“Food Freedom” – Life on the Whole30

Hey there blogosphere, it’s been a while.

I’ve been busy with various things this summer: taking a class, teaching a class, having random adventures and doing random jobs. It hasn’t been sunny enough, not in the slightest. But already, it’s time for Fall and my favorite time of year – back to school!

One of my adventures this summer was the Whole30 challenge. Mom and I started June 11th, and now we’re approaching the final days. 30 days of NO grains, dairy, legumes (yes, even peanut butter), or processed sugar. I was mostly into it for the stomach benefits- I tend to get tummy aches all the time, with no rhyme or reason. I was also noticing that my eating was more emotional than physical. It’s easy for food to be a source of comfort instead of a source of fuel.

Here are some awesome things I learned from this month of intense restriction:

  1. Fat and protein are better sources of energy than sugar. The diet requires lots and lots of protein – 1/3 to 1/2 of every meal. That meant lots of bacon! Gone were the crashes and spikes of the sugar rush, and moments of fatigue were nothing but real, physical tiredness. More fuel please. Fat makes you feel satiated, meaning you’ll eat less, and it’s slower to digest so it hangs around a lot longer than sugar. It’s a shame that it’s been so demonized. Excesses of sugar turn into fat anyway.
  2. My willpower muscle needed exercise to get stronger. My limp, weak resolve (“maybe I’ll start that paper tomorrow,” “maybe I’ll exercise later”) has become way more proactive. I think about doing something, and I more often than not end up doing it. Even if it’s watching some Bones in bed. Hey, everything’s valuable in some way…But for real, I seem to have so much more power over my impulses through all of this exercise of my brain in resisting cravings.
  3. All my energy is clean. That’s what I feel like, like I’m running on solar power or something. It’s amazing. I’m so alert, without even having to pound caffeine or snarf a cookie. I burn it up, I get hungry, I eat some more.
  4. Meal planning is true “food freedom.” I think about food so much less now that I’m doing this. Counterintuitive, right? I think it’s because I’ve got to sit down and plan what I’m going to make for each day of the week, instead of getting take-out when I’m lazy or stopping for a treat after a long day. And once I’ve planned it, I shop accordingly and eat what I have. It makes it easy to forget about needing to eat when I have so much good stuff at home that I’ve already prepped. Prep is the key – the easier it is to grab some carrots for snack, the more likely I am to do it.
  5. Chocolate is a very big, important part of my food life. The only things I really miss are chocolate. And cheese. I’ll be reintroducing those in about six days.
  6. Even camping works out…

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So here’s to Day 24 of clean eats, may I continue all these good habits forevermore…

“Food Freedom” – Life on the Whole30

One thought on ““Food Freedom” – Life on the Whole30

  1. My mom and I started the Whole 30 on July 12th!

    YES – “running on clean energy” is exactly how I feel. Thank you for articulating it so perfectly.

    Chocolate, cheese, and beer are at the top of my miss list.

    (P.S. I’m also working my way through Bones.)

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