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**Disclaimer: I am not an expert nor any kind of nutritionist. This post is simply about my experience so far with eating clean on the Whole30 plan.**
On my trip to France in 2009 with National Geographic, we ate some REALLY good food. I mean, it’s France! So, knowing that I’d be partaking in some particularly yummy meals, my brother the chef, requested photos of said meals. No problem! We would be a bunch of photographers with our cameras on us at all times so it shouldn’t be odd at all for me to do that. In fact, I remember about half way through the week, we’d just sat down to a really nice dinner at this estate we’d been shooting at most of the day. As they served our meal, I pulled my camera out to take a few pictures of the plate and explained to my new friends around me that I was doing this for my brother because while having a camera in my hand is my thing, seeing good food and how it’s plated is his thing!
Who knew that me, myself, and I would be the trend setter for all of us taking photos of our food!!
Seriously though, if you follow me on Twitter or Intagram, then you’ve likely seen some recents posts of food with the hashtag (the little number symbol – #) #whole30 or #cleaneating. Last Tuesday, Ben and I began a 30 day venture (it sounds way better than “diet”) of eating clean which is in turn, cleaning out our systems. We had heard about it at Community Group a couple of times as one of our leaders had done it and had just walked her sister through it just before her wedding two weekends ago. The more she talked about it and the more questions we asked, we thought we would take a stab at it and see how it went. Please note, I’ve avoided paleo and other such diets (as in what we are eating, not a fad to lose weight) because well… I love my sugar. Like, LOVE it. And even though I’d given up Cherry Coke (mostly), I was still drinking sweet tea fairly often. So, even my attempt to lose a few of these pounds I’ve put on since our wedding by giving up that tiny bit of sugar wasn’t really doing it.
So… what is Whole30 exactly?? Well, I’ll let them tell you…
“Think of it as a short-term 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.”
It’s about eating naturally grown and fed plants and animals. It’s about getting your system back to normal after spending years of eating processed foods and more sugar than you realize we’re consuming. Yes, it’s similar to paleo, but it’s not quite the same. I believe (again, not an expert here), with paleo you can have natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. But with the Whole30 plan, since we’re trying to retrain our bodies to not crave sugar, even those things are out. But fruit is in!! Yay!
And honestly? It’s going way better than I thought it would. We’re on Day 8 today (whew!) and last week was a challenge. I was groggy and dizzy and lacked energy. But it’s because my body was basically going through a sugar detox! By the end of last week I was already feeling better, sleeping better and had more energy than if I drank 3 cups of coffee (which I’ve never actually done since I don’t like coffee). You aren’t supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days, and I might be going a little crazy, but it feels like my jeans are already fitting a little better than they were a couple of weeks ago. And while I’m prone to headaches, I’ve only had one in the past week and that was on Tuesday, Day 1. Probably because I hadn’t had any sugar or caffeine all day in… who knows how long!
So what ARE we eating?? Protein and veggies. Grass fed animals and organically grown veggies (for the most part). Then more protein and more veggies. And a bit of fruit and some nuts. Yes, it gets a little tricky sometimes. Especially when we can’t have bread (sad face). But, I’m telling you, it’s already been worth it.
They key is to eat enough protein and veggies at meals to keep you full until the next meal. The exception being if you’re working out, then you split that one meal around your workout so you eat before (to get energy) and after (to rebuild those muscles and give your body more calories to burn). So, this morning, I had bacon, tomatoes and half an avocado for breakfast. After my hour at Crossfit, I’ll come home and have a couple of eggs and maybe the rest of the avocado or some other veggie.
I don’t know that I ever would have thought of having this for breakfast before last week…
I even got a little crazy and ate them on top of each other… DELISH! And really, this tasted and felt way better than any bowl of cereal I’ve ever had.
The other benefit to all of this? Even though I might feel full after a meal, I don’t feel BLAH full. You know that feeling, you eat a huge amazing meal and then feel like you can’t move to save your life. Hasn’t happened with this. And it’s amazing. The fact that I feel like I could get up after a meal and go back to work or do whatever without feeling sleepy is incredible to me!
So… that’s my side of what Whole30 is. But PLEASE, go check out their website. It’s through the Whole9 website and they have a link at the top for the Whole30 plan. So, check it out and if it looks like something you can do, give it a try! But, REALLY commit to the 30 days. I’ve wanted some chocolate and bread like nothing the past week, I even dreamed I was eating a roll with jelly on it last night! But, in my dream I’d forgotten and was so sad because I didn’t want to start the 30 days over!! Luckily it was just a dream!!
I don’t think I’ll be one of the ones that gets through this and never eats sugar again. But, I will be one of the ones that gets through this and pays much better attention to what I’m eating… also because my body will tell me when it doesn’t like something and I already know what it’s like to NOT feel that way!