The Whole30 is serious business. There are a lot of things you have to cut out of your diet. Things that are not necessarily bad for you such as legumes or dairy. The point is that you cut them out, and then after they are totally out of your system you try them again and see how your body reacts. I like the idea behind this method. I mean for my entire 32 years on the planet I have never really known how foods like gluten, legumes, or dairy effect my body so there is really only one way to find out.
What you do have to cut out, which is definitely not healthy for you, is sugar (EXCEPT FRUIT). This is honestly the hardest part, but not because I am craving doughnuts, cupcakes, candy, or the like. It is because sugar is hiding in very unlikely places. When you really start to read labels you will be shocked to see how sugar sneaks in to your diet. I actually am to the point that I wanted to do cart wheels in Costco on Saturday because I found a sausage without preservatives that was only sweetened with apple juice. Honestly finding something in a package that is “quick” to prepare that meets the criteria is like finding gold.
Here are some of the things which have totally shocked me to have sugar in them!
- 99% of all lunch meat. Thus far I have found one lunch meat that complies (Applegate Farms Organic Roast Beef). Everything else either has sugar in the form of cane sugar, raw sugar, dextrose, honey ect in it, or Carragean (also not allowed) or usually both.
- Beef Broth- I have yet to find a beef broth without sugar added. I ended up having to make two batches of chili for the super bowl I went to over the weekend because the original recipe called for beef broth and half way through cooking I read the label. I make my own chicken broth so I am not sure if packaged chicken broth also contains sugar but I would not be surprised.
- Bacon and other processed meat. I was able to find one kind of bacon at Whole Foods which does not have sugar. And then I stumbled upon the chicken apple sausage over the weekend. I also found one type of cold smoked salmon at whole foods. These finds were huge.
- Almost all packaged condiments. Finding whole grain and Dijon mustard without sugar was even a huge challenge. I have learned to make a few condiments that are pretty good such as mayo and “ranch” dressing (the whole30 version is also dairy free).
- Dry seasoning packs and store bought rubs. Not all but a great majority of dry seasoning packs contain sugar and preservatives. I needed some ranch seasoning over the weekend and was able to make it myself with spices from my kitchen. It was delish without on the unnecessary sugar and chemicals.
I do not go around blabbing to everyone about my Whole30. Only when people specifically ask to I offer the details of what I am doing and why. When I do begin to explain the “rules” no one seems particularly shocked that I have cut out sugar (except fruit), but when the conversation comes around to honey, and I tell them that is also not allowed, they get almost offended. I cannot even tell you how many times I get the reaction “WHAT! You can’t have HONEY?!?! That is just crazy!” Why is it that this seems so outlandish to people? I mean honey is sugar. Of course the very next thing that comes out of their mouth is the argument that honey is natural. While I actually have several talking points on why something that is natural (ie from Nature) does not necessary mean it’s good for you or that you should have it, I do not take that road. I am certainly not trying to get in an argument over honey and food can be a controversial topic these days. What I do say, however, is the people who developed the Whole30 program said honey is not allowed. I have (by my own freewill) decided to try the Whole30 100%, so while I am doing it, I won’t be having honey. It’s a rule of the program and I respect that. It doesn’t mean I think honey is bad or good (or dairy or legumes or grains or anything else not allowed). It means that I am following a program, and the program is REALLY working for me. I have been alive for over twelve thousand days, and I promise I will be ok not having honey for just 30 days.
If anything this 30 days has taught me how much sugar I unknowingly consume on a regular basis. It’s scary. I am totally not against having sugar in moderation (when you are not doing Whole30 of course), but I like my sugar where I can see it, in a cookie. I don’t want it hiding in my soup, meat, or salad dressing.
Today is Whole30 day 25. Honestly, I have never felt better. I have incredible energy and I am sleeping better than I ever have in my life. The most amazing thing is that when I wake up in the morning, I am ready to go. I have never been a morning person and I can just pop up out of bed. All of the extra energy has helped me stay caught up with household chores during the week which has kept my stress down. I eat until I am full, and that usually gets me to the next meal without a dip in energy or feeling hunger. Occasionally I snack on a piece of fruit or a few nuts, but not nearly as much as when I started. People have also started to comment on my weight loss. The only thing I miss is the experience of my latte. Starbucks totally came through for me and is going to offer coconut milk starting later this month so I can continue to avoid dairy as much as possible!
When I started this I was very determined but also worried about how hard it would be to actually do it. Traveling for work and get togethers with friends felt really intimidating. Now that I am 5 days away from actually doing a full 30 days with NO cheating, I will say it was easier than I thought. Every time I had a week moment I just thought about how great I was feeling and how horrible I felt at the beginning and it just never seemed worth it.