The past 6 months or so I have been a food journey, discovering healthy new ways to enjoy my food- 'have my cake and eat it too' type journey. I've been incorporating super foods into my diet, finding healthy alternatives to heavily processed, sugar laden desserts, and eliminating gluten from my diet. I've also slowly been eliminating diary from my diet- now only occasionally having greek yoghurt 2-3 times a week. I've been using soy in my coffee and almond milk on my oats. It's been an awesome journey- and I'm happily sharing it with all of you who follow my little blog (thanks for reading!)
I feel wonderful, my skin in the clearest it's been forever, my energy levels are good (not perfect- but hey, I've got a 2 month old baby!) and my moods are more stable. I also believe my healthy eating has contributed to my fast recovery after giving birth to Jimmy (after Jimmy was born I had a massive post partum haemorrhage and nearly died, but that story is for another day).
I feel it's time for a new chapter in my journey book. Time to get serious about how I view food. Sadly, like most of us out there, food and I, we have a pretty poor relationship. Food has a hold on me. We constantly fight. I've lost the 'I'm full' signal mechanism. I have cravings. I give in to them. Sometimes I binge. I feel horrible. And one bad food choice can leave me feeling guilty and shit for the rest of the day. I get grumpy, look for comfort, find something yummy, and it feels good for the first bite. But then it's followed by shame and guilt... and the cycle continues. This doesn't happen everyday. Maybe one or twice a week, and luckily the food choices in my cupboard are mostly healthy (but that is not the point). There was a time in my life where it was an everyday occurrence. Especially when I was stressed- like high school, UNI, new job... lets just say the first half of my 20's were spent eating disorderly and binge drinking on the weekend....
I know I'm not the only one like this. I may be the only on that admits it... I'm hoping this may resonate with some of you.
This isn't how our relationship with food should be. It is not healthy.
We should be eating to nourish our bodies. Because we love ourselves. And yes, we should love ourselves. It's not selfish. Like that old saying 'No one can love you if you don't first love yourself'. We need to love ourselves enough to want to look after this body we have been given. And the best way to do that is nourishing it with the best foods possible.
So I'm going to be doing a whole lot of self loving from now on. Starting by doing the Whole 30.
I'm not sure if you have read about the Whole30 before- but basically you eat real food. Yep. Real food. For 30 days. NO CHEATS. Nutrient-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils that have been raised, fed and grown naturally. Foods that are full of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Read more about it here
Things that are not allowed are sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy- all of which may not contribute positively on your health- aka- sugar crashes, alcohol binges, bread basket overload etc.
Also, the way these foods are broken down in your gut can be the cause of, or exacerbate a myriad of disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, skin conditions, PCOS, infertility, migraines, depression, bipolar disorder, heartburn, reflux, joint pain, ADHD, thyroid dysfunction, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, leaky gut syndrome, Chron's disease, IBS, Celiac disease, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis.
It's NOT a diet- It's not about weight loss. You eat as much as you need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight.
I have some lagging IBS issues, even after cutting gluten, which I want to find the source of and eliminate (hence me already cutting back on dairy), but for me, the whole 30 is more about changing my long-standing, unhealthy patterns related to food, eating and my body image. Another bonus is that most people will see a dramatic reduction or elimination of food cravings, particularly sugar and carbohydrates.
I've got a good start on the Whole30- since most of the no-go list I've already discovered for myself negatively impacts my health- I don't drink alcohol (sober for 1 1/2 years) I don't eat gluten, I've minimised dairy and I don't eat much sugar. I will miss my healthy desserts (which although fit into the foods allowed- still psychologically have the same effect as naughty foods, so I'm steering clear for now). So hopefully I won't have as many sugar crashes/ carb cravings as people who eat all these foods to begin with and I can focus on my relationship with food- eg hunger cues (am I hungry enough to eat steamed fish and broccoli? No, then it's a craving, not real hunger).
Don't be afraid that I won't be getting enough carbs or other nutrients- all the foods I have to eat are full of everything I need. Vegetables and fruits have carbohydrates. Meat has protein, nuts and oils have amazing amounts of essential vitamin and minerals. Food manufactures just like to spin it that their bread/milk/chocolate is full of the best whole grains/calcium/antioxidants around. It's a big money making scheme (don't get me started!!).
So essentially it's about empowering myself again (do I sound like Oprah?! haha!). I want to be in charge of my wants and needs, not be a slave to food and how it makes me feel. I'm hoping this experience will be the learning tool to gain awareness of how the foods I use to eat were actually affecting how I look, feel, live and perform. I can then carry that knowledge forward, and use it to change the way I eat for the rest of my life (since it's a whole30, not whole365, you can incorporate no-go foods back into your diet if you like, after the 30 days).
The website www.whole9life.com is full of wonderful and interesting topics related to Paleo eating. The book 'It starts with food' is a wonderful eye opener and a must read if you want to try Whole30. Personally I'm fascinated by nutrition, so I'm very excited to see how my body responds to this primal eating.
So I hope you don't mind, my next few blog posts will be about my journey on Whole30. I'll be posting recipes along the way too.