Seven days of completely clean eating – no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar and no alcohol – DONE!
Yes, that’s correct. For 30 days – from 05 August until 03 September, The Man and I will be following the Whole30 Challenge, which doesn’t allow grains, dairy, legumes, sugar or alcohol. And for the record, “sugar” includes all forms of sweetener, so there’s no honey, agave, stevia, nothing.
Why would we do this, you ask? Well, you can read more about the Whole30 plan here, or buy the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. (Although for the record, I did not buy nor read it, so I can’t give you any thoughts on it.) Essentially though, the Whole30 is (quoting from the website here), “a nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.” By eliminating the things that are scientifically known to hurt your body, you “heal your gut”, which leads to better sleep and more energy, not to mention you will just feel better in general.
This may sound hard, and truth be told, it is. Because The Man and I follow a primarily paleo diet on a regular basis (we don’t eat grains or legumes, and we eat very little dairy), I don’t think it was as hard as it would be for someone who regularly eats those things. Your body goes through phases during the 30 days (laid out here: which is hilarious but true), so depending on how you ate before you start, you may experience some of these phases to a more extreme degree. The first time I did my Whole30 – wow, it sucked. For three out of the four weeks I was cranky and whiny, thinking about all the foods I “couldn’t” have. By the time the fourth week rolled around I felt much better and actually continued a whole food lifestyle for quite a while longer.
Even so, there are times when the craving for a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate hit me so hard it’s takes me surprise. But the benefits have definitely been worth it – I’m sleeping like a baby, plus I’m starting to feel more energy. Another benefit (one that also comes from a Paleo diet) is that I usually stick to three meals a day because I’m rarely hungry in between. By limited my food intake to meat, vegetables, fruit and healthy fat, I’m giving my body exactly what it needs to function at peak performance.
Now I know there are some of you out there (my sister included), who are thinking “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! I’m not giving up my oatmeal or my greek yogurt or my peanut butter or my quinoa! Those things are healthy! They’re part of a nutritious diet!” I hear you. I was that person about a year and a half ago, before The Man talked me into trying a Paleo lifestyle. I’m not telling you to give up that stuff for good – I realize this is not for everybody. I’m just challenging you to try it. For 30 days. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Just try it and see how you feel…and if after the 30 days you want to go back to oatmeal and greek yogurt and peanut butter, that is absolutely fine! At least you can say you tried it.
For those of you out there thinking, “Well, maybe I could try this, but what can you do with just meat and vegetables and fruit? Doesn’t that get boring?!” No, it doesn’t! And to prove just what you can do with “just meat and veggies and fruit,” take a look at what we’ve been eating the past week. And it’s all Whole30 approved!
egg scramble with leftover seasoned hamburger meat, spinach, onion and yellow pepper
two hamburger patties (one with guacamole, one with spicy brown mustard), and a side salad
homemade beef stew with carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms and sweet potatoes – made with homemade bone broth
ribeye steak with sauteed onions and homemade chimichurri sauce, roasted asparagus
machaca and eggs topped with avocado and salsa, served with sweet potato and bell peppers
So, have I convinced you yet??