My #whole30 November… The halfway mark!

So, while I had every intention of writing weekly posts, this month is already running away with me and to my great surprise, I’ve realised I’m already past halfway through the month of November – meaning halfway through Whole30!

It’s already been an interesting exercise, not only on myself (and testing my ever-so-fickle willpower!), but also in observing others’ reactions when I’ve talked to them about what I’m doing. For the most part, I’m actually not talking about it much at all, but a recent family catch up this past weekend revealed that the moment some kind of eating “program/ diet/ protocol” (pick your poison) is mentioned that everyone (EVERYONE!) wants to know all about it, why you’re on it, what are the exceptions, how you’re finding it, and very importantly, how my partner is dealing with it.

Given that these are completely valid questions and coming from a place of curiosity rather than judgement, I figured here would be the easiest places to answer these from my experience of being two weeks in.

2016-11-08-08-55-13
Breakfasts… Leftover salads with quick eggs and mushrooms

Why am I doing the Whole30?

For the most part, I addressed this in my post a couple of weeks ago – but essentially I wanted to test myself out on a strict program during a time where I knew I’d have the time, resources and the “why” to really commit. Whole30 does not include “treat days’, exceptions and I’m sure isn’t for everyone, but it was something that appealed to me currently to help “kick start” my health where other approaches hadn’t been as effective.

What’s in and what’s out?

Again, I’ve addressed most of this in my first post, but the main point I wanted to mention on this is that just because I’m not eating something because of Whole30, doesn’t mean it’s not healthy, or that others should also eliminate said food/ drink.

I’ve had a few big (interesting!) conversations with a few people about the ideas around natural sugars (honey, maple syrup, dates) in opposed to refined sugar. For me normally, I would try as much as possible to be refined sugar free, however while I’m doing Whole30, the only sweetener I’ve included is dates, which I’m having in moderation, not every day and in combination with other foods. It’s tricky at times, but knowing that this is a short experiment helps rather than thinking that this is for the rest of my life! Alcohol is similar for me… I generally only drink a couple of times a week, mostly red wine and rarely more than two glasses at a time. However, for the month of November I’m not having any alcohol at all. I don’t think drinking (especially at the levels and ratios that I drink) is necessarily bad or unhealthy, I’m just giving my system a break for a while.

2016-11-11-13-14-19-2
Smoothie bowls have become a new fave… Especially when they have the texture of ice cream!

How has it been so far?

The big question! Honestly, for the first week or so I really didn’t have too many issues with it. While I was home, I was making sure I had a great big breakfast which meant that I didn’t want for lunch; I might have a snack at some point, then have a regular dinner, then maybe a herbal tea and small snack again in the evening.

It’s been trickier when I’ve been eating out with limited options or temptation is staring me in the face (hello, cheese!) but on the whole it’s been relatively straightforward to stay on track. In fact, I’d go as so far as to say it’s much easier to adopt a whole or nothing approach to my food rather than think I can just have some foods “occasionally”. Let’s face it, it’s so easy to reward or console yourself with a treat at any given occasion, that occasionally for me can easily turn into everyday if I’m not careful! The biggest test for me so far was the family catch up on the weekend where everything (bar the Whole30 approved sweet treat I’d brought along) was out of bounds for me. I was able to scrounge up some carrot sticks and hummus (not quite Whole30, but I was getting desperate!) and satisfy myself with them, some pickled onions and a few pieces of salami for the afternoon (again, not quite Whole30 approved, but I needed some protein, and it was salami or the cheese!). There have been a couple of exceptions overall, but in these cases, each time I feel I’ve compromised with the best option available to me at the time. So I don’t feel too bad!

2016-11-07-10-35-51
Sweetener-free granola is a quick and easy addition to our weekly routine.  My partner loves it on yoghurt as a post-dinner treat and I’ve been adding it to my smoothie bowls for extra CRUNCH

How’s your partner “dealing with it”?

Another doozy I’ve been asked about several times. I have a wonderful partner, who loves his meat, carbs, ice cream and food in general. I was clear from the beginning that I didn’t expect him to follow what I was doing, however given that I am responsible for our groceries and most cooking at home, then he would obviously be exposed to some of the program. During the week, we don’t eat breakfast together (we’ve currently got quite different schedules Monday to Friday), he buys his lunch every day at work, so it was really only the main meals that would be affected. With Whole30, I’m focusing on lots of veggies, great quality meats and healthy fats which all fit really easily into the evening meal regime. Most of our dinners are quick, unfussy and suited to both our tastes. There’s always a protein (I am being quite conscious of mixing up different types of meat throughout the week), with greens and generally some roasted vegetables or a salad. On the whole, I don’t think it’s affected him at all, except for when we eat out together (generally on weekends) where I try to find places where I know I can find something easy to eat for both of us.

