying attention to what we consume, so often it is quick processed carbs and fast sugar relief that gets us through the day and gives us that immediate fix that we think we need to get us by on a moment to moment basis, yet for long term nourishment and whole body sustainability, we are simply anesthetizing ourselves for the next fix with outrageous highs and lows.
On a personal note in my faith, I have found that feeding my body well in a way that says, “Hey body, I care about you” is a whole other level of spiritual embrace and I am fixated, awakened and inspired on how much respect our sacred temples (physical bodies) need.
Something that I have really soaked into this year is: If we really REALLY believe that God the Creator of all that is has “fearfully and wonderfully made” us [Psalms 139:13] … then we ought to start treating ourselves and one another like we believe it.
Anyways, back to the first week and why it sucked! My body was detoxing EVERYTHING!!! Sugars of all forms, from carbohydrates to anything processed… i.e. all the grains, including rice and chips and crackers and bread… zero legumes, zero corn products, basically no boxed items at all… think whole foods all the way! No juice drinking, nope, we eat our fruit and veggies in this program, we don’t drink them. No dairy, and not one single sweetener: no honey, no maple syrup, no agave, nothing zilch nada. And last but absolutely not least no wine (no alcohol) I have a thing for wine. Ya know, the sipping on a cup while I am making dinner glass. The “let’s celebrate” glass. The “life is so hard today” glass. There is always a reason for a glass of wine, or we like to come up with all the reasons. But remember I chose this though!! I kept saying out loud, “I choose not to have this…” That was my motivator: it is by personal choice.
Needless to say, the first week, I had the most terrible headache, I say that in singular form because it felt that after the initial, “Let’s Do This!” day one and two, I basically had a singular headache for days…. which made me have to lay in bed at moments, it made my family run and hide from me at other moments, all the things that normally bug me like sounds of food eating; smacking sounds and little kid arguments were 10 times more annoying than before. The ibuprofen would not get rid of these kind of migraines. My body was literally detoxing some major Sugar Dragons! I basically wanted to live in my room the whole week.
Then week two set in. I started feeling slightly better, but week two was kind of ronchy in it’s own form. Let’s just say the headaches had visitation rights but at least it wasn’t constant. But, this week was the week when I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that my body was doing some serious work and even though it hurt, I appreciated the pain in a way of realizing how much of a reset I really needed. It was empowering to feel how hard my body was working and realizing how good this reset was for me. I felt tired all the time, I napped more than ever. I typically love naps as it is, even though I hardly get a chance to embrace siesta! However, week 2 of Whole 30… I gave into every opportunity of siesta…every single day. I was so-sooooooooooooooooooo tired!!!
Week 3: This was the kick ass week. Not Tigers Blood yet (a term used in the Whole 30 community referring to phenomenal amounts of energy and clarity and all around feeling great!). It was the week when my body started to feel right. I had very little cravings for things like pizza and pasta, my arch nemesis’. I love those salty grained carbs! In regards to cooking, I felt like I had the meals down. I no longer had to follow a meal plan, I simply began using all the produce and herbs and spices and seafood and chicken and venison and beef that I had stocked up on and began creating wondrous meals. I really found my rhythm. Every meal felt good and the coolest part is that my family appreciated it too. I fell in love with the flavors of everything! Embracing fresh flavor and trying new things.
We had in the past year gotten into an eating-out funk. There are only 4 of us, and sometimes it felt, in the moment of hunger paired with busy lifestyles that going out to eat was the easy answer. But if you really check out your bank statement and then do the math comparison of eating-out v.s. a week of groceries… home cooking always wins! Plus it will likely be the healthier option. It takes time though and practice and getting back into that discipline of pausing and taking the time to create food in your home. I began to really appreciate this time, plus when I cook my husband does the dishes so that is a major win win. And vice versa… so I can’t lose!!! I do prefer dishes over cooking actually, and my husband is an amazing cook! But I basically managed the whole 30 meals, it was my thing and the fam just played along.
SIDE NOTE: For my kids and my husband though, I did add fermented sourdough bread and rice and cheeses to meals, because they weren’t strictly on the reset.
