I considered a post that would detail 30 things that I had learned from the whole 30, but then I decided that would be dull, even for me to read. I ended the challenge because it felt like an extremely high added stressor especially considering we’re not living at home for the next two weeks. Now that it’s over, I don’t regret my decision to stop it – but I’m definitely aware that I felt better during those fifteen days than I do now. Now that it’s over, my body is especially distressed over the lack of vegetables in my diet, the overabundance of dairy (which apparently does make me bloated), and the reappearance of sugary treats, especially artificial sugar. In fact, I’m looking toward modifying my diet to better resemble the whole 30 structure on a regular basis. I’m not a fan of restriction or obsessing during restaurant outings (and during Food Friday), but I do feel better when my diet consists of protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and a little fruit. Facts are telling me that a diet that is primarily paleo is better for me and my body, but I am still ignoring the facts. I am rebelling against the fact that I feel better for a variety of reasons.
- PB&J sandwiches are cheaper than protein + veggies as a lunch formula.
- Noodles taste better than spaghetti squash; although I have cemented my preference to cauliflower rice over any other rice. Alex and my grandmother would be appalled by this.
- Sometimes, emotional eating sounds appealing. I’ve especially noticed this when I’m upset at work – because I can’t just exercise my frustrations off. I also noticed a desire for dessert at the end of the day – not because I wanted something sweet, but because it’s a ritual that ends my day.
- Always striving to have a healthy home cooked meal is more delicious, and nutritious, but certainly less convenient. Being picky at restaurants is not my forte.
- I got sick of eggs for breakfast, and sunflower butter for snacks.
As a counter, here are the reasons that I loved the whole 30.
- My sugar cravings disappeared after the first two days, and my palette adapted to accept apples, bananas, and frozen blueberries as a dessert. I’ve never been able to ignore sugar cravings before, so this was impressive.
- I always got my recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, which is always more difficult for me with lackluster winter produce around. (We can stop relying on apples for fruit soon, right?)
- My diet was varied and delicious. I finally figured out how to make chicken breasts taste good (put sunshine sauce or curry on them). I ate vegetable soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I discovered my new favorite breakfast of sunny side up eggs + avocados + berber.
- I was never hungry. When my lunches consist of protein bars (pumped with high amounts of artificial sugar), I am usually starving in an hour. However, I can subsist on cashews (same calories, different macronutrients) for hours.
- Alex and my friends were more supportive than I had anticipated. I thought this diet would annoy everyone in my vicinity, but they were fine to eat my meals without complaints.
- During those fifteen days, I had the best body image that I have ever had. I felt great, my muscles were more defined, and I had energy to put my body to good use.
I am pretty stubborn and set in all of my ways; but the whole 30 did a great job of challenging my conventional wisdom and proving me somewhat wrong. I would recommend this experiment to other people – even though I didn’t make it through the full 30 days. (I’m convinced that yoga teacher training and the piled on stress of our half finished kitchen worked against me) I’m looking forward to a lifelong obsession with sunshine sauce and the Well Fed cookbook in general. I accept that our grocery bills will be higher than we’re used to, and will continue to tell myself that my health is worth it. Now, I just have to stop shoving candy in my mouth – because obviously that isn’t the pathway to health and wellness.