Last September, Caroline and I decided to try Whole30, the 30-day eating program where you nix all grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes, added sugar, additives and anything processed. It’s not for losing weight necessarily, but for figuring out what foods you might have sensitivities to and to improve your relationship with food. (Full disclosure: I was doing it to lose weight.) Anyway, I totally failed on the 2nd day. I went to a party and couldn’t resist the chilled champagne and passed hors-d’oeuvres. Caroline, however, had the fortitude to complete the month. Bravo because this is the land of cheese, milk, honey, wine, chocolate, chantilly and pastries! We Whole30 in France people must be nuts.
When Caroline announced she was doing Whole30 again, I gladly hopped back on the wagon. There comes a point when your Shar-Pei silhouette becomes untenable. (That point is right now.) I’m a mom, but must I have a mom body? And improving my food attitude and becoming healthier are always goals. I’ve got young kids, after all.
This time around, it’s been so much easier. Maybe because I’m so fed up with myself and it’s the new year. Or that everyone in the world seems to be doing it. Or our small but awesome Whole30 in France group (which you are welcome to join) is keeping us all motivated and honest.
Having finished the first week (though I’m tacking on a few days because of an incident involving deli turkey and boxed soup last Friday), this is what I’ve discovered:
- Buy a dozen eggs every other day or so. You’ll be frying, frittata-ing and hard-boiling those babies up constantly. Eggs are your best friend.
- Stock up on coconut oil and milk (the Ayam brand doesn’t have additives or preservatives). They’re useful for cooking and making bulletproof coffee (the oil) and thickening up your sauces, taking the place of cream, making a curry or a healthy treat (the milk).
- Try to plan your meals and eat at regular intervals. I’m terrible at meal planning and will go hours without eating, eventually stuffing myself with whatever’s on hand. No wonder I’ve put on 4 kilos in the past year. Doing Whole30 forces me to think ahead because I know I can’t just order some ramen from UberEats. Now I’ve got washed and chopped veggies in the fridge so I can quickly throw together a salad or a veggie-ful dinner. My fruit bowl is constantly replenished.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats. Think avocados, nuts, the aforementioned coconut oil/milk. These fats will help keep you satiated plus they’re so good for you. And eating fat burns fat! (See: ketogenic diet).
- Since I’m not drinking alcohol (which is… hard), I’ve had to replace the habit with herbal teas. I also drink warm lemon water in the mornings and coconut water when I’m tired of plain water.
- You’re going to feel really hungry the first week. Like starving. At least, I did. All I could think about was food. What can I eat? When can I eat it? When can I eat again? So make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked with Whole30-friendly foods. Caroline gave me an awesome and easy treat idea: Smash a banana, add coconut milk and sliced almonds (I’ve also added cinnamon, grated coconut, goji berries). It’s really quick to pull together and tastes like pudding. Heading into Week 2, I’m not as hungry so I’m not obsessively looking up delicious Whole30 recipes all day long.
Week 1 Results: My skin looks amazing! The dark circles under my eyes are going away and my skin feels tighter overall. I’ve been sleeping better and have tons more energy. I have tendonitis/bursitis in my left shoulder that’s been noticeably bothering me the past few months. Now, the everyday ache is going away and it’s not popping and cracking like it was before—which makes sense since I’m eating much less inflammatory foods. Sex drive has increased. Belly is slowly shrinking (you’re not allowed to weigh yourself all month). And I don’t know if it’s related (probably, because everything is related to everything), but I have more focus and patience so I’ve been meditating frequently and feeling very creative. Even started working on my fiction again.
Overall, I feel good and don’t have too many cravings. I will add that I’ve been holed up at home working, especially in this weather, so I’m not really exposed to many temptations. However, I don’t recommend becoming a hermit like me for an entire month. That seems unhealthy.
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