I’m doing this. Starting next Monday. And now I’m going to blog about it in five paragraph essay format. First, I’ll go over what it is. Then I’ll explain why I’m doing it. Then I’ll wrap up with my feelings of excitement and fear.
The Whole30 program is 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.” Their words. They suggest emphasizing the foods you can eat when describing the program to others: protein, lots of veggies, some fruit and plenty of good fats.
I will also tell you, because you know I’m all about full disclosure, what you can’t eat: added sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes (which includes peanuts) and some other additives found in processed foods. You’re also told not to recreate foods you may have an unhealthy relationship with (for example: a friend of mine has a thing with chocolate cake) using approved ingredients. This is because the program aims to change your eating habits, and I respect that.
So why am I doing this? There was a time when I would have looked at that list and judged it as way too extreme, at best unnecessary and potentially unhealthy. But right now my gut is, in clinical terms, all fucked up. The tummy troubles I mentioned here and here are from clostridium difficile colitis. Street name: c diff. I’ll let you do your own Googling if you’re interested. I’m working on a 28 day course of antibiotics that will lead straight to more antibiotics of an unknown duration. But… Put on your party hats folks! …at a reduced dose! Hip hip hooray!
So I’ve been doing some reading. And the more reading I do the more I’m beginning to believe things like, “Maybe gluten-free isn’t just trendy…” So I’m going to give this a go and hope that it helps. That I won’t have to take antibiotics for the rest of my life.* I’m at least convinced it won’t make things worse.
After the 30 days you’re to methodically reintroduce food groups into your diet and come up with a sustainable plan based on your own food sensitivities or lack thereof. This doesn’t seem extreme at all. It actually seems really reasonable and like a sound, data-based approach to healthy eating.
In addition to getting my shit straight, I’m also curious to see if/how it will affect some other stuff:
- Food cravings (especially sugar)
- Emotional eating
- Overall mood
- Athletic performance
- Skin ailments like eczema
- Seasonal allergies
- Ollie (from the breastfeeding)
Of course I also hope to lose some weight. That said, the Whole30 program clearly states that its about health, not weight loss, and I’m going to embrace that. Really, my primary goal is to regain my health. I can build exercise on top of health. If I also continue to eat my own, personal healthy, I will eventually reach the optimal weight for my body.
So I’m really going to focus on being kind to myself during these 30 days. This is a time to thank my body for all it’s hard work. Growing babies. Feeding babies. All the miles and miles of running. Fighting off sickness after sucky sickness. This is a time to be gentle with my body, feed it good food, let it rest and let it heal.
That brings me to my third paragraph. Right now I feel really excited about this. I’m optimistic that it will help and like I can totally do it. I’ve cut out or back on a lot of the off-limits food already so going all the way doesn’t sound that hard.
Yet I know it will be. Because it’s still a significant change to my diet. Because I still feel like I deserve a piece of chocolate cake and a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. Because eating still feels like a cure for boredom and stress. And because I can’t quite picture myself finding the time to cook. Like, at all. That’s what I fear most: chopping.
*No, that’s not an actual possibility. I’m exaggerating.