On my quest to pursue clean eating habits void of processed food, for the next 30 days, I will be completing the Whole30 program and covering it on this blog.
What is Whole30?
Certain foods can have a negative impact on our health without us realizing it. They could be affecting our energy, our focus levels, our skin, our digestive system, our ability to lose weight, or even seasonal allergies, to name a few. The Whole30 program is designed to strip out these foods and “reset” the body to heal as well as change our relationship with food.
Here’s my general summary of Whole30:
- For 30 days, eat real food. The official program defines real food as “moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings.” That’s it.
- For those 30 days, avoid pretty much everything else, particularly sugar, dairy, legumes, grains, alcohol, baked goods (even those made with compliant ingredients), MSG, sulfites, and anything used as a sweetener including honey, syrups, and sugar replacements such as coconut sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Lastly, for those 30 days, don’t step on the scale. The program is about improving your health and lifestyle, not weight loss.
After going to a holistic doctor last year who uses Nutrition Response Testing, I was diagnosed with allergies to gluten, grains, dairy, corn, soy, rice, and sugar. Luckily, none of these are fatal, but they greatly affect my focus and energy levels as well as my skin. By generally sticking to a Paleo diet the past couple of years (Paleo is a diet that cuts out most of the same ingredients as Whole30), I’ve managed to completely change my physical and physiological health. I’m taking it to the next level with the Whole30 program.
I started going Paleo because I suffered from all sorts of health problems when I was younger. I figured out I was overweight as a 7-year-old and started suffering self-esteem issues along with it. I started having chronic heartburn at age 10, and I had a bottle of Tums as a necessity next to my bed every night for several years. I had suffered from eczema since birth, as well as constant headaches. I gained weight over the years and reached close to 230 lbs by the time I was 15. I’ve battled with weight loss and an addiction to food for as long as I can remember, and the negative self-image issues of teenage life didn’t make it any easier. Here’s an embarrassing yet necessary picture of me as an awkward 15-year-old:
Anyway, in high school, in my parents’ search to help me find a solution to my headache problem, an allergist finally diagnosed me with a dairy allergy. Within a month of cutting out dairy, I lost at least 10 pounds, my constant rashes cleared up, the headaches became much better. I would have never continued looking into the health effects of food if I hadn’t received that diagnosis. I would probably now be living with the same negative self-esteem and bad eating habits from my childhood.
Today, the heartburn is gone. The headaches are gone. The eczema is gone. My face breakouts are gone. My cognitive function is better. My energy levels are better. I generally feel okay with how I look, as long as my hair behaves.
I guess a current photo is necessary as well:
Don’t laugh at me. I was trying on a dress. (I kept it, by the way.)
So that’s kind of the story of how I ended up being a Paleo-diet nut during my time in college. I’ve lost 40 pounds since high school, and probably gained some muscle since I’ve been running every day for the past couple of months, but the weight loss journey is still slower than I’d like.
I’m doing the Whole30 out of sheer curiosity, to see if there’s anything I’m missing in my healthy eating habits. I’d also like to see if it kickstarts weight loss – but of course, that’s not the point of the program. I’m just curious.
Today is Day 1, and I’ll be updating my experience daily for the next 30 days, mostly to keep myself on track. Will I regret doing this during finals? Probably.