Week four: This was the point when I began forgetting what day I was even on. I no longer cared about how far along I was, or how long I had to go… I was content and feeling clear minded and energetic and healthy! I began to get a dose of the Tigers Blood, that all the Whole-30-ers talk about, but realistically only in the afternoons. I used to feel really tired and drained by about 2:00. My energy bank now runs high at that time of day and I have plenty of energy left to spend on into the evening.
I thought maybe Whole 30 would make a morning person out of me. Nope. I think I am doomed to always be a foggy-waker. I am OK with that! I like my slow contemplative mornings, as long as no one talks to me. Ha! — I did however, find a stronger desire to go to bed on time and to wake in the morning a little earlier. My body had so much energy during the day that by the time 9:30 p.m. hit, I already had my PJ’s on and was cozied in with a good book to fall asleep to.
As cheesy as this sounds, I started to feel like me again! Really! It is amazing and simultaneously tragic how convoluted our lives can get based on how we treat our bodies. Before the Whole 30 I had insane highs and lows from blood sugar issues. By week four, I had zero issues with hunger or mood fluctuations. Prior to Whole 30 I had a painful break out of eczema on my fingers. I went to the doctors and he gave me steroid cream. I tossed the cream and started this reset instead. You wouldn’t believe the difference in how much it has healed!
The last two days of Whole 30 flew by and I hardly had time to even think about what would be next. I lost 10 pounds, without even keeping track. I had a doctors appointment prior and an appointment after the 30 days, the doctor showed me the difference on the scale. It felt like a pretty stellar applause for my efforts, however, what I truly appreciated about the Whole 30 cleanse is that it is not about weight loss at all! In fact, they talk about that over and over in their guidelines. What it is focused on is learning to maintain food freedom, learning to care for your body, self-respect and resetting ourselves to a point of then attempting to understand what makes each individual body feel great!
Weight loss with the Whole 30, is only something that comes natural if your body needs it, it isn’t something that you crash diet into or force, or manipulate or obsess over. There are no scales involved in this program! Just before and after, if you so feel inclined. I absolutely love that! It is about time we get our eyes off of the scale every day and focus more genuinely on how we feel, our energy levels, our fitness and strength levels to be able to do the things we want to do and be the people we want to be. What we put into our bodies is EVERYTHING!
I have personally found that the Whole 30 gave me a deeper sense of body talk awareness…meaning, that I could feel when something didn’t feel right. I could sense when maybe I needed a shot of fermented brine to settle my stomach, for example. My appetite didn’t fluctuate, my body was feeling cared for and nourished and loved. I could feel the difference. I am learning to really listen to the signs and ways that my body is talking to me. It brings a new sense of intuition and a fresh level of self-confidence.
The Whole 30, for me, was a wake up to the sacred nourishment of my body as a pure temple, worthy of celebrating. I am 34 days into it, and although I am officially done, I am actually having a hard time letting go of this philosophy. I figure, if I feel this good, why stop!?!? I do want to add in a few grains though, but whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, maybe some Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, maybe sourdough. Maybe a little dairy and see how I feel.
I had a glass of wine after my 30 days on a belated Valentines date night with my husband, I can’t remember the last time I ordered a single glass of wine and didn’t want another. I was fully satisfied with enjoying one solitary glass. It was a really healthy and beautiful dining experience. I savored the flavor and how it paired so well with my meal. Then we were done and I was completely satisfied.
I used to think balance was a pretend thing, and I always failed at trying for it, but now I am realizing that to a degree it isn’t all a wash, it just takes a lot of discipline to obtain…A LOT! But it is there, it really is… and it can be within reach if we work for it. I have so many aspects in my life that I need to balance out, I think I always will in different ways…it keeps us motivated doesn’t it?! To strive towards new things, to continue the work of progression throughout our life journey. But the way I treat my one body and what I put into it, is on the top list for me. The results are worth it and I react as a better human towards others when I feel good, especially my sacred own, my two kids and husband. Feeling good physically and mentally changes so much and food truly effects all of that. I am finding freedom in my health and consciousness and I see this as just a stepping stone into a practice of whole living.