Today starts the first day of the rest of my life. Ha! Just kidding. Well, actually it does- from a literal and philosophical perspective- but also from a figurative one too.
As Lent approached I had trouble figuring out what personal sacrifice to offer. I thought about what I could do with my life that would change myself and my family in a positive way. I also wanted the sacrifice to be something that is challenging enough so that it is for more than just me. I truly wanted to choose something that every day when I think about doing it I will feel the need to remind myself that I am doing this for God too.
In the end, I did chose something that is selfish, because I will benefit from it if I succeed, but it is a sacrifice that will make my life, and the lives of those around me, healthier in countless ways.
I chose Whole30.
If dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and soy-free scare you then you might want to stop reading. The Whole30 lifestyle means that you eat only foods that grow from the earth (barring wheat, beans, peanut butter, other legumes, potatoes, soybeans, etc) and roam the earth (barring any additives like sugar or most preservatives, or dairy byproducts). Salt is okay. And so is coffee (black). You eat this way for 30 days, hoping to retrain your brain to like only the good stuff again.
Sound easy? Nope! It is really hard. And even harder to find products that fit into these strict categories.
I went to the regular grocery store to get the supplies I needed to get started, but I couldn't buy as much as I wanted. I didn't go organic on everything, waaaay too pricey, and I tried my best to read labels (not sure about the V8 or Naked juice)... but folks there are additives in almost everything! It is actually really scary.
Basically if I couldn't pronounce something on a label I didn't buy the product. If it had more than a couple ingredients I found that it probably didn't follow guidelines. I will definitely have to check out specialty stores to get more supplies. I did order some TesseMae's marinades online that are Whole30 approved which should add to the natural flavor of the food I eat and the meals I create over the next 30 days.
I honestly didn't feel like I spent that much more money at the store than when I buy our regular groceries, but I did find that almost everything I bought will need preparation. It really was eye opening. I have been buying pre-made, processed foods and meals or ordering fast food for my family way too much lately.
So besides Lent, why am I doing this? Well, I need to make a change. I get migraines, I have serious insomnia, some of my joints are inflamed (ahem, surgery in December?), I have high bad cholesterol, I've gained a little weight and I have serious guilt about the food my family eats. Food is literally what keeps us alive and the choices I have made to keep my body fed have not been great lately.
What will be the hardest parts for me over the next 30 days?
- Running. Typically when I cut out carbohydrates I lose some of the energy I need for running. Luckily, I am not planning on long runs until next month, so I think I can make it the next 30 days. Some foods like fruits, sweet potatoes, carrots and many nuts and seeds have carbs so I will focus on those when I know I will be running on certain days.
- Cheese and Wine. I. Love. Cheese. Sharp cheese, smooth cheese, processed cheese, sprinkled cheese, melted cheese, cheese dip, cream cheese.... Cutting out cheese will be a challenge. I also really like wine. Alcohol is a no-no for the first 30 days of this challenge... not going to be easy.
- Preparation. This will likely be the hardest piece of the puzzle to make fit. In order for me to stick with this 30 day challenge I will need to have meals planned and the fridge stocked. I am excited to make more meals, because as I said I do not like the pattern my family is in terms of the quality of the food we consume.
Overall I am excited for this challenge but still a little apprehensive. I am all in, but it takes support to make big changes. Luckily, my husband is on board too! We are going to do this together. He has wanted to change the way he eats for awhile now and when I told him I would plan our meals for us to bring to work and eat at home he said he would was willing to give it a shot. I am not going to make my kids eat a strict Whole30 diet but I am going to encourage and offer smarter choices for them.
You will definitely be hearing more about this challenge. I hear the first week is the hardest as the body fights cravings so I will be sure to let you know.
Have you tried this before? Do you have any tips? I'd love some feedback- please comment below.
My groceries look quite different than my usual shopping
trip to the store...