I'm about twelve days into this terrifying thing called Whole 30, and I feel as though I'm finally getting my feet underneath me, so to speak. It's been interesting and humbling and challenging and easy and all the other kinds of things that people like to say when it comes to health endeavors and massive diet shifts. Having to say no to foods and habits that you are used to embracing, bear-hug style, can feel like the beginning of the end. But then I turn on the news and see the depth of struggle and despair that is occurring at seemingly increasing rates all around me, and it's a lot more difficult to whine about the lack of cheese and cookies in my life. Perspective is key, and I'm truly thankful to live in the kind of home and space where I have the energy, comforts, and resources to even THINK about the affects of carrageenan and monosodium glutamate on my body. Am I right?
Which brings me to right now. And why I chose to participate in Whole 30. And why I don't hate it.
I won't bore you with the lengthy details of how about four months ago my body decided to revolt against me and my attitude followed suit and before I knew it all I wanted to do was wallow in my own pool of stomach aches, infections, and exhaustion. Eventually, I knew something needed to give. I started by committing to working out more consistently. I felt a bit better. Then I decided to give up coffee. Disaster. And then I decided to give up gluten for a trial run- just to see if it helped. It did. Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet, dive in head first, and commit to completing a Whole 30. It's been a definite challenge for this food lover, but twelve days in, I already feel like I've learned some genuine stuff that I hope will stick with me for the long haul.
What I've learned so far:
1. I care about food too much. I associate it with my moods. I put pressure on it to entertain me. I expect it to transform my day from mediocre to magnificent and, let's be honest, it just shouldn't have that kind of power. A slice of pizza is one of the best things ever. But it's still just a slice of pizza.
2. As long as I can drink my coffee, I'm good. Seriously.
3. Culturally, we millennials like to eat, drink, and be merry... together. It's hard to be social when you can't eat and drink what everyone else likes to eat and drink. But, it's not impossible. It's a mental game, and with a lot of positive self-talk, it's entirely plausible to drink water instead of beer and feel as though the room is spinning.
4. Cooking isn't really that hard. Let's be honest, I'm not the world's greatest cook, nor do I enjoy cooking to the extent that many others do. But, it's about finding the rhythm within your day to throw a few ingredients together to put in your belly. It doesn't have to be the day's main event. Organize your head, buy delicious things, and cook them. Also, always wash your dishes as you go.
5. Finally, we probably ARE what we eat, as much as I hate to admit it. Sugar is the worst and vegetables will always be a good option, no matter how many times you try to convince yourself that they aren't. Protein is important and queso isn't a viable source. Yes, reading labels is annoying but how else are you supposed to know what is going inside of your body? Just learn to speed-read and you'll be far less irritating to the people around you. I promise.
Beyond these things, I'm happy to report that my sleep is ON POINT and that my stomach's aches have greatly resided. I'd say that's pretty great for twelve days in. So, all things considered, I'm not saying I'm ready to marry Whole 30, but I'm not saying that I'm not. I know how lucky I am to have the ability to take such an active role in my health and in my general well-being. I mean, I live in Austin, TX. This city was founded on independent health food stores and neighborhood yoga studios. And in a world that can seem a bit overwhelming in all that is beyond our control, I'm oh-so-ok with having something so reasonably and positively within my grasp. I'm holding on tight (at least for another 18 days) and I can't wait to see how many more tacos, cookies, and glasses of wine I can turn down.