2016-11-08-07-48-43
I’ve recently started Pilates as well in an effort to help out a reoccuring lower back niggle. Early morning classes are kicking my butt, but made a little easier with some new active wear!

Overall?

So far, so good! It does require preparation, time and occasionally being “that person” in a restaurant asking for meals to be adapted, but generally easier than I expected! I don’t feel hungry or deprived because of what I’m eating and I’m paying far more attention to my emotional responses, energy levels and overall mood.

I’m especially grateful I chose this time to start as I’m putting extra time into food preparation, menu planning for the week and picking a variety of foods to incorporate each week!

2016-11-03-15-48-40
Sweetener-free “bliss balls as a sweet treat – these ones had a creat choc-caramel taste!

Again, I’ve written way more than I intended to, so I’ll add in a recipe for my current favourite Whole30 adapted dish to share later this week!

In wellness,

-Rebecca

My #whole30 November

So, while I’m working behind the scenes to get this website up and running properly, I thought I’d begin with some blog posts over the month of November, covering a bit of an experiment on myself.

Like many people, I’d heard of the #whole30 program, and was vaguely aware that it was related to the Paleo movement. I’m fairly sure I heard about it first from an American blog about three years ago, back when I had zero idea about CrossFit (I remember that #whole30 and CrossFit always seemed to be related) and Paleo was only just starting to enter Australian media.

With every other health and wellness movement setting the scene alight over the past couple of years, I have to admit that I hadn’t heard much at all about #whole30 until a couple of weeks ago, when it was again, featured on an American food blog I’ve been following for years. Tracy from Shutterbean had recently completed her thirty days, and knowing she was a carb lover from way back, my interest was peaked to hear how she found it. Expecting to hear stories of suffering and woe, I was fascinated to discover her observations on how it helped her to tune in to her emotional relationship with food in particular and the health benefits she had also felt along the way.

Given that I’ve had a particularly stressful couple of months with some unexpected “life events”, I was well aware that many of my usual self-care strategies, routines and general health practices had fallen to the wayside. My face especially was showing the effects of too much sugar and although I’ve been exercising more than usual, I wasn’t noticing any difference at all in how my clothes fit (or on the scales for that matter!). So, it was a speedy decision on the last week of October to tighten in the reigns and challenge my brain as well as my body to a #whole30 program.

For anyone wondering “what the heck is #whole30”, you can find out more details about it here and also on Shutterbean’s blog here. Tracy has written a weekly recap, as well as her suggestions for snacks, meals and her reflections on the process. The essential components of #whole30 include removing certain foods for thirty days, to allow the body to “reset” and potentially help heal from inflammation and other health conditions. This means, removing from the diet:

  • Sugar – Real or artificial. Honey is out, dates (in moderation) are OK
  • Alcohol (even in your cooking!)
  • Grains – Including (but not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and quinoa.
  • Legumes – All kinds of beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts. Also, includes removing all soy products (miso, tofu tempeh and edamame)
  • Dairy – All sheep, cow and goats milk products, cream, cheese, yoghurt and most importantly, ice cream!

The program also talks about ensuring your foods don’t contain any sulphur, MSG or any other chemical processes. It also advises against re-creating *treats* with “approved” ingredients (which. sadly, omits the refined-sugar free chocolates I made last weekend, sob!).

Sounds a bit harsh, right?! However, for me it’s more a case about reigning in the little things; I’ve been “mostly gluten and dairy free” for the last four months or so, and I don’t allow myself more than two glasses of red wine a week. Sugar has always been my toughest vice to crack, but I’ve even reduced this over time, though it has always been my “go to” crutch in times of stress.

This has become a far longer introduction post than I intended, but the main point I wanted to bring up is that this is just me, experimenting on me. I am fortunate to have the time, energy and headspace for the month of November to commit to this program and I’m committed to chronicling this journey; to noticing any subtle changes to my mood, energy, emotions as well as the physical aspects too.

Each week, I’m going to do a wrap up summary here on the blog as well as one recipe I’ve made that is #whole30 friendly. You’ll find pics of my week on Instagram (@onestepwellbeing), and I’ll be posting on my new Facebook page too (onestepwellbeing).

In wellness,

-Rebecca