I mentioned at the end of my last post that I’m going to try the Whole30 challenge. I’ve considered not blogging about these challenges I put upon myself until I’ve either won or lost at them, but where’s the fun in that? So here I am, digesting a muffin for Admin Day and contemplating my menu for the next week. As in, tomorrow through next Wednesday.
So what madness am I undertaking it this time? Exact rules can be found on the Whole30 site, but here’s a brief run-down of how I’ll be eating for the next 30 days:
To put it very simply, dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar are not allowed. It’s similar to the Paleo diet, but a little more intense.
The challenge is eating only whole foods (hence the “Whole” 30) with recipes that are as simplistic as possible. Trying to recreate healthy versions of junk and comfort foods (i.e. muffins, pancakes, pizza, ice cream, etc.) go against the point of the challenge. This is one of the major areas where the Whole30 challenge differs from the Paleo diet: with the Paleo diet, you can recreate things like cookies using healthy, approved ingredients. Whole30 isn’t just about eating healthy, but about developing healthy habits.
This aspect of “no recreations” gets a little fuzzy to me, so I may slip up here, but I’m not going to sweat it too much. (Though I know enough to realize that cauliflower-crusted-pizza is a no, and that saddens me.)
Obviously legumes and grains are good for you (everything in moderation), so the overall idea is not to make this a long-lasting diet or lifestyle. The aim is to reset your body with whole, healthy, basic foods and then, at the end of the 30 days, slowly reintroduce foods that were previously prohibited. This can help you see how those foods affect your body (is dairy really the cause of my persistent acne?) so you know what works best for you.
I seem to have chosen the perfect time to undertake this challenge, as the Farmer’s Market opens this weekend and I will be heading to Florida in a little under 40 days. As with everything I try, the real difficulty will be seeing this through to the end. You’ve seen me try to complete a No Spend Month. It’ll be rough.
I’m pretty good about making my own food and keeping dishes simple. That said, I love bread and cheese, and I have some fruit and veggie allergies (namely raw apples and walnuts, among others). Also, while I try not to be picky when it comes to what I eat, I’m still not a fan of mushrooms, sweet potatoes, or cucumbers. Side note: coconut water and I do not get along at all.
So while one of the challenges will be pushing past my cravings for carbs and cheese and not caving in to the call of gelato (or the payday basket of chocolate that sits in front of me all day), another will be finding a balance between foods I know and love and foods that are good for me but not yet an acquired taste; all without getting bored or discouraged. If it wasn’t for avocados and garlic, I’d be a goner.
On the plus side, I’m not a social person and I don’t drink, so I don’t have to worry so much about peer pressure as some people do when they’re eating Whole30.
Why April 27th for my start date? I’d say because it gives me a few extra days between the end of the 30 days and my Florida trip to brace myself for birthday food, but in reality, I ran out of food in the fridge and need to go shopping.
Fortunately, most of what I need for my first week I already have on hand. Eggs are key, and we have plenty of those. All I have to get are some fruits and veggies, a couple of fresh herbs, and some almond flour (for zucchini fritters, not muffins). Since Jo is only halfway through her own 30 days, there’s the added opportunity of possibly splitting a couple of meals. If nothing else, she knows something of what works and what doesn’t.
If I can manage it, I’m going to try and make a big deal out of breakfast and keep things simple for supper, because reading experts say that’s healthier for you.
I will try to take pictures of the good stuff, but I make no promises as to their quality. I will also share as many recipes as I can. Wish me luck!