Juliana Writes...

Living with the best of intentions

Friday, June 10, 2016

My Whole30 Experience: Week 1

Today marks one week that I’ve been living life on the Whole30.  It’s been quite an experience so far – I certainly feel grateful that James and a handful of friends (and my parents!) are participating alongside me; the support and empathy of one’s tribe seems pretty essential to surviving a challenge like this.  For those of you who don’t know what the Whole30 is I’m providing the link to their site below – it’s hard to put a definition to it because I feel like it’s something different to each participant.  It’s a diet, sure, but also a lifestyle change, a nutritional reset, an experiment, a cleanse…I think it depends on what you’re searching for.  If you’re curious you can read the official statements about the Whole30 here: 

Part of what I like about this diet (for lack of a better blanket term) is the fact that it has such versatile cause and effect, and therefore each person has his or her own unique experience throughout the 30 days.  Many of the things that are happening to me are not happening to my friends, or are happening differently, and they’re discovering things that are not a part of my journey so far…but the common thread is that every single one of us have tuned into our bodies, minds, and the world in a way we never have been before.  We’re looking at food differently, we’re feeling the effects of toxins leaving our body because we’re not replenishing them the way we usually do, we’re actively taking part in each thing we put in our bodies (so. much. cooking), and, after 7 days of it, I’m here to tell you: it’s kind of exhausting.  I mean that in a good way, I’m actually really enjoying the experience, but it’s a huge mental and physical shift regarding one of many of our favorite things – food. 

For James and me it’s a huge shift because we sort of revolve around food.  We’re constantly thinking about our next meal, when we go out of town it’s all about where we’re going to eat on vacation, celebratory events will obviously be recognized with a special plate and several adult beverages…this is not how the Whole30 works.  It’s still all about food but in a far more mindful way, and it’s broadening my horizons big time.  I like that my world revolves around food, but I think this experience is letting me explore a healthier way to live like that. 

I’m going to do weekly re-caps of my Whole30 experience and share a few things that I’ve made throughout the month – this week, since it’s the first, I want to start by sharing why I decided to make the commitment.

Wizard has been a very dutiful helper throughout the cooking process...

Week 1: Whole30 Re-Cap

I’ve been attracted to the Whole30 program for a long time, but like so many others out there I would consider it seriously for about 5 minutes and then decide it was too hard, I just love cheese and alcohol too much for all that noise.  However, as I learned more and more about nutrition it became considerably more difficult to discount the idea of an elimination diet – a cleanse to reset the body and then slowly add things back in to see how they make you feel.  Rather than a daunting, unrealistic chore the Whole30 began to look more like an exciting experiment; I could tell that my body and mind were ready to go there.  Luckily so were a lot of my people -- I have no idea how doing something like this alone would feel.  Isolating, probably, since most of my social activity involves eating and drinking with friends. 

So why I’m doing this in a nutshell: to learn about my body, to challenge my willpower and my creativity (both in the kitchen and in my social life), and to hopefully learn enough about how different ingredients affect me to jumpstart a positive lifestyle change.  Also to cook more.  I always want to cook more but laziness often gets the best of me – during the Whole30 that’s just not an option. 

Week 1 Experiences:

  • Very tired.  The first couple of days I was achy and foggy, it felt like a very physical detox.  Then it transitioned to just plain sleepy.  I had one day in the middle somewhere that I wanted physically damage anyone who made eye contact with me.

  • An odd sense of room in my mind for things that seem like they were stored away in a dark, dusty brain-broom closet.  It’s great because I suddenly am remembering all these projects I want to do and this business I want to build and thinking clearly about where I am in my life right now rather than wistfully wishing and dreaming about the future…but it’s also completely overwhelming because there’s no order or flow to anything.  All of these things have been stockpiled away, it’s as if someone opened the door and they all came spilling out at once.  I want to organize them…but I’m too tired. 

  • So many emotions.  I’m an emotional person as it is, but the detox and the clarity combined has me feeling all the feelings all the time.  I’ve done a lot of quiet crying over the last week, and not necessarily out of sadness.  I cried because I am missing my family and Oregon so desperately right now, and I cried during the first two episodes of Master Chef (several times) because all those hopeful home cooks just want to impress Gordon Ramsay so bad and only half of ‘em actually do.  Siiiigh. 

  • De-bloating!  I realized today that my body felt tighter and that I haven’t felt uncomfortably full or expanded since we began last Friday; detox symptoms aside, my belly likes being fed like this.  

  • Cravings for things I wouldn’t normally crave.  I’m not a bagel person but all I’ve wanted for the past five days is a toasted bagel loaded with cream cheese.  It’s weird, because this is something I would never normally seek out, but since I can’t have it I haven’t stopped thinking about it. 

Those have been the most significant experiences for me thus far, I can’t wait to see what week 2 has to bring to the party !  Until then here are a few photos of food.

Hooray Whole30!

This was one of our favorites: turkey meatballs in a roasted red pepper sauce, cauliflower mash, and roasted asparagus, all from the Whole30 cookbook.

Sometimes you still want to feel like you're indulging; these are chicken tenders breaded in almond flour (which is just very finely ground almonds) and oven baked fries.

And this is what a typical breakfast looks like (except there's usually avocado involved too).  Quick, easy, delicious -- just add hot sauce.

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