Tomorrow I embark on my very first Whole30. I’ve never really been one for diet fads, but last fall, after much conversation about the benefits of a gluten-free diet and its effect on autoimmune diseases, I figured I should at least give it a try. The effects were transformative. A Whole30 just seems like the next logical step.
I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 17 and though mild, as I get older, the joint pains and overall weird ailments increased. Each time I went to the doctor, I found myself leaving with a list of prescriptions and no clear answers. When threatened with steroids, I finally said enough is enough. It was time to ditch both the bread and medications. Just a few weeks without gluten and I could already feel the difference. No more strange pains or afternoon headaches. I felt more awake, alert and as an unexpected benefit, lighter. The weight I built up since I got married 5 years slowly but surely started to disappear. I feel like a better me. Don’t get me wrong. I’d die for a slice of sourdough slathered with butter, but sometimes you have to listen to your body.
S0 what exactly is a Whole30? It’s like the paleo diet, but on steroids. No gluten or grains of any sort. No dairy, soy or legumes. No alcohol. No sugar. So, yeah…a bunch of no’s. Many of these food groups can wreak havoc on your health without you even realizing it. So how do you test how food effects you? You eliminate it all. What you’re left with is 30 days of clean eating, filled with pastured meats wild caught fish, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and nuts. As creators Dallas and Melissa Hartwig of Whole9 explain, it’s a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.”
Knowing how much a gluten-free diet benefited me, I was curious what other “bad” foods might exist in my diet. For the most part, my diet is local and healthy, free of unprocessed foods. Because I naturally don’t eat a lot of meat, I look to dairy and legumes to provide the nutrients I lack. I never even considered those foods I love so much might actually have a negative effect on my body. For 30 days these foods will be free from my body, then I will slowly reintroduce each item and evaluate its effect on my health. This is my opportunity to explore and learn.
Diets 0r lifestyle changes are always easier when you partner up. Somehow I’ve convinced my incredibly supportive, loving husband, Sean, to join me in this adventure. Sure, I rattle off statistics and promote the health benefits as much as I want, but none of that matters. He only hears one thing: no beer for 30 days. I don’t know if it was that he wanted to be there for me, or that he realized the nagging would never end, but he finally gave in, with one stipulation. Normally, someone would start a challenge like this on the first day of the month (or a month that has 30 days, but that’s besides the point), but apparently there’s some football game tonight? That’s right. For Sean to agree to take on something so big for me, the least I could do was give him the Super Bowl off. So tonight he’ll enjoy his beer. And I’ll enjoy that last scoop of dark chocolate ice cream. But tomorrow…it’s game on.